Artificial feeding: all about infant milk

If you can not feed your baby with breastfeeding, you have adapted milks that cover their nutritional needs. Know your composition will help you choose the most appropriate.

Artificial formula for the preparation of infant formula

Artificial feeding: baby milk

The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age. However, there are situations in which the baby can not be fed with breast milk, so it is essential to the use of infant milks that replaced it. Where breast-feeding is not possible, it should consult the pediatrician the best kind of artificial milk for your small.
Advances in the knowledge of the composition of breast milk, nutrition, and hygiene in the handling of the milk of other species have wherever possible to develop breast milk substitutes that allow the development and growth of the baby without jeopardizing your nutritional status. Initially, the criterion for determining whether or not a formula for infants was ideal, was based on that product was not detrimental to the health of the baby. However, subsequently, and to measure that were perfecting products and its overall composition more resembled the breast milk, other criteria were included as a proper linear and ponderal growth of babies, and also took into account other factors, anthropometric, biochemical and metabolic.

Formulas for the artificial feeding

Normally, artificial milk for infants is made from cow's milk or soy products modified industrially. During the process, the amount of nutrients is modified and adjusted to make look as much as possible into breast milk.
The sanitary technical regulation of such products recognizes two types of formulas in it comes to children's milk:
Prepared or infant formulas
They are food products destined for feeding to infants during the first months of life, and produced so that they cover all the nutritional needs of infants until the moment in which adequate complementary feeding is introduced.
Prepared or continuation formulas
It's those food products that are used in the special feeding of infants who already has begun to manage appropriate complementary feeding, and that they constitute the main liquid food in the diet of these babies, who will be gradually diversified according to be checked that they do not have allergies or intolerances to foods that are introduced.

Infant formulas: recommended composition

Differences in the nutritional composition of breast milk and cow make it necessary that the latter have to be modified significantly when it comes to formulas for infants. Human milk contains a third of the protein content of cow's milk, being the composition of casein, Furthermore, different. In the case of human milk, casein is more easily digested by the infant intestine. On the other hand, the presence of aromatic amino acids is higher in the milk of cow, as well as lactose, calcium, magnesium, and many other minerals.
We then explain the nutritional characteristics or recommended composition that must maintain formulas based on cow's milk protein infant:


Hydrolysates of proteins of milk cow (besides soy proteins) are the unique protein bases permitted in infant formulas and the formulas below. Global protein composition must have a similar to the casein bioavailability, and its essential and semi-essential amino acids content should be, in terms of the content, at least equal to that observed in breast milk.


The fat content should provide about half of the non-protein energy. Soybean, olive oil, and other polyunsaturated fats, as well as coconut oil, as a source of saturated fat are used in infant formulas. The combination of lipids is done so that intestinal absorption is optimal and provide an adequate amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including essential fatty acids.


The unique carbohydrate allowed in cow's milk protein-based formulas are lactose, maltose, sucrose, Fructo-oligosaccharides, phytoene and maltodextrins as well as starch.


Most infant formulas are enriched with iron, zinc and copper in quantities that avoid interference between them.

Other components

For example, probiotics, nucleotides, carnitine...

Soy milk for babies

Non-modified soya milks are not suitable for use in breastfed babies due to gastrointestinal side effects caused by their constituents as raffinose and stachyose sugars, as well as other non-digestible carbohydrates. In addition, original soy contains phytates, interacting with some minerals such as iron and calcium, reducing its bioavailability, to say nothing of isoflavones, which may have adverse endocrine effects on babies. Therefore, for use in infants only allowed isolated soy protein, which can be used alone or in combination with cow's milk proteins.


Soy protein has the least amount of sulfur, therefore amino acids must be enhanced with methionine which, in addition, enhances protein casein equivalence.


Soy protein isolated lack of fat, therefore we must add it in this type of formulas. As in the case of cow's milk protein formulas, in this case is necessary to add oils of vegetable origin that complete the contribution of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.


The absence of lactose in isolated soy protein also involves the use of alternative sources of carbohydrates, such as glucose polymers, including the maltodextrins and sucrose.


The soybean has a low content in calcium and high in phosphorus, making it necessary to add calcium to prevent rickets.

Introduction of the baby cow's milk

The introduction of new foods during food diversification responds not only to the baby's nutritional needs, but also to the correct neuromuscular development and family, cultural and social reasons.
Whole cow's milk may present problems if introduced early, producing a renal overload and increase the risk of allergy or intolerance to this food. In addition, less cow's milk iron content can result to iron-deficiency anaemia and an iron deficiency without anemia, being able to translate into problems of conduct and psychomotor development of the baby. Therefore, it is recommended to not manage it until the year of age, or older, being convenient to extend the administration of formula modified to 2-3 years of age.
As for dairy products, yogurt can be given from 9-10 months, and is recommended that this product is made from modified cows milk.
In any case, if there is no medical contraindication, the introduction of cow's milk and its derivatives must be from whole milk. The baby has a specific energy demand during its growth and development that the whole milk helps cover very adequately.
Article contributed for educational purposes
Health and Wellness

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