Breast milk can be substituted with infant and baby formulae. They can also support it, deepening the nursing connection or enabling nursing.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends nursing as the best nutritional option for your infant throughout their first year of life due to its many advantages. However, not every family finds success with nursing, so you could need to use formula full-time or decide to provide it in addition to breast milk.
There are a ton of possibilities available even for a brief search for infant formula. Learning terms like partly hydrolized, DHA, ready-to-feed, USDA, and a plethora of other terms is also necessary. How then can you discern between the two and who to believe? Whether you’re converting to formula for the first time or changing formulas, we chatted with a physician to find out what’s good and wrong when it comes to baby formula, how to pick the best formula for your child, and more.
How we select the best baby formulas
The four clinicians we spoke with, the parents on the editorial team of What to Expect, and members of the What to Expect community provided us with the following criteria, which we used to evaluate and choose baby formulae. Additionally, we assessed every formula according to the following standards:
Type: Not all baby formulae are the same, even though they are designed to mimic the important vitamins and minerals found in breast milk. There are a few varieties of infant formula to pick from, but the fundamentals are typically very much the same. Given that the most popular kind of formulas are made with milk, Opens a new windowThe majority of the formulas on this list are milk-based, per the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). On the other hand, we also provided a variety of different options, including some organic options and partially and extensively hydrolyzed baby formula (which may be beneficial for young children with a milk protein allergy) and gas or colic.
components: According to experts, most infant formulas are essentially the same, but some have extra components that may be good for the baby or address particular issues, such probiotics or prebiotics to enhance immune health. A handful of these choices are listed, along with the circumstances for which they may be beneficial. We also ensured that every product on this list has components that are not genetically engineered, since this is the case for the majority of newborn formulae.
Availability: We’ve given priority to formula brands that have a history of being easily accessible and are carried at several large shops, given how stressful it has been to go online to buy infant formula and receive the dreaded “Out of Stock” signal during the ongoing formula scarcity.
Positive feedback: Since each child is unique, it’s conceivable that you may need to test a few different formulas before finding one that your infant responds to. We ensured that every formula on our list has been overwhelmingly well-reviewed by actual parents. To choose formulas that parents report their little children have had positive experiences with, we polled the What to Expect community, four physicians, and many parents who serve on the editorial staff.
Best 12 Baby Formulas of 2024
In this article you can find out the best newborn baby milk formulas
1. Advantage Premium Powder Baby Formula with Iron
Parent’s Choice Advantage Premium Powder Baby Formula with Iron offers full nourishment for newborns 0–12 months old. It is crafted to be more similar to breast milk and reinforced with double the HMOs compared to our previous single HMO formula. The dual HMOs in this infant formula, LNnT and 2′-FL, promote the immune system and digestive health by promoting the growth of good bacteria in the baby’s digestive tract. HMOs are immune-supporting prebiotics that are frequently present in breast milk. For the development of the brain and eyes, DHA, lutein, and vitamin E are added. The absence of palm olein oil in this composition helps to support the absorption of calcium for strong bones. This infant formula has no artificial growth hormones and is free of genetically modified substances. Give your baby the Parent’s Choice Advantage Premium Powder Baby Formula with Iron to provide them with all the nourishment they require.
Parents all around the nation have trusted Walmart’s Parent’s Choice since 1998 to offer high-quality, reasonably priced baby items. We provide a large selection of goods, such as wipes, diapers, hygiene, baby food, formula, and feeding supplies. Parent’s Choice meets your child’s requirements for less money, with all of its baby, toddler, infant, and newborn items backed by a quality guarantee.
Whole Nutrition: The Parent’s Option For a baby’s first year of life, Advantage Premium offers comprehensive nutrition; its improved formula has several HMOs as opposed to our single HMO formulation; compare this to Similac Pro-Advance’s nutrition.
Enhanced by the dual HMOs, 2′-FL and LNnT, immune-supporting prebiotics that are frequently present in breast milk, HMOs help the growth of good bacteria in a baby’s digestive tract, which promotes digestive health and immunological support.
