Baby food is food products manufactured in an industrial way (corresponding to the requirements of the Institute of Baby Food and GOST), adapted to the physiological characteristics of the child’s body.
Designed to meet his nutritional needs. There is a huge selection of baby food products on sale, which differ in their composition, consistency and properties.
Types of baby food
Depending on the purpose and method of manufacture, the following types of baby food are distinguished:
- dairy products.
Separate milk mixtures and teas are intended for use in the first days of a newborn’s life, the rest of the products are introduced gradually as the baby grows older and his digestive system develops.
Infant formula is the main component of the diet of a child under the age of one year. Since it acts as a substitute for breast milk, the composition should be as close as possible to it.
Infant formula ingredients:
- lactose (milk sugar);
- natural emulsifiers;
- vegetable oils;
- linoleic acid;
Infant formulas are divided into three groups:
- fermented milk;
basis milk formulas is cow’s or goat’s milk. The animal proteins included in this product, due to the immaturity of the infant’s digestive system, are poorly absorbed and can cause allergic reactions.
Therefore, milk for infant formula undergoes special processing, during which the following occurs:
- reduction of mass parts of protein and minerals;
- correction of carbohydrate composition;
- an increase in the content of fatty acids;
- change in the ratios of whey proteins and casein.
Based on the degree of similarity of the mixture and breast milk, several groups are distinguished.
Adapted infant formulas:
- as close as possible in structural composition to mother’s milk;
- nutritious light mixtures;
- quickly and completely absorbed;
- suitable for newborns.
Partially adapted infant formulas:
- close in properties to breast milk;
- in addition to lactose, include sucrose;
- have insufficiently stabilized mineral-fat composition.
Non-adapted infant formulas:
- made from dried whole cow’s milk;
- include sucrose and starch;
- do not contain whey.
Sour-milk baby formulas contain curdled protein, which is highly digestible.
Such mixtures contribute to the formation of beneficial microflora in the intestines of a newborn, prevent the reproduction of pathogenic microbes, and increase the protective functions of the baby’s body.
It is useful to use this type of mixture in the first 6 months of a baby’s life.
Dairy-free infant formula created for children who have hypersensitivity or intolerance to cow’s milk protein. This product has the following features:
- includes an alternative ingredient – soy protein, which has a high nutritional value and is an easily digestible and low-allergenic substance;
- does not contain whey;
- the nutritional composition does not differ from the adapted mixtures.
Most often, the type of breast milk substitute base is indicated on the packaging, manufacturers include the necessary markings in the product name.
What infant formula for what age?
Infant formula can be used to feed a child up to three years of age. There is such a detailed classification, which is indicated on the packaging:
- from birth to 3 months;
- from 3 to 5 months;
- from 5 to 7 months;
- from 7 to 9 months;
- from 9 months to 1 year;
- from 1 year to 3 years.
There is also a more simplified version:
- products intended for feeding an infant up to six months are called starter;
- from 6 to 12 months – follow-up.
On the packages, a digital indicator can also be indicated, which corresponds to the following age ranges:
- 0 – for weakened children (premature or low weight);
- 1 – from birth to six months;
- 2 – from 6 months to a year;
- 3 – from a year and older.
The age classification of infant formulas cannot be neglected, since the formula for the composition of this product depends on this indicator.
As the age of the child for whom they are intended increases, mixtures have the following differences:
- instead of mineralized whey, cow’s milk with a high content of non-adapted proteins is used as the basis;
- increases the amount of vitamins and minerals;
- increases the calorie content of the product.
Please note that formulas containing cow’s milk protein (casein) can only be used for feeding children over 6 months of age.
What consistency to choose infant formula?
Infant formulas differ in their consistency.
Dry infant formula:
- are made by sublimation;
- have the form of a powder;
- for feeding they need to be diluted with boiled water;
- special measuring utensils are sold with the powder;
- packed in cardboard or tin boxes, laminated with aluminum foil;
- after opening the package, the shelf life is no more than 3 weeks;
- there is a wide variety of choices, since such products make up about 90% of the total range of this type of baby food available.
