When a baby comes into this world, it’s completely dependent on you. Its parents, guardians, and caretakers have to be responsible for everything; from the milk, the baby drinks to changing the resultant dirty diapers. Of course, we all want the best possible nourishment for our babies. So, choosing the best baby formula will be on our checklist.However, have you taken a look at your local supermarket’s baby formula aisle lately? If you’re a first-time parent or have become one after a long time, the sheer variety on those never-ending shelves could get quite intimidating! Look around a little; you’d probably find many confused individuals roaming the same aisles and wondering which formula to buy.
The baby formula options might include organic, non-GMO, lactose-free, low lactose, and several other seemingly essential qualities. Which one should you pick and which one will be the most beneficial for your babies?
There isn’t any one answer to this question,though. That’s because every baby is different and every parent has their own preference. Consulting your trusted pediatrician is always a logical step while choosing the baby formula which is suitable for your baby.First, though, let’s have a look at the best baby formulas out there right now.
Best Overall: Similac Pro-Advance Non-GMO Infant Formula with Iron
Baby formula companies are now looking for more and more ways to make their product resemble human breast milk. To this end, names like Similac are including components that help to mimic the benefits of human milk. With the 2′-FL HMO in the Similac Pro-Advance Non-GMO Infant Formula, we get an important prebiotic that’s also within breast milk.The whole brand is also wary of GMOs. This particular formula from Similac also avoids other controversial ingredients like corn syrup and malt dextrose.
- One of the best brands for developing immune support
- Doesn’t include any artificial growth hormones. It’s one of the first leading brands with this feature
- An exclusive blend of Vitamin E, Lutein, and DHA that’s especially focused on eye and brain development.
- Brand: Similac
- Manufacturer recommended age: 1 month and older
- Product Weight: 2.25 lbs
Best Value: Enfamil NeuroPro Infant Formula
The Enfamil NeuroPro Infant Formula is the company’s best effort at providing something that’s as close to breast milk as possible. The most valuable ingredient here is MFGM, which is a fatty substance and instrumental in cognitive development. MFGM is found around drops of breast milk as well. Since brain function is so important when we’re considering an infant’s diet, fat is essential in baby formula.
- One of the few baby formulas available that blends MFGM with Omega-3 DHA, which was found only in breast milk before
- A pediatrician-recommended brand
- A gentle milk powder formula non-GMO ingredients
- Provides complete nutrition for infants from birth to 1 year of age, including essential ingredients for brain support, proteins that are easy to digest, and probiotics to enhance immune support
- Brand: Enfamil
- Manufacturer recommended age: 0 to 1 year
- Product Weight: 31.4 oz
Best Pick: Similac Pro-Advance Infant Formula with for Immune Support
This offering from Similac is similar to its infant formula but it’s designed for babies who are already 1-year old. This means that it’s a bit heavier and contains more nutrients according to the need of the child. While it might take some time for a baby to get used to this new formula, many parents have still found it useful for helping fussy, cranky babies.
- Includes 2′-FL Human Milk
- Oligosaccharide (HMO) that develops strong immune support
- No addition of artificial growth hormones
- Formulated for reducing fussiness, spit-up, and gassiness from the very first day of use
- Designed to be as close to breast milk as possible
- Blends DHA, Vitamin E, and Lutein for the best possible brain and eye development.
- Brand: Similac
- Manufacturer recommended age: 12 months and older
- Product Weight: 23.2 oz
Best Value: Enfamil Gentlease Infant Formula
Enfamil is a brand that’s recommended bypediatricians, especially for its gentle and easy-to-digest composition. With the baby probiotics and easily digested proteins, the baby gets complete nourishment in its first year of life. Enfamil itself is a well-known brand,and its Gentlease formula is enriched with iron to help the baby gain benefits while also easily digesting the combination.
The Neuro-Pro line by Enfamil has several years of research behind it. There are several clinical studies supporting the brain-building qualities of this formula. It contains MFGM, which is essential for brain development. Along with the immense support enhancement it provides,parents also love this formula due to its gentle composition and its help in soothing a fussy baby.
- Mixes well with water
- The formula is clinically proven to reduce gas and fussiness within 24 hours.
- Contains choline and omega-3 DHA, which are essential nutrients that you usually find in breast milk.
- Contains probiotics and proteins that are already partially broken down.
- Brand: Enfamil
- Product Weight: 27.7 oz
Best for Nutrition: Earth’s Best Organic Dairy Infant Powder Formula with Iron
This is one of the best organic baby formulas that you can get for a newborn up to an infant of 12 months. It doesn’t contain any artificial growth hormones or prohibited synthetic chemicals. It also contains several nutrients that are found in human milk. So, the formula could be the best alternative to breast milk for a baby. These nutrients are considered critical to mental plus visual development. Therefore, so you might want to consider this even as just a supplement to breastfeeding.
