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Aptamil is a widely recognized infant formula brand around the world but they are actually fairly new to the US market. After the formula crisis of 2022, the FDA expedited the approval process for several overseas formula manufacturers to sell their products in the US.
Danone, Aptamil’s parent company, was one of those manufacturers.
So you’ll now find it stocked on the shelves of your local supermarket and at big box retailers like Amazon, Walmart and Target.
In this Aptamil review, we’ll give you everything you need to know about this important player in the baby formula industry so you can make an informed decision as to whether this is the right brand for your family.
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A brief history of Aptamil
Aptamil, along with the other globally recognized formula brands (Enfamil, Similac, Gerber, etc.) are produced by large, multinational healthcare companies.
Aptamil is part of a bigger brand called Nutricia. Nutricia is actually a very interesting company that was founded in the Netherlands in 1896.
Since then, Nutricia has been leading research in various therapeutic food and infant formulas.
Nurticia was ultimately bought by a huge multinational French brand called Danone in 2007 and since then has truly gone global.
They now offer many different products, including Aptamil, that are manufactured and sold all over the world.
Why tons of parents trust Aptamil
They are a trusted brand by millions of families and have a long track record of scientific research behind their products which is what you like to see as a parent. They claim to be the #1 formula brand in 10 different countries including; France, UK, Spain, Brazil, Australia.
To do this in depth Aptamil review, we dove deep into the businesses and came away quite impressed as they:
- Continue to invest heavily in research and development to come up with better formula recipes.
- Helped pioneer the advancements in infant formula along with the other big formula producers which have saved hundreds of millions of babies over the last 130+ years.
- Have major distribution capabilities given their global footprint. Availability of your chosen formula is definitely something worth considering and Aptamil is now widely available in the US and will likely expand more now that it has received the green light from the FDA.
- Is very competitive when it comes to cost. It’s cheaper than Enfamil and Similac, the other big powerhouse formulas in the US, but still more expensive than the store brand formulas you can find on Amazon, Target, Walmart, etc.
These are all the things that you like to see as a parent. Ultimately we think it’s great that Aptamil is now in the US market as it’s going to keep the other big players in the space on their toes. More competition is better for you and your baby.
Sure, this might mean you have to choose from even more formula brands in the future than you do now, but ultimately the best formula companies will win out and you and your baby will get better products.
What Aptamil formulas are available in the US?
At the time of publishing this Aptamil review, they were only selling two products in the US even though they have more available in overseas markets. Our assumption is that they will launch more products here over time as they get more comfortable with the FDA regulations and the American consumer. But for now, we’ve got their 2 flagship products that are designed for full term babies from 0-12 months.
If you’re looking for a more specialized formula then you’d be better off going through our other reviews
Aptamil 1 First Infant Milk
Aptamil First Infant Milk is an easy to digest, nutritionally complete formula. Inspired by 50 years of breast milk research, Aptamil First features prebiotics GOS/FOS that feeds the good bacteria in the gut and promotes softer and regular stools that are closer to that of breastfed infants, DHA to help support brain & eye development, HMO 3’GL, and key vitamins & minerals found in breast milk – including Vitamin D to help support the immune system.
- European commission recommended levels of DHA
- No palm oil
- Dual prebiotics GOS/FOS support digestive health
- Contains cow’s milk, soy, and fish oil ingredients
- Iron levels may look different than most US made formulas
Aptamil Gold+ 1 Infant Formula
Inspired by 50 years of advanced breast milk research, this formula includes a unique blend of scientifically researched ingredients. The main differences between Gold+ and First Infant Milk are the inclusion of probiotics and the use of palm oil.
- Probiotic B. breve and dual prebiotics GOS & FOS to help to help support baby’s digestive health and the immune system
- Key vitamins & minerals found in breast milk
- Vitamins C and D to help support the immune system
- DHA to help support brain & eye development
- The fat content of Aptamil Gold+ Infant formula is provided by a combination of palm olein, coconut, canola and high oleic sunflower oils. So if you’re looking for a palm oil free formula, this is not the answer.
As with any formula, you have to try it to see if your baby would tolerate it. These are both solid options to choose from but there are some other factors we dive into below that we hope you will consider before purchasing.
Why some parents are moving away from big brands like Aptamil
Aptamil honestly has a pretty great reputation in the industry from everything we can tell. We talked to health care professionals and parents and didn’t hear anything negative about Aptamil. So if you’ve already got your heart set on Aptamil you can skip ahead to the next section.
