When looking for the best baby milk formula for babies, it’s definitely common for new parents to be confused about what exactly they should be buying.
There are many stages of milk formula that one can buy in stores or online, these include Stage 1, 2, 3 and 4 milk formulas, which represent different baby age ranges as they each contain differing levels of nutrients.
Selecting the right milk formula is extremely important as babies aged 0-6 years old rely 100% on milk, with no other supplements.
While the first and second stage milk formulas have the same amount of nutrition, they differ in the type of protein they contain, where the first stage contains whey protein and the latter contains more casein protein.
While breastfeeding is usually regarded as the primary and optimal source of nutrition for babies who are 6-12 months old, it may not be the most suitable and convenient option for all families.
This is as some mothers may not be able to breastfeed all the time.
Contents of Breast Milk
What makes breast milk so good and nutritious for babies? Breast milk is the best natural food given to babies as it contains a unique composition of nutrients needed to initiate growth and development and boost the immune system.
It contains the following basic compounds and nutrients:
Breast milk contains around 87-90% water
Milk contains approximately 60% whey and 40% casein protein. Both of these proteins are easily digestible by babies.
Breast milk is rich in long healthy fatty acid chains. Fat is essential for the brain and the construction of a healthy nervous system and vision.
It is also needed for good absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Fat is also a major calorie source for babies.
The main carbohydrate source present in breast milk is lactose, which makes up almost 40% of the total calories it provides.
Lactose helps to promote a healthy balance of good bacteria in the intestinal system and increases the absorption of nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Breast milk is also rich in oligosaccharides and complex sugars that feed healthy gut bacteria and prevent infection.
While many micronutrients are influenced by a mother’s diet, breast milk often contains enough vitamins and minerals to support a baby’s normal growth, with the exception of vitamins D and K.
These include a wide range of enzymes, growth factors, antibodies, and hormones. Some examples include Lactoferrin, Secretory IgA, Lysozyme, and Bifidus factor, which all have unique purposes in the baby’s gastrointestinal tract.
They help to protect against microbes that can cause infections such as E. Coli, Salmonella and coliform. It can also help to protect against the construction of some allergies and promote the growth of Lactobacillus bacteria which is protective.
As you can see, breast milk is rich in nutrients that are critically important for infants. In the case where mothers are unable to produce sufficient breast milk for their babies, it would be important to ensure that the milk formulas that you choose contain such important ingredients as well.
Fortunately, there are many alternatives from breast milk that are readily available to choose from that will help ensure that babies get the nutrients they need for proper growth.
Infant formula has been created to mimic the consistency and contain nutrients naturally available in breast milk, thus moms can rely on it if they require an alternative.
Choosing a Good and Suitable Stage 1 Milk Formula
It is no doubt a challenge when new parents first venture out to buy their young ones milk formula. There are many things that parents worry about as this would be a very new experience for the baby and as the risk for the baby to develop any allergies is still high.
There are also children who suffer from constipation or diarrhoea due to consuming incompatible milk that is not appropriate for the baby.
Not to mention, some babies with special conditions such as low weight, may need to consume a special type of milk. Listed below are some of the factors to consider before buying milk formula:
- Type of milk: Cow’s milk, soy, lactose-free, etc
- Sugar Content: low
- Nutrients that the baby needs
- Probiotics and prebiotics
Essential Nutrients in Stage 1 Milk Formula
The list of contents in infant formula milk can vary, however, there are some components that are always present. Milk formula is designed to achieve the highest appropriate amount of natural complexes that the baby needs.
As breast milk is the optimal source of infant nutrition, infant formula milk exists to mimic its composition as well as its physical and nutritional content. This is why it is neither safe nor recommended to substitute breast milk with regular drinking milk, regardless of whether it is animal or plant-based.
Drinking milk usually does not have the caloric density, nutrient composition, or components that are safe to support the growth of a baby.
Thus, it would be dangerous to use as a substitute. Here is a list of ingredients that are essential to be used in the production of Stage 1 formula milk.
- Linoleic acid
- Fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E, K
- B Vitamins: B6, B12, Niacin, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Folic Acid
- Vitamin C
- Biotin, Choline, Inositol (Only for non-dairy based formulas)
10 of the Best Stage 1 Milk Formula in Malaysia
#1 NAN PRO Infant Formula Step 1
NAN PRO Infant Formula Step 1 is a cow’s milk that is formulated to mimic mother’s milk to be appropriate for babies from birth up until 12 months of age. It provides babies with nutrients for growth and development.
This product also contains Bifidobacterium lactis, a probiotic that helps improve the beneficial intestinal microflora and reduces the chances of diarrhoea.
- Coupled with nucleotides
- Bifidobacterium lactis helps improve the beneficial intestinal microflora and reduces the chances of diarrhoea
- Contains long-chain double unsaturated fatty acids – Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and Arachidonic Acid (ARA)
#2 Similac Neosure
When babies are born premature, the hospital will usually provide parents will special milk is given to tackle the babies low weight.
Once out of the ward, parents can get Similac Neosure milk which is specially formulated for premature babies.
This is especially as the content of this formula milk contains certain additional nutrients that are beneficial to the baby.
- Specially made for premature babies
- More protein, vitamins, and minerals as compared to other baby formulas
- Rich in calcium and phosphorus for your baby’s bone growth
- Contains more calories than others
- Helps to increase weight, length and head circumference for premature babies as compared to other regular baby formulas
- Contains OptiGRO to support the development of the baby’s brain and eyes
#3 ISOMIL Special Formula
ISOMIL is soy-based formula milk that is a good alternative to normal breast milk. This product is formulated for babies with Cow’s Milk Protein (CMPA) allergies.
