How to choose the right milk formula – A guide for parents


As parents, we strive to make the best decisions for our little ones, especially when it comes to their nutrition. Choosing the right milk formula is a significant step in providing your child with the essential nutrients they need for growth and development. 

Whether you're a new parent navigating this crucial decision for the first time or simply seeking the latest information to make an informed choice, here's a guide to help you when considering a powdered milk drink that can best support your child's nutrition needs.

Note: The best natural food for your little one is breast milk. It has all the nutrients necessary for brain growth, development of the nervous system, and immunity against many kinds of diseases, particularly during the first six months of life up to two years old and beyond.

What is formula milk?

Formula milk is a type of powdered milk that is made from cow’s milk that has essential nutrients that may support your child’s growth and development. Here is the list of ingredients of formula milk you need to look for:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Vitamins (Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Biotin)
  • Minerals (Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Iodine, Sodium, Potassium, Phosporus)
  • Prebiotics 
  • Probiotics 
  • Fats

When your child turns three, choosing the right Powdered Milk Drink for your growing child is important for continuous development. It is a good practice to seek advice from a pediatrician or your doctor when considering a powdered milk drink. It’s also good to learn about your options as you start adding powdered milk to your child’s nutrition.

What types of formula milk are there?

When considering a powdered milk drink for your child, the first step is to familiarize yourself with the various milk drink types. A particular category usually indicates the source of the formula milk or describes how it is made.

1. Cow's milk-based milk formula 

Full cream milk or fresh cow’s milk is different from cow’s milk formula. The nutrient levels in full cream or fresh cow’s milk may be too high, designed for cows weighing over 1,000 pounds. Fat and protein levels may be higher than what a child needs. In contrast, certified organic milk formula has been modified to provide the right level of nutrients to support the growth needed for your child.  

Certified Organic

Certified organic formula milk is produced free from chemicals like synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and GMOs. In organic farming, organic cows are not fed with GMO food and are not given prophylactic antibiotics. Certified organic cows graze on natural meadows. Organic milk formula passes through stringent quality checks based on local and international standards to qualify for a certified organic seal.  

2. Soy-based 

While soy-based milk may contain adequate levels of vitamins and minerals, soy protein may cause an allergic reaction in some children. Soy-based milk is not recommended for children with G6PD (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) deficiency. It is best to consult your doctor before giving your child a soy protein-based formula milk.

3. Specialty

Specialty milk formula refers to those that fall under the category of special needs such as lactose intolerance, cesarean births, cow milk protein allergies,  premature births, and low birth weight, among others. 

4. Hydrolyzed formula

Hydrolyzed milk is a type of formula milk that has undergone a process called hydrolyzation. This process breaks down the proteins found in cow's milk or soy milk into smaller, more easily digestible fragments. The purpose of hydrolyzing the proteins is to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction in children who may be sensitive to allergic to intact proteins.

Things to consider when buying formula milk

Milk formula is a major source of nutrients for growing children. Only the healthiest and safest components and nutrients should be present in every glass of milk formula, free from chemicals that don’t belong in your child. Here is a list to consider when choosing formula milk.

  • Probiotics. Probiotics refer to beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. Probiotics in milk formula help restore the balance required between good and bad bacteria, which is essential for a healthy gut.  Probiotics also promote strong immunity and good mental development among children. Some studies suggest that milk with probiotics may help relieve or avoid problems like eczema.

  • 100% Natural Sugar: Lactose. The only natural sugar in milk is lactose. Sugar may be in other forms when added to milk formula such as glucose, sucrose, corn syrup solids, maltodextrin, or fructose.

    When choosing a milk formula, check the label for added sugars. Excess sugar can lead to weight problems or affect dietary choices later on in children's lives. For children below 2 years, health authorities do not recommend the consumption of any added artificial sugars. For above 2 years, the limit has been set to up to 25g a day or equivalent to not more than 6 teaspoons a day. 

  • Fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and omega-6 fatty acid ARA (arachidonic acid) are important for a child’s brain development. Omega 3 fatty acids present in breast milk are essential to good vision and brain and nerve development in children.

  • Free from pesticide or antibiotic residues. Organic milk is produced following strict guidelines and regulations, FREE FROM harmful chemicals, GMOs, artificial hormones, and prophylactic antibiotics.

  • Free from allergens. Allergens are food substances that cause allergic reactions. Choose an organic milk formula free from common allergens such as gluten peanuts, eggs, soya, shell fruits, nuts, and fish.

  • Calcium and Vitamin D. Milk and dairy products are very important elements in your child’s diet because, among other things, they ensure that children get enough calcium for strong bone growth and healthy teeth.

  • Suitable protein content. Proteins play many critical roles in the body.They do most of the work in cells and are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body's tissues and organs. Too much protein, especially in the first 6 months, may not necessarily be healthy for young children and has been associated with unhealthy weight gain and increased the risk of obesity. 

  • Prebiotics + Human Milk Probiotics may help support digestive health and a stronger immune defense in children.

Frequently asked questions on choosing milk formula:

How to choose formula milk for my child?

All food products are required to indicate the ingredients used on their product labels. In milk products apart from the type of milk used, you may see a list of the sugars, fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals, and probiotics present in the milk formula. When you choose certified organic milk, you have the assurance that it is free from harmful chemicals such as pesticide residue, antibiotic residue, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or artificial growth-promoting hormones.

What types of formula milk are there?

There are several types of milk formula available, each designed to meet specific nutritional needs. The most common types are cow's milk-based formula (fresh cow’s milk), soy-based formula (made from soy protein, an alternative for children with cow's milk intolerance or allergies), hydrolyzed milk formula, (have proteins broken down for easier digestion) and specialty (may be prescribed for medical conditions). Additionally, certified organic milk formulas are made to adhere to strict organic farming standards, produced free from chemicals like synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and GMOs.

How do I know what formula milk is best for my child?

Choosing the right formula milk for your child involves several considerations. Begin by discussing your child's specific needs with your pediatrician to discuss your child's specific nutritional requirements. Their professional advice will help guide you in making an informed decision about the most suitable formula for your child.

Can my child drink formula milk with soy?

Using soy milk as a substitute for formula milk is generally not advisable for children under 12 months of age, as it may not provide the essential nutrients necessary for their growth and development. It is essential to consult with a pediatrician to ensure your child receives the appropriate nutrition.


[1] Australia, H. (2020). Feeding your baby with formula. [online] Available at:

[2] Fries, W.C. (n.d.). Baby Formulas: Choosing What’s Best for Your Baby. [online] WebMD. Available at:

‌[3] Healthline. (2020). Choosing Formula for Your Baby: A Guide. [online] Available at:  [Accessed 10 Oct. 2023].

‌[4] Isolauri, E., Arvola, T., SUtas, Y., Moilanen, E. and Salminen, S. (2000). Probiotics in the management of atopic eczema. Clinical Experimental Allergy, [online] 30(11), pp.1605–1610. doi:

[5] Verywell Family. (n.d.). Should You Give Your Baby Soy Formula? [online] Available at:  [Accessed 10 Oct. 2023].


If you wish to receive priority alert on related articles, you may provide us your information: 

click here 

Chat with us on Messenger at