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Guide to Baby Formula in Japan – Brands, Types and Where to Buy

Guide to Baby Formula in Japan
There is a dizzying colorful assortment of baby formula available on the Japanese market. This guide will help you navigate the aisles by introducing the various types of baby formula and their manufacturers.

Packaging

You may be surprised to find out that concentrated liquid and ready-to-use formula are not for sale on the Japanese market.

The law which dictates the compositional standards of milk and milk products only references infant powdered milk in its text. In addition, foreign brands of infant formula are not found in stores as they include components of breast milk which are not considered food additives under current Japanese law.

Powdered baby formula is typically sold in large cans of around 800 or 900 grams, but smaller sized cans are available as well. Refills (つめかえ用) for these cans are sold in boxes to help reduce waste. You may also find easy-to-use individual packets in addition to formula packaged in cubes as well.

Ideally, formula is to be consumed within two hours of preparation, and powdered formula is to be consumed within one month of opening the package.

*** Guide to Baby Formula in Japan ***

Choosing the Right Formula

If giving birth in a Japanese hospital or clinic, find out which brand of formula the hospital uses and consider continuing its use after your arrival home.

Components found in formula vary by maker, but all the ingredients included in formula are regulated by Japanese law. As each brand of formula has its own unique ingredients, it is best to chose the formula that your baby seems to prefer.

There are six domestic manufacturers of baby formula — Beanstalk, Icreo, Meiji, Morinaga, Wakodo, and Yukijirushi Megmilk (Megmilk Snow).

Beanstalk Sukoyaka M1Guide to Baby Formula in Japan
A manufacturer which has spent more than fifty years researching breast milk and its components, Beanstalk is used by many hospitals. Beanstalk is known for its high quality ingredients which are very similar to the components of breast milk. It is also recommended for mothers who intended to supplement feedings with formula.

Icreo Balance MilkGuide to Baby Formula in Japan
Icreo, a subsidiary of Glico, also produces weaning foods for infants and toddlers. Balance Milk is known for its similarity in taste and smell to breast milk and includes the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. When mixed with water, it also resembles the color of colostrum.

*** Guide to Baby Formula in Japan ***

Meiji Hohoemi
Meiji has devoted more than forty years of research dedicated to replicating the components of breast milk by studying the breast milk of over 4000 moms and surveying the growth of more than 200,000 babies. A key ingredient in Meiji’s formula is ARA, a fatty acid believed to be beneficial for babies’ brain, neural, and eye development.

At present, Meiji is the only manufacturer which produces formula in cube format. These small servings may be a good choice for newborns who tend to only drink between 20 to 40 ml of milk at during a single feeding.

Morinaga Hagukumi
Morinaga produces around forty percent of the baby formula available on the Japanese market. Perhaps the most popular brand of baby formula is Morinaga Hagukumi. If you have doubts over which brand of formula to choose for your baby, you can’t go wrong with this selection from Morinaga, which contains lactoferrin to help build a baby’s immunity and DHA and ARA for development and growth.

Wakodo Hai-Hai
Wakudo has a long history in Japan as the nation’s first manufacturer of powdered baby formula. Its formula contains protein, lactose, oligosaccharide, lactoferrin, five nucleotides, DHA, and a ingredient not found in breast milk called beta-lactoglobulin, which is derived from a non-easily digestible protein found in cow’s milk. According to some mothers, Wakodo’s baby formula is not as soluble as other brands, so extra time is needed when preparing baby’s bottle. Wakodo is also considered an economical choice as well.

Yukijirushi Pure
Along with components found in breast milk, Pure also includes 50 milligrams of lactadherin per 100 grams of formula. As Pure does not advertise as much as its competitors, it does not spend much on advertising and thus, the extra savings are passed on to consumers, making it another economical choice of baby formula.

*** Guide to Baby Formula in Japan ***

Choices for Babies with Allergies & Special Dietary Needs

Parents of babies with allergies or special dietary needs may wonder which brands in Japan are best for a baby’s growth and development.

Beanstalk Pepdiett
Pepdiett is specially formulated for babies who have milk allergies, are lactose intolerant, or have galactosemia.

