Children over one do not need formula milk, experts say

SINGAPORE: Mr Corey Sta Maria’s five-year-old daughter takes formula milk twice a day, before breakfast and after dinner. He believes that the milk contributes to her overall well-being, especially her good immune system.

“She has her milk alongside her meals, and it’s convenient, because she may not finish her food and we don’t know whether she’s getting enough nutrients,” said that 44-year-old sports marketer, who added he was not sure if he would continue to give her milk after she turns six in November. His younger daughter, who is just over two years old, also drinks formula milk three times a day.

He continues to give them milk after a little experiment showed they did not like fresh cows’ milk, which nutritionists recommend after 12 months.

To save on costs, his family drives over to Johor Baru, Malaysia, to stock up on their formula milk supply – which brings about savings of S$20 to S$30 a tin. They settled on a particular brand of milk after extensive research on its benefits and reviews from other parents.

Formula milk came into the spotlight after parenting portal revealed prices of infant milk formula in Singapore increased by an average of about 27 per cent from December 2012 to March 2017. The average price of formula milk has more than doubled over the last decade to S$56.06 for a 900g tin, according to Singapore’s Department of Statistics.


Table showing percentage changes in median incomes and prices of infant milk powder in Singapore and in Western Europe with 2006 as base. (Graph: Sun Xueling, Sources: Various including, MOM)


While parents may rely on health claims to choose a formula milk brand for their children, experts say such claims meant for children above one are a “marketing ploy” because the same nutrients can be found in everyday food. 

Referring to nutrients like docosahexaenoic…

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