There are many decisions to make when you have a baby. You want your baby to be healthy and grow up happy. To help with this, you need to ensure your baby gets the proper nutrition.
Some families choose to breastfeed their babies, while others turn to the formula for different reasons. We’ve produced a list of the best infant formulas so you can find the ideal one for your child.
We know that formula-feeding with a bottle and breastfeeding parents want the best for their babies. There will be a perfect feeding option for your baby’s needs.
The AAP recommends that infants breastfeed exclusively for the first six months. Still, for many families, it is just not possible. Some mothers have a hard time breastfeeding, which can be very stressful. It is not always worth it. We know that a happy mom is very important when raising children. There is nothing inherently wrong with formula feeding. Confidence in your decision, knowing that you are doing the right thing for yourself and your baby.
Here are some formulas to help your baby grow bigger, stronger, and smarter. They are filled with optimal nutrition for your baby.
Choosing a Baby Formula
The critical point to remember is that all infant formula manufactured and distributed in the United States must comply with FDA regulations. This means that you can trust that it is safe for your baby. That’s the most important thing!
There are many different types of infant formulas. This means that there is a formula that will work for every baby and every parent.
The majority of newborn formulae are made from cow’s milk. This is the best type of formula for most babies. However, soy-based formulas can be a good option for some babies. Always choose a formula that is fortified with iron.
Powdered formulas are the most popular and economical option for formula. However, you can also find liquid concentrate or ready-to-feed formula forms.
When choosing a baby formula, there are a few things you will want to think about:
- Will I be supplementing breastfeeding and therefore require a breastmilk-like formula?
- Do I want a formula that is organic or non-organic?
- What is my financial situation?
- Is my kid especially cranky because they have a sensitive stomach?
Finally, you’ll see that different recipes contain various substances. The Baby Formula Expert examines these in detail to assist you in determining the value of each. The following is a brief summary of what they do/mean:
- Although DHA and ARA are not necessary fatty acids, they are found in breast milk. These are now incorporated into the majority of formulations.
- Probiotics are living, beneficial bacteria that assist digestion.
- Prebiotics – promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and provide food for probiotics.
- For years, nucleotides have been added to infant formula, but not all formulations contain them. These are abundant in breastmilk.
- Lactoferrin and Milk Fat Globule Membrane (MFGM) are two proteins discovered in breast milk that explain why nursing is beneficial.
These supplements provide a small boost to your baby’s formula but are not required. While most of these will not be a “make or break” factor in formula selection, they can also serve as excellent supplement nutrients.
Best Baby Formulas to Mimic Breastmilk
The majority of mothers combine nursing and formula feeding. Formula supplementation is extremely frequent, especially for moms who pump at work. If they don’t pump enough milk, their baby may not get the right amount of nutrients. The formula that most closely mimics breastmilk is a great option for these babies.
Formulas similar to breastmilk can be beneficial for very young babies who are formula-fed from the start.
Because lactose is the primary sugar found in breastmilk, you’ll want to check for it while purchasing a formula similar to breastfeeding (as opposed to corn-based sugars or sucrose).
Top Two Formulas That Mimic Breast Milk:
Enfamil Enspire Infant Formula
Enspire is a cutting-edge, non-GMO formula developed by Enfamil in collaboration with some of the most rigorous breastfeeding studies. After mapping and evaluating 1,500 human milk proteins, the following additions were made to produce Enspire:
- MFGM – MFGM supports cognitive development in babies. Some studies say that this gap between breastfed and formula-fed babies is closing.
- Lactoferrin – aids in the development of your baby’s immune system and digestive tract.
Some parents appreciate that the first ingredient in this baby formula isn’t “corn syrup solids.” They also like that their babies take it easy, even though it’s not breastmilk.
Similac Pro-Advance Non-GMO Infant Formula with Iron
This is a close formula to breastmilk. The Similac Pro-Advance formula has added 2′ -FL HMO, a prebiotic naturally abundant in most breastmilk. This added layer of support helps the immune system. Additionally, this formula contains a unique blend of DHA, lutein, and vitamin E for brain and eye development.
- includes beneficial nucleotides
- The palm olein oil-free fat combination promotes calcium absorption and is non-GMO.
Some people call this powder a “miracle” because it helps babies have less gas.
Best Organic Baby Formulas
Many families have chosen to eat organic food themselves, so it makes sense that they would want their baby to have an organic formula. Suppose you are concerned about chemicals or pesticides in your food. In that case, the organic formula is a good choice for your baby.
The organic formula must be made with certified ingredients and processing aids like any other organic product. Organic does not automatically imply better for your child health, so keep this in mind while making food selections. Make sure to look for lactose as the primary carbohydrate source.