Liquid infant formula:
- are made by sterilization or pasteurization;
- are issued in a ready-to-use form;
- before using for feeding the baby, the mixture just needs to be warmed up;
- packaged in 200 ml in special Tetra Pak aseptic packages;
- shelf life after opening the package is 1-2 days;
- quite rarely found on sale, because they are perishable goods and have a high price.
Dry formulas are more convenient for long-term storage, and liquid formulas are indispensable for feeding a child in the absence of conditions for cooking.
Additional baby food
In addition to infant formula, other products are also used that provide replenishment of its nutritional and energy costs. The urgent need for the use of such products occurs when the baby reaches the age of six months.
During this period, being breastfed, the child no longer receives a sufficient amount of biological ingredients necessary for the full development of his body.
For additional nutrition, it is necessary to include the following products in the children’s diet:
- on a fruit and vegetable basis;
- meat based;
- fish based.
Grain based products introduced as an additional source of energy. They include new carbohydrates, vegetable proteins and mineral salts for the child’s digestive system.
Baby cereals with cereals:
- are produced in the form of semi-finished products that contain flour of various cereals;
- there are monograin or mixed;
- for use from the mixture, it is necessary to prepare a liquid porridge;
- on sale there are instant mixtures that should be diluted with boiled water to a mushy state or insoluble mixtures that require pre-cooking;
- are on a dairy and dairy-free basis;
- contain nutritional supplements (vegetable oil, natural fruit or vegetable powder, honey, vanillin, starch, dietary fiber, probiotics, prebiotics);
- enriched with vitamins and mineral salts (fluorine, calcium, iron);
- It is recommended to give a child from 5 months of age.
These products also include:
- instant flour;
- instant biscuits;
- baby pasta.
Milk based baby food are introduced to stabilize the intestinal microflora, increase the number of lacto- and bifidobacteria.
Liquid or paste milk baby food:
- are made by pasteurization using special starter cultures;
- the basis is whole cow’s milk;
- are issued in a ready-to-use form;
- require increased attention to storage conditions;
- packed in polypropylene boxes or cups, glass bottles.
The range of such products includes:
- cottage cheese;
- acidophilic mixtures;
- fortified milk.
Baby food based on fruits and vegetables are used at the first stage of the introduction of complementary foods to ensure the intake of easily digestible carbohydrates, vitamins, microelements, sugar, organic acids and vegetable fiber.
Baby purees and juices:
- have a consistency similar to mother’s milk;
- on sale are canned products made by pressing or rubbing;
- natural purees are produced or with the inclusion of additives (sugar, citric acid, natural flavors);
- juices can be with or without pulp;
- according to the degree of grinding, homogenized, finely and coarsely ground purees are distinguished;
- intended for the introduction of complementary foods to children 4 months of age;
- you should start giving the child a mono-component product in order to monitor for a possible allergic reaction.
This group of products also includes canned food with a combined raw material composition:
- fruit and cereals;
- fruit and dairy;
- cereals and vegetables.
Meat based baby food enrich the child’s body with animal proteins with high biological value, fats, iron, vitamins A, B.
Children’s canned meat:
- consist of minced poultry, pork, beef, veal or lamb with the addition of meat broth, vegetable or butter, starch, flour, onion and salt;
- single-component and mixed canned foods are produced;
- different degrees of grinding are provided (homogenized, puree-like, coarsely ground);
- it is recommended to introduce a child into the diet from the age of 6 months, and if necessary, a little earlier (for anemia, you can give the child at 5 months old);
- it is necessary to accustom the baby to canned meat gradually, starting with one type of meat, and in small doses.
There are also canned meats.
Baby food based on fish are an essential source of fatty acids.
Canned fish for children:
- are made from ocean (hake, cod, pollock, pelengas) or river (perch, trout, carp) fish;
- additionally may include soy protein, milk powder, cottage cheese or cream;
- there are puree and coarsely ground;
- recommended for introduction into complementary foods from 8 months of age;
- should be alternated with the use of meat dishes, only at the age of one can be given both meat and fish dishes on the same day.
