“ Brand: Cow & Gate / Product Type: Baby Milk „
PLEASE NOTE - I requested a new product category for Cow & Gate First Infant Milk, but Dooyoo rejected it and said I should write in this category. However, this is for the PREMIUM version (green packaging) and my review is for the standard version (red packaging). Thanks.
After recently giving birth, I had problems which meant I could only breastfeed my son for the first five days, despite having intended to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months or so. Once I knew I had to switch to bottle feeding, my partner and I had to choose a brand of formula milk to use. We bought Cow & Gate First Infant Milk because it is made by an established brand, it is suitable from birth and is easily available. You can also buy it in ready made cartons which are great for taking on day trips, much more convenient than having to make up a bottle from scratch while out somewhere.
The 900g version costs around £8 from major supermarkets and is in a distinctive red packaging with a green '1' on to signify it is a 1st stage formula milk you can use for newborns. It is a white powder which comes with its own measuring scoop and even a little 'shelf' inside which you can use to level off the powder. (In the 1990s, the scoop was loose in the packet but now it has its own holder included and I used to level off the powder with a knife!) This means you can make up a bottle one-handed (useful when holding a crying baby!) and you don't have to touch the powder at all.
You follow the instructions on the side of the packet to see how to make up the formula. The amount of bottles and the size of each one are determined by the age of your baby, so a two-week old baby would be expected to have around six feeds of 4 fl. oz. (120ml) per day. Of course, this is only a guide and your health visitor can advise you. My son has been feeding more often but not finishing many bottles, so it all works out to the right kind of total.
Despite formula feeding being very common, it isn't a straight-forward trouble-free issue for most mums. As we all know by now, breast is best and all that, but sometimes it isn't possible for women to breastfeed their babies or they choose not to. It is an individual's decision, every mum decides what is best to do for her child and as someone once said to me - by the time they're at school, no-one can pick out which kids were breastfed and which were bottlefed. So stick by your decision and don't feel guilty.
While formula milk can never exactly replicate breastmilk, the formulas are very advanced now and Cow & Gate First Infant Milk claims to be a "nutritionally complete breastmilk substitute" which includes a whole host of vitamins and minerals. The nutritional information is printed in detail on the side of the packaging, so you can check to see exactly what it contains.
Being a vegetarian for over 25 years, I was also faced with another dilemma about formula milk. My other children were born in the 1990s and it was easier to find vegetarian formula then. These days, due to the popularity of fish-based Omega 3, almost all formulas contain this, which means it is not suitable for vegetarians. I intend to bring my son up vegetarian (as my older kids are), but the two soya versions of formula milk (Wysoy and Infasoy) are not recommended by health professionals to give to babies under six months. My plan had been to breastfeed exclusively for six months before moving onto one of these soya alternatives, but as this became impossible, I had to choose - either risk a soya-based milk which my health visitor and midwife could not recommend or to start him on a non-vegetarian formula. I chose the latter, as it is more important he is healthy. Once he is six months old, he will be exclusively vegetarian, but for now, this isn't an option.
My son has done well on formula with his weight. He was 7lbs 11oz at birth then lost a whole pound in the five days I was breastfeeding him (another reason to switch to formula). Once he was on Cow & Gate First Infant Milk, he began to gain weight really well and was up to 8lbs 1oz a week later. He's now almost six weeks old and weighs 10lbs 9oz. The health visitor is pleased at his progress and development and so are we. He likes the taste, feeds well and we had no problems switching him from breastmilk to this formula.
One disadvantage we have found with this formula milk though is that my son has some problems digesting it. He is rarely sick at all, but has been bad with wind and colic, so after taking advice from our health visitor, we have decided to put him onto the Cow & Gate Comfort formula milk instead, which aids babies with constipation or colic.
Of course every baby is different, but this is our experience with the Cow & Gate First Infant Milk. To sum up the advantages and disadvantages of this product as we have found them -
Easy to find, readily available
Available in ready-made cartons
Made by an established and trustworthy brand
Contains vitamins and minerals
Can be used from birth
Easy to mix and use
Good instructions on the packaging
Convenient scoop and leveller included inside
My baby likes the taste and put weight on
Expensive (but so are all formula milks)
Can cause colic or wind
Not vegetarian, contains fish
Its good to know what other mums think of formulas since the big brands are not allowed to advertise from-birth formulas due to the fact that breast feeding should be promoted instead. It can be hard to decide on a formula as the information is not always readily available. Im an ex-breastfeeding mum, but I certainly dont feel like I am doing my daughter a disservice by feeding her formula now although I know others would feel differently. To me its every mums perogative to feed their baby the way we want to and not be judged on it so if someone is reading this review who is considering bottle feeding from birth Id like to help you decide by telling how problem-free we have found Cow and Gate.
