The facts on bottlefeeding with formula

If you can't breast-feed or choose not to, you can be assured that your baby's need for nutrition can be met.

A wide variety of baby (infant) formulas are on the market. The majority of them are based on cow's milk. Never use regular cow's milk as a substitute for formula. Although cow's milk is used as the foundation for formula, the milk has been changed dramatically to make it safe for babies. It's treated by heat to make the protein in it more digestible. More milk sugar (lactose) is added to make the concentration similar to that of breast milk, and the fat (butterfat) is removed and replaced with vegetable oils and animal fats that are more easily digested by infants.

Infant formulas contain the right amount of carbohydrates and the right percentages of fats and protein. The Food and Drug Administration monitors the safety of commercially prepared infant formula. Each manufacturer must test each batch of formula to make sure it has the required nutrients and is free of contaminants.

Infant formula is designed to be an energy-dense food. More than half its calories are from fat. Many different types of fatty acids make up that fat. Those that go into infant formula are specifically selected because they're similar to those found in breast milk. These fatty acids help in the development of your baby's brain and nervous system, as well as in meeting his or her energy needs.

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