Formula milk is an alternative for babies during their first year of life, either as a substitute for breast milk, a complement to breastfeeding or continuation food. In fact, it provides proteins, vitamins and minerals they need to grow healthy and strong. This was confirmed by a study carried out at the University of California in which it was found that its complementary consumption protects the microbiota of babies and helps them maintain or even gain weight.
What is the ideal age to introduce formula milk?
Under normal conditions, formula should not replace breastfeeding for the first six months of babies’ lives. However, if the mother does not have enough milk or has a medical condition that prevents her from breastfeeding her child, formula milk is a good option. If the mother must return to work or does not feel comfortable breastfeeding her baby in public, she can also resort to this alternative.
As recommended by the Nutrition Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, the ideal age to introduce formula milk is from the sixth month of life. At this time, the stomach has already developed enough to digest artificial milk well and take advantage of its nutrients while the system immune and metabolic have also been strengthened, which reduces the risk of intolerances.
At this age, the ideal is to complement breastfeeding with formula milk to meet the nutritional needs of babies while still benefiting from the mother’s milk. At the beginning you can start with a small dose of formula milk and increase it as the nutritional requirements increase. By the time they reach their first year of life, most children have a diet based on formula milk.
Types of formula milk for your baby
There are different types of formula according to the nutritional needs of babies during each stage of development.
- Starter formula milk . It is a formula milk very similar to to breast milk designed for consumption from birth to the first 6 months of life. It is usually prepared with cow’s milk whose structure is modified, reducing its protein levels, modifying the fat natural by vegetable fat and enriching it with vitamins and minerals. It is a very complete milk that provides babies with all the nutrients and energy they need to grow and stay healthy.
- Follow-on formula milk. This type of milk It is halfway between natural cow’s milk and breast milk. It provides 50% of the nutritional requirements of babies between 6 months and the first year of life. Its composition is quite complete since the natural nutrients present in cow’s or goat’s milk, vitamins and minerals are added to stimulate the healthy development of babies. Follow-on formula milk is usually supplemented in the diet with other foods.
- Grower formula milk. The composition of growth formula milk is very similar to that of follow-on milk, but it contains many more vitamins and minerals since it is designed to stimulate the growth of children. Recommended from 1 year of life and up to around 3 years of age, it is an ideal complement for the children’s diet since it provides much of the iron and calcium that children need for their bones to grow.
- Special formula milk. Special milks are designed to compensate for the problems of absorption, digestion and metabolism that some children suffer during the first months or years of their life. This group includes lactose-free milk, anti-constipation milk, formula for newborns and premature infants with low birth weight, anti-regurgitation milk or soy-based formula, among others. They are especially recommended for babies who have difficulty eating naturally or traditionally.
What should you take into account when choosing the most appropriate formula milk for your baby?
- Formula milk format. Formula milk can be found in different versions: ready-to-serve, concentrated or powdered. In general, ready-to-serve milk is much more convenient, but it is usually more expensive, while concentrated or powdered milks require prior preparation, but are much cheaper.
- Vitamin content and minerals. Most formula milks are enriched with vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, and vitamins C and D, but you must take into account the rest of its nutrients. In general, the milks that provide more vitamins and minerals are much more complete. If your baby suffers from a specific deficiency, you should opt for a milk enriched with that particular nutrient.
- Protein supply. Formula milk is rich in proteins that stimulate infant development , but their levels vary from brand to brand. When choosing the best formula milk for your child, it is important that you look at the amount of protein it provides per 100 ml. Ideally, during the first year of life this amount is around 0.9 or 1 g per 100 ml, the amount provided by breast milk. However, this can vary depending on your child’s needs.
- Fat ratio. Most formulas use vegetable fats to give children the energy they need while facilitating its metabolism. Therefore, when choosing the most appropriate formula milk for your baby, you must take into account the type and amount of vegetable fat that has been used in its preparation. Ideally, the fat intake should be around 3.8 g per 100 ml, the amount found in breast milk.
