17 Best Baby Formula Brands in 2020

There are many reasons why mothers are using baby formula. Whether it’s just a supplement to breastfeeding or if you rely 100% on baby formula milk, it’s vital to choose the healthiest baby formula available. In this article, you can find out about the 17 best products with our detailed descriptions. Moreover, we provide tips on how to choose a baby formula. Along with this, we will introduce you to different types of baby formula milk. All this will help you to choose the best nutrition for your sweet little kids, which will improve their immune system and make them healthier and stronger.

What to Consider? Although a baby formula is artificially synthesized, its composition is close to breast milk. There are many types and brands to choose from. It’s vital that you select the right formula for your precious little pumpkin. Before moving to brands, let’s focus on the different types of baby formulas available:

Baby Formula Types Based on the Ingredients

Baby formulas are produced from different ingredients. Here are the different types you will encounter on the market:

Non-dairy
This is usually produced from soy milk. This type is mostly used for children intolerant to cow’s milk. The composition also includes nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. It’s essential to consult a pediatrician before choosing a non-dairy formula, as it’s prescribed in only a handful of cases.
Dairy-based
This type of baby formula is based on cow’s milk. You should remember that children can’t digest it until they are at least 12 months old. If the formula contains cow’s milk protein, which is specially modified for infants, it will be digestible. To make the composition similar to breast milk, it usually contains iron, sugar, milk, and vegetable oils.
Organic
Organic formulas are free from ingredients produced using fertilizers and pesticides. Furthermore, they’re free from antibiotics and artificial growth hormones. Nonetheless, you should bear in mind that sucrose is sometimes included, which may lead to tooth decay.
Hydrolyzed
A hydrolyzed formula contains proteins that are broken down into smaller proteins. This makes the formula digestible for those with allergies and metabolic disorders.
Lactose-free
These baby formulas don’t contain lactose. Corn starch acts as a substitute for sugar lactose; therefore, the formula can be fed to those children who are lactose intolerant.
Special
Some formulas have a unique combination of ingredients for a small number of kids with particular problems: for instance, for allergic premature babies. Usually, they are pre-digested, lactose-free, and non-dairy. However, you should buy one only if your pediatrician prescribes it.

Baby Formula Types Based on the Method of Preparation

The method of preparation determines the physical form of baby formula. There are three types you can choose from: 

  • Liquid
    Formulas that come in a liquid form can be mixed in water. These have specific mixing instructions. The main disadvantage of this kind of formula is that even though you need to mix it, the product itself is quite expensive.
  • Powder concentrate
    One of the most common types on the market. This formula comes in the form of powder. You need to mix it with water in a bottle according to the instructions. This is the least expensive type.
  • Ready-to-use
    The name speaks volumes: the formula is ready to use. It usually comes in individual bottles in a liquid form. You don’t need to prepare it. However, this convenience often comes at a high price: Indeed, ready-to-use formulas are the most expensive.

Baby Formula Types Based on the Age

Your child needs different nutrition based on his/her age. Baby formula manufacturers take this aspect into consideration while choosing what to put in their formulas. Typically, the following types of baby formulas based on age are available: 

  • With “Pre” in the name – for premature or underweight babies   
  • Type “1” – from 0 to 6 months 
  • Type “2” – from 6 to 12 months 
  • Type “3” – 12 months and older 
  • Type “4” – typically, for 18-months-old children and older 

It’s essential to consult your pediatrician before choosing a particular baby formula. Specialists should examine the baby and prescribe the kind of formula you should use. Don’t forget to check the allergens while choosing the formula. 

Editor’s Choice

We have selected 17 best baby formulas available on the market in 2020. Here are the top 5:

Editors’s pickProductRating
Best formula for newbornsGerber Good Start Gentle (HMO) Non-GMO Powder Infant Formula4,9/5
Best organic baby formulaEarth's Best Organic Dairy Infant Powder Formula4,7/5
Best ready to feed formulaSimilac Pro-Advance Non-GMO with 2'-FL HMO Infant Formula4,8/5
Best goat milk formulaKabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula4,8/5
Best formula for colicEnfamil Nutramigen Hypoallergenic Colic Baby Formula4,8/5

1. Similac Pro-Advance Non-GMO Infant Formula

Why we choose it

This Infant Formula from Similac offers 23.2 ounces of powder at an affordable price. The mixture contains no artificial growth hormones. The formula contains  2’- FL HMO** that stimulates the development of the immune system. Apart from that, the formula includes Lutein, Vitamin E, and DHA, which aid eye and brain development.

