Breast is best but fed is better. Breastfeeding isn’t possible for everyone, nor is it everyone’s ideal choice. This is okay. If you’re not breastfeeding, you’re probably looking for the best alternatives to put in your baby’s bottle. After all, you want to ensure you’re giving your little one the best possible nutrition for optimal growth and development. Is store-bought baby formula your only option? It might be the most convenient and certain way to get your baby well-fed, but there are other alternatives. Consider the options below:
- Homemade baby formula
Homemade alternatives to the regular baby formula brands are not too difficult to create safely if you have the time and energy. Parents with a small baby often find themselves overwhelmed with the new addition to their family and convenience becomes essential. Creating homemade formula is only safe when you use a recipe that is recommended by healthcare professionals.
Baby formula doesn’t have to come from a science lab, but you do have to have stringent hygiene measures in place. It’s also important to ensure that you do not substitute any of the ingredients that are listed in approved recipes.
- For toddlers: goat’s milk
It’s important to note that goat’s milk is not a suitable alternative to breastmilk or formula for babies that are younger than six months and still exclusively gaining their nutrition from milk. However, goat’s milk is a great formula alternative for children that supplement their solids with milk, especially toddlers.
In terms of its structure, goat’s milk is remarkably similar to human milk with an almost identical balance of macro and micronutrients, meeting most of a child’s nutritional needs. Goat’s milk is delicious (although it’s an acquired taste) when purchased fresh. It’s also readily available at grocery stores in powdered form.
- Toddler milk: substituting with plant-based alternatives
It’s surprisingly easy to find a range of plant-based milk options that are great for boosting your baby’s nutrient intake after infancy. Keep in mind, these formula-substitutes are not suitable as a primary source of nutrition for infants.
Rice milk is lower in fat and higher in the carbohydrates that are essential for your baby’s developing brain. Soya milk is higher in protein, while nut milks like almond and cashew are rich in omegas and essential fatty acids. Oat milk is unrivaled in its creaminess and requires fewer ingredients and additives to make it tasty. It’s also naturally sweet, making it highly palatable. Indeed, you may find the whole family is keen to make the switch once you all try it! Explore a range of options to find the best solution for your baby.
- Donor breast milk
This is the best solution for newborn babies that are unable to breastfeed and that find formula difficult to digest. Premature babies, especially, benefit from donated breast milk. Much like blood banks, mothers can turn to milk banks for their supply. Surplus milk that is donated by breastfeeding mothers is analyzed to ensure it is free from any contaminants. The milk is then stored, ready to be dispensed to a baby in need.
Know Your Baby’s Needs
Opting for regular baby formula ensures your precious little one receives the nutrition that is necessary for development at each phase of growth. If you decide to make your own, be sure to adapt your recipe accordingly. Also, it’s important that you consult with your pediatrician first before making any sudden dietary changes.