Why Does My Baby Formula Foam Up?

Once upon a time, breastfeeding was the only way to feed a baby. It is still the best source of nutrition for babies up to date, but moms nowadays have an alternative option if they can’t produce enough breast milk or choose not to breastfeed their little ones.

Formula milk – it provides a close amount of nutrients a growing baby needs, but just like any other substitute for anything, it also has pros and cons.

For babies who mainly drink formula milk, you might notice how they usually have excess gas, which might cause discomfort if not released during tummy time. One main reason for that is the foam or bubble build-up in their formula milk. The foam forms while mixing the formula milk to water either by shaking, stirring, or swirling. The good thing is, there are a couple of ways that you can try to minimize the bubbles or foam from your baby’s milk.

Different types of baby formula

Different types of baby formula

Formula milk was made to substitute breast milk; it comes in powder, concentrated, and ready-to-feed form. The formulation is meant to mimic breast milk’s nutrient contents, but the ingredients will depend upon the manufacturer.

Some ingredients may also not be suitable for other babies, and therefore it is being replaced by another component that will provide the same nutrition. Below are some of the known types of formula that is available in the market.

  • First infant formula – If you can’t or have decided early on that you will not breastfeed your baby, then you need to consult your doctor for their recommended formula milk that will best suit you and your baby. This will be your baby’s milk for the next 6 months, which would be their main source of energy and nutrients. At this stage, their milk must provide all vital nutrients that they need for their early years of development.
  • Follow-on formula/ Hungry baby formula – This type of formula contains more casein than whey (proteins used for formula milk), unlike the first infant formula, which is based on whey protein that is thought to be easier to digest, and casein is harder for babies to digest. This is usually the stage where your baby will also transition from drinking only milk to the introduction of solid foods, and they may now get nutrition from eating solid foods. However, their milk is still considered their main source of nutrients.
  • Lactose-free¬†formula – This formula is usually recommended for babies who are lactose intolerant. Lactose is a sugar that’s naturally in milk and dairy products. If your baby is experiencing diarrhea, abdominal pain, wind, and bloating, you may need to consult your baby’s pediatrician to confirm if your baby is lactose intolerant.
  • Hypoallergenic¬†formula – This formula is usually prescribed to a baby who has been diagnosed with an allergic reaction to cow’s milk, which most formula milk is made of. Remember to always consult your doctor first before changing the formula milk your baby is drinking to avoid unnecessary problems your baby might encounter.

How to choose formula milk for your baby?

As you now know, there are different types of milk for your baby’s stage of development and unique needs.

Choosing their milk will be very important since it is your little ones’ main source of energy and nutrients, it could enhance or delay their development.

Of course, the easiest and safest way is to consult your pediatrician, but what if it doesn’t fit your budget or if it works for a few weeks, then give your baby some allergies?

It’s good to know what to look for in choosing your baby’s main food.

  • Availability – I think this should be on the top of the list because we don’t want milk for your baby that can only be bought from a market an hour or two away from your home. You want to choose a milk that can easily be accessed if your baby runs out of milk unexpectedly.
  • Convenience – You need to consider what form of formula milk you would feed your baby and make sure it meets your lifestyle somehow because if you choose powdered formula, it will require time to prepare before your baby can consume it. If you choose concentrated milk, it would be more expensive than the powdered and, once opened, should be good within 48 hours in the refrigerator. Choosing the most convenient yet most expensive should give you more free time but make sure your baby consumes it within 24 hours.
  • Contents – It’s easy to be swayed by the promises that lots of formulas make, but one formula may be best for one baby, but it may not be suitable for the other. Please read about the formula’s contents and don’t forget to speak to your doctor about it.
  • Consistency – I would suggest that you stick with it once you found the formula that works for your baby, which usually takes 2 weeks for them to adjust. Unless they are having signs of discomfort or allergy towards the formula, it’s best to stick with what works for them, and don’t forget to consult your doctor before deciding to change what you feed your little one.

What causes the bubbles to form in formula?

What causes the bubbles to form in formula?

Mainly, formula milk forms or builds up bubbles by the way it was mixed. There are several ways you can mix water to formula milk by stirring, swirling, or shaking, and all these ways will inevitably form bubbles.

Still, it can be reduced to the amount where it will not affect or upset your baby’s tummy by forming gas, which would cause discomfort to the little ones.

  • Stirring – Use a spoon or fork to gently and slowly mix water and formula milk to avoid the aggression that would form the unwanted foam.
  • Swirling – If you are on the go and no stirring tool is available, you can gently swirl the feeding bottle repeatedly until the water and formula milk combines; watch out for lumps of milk that might form that could lead to your baby’s upset stomach.
  • Shaking – This, out of the 3 ways of mixing, is the most prone to build up a great amount of foam or bubbles due to the manner it is being done because, unlike swirling and stirring, you can’t go gentle in shaking or else you can’t call it shaking at all. What you can do, though, is wait for the formula milk to settle and for the bubbles to pop up naturally.

How to reduce foam build-up in formula milk?

How to reduce foam build-up in formula milk?

We may not be able to completely eliminate bubbles in formula milk, but what we can do is try minimizing the amount of foam or bubbles to the point where it won’t develop as gas in our little ones’ tummy.

Here are some of the most common and effective ways to reduce the foam build-up when mixing formula milk.

  • Wait for few minutes – no matter how you choose to mix your baby’s formula milk, it will build up bubbles. One of the simplest yet effective ways is just to wait. Please wait for a couple of minutes for the bubbles to pop up naturally as they should and for the milk to settle from the mixing. That is also why it’s important to mix your baby’s milk before they get hungry and not when they start fussing from hunger.
  • Scoop out the foam/bubbles – this could be handy if you are in a rush or if the baby is crying out of hunger; some moms don’t have time to wait for these bubbles to go away on their own, so why not just discard the problem as soon as possible.
  • Batch mix – most formula milk could last 24 hours in the fridge and 2 hours at room temperature. Mixing a couple of batches will allow the milk to settle and the foam to dissolve with it, be careful when transferring it to the feeding bottle. You want to pour the milk as close to the bottle opening as possible to prevent the bubbles again to form.
  • Infant Gas Drop – if your baby is continuously getting too much gas because of the formula foam, you might consider talking to your pediatrician and have them recommend a gas drop. These drops contain simethicone, an ingredient that helps break down gases and air bubbles and is not harmful to babies.

Take away

Choosing your baby’s milk should not be taken lightly, for it could affect them in so many ways.

Remember to always focus on your baby’s needs and not what works for most of the babies you know; what works for them may not work for your baby and vice versa.

Before you make the final decision, include your doctor’s recommendation and choose what you feel would work best for you and your little one.

We’ll be happy to hear you sharing your thoughts and experiences with us, so don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below to help other moms that might need exactly what you already know that we still don’t.

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Currently located in the Philippines. Mother of an active curly boy whose energy rarely runs out. When I am not busy keeping up with my son, you'll find me reading, cooking, or most of the time keeping the house clean.

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