Key Features:

  • No artificial growth hormones
  • Consists of elements that exist in breast milk
  • 2’- FL HMO** supports the immune system
  • Milk-Based powder
  • Non-GMO
  • For toddlers aged 12 months and older

What parents say?

No more gas

Since my son started on this brand (switched from Neosure) he has been so much less gassy. He used to have a hard time passing (grunting, straining) but I haven’t noticed any of that since using this brand.

Emily Foster

Verdict

The baby formula from Similac is a reasonable choice of mixture for kids older than 12 months. Its composition is one of the closest to that of breast milk. Along with this, it contains many nutritional additives that aid in digestion. This is especially vital for gassy babies.

Pros
  • Contributes to the brain and eye development
  • The combination is close to breast milk
  • Supports the immune system
Cons
  • Not suitable for kids who are allergic to lactose
  • Not suitable for newborns

2. Gerber Good Start Gentle (HMO) Non-GMO Powder Infant Formula

Why we choose it

Gerber Good Start Gentle infant formula has all the important ingredients to help your little one stays healthy and happy. The combination includes prebiotics, which are vital for a developing digestive system. The product doesn’t contain GMOs and comes in a convenient, secure package.

Key Features:

  • Non-GMO
  • Includes prebiotics and DHA
  • 32 Ounce
  • Convenient package with a specially designed lid
  • Powder
  • Stage 1 infant formula – up to 12 months

What parents say?

Great formula

Only thing baby can eat without getting sick. Has probiotics for baby gut health. Most of carbs come from milk not corn sugar like other brands.

P. Vines

Verdict

This is the best formula for newborns in terms of quality and price. It is made up of elements vital for infants: especially prebiotics and DHA. The formula can act as a substitute for breast milk or become a beneficial supplement for your little ones.

Pros
  • Ideal for newborns
  • Contributes to better digestion
  • Brain and eye development
Cons
  • The spoon may be of poor quality
  • For newborns up to 12 months only

3. Enfamil NeuroPro Baby Formula

Why we choose it

Enfamil NeuroPro baby formula boasts a wide array of nutritional additives. It contains Omega 3, MFGM, probiotics, DHA, iron. All these elements contribute to brain and eye development. Along with this, probiotics benefit the digestive systems of younger babies.  

Key Features:

  • Immune support
  • Contains omega3, DHA, Probiotics, Iron, MFGM
  • 31.4 ounce
  • Milk powder
  • Non-GMO
  • For toddlers 0-12 months

What parents say?

Buy this, don't cheap out.

Zero issue with constipation, no fussing, no weird stools. Enfamil is the best bar none. Don't even need the Gentle Ease Version because the regular Neuro Pro is perfect as is. Buy this.

Nick

Verdict

This baby formula is good for small kids from birth up to 12 months old. It contains all the necessary beneficial elements. In particular, MFGM is similar to breast milk in terms of supporting cognitive development. The mixture boasts a fat protein blend, which is vital for newborns.

Pros
  • Easy digestion
  • Immune support
  • Rich combination
Cons
  • Not suitable for kids who are allergic to lactose or have difficulty digesting proteins

4. Earth's Best Organic Dairy Infant Powder Formula

Why we choose it

This baby formula from Earth’s Best Store is essentially an organic mixture designed to feed your baby. It has passed USDA approval. The combination contains many beneficial elements like Omega 3 and Omega 6, iron, lutein, prebiotics. All these contribute to better digestion, as well as better overall development.

Key Features:

  • Organic
  • Non-GMO
  • No artificial growth hormones
  • Contain Omega 3 and Omega 6, iron, lutein, prebiotic
  • 35 Ounce
  • Milk powder
  • From birth to 12 months

What parents say?