Top Two Top Organic Infant Formulas:
Happy Baby Organics Organic Stage 1 Milk-Based Powder with Iron Infant Formula
Happy Baby Organic Formula is a complete nutritional supplement for your infant’s first year of life. They use only carefully sourced, premium ingredients in their formula, modeled after breastmilk. This includes lactose (from cows raised on organic farms), the principal carb found in breastmilk.
- 4x more prebiotics than most other organic formula
- no corn syrup solids
- easy to digest
Some parents with babies who have sensitive stomachs found this organic baby formula to work well for them. This was also a good option for parents when breastfeeding was no longer an option.
Earth’s Best Organic Dairy Infant Powder Formula
Earth’s Best’s number one goal is to provide your baby with the perfect nourishment as they grow. That includes a milk base from cows only fed certified organic grain and hay free from synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. This particular formula is very close to breastmilk. Its prebiotic fiber for immunity and Omega-3 DHA and Omega-6 ARA increases cognitive and eye development. You’ll also love:
- no added corn syrup solids
- USDA-certified organic and made with non-GMO ingredients
However, many parents claim that they have been using lactose for years and enjoy the carbohydrate supply for their children. According to some parents, it causes constipation in their infant. If your infant is having difficulty going to the potty, this is something to keep an eye out for.
Best Store Brand (Most Affordable) Baby Formulas
There are many organic formulas, but they can be more expensive. Organic formulas have benefits, but that doesn’t mean they are always better. If you can’t afford an organic formula, don’t worry. You can give your baby formula with healthy nutrients for growth and stay on budget.
The formula is expensive in general. This is especially true if your baby eats a lot! However, there are ways to save money on formula. Try to get free samples, clip coupons, buy store-brand formula, or purchase it in bulk from Costco or Sam’s Club stores.
There are often store-brand formulas with the same ingredients as more expensive brands. Check the labels to find the best deal. You might be able to save several dollars per container.
Top Two Store-brand Formulas:
Kirkland Signature ProCare Non-GMO Infant Formula
Costco can help you save a significant amount of money over time. This includes big purchases of baby formula at the shop. Kirkland is an excellent choice because it is reasonably priced and provides your kid with the nutrition they require to develop healthy and strong. The formula contains high-quality components, such as:
- 2′-FL HMO for immune support
- DHA to support brain development
- Lutein to support eye development
Customers say that this formula is a great value because it offers good nutrition. Some parents even decided to get a Costco membership just to be able to buy this formula for their baby.
Up and Up Gentle Non-GMO Infant Formula
This store-brand milk-based formula is made with non-GMO ingredients. It is a mild, easy-to-digest formula that gassy infants will tolerate better than other milk-based formulas. Among the other significant elements are:
- Formulated with partially hydrolyzed whey protein and minimal lactose, it provides DHA and Choline, two nutrients present naturally in breastfeeding that aid in brain development.
Many parents have switched to this store-brand formula because it is just as good as other name-brand formulas, but it is much cheaper. If you’re searching for an economical yet effective recipe, you should try this one the next time at Target.
Best Baby Formula for Sensitive Tummies
As all new parents know, babies cry. This is because they are hungry, tired, or overstimulated. It is normal for them to cry to get their needs met. But what if your baby cries for hours and nothing you do seems to help? This can be really overwhelming and make you feel helpless as a parent.
If your baby is uncomfortable after they eat, it is time to consult your pediatrician for help. They will have the best tips on making your baby more comfortable. Your pediatrician may also suggest switching formulas to see if that will help. Some babies need a gentler formula that is designed for these special needs.
Top Two Best Formulas for Babies With Sensitive Stomachs:
Gerber GoodStart SoothePro (HMO) Infant Formula
GoodStart SoothePro is a formula designed for babies who have colic, cry a lot, are fussy, and have gas. Recently they made some changes to the formula that include adding prebiotics and probiotics. Studies have shown that this combination can reduce crying time by 50%. The benefits of gas reduction are derived from a proprietary blend of substances, which includes:
- a carbohydrate combination containing 30% lactose to help alleviate fussiness
- “Comfort proteins” are little proteins that make expert-recommended DHA easier for your baby’s tiny belly to digest.
Gerber is also very mindful of being sustainable. Earth-conscious parents will appreciate the new recyclable packaging- the tin made can has an infinite life cycle.
Similac Pro-Sensitive Infant Formula
Similac Pro-Sensitive is a low-lactose formula that is good for babies who have discomfort when they eat. This formula is gentle and will help reduce fussiness and gas. The great thing about this formula is that it still has all the important nutrients that babies need. You will find these same nutrients in other standard formulas.