- Type of carbohydrates. Except If your baby is lactose intolerant, this is the carbohydrate you should look for in his formula milk. The reason? It is the main carbohydrate that breast milk provides and, therefore, the healthiest and most natural way to provide your baby with the energy that she needs to grow in a healthy way. If this is not possible, always choose formulas with natural carbohydrates.
5 very popular formula milk brands complete for your baby
1. Nestlé formula milk
Nestlé has practically a type of milk for every child. The brand offers everything from formula milk for newborns, continuation and growth milks to booster milks for the immune system, for brain development or for allergy control. Most of its formulas are free of palm oil and many are enriched with probiotics that favor its metabolism.
|1||Nestlé Nan Supremepro 1 Powdered Milk for Infants, 3 x 800g||77.50 EUR||Buy on Amazon|
|2||NAN – Optipro 1 Infant milk powder, 3 cans x 800 g||53.85 EUR||Buy on Amazon|
|3||Nestlé Nan Optipro 2 Follow-on Milk Powder, 3 x 800g||44.00 EUR||Comp rar on Amazon|
2. Hero Baby formula milk
Hero Baby is another of the most complete brands in the infant formula milk market, as it offers everything from the typical continuation and growth milks to more specific formulas such as milk without lactose, hypoallergenic and for the treatment of minor digestive disorders. Their formulas have a perfect balance of nutrients, some are palm oil free and some are gluten free.
|1||Hero Baby 1 Powdered Starter Milk, from the First Day, 800g||8.84 EUR||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Hero Baby Premium Milk 1 -For children up to 6 months||Buy on Amazon|
|3||Hero Baby 2 Follow-on Milk Powder, from 6 Months, 800g||14.98 EUR||Buy on Amazon|
3. Nutribén formula milk
If you are looking for special milk for your baby, Nutribén offers a wide range of formulas designed for children with difficulties in metabolizing certain nutrients. In addition to common milks, the brand has specific milks to treat colic and constipation, regurgitation, low birth weight and lactose intolerance. Their formula milks do not contain palm oil and are adapted to the specific needs of each stage.
|1||Nutribén Innova 1 Milk Powder for Babies, 0-6 Months, 800g||22.40 EUR||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Nutribén Natal ProAlfa 1 Starter Milk Powder for Babies, 0-6 Months, 800g||EUR18.35||Buy on Amazon|
|3||Nutribén Continuation ProAlfa 2 Continuation Milk Powder for Babies, from 6 to 12 months, 800g||12.10 EUR||Buy in Amazon|
4. Almirón formula milk
Almirón has a wide range of formula milks designed by experts and aimed at meeting the specific needs of each baby. In this brand you can find the typical formula milks for starters, continuation and growth, as well as special formulas such as booster milk for the immune system, for infants with food intolerances, for premature infants and those with low birth weight and with hydrolyzed whey proteins. for better absorption. Its formulas guarantee high standards of quality and food safety.
|1||Almirón Advance Digest 1 Formula Milk Powder, from the First Day, 800g||25.60 EUR||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Almirón Advance 4 Growth Milk Powder, from 24 Months, 800g||13.25 EUR||Buy on Amazon|
|3||Almirón Profutura 1 Powder Starter Milk, from First Day, 800g||23.26 EUR||Buy on Amazon|
5. Blemil formula milk
Blemil formula milk offers a wide variety of properties so that you can choose the one that best suits your child. You can find everything from lactose-free formula milk for infants with regurgitation and for children with chronic kidney failure to starter formulas enriched with probiotics and for infants with digestive problems. Some of their milks are made without palm oil, so they are safe for your child.
|1||Blemil Plus 1 Optimum ProTech – Powdered Starter Milk From Day One, 800g||25.30 EUR||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Blemil Plus 2 Optimum ProTech – Continuation milk Powder, From 6 Months, 800g||20.71 EUR||Buy on Amazon|
|3||Blemil Plus 1 Forte – Powdered Starter Milk From the First Day, Savings Format 1200g||27.76 EUR||Buy on Amazon|