what formula? are they all the same?

(62 Posts)
stylostar Thu 07-Feb-13 19:47:50

I'm due with first dc in two weeks and still keeping an open mind on how ill choose to feed. I know breast is best but I have never liked the thought of breastfeeding which is one of the reasons why I've always had doubts about having children. Anyway, I am now and although I've decided to at least try and see how I get on,, I'm also worried about FF. If I do decide toFF , what formula do you use? Are they all fundamentally the same?

Please no pro breastfeeding advice- I know its thebest thing for my baby and believe me this has worried.me since before even TTC!!! I already feel so guilty for feeling this way.

CMOTDibbler Thu 07-Feb-13 19:55:50

They are all same. Choose one stocked in your local corner shop

nextphase Thu 07-Feb-13 20:18:52

From what I understand, they are all the same, but different.
So people tend to stick with one brand, and some find one brand suits more than others. The only way I can think to compare it is dairy milk and galaxy - both got the same stuff in, but people often have a preference.

Enjoy your Baby

Phineyj Thu 07-Feb-13 20:21:53

I think they are all similar but some seem to agree with particular babies more than others. Ours is very happy on SMA Gold but Aptamil upset her tummy. Our midwife advised avoiding hungry baby milk (that's not a brand -- I think several of the companies do it but it has something in that's not very digestible).

I find it convenient that the SMA readymade bottles divide into two decent size feeds -- the Aptamil ones are a less useful size and the tetrapak can't be properly re-closed unlike the SMA bottles.

WorriedMary Thu 07-Feb-13 20:36:12

I've heard that Aptamil is best and that healthcare professionals used to recommend this as being closet to breast milk, but obviously can't now.

Aptamil tends to be more expensive. We used SMA as I used to buy it in litre cartons - because I just didn't feel upto making bottles hmm and couldn't BF.

PickledInAPearTree Thu 07-Feb-13 20:39:37

No they are pretty similar. It's not true that any are closer to breast milk I think that's from past advertising that's since been banned..

I don't think you will find a great deal of difference at all op if you need it.

Bubbless Thu 07-Feb-13 20:41:33

When I was in hospital early January a me (very subtly) advised me that aptimil was closest to breast milk, but I'm not entirely sure what good that is, as often with technology advances we can make things better than nature :s just use whatever is stocked at both you usual supermarket and your local corner shop smile

LST Thu 07-Feb-13 20:44:31

I had no complaints using cow and gate.

Elkieb Thu 07-Feb-13 20:47:21

Cow and gate is the cheapest! Same stuff I think. grin

OrchidFlakes Fri 08-Feb-13 12:21:56

A friend recommended tasting it- if you like it, your baby probably will! Sounds nuts but I discovered some taste awful!

Em2010 Fri 08-Feb-13 13:00:04

C&G and Aptamil are very similar products- made by the same company. Fwiw ds got on best with C&G and Hipp and not so much with SMA but I think it's a coke/Pepsi thing!

PickledInAPearTree Fri 08-Feb-13 13:00:49

They all taste pretty bad!

I ran out of milk once and had a formula cup of tea. It was Viiiile.

Floralnomad Fri 08-Feb-13 13:05:16

I had to FF , albeit many years ago and we went for SMA as it was at that time the only one that came ready mixed and we are basically idle . That said I did on occasion make my own up from powder but it was just that , an occasion. Also don't let anyone make you feel guilty for your decision , whatever it is .

tiktok Fri 08-Feb-13 13:06:10

Good explanation of different formula types, why brands have to be more or less the same, and why scientific-sounding claims that attempt to differentiate different brands are questionable, if you google caroline walker trust review of formula milks in the UK

PickledInAPearTree Fri 08-Feb-13 13:15:25

Tiktok is that the one that compares them all ingredients wise?

I can never remember but used a site that did that which was really useful.

tiktok Fri 08-Feb-13 13:21:01

Not sure if it does precisely that, pickled - it assesses claims and gives a scientific account of what the ingredients might or might not do.

PickledInAPearTree Fri 08-Feb-13 13:23:09

Maybe that's the one I used then.

It was helpful in any case..

I lined the boxes up in tesco to compare a lot of things but its these made up words that confuse.

tiktok Fri 08-Feb-13 13:28:21

Yep, you're right, Pickled - who on earth knows if 'Immunofortis' is 'better' than 'advanced gold system' ????

PickledInAPearTree Fri 08-Feb-13 13:30:48

grin I think the consensus is they are pretty homogenous - this thing about aptimil being closest to breastmilk does linger though - presumably there isn't any truth to this?

As they charge a premium as well.

