Stage 3 formulas vs cow’s milk: what to use

When their child turns one, parents look at ditching the formula and moving onto whole milk- or are they? There are many benefits to using toddler formulas over whole milk, as they are purposefully built to have all the needed nutrients for your growing toddler. Without further ado, let’s learn about the differences between the two and what is better for your child.


What are the ingredients in the stage 3 formula?


Here is we have a range of stage 3 formulas, all of which are regulated for safety and nutritional value. The brands we use are Holle, HiPP, and Jovie Goat all EU certified. While ingredients may vary slightly between all stage three formulas, there are common ingredients that have been added to ensure your growing child has everything they need. They are:

  • Prebiotics and probiotics - help with ensuring the child’s gut is healthy
  • ARA and DHA - are long-chain fatty acids that help develop the brain and reduce inflammation
  • Omega-6 - the polyunsaturated fat fights insulin resistance and is good for the heart
  • Whey and lactose - some formulas contain these to ensure your child has proteins and healthy carbohydrates and help fuel your baby's energy reserves


When is stage 3 better than whole cow’s milk?


This question is best directed to your pediatrician and what they recommend as well as what you are comfortable with as a parent. Ideally, your child should consume a varied diet full of essential nutrients and should have a combination of milk and solid food. If you are concerned your child isn’t getting enough nutrients, then stage 3 is best for you to try - problems like a lack of vitamin D can be solved by having your child consume stage 3 formula. HiPP conducted a study that showed children who drank stage 3 formula after they turned one, had better levels of vitamin D than those who had transitioned to whole milk.


What food is included in the nutrients?


If you do want to use cow’s milk you should still make sure your child has all the other nutrients and vitamins as well. So, this is all about the food you can feed your child to make sure they still get those nutrients. You will need foods high in fiber as they are a good source of prebiotics - bananas will be your best friend for this! Yogurt is another good toddler favorite - which is great for you as it contains probiotics. Long-chain fatty acids such as ARA and DHA can be found in formulas and breastmilk, but also fish and eggs. However, with this, consult your pediatrician first as to when your child should be introduced to them.


Vegetable oils, nuts, eggs, peanut butter, and meat all contain polyunsaturated fats - chicken and fish are included as they have omega-6. However, caution must be used in your baby’s diet plan, so make sure you check in with your pediatrician, who can give you professional advice on introducing polyunsaturated fats.


Cheese and yogurt are fantastic additions to their diet for whey and lactose as well as dietary protein and carbs. On top of that, they make good, small snacks for babies. However, you’ve got to be careful with added sugars.


Should I use stage 3 formulas instead of whole milk?

If you aim to ensure your baby has more nutrients then yes, use stage 3 formulas. However, this doesn’t mean it completely substitutes their diet; they will need solid food and a varied diet at that. Plus your child has reached the stage of wanting to eat solid foods too.


However, if your child is not a picky eater, and will eat a whole range of food, then you can just give them whole milk, but just make sure their diet is varied. Listen to your toddler and observe what they need, as well as seek advice from your pediatrician.


To compare the two, stage 3 has more nutrients than whole milk and milk alternatives. While it is classed as a formula, it certainly isn’t as micro and macronutrient dense as the stage 2 formula. If you have more questions regarding stage 3 formulas, we have a Toddler Formula Guide on our website, as well as a great team of infant nutrition technicians that you can email or message using our live chat function.