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Choosing a formula milk

Formula milks are made from skim milk powder (to provide  protein and carbohydrate), a blend of vegetable oils and added vitamins, minerals and certain allowed additives that are present in breast milk such as nucleotides, prebiotics and long chain fatty acids. The regulations controlling the ingredients in formula milks only allow cows’ milk, goats’ milk or soya beans as the protein source.

 Infant formulas 

are the only substitute for breast milk suitable from birth and they provide your baby with all the nutrients they need except enough vitamin D. They do not contain antibodies to provide protection against some illnesses as breastmilk does. There are 4 types in the UK:

 First Infant Milks:

The protein has the same whey:casein ratio as mature breast milk. They contain lactose, the milk sugar. The fat content is from vegetable oils or a mixture of milk fat and vegetable oils.  Brands based on cows’ milk: Aptamil, Cow & Gate, Hipp Organic, SMA, Bebivita, Kendamil, Mamia, Similac. Brands based on goats’ milk: Kabrita

 Comfort Milks:

They are promoted for babies with digestive problems such as colic and mild constipation. They contain partially hydrolysed whey protein, no casein proteins and have a lower lactose content as some has been replaced by starch. They also contain different fat blends. Brands based on cows’ milk: Aptamil, Cow & Gate, SMA

 Hungry Infant Formulas:

The protein has a whey:casein ratio of 20:80 which is the same as cows’ milk. They do not have more energy (calories) than First infant milks as their name implies. Their higher casein level slows down gastric emptying and theoretically should keep the baby satisfied for longer. Babies changing to this milk from a first infant milk sometimes become constipated. Brands based on cows’ milk: Aptamil, Cow & Gate, Hipp Organic, SMA. Brands based on goats’ milk: Nannycare

 Soya Infant formulas:

The protein all comes from soya beans and they contain glucose in place of lactose. They are suitable from birth but the UK Department of Health do not recommend soya formulas to be used for babies under 6 months old because they contain low levels of phytoestrogens. This is very cautionary advice as research shows that soya formula milks do not cause problems for male or female babies. Brands: SMA Wysoy

 Follow on formulas

These formulas are an option from 6 months onwards but it is not necessary to change to these formulas except that babies who are making slow progress with weaning onto solid food may benefit through their higher iron content. They also have higher levels of protein and some  vitamins and minerals. Recent research suggests their protein content is too high and predisposes babies to a risk of later obesity. Brands based on cows’ milk: Aptamil, Cow & Gate, Hipp Organic, SMA, Bebivita, Kendamil, Mamia, Similac. Brands based on goats’ milk: Kabrita, Nannycare

Toddler milks and Growing Up Milks

It is not necessary to use these formula milks as whole cows’ milk within a balanced diet and a vitamin D supplement will provide all the nutrients your toddler needs. They are higher in iron than cows’ milk and can be used for toddlers who do not eat well although giving a vitamin and mineral supplement is a cheaper alternative. Brands based on cows’ milk: Aptamil, Cow & Gate, Hipp Organic, SMA, Bebivita, Kendamil, Similac. Brands based on goats’ milk: Kabrita, Nannycare