Interesting Things You Probably Didn't Know About Baby Formula

By Swindon Link - 15 June 2021


Formula feeding is something that receives both positive and negative press. Formulas are always compared to their natural breast milk counterparts, but more and more experts are supporting a balance between both natural milk and formulas to ensure your baby gets the best start in life. You hear the word formula, and it can sound somewhat intimidating, like a secret, and a lot of parents don't have so much information about what it is. So here are some interesting things you probably didn't know about baby formula.

What Is Baby Formula?

Baby formula, sometimes known as Infant Formula (IF) is designed to provide babies with the nutrients needed to grow. It is often made from cow's milk and comes in 2 different types, Powdered and ready-to-feed liquid formula. Although formula can be convenient and helpful in tough situations, it's not a perfect replacement for breast milk, which offers other health benefits that formula doesn't provide. There are lots and lots of different brands and styles, some of which are designed for specific infant needs, such as for premature babies, or babies with reflux, but most of them are very similar as they have to contain certain proteins and nutrients.  

Formula Feeding And Breastfeeding Can Work Together

Studies have shown that using a formula to support breastfeeding can reduce the likelihood that your baby may be readmitted to the hospital. Although experts say that ‘breast is best’, it’s also true that breastfeeding is not an easy process, especially in the first few weeks. There have been great medical advances to help premature babies and lack of nutrients, however assisting the natural breastfeeding process with some formula feeding in the first few days and weeks after birth can give enough time for the mother's milk to be fully in. There can also be complications that can delay the milk supply, so using formula can help if any of these arrive. Making sure your baby is receiving enough milk should be the priority. 

Breast Milk And Formula Are Digested At Different Rates

Don’t be alarmed if it seems like your baby is eating less frequently if you have switched to formula. Most formulas are generally digested slower than breast milk. This doesn’t mean your baby has less appetite, it is about the protein in the two different food sources. Baby formula and breast milk both contain the proteins whey and casein. The formula contains a higher amount of casein than breast milk, which is digested over a longer time than whey. You may notice a longer period of time between feedings if you have just switched to formula.  

There Are 100% Organic Formulas

There is a lot of choice and a variety of baby formulas on the market. From first infant formulas designed to be suitable from birth to goats milk or lactose-free.  It can be difficult choosing which baby formula to use, especially if you want to bring your baby up in an organic lifestyle. There are now companies that produce 100% organic baby formulas and still contain all the essential minerals such as Omega 3 & 6, Vitamins A, C and D, and DHA. 

Breast-Fed And Formula-Fed Babies Have Different Do-Do

Changing your baby's nappy is something that every parent will come to know all too well. Changing a nappy is never pleasant, however, if you want to check that your baby has a healthy digestive system, it’s recommended to keep an eye on your child's do-do. A change in your baby's poop could be health-related or diet-related, so don’t be too alarmed if your infant changes after switching to formula. Parents have reported that their babies poo appeared darker and thicker than breast milk poop and the smell is, shall we say, more potent. 



There’s A Lot Of Choice, But Most Of It Is The Same

Most baby formulas follow the regulations set by the FDA, The American Food and Drug Administration. That means if it has FDA approval, it must include 29 specific nutrients. Some differences are good to know, such as DHA, which is a fatty acid and has been shown to improve cognition.  You can find formulas designed for premature babies that will contain more calories than regular formulas. If your baby has reflux, some formulas have thickeners added to them, such as rice. You can pick the right formula for your baby without being overwhelmed by the options. 

Baby Formula Has Been Around For A Long Time

The first commercial baby formula was released in 1867, developed by Justus von Liebig, it was named ‘Liebig's Soluble Food For Babies’. Previously in history, mothers would employ a wet nurse to breastfeed their babies, and if that wasn’t possible, ‘dry nursing’ would be another option by preparing baby food. However, with the improvement of medical practices through the 19th century, links to medical problems and dry nursing arose. This led to a push to develop a more suitable baby feed, with Liebig’s Soluble Food For Babies being the first to hit the market. 

Your Baby Could Be Allergic 

Some children may have a milk protein intolerance, which is not the same as lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is rare in babies, so can be misdiagnosed. Check a baby's nappy will let you know if your child has an allergy. There are baby formulas made from goat's milk that serve as a good replacement. Other signs your baby may have an allergy, you should also look out for vomiting, skin rash, and diarrhea. 


Bringing up the topic of baby formula with other mothers and parents will always incite some heated debate. There have been many instances of controversy over the years relating to baby formula, however, that shouldn’t blind you to the benefits and other facts that surround baby formula. We hope that we have provided you with some interesting things you probably didn't know about baby formula. Whether you are thinking about using a baby formula with your infant, or you just need more information to add at the next get-together with your young parent friends, we hope this information is of some benefit to you and your baby.


Registered in England & Wales. No: 4513027, Positive Media Group, Old Bank House, 5 Devizes Road, Old Town, Swindon, SN1 4BJ