How Is Baby Formula Made?

How Is Baby Formula Made?

Baby formula, also known as infant formula or formula milk, is designed to serve as an alternative to human milk and is suitable for infants 12 months and younger. Baby formula is a supplement and contains all the necessary nutrients your baby needs, especially when prepared properly. As a nursing parent, if you have chosen the infant formula route, you must understand how baby formula powder is made, its safety guidelines, and its overall concept.

What Is Baby Formula?

As mentioned earlier, baby formulas are food products that substitute for breastmilk. They are used mostly by nursing parents who have trouble breastfeeding. Although baby formula cannot entirely replace human milk, it has all the necessary ingredients your baby needs to grow and develop; this means a baby nurtured with formula milk would still grow as healthily as a breastfed child.

Before the manufacturing of baby formula, parents who had trouble breastfeeding depended on wet nurses to nurses to do so. However, the need for wet nurses has diminished with the adoption of baby formula. There are safety measures to take while preparing baby formula, but before that, let’s look into what it is made from.

What Is Baby Formula Made From?

The contents found in baby formula may differ based on brand. However, there are significant similarities in the source of nutrients that must be present in the formula. For example, the modern baby formula contains filtered cow milk as a source of protein, vegetable oil as a source of fat, lactose as a source of carbohydrates, maltodextrin, and other vitamins and minerals. 

Soy-based milk products serve as a replacement if the baby is lactose intolerant. Other ingredients are based on the manufacturer’s preference. Many manufacturers are now adding probiotics and prebiotics to their formulas.

Baby formula can come in three forms:

  • Powdered: This is the least expensive of the three and is prepared by adding scoops into the water, creating milk for your baby after it is dissolved. You should boil the water first and sterilize the feeding bottle to ensure it is clean enough for consumption.
  • Concentrated liquid formula: This is more expensive than powdered formula. The concentrated formula must be properly measured, mixed with clean water, and served with sterilized utensils like the powdered. However, a disadvantage of this formula is that you must use it quickly once it is opened.
  • Ready-to-feed: This is the most convenient as it doesn’t require any preparation process.

Types of Baby Formula

When choosing a formula for your baby, you must first decide what kind of preparation you are comfortable with. The most common type of formula used is a cow’s milk formula. These formulas use cow’s milk protein as their base and contain lactose and minerals from the cow’s milk. 

The formula is now made to resemble breast milk closely. Most babies do well with cow’s milk formula. However, colic, fussiness, and gas are the most common issues associated with cow’s milk formula. Figuring out what kind of formula to feed can be very confusing. Let’s explore other different types of formulas and why you might choose to use them.

First Infant Formula (First Milk)

The first instant formula is great for babies a day old or less and can directly replace breast milk. It is based on the whey protein and is much easier to digest than the other formulas. Unless your pediatrician says so, do not give your infant a formula that isn’t the first milk formula, at least for the first 6 months.

Goats’ Milk Formula

This is also appropriate for newborns. However, it may trigger certain levels of allergy. Many experts advise that parents stay away from feeding their babies goat milk because they have a tender digestive system that cannot handle the proteins derived from animal milk.

Hungrier Baby Formula (Hungry Milk)

This formula is also suitable for newborns, but consult a health expert before use. The general working principle of this formula is the presence of certain nutrients, which the digestive ducts of babies find relatively difficult to handle compared to other macronutrients. Precisely, the formula contains protein casein. So, instead of being digested in about an hour, this protein literally takes a range of two to four hours to digest, keeping the baby full until then. 

Anti-Reflux (Stay-down) Formula

If given from birth, you must use this formula under medical supervision. This is because, depending on the brand, the preparation of this formula differs. Anti-reflux formula is designed for babies with frequent reflux. It is a thickened formula that helps keep the food down. It is much advised for babies 6 months and older and can be combined with solid food.

Comfort Formula

Comfort milk formula usually has partially hydrolyzed protein and less lactose content and is aimed at reducing constipation, though there is no evidence it works. The proteins in this formula are broken down to ease digestion and prevent colic. However, they are unsuitable for infants with cow’s milk allergy.

Lactose-Free Formula

The lactose-free formula is an excellent choice for your baby as lactose is a milk sugar. When an infant is lactose intolerant, drinking a standard cow’s milk formula can cause colic and gas, leading to severe discomfort in the baby. Although lactose intolerance is rare in babies, it can occur for a short period following an illness that causes diarrhea. 

You should not feed a child suffering from diarrhea with this formula. Lactose-free formulas may also be used for babies diagnosed with galactosemia. 

Hypoallergenic Formula

The hypoallergenic milk is similar to comfort milk, except they are slightly hydrolyzed with more control, exclusively whey or casein-based. They, however, have some significant reductions in lactose as well. So far, there’s no proof that they reduce allergies, so you should not use them to treat milk and allergy intolerance.

Follow-On Formula

The follow-on formula is suitable for infants from 6 months. Research shows that there are no additional benefits of the follow-on formula that are not already present in the first milk formula, and you can feed your newborn baby with the first milk until they are a year old. You should not feed children under 6 months with follow-on!