Improved with double the HMOs, our baby formula for infants aged 0 to 12 months has been carefully designed to resemble breast milk more closely than our previous infant formula.
Reliable Building Blocks: Contains DHA, Lutein, Vitamin E, and Choline to promote healthy brain and eye development; non-GMO, non-genetically modified ingredients; Not a single synthetic growth hormone or palm oil
SNAP Eligible: Parent’s Choice Advantage Premium Baby Formula satisfies the same FDA and quality criteria as national brands, and like all infant formulas made in the United States, it may be purchased with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
2. Enfamil Neuro Pro Baby Formula
Enfamil NeuroPro is the outcome of decades of committed research for the greatest start for your kid; it’s not simply a formula. Our formula contains nutrients that grow the brain as well as MFGM components that have been proved to boost your baby’s brain development up until age five. Expert-recommended brain-building DHA and a special HuMO6 immunological combination are only found in Enfamil NeuroPro. Selecting Enfamil NeuroPro means that you are going with the top brand that parents and professionals recommend. Our formula, which is derived from breast milk, provides easy-to-digest proteins together with comprehensive nutrients. Enfamil NeuroPro is beneficial for cognitive development up to the age of five, thus this guarantees a stable start for your child’s adventure during the first twelve months of life. We build a world where growth support and full nutrients are provided!
3. Kendamil Organic Stage 1 Powder Infant Formula
Proudly held by a family since 1962, Kendamil has been handcrafted in Europe. With our patented whole milk formulation, our family has been committed to improving the quality of baby formula for more than 60 years. Only the highest quality, sustainably sourced organic ingredients are used in Kendmail Organic infant formula. Lactose from grass-fed cows and natural whole milk fats, which are present in breast milk and have been linked to cognitive development, replace palm oil, soy, and corn syrups to create a naturally creamy formula that is more wholesome and closer to breast milk. To maintain a healthy immune system, a special prebiotic combination of GOS and HMOs is added to Kendamil Organic baby formula. For the development of the brain and eyes, it also contains ARA (Omega-6) and DHA (Omega-3) derived from plants. Our award-winning formulas provide outstanding quality for your family by meeting the strictest infant formula standards established by the US and Europe. MFGM Certified Vegetarian: Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMO): Milk Fat Globule Membrane (3′-GL, 4′-GL, and 6′-GL).
4. Enfamil Infant Formula, Milk-based Baby Formula with Iron, Omega-3 DHA & Choline, Powder Can, 12.5 Oz
Decades of study on breast milk and several clinical investigations on the brain-building properties of Enfamil Infant Formula support its efficacy. It features an easy-to-digest composition that is modeled after breast milk and is designed to fulfill the nutritional needs of every newborn up to 12 months of age. With 30 nutrients for development, DHA to aid enhance learning capacity, and a proprietary prebiotics mix clinically proven to strengthen the immune system, its unique Triple Health Guard combination has it all.QuintilesIMS infant formula from Enfamil is the most popular brand recommended by pediatricians, according to the ProVoice Survey, which was conducted between October 1, 2016, and September 30, 2017.
5. Similac Alimentum – Baby Formula for Gassy Babies
If your child is experiencing colic and gas symptoms, you might want to consider giving Similac’s Alimentum a try. Parents in the What to Expect group who have colic-prone and gassy kids especially love it. In addition to having all the nutrients your baby needs to grow healthy brain and eye development, this formula has a hypoallergenic milk protein that helps reduce allergic responses and colic symptoms caused by protein sensitivities.Families who would rather go that route can also purchase Alimentum in a ready-to-feed style.
However, at $2.77 per ounce, Alimentum is not exactly an inexpensive option. You probably don’t need to spend extra money on a special formula like this if your baby isn’t exhibiting colic or gas symptoms. If unsure, find out from your physician what treatments they suggest for your child’s symptoms.