MotheringShites Fri 08-Feb-13 13:31:04

I have used Aptamil for mine. DTs were born at a fancy London hospital which provided Aptamil. I took this as a good sign.

FWIW I have been through FF guilt. Please don't feel bad about YOUR decision and prepare a bit of a thick skin.

Floralnomad Fri 08-Feb-13 13:32:51

When I had my first one the hospital had all different types and you just picked which one you fancied . Do they not do that anymore?

PickledInAPearTree Fri 08-Feb-13 13:34:36

Your lucky if they provide it at all now. Most places if you decide to formula feed from the off you need to take your own in..

PickledInAPearTree Fri 08-Feb-13 13:35:12

I've been through the guilt too btw.

Horrible horrible business.

sleepyhead Fri 08-Feb-13 13:35:37

They're all basically the same.

Aptamil is not closest to breastmilk but they use a lot of subtle techniques to make you think that, and the premium price is deliberate to make it seem "best". Health Professionals do still sometimes promote it - but that is based on their personal beliefs (probably based on historical marketing to HCPs) and on no scientific evidence whatsoever.

Also, you can chop and change as much as you like. If one milk doesn't agree with your baby then you can switch to another. The formula companies won't recommend this, but that's based on building up brand loyalty rather than anything else.

"Hungry baby" milks are casein based and are less digestible (basically they're the old formula recipe, which was switched to whey based to make it gentler on the baby's stomach and "closer to breastmilk"). They might make the baby sleep longer (or have them up all night screaming with constipation if you're unlucky), but if your baby is actually hungry is it really a good idea to give them less to eat?

Last time about when I gave formula I used Aptamil, because I'm a mug. This time round if I use formula I'll be buying the cheapest and most readily available.

galwaygirl Fri 08-Feb-13 13:35:47

DD didn't get on well with Aptamil - we used Hipp Organic which also claims to be the closest to breast milk

tiktok Fri 08-Feb-13 13:49:25

No formula can claim 'closest to breastmilk' any more, as the ad authorities have prevented it (as all advertising claims have to be truthful). They are not allowed to say 'now closer to breastmilk' either (though they have tried this, too) as that is not supportable.

The market is differentiated, with differences in packaging and in the way the product is branded generally - that's why different milks are promoted in different ways (Cow&Gate with jolly bright colours and fun type ads is aiming at younger mothers; Aptamil with its sophisticated cool pastels and gentle soft focus ads is aiming at older mothers (with more dosh)).

Choose what suits your baby and your pocket and which is on sale locally smile

RedPencils Fri 08-Feb-13 13:57:18

Theyre all the Same.
Choose whatever they stock in your nearest shop. Traipsing to tesco 5 miles away at 11pm because you've run out with a screaming baby is nobodys idea of a good time.

PickledInAPearTree Fri 08-Feb-13 14:04:52

I got aptiniled, tiktok! I'm old. Not sure about the dosh though.

There is also something in that it was a pound more, when you have the guilts it makes you feel you are doing your best?

Hipp organic is one of the cheapest, you can get in bulk from amazon too.

Anyway when you look into it you realise it's all gubbins and second what's at the local shop too!

milkymocha Fri 08-Feb-13 15:46:37

Cow and gate smile

Parsnipcake Fri 08-Feb-13 15:56:20

I am a foster carer of babies and have used all the formulas with no problems. Also, when an emergency baby arrives I have to use whatever I have to hand and have never had a problem with switching. I think a lot of it is myth. Ready made formula in all brands has a different viscosity to powdered, so some babies find the switch between ready made and powdered an issue, and I find powdered hipp seems to be thinner and more accepted by breastfed babies. I tend to use sma if I have the choice because every shop sells it and the travel bottles and tears are a very useful system, but I really wouldn't worry about which brand, babies thrive on all of them. smile

saycheeeeeese Fri 08-Feb-13 15:56:30

I used hipp organic it was tge nicest tasting.

Don't feel guilty about ff, my dd is 18 mo and hasn't been unwell yet!

I don't think 'they're all the same' its usually people with little experience ffing that say that, SMA constipated DD, aptimil filled her with wind, my advice us to buy a carton of each type and try them all. Hipp was the cheapest and thankfully agreed with DD smile

saycheeeeeese Fri 08-Feb-13 15:57:49

Oh and totally agree about the tosh from aptimil!! Don't get sucked in smile

PickledInAPearTree Fri 08-Feb-13 15:59:24

I formula fed and I think they are all the same - by that they are nutritionally the same.

Aptimil worked best for dd1 but it's basically the sane as cow and gate only Difference is fish oil or something. It is however one if the more expensive ones. Try one if it agrees with your baby stick to it. Agree re getting one that is stocked locally in case of emergencies.

fishybits Fri 08-Feb-13 16:05:33

Cow and Gate suited DD, Aptimal did not.