This became the primary formula for our son

The ingredients and methods used to make this formula are much safer than most formulas offered on the market today. This was one of the only formulas that didn't give our son a hard time after trying a couple. It is my understanding that they do not use hexane for (DHA etc) extractions - this is well worth every dollar to us!

Josh and Jamie

Verdict

This is definitely the best organic baby formula for newborns. The mixture is advisable to use for infants from birth up to the age of 12 months. Prebiotics play an important role in developing a functioning digestive system. Other minerals and vitamins promote growth and development.

Pros
  • Easy to digest
  • Rich in beneficial ingredients for growth and development
  • Organic
Cons
  • The package may not be leak resistant
  • Not suitable for kids who are allergic to lactose

5. Earth's Best Organic Low Lactose Sensitivity Infant Formula

Why we choose it

Another infant formula from Earth’s Best Store has been specifically designed for children with sensitive stomachs. Although it’s a milk-based powder, it boasts a low lactose sensitivity feature. Therefore, the product is suitable for a wider range of toddlers. Along with this, it contains many beneficial ingredients like Omega-3, Omega-6, and iron. 

Key Features:

  • Reduced lactose
  • No artificial flavors and colors
  • Kosher
  • Organic
  • Non-GMO
  • Contains Omega-3 DHA, Omega-6 ARA, iron, prebiotics
  • 23.3 ounces
  • Milk-based powder
  • Up to 12 months

What parents say?

Yum!

Lovvvve this stuff for both my babies. I bought generic formula and it smelled so stinky. This formula smells great, my breastfed baby has no problems drinking it as a supplement.

Mom, gardener and traveler

Verdict

This is probably the best formula for breastfed babies who’ve had to turn to baby formula. It’s the ideal formula for those with a sensitive stomach. Apart from that, it doesn’t contain any artificial flavors, colors, or GMOs. This product is also kosher.

Pros
  • Kosher
  • No artificial flavors and colors
  • For babies with sensitive stomachs
Cons
  • Small package

6. Baby's Only Dairy Toddler Formula

Why we choose it

This toddler formula from Baby’s Organic Store has passed many third-party assessments, proving its organic status. The mixture doesn’t contain any Corn/Glucose Syrup, GMO, Hexane Processed DHA, or Palm Oil. Besides this, the package is BPA-free. 

Key Features:

  • Non-GMO
  • Organic
  • Verified by Clean Label Project
  • 12.7 ounce
  • Doesn’t contain palm oil, hexane processed DHA, Glucose/Corn syrup
  • BPA-free package
  • Kosher
  • Dairy powder
  • 12.7 ounce
  • For kids 12 months and older

What parents say?

This is for the Whey Dairy with DHA

I researched the heck out of most of the baby formulas out there. I found that this one smelled, and tasted the most natural. I was exclusively breast feeding while I was on leave. I wasnt pumping enough when I went back to work so we had to supplement when my baby was 4months old. She is now 8months old drinks formula on the regular. She doesn't spit up, she drinks it fine, her weight gain is as expected. 

Luz

Verdict

The formula from Baby’s Organic Store is suitable for children aged 12-months-old and older. It’s designed to supplement or substitute breast milk once the child grows up. The formula is completely organic. Therefore, there is no risk of a harmful effect on your baby. There is also no risk of product contamination since this product is BPA-free.

Pros
  • BPA-free package
  • Organic
  • Kosher
Cons
  • Lack of appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals for growth and development

7. Enfamil Enspire Gentlease Baby Formula Milk Powder

Why we choose it

Enfamil, and its Enspire Gentlease formula, is on the list as it boasts a wide variety of beneficial elements. It contains Omega-3 DHA, probiotics, iron, MFGM, and Lactoferrin. The last two, in particular, are found only rarely. They support the immune system and promote cognitive development. Apart from this, the mixture is free from any artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors.

Key Features:

  • Contains Omega-3 DHA, probiotics, iron, MFGM, Lactoferrin
  • Non-GMO
  • No artificial preservatives, flavors, colors
  • Support for the immune system
  • Milk powder
  • 20-ounce pack
  • From birth up to 12 months

What parents say?