If your child is allergic to lactose, this soy-based product would be ideal. However, parents are advised to seek the advice of a paediatrician first as babies are not commonly born with lactose intolerance.
- Special formulation to accommodate babies with allergies
- 100% lactose-free
- 100% cow’s milk
- Plus with EyeQ Plus
- Higher lutein and DHA to help the brain and eye development
#4 Similac GOLD Lactose Free
Similac GOLD is made for babies with food allergies, colic, and lactose intolerance. It is hypoallergenic and can reduce colic and stomach discomfort.
Similac is one of the more affordable brands available on the market today. However, it should be noted that it contains less DHA than other brands.
- Equipped with a 2’-FL to encourage a strong and good immune system
- Eye-Q system that contains a blend of unique vegetable oils for better DHA absorption
- Contains natural lutein and Vitamin E – protects DHA from oxidation and nutrient combination – which allows for more brain cell connections
#5 Enfalac A+ Step 1
Enfalac is a well-known milk formula that is easily available on the Malaysian market. Enfalac A+ Step 1 is suitable for newborns up until the age of 12 months.
It is the closest formula to breast milk and contains clinically proven levels of DHA and a blend of 2 dietary fibres, GOS and polydextrose, that can soften stool well.
This product is not only patented in Malaysia but also in the US, Europe, Singapore and Hing Kong.
- Contains DHA and ARA for baby’s visual development
- Formulated with a mixture containing GOS and PDX, which are both prebiotic in nature
#6 S-26 Gold SMA
S-26 Gold SMA Infant Formula Milk Powder is a soft formula that helps to ensure balanced nutrition for a healthy baby.
It is a premium formula for babies with alpha-lactalbumin and enriched with whey-dominant protein. It is appropriate for babies from the ages of 1 to 12 months.
- Contains over 3 times the Lutein, AA & DHA, alpha protein, 5 nucleotides and iron
- Lutein is the dominant macular pigment on the retina of the eyes that is able to filter out blur rays and protect the eye
- Contains more Oligofructose (OF), a prebiotic that supports gut health and promotes soft stool production
- Contains alpha protein, a type of whey protein, that is easily digested, absorbed and assimilated by the body
- Contains nucleotides that are the building blocks of good health
#7 Anmum Infacare Step 1
Anmum Infacare Step 1 contains vitamins and minerals that your baby needs for growth and development, such as Nucleotides, Calcium, Zinc, Vitamins A, C, D3, Iron and Iodine. It is appropriate for babies from the ages of 1 to 12 months.
- Infant formula complete with essential fatty acids (EFAs: Omega-3, DHA, Gangliosides and Sialic Acid (SA))
- SA is an important component of brain tissue
- Bifidobacterium lactis (DR10) helps improve the goodness of intestinal microflora in the gut and can help to reduce chances of diarrhoea
#8 Dumex Mamex – Step 1
This product is suitable for babies from birth to 12 months old. This formula, however, is said to have less iron and zinc as compared to other brands.
- Contains a helpful GOS/IcFOS Oligosaccharide Mixture (9:1)
- Increases bifidobacteria in the gastrointestinal tract
- Maintains a healthy intestinal environment
- Improves the baby’s intestinal immune system
- Key nutrients include DHA, AA, Prebiotics GOS/IcFos (9:1), Omega 3 & 6, Nucleotides, Taurine
#9 Nestle NAN HA Stage 1 Hypoallergenic
NAN HA formula milk is recommended for babies that are at risk of allergies. It is a premium Switzerland brand that is designed for babies from the ages of 0 to 12 months old.
This milk powder may taste slightly different from others due to the hydrolysis process.
- Provides essential nutrients for the growth and development of the baby
- It is also the best choice for babies who may have allergies or sensitive skin as it is hypoallergenic and easy for babies to digest
- Contains a portion of a mixture of hydrolyzed proteins, which helps to break down a cow’s milk protein into smaller fragments for easier absorption
- Contains probiotics (Bifidobacterium lactis) to improve the intestinal microflora which discourages diarrhoea
- Also contains nucleotides and long chains of unsaturated fatty acids (DHA & ARA)
#10 Bellamy’s Organic Equifina Infant Formula
Bellamy’s Organic Equifina Infant Formula is suitable for babies from birth to 12 months old. It is made from approved organic cow’s milk and blended with essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
You can rest assured when serving it to your baby as it is recommended by the Australian Food’s World Class Guidelines.
- This formula is whey protein-based, which is easy for babies to digest and perfectly balanced to give babies the nutrition they need
- 100% organic milk, which is most effective when taken during the first few months after birth
- Made with approved organic ingredients
- EQUIFINA Organic Infant Formula is a new and improved recipe that contains DHA, ARA and GOS
- Australian product that has organic certification by NASAA and ACO BPA
Tips for Using and Storing Milk Formula
- A prepared formula can spoil if it is left at room temperature. Do ensure that you use your formula within 2 hours after its preparation and within 1 hour from the start of breastfeeding. If you do not use the formula that has been made within the first 2 hours, do make sure to immediately refrigerate the bottle and use it within 24 hours.
- Discard any formula residue left in the bottle after a breastfeeding session. The combination of formula milk and baby saliva can cause bacteria to multiply. Be sure to wash and disinfect the bottle before the next use.
- Do store unopened formula containers in a cool and dry indoor area (Avoid vehicles, car garages and outdoor areas)
- Once opened, store milk formula in a cool and dry place with the lid tightly closed. Do note the date that the jar was first opened.
- Do not continue to use the formula after the ‘Use Before’ date on the container.
We hope this article on the best baby milk formula would be useful for new parents out there. Happy parenting!
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