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Aptamil, SMA or Cow & Gate

(54 Posts)
endlesslove Mon 02-Jul-07 10:50:40

I am a first time mum to be in 6 weeks. Already know I will be bottle feeding. Anyone have any preferences on the milk formulas above? I am not sure which to use.

MotherofZ Mon 02-Jul-07 10:53:06

Don't know if there is any major difference between the three, but I personally prefered SMA. Tried Cow and Gate, but my daughter had difficulty digesting it and the health visitor recommended switching to SMA and she was much better with that.

scorpio1 Mon 02-Jul-07 10:55:17

i too preferred SMA for both my babies

hockeypuck Mon 02-Jul-07 10:56:51

The doctors etc in this area recommend Aptamil as it has additional things in it that are found in breast milk but not in other formula (ready to get shot down by the boob police). When I had DS and said I was going to use Aptamil to top him up after breast feeding, the midwife said "oh good, you know what you're doing" they are not officially allowed to recommend anything but will do when pushed.

Try one and then if it doesn't work get advice from your HV before switching.

gegs73 Mon 02-Jul-07 10:57:39

I did the opposite, had SMA first but constipated DS1 so swopped to C&G with no problems. Think it depends on the baby but you can always swop if the baby has problems with it.

endlesslove Mon 02-Jul-07 10:57:58

Thank you.

There is just so much to think about and I wasn't sure if one had better 'things' in it than the others.

My next question is how do you make them up?!

scorpio1 Mon 02-Jul-07 11:00:17

cooled boiled water in sterilised bottle.

a scoop (level) of formula per 1 fl/oz of cooled boiled water,


test on inside of wrist for temp, and feed!

scorpio1 Mon 02-Jul-07 11:00:59

they only take a few ounces at first, seems really small amount!

endlesslove Mon 02-Jul-07 11:05:19

This is what I am confused about - the cooled boiled water bit!

Do you cool down in kettle then add to sterilised bottles, or do you poor fresh boiled water into sterilised bottles and leave on side to cool down with lids on or off, or do you put boiled water into sterilised bottles into fridge to cool down?

With the sterilising, do you do in advance and leave the bottles in the steriliser until needed?

Sorry if I sound think but formula milk seems so much more confusing!


MrsBadger Mon 02-Jul-07 11:08:54

Mears posted the most recent guidelines recently...


this will download the Food Standards Agency pdf.

scorpio1 Mon 02-Jul-07 11:09:07

i left the water to cool in kettle for about 45 mins. it has to be only boiled once water.

sterilising: i made my bottles up straight away after the steriliser finished.as long as you leave the lid on the steriliser, they will stay sterile for about 2 hours.

be really clean when you make them. wash your hands and worktop before, make sure knife you use to level off formula scoop is clean too.

i made mine up and put them in the fridge, they keep for up to 24 hours, although im not sure about current advice on this (last baby i had is nearly 3)

any more questions?

MrsBadger Mon 02-Jul-07 11:09:10

(and you're right, it is a faff)

lilymolly Mon 02-Jul-07 11:09:39

If Formula is confusing........

Then breast feed

or at least give it a try??

Not trying to bully you at all as I ff when dd was 17 weeks, but I can never understand why people dont even "try" to breast feed, would love to know your reasons.

scorpio1 Mon 02-Jul-07 11:11:52

I didn't-just didn't want to, not at all.

lilymolly Mon 02-Jul-07 11:14:49

Yes I guess somepeople just do not want to, and that is TOTALLY fair enought, to be honest, I found bf very painfull,and difficult and was amazed i stuck it out for 17 weeks, but I am still proud that I gave it a shot.
Not trying to be smug, iyswim

I used SMA, in answer to the op.

See what suits your baby - I breastfed and when it came to going on formula had quite a difficult time because he didn't like the flavour - the only one he like was aptamil

MuffinMclay Mon 02-Jul-07 11:29:43

SMA is one of the easiest to get hold of. Lots of people rave about Aptamil, but it is erratically stocked in my local supermarket, so SMA seemed easier.

Twinklemegan Mon 02-Jul-07 11:31:58

Aptamil is very expensive. I understand that Cow and Gate is just as good and a pound cheaper.

