Some babies do have gastroesophageal reflux or regurgitation when they swallow milk or liquid food and to help avoid such reflux in your baby’s system, sometimes thickening of your baby’s formula is recommended.
Sometimes a parent or mom may want to use other thickening agents apart from cereals but may have no idea of the thickening agents to use.
Are you thinking of how to thicken baby formula with thickening agents without cereals? then this article is for you.
In this article, we will answer your question on how to thicken baby formula without cereals and a lot more.
Breast Milk and Formula Thickener: All You Need To Know
Breast milk and formula thickeners as their names imply are thickening agents that help thicken or solidify breast milk and formula.
They add consistency to the breast milk or formula they are added to and they may be powdered or sometimes gel-like in nature.
Their thickening action on breast milk and formula makes the breast milk and formula have the physical texture of honey or nectar.
Wondering about the whole idea of thickening breast milk and formula? It is to help babies avoid gastroesophageal reflux or regurgitation in babies.
Some babies require thickened food as this helps them swallow their food in this scenario milk and formula comfortably.
Why use thickeners?
There are children that experience difficulty in the consumption of liquid food and it can be serious.
Some of these kids tend to choke when they swallow liquid food and to save them from these, the consumption of thickened food becomes the remedy.
There are babies with a condition known as dysphagia which is the inability or difficulty of consuming liquid food.
Babies with this condition will need to have their food thickened to aid consumption and save them the pains of the choking sensation.
Another advantage of thickening your baby’s formula is that it helps in the reduction of acid reflux. When your baby’s formula is thickened, the chances of occurrence of acid reflux are brought down to the barest minimum.
Formulas that are splashy or too watery tend to flow back up into the esophagus because of the underdeveloped digestive system in babies hence the spitting up of formula by some babies.
Of course, thickening reduces this to the barest minimum but they aren’t the primary way to treat it and shouldn’t be the first line of action.
It is important to seek professional advice from your baby’s healthcare provider before using this option.
Read Also: Best Baby Formula Thickeners
Considerations on the use of thickeners
In the hospital, thickeners are not used for infants under the age of two weeks or 42 weeks gestation if the baby in question was born prematurely.
The digestive system of babies under the age of 12 months is still delicate hence the need for extra caution when using thickeners because of their immature and not fully developed digestive system.
There are limitations to the number of thickeners used by young infants and ensure that the products and amount you use are safe.
Always make sure that the advice of your baby’s pediatrician is sought and heeded.
Remember that each thickening agent has its benefits, ingredients and mixing instructions and recommendations by your baby’s health provider is usually based on your baby’s weight and age
How To Thicken Baby Formula Without Cereals
If you want to thicken your baby’s food without using cereals then you can try using some commercial thickeners available in the market that do not contain cereals.
There are so many of it in the market whose manufacturing ingredient is devoid of cereals and they would give you what you want.
Also, you can use carob bean gum and soybean polysaccharides as thickening agents for your baby’s formula.
Gelatin, guar gum, arrowroot starch, potato starch, tapioca starch, cornstarch, psyllium husk, and carrageenan (Irish moss) can also be used as alternatives to cereal thickeners provided your baby does not have allergies to them.
- Your baby’s liquids in cups or bottles should be shaken vigorously to aid in thickening.
- Ensure the vigorous mixing of liquids in cups or bowls using a fork or whisk.
- The liquids should be given several minutes to enhance settling into the correct thickness.
- The temperature of the whole process affects the thickening so watch it closely.
- To reduce the chances of clumping, thickeners should be added slowly to liquids.
- In the case of liquids, shake or mix again over time if there is a need for it.
- If you aren’t satisfied with the level of thickening of your baby’s liquid food, then you can add a small amount of thickener until you are satisfied.
- If it becomes too thick, then you can correct the consistency by adding a small amount of liquid (water, broth, formula, milk, juice).
- Check the nipple of your baby’s bottle to ensure that it is not clogged during feeding.
- Change the nipple to one that is an appropriate size if it is undersized do not cut holes in the nipples to feed your child.
How Long Should You Use Thickeners?
Thickeners should be used for a short period, probably till your baby stops experiencing difficulty in swallowing.
Professional advice must be sought as regards the stopping and continuation of the use of thickeners.
Every baby is unique and what may seem like the universal rule may not be ideal for your baby.
Observe your baby’s reactions to the consumption of thickened food and continue the usage of thickener until your baby’s swallowing without difficulty is confirmed by your baby’s health provider or pediatrician.
Pros and Cons of thickening
- Thickening of formula helps in the reduction of acid reflux or choking in babies
- The usage of thickeners may eliminate the need for medication
- It also reduces the occurrence of lungs complications for babies who aspirate
- It is also good at the reduction of chronic congestion and vomiting
- There are cases where the use of thickeners may make the choking and aspiration worse
- The usage may reduce your baby’s formula consumption rate
- Can cause dehydration if your baby reduces fluid intake
- Sometimes it is not enough to stop acid reflux hence the need for the use of acid reflux medication
Research has shown that babies who consume thickened liquid may tend been prone to a severe disease condition called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
This condition is characterized by intestinal inflammation and the death of intestinal tissues.
The condition is a life-threatening situation and may require surgery and as a result of these complications that may arise, thickeners shouldn’t be used without professional advice.
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I am sure that you enjoyed the article and that answers to your question on how to thicken baby formula without cereals have been answered.
There are lots of artificial thickeners that do not contain cereals sold in the market that you can use if you do not want cereals as thickeners.
You can also use the natural thickening agents to thicken your baby’s formula or you can use carob bean gum and soybean polysaccharides as thickening agents for your baby’s formula.
Gelatin, guar gum, arrowroot starch, potato starch, tapioca starch, cornstarch, psyllium husk, carrageenan (Irish moss) can also be used as alternatives to cereal thickeners provided your baby do not have allergies to them.
If you are using commercial thickeners sold in the market then make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions labeled on the thickeners container. If you are using the natural thickeners then follow the procedure enumerated above.