Tired, yet relieved parents coming home from the hospital with a delicate baby in their hands often find that the journey has only just begun. This applies to a whole variety of things, and one of them is the baby’s food. What exactly is the right thing to feed a premature baby? Sure, the doctor does give a home feeding plan. Still, there are many options to explore when it comes to finding the right formula for preemies.
Let’s dive into the 4 best choices available on the internet and discover which could be the best fit for your hungry preemie.
Enfamil NeuroPro EnfaCare Infant Formula
Enfamil, a well-known and highly recommended formula brand, developed the NeuroPro EnfaCare line just for premature babies. Apparently, it can help them reach the necessary growth targets in their early months.
Equipped with adequate levels of DHA and ARA, the milk-based EnfaCare formula boasts of approval from experts when it comes to preemies’ health. This is due to the higher number of calories it offers, which an underdeveloped premature baby will need for higher caloric density.
In 2018, the formula was even improved with the addition of MFGM, or milk fat globule membrane, an ingredient found in breast milk. This is meant to support brain development, making it a great choice for preemies.
The EnfaCare formula comes in three preparations — ready-to-feed bottles of either 2 fluid oz. or 8 fluid oz., and canned powder that has to be mixed with water. With these options, it’s a very convenient pick.
The downside with EnfaCare is that its formula contains corn syrup, so if you’re conscious about synthetic sweeteners, this may be a problem. It’s also milk-based, and therefore not a choice for lactose intolerant babies.
Otherwise, if your pediatrician hasn’t advised against any of these, Enfamil NeuroPro EnfaCare remains a top formula line for preemies.
Similac NeoSure Infant Formula with Iron
Similac is another brand that’s often recommended by pediatricians and experts. Their formula made for premature infants is the NeoSure Infant Formula with Iron.
Packed with extra calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals, it was formulated to boost growth during a baby’s first year. And because it’s for preemies, the concentrations of these contents are higher in this specific formula, so that growth targets can be reached.
Like EnfaCare, it’s also milk-based, with DHA and ARA. However, it details more nutrients like calcium and phosphorus for strong bones, lutein for eye development, and vitamin E for cell development.
The NeoSure formula comes in three preparations — ready-to-feed bottles of 2 fluid oz., a quarter container of ready-to-feed formula, and canned powder that has to be mixed with water. Parents can choose whatever is convenient.
The disadvantages are the same with EnfaCare. It’s also milk-based, not good for lactose intolerants, and contains corn syrup, a synthetic sweetener. A slight hiccup in addition is the lack of a scoop in the packaging, so you’ll have to make do with a different way of measurement.
Aside from those things, it ticks all the boxes of a formula for preemies.
Gerber Good Start Soothe HMO Formula
Gerber’s Good Start Soothe HMO Formula, though not made specifically for preemies, remains a great choice for a premature formula.
HMO means Human Milk Oligosaccharide, a prebiotic found in breast milk which helps with babies’ digestion and immune system development. Because of this, the formula is able to provide the nutrition preemies need for catch-up growth. It’s also easy to digest for underdeveloped infant stomachs.
Something Gerber coined themselves is “comfort proteins”, a whey protein that’s partially hydrolyzed and broken down into smaller particles. This is exactly what makes the Soothe formula easy to digest. Those who consider this line for their babies do so after issues with excess gas and colic.
And, like other preemie formulas, it contains DHA for the eyes and for brain development. Premature babies trying to reach growth targets within their first year can get a lot from the nutrients in the Soothe HMO formula, even without any artificial growth hormones.
The biggest advantage this has over others is that it has 30% less lactose — great for babies with lactose and gas problems. The disadvantage is that it’s rich in protein and not hypoallergenic for babies sensitive to protein.
Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula
Finally, we have Kabrita’s Goat Milk Toddler Formula. This option is the best for preemies who are sensitive to traditional cow milk. The formula is based on non-GMO goat milk, the prime alternative to cow milk.
Thanks to a naturally sweet taste akin to regular goat milk, babies usually don’t need much convincing to drink this. And once they do, this Kabrita formula can provide all the vitamins needed for growth and development.
Preemies in particular will benefit from over 22 nutrients available in the formula, from iron to DHA and ARA to folic acid. These are all great for catch-up growth. It doesn’t have harmful chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics, so there’s no need to worry about any unnecessary contents.
A quick reminder though: this formula is friendly to babies sensitive to cow milk, but it doesn’t do well for babies allergic to cow milk protein. It’s based on goat milk but still contains this pesky protein that triggers the allergy.
Aside from this, Kabrita boasts that their goat milk line is easy to digest, in addition to being packed with nutrients. However, there’s another downside — it’s more difficult to find on the market.
Of the four formulas listed, you may easily pick one that suits your preemie’s specific needs. However, in general, the one that has more to offer is the Similac Neosure Infant Formula.
Though it’s tied with Enfamil’s NeuroPro Enfacare when it comes to recommendations from pediatricians and experts, Similac’s line has all the benefits plus a little more.
It contains the essential nutrients needed for preemies to achieve their growth targets, like vitamin E, lutein, DHA and ARA, and calcium and phosphorus. It even has these in higher concentrations, which is what premature babies need.
In short, Similac Neosure may be your best bet when feeding your preemie.