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Which is the best baby formula milk in Singapore?

Updated: Dec 30, 2020


Is there really a “best” baby formula milk?

Comparison of baby formula milk (Stage 2)

- Cheapest: Dumex Dulac

- Highest in DHA: Holle Organic

- Highest in ARA/AA: Enfamil A+

- Highest in Protein: Nature One Dairy

- Highest in Iron: S-26 GOLD Promil 2'-FL & Nutura

- Highest in Calcium: Nutura

- Highest in Lutein: S-26 GOLD Promil 2'-FL

Is there really a “best” baby formula milk?

Besides diapers, baby formula milk is another one that’s burning a big hole in parents’ wallets every month.

But unlike diapers, where you can choose reusable cloth diapers over disposable ones to save money, for baby nutrition sometimes parents have no choice but to resort to formula milk powder i.e. when breastfeeding is not a viable option.

While the benefits of breastfeeding over formula milk are well documented, unfortunately breastfeeding can be impractical or even distressing for mummy and baby in certain cases e.g. low milk supply, inverted nipples, baby tongue-tie, or simply an unaccommodating work schedule.

That said, how do we know which baby milk powder to choose?

Is there a so-called “best” baby formula?

The simple answer is No.

Why you may ask?

Firstly, just like how the complexities and composition of breastmilk vary from mum to mum, and are specially tailored towards the needs of her baby over time, a infant milk brand that’s suitable for Baby A may not be so for Baby B.

A classic example would be how a baby who’s intolerant of cow-milk protein (which is the base of most formula milk) needs to be fed soy-based formula instead.

So frankly, there’s not much point in trying to determine the “best” formula milk out there, when it depends on rather incalculable and random factors like your baby’s taste, potential allergic reactions etc.

That said, quite often a newborn baby will acquire a preference for the very first milk powder he or she is fed in the maternity hospital, which is why many brands work with hospitals to promote their formula milk, though the government has clamped down on this practice in recent years.

Secondly, contrary to what many of the brands would have you believe, there really is not much difference between each brand when it comes to the formula milk ingredients and nutrients.

From DHA and ARA to lutein, choline, taurine and now 2’FL, a quick glance through the ingredient lists of major formula milk brands will tell you that most, if not all, of them have added all these and more in their milk composition.

And if you are thinking whether the relative quantity of each ingredient between the brands matter (like more DHA = better?), honestly the jury is still out.

Take DHA and ARA for example.

The common perception is that more DHA and ARA = better brain development = smarter kids, right? However, there is just not enough evidence so far to prove that formula milk supplemented with DHA and ARA has a real impact on a baby’s brain development, although there is some evidence that the intake of formula supplemented with DHA and ARA will reduce the risk of skin and respiratory allergies in children.

As of this writing, the American Academy of Pediatrics has not adopted an official stand on whether DHA and ARA should be added to infant formula.

In addition, while ingredients are added to infant formula in an attempt to match the composition of human breastmilk and breastfeeding performance, we need to think of the effects of each ingredient not in isolation, but in terms of how the different ingredients interact with each other and collectively with the biological mechanisms in baby’s body, just like how the various nutrients in natural breastmilk are present in specific relative proportions for a reason.

Finally, after all that’s been said, is cost even a determinant of how “good” a formula milk is?

Obviously, no.

With inconclusive evidence on the benefits of formula milk ingredients (and probably for a long time, because unlike diapers where the effects are immediate and obvious e.g. diaper rash or not, pee retention, leakage or not etc, how do we know whether the DHA, ARA or other ingredients in your baby’s formula milk now will contribute anything towards the A grade in your child’s exam 10 years down the road?), the price of a brand does not equate to how “good” it is for your baby.

Worse, you won’t want to buy an expensive brand, only for your baby to reject it. The price could just simply be influenced by a brand’s marketing, branding and packaging.

Having said all these, it’s perfectly understandable that some parents would still want to compare, to have a “best", “good” or preferred formula milk brand(s) in mind, based on price, ingredients, recommendations, past experience, baby’s taste, or some other factors.

There’s nothing wrong with this; after all, who doesn’t want the best for our children right? Even if the chance that Brand A is better than Brand B is still unproven, our parental instincts will still tell us to go for it and choose Brand A. It’s perfectly natural.

Comparison of baby formula milk (Stage 2)

So how do we compare between the various formula milk brands in Singapore?

Again, there’s no “best” way, or even a proven “right” way, to go about this. For this post we use price and nutritional content, 2 of the more objective and measurable criteria, as a means to see how the different brands stack up against each other, using Stage 2 as an illustration.

Let’s check out the results below!

Price comparison for Stage 2 formula milk (based on lowest price in loviya.com)

Cheapest: Dumex Dulac

At S$1.85 per 100g of milk powder, Dumex Dulac is the cheapest vs other brands. This does not come at the expense of its nutritional content, as you can see in the following table, with Dumex Dulac generally providing sufficient nutrition relative to other brands.

Comparison of nutritional content for Stage 2 formula milk

*ARA and AA are used interchangeably between formula milk brands

Highest in DHA: Holle Organic

With 147 mg per 100g of milk powder, German brand Holle Organic contains the highest concentration of DHA. Among other ingredients, it also contains linoleic acid (LA), a precursor to ARA/AA, which makes up for its absence of direct ARA/AA, a common partner ingredient for DHA.

Highest in ARA/AA: Enfamil A+

With 160 mg per 100g of milk powder, Enfamil A+ contains the highest concentration of ARA/AA.

Highest in Protein: Nature One Dairy

With 19.7g per 100g of milk powder, Nature One Dairy contains the highest concentration of protein. It was introduced in recent years, together with other brands like Einmilk, to provide Singaporeans with more affordable formula milk options.

Highest in Iron: S-26 GOLD Promil 2'-FL & Nutura

With 8.6 mg per 100g of milk powder, S-26 GOLD Promil 2'-FL and Nutura jointly contain the highest concentration of Iron.

Highest in Calcium: Nutura

With 660 mg per 100g of milk powder, Nutura contains the highest concentration of Calcium.

Highest in Lutein: S-26 GOLD Promil 2'-FL

Lutein is a relatively less common component of infant formula, as shown in the table above, with early research indicating that it may be beneficial for a baby’s brain development. With 140 mcg per 100g of milk powder, S-26 GOLD Promil 2'-FL contains the highest concentration of Lutein.

Despite the advances in formula milk research over the years, breastmilk remains the best for baby, neurologically, immunologically and in other aspects.

Not to mention the bond between mummy and baby during breastfeeding.

However, at times things are not within our control, and formula milk turns out to be a more practical or viable alternative instead.

Not breastfeeding certainly does not make you less of a mummy, or mean you love your baby less. Just because you cannot breastfeed does not mean you cannot be an awesome mummy and have a happy, healthy baby, with other means of providing nutrition and building close bonds with your baby such as through formula milk.

If you are trying to decide between all the various formula milk brands out there, we hope this post will help you through what can sometimes be an overwhelming and mind-boggling process. After all, all of us just simply want the best for our baby.

Looking for a suitable diaper for your little one? Check out our post on the 20 best baby diapers in Singapore!

Get the cheapest online prices in Singapore for diapers, formula milk, baby wipes & more from the most popular marketplaces and merchants**, only at www.loviya.com!

**NTUC Fairprice, Qoo10, Lazada, Redmart, Shopee, Amazon, Watsons, Supermom, EAMart, Mamahood and counting!