Floralnomad Fri 08-Feb-13 16:07:10

How times change ! I suppose that's partly the encouraging everyone to BF and partly NHS cutbacks . Do they not do the little bottles of water anymore as well?

They still provided then when I had dd2. And they also had the bottles of water as they gave me them to make up dd2s bottles

tiktok Fri 08-Feb-13 16:14:32

They are all the same in that they have to, by international law, have the same nutritional profile - that does not mean they are all identical in every respect.

The biggest measurable difference between them is probably* the water with which they are made up in people's homes which is also 'the same' but not identical. Also, human being do not make up bottles to exactly the same dilution each time, even when they try to smile

* I am guessing - have no real evidence to prove it!

saycheeeeeese Fri 08-Feb-13 16:32:26

They're all the same nutritionally I agree, in that one isnt better than the other, but I think you need to try them all or at least a few to see which one suits your baby because, speaking from experience, my dd reacted very differently to a few of them.

That's all I was trying to say smile

stylostar Fri 08-Feb-13 17:25:25

Wow! Thanks for all the helpful advice guys. I really appreciate it. I did wonder why aptimil is more expensive. I guess expense doesn't necessarily mean better then! Xx

PickledInAPearTree Fri 08-Feb-13 17:42:03

I think the general message is that they are all the same essentially so find whichever one suits you, seems to work ok for the baby, is easy for you to buy and suits your budget and dont feel that you are in any way picking the "wrong" one as essentially, they are nutritionally the same.

zoobaby Fri 08-Feb-13 22:06:39

Hi Stylostar. I'm not a FF so don't know answer to this, but have a question that perhaps would help you make your decision. Again, don't even know if this is a real question or imaginary/mistaken. Basically, maybe you should consider how the different brands are prepared. I mention this because in the very early days I was paranoid about DS going hungry on BM so made sure I had some formula on hand. MIL read the tin (Aptamil) and said that it was different to the one her own daughter uses (SMA I believe). She said that it could be prepared in advance and allowed to stay in fridge etc whereas the Apta tin clearly stated not to do this. Yikes! Again, not sure if that's misinformation, and also sure that not everyone follows directions to the letter (I do as too paranoid), but good knowledge to have in advance.

PickledInAPearTree Fri 08-Feb-13 22:09:57

The guidelines have changed ZOO and its the same for all powdered milk, there is a very specific way you need to make it up as they cannot guarantee its 100% sterile using water at 70 degrees fresh each time.

You might have had 2 brands as the rules changed on the box.

My last friend that had a baby said the MWs suggested using ready made for 6 weeks as this is sterile. To be honest I used ready made a LOT re the above guidelines, not great at night!

Stylostar, congratulations on your soon-to-be newborn.

Probably the best idea imo would be to make sure you understand how to make up formula safely, and then look for the tin shape, equipment, whatever that best suits your lifestyle within those paramaters!?

sleepyhead Fri 08-Feb-13 22:15:18

Oddly, I was looking at the Hipp site earlier this afternoon as I wanted to see if it was still vegetarian (it's not), and they are now saying that their powdered formula must be prepared with water between 50-60 degrees.

Apparently it's because they've added a probiotic which will be killed by higher temps hmm. I wonder how they square that with the NHS guidance? It would put me off buying tbh.

PickledInAPearTree Fri 08-Feb-13 22:15:46

Im happy to run through the guidelines OP if you want.

Its something I looked into a lot, plus I think there are good NHS guidelines.

Id certainly invest in some ready made cartons or bottles of whichever you decide at first when they are feeding very frequently or you will need a kettle on both hands!

I used a bit of both to keep the costs down.

PickledInAPearTree Fri 08-Feb-13 22:18:03

Really sleepy? Thats interesting. I just had a quick peep at the WHO guidelines and 70 degrees was still mentioned.

Wonder how they can square that up.


sleepyhead Fri 08-Feb-13 22:20:28

The probiotic isn't present in the Hipp ready made formula because it wouldn't survive the sterilisation process confused

AmandaPayne Fri 08-Feb-13 22:21:33

Congratulations on your pregnancy. You have every right to choose how you feed your child. Like anything in parenting, I think it's great to keep an open mind and see how you feel when something is actually happening. It's a good philosophy in parenting generally not to have set ideas (whether it is for or against something) in advance.

You've had loads of responses, but I'm going to add my Aptamil rant anyway. It is not more expensive because it is better. It is more expensive to convince you it is better. I feel that's a pretty dishonest marketing technique and personally I would certainly see whether other formulas agree with your baby before trying Aptamil as a last resort.

