I’m An Infant Feeding Specialist/Registered Dietitian-Here’s Why Your Baby’s Formula Should Be Made With Whole Milk Fat

Your baby is growing fast. Whole milk fats contribute significantly to the calorie content of formula, which is essential for development, while helping your baby absorb fat-soluble vitamins.




Walk into any grocery store and there are more baby formula options than you know what to do with. Sensitive, organic, iron, no iron - the list is endless and likely overwhelming to a first-time parent. One incredibly important element that has garnered attention in recent years - but not enough from my perspective, is the inclusion of whole milk fats in baby formula.

Most formulas out there are not made with whole milk fats - just check the label of whichever formula you may have on hand. Many companies start with 2 percent milk and then add fats as needed using vegetable oils. That’s not to say whole milk formulas don’t have additional oils - they just use significantly less. This matters because the fats that are in whole milk are more similar to breastmilk, and as any formula-feeding parent is likely aware, we want our infant formula to be as similar to breastmilk as possible. Brands like Kendamil, which is one of my go-tos, are one of the few that start with whole milk.

Why would a formula company use skim milk? The answer is almost always because it is cheaper to use vegetable oils.

Whole milk fats are a concentrated source of energy, which is vital for the rapid growth and high metabolic rate of infants. Whole milk fats also contain fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K, contributing to the overall nutritional profile of the formula. It’s going to be creamier and better tasting for your baby as well.

Did you know that the human brain is composed of approximately 60% fat, with a significant portion being saturated fat? This is actually why the USDA recommends that once infants are ready for cow’s milk at age one, parents should offer whole milk instead of low-fat or skim. Whole milk fats contain a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA), both critical for brain and vision development.

DHA, in particular, is an omega-3 fatty acid known for its positive impact on your baby’s cognitive function. Whole milk fats provide a natural source of DHA, offering a promising option for supporting early brain development in formula-fed infants.

Your baby is growing fast. Whole milk fats contribute significantly to the calorie content of formula, which of course is essential for development, while helping your baby absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are crucial for your infant’s various bodily functions, including bone development, immune system support, and protection against oxidative stress.

There are several brands that I like, including Aussie Bubs, ByHeart, and Serenity Kids, but the one I personally love is Kendamil. Based in the UK, Kendamil is European made, family owned business, and even used by the Princess of Wales. It uses whole milk fats and does not contain palm oil as research has shown it can hurt the absorption of minerals in babies.

While the choice between breast milk and formula is a personal one, for many parents, baby formula serves as a reliable and essential source of nutrition and I’m encouraged to see nutrient-dense options like Kendamil in today’s market.

As always, it's essential to consult with healthcare professionals for personalized advice on choosing the right formula for individual baby needs.

Disclaimer: The information given in this Article is based on the author's personal opinion and experience. It should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

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