Most often, canned fish and vegetables are used for complementary foods, which also include:
- vegetable oils;
The presented range of products for complementary foods allows you to provide a rich diet for the child, taking into account his state of health and individual needs.
Properties of baby food
The main feature of baby food products is their adaptation to the functional state and metabolic level of children in the first year of life. Given these factors in the development of infants, milk formulas for feeding are produced:
- healthy children;
- premature or low birth weight babies;
- children suffering from various diseases.
The second type of mixtures is marked with a special prefix in the name “Pre”. They have a high calorie content and contribute to rapid weight gain.
From the moment when the child weighs 3 kg, you need to stop such feeding and switch to the use of regular baby food.
Mixtures of the third type are classified depending on the physiological state of the child. These include:
- Sour-milk – have a beneficial effect on motility and the gastrointestinal mucosa, help relieve inflammation after dysbacteriosis, normalize stools, relieve colic or bloating, improve nutrient absorption.
- Anti-reflux mixtures for regurgitation have an increased viscosity or an increased dose of the casein protein fraction.
- Lactose-free formulas – designed for children with lactose deficiency.
- Gluten-free – designed for children suffering from celiac disease (vegetable protein intolerance).
- Phenylalanine Free – Soy based formulas for children with PKU.
- Hypoallergenic infant formula – products for children who are allergic to the protein components of food. They are made using hydrolysis, which promotes the breakdown of protein into amino acids.
- Enriched – high-calorie mixtures designed to compensate for the lack of vitamins or trace elements in the child’s body.
These mixtures can be used:
- as an addition to regular formula for feeding;
- as the main type of nutrition for the baby.
Sour-milk and enriched mixtures can be given to a child for preventive purposes. It is possible to use any specialized type of infant formula for feeding a child only after consulting a doctor.
Despite the obvious advantage of breastfeeding a child up to a year old, the use of baby food for this purpose is widespread.
Baby food is used for artificial feeding of a baby or for the introduction of additional complementary foods. The need for baby food products arises in such cases:
- lack or absence of breast milk;
- temporary inability to breastfeed due to illness of the mother;
- conscious refusal of a woman to breastfeed a child;
- infant intolerance to mother’s milk;
- prematurity of the newborn or other reasons that make it difficult for the child to breastfeed;
- expanding the range of baby food.
The use of baby food has several advantages:
- the ability to provide the necessary amount of food for the child at any time;
- speed and ease of preparation;
- providing the child with a balanced diet;
- the opportunity, by selecting the composition of the product, to carry out prevention or treatment of existing health problems for the baby.
With infant formula and other complementary foods at your disposal, you can take care of your baby even when the mother is away.
At the same time, it should be borne in mind that, unlike mother’s milk, baby food products do not contain:
- immune bodies;
There may also be problems with the regulation of buffer capacity in infant formula, which does not always match that in human milk.
The disadvantages of using baby food can also include:
- the possibility of an allergic reaction to the components of the product;
- the need for conditions for the preparation and storage of baby food;
- high price of quality products;
- additional financial costs due to the fact that unused residues will have to be thrown away and fresh products regularly used;
- variety of choice, since with such a wide range it is quite difficult to determine which product is better to give preference to.
The ideal formula for feeding a child up to a year is to use breast milk as the main source, and baby food as additional complementary foods.
What is the best baby food
High-quality products should be as close as possible in composition to breast milk, easy to digest and assimilate by the child’s body. When choosing baby food, you need to pay attention to such recommendations.
- Carefully study the composition of the product, comparing it with other analogues. It is unacceptable to find artificial or synthetic substances in the lists of ingredients.
You do not need to blindly trust advertising, but you should independently familiarize yourself with the instructions and product descriptions.
- Avoid foods containing canola or palm oil.
- Give preference to products with a balanced vitamin and mineral complex, linoleic acid, carnitine.
- Strictly take into account the age recommendations for the use of the product.
- Take into account the state of health of the child, but do not get carried away with medical and preventive products.
- Purchase baby food in specialized stores.
- Pay attention to the expiration date of the product and the tightness of its packaging.
- Check for certified documents.
- Monitor the child’s reaction to the use of the product and, if an allergic reaction or digestive problems occur, immediately replace it.
