Is Formula More Filling Than Breastmilk

46 hours of research 5 minute read

" Infants digest breast milk and formula in different ways. As a parent, be sure to understand how this impacts your baby's health and diet. "
Gluten-free Baby Formulas 1

Babies feel full with BOTH breast milk and formula. The difference all boils down to how digestion occurs. Babies digest breast milk faster than formula milk so they feed more frequently. Infant formula takes longer to digest and may be considered more filling than breast milk.

Breast Milk: The Gold Standard

Breast milk is considered to be the best source of infant nutrition. It contains protein, carbohydrates, fat, and nutrients that babies need in order to grow and thrive. But some moms experience challenges so they are either unable to breastfeed, exclusively breastfeed, or sustain breastfeeding for a long time.

Organic Infant Formula: The Next Best Thing

Moms should not feel guilty when they are unable to breastfeed. There are medical concerns, supply issues, and time constraints that affect breastfeeding.

Thankfully, there are available options to feed babies – one of which are European organic baby formulas that are made from 100% organic ingredients. These contain all the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for your baby's growth and development. These are free from GMO, pesticides, and hormones and are the next best thing to breast milk or a good supplement to breastmilk.

Organic baby formulas are formulated to mimic breast milk. Consumption of cow’s milk as an alternative is recommended in many countries and studies show that it positively influences the growth of children.

How is Breast Milk Different to Formula?

Babies feel full with BOTH breast milk and formula. The difference all boils down to how digestion occurs. Babies digest breast milk faster than formula milk so they feed more frequently. Infant formula takes longer to digest and may be considered more filling than breast milk because of the following factors:

  • Consistency
  • Protein composition
  • Presence of starch in some formulas
  • Availability

Formula and Breastmilk Comparison

Formula and Breastmilk Comparison

Foremilk vs. Hindmilk: Milk Consistency

You probably heard of these terms: foremilk and hindmilk in relation to breastfeeding.

  1. Foremilk is the milk your baby gets at the start of the feed. This is thinner and has higher amounts of lactose. Foremilk is primarily to satisfy the baby’s thirst.
  2. Hindmilk is the milk your baby gets towards the end of the feed. This is thicker and creamier and has a higher content of fat.

It is important for babies to breastfeed effectively so they can get both foremilk and hindmilk. Babies can have Lactose Overload. This is when babies get more foremilk than hindmilk. Since foremilk is watery and low in fat, it gets passed through the digestive system too fast for lactose to be digested. This results in gas, frothy stool, and pain. They also do not get enough fat that is found in hindmilk.

Parents need pay closer attention to breastfeeding and may need to do the following:

  1. Check the baby’s latch. Babies need to latch correctly to have better breast milk flow.
  2. Check the positions in breastfeeding. Some parents say that effective positions for faster milk flow are side-lying and laid-back positions.
  3. Check how often the babies switch from each breast. If babies switch without “emptying” one breast, they will mostly get more foremilk and little hindmilk and result in lactose imbalance.
  4. Feed more frequently.

On the other hand, baby formula is always consistent. If the feeding guide is followed, a bottle of prepared formula has the same nutrition value for the corresponding age of a baby. In this case, parents do not have to worry about lactose imbalance.

Protein Composition

Breast milk has two classes of protein: Whey and Casein. Whey is liquid and is easier to digest while Casein becomes curds in the stomach and takes longer to digest. The ratio of Whey and Casein fluctuates and decreases depending on the stage of breast milk.

Table 1: Whey/Casein Ratio of Breast Milk

Early Lactation

80/20

Mature Milk

70/30

Late Lactation

50/50

Reference

In the case of formula, the Whey/Casein Ratio is also consistent.

Table 2: Whey/Casein Ratio of Infant Formula

Infant Formula (Stage 1)

60/40

Follow-on Formula (Stage 2 and beyond)

40/60

Cow’s Milk

80/20

Hypoallergenic Formula

100/0

Reference

Formula With a 100/0 Whey/Casein Ratio

These formulas have 100/0 Whey/Casein Ratio. HiPP HA is the first organic product that is formulated to meet the needs of babies who are at risk of allergies. The milk proteins of this formula are extensively hydrolyzed or divided into small fragments to reduce the allergenic properties, so your infant can tolerate them better.

