Formula Recommendations for Babies 6-12 Months
Congratulations -- your baby is six months old! You’ve reached an important milestone in your little one’s infancy. Your baby may be sitting up, starting to stand, or even showing an interest in trying to crawl! You’ll probably have a growing assortment of toys, books, and games to stimulate your little one’s curiosity about the world. Whatever exciting antics your baby is getting up to, he or she will need plenty of fuel for this exciting stage of development.
Choosing a Formula
Whether your little one is transitioning from a Stage 1 formula or trying formula for the first time, you’ll want to choose a product that is as similar as possible to the nutritional goodness of breast milk.
Whichever Little Bundle formula you choose, you can be confident that you’re getting a formula made with organic, non-GMO ingredients such as organic skim or whole milk, organic lactose, organic whey, organic vegetable oils, vitamins, minerals, prebiotics, probiotics, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids such as DHA and ARA. You certainly won’t find any inexpensive sweeteners such as sucrose, corn syrup, or glucose syrup in our formulas, which are also free from pesticides, artificial colors, and synthetic preservatives.
We exclusively stock European formulas such as HiPP, Holle, and Lebenswert because they are widely recognized as being among the best in the world. Not only do they meet the European Union’s strict organic requirements, but many of them have earned additional certifications such as Demter and Bioland.
At every stage of your baby’s feeding journey, it’s important to remember that a fed baby is a happy baby. Whatever feeding approach works best for your baby and your family is undoubtedly the right choice. Whether you’re using formula to supplement breast milk or exclusively formula feeding, remind yourself that you’re giving your baby all of the nutrients to ensure that he or she continues to grow up strong, happy, and healthy.
Stage 1 vs. Stage 2: What’s the Difference?
Unlike American formulas, the European formulas we carry are sold in stages that correspond to the baby’s age. Both approaches are healthy and safe, but we like the idea of formula stages because it means that the formula’s nutrient levels more closely correspond to the specific needs of babies at a certain age.
Stage 1 and Stage PRE formulas are designed for infants from birth onwards, and are sometimes called “first infant milk.” These formulas are a complete source of nutrition, so they can be used on their own, or as a supplement to breast milk. Stage PRE formulas are essentially the same as Stage 1 formulas, but they do not contain starch, potentially making them easier for younger babies to digest.
Stage 2 formulas are intended for older babies, from six months onwards, and are also known as “follow-on formulas.” Although they are very similar to Stage 1 formulas, they have slightly more protein and different amounts of certain nutrients, in order to supply babies with the proper nutrition they need at this age. Stage 2 formulas typically contain more casein than whey protein, which may mean they are more filling and take longer to digest.
Alongside a baby’s expanding diet of solid foods, Stage 2 formulas provide all the nutrition that an older infant needs, and can be used on their own or in combination with breast milk. Rather than transitioning to Stage 2, some families choose to stay with a Stage 1 formula even after their little one reaches the six-month milestone, and this is completely fine. On the other hand, though, Stage 2 formulas are not suitable for babies younger than six months.
Many parents switch to a Stage 3 formula, also known as a “toddler” or “growing up” formula, when their little one turns a year old (for UK and Dutch formulas) or 10 months (for German formulas). By this point, your little one will be eating lots of solid foods, and the Stage 3 formula would be an alternative to whole cow’s milk, which is suitable after 12 months. After 12 months of age, Stage 3 is not designed to replace solid food.
Formula and Solid Foods
From six months onwards, your baby’s diet will expand to gradually incorporate solid foods, probably beginning with baby cereal, mashed or pureed fruits and vegetables, or small pieces of finger foods such as pasta, avocado, cheese, or scrambled eggs. This is an incredibly fun (and messy!) time, as you get to see the delight on your little one’s face as he or she discovers delicious new tastes for the first time.
However, at this age your little one still needs plenty of breast milk or formula (or a combination of both) in order to continue that rapid growth. Initially, your baby will only have a few tablespoons of solid food per day, although this will steadily increase as your little one approaches his or her first birthday. From six months onwards, babies should be getting approximately 24 to 30 fluid ounces (710 ml to 887 ml) of breast milk or formula per day, spread out over four feeds. Remember, every baby is different, so don’t worry if your little one has a little more or a little less each day, or wants to feed more frequently in smaller quantities. Instead, follow your baby’s cues about when he or she is hungry.
