Choosing baby formula
The right formula for your baby
With all those choices, how can you decide what’s best for your baby?
Talk to your health visitor, midwife or GP. They are there to help both you and your baby during the first few years, and can offer advice on any concerns you may have about your baby and their diet.
Never add anything extra to baby milk formula, such as sugar or salt. Never add more milk powder to the bottle than is recommended, as your baby’s kidneys cannot cope with a concentrated milk.
Friends and family can offer you help and support with your baby, but check with your health visitor if you are not sure about their advice. Times change, and modern feeding practices based on more knowledge about what babies need may be very different to granny’s opinions!
No matter which baby formula you start with, it helps to know that all formulas available in the UK have to meet strict regulations for nutrition, so your infant will probably do just fine on any of them. Whichever baby formula you choose, however, always check its expiry date and don’t buy damaged cans or bottles.
Switching baby milks from one formula to another may be necessary if your baby doesn’t seem to get on with a particular formula. However if they develop symptoms such as:
- Dry, red and scaly skin
- Extreme fatigue or weakness
- Forceful vomiting
These symptoms can be a sign of other health issues not linked to baby milk choice. If your baby has any of these symptoms that last more than a few hours, you should seek prompt medical advice. If your baby’s symptoms are related to their baby milk, you will get expert advice on how to deal with this. There are a range of baby milks designed for babies with food allergy or intolerance available on prescription from your GP.
Hungry babies may need a change of formula if they are gaining too much weight too quickly. Don’t be tempted to introduce solids to your baby too early. If you’re concerned about your baby's appetite, talk to your health visitor.
What about switching to follow-on milks when the baby gets older?
Follow-on milks are only suitable for babies from 6-12 months of age as part of a mixed diet. These formulas have more protein and iron than baby milk, but may not be needed by your baby. Talk to your health visitor if you want advice as to whether to use a follow on milk.
Tips for using baby formula
Now that you have the basic formula facts, here are some quick tips for safe and effective feeding with formula.