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USING INFANT FORMULA

If a baby less than 12 months of age is not drinking breastmilk, the default breastmilk substitute should be 'first' or 'stage 1' infant formula (a misleading term given that there is no recommended 'second' or subsequent stage infant formula).

 

In a baby drinking infant formula who is diagnosed with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, thickened milk may be indicated as outlined in NICE guidance. These are currently available directly to the public but should only be used under medical supervision.

In a baby drinking infant formula who is diagnosed with cows milk protein allergy, extensively hydrolysed or amino acid formula will be indicated as outlined in the NICE CKS. These are available on prescription only.

In a baby drinking infant formula who is diagnosed with lactose intolerance (extremely rare as a primary diagnosis in infants and self limiting when seen post diarrhoeal illness), lactose free formula may be indicated. This is currently available directly to the public but should only be used under medical supervision.

There is no indication or convincing scientific evidence for any other publicly available infant formula, for example 'comfort milk', 'follow-on formula' or 'hungry baby formula'. There is also no convincing evidence for the additional elements that companies use for marketing purposes to try and distinguish their product from others - all necessary compounds must be included in all infant formula.

Very detailed analyses of different types of infant formula, and evaluation of the claims of breastmilk substitute manufacturers for their products can be found at the First Steps Nutrition Trust website.