Great for lactose sensitivities

My son has a dairy allergy and every other formula caused him to have very hard painful stools. This is the only one he will drink that doesn't cause those problems. He is now 18 months old and we still mix this with his lactose free milk to help keep him regular and make sure he gets even nutrients and vitamins.

Ashley

Verdict

If you are looking for a strong supplement powder, the Enspire Gentlease formula from Enfamil is what you need. This combination nourishes the brain, supports the immune system, and reduces gas, fussiness, and crying.

Pros
  • Reduces fussiness and gas
  • Rich in beneficial elements
  • Support for the immune system
Cons
  • May not be suitable for allergic toddlers

8. Similac Pro-Advance Non-GMO with 2'-FL HMO Infant Formula Ready-to-Feed

Why we choose it

The ready-made formula from Similac contains all the necessary ingredients for a child’s well-being for the first 12 months of their life. It’s rich in minerals and vitamins, which contribute to better digestion and development. In particular, vitamin E, DHA, and Lutein are essential for the development of the eyes and brain.

Key Features:

  • Non-GMO
  • Immune support
  • No artificial growth hormones
  • Brain and eyes development
  • Contains DHA, vitamin E, Lutein
  • Ready-to-feed
  • For 0-12 months

What parents say?

Very satisfied with product

Only formula my daughter could ever tolerate. This is by far my favorite. When she transitioned to formula the powder never worked for her tummy. The only formula we could ever use was the ready to go Similac. This is a great product and easy on babies. Also the convenience is a huge plus for me!

LHSTX95

Verdict

Pro-advanced ready-to-use infant formula from Similac is the best ready to feed formula on the market. It boasts all the necessary elements in terms of ingredients. Besides this, the mixture is not harmful. It doesn’t contain any artificial growth hormones, and thus will not negatively affect the baby’s health.

Pros
  • Rich combination
  • Reduces fussiness
  • Ready-made formula
Cons
  • The price may fluctuate
  • Not suitable for children who are allergic to lactose

9. Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula

Why we choose it

Kabrita has created an amazing goat-milk-based powder for children from 12 to 24 months. It doesn’t contain harmful elements like hormones, antibiotics, or heavy metals. At the same time, it’s rich in minerals and vitamins, providing the right amount of beneficial vitamins to babies daily. 

Key Features:

  • Non-GMO
  • Consists of 22 vitamins and minerals, including DHA, folic acid, iron, and ARA.
  • No hormones, antibiotics, heavy metals
  • Goat milk-based powder
  • 28 ounces
  • 12-24 months

What parents say?

Used for both of my kids

I've used this formula for both of my kids. Both were breastfed for as long as possible and this was used around a year as the breast milk supply dropped. Both kids have had no issues using this. I feel they both started growing faster once they were mostly fed this Kabrita formula. I saw no issues feeding this to a child under 12 months as the ingredients and vitamin amounts were very similar to that of other brands infant formula.

Brad Johnstone

Verdict

The best goat milk formula is a good substitute for cow-milk-based powders. This is especially vital for children with cow milk sensitivity. It reduced the risk of congestion, tummy troubles, and eczema. In addition, this formula provides babies with all the necessary vitamins and minerals to aid in their development.

Pros
  • 22 vitamins and minerals
  • Based on goat milk
Cons
  • Not suitable for newborns

10. Enfamil Nutramigen Hypoallergenic Colic Baby Formula

Why we choose it

Hypoallergenic colic baby formula from Enfamil is advised for use with children with cow’s milk allergies. This lactose-free formula relieves colic and eliminates any problems. Alongside this, it provides immune support due to its rich ingredients. The formula supports eye and brain development.  

Key Features:

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Contains LGG probiotics, Omega-3 DHA, iron
  • Immune support
  • Lactose-free
  • Milk powder
  • 27.8 ounce
  • 0-12 month

What parents say?

So glad this product exists!

This formula changed everything when our baby developed a cows milk intolerance at 3 months. Our pediatrician was hesitant to switch her but for weeks our daughter had terrible cramping, runny stools and was so irritable during and after feeding. I’m so happy she recommended this because within two days her stools were normal again and after two weeks her spit up and irritability had noticeably decreased. 