Carmenere Mon 02-Jul-07 11:33:02

I used SMA, Aptimil, Farleys, Cow and Gate, whatever was available really. That said I bf for the first 4 months and did use SMA mostly when I stopped but my dd wasn't fussy and drank whatever I gave her.
My no 1 ff tip is that you don't have to heat the milk. Room temperature is fine. It saves LOADS of hassle.

endlesslove Mon 02-Jul-07 11:35:00

Thank you everyone. I have heard that Aptamil is the best...not sure why though.

smallwhitecat Mon 02-Jul-07 11:36:34

I used SMA, but was recommended by a friend to try Aptamil when ds became constipated. It worked a treat. I would say also that a friend of mine who works as a food scientist - not for a company which makes formula before anyone shoots me down! - says that if you do FF Aptamil is the best and it is what she uses. All this is purely anecdotal of course but I will say I find it worht the extra expense.
BTW new guidelines referred to below make clear the feed should be made up within 30 minutes of boiling the water - v important as powder not sterile - does not take long to cool if you place in cold water bath, then in fridge.

Twinklemegan Mon 02-Jul-07 11:38:38

Aptamil advertise in the professional journals and the name "sounds" scientific. Aptamil and Cow & Gate are both owned by the same Dutch company NUMICO. I understand that the formulation is pretty much identical.

eidsvold Mon 02-Jul-07 11:48:43

i used aptamil for dd1 only cause I had no idea what to give her - being relatively new to formula in the UK. It was recommended by the NICU consultant when dd1 was released from hospital.

smallwhitecat Mon 02-Jul-07 11:54:51

I have never tried Cow and Gate so cannot vouch. can only say, again anecdotally, that SMA does seem to be quite notorious for causing constipation, but every baby is different. Would also say unless there is some reason why it is medically not possible, to at least try bf. If you get it established life will be so much easier in the long run. Washing, sterilising, making up feeds is a terrible faff.

bagsundereyes Mon 02-Jul-07 12:03:56

I formula feed and have done from when dd was 4 weeks.

I agree that formula feeding from such a young age is a bit of a PITA, though. You'll need to make up 7-8, maybe more bottles per day, and the washing, sterilising, and making up of formula can be tricky to fit into the day if your little one wants to be held and have lots of mum's attention. You'll throw lots away as well.

I started with SMA for purely practical reasons - it is widely available in the smallest of shops (in case you run out). They make cartons of ready-mixed formula, which are also widely available, and are really useful for days out. I don't know about the other brands but it's worth picking one that sells ready-made formula . dd seems not to have problems with SMA.

honeyapple Mon 02-Jul-07 12:09:25

why do you want to give your baby milk that is supposed to be for a calf? Sorry, I just cannot understand why anyone would choose this route without even trying breast feeding... and NO I am not a member of the bf police... just a normal sane person.

When I stopped bf my Ds at about 1 yr old I gave him Nanny which is a goat milk formula. It is supposedly much better for babies, but is expensive. There is also an organic cow milk one you can get in health food shops... sorry, cant remember the name... babynat??

scorpio1 Mon 02-Jul-07 12:12:57

i'm a normal sane educated person.

i didn't want to breastfeed. i had never seen anyone do it before, either. just didnt want to, and im happy with what i chose.

im now ttc dc3 and wondering, only from a friends excellent example, about BF-ing the new baby.

the poster says she wants to FF-just leave it at that, surely?

ScoobyC Mon 02-Jul-07 12:13:48

Aptimil because I read somewhere on mumsnet that it has something in it to make it easier to digest and has fish-oils in it.

It will all seem complicated to start with but you soon get into routines and it gets easier.

Good luck!

honeyapple Mon 02-Jul-07 12:17:46

Sorry Scorpio- good luck with number 3.
(But I dont think anyone can argue that bf is not best for babies... and it is also very good for the mother)

Also... I had never seen anyone bf either, had my son when I was fairly young... but I knew what my breasts where made for...