When your little one turns one year old, he or she can transition to drinking whole cow’s or goat’s milk (as long as it’s pasteurized). However, plenty of toddlers continue breastfeeding long after their first birthday, in addition to drinking cow’s milk or a toddler (Stage 3) formula fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. Some parents prefer to provide a Stage 3 formula over cow’s milk because the taste may be more familiar, it provides more vitamins and minerals (including better Vitamin D levels than whole milk) and it may be less likely to cause sensitivity or allergies.
Little Bundle’s 6+ Months Formulas
We often receive questions about which Stage 2 formula is the best, especially from parents who are supplementing or transitioning to formula for the first time. Although it’s only natural to want to find the healthiest and highest-quality formula for your baby, in our experience, there’s really no such thing as the “best” formula. Every baby is unique, with his or her own preferences, needs, and sensitivities, so whichever formula your baby enjoys is undoubtedly a great choice for your family.
That being said, we are confident that all of our formulas are tasty and nutritious, and we know that they have been manufactured according to the highest organic standards. All of these formulas are highly recommended for babies six months and older, and any one of them would be a great choice for your little one:
- HiPP Dutch Stage 2
- HiPP German Stage 2
- HiPP UK Stage 2
- Holle Bio Stage 2
- Lebenswert Stage 2
- Holle Goat Stage 2
- HiPP HA Hypoallergenic Stage 2 (suitable from six months onwards)
- HiPP Comfort (suitable from birth onwards)
- HiPP AR Anti-Reflux (suitable from birth onwards)
Please note, our recommendations come from our years of experience as formula feeding moms and our extensive research and experience with European formulas. We are not medical professionals and always recommend consulting with your pediatrician before switching formulas.
Our Top Recommendations for Babies 6 Months and Up
To make it easier for you to choose between our excellent Stage 2 formulas, we’ve put together a list of some favorites that have attracted many satisfied customers -- both babies and parents!
If you’d like to easily see the differences between all of our formulas, have a look at Little Bundle’s handy Formula Comparison Chart. It’s a great way to compare the use of specific ingredients such as whey, starch, prebiotics, and palm oil.
And if you have specific questions about any of our formulas (or infant feeding in general), don’t hesitate to get in touch with our highly experienced Customer Success Team. Each of our team members has completed a certification course in infant nutrition and is very knowledgeable about all of the products that we carry.
Best Overall Stage 2 Formula: HiPP Dutch Stage 2
Our HiPP Dutch formulas are among our most popular products, and this Stage 2 formula is an excellent, great-tasting choice for babies six months and older, no matter where you are in your feeding journey. Whether your baby is trying formula for the first time or you’re graduating from HiPP Dutch Stage 1 (or another formula), HiPP Dutch Stage 2 is an excellent option. It offers complete nutrition, works well for supplementing,and comes in a convenient easy to use can.
This formula is the perfect complement for babies who have begun eating solid foods, with a base of organic skim milk, organic lactose, organic vegetable oils, and organic whey. It also has essential vitamins and minerals, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids such as DHA, and ALA to help build a healthy brain and nervous system. It also contains prebiotics (galacto-oligosaccharides from organic lactose) and probiotics (Lactobacillus fermentum) to strengthen the digestive tract and immune system.
HiPP Dutch Stage 2 is GMO-free, and it does not contain corn syrup, sucrose, maltodextrin, starch, soy, or gluten. HiPP Dutch also comes in a Stage 3 formula for toddlers one year and older.
Best Stage 2 Formula for Transitioning from Breast Milk: Holle Bio Stage 2
For babies six months and older who are transitioning from breast milk to formula, or supplementing for the first time, Holle Bio Stage 2 is an excellent option. This follow-on formula has a simple list of organic ingredients, including a base of biodynamic, Demeter-certified organic skim milk, as well as organic whey powder, organic maltodextrin, organic starch, organic vegetable oils, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids such as DHA.
Holle Bio Stage 2 is also very popular with babies who have been fed Holle Bio Stage 1 or Holle Bio Stage PRE. The nutrient quantities in Holle Bio Stage 2 are tailored to meet the needs of older babies, especially as your little one’s diet begins to include solid foods.