Amazon Customer

Verdict

Being the best formula for colic, this mixture is a godsend for parents whose toddlers are allergic to cow’s milk. It deals with colic within the first 48 hours. Furthermore, it potentially reduces the frequency of future allergic reactions. The formula is great to use for toddlers up to 12 months old.

Pros
  • Immune support
  • Eliminates colic
Cons
  • High price
  • Only for kids up to 12 months old

11. Enfagrow PREMIUM Non-GMO Toddler Transitions Formula

Why we choose it

This premium toddler transition formula from Enfagrow is rich in beneficial elements. It contains Omega-3 DHA, dual prebiotics, vitamins, and minerals. The product stands out because of a high concentration of DHA. It contains 17 mg of DHA per 100 calories. 

Key Features:

  • Non-GMO
  • Contains 30 nutrients
  • Supports brain development
  • Powder
  • 20 ounces
  • For toddlers of 9-18 months old

What parents say?

Life saver!

My son was throwing up and spitting up his formula at 9months and I traded this for his old formula and he stop spitting up. He's been on it ever since and we both love it

Laura T

Verdict

The formula from Enfagrow is unique as it contains a huge dosage of beneficial minerals and vitamins. Therefore, it can be an ideal supplement to feeding at the age of 9-18 months. A child will receive DHA and fatty acids, both of which are essential for brain development. Alongside this, the formula contains vitamin C, zinc, and prebiotics, which support the immune system.

Pros
  • Supports the immune system
  • Ideal for a transitioning period
  • Contributes to brain development
Cons
  • May not be suitable for allergic children

12. Love & Care Infant Formula Milk-Based Powder

Why we choose it

Love&Care contains all the vital elements at an affordable price. Indeed, the product is among the cheapest on the market. Nonetheless, it contains 200 minerals and vitamins. Along with this, it’s gluten-free, Non-GMO, and kosher. All in all, the milk powder contains all the necessary ingredients vital for daily nutrition.

Key Features:

  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten-free
  • Kosher
  • Complete nutrition: iron, dual prebiotics, 200 vitamins and minerals for brain
  • 12.5 ounce per pack
  • Milk-based powder
  • 0-12 months

What parents say?

Much better packaging than the 22.2 ounce

I prefer the packaging of this 6 pack to that of the 22.2 ounce containers. The covers on the larger containers are only very flimsily attached and come off more easily than any other cover I have ever encountered.

It's Just Me

Verdict

This formula for children from birth up to 12 months can become a decent substitute for breast milk. It contains all the essential minerals and vitamins that promote brain development, growth, and strengthen the immune system. The product also meets FDA requirements.

Pros
  • Affordable price
  • Immune protection
  • Contributes to brain development
Cons
  • Not suitable for toddlers who have difficulty in digesting proteins
  • May not be suitable for children with cow’s milk allergies

13. Happy Baby Organic Infant Formula Milk Based Powder

Why we choose it

This organic infant formula produced by Happy Family is modeled right after breast milk. It contains all the ingredients necessary for complete daily nutrition. The product has passed USDA tests and can be considered organic. The combination includes many essential elements like DHA, ARA, folic acids, vitamin D, calcium, iron. Moreover, it contains dual prebiotics.

Key Features:

  • Organic
  • Non-GMO
  • Dual prebiotics
  • Includes DHA, ARA, folic acids, vitamin D, calcium, iron
  • 21 ounce
  • Milk-based powder
  • 0-12 months

What parents say?

This is the best we found for our baby

After going through so many formulas after a rough breastfeeding journey, including importing expensive formula from another country, this is the best we found for our baby. She has a very sensitive stomach with bad reflux and would get constipated on other high-quality sensitive formulas. With this formula we have no issues and is the closest thing I’ve found to matching the ingredients in the German hypoallergenic formula we imported.

ruisseau

Verdict

This amazing organic formula from Happy Family serves as a beneficial supplement to breast milk for toddlers up to 12 months. Parents can also use it without breastfeeding. The formula promotes growth and stimulates brain development.

