Do Formula-Fed Babies Grow Taller? Read Before You Start Formula Feeding

According to research, formula-fed babies indeed experience rapid growth during the first year of their lives. But moms, do not put your bet on it just yet. By theory, some formula milk contains a high level of proteins. And while it does expedite growth, it also puts infants at risk of obesity later in life. After two years, breastfed babies will start to level out with formula-fed ones. They will have an almost similar body mass index, with formula-fed babies having a difference in body fat.

So, do you want to raise a 7-footer child in the future? Check this post to decide if you want to latch exclusively or ditch breastmilk for store-bought.

Formula-fed vs breastfed babies

Health professionals do not waver in the firm stand of encouraging mothers to breastfeed exclusively if they can. Admittedly, at some point, the slow growth rate observed in breastfed babies alarmed the experts. They tend to grow smaller, which led parents to find ways to increase their weight.

In a collaborative study by the EU in its EARNEST project, experts studied the reason behind the lag. Accordingly, the gap between the growth rate in breastfed and formula-fed babies evens out by the time the infants reach two years of age.

Babies who switched to formula some time in infancy experienced a growth spurt. But, it does not present a significant difference in their final heights and weights.

Generally, the research yielded a similarity in the final BMI of infants at age two. What researchers discovered was the data of obesity in adults that do not correlate to breastfeeding. It means that formula-fed babies are more prone to experiencing obesity later in life.

In a separate study, some researchers found that exclusive breastfeeding did help prevent stunting in children from low-income families.

Infant milk composition

Choosing to breastfeed exclusively, alternate to formula, or exclusively formula feed babies is a mother’s personal choice. But this one theory might change the way you want to feed your baby.

Formula milk does contain all the nutrients similar to breastmilk. However, the nutrient compositions in the formula are similar at each feeding. That is also why you need to change into different formula stages as your baby grows older.

Breastmilk, on the other hand, changes naturally according to your baby’s needs. It is miraculously tailored to provide the baby’s nutritional needs that are specific for him. The composition changes as the baby grow, and it also does every time you or your baby is sick.

Babies may grow slightly slower when they are breastfed. But it is natural and a good sign that he is nourished according to his needs. The best thing about breastfeeding is that it provides many benefits, such as good immune health later in life.

Increasing a child’s height

Mom is bottle feeding her infant son on the bed at night.

Height can be quite an intriguing topic for most parents. The majority of them wants to attain the highest possible that their kid can stand. So, it is common for them to ask pediatricians for recommendations on supplements that can boost it.

Vitamins may help the body maximize its full growth potential. Vitamin B, for example, can promote body growth, enabling children to grow taller.

Nevertheless, parents should also remember the main factor that affects height: genetics and DNA. It is a determining factor that no one – not even modern medicine – can change. The good news is that inherited DNA sequence accounts for only about 80% of the child’s height. That leaves a little room for improvement that most parents may want to jump in.

If you want to help your child reach his full height potential, here are some ways that may help.

Ensure good nutrition

A right and balanced nutrition may influence your child’s growth, including height. Protein, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B are all essential nutrients for growth. You can get all these vitamins and more from whole foods as soon as your toddler starts on his solid food.

By far, protein has the biggest impact on growth and development. It is best to load up your child with plant-based proteins that you can get from lentils, beans, and some nuts and seeds like quinoa. Eggs, milk, and other dairy products are also excellent sources of protein and calcium.

Lean meats, fishes and vegetables are also keys to helping your child reach his growth potential.

Let them exercise

Even simple stretching exercises can help elongate the tendons and cartilages in young children. It allows better bone growth and, along with proper posture, helps children grow a little bit taller.

Give children time to play and move every day and let them soak up some sun. It will not only develop them physically but will also improve their overall health and mood.

Hanging, doing some yoga poses, stretching exercises, jogging or swimming are just a few things your child can do.

Give them enough sleep

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) produced in the pituitary gland offshoots the growth in children and adolescents. This height-making hormone gets activated during a night of deep sleep. Regulating your child’s sleep means letting the growth hormone work at its full force.

At most, children need 11 to 14 hours of night sleep, while adolescents need about 8 to 11 hours. Starting a nighttime routine while your child is very young is a huge help. Let infants sleep at the right room temperature, some white noise, in a slightly dark and undisturbed environment. You can jumpstart a healthy bedtime habit, starting from the crib until moving to their bigger beds.


Are food supplements effective for boosting children’s height?

There is no other source of vitamins that works for the body effectively other than those found in whole foods. Don’t always believe in claims about height-enhancing food supplements unless your doctor prescribes it.

Pediatricians most often prescribe supplements for large nutrient deficiency and when they deem it necessary.

At what age do children stop growing?

Growth spurt in children happens at around 12 to 15 years old. By the time they reach 18, most children will not grow any taller. So, if you want to maximize your child’s height, start with proper nutrition during his childhood and adolescent years.

Is it possible for adults to increase their heights?

No. After puberty, the body will stop making new bones, and the growth plates will fuse. The only way for adults to “appear” taller is to improve their posture, nothing more.


Formula-fed babies indeed experience growth spurt more noticeable than breastfed babies. But breastfed infants will no sooner catch up with them, and it makes no difference at all. Helping your child grow taller and reach their full growth potential is more than just infant milk.

A healthy beginning is still a key in releasing their bodies’ full development. Breastfeeding is a great step in ensuring a healthy start for infants. It provides the exact nutrients they need while preventing the hounding obesity issues that formula milk can likely give.

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Ann Marie is a licensed nurse in the Philippines. She experienced handling and assisting deliveries of newborns into the world. She also trained in labor rooms and pediatric wards while in nursing school - helping soon-to-be mothers and little kids in the process. Though not a mother by nature but a mother by heart, Ann Marie loves to take care of her younger cousins as well as nephews and nieces during her free time.

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