Arya turned three months earlier this week and we just switched to a new baby formula.
I thought the different baby formulas were just marketing by the companies. If parents throw away unused newborn formula as soon as their baby hits three months then the company sells more formula overall. But after reading the ingredient labels more closely I think there might actually be a difference in baby formula composition.
My wife has nursed Arya directly for most of her meals with a supplement of an average of two bottles of formula and a half bottle of pumped breastmilk per day since she was born.
Baby’s eating habit have fluctuated widely over the past three months. When she was first born she needed lots of extra bottles of formula to keep her content as Mommy’s milk supply came in. For the past week she’s been supplementing less than one formula bottle per day.
Her inconsistent feeding made it a little hard to estimate when she would eat all of her newborn formula. Luckily she ate the last of the blue, newborn formula a few days after turning three months.
After buying the yellow, infant tub I compared the ingredients side-by-side. The first eight ingredients are identical:
Nonfat milk, lactose, vegetable oil, whey protein concentrate, galactooligosaccharides, polydextrose, mortierella alpina oil, and crypthecodinium cohnii oil.
After that the ingredients are different. Both contain different vitamins and minerals, but the order changes between the tubs. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration requires ingredients to be listed in order of weight.
So while both types of Enfamil have very similar vitamins and minerals, the relative concentration of the basic ingredients changes between newborn and infant formulas.
There are other, small differences between the tubs. Although both weigh exactly 23.4 ounces, Enfamil Newborn makes 170 fluid ounces of formula while Enfamil Infant only makes 167 fl oz. The marketing text about growth, brain & eye, and immune system development change as well.
I haven’t seen many resources on choosing the best infant formula and we went with Enfamil based on the suggstions of multiple nurses in the hospital. Given the volume of research about baby formula I am confident that Arya’s new baby formula for three month olds is the best choice for supplementing after eating all of Mommy’s breastmilk.
It’s been less than a week and my baby has eaten less than a bottle a day. But so far she doesn’t seem to care that we switched her to a new baby formula. As long as she is full before going to sleep she seems happy to eat whatever we give her.