Pros
  • Organic
  • Complete nutrition
  • Rich combination
Cons
  • The package may include BPA

14. Mama Bear Advantage Infant Formula Milk-based Powder

Why we choose it

Mama Bear store has created a more affordable alternative to Similac milk-based powders. It also contains 2’-FL HMO – a probiotic commonly found in breast milk. Along with this, the combination includes many beneficial ingredients like iron, Lutein, DHA, Vitamin E. It’s also free from artificial growth hormones and GMOs.

Key Features:

  • Non-GMO
  • No artificial growth hormones
  • Contains iron, Lutein, DHA, Vitamin E
  • Contains 2’-FL HMO
  • Meets FDA standards
  • 23.2 ounce
  • For toddlers from birth up to 12 months old

What parents say?

Good way to get your little one iron

We only use occasionally for supplementing as I primarily breastfeed, but can't always pump enough at work. 
This formula is similar to the Costco formula we usually use, so baby's stomach did fine with it. Mixes easily.

AmazonUser

Verdict

This milk-based infant formula from Mama Bear store is pretty similar to the Similac’s one in terms of its ingredients. Its competitive advantage is that parents can save a couple of dollars if they buy this one. All in all, the formula promotes toddlers’ growth and development. 

Pros
  • Promotes growth, eye, and brain development
  • Meets FDA standards
Cons
  • The powder clumps; requires active shaking
  • May not be suitable for toddlers with cow’s milk allergies

15. EleCare Hypoallergenic Formula

Why we choose it

EleCare has been working hard to create a hypoallergenic formula for infants. It’s acid-based, which means that the manufacturer used free amino acids as the protein source. Along with this, this powder contains vital nutrition, along with all the necessary elements to promote a child’s development and growth.

Key Features:

  • Amino-acid based formula
  • Contains DHA, ARA, iron
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Complete nutrition
  • powder
  • 14.1 ounces
  • 0-12 months

What parents say?

It has literally been a lifesaver

My daughter requires it (milk allergy since 2 months old and she is currently 4 months old). Using as directed per her pediatrician and it has literally been a lifesaver for us after so many failed formulas.

Sabrina McGehee

Verdict

If your baby has a sensitive stomach or he/she is allergic, this formula from EleCare is a good choice. It provides all the ingredients essential for daily nutrition. At the same time, the baby won’t suffer from an allergy.

Pros
  • Promotes growth and development
  • Complete nutrition
  • Hypoallergenic
Cons
  • Comes only in small volumes

16. Similac Alimentum, 48 Count, Hypoallergenic Infant Formula Ready-to-Feed

Why we choose it

Similac has created a ready-to-use formula for infants who suffer from digestion problems and colic. The mixture is lactose-free; therefore, it’s suitable for babies who have problems digesting proteins. Along with this, it doesn’t contain corn. This formula is also rich in minerals and vitamins.

Key Features:

  • Hypoallergenic
  • No artificial growth hormones
  • Contains iron, DHA, vitamin E, protein
  • Corn-free and lactose-free
  • Ready-to-feed
  • 2-fl-oz bottles
  • 0-12 months

What parents say?

Perfect for day to day errands and travel

Great for day to day travel and has always been a great purchase. Plus saves you from wasting instead of opening a large bottle.

STerry

Verdict

This ready-to-use formula from Similac is a highly convenient solution to feed allergic babies on the go. You don’t need to waste any time preparing the formula. Its rich combination contains all the ingredients necessary for promoting growth and brain development.

Pros
  • Ready-made
  • Brain and eye development
  • Hypoallergenic
Cons
  • Contains little sugar
  • For kids up to 12 months

17. Kabrita Organic Goat Milk Porridge

Why we choose it

This cereal from Kabrita is made up of 50% organic goat’s milk. Apart from this, the combination includes organic whole grain oat flour, rice flakes, whole grain spelt flour, and buckwheat flour. The mixture is sugar-free. It also includes calcium, protein, and beneficial fats.

Key Features:

  • Multigrain porridge
  • Organic
  • Contains 50% organic goat milk
  • Rich in calcium, protein, and good fats
  • No Sugar
  • 7 ounces
  • For babies aged 8 months and older

What parents say?

My daughter loves this porridge

My daughter absolutely loves this porridge. She eats it everyday for breakfast without even having to add any fruit to it. It seems to be easy on her stomach and doesn’t seem to make her constipated like the other baby oatmeals I tried. We have had great success with Kabrita formula so this porridge was an obvious addition and it has not disappointed!