- 2′-FL HMO – a prebiotic that benefits the immune system (which is naturally found in breastmilk)
- DHA, lutein, and vitamin E are necessary for proper brain and eye development.
- Lactose is the primary carbohydrate.
This formula is used by many parents for their babies who are sensitive to lactose. However, it is critical to remember that this formula is not intended for galactosemia infants and requires a lactose-free formula.
Best Soy-based Baby Formula
If you are looking for a vegetarian-based diet for your infant, you may want to give them soy-based formula. However, you must first check with your child’s pediatrician before making any decisions about your child’s health.
Top Soy-based Formula Recommendation:
Enfamil ProSobee Soy-Based Formula
If your baby is sensitive to milk-based formulas, they can try ProSobee by Enfamil. This soy-based formula is free of milk and gentle on your baby’s digestive system. Plus, it provides all the nutrients your baby needs to grow and thrive. Some notable features of this formula include:
- Omega-3 DHA has been proved to benefit your baby’s cognitive development, making it ideal for infants with lactose allergies or families who eat vegetarian or kosher.
- a perfect blend of vitamins to promote a healthy immune system
Making the switch to soy formula may help your baby feel better. After feeding time, your baby should be less fussy and cry less. Additionally, you should feed your baby in smaller portions and keep your baby upright when eating. And burp your newborn every 2 to 3 ounces to prevent further gastrointestinal problems.
A Prenatal Dietitian’s Guide to the Best Baby Formulas
As a result, you can rest certain that you provide your kid with a product that meets the minimum nutritional and safety standards.
There are dozens of infant formulae on the market, making it tough to decide. Our experts agree that you should pay attention to the protein and carbohydrate sources and double-check that they have the proper quantity of added iron for your baby. And determine whether you want powdered, liquid concentrate, or liquid ready-to-feed formula. If your baby was born prematurely, an enhanced preterm formula with extra calories and protein and increased amounts of some vitamins and minerals would likely help them. A variety of formulae are now available specifically intended to accommodate allergies or digestive peculiarities in infants.
The Best Infant Formulae Today
1. Gerber Good Start Is the Best Overall Choice Gentle
- Proteins that are simple to digest
- To resemble breastmilk, prebiotics and probiotics are used.
- GMO-free ingredients
- DHA and AA were added.
- Palm olein is present, which may not be desirable.
The Gerber name is synonymous with all things baby, and it’s a brand you can trust to give your infant the best nutrition possible. Our overall favorite is Gerber Good Start GentlePro. Many infants tolerate it well. Nicole Lattanzio, RD, CNSC, CSP, owner of The Baby Nutritionist PLLC, is a pediatric dietitian.
Casein and whey proteins are commonly found in cow’s milk-based infant formulae. However, casein can be challenging for some newborns’ developing digestive systems. Gerber’s GentlePro formula is free of casein. It contains “Comfort Proteins,” which are partially broken down whey proteins that are easier to digest.
Probiotic B.lactis is included in the GentlePro formula and a prebiotic called 2′-FL HMO, which is modeled after the wholeness of breastmilk. This recipe contains a combination of palm olein, soy, coconut, and safflower oil for fat and DHA and AA for brain health. Our only reservation is that palm olein is included. Research suggests that palm olein is linked to poor fat and calcium absorption and growth and bone mineralization. 34 This powdered, ready-to-mix baby formula contains all of the essential vitamins and minerals. This formula is not organic, despite the absence of GMO ingredients.
- Carbohydrate Source: 70% lactose
- Protein Source: 100% whey partially hydrolyzed.
- Added Nutrients: Pre and probiotics, DHA, AA
- Form: Powdered
2. Kirkland Signature Procare Non-gmo Infant Formula Is the Best Value
- HMO Certified Kosher and Halal Quality that matches leading brands Contains DHA, lutein, and 2′-FL HMO Certified Kosher and Halal Quality that matches leading brands
- To participate, you must be a Costco member.
Why not pick up a budget-friendly baby formula while strolling Costco’s aisles and trying out food samples? Kirkland, a Costco store brand, offers a product with a similar nutritional profile to leading brands. DHA for brain growth, lutein for vision, and 2′-FL HMO as a prebiotic for gut health and immune system are some of the formula’s standout nutrients.
Kirkland is a welcoming business that has created a certified Kosher and Halal product, allowing parents with cultural dietary restrictions to use this formula easily. It doesn’t include palm oil, is easy to digest, and comes at a reasonable cost. The only caveat is that this brand is only available to Costco members.
