Decoding Baby Formula Labels

5 min read
Decoding Baby Formula Labels

Reading the labels on baby formula is mind boggling

How do you choose?  What does it all mean?

Decoding baby formula can be difficult as there are so many different types of formula out there for bubs. It can be difficult knowing which one is the best for your baby. Do you go with the Gold or do you opt for the hypo-allergenic stuff? The good news is that regardless of what type you choose, all formula that is sold in Australia conforms to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. Another great thing about formula these days that it is jam packed with plenty of nutritional stuff and as close to breast milk as it can be. So whether you have moved on from breastfeeding or choose to bottle feed bubs, below is a quick guideline to the supermarket aisle of formula:

decoding baby formula labels |

Infant Formula Brands Available in Australia:

In no particular order – these are the Brands of Infant Formula currently available in Australia:  Each brand has multiple ‘types’ of formula available.

  • Nestle Nan (Pro Gold 1, Pro Gold 2, AR Formula, Comfort, Lactose Intolerance, Optipro Formula HA 2 Gold)
  • Bellamy’s Organic (Infant Formula, Follow On Formula, Toddler Drink)
  • S-26 (Gold Newborn Step 1, Gold Soy, Lactose Free, Original Newborn, Gold AR Anti Reflux, Gold Lactiose Free, Gold Comfort)
  • Nutricia (Aptamil Gold Infant Formula, Aptamil Profutra Infant Formula)
  • Karicare (Soy Milk Infant Formula All Age, Goats’ Milk Infant Formula, Nourish Infant Formula)
  • Opti Gold (Infant Formula)
  • Nature’s Way
  • Heinz (Nurture Original Infant Formula)
  • Novalac (Allergy 0 – 12, AR Reflux Formula, AC Colic Infant Formula, SD Sweet Dreams, IT Constipation Infant Formula)

Lactose-Free Infant Formula

Lactose free formula means that there is no natural sugar in it. And while this sounds like a good thing, lactose is natural sugar that is found in breast milk. However, if your bub has trouble processing this sugar, which is also found in cow’s milk and in normal formula, then you may be advised by your doctor to try a lactose-free option. If you suspect that your baby is having trouble digesting regular formula, then talk to your doctor about making the switch.

Soy-Based Infant Formula

Again, while it may make sense to some to choose soy milk from Day One, it is a good idea first to discuss choosing soy-based formula with your doctor. Soy-based products are best for babies that have a hard time to process cow’s milk proteins. Soy-based formula is milk and lactose-free. Although may soy-based formulas are recommended from birth onwards, the Medical Fraternity recommends that these products are only used from six months onwards unless specifically recommended by your Doctor.

Goats Milk Infant Formula

Another alternative is goat’s milk which is similar to cow’s milk but might be a good option if your baby appears to have a hard time digesting cow’s milk. Again, consult your doctor to learn more about the pros and cons.

Extras in Formula,  Bifidus/Probiotics

Formulas with this written on them means that extra ‘good ‘bacteria have been added to the mixtures. Probiotics and Bifidus have been proven to reduce the risk of diarrhoea in infants because it prevents the bad bacteria from getting into the digestive system.

AR/Thickened Infant Formula

Have a spewy baby? Well these are the formula’s designed for your baby as it is thought this type of formula can help relieve the pain that comes with reflux. AR or anti-regurgitation aims to keep the formula down rather than having it come back up, but it doesn’t always work. This formula is usually taken in conjunction with some reflux medication on direction by your Doctor.

HA or Partially Hydrolysed Infant Formula

HA are hypo-allergic formulas are designed for babies that have a high risk of allergies and therefore are reluctant breastfeeders. HA formulas may be recommended to you if you, your spouse or an immediate family member have hay fever, food allergies, asthma or eczema. Even though this formula is designed for babies with allergies, it still contains cows milk so won’t be suitable for babies with lactose intolerance.

Alpha Pro/Opti Pro

This is another confusing term when it comes to your formula picking errand. Essentially, this is a certain type of protein that is not found in normal formulas. However, while protein is good for your baby’s growing body, it is not known if this type of protein is any better for your little one than regular formula.


You may have noticed that there are ‘gold’ versions of formula. Are these the highest best of the best? Not really. Gold simply means that there are certain fats added to them that are similar to the fats found in breast milk. These fats (called long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA’s) are thought to improve the development of baby’s brain and eyes.  Natural breastmilk already contains these fats (which is handy!).


So choosing the right formula for your baby is dependent on a lot of issues.  

Talk to your childcare nurse or Doctor to make sure your baby is having the right formula for your situation.

About Author

Jody Allen

Jody is the founder and essence of Stay at Home Mum. An insatiable appetite for reading from a very young age had Jody harbouring dreams of being a pu...Read Moreblished author since primary school. That deep-seeded need to write found its way to the public eye in 2011 with the launch of SAHM. Fast forward 4 years and a few thousand articles Jody has fulfilled her dream of being published in print. With the 2014 launch of Once a Month Cooking and 2015's Live Well on Less, thanks to Penguin Random House, Jody shows no signs of slowing down. The master of true native content, Jody lives and experiences first hand every word of advertorial she pens. Mum to two magnificent boys and wife to her beloved Brendan; Jody's voice is a sure fire winner when you need to talk to Mums. Read Less

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