Factsheet for parents

(Content revised 08/2014) (Reprinted Dec 2019)

Recommendation on Formula Milk Feeding for Young Children

Breastmilk is the natural food for your baby. Exclusively breastfeeding your baby for the first six months, then with the introduction of complementary foods and continue to breastfeed for up to two years or beyond. If you choose to feed your baby formula milk, you should consider the followings:

Children under 1 year

  • For newborn to 6-month-old babies - Milk is the sole source of nutrients. Choose Infant Formula (No.1 Formula) which meets the Codex Standards for Infant Formula. Infant formulae are very similar in composition as required by the Codex Standards. If you have difficulty securing the brand currently consumed by your child, you can consider switching to another brand.
  • For 6 to 12-month-old babies - They have started taking complementary food, they may either take Infant Formula (No.1 Formula) or switch to Follow-up Formula (No.2 Formula) of any brand. Although there is currently inadequate scientific evidence to suggest the use of Follow-up Formula (No. 2 Formula).
  • Use boiled hot water of no less than 70℃1(water left in the kettle for no more than 30 minutes after boiling can achieve this temperature) to make up formula milk as this kills harmful bacteria.
  • Cow milk is not suitable for babies under 1 year old.
  • Babies can change directly to another brand of formula milk if needed. The pace will depend on your baby's acceptance.

Children aged 1 year or above

  • At this age, eating a diet of varieties can meet the children's nutritional requirement. Milk is only a part of their balanced diet and a convenient source of calcium. A daily intake of 360-480 ml of milk largely satisfies the calcium requirement of young children.
  • You can let your child drink cow milk (including pasteurized fresh milk, UHT milk or full fat milk powder). There is no nutritional reason to switch to Follow-up Formula (No.3, 4 Formula). Besides, cow milk is less expensive than formula milk.
  • For the choice of cow milk, children under two years should take whole milk, those between 2 and 5 years can take low-fat milk and children above 5 years can take skimmed milk.
  • You can also give them other calcium rich foods (e.g. tofu, green leafy vegetables, yoghurt and cheese) to meet their calcium needs.


1World Health Organization. 2007. Safe preparation, storage and handling of powdered infant formula: guidelines.