The choice of baby food products is best done on the basis of the results of a preventive examination by a doctor and a substantive consultation with him.
Infant feeding requires special attention to the quality of the products offered to it. A mandatory requirement is to use only freshly prepared food, therefore:
- it is better to prepare milk mixtures immediately before use (it is allowed to store a portion in the refrigerator for a day);
- open jars of baby food should also be stored in the refrigerator for no more than 12 to 24 hours;
- All opened packages must be tightly sealed to prevent moisture from getting inside.
It is advisable before giving food to the baby, to taste its taste yourself.
It is also important to follow the sequence of introducing a new product into the child’s diet:
- It is always recommended to start with a mono-component food.
- The initial dose should be minimal, ½ – 1 teaspoon.
- Use the liquid or puree variety first.
- You can mix a new product into a dish already familiar to your baby or dilute it with breast milk.
It is not recommended to update the diet during the illness of the child or change of place of residence.
The best manufacturers of baby food
An international company engaged in diversified medical activities, including the production of medical and baby food. Known for the widely advertised Similak milk formula, which this company has been producing for about a hundred years.
It produces breast milk substitutes, as well as food products for children from 1 to 10 years old. It manufactures products for feeding premature babies and a series of formulas for infants with health problems.
Domestic company that produces high-quality baby milk food. Has been on the market for over 30 years. The Agusha product range is constantly expanding and currently includes:
- milk mixes,
- fruit and vegetable purees,
Trademark of the Russian production and trade holding “Sivma”. The presented products are manufactured on the basis of scientific research in the field of pediatrics and nutrition, and meet modern quality and safety requirements.
Products of the brand “Babushkino lukoshko” have been awarded numerous domestic awards and have a certificate from an independent European organization ECOCERT on compliance with the necessary requirements of biologically high-quality production.
Milk mixtures, cereals, purees, juices, teas, canned meat, drinking water are produced for children.
Trademark of the Slovenian company Droga Kolinska. It gained wide popularity due to the release of more than 30 types of cereals intended for additional feeding of children up to a year.
Among them there are also dairy-free, low-allergenic cereals and goat milk cereals.
The company also produces infant milk formulas, tea, juices, purees, biscuits, and water.
New Zealand company representing unique children’s products based on goat’s milk. It has modern technological facilities and its own research laboratories, allowing you to control the entire process of creating baby food.
Produces 4 types of NANNY dry milk formula for feeding children from birth to 1 year and older.
Also in the assortment there are dry instant porridges BIBIKASHA, fruit and milk puree with cottage cheese BIBIKOL.
Trademark of Progress JSC, which is one of the leaders in the Russian baby food market.
The company is engaged in the production of the Frutonyanya line of hypoallergenic products, which includes dairy products, cereals, fruit, vegetable and meat purees, juices, drinks, compotes, nectars, fruit drinks, water. More than 150 commodity items are produced under this brand.
A well-known brand of Nestle, which includes about 80 product items. Gerber baby food is juices and purees made from natural products and is ideal for the initial period of the introduction of complementary foods.
Products undergo minimal heat treatment, do not contain dyes, artificial additives and preservatives.
An international company recognized as an expert in the production of baby food. It produces different types of products: low-allergenic, enriched, dairy-free cereals.
For children from birth to 3 years, it also offers a wide selection of soups, purees, biscuits, pasta, teas and puddings.
A company with half a century of experience in the production of baby food products. It specializes in the production of milk mixtures with dietary fiber, sour milk cultures and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
In the product line there are therapeutic mixtures recommended for frequent regurgitation, problems with the intestines. It also produces cereals, soups, cookies, drinks and a variety of baby purees.
Leading company in the baby food industry. He has extensive experience in the field of healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition. Produces about 50 brands, including Gerber, Nan, Nestogen.
Under the Nestle brand, children’s cereals with a wide variety of compositions are offered.
An international company, part of the Danone group, with a full range of nutrition products for children under the age of 3 years. Produces milk formulas and cereals Nutrilon, Malyutka, Malysh. Also offers products for feeding children with special nutritional needs.
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