Right I am going now...

smallwhitecat Mon 02-Jul-07 12:18:19

I'm not trying to force the issue, but as the Op said in her post she's a first time Mum. I'm not sure of her reasons for choosing FF but I just wanted to dispell any illusion she might be under that it's easier. It's certainly easier to establish, but in the long run it's a whole lot harder.
Would second what is said below about cartons - I would certainly use these in the early days not just because they're easier but they are also UHT i.e. sterile which powder is not - safer for newborn immune systems IMHO.

scorpio1 Mon 02-Jul-07 12:21:27

i knew what they were for, just simply did not want to. i know its best for mum and baby, i know that. my choice, posters choice.

scorpio1 Mon 02-Jul-07 12:21:50

oh and yes, bottles are a faff!!

Lolly68 Mon 02-Jul-07 12:26:31

I breast fed for 4 months and then had to give up on doctors advice. I started using SMA but it was so thick and greasy and DD did not like it at all. In the end HV recommended Aptamil and it was so much better so that is what I would recommend.

goingfor3 Mon 02-Jul-07 12:31:28

I gave DD1 Aptamil when I stopped bf because the woman I worked for as a nanny was a doctor and it was what her and her friend used . At the time it was much more expesive than the others now I think the prices of milk are failry similar.

kslatts Mon 02-Jul-07 12:41:43

When I had dd1 I tried SMA, but it didn't seem to agree with her so changed to cow and gate. With dd2 used cow and gate.

Do you know which steriliser you are going to use, my friend used a microwave one and recommended it as it was quicker.

twoplusone Mon 02-Jul-07 12:43:45

I used cow and gate for my dd and ds.

Have also got a tub of Cow and gate in for DS2 (due in 13days)

I will be trying to bf again,(neither of my other two would bf!) but if he wont will be expressing and ff .

Good luck hun.xx

Just remember each baby is different.. I have heard alot of stories re babies being sickly and constipated on SMA.

LucyJu Mon 02-Jul-07 13:46:07

You could get a lot more advice about this if you posted the same question on the "Breast and bottle-feeding " thread.

The short answer is that there is no independent research to say which is the "best" formula. All infant formula sold in the UK has to provide a specified level of nutrients. The reason that Aptamil is often promoted by health professionals is due to the way in which it is heavily marketed in trade journals and so on.

lissie Mon 02-Jul-07 13:56:27

dont feel bad about your choice, its your body and your child. i used sma (purely because my SIL did and i had planned on bf) and had no probs at all with it. but as far as i can gather they are pretty much all the same.

PinkChick Mon 02-Jul-07 14:01:13

my dd had cow and gate and was sick until she was 6 months until i switched her to next stage diff brand and from then on she was totally fine!.HV kept telling me NO when i was asking about changing to diff brand, they said it would upset her tummy too much??, so stuck with it, wish id had more confidence in myself now though!

Meglet Mon 02-Jul-07 14:05:26

My DS would not take to the breast initially and the midwives gave him Aptamil while we established b/feeding. Although I have heard that Cow & Gate and Aptamil are very similar. Aptamil is expensive though.

Personally I prefer the Aptamil 'box' style packaging as its easier to use, I nearly had a tantrum when I tried a regular tin style formula and had to faff about with a knife levelling off the scoop . Petty I know, but it really annoyed me and it seemed less hygenic.

Used the Avent steam steriliser, seems fine. Bottles are a pain in the backside though.

canmummy Mon 02-Jul-07 14:05:51

I've never ff a newborn but from experience of mixed feeding an older baby, C&G seemed to suit dd2 but after reading all the rave reviews about aptamil tried dd3 with some and she spent the whole night throwing up! Don't know if that was just coincidence as she's normally breastfed? What about trying the cartons first so you only waste a small amount if it's not suited to your baby? (That also saves you the hassle of making up the bottles with cooled, boiled water but will work out more expensive)

claraq Mon 02-Jul-07 14:32:28

I bf for first few months then started ff. Used Aptimil at first as it was recommended by everyone I knew. But dd was a very sicky baby (to the extent that it was possibly reflux and was causing all sorts of problems including waking several times in the night) and Aptimil didn't seem to make it any better. Swapped to SMA because we had moved temporarily overseas and it was the only formula I recognised, and never looked back. DD stopped puking and started sleeping - now wouldn't use anything else (and no I am not paid by SMA!).

sarahmikeandharry Mon 02-Jul-07 14:37:56

Hi i used SMA for the first few weeks but Harry suffered with constipation and i was recomended Farleys, it was brilliant Harry was much happier, will definately be using Farleys this time too!!!!