PickledInAPearTree Fri 08-Feb-13 22:23:29

I knew it was you! They are going to take a hit man out on you Amanda.

Im spreading the word as well. Polar Bear Bastards.

perceptionreality Fri 08-Feb-13 22:24:02

I think it's a myth that any formula could even be compared with breast milk tbh. I used Aptamil for dd3 - I found SMA gold made her sick. I remember she much prefered it made up with powder than when I bought the cartons.

PickledInAPearTree Fri 08-Feb-13 22:24:36

Sleepyhead how bizarre.

perceptionreality Fri 08-Feb-13 22:26:43

One thing to bear in mind though - Aptamil was in cardboard packaging and I remember once some water got underneath a carton and ruined it so I had to throw it away and that was a waste of 10 quid!

SparkyUK Fri 08-Feb-13 22:33:43

I think in terms of nutrients etc they are all really the same. I don't know why it didn't occur to us with DS1 who we mixed fed from week 3, but when we started DS2 on formula at 6 months we went for Hipp as it is organic. I've read loads of places that if you can only go organic on one thing it should be milk, and surely this must be even more true if you are an infant and it is the only thing you are ingesting. And unlike fresh milk, it is the same price, if not cheaper, than the other brands.

DeDevilTail Fri 08-Feb-13 22:51:25

When I switched from BF to formula, I went for Aptamil simply because I knew it was the one my friend had used with her DC and figured that they'd done ok on it. After a few weeks, I switched to Hipp Organic because it was cheaper but it made DD constipated so I went back to Aptamil. I'm sure SMA or C&G might suit her just as well but I'm not prepared to risk the misery of constipation again when she's thriving on Aptamil. It may be a bit more expensive but it breaks down to only a few pence more per bottle. Not enough to incentivise me to change again.

PickledInAPearTree Fri 08-Feb-13 23:33:45

No if your settled stick with it, if I FF again though I wont start on it unless its the last one I try!

I used it last time and HIPP DS was fine on both.

Bit odd about this HIPP business though that will def. put me off.

PickledInAPearTree Fri 08-Feb-13 23:34:49

HIPP was cheaper when I bought it, but cunningly it was in a slightly smaller box. Still cheaper but not by as much as you think!

AmandaPayne Sat 09-Feb-13 07:44:26

Pickled - You knew it was me? You mean from my rant on Aptamil last week you knew I'd show up on this thread. Or, oh goodness this is worse, my rant is so well known that you've just linked this user name to an old one. I do think I may be a leeeetle obsessed in my hatred of the polar bear brand blush.

Zara1984 Sat 09-Feb-13 14:51:35

They are definitely all the same nutritionally (based on what paed friends of mine have told me). DS will take any brand, BUT I have noticed on SMA (contains soy) that it makes him smell like peanuts and his poos were greener/stinkier. grin grin

Zara1984 Sat 09-Feb-13 15:03:32

Oh Amanda - here's an interesting addition to the "Aptamil is more pricey for no good reason" thing.

I was in New Zealand in December and January. DS is normally on Aptamil (no particular reason, mainly because it's what all my FF friends use too). Tried to choose the NZ brand formula most similar to Aptamil (even though they're all the same nutritionally I know, but I didn't want any tummy upsets on holiday!). In NZ this is a brand called Karicare Gold. It's obvious Karicare is the same as Aptamil (even if you don't compare the nutrition labels) - the blur tub has the same design except it's a brown bear instead of a polar beat etc etc. Anyway, they are now rolling out "Aptamil" as a separate product in NZ too - same tub design (brown bear etc), same nutritional content as Karicare, it just says Aptamil on the tub instead. Oh and IS ELEVEN DOLLARS MORE EXPENSIVE than Karicare!! WTF! That's about 6 pounds!!

This new and more expensive Aptamil was often sold out at the supermarket, too. They have to put limits on how many tubs you can buy at most shops because (I'm not stereotyping, I have friends that do this!) many Chinese people buy up NZ formula in bulk and sell/send back home because its very highly prized for it's quality. So the most expensive formula (Aptamil is the most expensive by quite a long shot) is the most desirable IYSWIM.

It was actually weird/interesting seeing all the different formula brands in NZ. Nestlé have one called Nan confused what a weird name!!

Phineyj Sat 09-Feb-13 18:34:14


Thank you, I shall use Aptamil as an example for my Economics students -- great example of high price making product more desirable!

aamia Sun 10-Feb-13 08:45:48

Aptamil tastes disgusting btw and nothing at all like breast milk. Hipp tastes much better - closer to bm just a bit powdery in taste as you would expect.

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