Mothers who are not able to breastfeed their babies for various reasons or some diseases should feed their babies with formula. According to its standard definition, formula is a product produced from drying healthy, fresh and pasteurized milk. To make it similar to breast milk to be used by a baby, it undergoes many changes, as follows:
- Ratio of whey protein to casein is 20 to 80 in cow milk. To make it similar to breast milk, purified protein is added in order to make the Ratio of whey protein to casein 60 to 40.
- Lactose level of breast milk is higher than cow milk. Therefore, its level may be adjusted to breast milk by adding lactose.
- Cow milk contains fat with highly saturated fatty acids. Thus, cow’s milk fat is removed and it is adjusted with a blend of vegetable oils in specific proportion in order to be as close as possible to the fatty acids profile of breast milk.
- Finally, by adding standard vitamins and minerals, a formulation close to breast milk which is proper for infant is produced.
- With regards to scientific and technical advances in formula production, various formulas are produced and available based on infant’s age and needs. But generally, milks in market are divided in two groups: Regular formulas and Regimal formulas. Regular formulas are especially formulated for healthy babies deprived from breast milk and they are classified into three groups: Standard, Advanced and Premium.
This group contains all nutrients required by an infant based on standards and it is numbered and formulated based on infant’s age.
For infants from birth to 6 months
For babies from 6 months to 1 year
Growing Up Milk Formula for children (GUF)
For children from 1 to 3 years old.
There are also milks for children above 3 years’ old that are offered to market under JUNIOR brand and designed and formulated especially for this age group.
This group of formulas includes all three categories of regular formulas, but their formulation is more similar to breast milk. The formulation of this category includes nutrients like arachidonic acid (AA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) prebiotics and nucleotides existed in the breast milk.
This category, like the other two, is offered based on child’s age. Its difference with advanced level is including components like arachidonic acid (AA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), FOS and GOS prebiotics and nucleotides at the highest standard level.
This category is used by children inflicted with diseases or those with special dietary conditions. This category of formulas is not numbered and may be consumed from the very moment of birth upon medical prescription.
These formulas are formulated free of lactose and are especially formulated for the babies who cannot tolerate and digest lactose for various reasons, including enzymatic disorder (lactase deficiency) and they will be inflicted with diarrhea, bloating and cramp. Due to lactose content of whey protein and high costs of its separation, a group of these formulas are produced by removing whey protein and are casein-based, but another group adjusts whey protein to casein ratio proportionate to the breast milk’s (60 to 40) by adding lactose-free whey protein, the latter is of priority for infant’s nutrition.
Special Formulas for Children Who Regurgitate Milk (AR)
These formulas are used by children who regurgitate some of the milk. With their special formulation, milk remains in infant’s stomach and prevent its regurgitation. To produce this formula, some products use some components like gum for thickening purpose and it may have some specific complications, while some others use starch which is a polysaccharide and is free of any complications.
Special Formulas for Children Who Have Allergy to Cow’s Milk Protein
This group of formulas are used by children who have allergy to cow’s milk protein and show allergic symptoms like diarrhea, eczema, stomachache, blood in feces, etc. after consuming regular formulas. A group of these products prevents allergy by removing protein from milk and replacing it with soy vegetable protein. Another group produces products known as HA by manipulating the milk’s protein (hydrolysis and braking) to prevent allergy. With regard to the natural quality of the first group which is free of any manipulation, this group is of priority unless pediatricians prescribe something else.
Special Formulas for Premature or Low-Weighted Children (PRETERM)
These formulas are specially formulated and designed proportionate to nutritional needs of premature children.
Formulas for Special Diseases
These kinds of formulas are special foods that are used to treat diseases like diarrhea and used by hospitalized patients upon medical prescription.