Soya Formula

Soya formula is great for 6+ months babies when the mother is weaning. In fact, it’s a common alternative to cow and goat milk, especially when the baby shows clear signs of allergies to them. However, this formula must be provided under strict medical guidelines due to its large concentration of phytoestrogens. Studies suggest that these chemicals can cause rapid development in the female child, with adverse effects in males.

Growing-Up Milk (Toddler Milk)

Suitable for children a year and above. They help balance your child’s diet and provide missing nutrients not present in other solid foods. It is made with a lower level of protein appropriate for your toddler. However, it should not be a substitute for breast milk as its major aim is to provide a balanced diet for your infant.

How Is Baby Formula Made?

To the question “How is baby formula made?” here is a detailed answer: the entire process of making baby formula is precise and sterile. It is carried out under strict supervision using standard machines and production plants. Otherwise, if consumed by babies, it may lead to several health problems. Since the most common is the powdered formula, let’s look into its manufacturing process. The manufacturing process of powdered baby formula is as follows:

    • The metering of the base liquid: The base liquid is carefully measured and placed in the process vessel, where it is heated to aid dissolving. This process is crucial, and strict safety and hygiene measures are observed.
    • Mixing of powdered ingredients: The powdered ingredients (milk proteins, other nutrients, and carbohydrate sources) are added. Heat-sensitive ingredients are added later on.
    • Homogenization of the premix: The premix is then homogenized under high pressure to help prevent harmful bacteria 
    • Heat Sterilization: It then goes through heat sterilization.
    • Spray drying and packaging of formula: The product is then spray dried to powder form and carefully packaged.

Challenges in Baby Formula Production

  • Inconsistent mixing may deteriorate the quality and effectiveness of the formula
  • Ensure optimal distribution of the ingredients, as this would improve the product’s final quality. Ineffective dispersion may reduce the quality and give the product an uneven texture.
  • The powders must be added at a precise rate to prevent lumps from forming.
  • Hygiene challenges. Producing baby formula is delicate and must be done as hygienic as possible.
  • Homogenizing the premix at extremely high temperatures may place the product at risk of damage or even contamination.

How Long Is Baby Formula Good For After Made?

Frequently asked is the question; “how long is baby formula good for once made?” Depending on the form, the shelf life of baby formula differs. The powdered formula lasts longer than the concentrated liquid or the ready-to-use formula. The concentrated liquid and the ready-to-use formulas may only be refrigerated for at least 48 hours after opening them. Here are some pointers on the preparation and storage of baby formula.

  1. Preparation: You must take extra steps to ensure that the preparation of your baby’s formula is free from germs that could make them sick by following these few steps
  • Wash your hands under running water for at least 20 seconds before preparing the formula. Also, clean the utensils and the workspace in which you would prepare the formula.
  • You do not need to warm your baby’s milk before giving it, but do not use a microwave if you insist on warming it up. Instead, place the bottle under warm running water. Ensure the water does not get into the bottle or touch the nipple. After warming it, place a few drops at the back of your hands to see if it is safe enough for your baby to drink.
  • If you’re using powdered formula, use water from a safe source for mixing. Tap water is preferable, but if you are still determining your tap water, you can sterilize it by boiling it. 
  • Put the exact amount of water instructed on the formula container. More water may not reduce the nutritional value, and more water may cause dehydration.
  1. Storage: Here are some safe storage measures
  • Don’t leave the already prepared formula at room temperature. It may cause spoilage.
  • After feeding your baby, throw away any leftover formula immediately because the combination of the formula and your baby’s saliva may cause bacteria to grow. Wash the bottle immediately as well.
  • Do not store unopened formulas outdoors or in closed places like garages or vehicles. Store in a cool and dry indoor place.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Baby Formula

Firstly, it’s important to know that goat or sheep’s milk, condensed milk, evaporated milk, non-dairy milk, dried milk, and cow’s milk are unsuitable for infants younger than 1 year. It is important to note that you must consult your pediatrician first before choosing or switching formulas. As you continue to understand. That being said, here are some factors to bear in mind before deciding on a baby formula.

  1. The carbohydrate source of the product: You might want to check the product’s source of carbohydrates.
  2. The protein and other nutrient sources: Remember that cow’s milk as a source of baby formula protein is not advisable. Do well to check the contents first before use. If confused, consult your pediatrician.

  1. Focus on the nutritional value, not the marketing: Do not be blinded by the product’s beautiful packaging. The most important thing is the nutrients the product has to offer, not its marketing strategy. 
  2. Formula availability: choose from an always available brand to avoid switching between brands occasionally.
  3. Cost of the formula: you do not need to break the bank before you choose a quality formula. Choose the more affordable one, and check with your health experts about its safety.


There is no perfect answer to the question, “What is baby formula made of?” This is because many formulas are fortified with various ingredients to provide additional nutrition for babies. However, one of the biggest challenges in this industry is the quality of milk produced, which is often a result of the use of low-quality production tools. 

Hence, it is of utmost importance that you use high-quality tools from trusted manufacturers. Brands like SaintyTec don’t only produce milk production equipment but also manufacture state-of-the-art packaging solutions. Contact us now to get started.

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