6. Enfamil Enspire Optimun – Baby Formula, with Lactoferrin Found in Colostrum and Breast Milk
Because Enfamil’s Enspire contains colostrum-derived proteins including lactoferrin, it is the brand’s most similar formula to breast milk. (In fact, the company claims that Enspire is the first and only infant formula in the United States to contain lactoferrin.) It’s a fantastic option to think about when paired with nutrients like choline and DHA as well as all the other vital vitamins and minerals your baby needs to flourish.
This formula is used by many parents in the What to Expect group. Many indicate that their children adapted to it quickly and had excellent experiences. One parent said, “My baby loves Enspire; I use it.” “I used the recipe to augment and pump. For six months, I alternated between this and breast milk (BM), and I never experienced any problems.”
Additional advantages include a patented combination of two probiotics to strengthen the immune system and a reusable container that you can buy refills for.
The line’s greater price than some other common milk-based formulas (it’s $2.29 per ounce, one of the priciest options on our list) is a drawback, too. It’s only available as a powder, and some parents say it’s a little difficult to obtain in stores.
7. Similac® Advance®* Powder Baby Formula with Iron, DHA, Lutein, 30.8-oz Value Can
For a baby’s first year of life, Similac Advance* is a milk-based, iron-fortified infant formula that is nutritionally complete. It is made with a special combination of chemicals that help develop a baby’s brain and eyes. Our combination without palm olein oil promotes superior absorption of calcium. * Similac is the top infant formula brand served in hospitals and was the first popular brand without artificial growth hormones. Not for young children or babies who have galactosemia. There hasn’t been any discernible variation seen between milk from cows given rbST and animals not given the treatment.
8. Happy Baby Organics, Stage 1 Organic Infant Formula with Iron Milk Based Powder
When the time is perfect, feed baby with confidence with our mild, easily digestible Stage 1 organic infant formula. Happy Baby Stage 1 Organic Infant Formula is lovingly crafted with organic lactose, dual prebiotics, and critical minerals, such as calcium, vitamin D, iron, DHA, ARA, folic acid, and choline. It is 100% nutritionally complete and modeled after the unique composition of breast milk. Cheers to a joyous beginning! See your healthcare provider for guidance before using any baby formula. Unless specifically instructed and monitored by your baby’s doctor, powdered infant formulae should not be given to preterm babies or babies who may have immune system issues since they are not sterile.
This formula, which is modeled like breast milk and is created with carefully chosen premium ingredients, contains organic lactose, the main carbohydrate present in breast milk. Important vitamins and minerals that are naturally present in breast milk are included in our formula.
OUR FORMULA CONTAINS 4 TIMES MORE PREBIOTICS THAN MOST OTHER ORGANIC FORMULA. It contains 2 prebiotics, GOS & FOS, which are fibers that replicate the actions of prebiotics naturally present in breast milk and support a baby’s healthy gut flora. Absent solid corn syrup. Absence of carrageenan
GLAD BABY: Happy Baby Organics offers tasty and healthy solutions to start your baby on the right nutritional path. We create gourmet organic dishes that are age and stage appropriate for your child. This is intelligent eating for all families.
CAREFULLY CREATED: We create gourmet organic dishes that are age and stage appropriate for your child. Discover our selection of meals and snacks for developing infants, toddlers, and children, including organic cereals, freeze-dried yogurt delights, baby food pouches, and toddler snacks.
GLAD TUMMIES: If you have liked baby food from Sprout, Plum Organics, Annies, Gerber, Beachnut, or Peter Rabbit Organics, try Happy Baby’s whole selection of baby food pouches, probiotic cereals, whole milk yogurt, teething wafers, and baby snacks.
9. Parent’s Choice Soy Lactose-Free Powder Baby Formula
This formula, which is modeled like breast milk and has carefully chosen, high-quality ingredients, contains organic lactose, the main carbohydrate present in breast milk. Important vitamins and minerals that are naturally present in breast milk are provided by our formula.
Our formula contains twice as much prebiotics as most other organic infant formula—GOS and FOS—which are fibers that replicate the effects of prebiotics naturally present in breast milk and help babies’ gut bacteria grow. Absent solid corn syrup. Absence of carrageenan
Joyful Infant: Happy Baby provides a variety of tasty and organic solutions for your baby’s nutritional journey, including organic cereals, teething wafers, baby snacks, and baby food pouches.