I think recently my daughter has been really teasing me regarding feeding, She has out me through the mill recently, taking 3 oz then deciding that was enough, or just poking her tongue out at the teat. I had been feeding her Aptamil since I stopped breastfeeding her with no problems really, so I was completely baffled as to why she didn't want to feed. We had been getting on really well with Nuk bottles but I changed to Tommee Tippee for a day to see if that was the problem, it wasn't- she didn't like those bottles at all (even though Id had a good experience with them when my son was bottle-feeding) So I switched milks from Aptamil to Cow and Gate.
I'm not sure if changing milk was the answer but she did start to feed again so I didn't change back to Aptamil. I'm a bit on the lazy side when it comes to making formula so I buy Ready-to-drink cartons. They are more expensive on a weekly basis, but you can be quite economical with them as any leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 24 hours after opening. You can also get a bigger carton of Cow and Gate than the one mentioned in this review, although the bigger size is not available everywhere. We now at 4 months go through 4-5 cartons a day, at 50p a carton. It's not too bad really when you look at it like that. And as she weans this will be less and less again.
The Ready Mix cartons are really convenient for mums-on-the-run, which I often am, I always have one in my bag, along with a recently sterilised bottle in a bottle bag in case we get caught out with a hungry baby and as she has never been given a warmed up bottle she doesn't care that it comes straight from the carton.
There are 7oz in the carton which is more than a feed for my baby, although I will have to switch to only using the bigger cartons when she wants that extra ounce.
What Cow and Gate say on the pack.
The ready to feed in stage 1 is a breast milk substitute suitable from birth. There is a stage 2 for hungrier babies but personally I don't think we will get to that level as she's a small feeder and sleeps well. Cow and Gate say that this is easy to digest; my daughter certainly has no problems with tummy pains or constipation while on it. She gets complete nutrition for her day. I think the pre-biotics that it contains make it easy on the tummy while offering the benefits of being Gluten Free and containing sufficient iron for the baby. As baby's pre-birth iron supplies drop after 6 months it is reassuring to know that they are getting some from elsewhere.
I'm not really someone who does many reviews on foodstuffs so although I could list all the ingredients but I think that it really wouldn't make much sense to us, if it were me looking for a review on baby milk I would be more interested in a baby's reaction to the formula so I will keep in that vein. The one thing I will mention is that there is a note that one of the substances used contains Fish... some babies have intolerances to fish so it's certainly worth reading the label.
They give preparation instructions on the side of the carton, which as a carton is pretty self-explanatory really. Cut Carton and pour into an empty sterile bottle! There is also a feeding guide, which I ignore as my little one is only really drinking what they say a 2 month old should drink. It's only a guide, all babies are different.
The Pros of Using Ready-to-Feed
Ready-to-Feed is the most convenient feeding system that I have found bar breast feeding, but I had gotten to the stage where I was ready to wean her to formula so I don't dwell too much on that.
You cannot make mistakes with measurements. I know when I used formula with my son there were more than a few times where I just couldn't remember how many scoops I had just dropped in the water. I constipated him more than once by putting an extra scoop in in my half-awake baby brain states!
The cartons are compact and recyclable. Just pop them into a bag and go- no problems.
The cartons are not easy to burst; I have never managed to burst one open. I've put them through the mill a lot as I'm a bit untidy and have left heavy shopping on top of them and thrown them about in changing bags.
The Cons of Using Ready-To-Feed
They are more expensive than standard boxes of formula.
At the end of the day, this is formula and therefore is not natural.
I feel that another ounce in a carton would not go amiss.
So all-in-all I would be happy to recommend the Cow and Gate ready-mix to other parents out there. We certainly have not met any problems in the while that we have been using it. I do keep a tin of formula at home in case I run out, but my much-favoured way of feeding my daughter is the ready mix cartons and I know that increasingly I am not alone; there are others out there who do so too.
Closer than ever to breastmilk