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One of the first pieces of advice you may get when your child struggles to keep down their feed is to add a thickener. The idea here is that the thickening agent creates a better consistency that is less likely to be regurgitated. This can help reduce gastric problems and helps babies gain weight. However, there is also a lot of contradictory advice on what to use. So, what can you use to thicken baby formula, and can you do so in advance?
How to thicken baby formula without cereal?
Cereal is a problematic thickening agent because of its texture. You can get a thicker, mushier texture that isn’t thin enough for spit-ups. But, you can also end up with lumps that your baby struggles to swallow. The younger the child, the bigger the risk. So, it may be better to opt for something that creates a smoother consistency.
If you don’t want to use cereal to thicken up your baby formula then there are some alternative options. A lot of parents prefer to use food-based options that they know are safe to cook with. Natural thickening agents should provide a better consistency that leads to fewer spit-ups.
The alternative is to opt for a specialist thickener, such as Gelmix. These powders are added to the formula to create a better texture and are popular due to their lack of taste, odor, and texture, as well as their hypoallergenic properties.
Can you use cornstarch to thicken baby formula?
One of those food-based agents commonly used is cornstarch. Cornstarch is a great idea for thickening formulas because it is so accessible and effective. You probably use cornstarch or cornflour a lot in cooking to thicken sauces or other liquids for better consistency.
It works the same way in formula with none of the risks of choking. Studies also show that this method helps babies that are prone to regurgitating their feeds by easing the gastric system and also helping them gain weight. This could end up being a cost-effective alternative to other thickeners that aren’t as efficient.
Does formula thicken in the fridge?
Some parents will say that they are better off leaving their bottle of formula in the fridge to thicken rather than adding some form of thickening agent. This is understandable if you are worried about complicating the feed and accidentally adding something that diminishes the nutritional value. However, leaving formula in the fridge isn’t the best idea.
While formula can thicken in the fridge, there are safety concerns surrounding formula stored in the fridge, especially if it is there for a long time. So, while you may get the consistency you need – even though there is no guarantee – there are also potential health risks. You will get a safer and more reliable result with a thickening agent.
Is it safe to pre-make thickened formula?
This idea of pre-making thickened formula ties in with the idea of thickening formula in the fridge. While there are parents that do this and keep their thickened feeds in the fridge for a short time, others completely advise against it.
The problem with storing formula is that you can end up cultivating bacteria in the milk and you could also find that the thickening agent takes effect too much. You won’t get the right consistency to help your child and could make them sick.
It is always better to thicken your formula when it is time to feed your child rather than makeup large batches. It is more of a hassle in terms of the time spent, but you should be sure of a better result and fewer risks.
How to thicken baby formula without cereal.
The good news here is that there are options out there for creating a thicker feed that will settle your child’s stomach. You can try out the cornstarch and specialized thickening agents to see which is more effective and convenient for making the feed and feeding your baby.
If you continue to struggle with the process and can’t find a solution that suits you, you can always look at some of the best baby formulas for acid reflux where you don’t need to add a thickening agent at all.