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Cow's milk-based formula

The majority of formula available today has cow's milk as its main ingredient. Vitamins and minerals are added and the carbohydrate, fat and protein levels of the milk are modified to resemble breast milk which makes it easier to digest. The majority of non-breastfed babies do best with this type of formula.

There are also special types of formula manufactured for premature babies. These formulas contain more calories and protein, as well as a more easily absorbed type of fat called medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). Your paediatrician will help you select the one that best suits your baby to help them gain the right amount of weight.

The protein in milk can be broken down into curds (casein) and whey. The ratio of casein to whey can vary according to the type of baby formula milk. There are two main types:

First-stage formula

These milks consist of mostly whey, with a casein:whey ratio of 40:60, which is about the same as breast milk. They are suitable for your baby from birth up to about a year, and are thought to be easier to digest.

Second-stage formula (also known as Follow On or Growing Up Milk)

These milks consist of mostly casein, with a casein:whey ratio of 80:20. They take longer to digest and are often promoted as being for hungrier babies. Nutritionally, your baby will only need first-stage formula, although you may decide to move your baby onto second-stage formula at the toddler stage of development.

Switching from first to second-stage milk too early can give your baby constipation so it's best to wait until your baby is at least four weeks old. If your baby doesn't seem content with the formula you first started her on, talk to your paediatrician before changing formulas.

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