Age: Birth-6 months (including premature babies)

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

Hydrolyzed milk proteins reduce allergic reactions

Popular for constipated babies

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HiPP HA German Stage PRE

Age: 0-6 months

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

Hydrolyzed milk proteins reduce allergic reactions

Popular for constipated babies

Check Price
HiPP HA German Stage 1

Age: 6+ months

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

Hydrolyzed milk proteins reduce allergic reactions

Popular for constipated babies

Check Price
HiPP HA German Stage 2

Breast milk has more whey and less casein in infant formula during the early and mature milk lactation phase. Since whey is easier to digest than casein, breastfed babies tend to get hungry earlier than formula-fed infants.

Presence of Starch in Some Infant Formulas

The carbohydrate in breast milk is lactose. There are infant formulas that contain lactose, maltodextrin and starch. Babies digest lactose faster compared to baby formulas that contain maltodextrin and starch. These two ingredients make babies feel longer.

Formula With Lactose as a Carbohydrate

Like breast milk, these are formulas that contain lactose as carbohydrate.

Age: 0-6 months

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

No starch

HiPP's most popular formula

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HiPP Dutch Stage 1

Age: 6-12 months

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

No starch

HiPP's most popular formula

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HiPP Dutch Stage 2

Age: 12+ months

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

No starch

HiPP's most popular formula

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HiPP Dutch Stage 3

Age: 0-6 months

No palm oil

Contains natural prebiotics

Organic A2 goat milk

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HiPP Dutch Goat Stage 1

Age: 6-12 months

No palm oil

Contains natural prebiotics

Organic A2 goat milk

Check Price
HiPP Dutch Goat Stage 2

Age: 12+ months

No palm oil

Contains natural prebiotics

Organic A2 goat milk

Check Price
HiPP Dutch Goat Stage 3

Age: Birth-6 months (including premature babies)

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar or corn syrup

No soy

HiPP's original formula

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HiPP German Stage PRE

Age: 6-12 months

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar or corn syrup

No soy

HiPP's original formula

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HiPP German Stage 2 (No Starch)

Age: 12+ months

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

Can be used alongside solid foods

Continued nutrition for toddlers

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HiPP Kindermilch Stage 1

Age: 24+ months

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

Can be used alongside solid foods

Continued nutrition for toddlers

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HiPP Kindermilch Stage 2

Age: Birth-6 months (including premature babies)

Clean formula ingredients

Demeter biodynamic certified

Contains natural whey, DHA, & ALA

Holle's most popular cow formula

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Holle Bio Stage PRE

Age: Birth-6 months (including premature babies)

No palm oil

Contains natural whey, DHA, & ALA

Check Price
Holle Goat Stage Pre-Organic

Age: 0-6 months

✓ Bioland certified (Organic++)

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

DHA & ALA for brain development

Lebenswert's most popular formula

Check Price
lebenswert stage 1 formula

Formula With Lactose and Starch Alternatives

This formula contains lactose and maltodextrin as carbohydrate:

Age: 0-6 months

Clean formula ingredients

Demeter biodynamic certified

Contains natural whey, DHA, & ALA

Contains A2 milk protein for easier digestion

Check Price
Holle Cow A2 Stage 1

Some formulas contain both lactose and maltodextrin as carbohydrates. These also contain starch to make the formula thicker and creamier.