C. Venable

Verdict

This organic goat’s milk porridge from Kabrita can act as a supplement, as well as providing complete nutrition for babies older than eight months. It’s a good way to supplement breast milk when the baby grows up. The porridge is also easy to make: you just have to mix the cereal with water.

Pros
  • Contains goat milk
  • Organic
  • Easy-to-make
Cons
  • Kids may not like goat milk aftertaste
  • Not suitable for newborns

Guide to Buying the Best Baby Formula

The list of baby formulas is huge. Their ingredients all differ. This is a stressful point for parents: how can you choose the best mixture for your precious little one? All formulas contain various beneficial ingredients. They all stimulate growth and development.  
But reading many sources to find out what your little pumpkin needs takes a lot of time. How do you find out what the best formula for reflux is, or for those who are allergic? In this buyer’s guide, you will find all the information you need to make your choice.

Types of Combination

We have already discussed the types of combinations at the beginning of the article. You have a wide array of choices, from hydrolyzed to cow’s milk mixtures. All of them can be beneficial or harmful, depending on the specific needs of your child. 
It’s vital to note that it’s not advisable to change the formula often. This can lead to problems with digestion and worsen tolerance issues. If the baby has problems with a particular mixture, the best course of action is to consult a pediatrician.  

  • Cow’s Milk
    As the most common type of baby formula combination, cow’s milk mixtures are very widespread in the market. They contain an altered milk protein. The advantage is that it’s easier for smaller kids to digest these mixtures without spit-ups and gassiness. Usually, these are among the cheapest products.
  • Soy Milk
    A soy-milk formula can be described as vegan baby formula. The altered proteins that make up this mixture are broken down. This leads to easier digestion. It’s a good choice for babies with lactose intolerance.
  • Lactose-Free
    Lactose-free formulas are typically used for babies who have allergies or lactose intolerance. Although it contains no lactose, the formula still provides all the necessary proteins, thanks to corn syrup. However, products like this may be hard to find, and they are more expensive.
  • Hydrolyzed
    Hydrolyzed formulas are created for the sake of easy digestion with less discomfort. They are ideal for newborns with sensitive digestive systems. Basically, this applies to all newborns since their digestive system is developing and very sensitive. It’s also widely used for allergic infants or those with protein absorption issues.
  • Metabolic
    Metabolic formulas contain hydrolyzed proteins, specifically designed enzymes, and added nutrients. They are essential for proper development. These formulas are usually prescribed by medical specialists for premature or ill children.

Types of Serving Options

Although parents typically choose powder baby formulas, other types also deserve a look. They may be more convenient if you have an active lifestyle. Let’s find out the advantages and disadvantages.

  • Powder
    This widely available formula type has the longest shelf life. Therefore, you can stock up on them without worrying about them expiring. You don’t need to store them in the refrigerator. This kind of formula is also sustainable, as it usually comes in containers produced from recycled cardboard. Furthermore, it’s easy-to-mix.
  • Ready-Made
    These baby formulas come as pre-filled bottles. Thus, you don’t need to mix or measure them out. They’re ideal if you have any doubts about the water quality in the area where you live. The ready-to-use formulas are safe to use for infants from birth and up to 12 months old. Keep in mind that they have a rather short shelf life. Additionally, you’ll need to refrigerate them.
  • Liquid Concentrates
    This type is right in the middle in terms of price: it’s more expensive than powders but cheaper than ready-made formulas. Advantages include the fact that it doesn’t come in the form of a messy powder, so some may find it easier to mix. One disadvantage, though, is that you still need to refrigerate it.

Nutritional Additives

Brands work hard to deliver highly-nutritional products that will accelerate growth and development. Nutritional additives play an important role in this equation. You will find a wide variety of them. Here are some which are essential for any child:

  • ARA/DHA – these are found in breastmilk. Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids contribute to proper eye and brain development. 
  • Calcium and Iron – Higher levels of calcium and iron are usually found in fortified formulas. Usually, these ingredients are present in non-milk-based formulas. They compensate for the lack of natural ingredients found in lactose. 
  • Probiotics and prebiotics – responsible for healthy bacteria. These are vital for a developing digestive system and ensure that proteins are properly digested. These elements are optional if you use a baby formula as a supplement for breastfeeding. 

