While it's now universally acknowledged that breast-feeding is the optimum way a newborn should be nourished, there are some cases in which breast-feeding isn't possible, so parents must use commercial formulas. The mother may be taking medication, be ill, or occasionally may need to be away from the child and have the child be bottle-fed. Even though most formulas are cow's milk-based, you shouldn't give a child straight cow's milk, or other dairy products, for the first year. There are several reasons. Cow's milk was designed for baby cows, and human infants can't digest it because it has a high concentration of protein and minerals that can overtax young kidneys and digestive tracts. It also doesn't have the proper nutrients that infants need. Cow's milk-based formulas have been significantly altered for human consumption. There are also soy-based formulas, which are especially good for infants allergic to cow's milk or unable to digest lactose (LACK-tose). Formulas come in different types, such as ready-to-feed, concentrate, and powdered formula. Never heat a bottle in a microwave because the milk in the center can be much hotter than what feels comfortably warm to your touch on the outside. Also, the bottle could explode if it's in the microwave too long. Check with your baby's physician to see which type formula he or she recommends for your child.
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