Age: Suitable from birth onwards

✓ Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

Reduced lactose with hydrolyzed milk protein

Easy to digest formula for sensitive babies

Check Price
hipp comfort

Age: 0-6 months

No palm oil

Contains natural whey, DHA, & ALA

Demeter certified (Organic++)

Check Price
Holle Goat Dutch stage 1

Age: 6-12 months

No palm oil

Contains natural whey, DHA, & ALA

Demeter certified (Organic++)

Check Price
Holle Goat Dutch stage 2

Age: 10+ months

No palm oil

Contains natural whey, DHA, & ALA

Demeter certified (Organic++)

Check Price
Holle Goat Dutch stage 3

Age: 6-12 months

Clean formula ingredients

Demeter biodynamic certified

Contains natural whey, DHA, & ALA

Holle's most popular cow formula

Check Price
Holle Bio Stage 2

Age: 10+ months

Clean formula ingredients

Demeter biodynamic certified

Contains natural whey, DHA, & ALA

Holle's most popular cow formula

Check Price
Holle Bio Stage 3

Age: 12+ months

Clean formula ingredients

Demeter biodynamic certified

Contains natural whey, DHA, & ALA

Holle's most popular cow formula

Check Price
Holle Bio Stage 4

Age: 6-12 months

No palm oil

Contains natural whey, DHA, & ALA

Check Price
Holle Goat stage 2

Age: 10+ months

No palm oil

Contains natural whey, DHA, & ALA

Check Price
Holle Goat stage 3

Age: 6-12 months

Clean formula ingredients

Demeter biodynamic certified

Contains natural whey, DHA, & ALA

Contains A2 milk protein for easier digestion

Check Price
Holle Cow A2 Stage 2

Age: 10+ months

Clean formula ingredients

Demeter biodynamic certified

Contains natural whey, DHA, & ALA

Contains A2 milk protein for easier digestion

Check Price
Holle Cow A2 Stage 3

Formula That Contains Maltodextrin as Carbohydrate

Age: 6-12 months

Bioland certified (Organic++)

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

DHA & ALA for brain development

Appropriate from 6 months up

Check Price
lebenswert stage 2 formula

Age: 10+ months

Bioland certified (Organic++)

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

DHA & ALA for brain development

Appropriate from 10 months up

Check Price
lebenswert stage 3 formula

Keep In Mind Availability

Breastfed babies feed on demand. Parents are on the lookout for hunger cues and they nurse until they are full. Since babies digest breast milk faster, they tend to feed every 2-3 hours.

Signs That Baby is Full

Here are signs that a breastfed baby is full:

  1. Baby feeds frequently, 8-12 times in a day
  2. Baby is visibly happy and content after feeding. Fists that are tightly closed before nursing become relaxed and opened
  3. Baby gains weight
  4. Baby urinates and has consistent bowel movement
  5. Baby is alert and active when awake

On the other hand, formula fed babies are fed per bottle until they are full. They may or may not finish a full bottle. Below are signs that a formula fed baby is full:

  1. Baby sucks with less enthusiasm
  2. Baby stops feeding
  3. Baby turns away from the bottle

Signs That a Baby is Still Hungry

These are applicable to both breastfed and formula-fed babies:

  1. Baby moves head from side to side
  2. Baby opens the mouth
  3. Baby sticks out tongue
  4. Baby places fist, hand, and fingers to the mouth
  5. Baby puckers lips and makes a sucking motion
  6. Baby nuzzles on mother’s breasts
  7. Baby “roots” or opens the mouth to anything that touches the cheeks

Summary

Parents make huge decisions on a daily basis – one of the biggest is what to feed the baby. The good thing is that there are now available options aside from exclusively breastfeeding. As long as your baby is fed with the best options and your baby is thriving, you are doing well. Bid mommy guilt goodbye and say hello to European organic baby formulas.

Top 3 Breastmilk Alternatives

  1. HiPP Dutch
  2. Holle Goat
  3. Holle Cow

Blog Posts Related to The Topic:

Formula Milk vs. Breast Milk: An Honest Comparison

Best Formula For Breastfed Babies: The Ultimate 2022 Guide

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4882692/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1515752/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21335987/
  4. file:///Users/macosx/Downloads/foods-10-00658.pdf
  5. https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/foremilk-and-hindmilk/
  6. https://hcp.hipp.com/products/hipp-milk-formula/good-to-know/milk-formula-during-the-first-year/

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