A mother’s milk provides the best nourishment for Baby. And because of its unique composition, breast milk cannot be exactly duplicated by formula milk.
While there’s no set list of what goes into formula, some nutrients such as DHA and AA are strongly recommended by experts.
We ask dietitian Claire James to help break down the ingredients commonly found in follow-on milk. These are also found naturally in breast milk.
AA/ARA (Arachidonic Acid)
What A type of omega-6 fatty acid that’s found in eggs, meat and fish.
Why it’s good It helps to balance the DHA level and support a healthy immune system.
DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)
What An essential omega-3 fatty acid that’s also found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna.
Why it’s good It helps to boost Baby’s brainpower and eye development.
What An amino acid – or building blocks for protein – that is present in seafood and meat.
Why it’s good It helps your little one digest fat and ensures that his liver works efficiently.
What A nutrient in the vitamin B family. It’s found in natural food sources such as eggs, soya, wheatgerm and liver.
Why it’s good It’s essential to support Baby’s nervous system and metabolise fat.
Alpha protein (alpha-lactalbumin)
What The primary protein in breast milk, which is easily digested by babies. It’s also found in the whey protein part of cow’s milk.
Why it’s good Formula milk enriched with the nutrient allows for a lower total protein level. One of the reasons why breastfed babies are less prone to obesity than formula-fed babies may be due to the lower protein levels found in human milk.
What A type of carotene that’s also found in green and yellow vegetables.
Why it’s good It’s found to play an important role in protecting eyes and vision.
What Non-digestible ingredients that serve as food for the good bacteria in the gut. They are widely present in fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and legumes. You may have come across them as Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) or Galactooligosaccharides (GOS).
Why they’re good They encourage the growth of friendly bacteria in Baby’s colon, and keep him healthy.
What Common strains include Bifidobacterium Lactis and BL Bifidus families of live cultures. You can find them in yogurt.
Why they’re good They add to the gut’s healthy bacteria, and help strengthen Baby’s immunity.
What Building blocks for DNA. Meat is the best natural food source of this nutrient.
Why they’re good There is some evidence that nucleotides may enhance Baby’s immune system.