Is There Really a Difference in an Infant Formula Age Range?

Is There Really a Difference in an Infant Formula Age Range?


Is There Really a Difference in an Infant Formula Age Range? 

Your formula says from birth on, but other brands say 0-3 months. Do you need to have different stages for different ages, and why?

When you go to the store, are you confused by the different types of infant formula, baby formula, newborn formula, toddler formula, and on and on and on? Formula that is made in the United States follow different guidelines than European formula, which includes the age range of use.

What Do The Age Ranges of Formula Mean? 

Here is a general breakdown that applies to most American formula:

  • Newborn: 0-3 months
  • Infant: 0-12 months
  • Baby: 0-12 months
  • Toddler: 12 months – on

What Do the Age Ranges Really Mean?

When it comes to formula manufactured in the United States, it is not so much the age stamp on the front of the package. The part that matters is the nutrition label. When compared side to side, you will see the difference may not be so different after all. The Food and Drug Administration requires that manufacturers meet the minimum requirements for baby food so that it is consistent across the board. That means that they all have 3 key nutrients including protein and fat, 12 vitamins in milk-based formula such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, and 12 minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and iron. A side-by-side comparison two similar types of formula from different brands, you will see these similarities. The same is true for some “newborn” formula and “infant” formula.

The European Union has a simpler way to designate formula. When you look at the products on OrganicBaby, you will find that formula is divided into stages Pre through 3.

  • Stage PRE: from birth on
  • Stage 1: from birth on
  • Stage 2: from six months on
  • Stage 3: from ten months on

Pre is a stage that is available in select varieties of formula because it has no starch and helps infants who are more sensitive to tummy troubles. This may be confusing if parents assume it is a higher calorie formula designed for premature babies.

Stage 1 is typically the first formula your baby will ever have and it can continue with your baby until they are ready to transition to whole milk. It may be called First Milk. However, once your baby is more active, they may require more calories that they do not get from just Stage 1 formula or solids.

Stage 2 has more nutrients like iron, fat, protein, and carbohydrates to provide your crawler with more energy for all they do. That is why it is designated for infants ages 6 months on after they have started solids. It may be called Follow On milk.

Stage 3 has all of the goodness of formula but contains more of the nutrients that come with whole milk. Some older infants and toddlers are not ready for whole milk or are slow to make the transition. Toddler milk keeps your little one satisfied while meeting all of those nutritional needs.

While the European brands make it easier to know when your baby can take the next step in infant formula, it is still important to know what your baby is eating. OrganicBaby makes it easy to read and compare ingredients and nutritional values before ordering. That kind of information will give you peace of mind for every stage of your infant's growth in the first year.