KindMum Mon 02-Jul-07 17:44:48

I chose formula at random, probably start with the cheapest big brand one.

Have to say I would give bf a try. When I see friends bf now I realise it is MUCH MUCH easier. Don´t underestimate just how much you will HATE the whole formula feeding rituals, sterilizing, making up bottles,etc.; it seems to go on forever. Not to mention just how much it makes getting out and about a pain in the *.

mears Mon 02-Jul-07 18:02:44

Aptamil is no better than the other milks - our baby unit chose it to make life easy and not have loads of milks when mothers can't make up their minds. It really is as simple as that. There is no one formula that is closest to breast milk - they are all miles away and each company advertises some new addition that no other milk has. At the moment SMA Gold are advertising some new wonder addition.

Formula milk is adapted milk that is good enough for a baby but no where near breast milk in reality. When choosing to bottle feed, I would advise you get the milk that is most readily available in a store near you.

rhubarb90 Mon 02-Jul-07 19:02:11

I used Cow and Gate for my DS because it was what the midwife gave DP to feed him for the first time in hospital. I have a vague recollection of being asked if I had any preference but I had no idea. It worked out fine anyway, he had no problems with it and it is about £1 - £1.50 cheaper than SMA and Aptamil. I think they are probably all as good as each other really.

Twinklemegan Tue 03-Jul-07 21:11:28

In my local Tesco, SMA and Farleys are around £4.99 a tin, Cow and Gate is £5.98 and Aptamil is £6.98.

wishingfourgotone Tue 03-Jul-07 21:24:00

think every baby different, gave my dd cow an gate my sis used sma, sma smells very strong

kathryn77 Tue 03-Jul-07 21:31:44

I use aptimal - midwife recommended it. But, silly suggestion but mayb look what is in your local shop... our tescos express does aptimal only so that is good when we run out in the middle of night <once or twice as disorganised!>

Also, i agree wiht an earlier comment - my ds only ha room temparature formula,.no warm milk and saves a lot of hassle as when used expressed milk, was a pain sometimes to heat up in cafes etc

youpeskykids Tue 03-Jul-07 21:46:40

Am with Kathryn77 in giving room temperature milk, so much easier!

And please don't be put off by the anti-formula muffia. Bottle feeding is NOT difficult and is NOT time consuming and is no more of a pain in the backside in the middle of the night than BF is - its all down to the preparation!

FWIW - DS1 (10lb birthweight) thrived on SMA, so obvious choice for DS2 (9lb birthweight)who is now 13 weeks. He didn't take to SMA at all and is now a much happier and contented baby on Cow&Gate.

I would recommend you go with the brands which are most readily available - I liked Cow&Gate, Farleys and SMA as they also do handy 1 feed cartons which seems do be available in most places. These are excellent in emergencies!

MrsKrabadger Tue 03-Jul-07 21:48:38

(do pick one you can bear the smell of though - some honk when you open the tin...)

VVVSzyslak Tue 03-Jul-07 21:49:12

Check out what your supermarket sells, and then what your local 24/7 grocery store sells.

Pick the brand that both stock to start with and take it from there.

Alfie72 Thu 05-Jul-07 21:07:18

Blimey the breast feeding police are out today !! You have to do whatever suits you and your baby at the end of the day !!
some mums go through such stress with breastfeeding and then don't produce enough milk which equals hungry, crying baby and upset mum.
If you do think bottle feeding is the key-
I would perhaps try a few of those little pre- made formulas first and see which is better. You may need to try out a couple of different teats too as some babies adapt better to different flows and shapes.
All the best !!

ratfly Thu 05-Jul-07 22:18:46

I use Aptamil - it has a leveller in it so you don't need a clean knife to level the formula on the scoop.

To make it, I sterilse all the bottles I need in 1 go and fill them with the right amount of freshly boiled water. Stick them in the fridge. when the time comes, add the formula and microwave. make sure you shake it though or it can gee too hot round the edges and not in the middle.

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