- Includes Omega-3 DHA and Omega-6 ARA, which is fatty acids also found in breast milk.
- The organic formula that’s nutritionally complete and easy for babies to digest in their first year
- Closest formula to breast milk from this company
- No added solids derived from corn syrup.
- Ingredients are kosher and non-GMO
- Brand: Earth’s Best
- Manufacturer recommended age: 0 to 1 years
- Product Weight: 35 oz
Best For Immune Support: Similac Pro-Sensitive Infant Formula With 2′-Fl Human Milk Oligosaccharide
Here, we have an especially sensitive baby formula that will work well for most infants with sensitive systems. If your little one is suffering from bloating and painful gas trouble, switching to this option just might set things right. The brand here is a trusted one for many mothers, even being the formula of choice for hospital use in nurseries.We also have the substance known as 2′-FLHuman Milk Oligosaccharide in this option, which is a nourishing prebiotic.With this, you’ll be feeding and nourishing the good bacteria in the baby’s gut, giving it a healthy and strong start on life.
- Suitable for babies who have a sensitive tummy
- Contains elements that are only found in breast milk
- Nutrients contribute to the development of eyes, brain function, and overall growth
- Develops and feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut
- Brand: Similac
- Manufacturer recommended age: 0 to 1 years
- Product Weight: 22.5 Oz
Best for Food Allergies: Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic For Food Allergies and Colic Infant Formula Powder
This product gives us four value-sized cans at once. This way, you can be sure of not running out for a long time. When combined, all these cans make a whopping 142 four-ounce bottles. That’s quite a feat!With this hypoallergenic formula, you might be able to reduce the excessive crying of your baby within 24 hours. As long as the crying was because of an issue with protein sensitivity, this formula will probably help out.This formula also has a lactose-free composition, which means that it has proteins that are partially broken down already. They’re hence much easier for the baby’s stomach to digest.
- Hypoallergenic formula
- Suitable for lactose-intolerant babies or those with food allergies
- Suitable for babies with sensitive stomach issues
- Brand: Similac
- Manufacturer recommended age: 0 to 12 months
- Product Weight:19.8 oz, 4 packs
Best Organic Formula: Happy Family Baby Organic Infant Formula Milk-Based Powder with Iron
This formula is enriched with iron and modeled after real breast milk. Its premium ingredients are carefully sourced, including organic lactose. The latter is the main carbohydrate that’s found in human breast milk. The formula also contains essential minerals and vitamins that help a baby grow.
The composition of Happy Family formula includes four times more probiotics than its competing brands of organic baby formula. It gives us prebiotics and fibers that mimic breast milk’s promotion of good gut bacteria. This support is likely to be best for the baby’s digestive system in the long run.
- Includes iron and organic lactose
- Closely resembles breast milk
- Contains a system with prebiotics and fibers that promote the development of healthy bacteria in the baby’s gut
- Available in two stages: Stage 1 is for babies from 0 to 12 months; Stage 2 is designed for the consumption of babies who are six months or older.
- Brand: Happy Family
- Manufacturer recommended age: 0 to 12 months (Stage 1), 6 months onwards (Stage 2)
- Product Weight: 21 oz
Product Buying Guide
- Choosing the Formula
No one can deny the multiple benefits of breastfeeding. It’s great for the baby and the mother will also get some health benefits as well. Many health authorities, including the AAP (the American Academy of Pediatrics), recommends exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months and making it the main source of nutrition for the first whole year of a baby’s life.However, as many mothers and doctors will confirm, this is not always possible. Some women may not produce as much milk as their child needs, while others may not produce any at all. We also have adoptive mothers to consider, along with the mental health of both parents.Some may have older children to consider. So, the breastfeeding aspect might have to be a bit compromised.As long as a pediatrician gives the go-ahead, there shouldn’t be much issue in giving formula to the baby full-time or part-time to fulfill its needs. Having said that, a trusted pediatrician is the best source for recommending a good formula as well.
- Is baby formula safe?
Fortunately, we now have many formulas on the market that have been tested and approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Before any company puts out any kind of baby formula, they have to meet the set regulations and certain nutritional requirements.
- Kinds of formula
While the formula is manufactured with the aim of mimicking breast milk, the ingredients of both substances can be somewhat different.First, however, we should take a look at the three major kinds of formula one can find on the market today:
- Cow’s milk formula
This is a formula that has undergone treatment to partially break down the proteins and make them more digestible. For now, this option is still the most popular kind of formula for parents ‘s a vegan option that isn’t usually recommended by pediatricians. However, it might be the only way to go in the rare case that a baby is allergic to cow’s milk protein.
