Should I Choose a Skim Milk or Full Fat Milk Infant Formula?

Written by Karena Tonkin
Pediatric Nutritionist & Aussie Bubs Advisor

By Karena Tonkin, Pediatric Nutritionist & Aussie Bubs Advisor


As parents, we are always looking for ways to give our little ones a healthier diet, but sometimes it takes work to know what is best. Fats, for example, are vital for growth and development and it’s important to nourish baby with the right amount of healthy fats.   However, fats have also gotten a bad rap over the last few years, so it's no wonder parents may be confused when choosing between skim and full-fat milk formula options.

Healthy Fats for Growth and Development

Your child's rapid growth requires an adequate number of calories every day for energy and development. As fats provide more than twice the calories per gram than proteins and carbohydrates, developing babies and toddlers require lots of healthy fats daily.

Fats make up around 70% of the brain and are found in the wall of every cell, making them crucial for healthy brain development and overall growth. Healthy dietary fats aid the uptake of vitamins like A, D, E, and K, protect nervous tissue and contribute to hormones and immunity. Omega 3 fatty acids may also help balance mood and enhance learning, memory, and sustained attention in babies.

All Infant Formulas Contain a Similar Amount of Fat and Fatty Acids

Whether skim or whole-fat milk powders are used in manufacturing, all infant and toddler formulas must meet the same criteria for fat content. Strict guidelines ensure all formulas contain similar amounts of fats and fatty acids to meet infants' and toddlers' growth and development needs. Generally, the primary difference between whole and skim milk is the amount of fat and calories. A combination of milk fats and vegetable oils are used in most formulas to ensure fats and fatty acids are sufficient. - it's only the balance of each that changes.  Aussie Bubs is one of the only formula brands sold in the US and made with whole milk sources.   

Why Whole Milk?

Breast milk and infant formula are essential sources of fat for newborns and babies. Whole-milk infant formulas are more similar to breast milk and allow parents to easily incorporate healthy fats into baby’s diet. The creamy texture that full-fat milk gives formula suits baby’s taste buds and helps them feel full and less likely to be fussy for more. Unlike most formulas made in the US, Bubs organic, clean, 365-day grass-fed cow’s milk formula, Goat milk formula, and Supreme formulas rely on fats from natural whole milk and less on added vegetable oils. This is beneficial for baby as it provides natural essential fatty acids and phospholipids in a ratio similar to human breast milk. 

Concerns About Weight or Development in Baby?

If you are concerned about increasing weight in your baby or toddler, remove calories from empty sugars rather than essential fats in your little one's diet. Remember, healthy fats contribute to healthy growth and brain development. Due to strict regulations, the overall fat content in most baby and toddler formulas are comparable, so it's best to choose the formula that suits baby’s needs best. 

If you are concerned about your baby or toddlers’ weight, growth or development, ensure you talk to your child’s pediatrician about which guidelines you should follow to best meet your child’s individual nutrition needs


**This blog is for informational or educational purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with a healthcare professional.