Keep in mind that this list is not extensive. There are many more beneficial nutritional additives.  Consult a pediatrician to find out which ones your baby needs. 

Ingredients to Avoid

Even though baby formulas are designed to be very similar to breast milk, they may contain elements that aren’t healthy and even harmful for a baby. Parents should carefully read a formula’s ingredient list and avoid buying mixtures that contain: 

  • Sugar - Sugar consumption contributes to weight gain. Besides this, babies may develop an addiction and want to eat more sugar when they grow up. 
  • Corn syrup - Basically, it’s also sugar: it’s high in calories and carbohydrates and has little nutritional value.
  •  Industrial vegetable oils - Such oils are usually used as the batter for fried foods. Therefore, it’s definitely not beneficial for a developing body.
  •  Preservatives - They usually go by the names additives or sulfur dioxide. They can aggravate food allergies. 
  • Soy lecithin - Another type of food preservative that comes from soy. Soy, in its turn, can trigger food allergies.  

How Often and How Much to Feed

Another common problem for parents who are just starting to explore what it’s like to take care of an infant. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s advisable to feed your baby the following way:

A New-Born Baby: First Days
Newborn infants usually require from 8 to 12 feeding sessions per 24 hours. This is normal as their bellies are tiny, so babies can’t eat a lot of formula in one go. It’s advisable to start from one or two ounces of infant formula every two-three hours. If the baby shows signs of hunger, feed him/her again. All in all, it’s better to consult a doctor or nurse on the number of feeding sessions your baby needs.
First Weeks and Months
During the first months, your baby should only be fed at certain intervals. Usually, this will be 3-4 hours. This is why you may need to wake your baby up to feed him/her. It’s vital to note that feeding sessions are likely to differ in time. Sometimes, a child will take longer to eat something; sometimes, he/she finishes fast. This is normal. The baby will eat as much as he/she needs.
6-12-Months-Old Babies
Usually, toddlers who are 6-12-months old need feeding about 5-6 times every 24 hours. It’s better to feed a baby once he/she shows signs of hunger. At this age, you can add solid food to nutrition. Therefore, the amount of formula decreases once the amount of solid food increases.
12-24-Months-Old Babies
Once your baby reaches 12 months, you can consider exchanging an infant formula for fortified cow’s milk. It’s advisable to do this gradually. To help a baby transition, try replacing infant formula with fortified cow’s milk in one feeding session.

Preparation Tips

Formula preparation may seem tricky for first-time parents or for those who haven’t been acquainted with baby formulas before. Here are some tips to guide you through preparing a baby formula milk for babies. 

  1. Thoroughly wash your hands. 
  2. Clean the area where you will be preparing baby formula. 
  3. Don’t use bottled water. It’s better to boil some water in advance. 
  4. Don’t stretch out the formula in order to avoid possible issues regarding malnutrition. 
  5. Don’t stock up on mixed formulas. It’s advisable to prepare one-day-worth bottles only. The prepared formula should be kept no longer than 24 hours. 
  6. Sanitize and clean the bottles regularly. 
  7. Don’t reheat unfinished bottles. Also, don’t leave them in the refrigerator for later. Throw them out to avoid possible negative consequences. 

Storage Tips

Advice for the storage of baby formulas is normally given on the package. Powder formulas don’t need to be refrigerated. They are best kept in the dark, ventilated places (usually, a cupboard) at a temperature of 12-24 °С. If your powder comes in a carbon package, it’s better to place it in a special hermetically sealed container made of glass. 

Liquid concentrates, and ready-made formulas should be refrigerated, and that therefore, they can’t be kept out of the fridge for a long time. Keep in mind that prepared baby formula can only be kept in the fridge for up to more than 24 hours. If you store it outside of the fridge, this time decreases to three hours.

Choosing the right baby formulas isn’t that difficult if you know what your baby needs. The best way to determine the right one is to consult a pediatrician and find the right brand for you. May your little one always be healthy!

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