- Carbohydrate Source: Lactose
- Protein Source: Whey protein concentrate
- Added Nutrients: DHA lutein, prebiotics
- Form: Powdered
3. Earth’s Best Organic Dairy Infant Powder Formula with Iron
- USDA Organic Prebiotics, DHA, AA, and Lutein All-lactose formula to imitate breastmilk more closely
- Organic formula is more expensive than non-organic formula.
Look no further than Earth’s Best Organic Dairy Infant Powder with Iron if your family values certified organic products. This product is created with organic milk from grass-fed and grain-fed cows who have never been given growth hormones. Earth’s Best is the most economical organic formula; yet, it is still more expensive than non-organic variants.
As an all-lactose product, Earth’s Best claims that this is the closest formula to breastmilk (meaning no corn syrup or other carbohydrates), in addition to casein, it contains whey protein, prebiotics for immunity, DHA and AA for brain and eye development, and lutein, a carotenoid beneficial for eye health.
- Carbohydrate Source: Lactose
- Protein Source: Whey and casein
- Added Nutrients: DHA, AA, lutein, prebiotic
- Form: Powdered
4. Enfamil Neuropro Gentlease Infant Formula Is Best for Gassy/fussy Babies
- Proteins that are simple to digest
- Within 24 hours, fussiness, crying, gas, and spit-up are reduced.
- MFGM is present.
While we’d like to believe that all formulae are created equal and that all babies would tolerate them, this isn’t always the case. If your baby feels uneasy or cries out loudly after a meal, it’s time to try a different formula. Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease Infant Formula is a clinically validated formula that reduces fussiness, crying, gas, and spit-up in as little as 24 hours.
The proteins in this product have been partially hydrolyzed (broken down), making them gentle on sensitive stomachs. MFGM (milk fat globule membrane) is also present in NeuroPro Gentlease. This chemical is present naturally in breastmilk, vital for brain structure and development. It is also added to some Enfamil products to help with digestive disorders.
While this product is of good quality, is created with non-GMO components, and is available in various formats. It is a little more expensive than ordinary, non-specialized formulae.
- Carbohydrate Source: Corn syrup solids
- Protein Source: Partially hydrolyzed nonfat milk and whey protein concentrate solids (soy)
- Added Nutrients: MFGM, DHA, AA
- Form: Powdered and liquid
5. Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic Infant Formula Is the Best for Milk Allergies
- Proteins that have been broken down
- Contains 2′-FL HMO and is lactose-free.
Gas is one thing, but if your kid gets a rash, continuously vomits, or has blood in their stool. It could indicate a more serious milk protein allergy. It’s preferable to switch formulas because even a small amount of cow’s milk can provoke an allergic reaction.
Similac Alimentum has been successfully proven to relieve colic symptoms caused by a milk protein allergy in as little as 24 hours. The protein supply is still cow’s milk. Nonetheless, it is in the form of casein hydrolysate, which indicates that the enormous protein molecules have been broken down and rendered digestible for the infant. This product also employs maize maltodextrin instead of lactose, which can cause further stomach problems.
Alimentum also contains 2′-FL HMO, an immune-boosting substance that may help contribute to a healthier gut. Because newborns with cow’s milk allergies are more prone to constipation, this product is also free of palm olein oil, which helps to encourage smoother stools. Similac Alimentum’s hypoallergenic infant formula is on the pricey side of baby formulae, even with these perks. Nonetheless, many parents report that it was really beneficial to their child and worth the money. It’s always a good idea to look for coupons or ask a pediatric healthcare provider if they can help with costs.
- Carbohydrate Source: Corn Maltodextrin
- Protein Source: Casein hydrolysate
- Added Nutrients: 2’-FL HMO
- Form: Liquid
6. Mama Bear Soy-based Powder Infant Formula With Iron Is the Best Alternative Milk Formula
- Suitable for vegans and cow’s milk allergy sufferers
- Certified kosher
- Leading brands are more pricey.
- When blended, it may form clumps.
If you’ve determined that your child is allergic to cow’s milk protein. But the cost of specialized hypoallergenic formulas is prohibitive; try this Mama Bear Soy-Based Powder instead. Soy-based formulas are dairy-free, which means no lactose, no cow’s milk protein, and no problems for both parents and babies. Apart from allergies, soy formula is entirely appropriate and nutritionally sufficient for families that maintain a vegan diet and intend to nurture their children in the same manner. This Mama Bear Soy formula is also gluten-free, and Kosher approved.
