Thickening baby formula can reduce the severity and frequency of regurgitation in infants. Parents of infants with persistent reflux, dysphagia, and aspiration may find that thickened formula helps manage these conditions.
Of course, you’ll always want to consult a doctor before changing your baby’s diet. If a doctor says your baby could benefit from a thickened formula, it would be safe to make the switch.
Here’s how to thicken baby formula safely.
What Not to Use
There’s one particular ingredient that parents shouldn’t use to thicken baby formula: flake cereal. This cereal will help thicken a baby formula that can reduce the severity or frequency of spit-up.
But the reason you don’t want to use cereal is that it can create a texture that causes issues. Flake cereal in baby formula can have a lumpy texture that makes it difficult for infants to swallow. It’s especially risky the younger a child is.
If the baby formula is too thick, it runs the risk of choking or aspiration. The risk is even more heightened for babies who have not developed the oral motor skills to swallow safely.
What to Use to Thicken Baby Formula
Luckily, you have a plethora of options of natural ingredients you can use to thicken baby formula. You can use rice cereal to help thicken baby formula. Unlike flake cereal, rice cereal will create a smooth texture that won’t increase the risk of aspiration or choking.
Other infant cereals like oatmeal and barley also make ideal thickeners for baby formula. When ground, oatmeal, and barley will also create the ideal smooth texture for thickening.
If you don’t want to use cereal, gelatin, guar gum, and carrageenan are great options. Starches like arrowroot, potato, tapioca, and cornstarch also make great thickeners. When it comes to these alternatives, be sure your baby does not have allergies before using them in a formula.
How to Thicken Baby Formula
You’ll want to start by blending your thickening agent thoroughly. The thickening agent should be the consistency of a fine powder to reduce any lumps in the baby formula.
Next, add your baby formula like this hipp organic baby formula to a bottle, cup, or bowl, and add 1½ teaspoon of the thickening agent for every ounce of formula.
Add the thickener slowly to reduce clumping and shake vigorously to ensure proper mixing. Give the mixture a few minutes to set up before checking the consistency. If it’s too thick, you can add a small amount of water, formula, or milk.
Reduce Regurgitation in Infants
When infants have reflux, dysphagia, or aspiration, parents may worry about the health of their baby. It’s important to have your child seen by a doctor to evaluate the problem.
With these conditions, a doctor may suggest using a thickened baby formula. But it’s important for parents to learn how to thicken baby formula the right way to ensure a safe product for their baby.
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