Infant formulas: Powder, concentrate, or ready to feed
Is a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Children’s Center for Digestive Health Care / GI Care for Kids, whose books on nutrition for parents led him to start Nutrition4Kids with his co-founders.
Infant formula can come in 3 versions: powder, concentrate, and ready-to-feed. Learn the difference between each type as well as the advantages and disadvantages.
Ready to Feed Formulas
"Ready-to-feed" formulas are already prepared bottles or solutions that you can give directly to your baby. The premade formula options are convenient in situations where you cannot easily prepare your own formula or do not have access to clean water. However, ready-to-feed formula can be very expensive compared to the powdered version. Be prepared to pay the price for the convenience.
The concentrated formula is similar to ready-to-feed versions. The difference is that concentrated formula MUST be diluted with equal parts water before being fed to an infant. As a result, you must have access to clean water to use the concentrate and some mixing is required.
Worth noting, both the concentrated formula and the ready-to-feed formula are similar in price and packaging. Usually, ready-to-feed formula comes in a 32 ounce can whereas the concentrate comes in a smaller 13 ounce can. Some brands do sell 32 ounce concentrate cans.
It is very important to know whether you have ready-to-feed or concentrated formula. Accidently giving your baby undiluted concentrate instead of ready-to-feed can be very dangerous for your baby.
Concentrated formulas can be beneficial for babies who need to gain weight. Based on the recommendations of your child's healthcare provider, you can add a little less water to the concentrate and make each feeding higher in calories.
The powder formulas are considerably less expensive (about 3/4 the cost) and equally easy to prepare. They are especially practical for a baby in early and late infancy. It is also ideal for or a breastfed baby who needs a little extra. Powder has several benefits: it is cheaper, more portable, and lasts longer. It can also be used to help babies gain weight by using less water per scoops of powder.
Please note that when you are making a bottle using the powder, room temperature water should be placed in the bottle first and then the appropriate amount of powder should be added. You do not want to add water to the powder because the powder will displace some of the water that needs to be added, making the formula and nutrients more concentrated than recommended.
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