Mama Bear is an Amazon private label brand. Thus it’s far less expensive than other big brands’ soy formulas (Enfamil, Similac, Earth’s Best) while still providing high-quality nourishment. This formula contains DHA and AA and no artificial growth hormones or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The feedback from parents has been overwhelmingly positive. The pricing is reasonable, but it also relieves their baby’s symptoms and tastes good. One disadvantage is that the powder sometimes remains clumpy after mixing, but this was not a deal-breaker for me.
- Carbohydrate Source: Corn syrup
- Protein Source: Soy protein isolate
- Added Nutrients: DHA, lutein, vitamin E
- Form: Powdered
What to Look for in a Formula for a Baby
Sources of Protein
Nicole recognizes that there are numerous formulas available and numerous factors to consider. “I start with the protein source because it’s one of the most important aspects of tolerability,” she explains. Whey protein from cow’s milk is the most frequent type of protein that closely resembles the protein found in breast milk.
If your infant has gas, colic, or is allergic to cow’s milk, a milder and more easily absorbed protein may be beneficial. Such as hydrolyzed (broken down) casein or whey protein. Only about 2-5 percent of infants under the age of one have true milk protein intolerance.
Sources of Carbohydrates
Nicole considers the carbohydrate supply after protein. “I prefer formulas with lactose as the main carbohydrate source since it closely resembles breast milk.” Alternative carbohydrate sources, such as corn syrup or maltodextrin, are employed when lactose is not used.”
Lactase deficit is a condition in which a baby is born with or develops a lack of the enzyme that breaks down lactose. This causes gas, fussiness, vomiting, or diarrhea in babies. In this instance, a “gentle” formula containing the corn replacements indicated may be beneficial. “True lactose intolerance in infants is quite rare,” Nicole notes. If excessive gassiness or formula intolerance is a concern, selecting a new formula based on the type of protein will yield the best results.”
Dha and Aa Are Two Types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
In terms of fat, the recipes include a variety of unsaturated fats and are low in cholesterol and saturated fats. Arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two polyunsaturated fatty acids prevalent in breastfeeding, are present in several goods. Traditionally, they haven’t been put in the formula because babies can make them from other fats already present in the formula.
These fatty acids are well-known for aiding in developing a baby’s brain and eyes. However, research has yet to prove whether these fat additions to formulae are beneficial or harmful. AA and DHA-rich formulas may be more expensive.
In the third trimester, pregnant parents can transmit iron to their growing infant, and that iron store will last them for the first four months of life. It is suggested that formula-fed babies receive an iron-fortified formula from birth. The majority of commercially available formulas include between 4 and 12 mg of iron. If your infant is breastfed or receives a combination of formula and breast milk, consult your pediatrician about iron supplementation.
Preparation and Form
There are three types of baby formulae: powder, liquid concentrate, and ready-to-feed liquid formulas, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The most cost-effective method is powdered. To avoid concentrating the formula while producing a bottle of powdered formula, measure out the water ounces first, then add the powder and shake.
Liquid concentrate is less messy and more convenient, although it may cost a little more. The ready-to-feed formula is the most expensive alternative, but it is also the most convenient and least dirty. Select the option that best fits your budget and lifestyle.
There are numerous varieties of infant formula. You will want to choose the one that is best for your baby. What works for someone else’s baby may not be the best for your baby. It is important to research and be patient when finding the right formula for your little one.
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Formula for Baby
Is Enfamil Better Than Similac?
Enfamil has more vitamins C, B12, E, and K. It also has more choline, pantothenic acid, folic acid, and inositol. Similac is a better source of copper. It has higher levels of thiamin, vitamin D, riboflavin, niacin, and biotin.
Which Formula Makes Baby Chubby?
Babies that consume animal feed from cow formulas gain weight much faster than babies that consume powdered formulas with predigested proteins. If a baby gains weight rapidly in the first four months, they are more likely to become obese by 20.
Which Milk Is Best for a 0 to 6 Months Baby?
You should breastfeed your infant for the first six months of their existence. Breast milk contains all of your baby’s essential nutrients in precisely the right proportions.
How Do I Choose a Formula?
Make sure your infant is getting enough protein. Go with the carbohydrate formula closest to what you desire for the best results. If your formulas need to be changed, you won’t have to start from scratch.
Which Enfamil Is Best?
Numerous baby formulae are available on the market. Still, Enfamil NeuroPro is the best option for providing complete nutrition for your child. This formula has 30 nutrients to support your baby’s growth and development, including an expert-recommended amount of DHA to promote brain growth.
What Formula Is Best for Colic and Gas?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. To choose the ideal formula for your child, you will have to try a variety of various brands. Gerber Good Start SoothePro Powder and Enfamil A are both good options. If your child has chronic conditions. Enfamil Gentlease Infant Formula may be the best choice for them.