In the United Kingdom, infant formula advertising has been illegal since 1995, but advertising for "follow-on formula" is legal, which has been cited as a loophole allowing advertising of similarly-packaged formula.
An early example of follow-on formula was introduced by in the Philippines in 1987, following the introduction in this country of regulations on infant formula advertising, but which did not address follow-on formulas (products that did not exist at the time of their drafting). Similarly, while infant formula advertising is illegal in the United Kingdom, follow-on formula advertising is legal, and the similar packaging and market results in follow-on advertisements frequently being interpreted as advertisements for formula. (See also , below.)
|1867||A formula containing wheat flour, cow's milk, malt flour, and potassium bicarbonate was developed.|
|1915||A powder form of infant formula was introduced, containing cow's milk, lactose, oleo oils, and vegetable oils.|
|1929||Soy formula was introduced.|
|1935||Protein was added because it was believed cow's milk protein content was lower than human milk protein content; protein at 3.3–4.0 g/100 kcal was added.|
|1959||Iron fortification was introduced because a large amount of iron (~80%) is used to expand the red blood cell mass in a growing infant. Infants with birth weights between 1500 and 2500g require 2 mg/kg of iron per day. Infants with weights of less than 1500g require 4 mg/kg per day.|
|1962||The whey:casein ratio was made similar to human milk because producers were aware that human milk contains a higher ratio of whey protein, and cow's milk contains a higher ratio of casein.|
|1984||Taurine fortification was introduced because newborn infants lack the enzymes needed to convert and form taurine.|
|Late 1990||Nucleotide fortification was introduced into infant formula because nucleotides can act as growth factors and may enhance the infant immune system.|
|Early 2000||Polyunsaturated fatty acid fortification was introduced. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA), were added because those fatty acids play an important role in infant brain development.|
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Multiple studies have confirmed normal growth in term infants fed soy formula. In contrast, preterm infants have significantly less weight gain when they are fed soy formula instead of standard formula with similar caloric density. Osteopenia of prematurity is also increased. Thus, soy formula should never be used for preterm infants.