Infant Milks: which baby formula is good? Review for infant formula

Infant milks, baby milks.. Name can be changed but effects are different on your baby. You have decided not to breastfeed baby. We know that between 0 and 4 months, 1st age milk is perfectly suitable. But when your infant is constipated, cries or becomes too gluttonous, what should be done? For each little complication there is a suitable milk. If you do not want or cannot breastfeed, or if you want to stop breastfeeding earlier than recommended, give your baby a substitute for breast milk (or infant formula), not cow’s milk. They are studied to allow your child to have a harmonious and healthy growth. But which one to choose? Let us explain to you today in this article. Let’s start..

Infant milks: what exactly? Infant formula, baby formula and baby food

Infant milks are industrial preparations specifically designed for young children (from birth to 3 years of age), they serve as a substitute for breast milk.

The composition of infant formulas and their manufacture are subject to precise and rigorous standards (set by ministerial orders and published in the Official Journals of the European Union), which thus guarantees their nutritional and health qualities.

On the shelves of your supermarkets, you will find two forms of infant formula:

*powdered milk to be diluted,

*ready-to-use liquid milks.

These different forms of milk depend on the brands, but their nutritional value is exactly the same.

Focus on soybean preparations

Some infant formulas are not made from cow’s milk components, but with soy protein. They have no nutritional superiority compared to other breast milk substitute preparations. To use them, seek the advice of your doctor or pediatrician.

Preparations based on soy protein 1st or 2nd age are the only ones to be governed by the regulation of childhood foods. It is very important not to confuse them with conventional soy milks (or juices and other creams) which are not suitable for the diet of children under 3 years of age.

1st age milks for infants/babies : Infant formula (baby formula)

1st age milks (or infant milks) are intended for babies 0 to 6 months (or more). It can be the only baby food until he receives a full meal without milk (start of food diversification). They are intended to replace breast milk (their composition is quite similar) and cover all the nutritional needs of babies.

Note: the number of months indicated on infant formulas indicates the completed months (in other words the beginning of the month following the month indicated, for example: 6 months = until the beginning of the 7th month).

2nd age milks for infants/babies

Less close to breast milk than baby milk (or follow-on milk) are intended for your baby from the moment he begins to have at least one full meal a day without milk, that is to say never before 4 months and rather around 6-7 months.

To ensure baby’s nutritional balance, the Ministry of Health recommends continuing to give at least:

500 ml of 2nd age milk per day and up to 1 year.

Growth milks for babies/infants

Growth milks are suitable for children from 1 year to 3 years old. They allow in particular sufficient intakes of iron. You can use this milk kind for your little baby.

Cow, sheep, soy or almond milk

Health authorities do not recommend giving cow’s milk to babies before 1 year of age. Too rich in minerals, poor in iron and essential fatty acids, cow’s milk is not adapted to the nutritional needs of the little ones and would risk giving them digestive problems.

Regarding the milk of other animals (sheep, goat, donkey …) and vegetable milks, be aware that they are not at all suitable for baby food, and can be dangerous.

Anti-regurgitation milks (AR)

These are milks with thickened formulas:

either with proteins (milk rich in caseins),

either with carob flour (which thickens the milk directly in the bottle),

or again with corn starch (which thickens only in the stomach, which is easier to drink).

As the name suggests, they are designed to limit regurgitation.

In pharmacy, these milks are called anti-regurgitation (or AR) while in supermarkets, the regulations require them to wear only the mention “comfort” milk.

Generally, these regurgitations disappear spontaneously between 12 and 18 months. But beware, in rare cases they can reflect gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), requiring a pediatric consultation.

Hypoallergenic milks for infants (HA)

These milks are made from cow’s milk protein (but not only) divided into small pieces so that they are better supported by children and thus minimize the risk of allergies. So-called HA milks are recommended for the first 4 to 6 months of the baby’s life.

They are supposed to respond specifically to the needs of a child who is known to be genetically exposed to the risk of allergy. In other words, children with an allergic background (when one of the two parents or siblings are allergic).

They should not be used in a child who has a proven allergy (identified by the doctor).

Special milks for infants – Baby formula and infant formula

There are also other milks that can help baby in case of digestive problems. You can ask this to your doctor to take some advice about special baby formulas. Doctor advice is always important for infant milks.

Lactose-free milks and protein hydrolysates – baby formula

Diarrhea, colic, gas, pain … To limit these disorders, it is necessary to avoid elements that are difficult to digest, such as the proteins and lactose contained in traditional milks. Then choose lactose-free milks or protein hydrolysates.

They can also be prescribed in case of proven allergy to cow’s milk (APLV).

In case of suspected allergy, when baby has colic or diarrhea, it is necessary to consult a doctor or pediatrician.

Transit milks and acidified milks- infant formula

Constipation in infants results in hard and infrequent bowel movements: less than one per day or 3 per week. The recommended milks will therefore be richer in lactose and soluble proteins: the labels often mention “Transit Milk” or “Special”.

Acidified or lactobacilli milks also facilitate return to normal bowel movements.

Finally, in case of constipation in babies, pediatricians recommend preparing two bottles out of five (or six) of the day with half a mineral water rich in magnesium.


Do you need some recommendation for infant milks or infant formula? Here our recommendations for baby formula shopping: 

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