Milk formulated for infants: what they contain and when to use them. The milk formulated for infants is milk used when it is impossible to breastfeed: let’s see what they contain and how they are prepared.
Milk formulated for infants: when to use them
The major organizations in the field promote breastfeeding for up to 4-6 months: breastfeeding is important because it positively affects the microbiological imprint of the baby’s intestinal flora, promoting the proliferation of bifidobacteria that contribute to good health. The health of the organism even in adulthood.
However, there are situations in which it is not possible to breastfeed, and it is necessary to use formula formulated for infants, for example, when the mother has no milk or if the mother has debilitating or contagious diseases, or when the baby has malformations that affect lips or palate or if unable to suck due to immaturity.
We talk about infant milk when these are intended for babies up to 6 months; from 6 to 12 months, the continuation sides are used instead.
How baby milk is formulated
Milk formulated for infants are products that can be in liquid or powder form and are generally prepared from cow’s milk.
Compared to breast milk, cow’s milk has a different quantitative composition in proteins, lipids, and lactose, so infant milk must be formulated to make cow’s milk more similar to the mother’s.
As far as proteins are concerned, cow’s milk contains about 3.2%, of which 80% is made up of caseins; the human one has instead only 1.1% protein, and caseins represent 20%.
Due to the higher protein intake and the unbalanced ratio between whey proteins and caseins, cow’s milk is less digestible than mother’s and subjects the kidneys to an excessive load: for this reason, cow’s milk is diluted and integrated with whey proteins.
The lipids present in cow’s milk represent 3.5%, compared to 4.5% present in human milk; the composition of fatty acids is also different since the essential fatty acids are almost completely lacking in cow’s milk. The milk formulated for infants is then integrated with vegetable oils to improve the lipid profile of the product.
Since the lactose and oligosaccharides present in cow’s milk are lower than those found in breast milk, these elements are also integrated into the milk formulated for infants.
The lower quantity of lactose in cow’s milk determines its high fermentability and the low intake of glucose and galactose: glucose is an important source of energy for the body, in particular for the brain; galactose, on the other hand, is essential for the functioning of the nervous system. Oligosaccharides, on the other hand, are important because they provide energy and monosaccharides necessary for the synthesis of glycolipids and glycoproteins; furthermore, oligosaccharides stimulate the growth of bifidobacteria in the intestine, which protect against infections.
In addition to the changes just seen, the infant formula can also be added with probiotic bacteria, nucleotides, and human lactoferrin to improve the child’s growth, stimulate the immunity system, improve the intestinal flora and increase the absorption of nutrients.
The European directive establishes the composition criteria for infant formula and regulates the labeling and sale of these products.
Special baby milk
Infant milk is formulated from cow’s milk, but on the market, there is also specific formulated milk for allergies: for example, soy-based milk for children allergic to milk proteins or intolerant to lactose and hypoallergenic milk with partially or hydrolyzed.
Hypoallergenic milk is intended for healthy children at risk of developing allergies to cow’s milk; those prepared with fully hydrolyzed proteins are designed for children who are allergic to various dietary proteins.
There are also a series of specific milk, including anti-regurgitation ones, for treating diarrhea, with low or no lactose content and free of phenylalanine.
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