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Baby milk formula options

Kellie Eason, IBCLC. BHSc. (Nursing), Post. Grad. Dip in Midwifery

Mum cuddling her baby
Mum and baby

Welcome to your one stop blog for all information about your baby milk formula options.

Here, I have consolidated the latest available information and scientific research about different types of baby milk formulas, so that you can decide which baby milk formula to get for your baby with greater confidence.

When it comes to choosing your baby milk formula, always choose Stage 1 baby milk formula for the first 12 months. There is no scientific evidence to support the use of Stage 2 baby formula or toddler milks at any stage of your baby's development.

It is also well established that there is no one baby milk formula brand that is best as all have to be made to conform to the Food Standards of Australia and New Zealand. So whether you spend $50 or $25 on a tin of baby milk formula, they both need to conform to basic infant nutritional standards.


1. Organic and grass fed (cows milk based baby milk formula)

2. Cow's milk based baby milk formula

3. Soy milk based baby milk formula

ORGANIC & GRASS FED baby milk formula is declared pesticide & toxin free. 100% Grass fed animals are provided their natural & healthiest diet, producing milk in its most natural state. Non-organic & non-grass fed infant formula have the same level of nutrition.

Grass-fed and regular milk have a comparable calorie and fat content, with equal amounts of protein, carbohydrates and calcium. However, grass fed milk has higher key nutrients such as omega fatty acids which are known to be highly beneficial for early brain development, cognition and learning.

Cattle exclusively fed on pasture have numerous phytonutrients in amounts comparable to those found in plant foods. Phytochemicals have been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and heart-supporting properties, so they may have a protective benefits against chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Organic and grass-fed baby milk formula are up to double the price of regular non organic/non-grass fed baby milk fomulas. This is because organic and grass fed cow farming has higher production costs — in part, because grass fed and organic farmers have higher production costs which are passed onto their consumers. Regular non organic/non grass fed COW'S MILK BASED baby milk formula is recommended as being the best choice for all infants who are baby milk formula fed. It is formulated to be easily digestible & nutritionally balanced for all infants.

There are decades of extensive research available to ensure us of the health benefits and safety of cow's milk based baby formula for most babies. Which is why it is considered the best option to recommend.

Dairy Australia's latest statement advises that only 2% of farms feed their cows a diet of total mixed ration composed of silage, hay, grains and legumes. They estimate that 60-65% of a cows diet comes from fresh grazed grass over the course of a year.

Unfortunately, I was unable to locate any specific research about the impact of a grain fed cow's milk in baby milk formula on baby health outcomes. More research is needed so that parents can make better informed decisions here.

Baby milk formula companies are constantly striving to adapt their products to be as similar to human breastmilk as possible. With that, it needs to be considered that they need to add multiple synthetic ingredients in attempt to achieve this.

I always recommend mothers choose baby milk formula products with the least amount of ingredients possible, so that chances of their baby having a reaction are minimised and easier to trace and eliminate if a reaction occurs.

An estimated 2% of babies are allergic to cows milk proteins, therefore cow's milk baby formula is unsuitable for these babies. Signs of cows milk protein allergy include, hives, swelling of the face/lips or eyes, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, noisy breathing/wheezing or hoarseness, swollen tongue or throat, change in consciousness or floppiness.

It is not uncommon for mothers to express concerns about their baby's formula causing irritability, skin rashes, vomiting or constipation. It is important to be mindful of the fact that your baby may be reacting to any of the ingredients listed on the baby milk formula tin, not just the cows milk itself. It is always important to see your baby's health practitioner for a personalised assessment to exclude any other medical issues which may be affecting your baby as well as provide expert advice for which baby milk formula to change to.

SOY MILK BASED baby formula is considered a safe alternative to cow's milk based infant formula. Studies have demonstrated that there are no long term effects for babies in relation to the

phyto-estrogens in soy milk for babies.

It is important to note that babies with congenital hypothyroidism may need adjustments made to their medications when having soy infant formula - so always alert your baby's prescriber about this. Also important to note, is that soy milk allergies are are often seen in children with cow's milk protein allergies. GOAT'S MILK BASED baby formula is not recommended as first choice for baby milk formula

Even though goats milk based baby formula is considered easier to digest than cow's milk, it has triple the amount of protein that is in human milk. This places extra strain on the kidneys which is concerning for young babies and especially those with kidney or metabolic issues. Goat's milk baby formula does have less lactose than cow's milk baby formula as well as the same amount of allergy issues than with cow's milk baby formula. SHEEP BASED baby milk formula has a similar profile to that of goat's milk, which again, causes as many allergies with cow, soy as well as goat's milk baby formula.

Sheep milk has high fat content and because of this, there are concerns about excess baby weight gain long term. Regardless of this finding, I was unable to locate any studies demonstrating this.

As an FYI, I am more than happy to provide personalised assessments and support for parents in choosing the best formula for their babies. I have a Telehealth VideoChat service which aims to meet your needs for this, which can be booked online via my website at

IN SUMMARY *It is recommended for babies to start feeding with a Regular Stage One Cow's Milk or Soy Milk based baby milk formula for the first 12 months

*Cost means nothing when it comes to quality as all infant formula is created equal - the least expensive baby milk formula is just as nutritionally sound for your baby as the most expensive baby milk formula is

*There is no need to use Stage 2 baby milk formula at any stage, so continue using stage 1 baby milk formula for your baby's first year

*It's a good idea to choose an infant formula with the least possible ingredients so that it is easier to work out what your baby may be adversely reacting to and discuss this with your health professional for a personalised assessment

* Organic and grass fed baby milk formulas are a good option for protective health benefits, but unfortunately up to double the price of standard baby milk formula without any substantial research demonstrating benefits for babies

*More research is needed as there needs to be more information as well as transparency about the pros and cons of all baby formula options available, so that parents can be better informed about their baby formula milk feeding options.

*True cow's milk allergy is rare in babies - milks based on cows/goats/sheep and soy milk are just as likely to cause allergies in babies

*See your health professional if you have any concerns about your baby's milk formula


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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

At MILK early parenting support, I strive to be your go-to source for all your parenting needs – from pre-birth to post-birth. I'm a passionate and experienced International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). I love empowering expectant and new parents with all the knowledge and support they need to make the right decisions for their family.

Whether it’s helping you find the best feeding and sleeping strategies, or ensuring that your baby is getting the nutrition they need for optimal growth, I'm here to make sure that you and your baby get the best start in life.

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