Onwards and upwards
When is it time to move on to the next stage?
As your baby grows, their nutritional needs change. While formula milks are tailored to each stage of your baby’s development, it’s not always easy to decide when to progress from one to the next. Learn more about when to change formulas, what happens when you do, and how each formula is developed specially for your baby’s changing needs.
When it comes to changing formula milk, many mums feel unsure about which milk they should be using and how to move their baby on to the next formula. Unless there is an issue, moving onto the next baby milk shouldn’t be done suddenly. Your baby will need about a week to adjust to a new formula, so introduce it gradually. You may notice some differences in their nappies – their stools may change in frequency, consistency and colour - this is because the nutritional content of the new milk and ingredients might be different to their previous milk and their digestive system may need a little while to adjust.
Which baby milk?
If your baby has been prescribed a special milk (sometimes referred to as a Food for Special Medical Purposes), it’s important that you ask your doctor for advice first before moving on to any other baby milk.
‘Comfort’ milks, are specially designed for babies with colic or constipation. If your doctor has suggested this type of baby milk, try and switch to it as soon as possible, so that your baby can benefit from its special formulation immediately.
When you do make the change, you may notice that your baby has more wind, or that their stools are looser and greenish in colour. This is nothing to worry about and is usually just a sign that your baby’s digestive system is adapting to the new milk.
Once your baby’s digestive system has had a chance to mature, you may like to move back onto a standard infant formula tailored to their stage. If you do decide to change to a standard formula, try and do so gradually and keep an eye out in case your baby’s colic or constipation symptoms reappear.
During the first few weeks, all babies, whether they are being breast or bottlefed, tend to need feeding very frequently – hourly feeds are not uncommon. This is because newborns have very tiny tummies, which are easily filled up in one go. Some mums can mistake this frequent demand for feeding as their baby being unusually hungry and may consider moving them on to Aptamil Hungry Infant Milk which contains 80% casein, compared to 40% in Aptamil First Infant Milk; it’s this higher casein content that helps your baby feel fuller for longer as it is slower to digest than whey.
We advise that if your baby is generally thriving, there’s usually no need to switch. However, if your baby still appears unsatisfied after a feed then ask your healthcare professional about moving on to a hungry milk. Hungry milks may help to delay the early onset of weaning. Babies who are under 6 months of age but are showing early weaning signs can also benefit from being moved on to a hungry formula.
Follow on milks
Follow on baby milks are suitable from 6 months of age and are specially formulated to complement weaning. They provide your growing baby with all the nutrients they need in a smaller volume of milk, leaving room in their tummies for their first weaning foods.
Another important change at 6 months, is that the natural iron stores your baby was born with start to deplete so follow on milks, such as Aptamil Follow On Milk, contain more iron than Aptamil First Infant Milk and Aptamil Hungry Infant Milk. So many mums make the switch to help meet their babies’ changing needs.
Some mums may also consider changing to cows’ milk at this stage, but this not advised as a main drink until at least 12 months, although it can be used in cooking before then.
Growing up milks
Reaching 1 year is a real milestone. Your baby is now a toddler and needs nutrients to fuel their increasing activity and growth. As they develop their own personalities, they may become more stubborn about their likes and dislikes, so it can sometimes be a challenge to provide them with all the goodness they need from their food. This is when milks like Aptamil Growing Up Milk 1-2 years and Aptamil Growing Up Milk 2-3 years can help; they’re specially developed to help support your toddler’s diet.
If you’re thinking about changing baby formula, just remember that all babies develop at different speeds, so there is no set schedule for when to switch baby milks; just tailor the milk to match your baby’s individual stage. If you have any concerns, ask your healthcare professional for advice.
Last reviewed: 28th July 2014
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Breastfeeding is best for babies. Infant formula is suitable from birth when babies are not breastfed. Follow-on milk is only for babies over 6 months, as part of a mixed diet and should not be used as a breastmilk substitute before 6 months. We advise that all formula milks including the decision to start weaning should be made on the advice of a doctor, midwife, health visitor, public health nurse, dietitian, pharmacist or other professional responsible for maternal and child care, based on baby’s individual needs.
Do not use if your baby has been diagnosed with a cow's milk allergy.
Use Growing Up milk as part of a varied balanced diet from 1 year.