Infant Formula vs. Follow-up Formula – What’s the Difference

If you have kids, you know how challenging it can be to find the right formula for your infant. With so many options available, it’s hard to pick the one that’s best for your baby and its particular needs. If you’re confused about what types of formulas are available and which is best, don’t worry; this article has all the answers! To learn more about what each type of formula has to offer, check out the information below.

What is Follow-up Formula?

A follow-up formula is an easy way to transition your baby from infant formula to whole milk. Like other formulas, these can be bought in powder or ready-to-drink liquid form and are packed with essential nutrients like protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, lactose (milk sugar), etc. These have added DHA that’s good for your baby’s vision development.

One cup of ready-to-drink milk has about 150 calories. The first few months of life are a time when babies grow quickly—and it takes a lot of nutrition to fuel their growth. That’s why most experts recommend starting solids around 6 months old.

However, some parents choose to start earlier—or later—than that because they want their babies to get used to different tastes and textures before they begin eating solids.

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What is Infant Formula?

A baby under a year of age requires infant formula as it is unable to digest solid foods. Therefore, these formulas are based on fats and proteins, which are easily digestible. These formulas also contain iron, calcium, zinc, and other nutrients that may not be available in breast milk.

Cow’s milk is not recommended for babies below one year because their stomach isn’t developed enough to process lactose properly. Baby formula contains all necessary nutrients including carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

Some formulas also have DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid), fatty acids found in breast milk that help develop brain cells and improve vision. In addition, most brands of infant formula come with prebiotics or probiotics to aid digestion. Infant formulas can be purchased at grocery stores or pharmacies without prescription or medical advice.

Difference between Infant Formula and Follow-up Formula

Ingredients in formulas differ from brand to brand

Some contain just a single ingredient, like soy protein or whey. Others are more complex mixtures of fat, carbohydrates, proteins, and amino acids. Basic infant formula may contain only three ingredients—carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

One major type of infant formula contains cow’s milk as its main ingredient; these formulas are used if you have an allergy to lactose or choose not to breastfeed your baby. Another type of infant formula is called a hypoallergenic formula. These formulas use special proteins that break down into tiny pieces that can be digested easily by babies with food allergies.

Which One is the Best?

For babies 6 to 12 months, follow-up formulas are ideal. Follow-up formulas are similar to baby formulas but are more nutrient-dense. Follow-ups contain additional protein, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, D, E, and K. They’re also lower in sugar than baby formulas so they can be a good option for moms looking to wean their babies from breastfeeding or bottle feeding.

However, follow-up formulas aren’t recommended for infants younger than 6 months of age because their bodies don’t need as many nutrients at that stage. If you do choose to feed your baby a follow-up formula before he turns 6 months old, make sure you consult with your pediatrician first.

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How do you choose a baby formula?

There are many brands available when it comes to baby formula. It can be confusing for a new parent to determine which one is best for their baby. It’s important to keep in mind that there are different kinds of formulas depending on your child’s age. Your pediatrician will help you decide what type of formula is best suited for your child. Here, we discuss two main types: infants’ formulas and follow-up formulas.

4 stages of Milk Feeding

The following four stages of milk feeding from birth to toddlerhood are categorized by babies’ growing nutritional needs. Nutrition recommendations for each stage are based on World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

For each stage, it is important to remember that there will be a variety of approaches in different cultures, as well as family preferences, so consult with your doctor or health care provider about what works best for you and your baby.

This fact sheet provides general information only and should not be used to replace professional medical advice in individual cases. If your child has a medical condition, talk to your doctor before changing his/her diet.


Overall, it’s important to know what your baby likes, or at least try a few different brands. Some babies are fans of one type of follow-up formula and not another, while others don’t seem to mind what they drink. We encourage you to keep trying until you find something that suits your little one’s taste buds!

About Alisha John

A Nature Lover and Freelance Writer! I write about daily practices for optimizing both happiness and health.

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