What Is in Baby Formula?

What exactly is in my baby’s formula?
profile picture of Diane Bloomfield, MD, attending pediatrician at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in Bronx, New York
ByDiane Bloomfield, MD, attending pediatrician at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in Bronx, New York
Pediatrician
Updated
Mar 2017
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Most formula makers do their very best to imitate breast milk (although many experts say formula’s still no substitute for the real thing). About 80 percent of the formulas sold today have proteins derived from cow’s milk. Others are made from soy and can be used for babies with an allergy to milk proteins.

Read the ingredients label to make sure baby’s formula is fortified with iron (most are), since infants don’t usually have enough iron in their bloodstream to meet all their developmental needs, says Diane Bloomfield, MD, attending pediatrician at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in Bronx, New York. Also, look for formula that is fortified with essential fatty acids like DHA or ARA, which can play an important role in both brain and eye development. If baby is allergic to both milk and soy, you can try formula made with predigested proteins, which are generally hypoallergenic.

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