a pile of powdered baby formula

Baby Formula: 5 Terms to Know

You might have a little one on the way and want to be prepared for the arrival of the newest member of your family. Among the items on your list to research is the topic of baby formula. Breastfeeding may not be practical for your lifestyle, so understanding baby formula terminology is important. The following is a list of five terms related to baby formula that every parent should know.

  1. Baby Formula Allergies

    A baby formula allergy can arise if a child has a compromised immune system that makes it difficult for him or her to tolerate proteins found in cow's milk. Most children will outgrow this problem over time. Signs that your child might be experiencing a baby formula allergy are vomiting, diarrhea, rash, abdominal pain, and blood showing up in the stool.

    If you suspect that your child is experiencing a baby formula allergy, consult your baby's doctor immediately. The doctor should be able to recommend an alternative hypoallergenic baby formula for your baby.

  2. Soy-Based Baby Formula

    Soy-based baby formula is commonly used in cases in which an infant is unable to tolerate regular dairy-based baby formula. Typically, this recommendation does not extend to premature infants. Be sure to discuss this with your baby's doctor, before switching formula.

    Some parents have concerns over feeding their child soy-based baby formulas because of GMO soy, soy allergies, and the fact that soy contains a substance called phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogens that many medical researchers believe are dangerous to young infants).

  3. Baby Formula Viscosity

    The viscosity of your baby formula is a measure of how thick the formula is. Some baby formulas are thicker and flow more slowly out of the bottle than others. The thicker the formula, the more likely it is going to have a slower flow. This is especially the case when the bottle's nipple has a small hole, making it more difficult for your infant to suck the formula through the nipple.

    This can cause a baby to suck in too much air and increase the frequency of how often the baby spits up. It is, therefore, a good idea to learn how to make the formula less thick, if this becomes a recurring problem.

  4. Organic Baby Formula

    In many health-conscious circles, you will hear talk of parents feeding their babies organic formula. Organic formula often lacks many of the synthetic nutrients and chemical preservatives found in more mainstream baby formulas. In some situations, however, synthetic nutrients are provided by requirement of the FDA, such as the introduction of the synthetic amino acid l-methionine to soy-based baby formulas.

    There is a lot of controversy over what actually constitutes organic baby formula. The decision to feed your baby an organic formula should be weighed carefully, and it's a good discussion to have with your baby's doctor.

  5. Bottle Propping

    Bottle propping is the act of putting a bottle in a baby's mouth and leaving them to eat the baby formula unattended. Many people ask if it's okay to prop a bottle in their baby's mouth, and the answer to this common question is a resounding "No!"

    Bottle propping poses two important problems. The first is pooling baby formula in a baby's mouth can lead to tooth decay down the road. The other, perhaps more important problem, is that bottle propping is a choking hazard for your infant child. It's best to always hold your baby when feeding from a bottle, rather than leaving the bottle propped in his or her mouth.

Last Updated: April 23, 2021