As we mentioned above, the dominant, global formula manufacturers like Aptamil have been around for a really long time and are responsible for the innovations in infant formulas that we all take for granted now as parents. There is much to be thankful for to these companies.
Here at the Baby Swag though, we generally believe that more competition for consumer products like formula is a good thing. More formula manufacturers will lead to more:
- Choice – parents will have a wider selection of products to find something that suits their preferences, budget and baby’s nutritional needs, and;
- Innovation – to stay alive as a business, formula companies will have to keep innovating to compete for your dollars. This ultimately leads to better products and a better overall experience in the long run.
Typically when brands like this get gobbled up by one big company after another, it becomes more challenging to remain focused on the original mission of creating the best breast milk substitute possible (because that’s what formula really is). This is because these bigger brands now have to balance your baby’s best interests with making a nice profit for their shareholders.
As companies grow into massive global brands, they have to:
- Diversify their product range to keep growing. Nutricia, Aptamil’s parent company, has 100’s of products and services they’re working on, many of which have nothing to do with infant nutrition.
- Focus on mass production to get their products into as many little hands as possible. Mass production will typically require making decisions about the type and quality of ingredients they put into their formula.
Aptamil definitely has a better reputation than the other global formula brands but you can already see what we’re talking about happening as Apatmil has recently announced that they will be discontinuing their organic formula recipe in 2023. That’s likely because they are not making enough profit on it and/or can’t produce it at the scale of their other products. So rather than focusing on the best quality ingredients for your baby, they’re putting profits first. Which you can’t blame them for in many ways, that’s how businesses must operate.
But when big business intersects with the health and wellbeing of our children, it’s time to shake things up.
Aptamil, to our knowledge, has not been caught up in the shady and aggressive marketing tactics that some of the other big formula manufacturers have (Enfamil, Similac, Gerber), so it’s not fair to drag them into that mess but we do think it’s fair to say that they are now part of an elite club of formula manufacturers that needs to be challenged.
That’s why we’re extremely excited that over the last few years we’ve seen a massive shift in the expectations and demands from parents for better products, better experiences and better outcomes. This new demand has helped a few new US companies enter the market like Bobbie and ByHeart that are once again hyper-focused on one thing and one thing only… you and your baby.
So if you’ve made it this far into the Aptamil formula review, we appreciate you hearing us out. The bottom line is, there is technically nothing wrong with Aptamil. Your baby will likely thrive on their formula. So if Aptamil is the brand you’ve got your heart set on, you can buy it directly from Amazon right now and be confident your baby is going to be getting the nutrients they need to grow.
But we want to make it clear that there are better formula recipes, better customer experiences and better missions that you should consider as well. These new brands will cost some extra cash but if you can find a way to afford it, we think it’s worth it.
Bobbie is our recommended product because they have proven over the last few years since they launched that they really understand what modern day parents are looking for.
Has the FDA reviewed Aptamil’s products?
Yes, the US FDA has reviewed information about the nutritional adequacy and safety of these formulas and has allowed them to be imported and made available to families in the US. You can also view the US FDA press release here and here,
If you’d like to learn more about imported formulas, the AAP has shared this article that highlights helpful facts, how to read labels, answers to top questions, and more.
Will Aptamil be available in the US long term?
Aptamil will continue to be available for US families as the FDA’s recent announcement extends their enforcement discretion through at least 2025. They are a welcome addition to American parents as more brands like this will help create a more resilient infant formula marketplace for the future.
Is Aptamil formula WIC approved?
At the time of publication, Aptamil is not WIC approved unfortunately. With this being a new product in the US, it’s probably unlikely this will be approved under WIC for quite some time.
Does Aptamil use palm oil in their formula?
Aptamil 1 First Infant Milk does not contain any palm oil but their Gold+ 1 Infant Formula does. The fat content of Aptamil Gold+ Infant formula is provided by a combination of palm olein, coconut, canola and high oleic sunflower oils. Additionally, tuna oil and algal oil ingredients provide sources of DHA and ARA to support baby’s brain and eye development.
Why is the iron level lower and DHA higher than most US made formulas?
Aptamil formula has 0.8 mg iron/100 kcal (0.53 mg/100 ml) in contrast to formulas in the U.S. that frequently provide levels over 1 mg/100 kcal. Aptamil has 0.5% of fatty acids as DHA in comparison to most U.S. formulas that have 0.32% or less of the fatty acids as DHA.
Breastfeeding provides optimal nutrition for infants. Our recommendations are based on the products we have personally used or researched; they are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your pediatrician before making any changes to your child’s diet, especially in cases where your baby has dietary restrictions or allergies.