Contented Family Organics: Our goal is to improve children’s health via nutrition. We offer age- and stage-appropriate quality organic food items for moms, babies, toddlers, and kids.
Our Joyful Assure: All goods are farmed without the use of hazardous persistent pesticides, are USDA organically certified, and come in packaging free of phthalates, BPA, and BPS.
10. Bubs Organic Grass Fed Infant Formula Stage 1, Infants 0-6 months, Made with Non-GMO Organic Milk
Another great choice for parents who would like an organic formula is Aussie Bubs Organic Grass Fed Infant Formula. As one might expect, Aussie Bubs are made in Australia; nevertheless, the FDA has approved the company’s importation into the United States during the formula crisis, and they are FDA compliant. It is also somewhat less expensive than Earth’s Best at $1.49 per ounce, and during the past year, large shops like Amazon and Target have made it simpler to locate.
Milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) and probiotics are found in grass-fed, organic cow’s milk, which is used to make Aussie Bubs’ milk-based powder. The brand’s recipes have undergone comprehensive testing to weed out any potentially dangerous substances, and as a result, they are Clean Label Project approved. When their preferred brand was unavailable due to the scarcity, several parents in the What to Expect group say they switched to this formula and were pleasantly pleased by how well their kids performed on it.
Important to note: Aussie Babs’ powdered milk formulae are stage-based, whereas the majority of American formulas are intended for newborns in general. Make sure you get the appropriate type for your child’s age. Stage 1 is designed for infants 0 to 6 months, while Stage 2 Opens a new window is designed for infants 6 to 12 months.
11. Gerber Good Start, Baby Formula Powder, SoothePro, Stage 1, 19.4 Ounce
It may take some trial and error to find a baby formula that agrees with a sensitive stomach. For good reason, a lot of parents in the What to Expect community swear by Gerber’s Good Start line, especially when it comes to constipation. Probiotics in Soothe Pro, one of the brand’s several mixes designed to address a range of disorders that might affect infants, may help soothe her digestive system. (Remember, too, that the AAP Opens a new window states that it’s still unclear if probiotics are good for your child in the long run, so you should see your physician before giving them a try.)
This non-GMO milk-based formula has no artificial growth hormones and contains DHA, which is important for the development of the brain and eyes. Please be aware that it is exclusively available in powder form.
Remember this: Your child might not be constipated after all. In contrast to nursing newborns, formula-fed babies will often have fewer bowel movements and a harder bowel or stool structure, according to Dr. Abelowitz.
Members of the What to Expect Medical Review Board and board-certified pediatrician Tina Feeley, M.D., M.P.H., of Chestnut Hill Pediatrics in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, also add: “The first thing we actually will look at if the baby is really constipated is: Are the parents mixing this formula correctly? Considering that they frequently aren’t, which may be the reason of the newborns’ constipation.
In summary? Before switching formulas, confirm with your physician that your kid is indeed constipated and find out which one is right for them. It’s important to bear in mind while switching that some parents have reported that their kids’ bowel motions required some time to adapt after beginning this formula.
12. Enfamil Nutramigen Infant Formula, Hypoallergenic and Lactose Free Formula with Enflora LGG, Fast Relief from Severe Crying and Colic
“If babies are allergic to milk proteins, they should be put on a hydrolyzed formula, such as Nutramigen or Alimentum, which is still derived from cow’s milk but breaks down the protein to prevent allergies,” says Dr. Feeley. One excellent hydrolyzed formula option is Enfamil’s Nutramigen; several members of the What to Expect group have reported significant improvements after switching to it. Many report that their baby no longer spits up or becomes constipated as frequently as they did. One parent specifically reported that after switching to Nutramigen, their baby stopped resisting bottles.