 

Meiji Elemental Formula
Elemental Formula is designed for babies with milk and soybean allergies, as well as those who have galactosemia. Only available in stick format.

*** Guide to Baby Formula in Japan ***

Meiji Milfy HP
Milfy is an easily digestible formula recommended for babies who are allergic to milk, eggs, and/or soybeans.

 

Morinaga E-Akachan
E–Akachan is made with the same ingredients as Hagukumi but in the form of an easily digestible peptide milk.

*** Guide to Baby Formula in Japan ***

Morinaga MA-mi
MA-mi is a well-known choice produced by Meiji for babies who have a milk allergy.

 

 

Morinaga NEW MA-1
NEW MA-1 is an improved version of MA-mi and contains no lactose, or soybean or egg derivatives.

 

Morinaga NONLACT
NONLACT contains no lactose, so it is ideal for babies who suffer from galactosemia or are lactose intolerant.

 

Wakodo Bonlact-i
Bonlact-i contans no traces of milk products and is made from soybeans. It can also be given to low-birth weight infants as well.

*** Guide to Baby Formula in Japan ***

Choices for Toddlers

Formula for toddlers is called follow up milk (フォローアップミルク), formula designed to be introduced to around nine months of age as a bridge between baby formula and cow’s milk. They all aim to provide growing baby with minerals and nutrients which are not easily obtained through a regular diet when transitioning to solid foods.

Beanstalk Tsuyoiko
Tsuyoiko stands out from other follow-up milk formulas as it contains 5.4 milligrams of iron and 40 milligrams of DHA in the daily recommended intake of 400 milliliters.

 

 

Icreo Follow Up Milk
This choice from Icreo includes iron, calcium, vitamin C and vitamin D. Its official website also introduces kid-friendly recipes using this follow-up milk.

 

Meiji Step
Step is Meiji’s follow up milk which includes nutritional components that are not easily obtained through a regular diet. Like Hohoemi, Step is also available in cube format.

 

 

Morinaga Chil Mil
Chil Mil is a specially formulated “follow up” milk with lactoferrin, DHA and ARA. Up to ninety percent of the daily recommended intake of iron can be obtained by drinking 400 milliliters of Chil Mil a day.

 

 

Yukijirushi Tatchi
Tatchi contains the most lactoferrin of all follow-up milk available on the market. It also includes iron, DHA and calcium, nucleotides, beta carotene, and oligosaccharide, as well as vitamins, C, D, and E.

 

 

Wakodo Gun-GunGuide to Baby Formula in Japan
Gun-Gun is a well-known choice for follow up milk that contains vitamin C, vitamin D, DHA, nucleotides, and oligosaccharides.

*** Guide to Baby Formula in Japan ***

Where to Buy Formula

STORES

  • Baby formula can be found in drugstores, department store baby & kids` floors as well some supermarkets.
  • Costco is a wonderful option for those seeking to buy in bulk.
  • Brick and mortar stores like Akachan Honpo, Nishimuraya and Babies ‘R Us/Toys `R Us.

ONLINE with Discounts
If you have an Amazon account, consider signing up for Amazon Family to receive discounts off retail prices with free shipping.

Rakuten members can sign up for Mama Wari, which offers frequent point rebates and various bonus point campaigns.

If you have a question please leave in our comments section below.

P.S. Visit our Top Recommended Baby Posts

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Guide to Baby Formula in Japan – Brands, Types and Where to Buy

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Written By: Teni Wada – Originally from the Southeastern United States, Teni Wada now resides in Tokyo, her home of ten years. She writes about her experiences as a new mom on her blog
babykaiju.com.

 

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2 comments

  1. May I ask is follow up milk different from cow milk? I am actually looking for milk powder for toddler that has cow milk allergy.

    • Hi and thank you for reaching out. Follow up milk is different than cow’s milk because it often has added DHC, iron, folic acid or other supplements, minerals and vitamins; however formula milk uses traces of cow’s milk.

      You will want to be sure that the follow up milk you choose for your son is labeled for kids with a cow milk allergy.

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