Babies and children need to be given appropriate milk (supplemented) if not breastfeeding or breastfeeding effectively.
1) Mother’s own milk
Because of the health benefits, the mother’s expressed milk or colostrum is the first choice when supplementing babies. It is important to ensure this milk has been safely expressed, stored and warmed.
2) Human milk
Milk banks prepare pasteurized donor human milk for hospitalized premature or sick babies when their mother’s own milk is not available.
Some parents use human milk from a family member or close friend. This is called informal milk sharing.
3) Infant formula
Infant formula (formula) choices and recommendations vary among mothers, health-care providers, and even countries (Riikonen 2018).
Choices of infant formula include different:
- Types which have very different ingredients.
- Groups which can be liquid, concentrate, or powder.
- Brands which can vary in price and ingredients.
a) Regular infant formula type based on cow’s milk
Most babies can tolerate regular formula based on cow’s milk.
b) Specialty infant formula type
Some babies need other types of formula if they are ill or cannot tolerate regular cow’s milk-based formula. These alternatives would be recommended by their health-care providers and include:
4) Cow’s milk
After one year of age, cow’s milk-based formula can be replaced with pasteurized whole cow’s milk.
Babies using specialty formula may not tolerate pasteurized whole cow’s milk. For example, babies who are allergic to cow’s milk protein should not be given cow’s milk. Please discuss this with your health-care provider.