“We had to quickly switch to Enfamil Nutramigen because my baby had a cow’s milk protein allergy,” says Sarah Darby, What to Expect Mother of a one-year-old and senior SEO strategist. “Honestly, Nutramigen saved my son’s life; before we found Nutramigen, his allergy symptoms were excruciating. The fact that Nutramigen didn’t clump when combined pleased me much. Nutramigen helped my youngster flourish!”
Added to the essential nutrients, this hypoallergenic formula is made for newborns who have dietary sensitivities. Bonus nutrients like DHA are included. Furthermore, despite the fact that Similac’s Alimentum, a hydrolyzed formula, and this product are almost comparable, many parents report that they finally chose this one because they liked the scent of Nutramigen better. However, as always, act in your child’s best interest and consult your physician for guidance in determining which option would be best for your family.
Can I use baby formula from Europe?
Rumor has it that baby formulae from Europe are superior to those from other continents because the former uses better ingredients. Experts emphasize that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not always examine imported medications that are acquired online from other nations. Online purchases of imported formulae run the danger of infection since they may not have been stored correctly before shipment and may not fulfill U.S. requirements for quality, nutrition, and packaging.
According to Dr. Abelowitz, “the basic structure and breakdowns [of U.S. and European formulas] are very, very similar,” but European formula regulations differ from those in the United States. European formulas are frequently promoted as having “higher standards” than American formulas, even though that is untrue, according to Dr. Feeley. This is because the European counterpart of the FDA has different regulations for formula than the American FDA. Despite their differences, the regulations are not superior to one another.
Dr. Abelowitz notes that there are also significant disadvantages to take into account when purchasing infant formula from overseas. “The most significant issue we occasionally observe is the misunderstanding of dosages and preparation methods,” which can be attributed to problems with language translation or unclear instructions. “Children who are not paying attention can find themselves in some dangerous situations,” he explains.
But last year, at the height of the formula scarcity, the FDA announced modifications to regulations. opens a new window that permits the importation of specific European formulations and their sale in the United States. Because of this, several European brands are now sold by American shops; these brands have been made, stored, and verified to have sufficient nourishment.
However, a number of specialists concur that there is no proof that infant formulae made in Europe are any healthier than those made in the United States, so you shouldn’t feel compelled to go for European products for the sake of your child’s wellbeing.
How can I pick my baby’s ideal formula?
You should first think about the kind of formula your child requires. The majority of babies are fed baby formulae made from cow’s milk that have been altered to make them safer and easier to digest. The AAP states that this kind of infant formula is the most often used.
But there are also more varieties: Baby formulae that have been partly hydrolyzed have undergone partial digestion, which can benefit infants who have gas or colic. The majority of newborns who are allergic to cow’s milk may accept the broken-down milk proteins included in extensively hydrolyzed baby formula, also known as predigested formula, since they are simpler for babies to digest. If your infant is intolerant to galactose, you may want to consider switching to a soy-based formula; however, as this condition is extremely uncommon, you should only make this move with your pediatrician’s advice. Additionally, certain newborns—preemies or babies with particular disorders, for example—might need special formulae.
You have the option to examine a formula’s components in addition to its kind. Though each formula is different, you may be secure in the knowledge that every option on the shelf is governed since all baby formulas sold in the United States must adhere to stringent dietary requirements set out by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Dr. Feeley explains, “I always compare the various formulas to Coke and Pepsi—they’re pretty much the same, but a little different.”
Doctor Abelowitz concurs. As with different kinds of Motrin and Tylenols, he adds, “we always tell parents that there’s almost never a better option when you have dozens, or these days maybe hundreds of different types of options.”
Some baby formulae on the market include additional chemicals like DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid) that may aid in your infant’s growth and development, in addition to all the components the FDA required.
Additionally, some formulations could contain probiotics or prebiotics, which are meant to enhance the health of the immune system. (2′-FL HMO, also known as 2′-fucosyllactose human milk oligosaccharides, is a popular example that you’ll usually encounter on formula labeling.) According to Dr. Feeley, there isn’t much evidence to support the usage of them, but they’re also not believed to be harmful. She says, “This is one way that formulas try to mimic human milk as much as possible.”