Which Milk Should I Use and When?
Breast milk is the best food for babies. However, if you aren't able to breastfeed, the huge selection of baby formulas available on the market can be hard to make sense of: pre, stage 1, stage 2, stage 3 and hypoallergenic formula. Here you will find essential information and our product finder.
Breast milk is the best food for your baby. The unique combination of nutrients in breast milk are exactly what your baby needs for healthy development during the first few months following birth. But what do you do if you can't breastfeed or don't want to? The only other option in this case is to use a high-quality baby formula. Each formula stage is the result of years of research and is developed to suit the dietary needs of babies at a specific point of their development from birth until they are one year old.
|Name / Stage||Characteristics|
From birth onward
|Pre-formula is the most similar to breast milk. It is watery and contains lactose as its only form of carbohydrate. Protein contents are low in pre-formula, and it is particularly easy for babies to digest. Pre-formula can be used until the end of the bottle feeding phase and is suitable for supplementing breastfeeding (mixed feeding) and for extra feeding to meet the baby's individual needs (ad lib feeding).|
Stage 1 formula normally contains starch in addition to lactose. It is creamier than pre-milk and will keep your baby full longer. Stage 1 formula can also be used from birth onward either on its own are as a supplement, or it can be used after pre-formula. It can be used to feed your infant until the end of the bottle feeding phase.
Month 6 and onward
|Stage 2 formula contains ingredients which are appropriate for use around the time your child is ready to start eating baby food. Follow-up formula should be used starting from month 7 at the earliest and can be used until the end of the bottle feeding phase. While not absolutely necessary, follow-up formula can be used as a supplement to baby food if your baby is no longer feeling full from drinking stage 1 formula. It is often creamier than stage 1 formula and contains more energy, which is why it is more satiating for babies at this age.|
|Month 10 and onward||Stage 3 formula is appropriate for use with infants 10 months or older following the use of stage 2 formula. Starch, nutrient and energy contents are higher than with stage 2 formula, which means that it is also much more satiating. Stage 3 formula can be used as a dietary component for children aged 10 months and older.|
For allergies from birth onward
Hypoallergenic formula contains allergen-reduced proteins. The protein is broken down (hydrolyzed) in a special process, causing it to lose as much of its allergenic effect as possible.
Hypoallergenic formula is recommended for children from allergy-prone families (in which at least one parent or sibling has allergies) who are not being exclusively breastfed.
Hypoallergenic Follow-Up Formula
For allergies, month 6 and onward
|If your baby has been receiving hypoallergenic formula, you can switch to hypoallergenic follow-up formula with hydrolyzed protein from month 6 onward.|
Use our product finder to quickly find the right Pre or Follow On formula for your baby.
When should you switch to the next stage?
Pre-formula and stage 1 formula can be used starting from birth and are appropriate for use during the entire first year of the baby's life.
Stage 1 formula is usually a bit creamier and more satiating than pre-formula, but typically contains (nearly) the same amount of calories.
It is recommended to switch to stage 2 formula after month 6 as part of a mixed feeding regiment with baby food.
Stage 3 formula is ideal for children who are at least 10 months old and are no longer feeling full from stage 2 formula.
Take the following into consideration:
- Is your baby drinking more than 240ml of pre-formula or an entire bottle of stage 1 formula per meal?
- Does he or she seem satisfied after finishing the bottle, or do they cry for more?
- Does your baby only stay full for short periods of time?
- Does your baby demand to be fed in the night?
Your baby might be ready to move up to the next formula stage. Be sure to talk to your pediatrician or midwife about any observations you make with regards to your baby's eating habits. Especially if your child is losing weight and won't stop drinking. Constant drinking can be stressful and time-consuming for parents in the long run, but it also puts stress on the baby's stomach, intestine and kidneys.
Keep an eye on digestion, change is normal
The colour, consistency and frequency of your baby's stool will constantly change during the first few months following birth. This is caused by the fact that the digestive tract is still developing. Changes should therefore be expected when making the transition from breastfeeding to bottle feeding: your baby's stool might take on a more solid and pasty consistency. Stool colour can also change suddenly, but there's no need to worry. You should talk to your pediatrician if your child's stool suddenly becomes hard or dry, if he or she has diarrhea or if there are traces of blood, mucus or water in the stool.