You won’t find corn syrup, sucrose, soy, or gluten in this formula. Furthermore, Holle Bio Stage 2 is entirely free from synthetic nutrients, preservatives, flavors, and colors.
Holle also offers a Stage 3 formula for babies 10 months and older.
Best Value Stage 2 Formula: HiPP UK Stage 2
Many parents choose HiPP UK Stage 2 for babies six months and older who previously enjoyed HiPP UK Stage 1. At the same time, it’s also a great choice for babies transitioning to formula for the first time or who are combining breast milk and formula. HiPP UK is an excellent source of complete nutrition, and complements a baby’s expanding solid food diet, it’s also a huge plus that the box is in English, so instructions & ingredients are easy to read!
This formula is free from maltodextrin, starch, soy, and gluten. Instead, it contains delicious organic ingredients such as organic skim milk, organic lactose, and organic whey, and is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and prebiotics.
Our range of HiPP UK formulas is Little Bundle’s most affordable product line, offering all of the same fantastic ingredients as HiPP Dutch, with the exception of probiotics. Some parents who use HiPP UK choose to give their little one a probiotic supplement instead.
Many toddlers transition from this formula to HiPP UK Stage 3 after celebrating their first birthday.
Best Stage 2 Formula for Milk Protein Sensitivity: HiPP HA Hypoallergenic Stage 2
HiPP HA Hypoallergenic Stage 2 is a natural choice for babies six months and older who display symptoms of milk protein sensitivity. It’s made with the same wonderful ingredients as HiPP HA Hypoallergenic Stage 1, such as skim milk, lactose, and vegetable oils. Additionally, HiPP HA Stage 2 contains both prebiotics and probiotics, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the form of ALA.
This formula, which is suitable for both exclusive formula feeding and combination feeding, contains hydrolyzed whey protein to promote easier digestion and to be less likely to cause an allergenic response. HiPP HA Stage 2 also contains some starch, to help thicken the formula.
HiPP HA Stage 2 is free from soy, corn syrup, gluten, GMO ingredients, synthetic nutrients and preservatives.
Please note that if your baby is demonstrating symptoms of milk protein allergy, we recommend seeing your pediatrician before switching formulas. Although this formula may help babies with milk protein sensitivity, HiPP HA Stage 2 is not a medical treatment. Because of the hydrolyzed protein in HiPP HA Stage 2, this formula is not certified organic.
Best Stage 2 Alternative to Cow’s Milk: Holle Goat Stage 2
Holle Goat Stage 2 is a great formula for any baby six months and older, and it’s particularly well-suited to infants who have difficulty tolerating cow’s milk formula. Many babies transition to this formula from Holle Goat Stage 1, but it’s also perfectly suitable for babies who are trying formula for the first time, or for combination feeding.
Not only are Holle’s goat milk formulas great-tasting and nutritious, but many babies find goat’s milk formula easier to digest than cow’s milk formula. Compared to cow’s milk, goat’s milk contains much less of the A1 beta-casein protein that can cause eczema, skin rash, constipation, gas, and cramps. The proteins found in goat's milk form smaller softer curds in the stomach, more similar to the small soft ones that form when an infant is digesting breast milk. Furthermore, the fat molecules are smaller and there are shorter and medium chain triglycerides, all of which are much easier to digest for an infant compared to the fat globules found in cow's milk.
The natural, minimally-processed ingredients in Holle Goat Stage 2 include whole organic goat’s milk, organic lactose, organic maltodextrin, a blend of organic vegetable oils, and DHA from algae oil. As with all Holle formulas, Holle Goat Stage 2 is free from GMO ingredients, corn syrup, sucrose, soy, gluten, and synthetic additives. Just like the Stage 1 formula, Holle Goat Stage 2 sets itself apart from most other European formulas because it’s free from palm oil and is vegetarian friendly.
Holle Goat Stage 3 is also available for babies 10 months and older.
Please note that if your baby has a cow’s milk protein allergy, a hypoallergenic formula such as HiPP HA Hypoallergenic Stage 2 may be less likely to result in an allergic reaction. If you think your baby has an allergy or any other feeding issue, we always recommend consulting with your pediatrician before switching formulas.
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