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Composition, claims and costs

First Steps Nutrition Trust provides a one stop shop for information on infant milks marketed in the UK. We provide information on the composition of infant milks, the claims made and the usefulness and safety of ingredients. We gather together all the information needed to support families who use these products to feed their infants.


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Infant milks in the UK
A practical guide for health professionals

This updated version of the report Infant Milks in the UK contains the latest information on milks available for infants and children in the UK with clear, independent guidance on their suitability.

The report provides information on infant milks marketed for over the counter sale in the UK, as well as background information on composition, ingredients, contaminants, regulations and the infant milk market.

keep your report up-to-date

May 2018 report: The following pages have been updated since December 2018


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Infant formula - An overview

This report considers those milks that are covered by the infant formula milk regulations in the UK. It provides a more in-depth look at each milk and reviews the evidence that is given to support claims made. Infant formula includes the first infant milks about which healthcare professionals may be asked the most questions. We have given our opinions about the evidence they provide to back up claims and compared it with findings from accepted expert reviews.


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Cost of infant milks marketed in the UK

This report summarises the costs of all milks currently marketed for sale in the UK. There are considerable disparities in cost between products, and using ready to feed starter packs of infant milk is a particularly expensive way to buy formula milk. Despite marketing claims, milks that comply to regulations are similar in composition.

The addition of unnecessary ingredients about which claims are made may burden a young child's metabolism – a simpler and cheaper formula with fewer unnecessary ingredients may be preferable.


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Infant milks:
A simple guide to infant formula, follow-on formula and other infant milks

In order to protect breastfeeding it is important that all those who offer advice to families have accurate and unbiased information about infant feeding, including clear information about infant formula. First Steps Nutrition Trust provides a clear and regularly updated guide for health professionals which summarises the composition, and usefulness, of infant formula, follow on formula and other infant milks available in the UK. This is widely used by health professionals and policy makers across the UK.

This simple guide provides a summary of infant milks suitable for use across the first 2 years of life, a series of questions and answers to explain some of the common issues that families may ask about infant milks, and provides details of how to make up milks safely. The rationale and evidence for this advice can be found in the report Infant Milks in the UK: A practical guide


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Specialised infant milks in the UK:
infants 0-6 months of age

If you are a health professional and want to know more about milks that are marketed for infants with special dietary needs then you can find this information here. We have updated the information as well as some of the background sections to reflect new guidance and evidence.

The report aims to provide an overview of specialised infant milks marketed in the first year of life. It also considers claims made for products and the potential efficacy in the context of what else is known, or recommended, by independent scientific bodies. 

The aim is not for the information in the report to replace specialised medical care from a clinical team, but to provide independent information that health professionals can use in their discussions. We hope it will encourage health workers who require information about specialised infant milk products to be active in obtaining the specific information they need from commercial companies, and not passive recipients of marketing information.

We have also included a brief summary about specialised formula for treating cows’ milk protein and other food allergies as this is the group of specialised milks that is most frequently prescribed. We hope to do a resource specifically on this area next year.

We have included up-to-date costs for most milks in this category and the considerable price difference between some products may also support prescribing decisions. There remain some anomalies in this area we also hope to tackle further, for example the lack of rationale for why many products are suggested to be made up at temperatures which will not kill any bacteria present in the powder.