- Specialized formula
This is for giving nourishment and sustenance to babies who need something extra,such as those who are at high risk of allergies or premature babies.
- The three forms of formula
Some of us might only be familiar with one type of formula. But there are a few options to these as well: A powder form that you can mix in water.
The concentrated liquid that’s also mixed in water before the baby consumes it Bottles with a ready-to-feed the liquid that can be given to the baby directly.
Parents of small babies have a lot of questions, especially when it comes to trying out a product for the first time.
Let’s have a look at some of the most common questions regarding the baby formula and the best possible answer:Q: What baby formula is used in hospital nurseries? A: Hospitals usually choose a leading brand like Similac to give to babies in their nurseries. If a parent is using the formula from the very first day of their baby’s life, they might want to request some samples from the hospital to get started. Q: Is it all right to give the baby formula at night but breastfeed throughout the day? A: Biologically, a breastfed baby is programmed to survive by waking up and feeding several times a day. This is because breast milk is very easily digested. So, their little stomachs get empty pretty fast. If you provide formula at night, the baby might still wake up at some point and need breastfeeding to go back to sleep. However, using formula can be a way to reduce the number of night feedings, eventually helping a baby to sleep the whole night through. Q: Is it possible and healthy to mix formula with breast milk? A: Using formula doesn’t mean that you can never breastfeed that baby at all. The opposite is also true. Babies can be completely healthy whether they’re exclusively breast-fed, bottle-fed, or on a sort of combination. You can keep both types of milk separate, mix them up,pump, nurse, and just figure out what seems best for your baby after a series of trials. Q: Should I go for Similac or Enfamil? A: These two are the leading brands when it comes to baby formula.However, the main difference lies in what they’re best at. Enfamil NeuroPro is especially geared towards brain development. On the other hand, Similac Pro Advance helps to enhance the immune system.Enfamil contains palm olein oil, a fatty acid that’s similar to what we find in breast milk. This can be hard on sensitive little stomachs. Similac, though, has more omega fatty acids, especially linoleic acid. Q: How long does the prepared formula last? A: Infant formula can spoil if you leave it at room temperature. When you prepare a formula, make sure it’s utilized in two hours. If the baby starts drinking from it, the formula should be finished in an hour. Throw away any leftovers after these time limits. If you don’t have to use the prepared bottle right away, put it in the fridge. This is likely to keep the unused formula good for a whole day or 24 hours. Q:What water should I use for preparing baby formula? A: Any kind of clean water is fine for preparing baby formula. Whether it’s tap water or bottled water, you can use it for both powder and liquid-concentrate options. Well, water might be an issue;if you have that or are worried about the safety of your water, consult a doctor or your local water department. Make sure to test your well water egularly no matter what. Q: How do I know if a baby needs sensitive formula? A: Some infants might need sensitivity formula due to their lactose sensitivity. However, this condition is likely to be temporary. Completely cutting out lactose might not be necessary in every case.However, reducing the lactose level in a baby’s formula might help to make it less fussy and gassy. Again, it’s wise to consult a pediatrician. Q: Can I get formula milk from the hospital? A: Most NHS Trusts don’t have the policy of supplying formula milk if the babies are healthy while they’re in the hospital.
However, there could be an emergency supply for genuine medical reasons. If a mother has chosen to breastfeed, she will be offered advice and support.Q: Do babies who are given formula sleep for longer periods during the night? A: Babies on formula might sleep longer than breastfed babies but they will still be waking up for feeding during the night for some months. That does mean that parents have to break their sleeping cycle to fulfill their tot’s needs. Q: Can I supplement with baby formula at bedtime? A: Some breastfeeding mothers consider topping their feed off with some formula just before the baby goes to sleep at night.
If they feel that this is best and it suits the baby, there should be no harm in this decision.Q: What should I do if my baby consumes old formula? A: Drinking old formula will cause the baby to vomit and possibly get diarrhea. Both these occurrences are a natural way for the baby’s body to expel the spoilt sustenance. Most babies will probably recover and be fine after they vomit. Others might get a fever, which necessitates a visit to the doctor.
Choosing and using baby formula is not a clear cut or easy process. The myriad of options out there might seem overwhelming but it’s great to have such a large variety. All these choices ensure that we have something beneficial to feed our baby no matter what their needs might be.If you’re considering the use of formula, make sure to consult your pediatrician at the earliest convenience. Once you have the recommendation for the best baby formula, try out a small amount at first and see how it goes. If it seems to suit your little one, you’re all set to use the formula for nutrition, supplementation, and cry-free sleeping!