Fertility

Best Baby Formula: Which Brands Are The Best Choice For Your Little One

Updated on 2 December 2021 • 19 minute read
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Overview 

With so many baby formulas being sold today, how do you know which one to choose for your little one

Every baby is different. You should consider your child’s nutrition needs as the main factor for choosing the best formula.

Still, it’s also important to keep safety factors in mind, especially if your baby has special dietary requirements. 

The author of Brain Health from Birth, molecular biotechnologist and biochemist Rebecca Fett suggests picking a formulation that’s as close to breast milk as possible. (1)

Her suggestion makes sense, considering that the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life. Still, not all moms can or want to do it for various reasons. (2)

Fett recommends for you to pick a formula with these top ingredients, as long as your child doesn’t need specialized formula: (1)

  • Protein source: Whey proteins or partially hydrolyzed whey
  • Primary carbohydrate: Lactose
  • Prebiotics such as HMOs (human milk oligosaccharides), which may support a healthy gut microbiome (3)
  • MFGM (Milk Fat Globule Membrane), a component of breast milk that can help promote your baby’s cognitive development (4)

 

Aside from these top ingredients, you should also consider your child’s dietary requirements or restrictions.

The following are some conditions that may require dairy-free, non-soy, lactose-free, or other specialized formulas:

  • Lactose sensitivity or intolerance
  • Cow’s milk protein allergy
  • Soy allergies
  • Galactosemia
  • Multiple food allergies
  • Other digestive issues

 

Special formulas may also be needed for the following:

  • Babies with sensitive tummies
  • Babies prone to colic, reflux, spit-up, and gas
  • Premature babies

 

There are many brands to consider, especially if you’re looking for organic and non-GMO formula options. You can find our recommendations below.

 

The Top Baby Formulas For Your Little One

The following are some of the formulas that you can pick for your little one, depending on their needs:

 

Traditional & Regular Formulas With Special Ingredients

These may be ideal for regular formula feeding of babies without any dietary restrictions or special requirements:

  • Enfamil Enspire
  • Similac Advance

 

Non-Dairy, Soy Formulas

Cow’s milk proteins may trigger allergic reactions in some babies. Symptoms include wheezing, hives, vomiting, gas, itching, or swelling around the mouth and other body parts. (5)

Your pediatrician may ask you to avoid giving milk and dairy products to your baby. These can be your options:

  • Similac Soy Isomil
  • Enfamil ProSobee

 

Lactose-Free Formulas

Lactose is the main sugar or carbohydrate in breast milk. But babies with lactose intolerance may experience diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, bloating, and gas after drinking milk or formula with this sugar. (6)

Here’s an option to pick if your child is lactose intolerant:

  • Enfamil Nutramigen

 

Non-GMO Formulas

These formulations don’t contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms) that some parents want to avoid because these are believed to have harmful effects on little children. (7)

  • Similac Pro-Advance
  • Enfamil Neuropro Gentlease

 

Organic Infant Formulas

Some parents also prefer giving their children the best organic baby formulas to ensure they don’t drink anything with harmful chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides.

Regularly consuming organic food may be associated with lower risks of allergies, overweight and obesity, metabolic syndrome, infertility, and certain cancers such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma. (8)(9)(10)

These are some organic infant formulas you can pick:

  • Earth’s Best Soy-Based Infant Formula
  • Happy Baby Organic Formula

 

Partially Hydrolyzed Formulas 

The proteins in cow’s milk usually trigger an allergic reaction. (11)

So, the proteins in these formulas have been partially hydrolyzed (broken down) into smaller pieces: (11)

  • Gerber Good Start Gentle
  • Similac Pro-Total Comfort

 

Extensively Hydrolyzed Formulas

If your baby still reacts to partially hydrolyzed proteins, then your pediatrician may recommend extensively hydrolyzed formulas. (11)

These have proteins that are broken down into the smallest chains called peptides. These formulas are hypoallergenic. (11)

Here’s an option you can pick for your baby:

  • Similac Alimentum

 

Amino Acid-Based Formulas

For babies who can’t even tolerate the extensively hydrolyzed formulas, amino acid-based formulas may be necessary. (11)

These formulas have their proteins broken down into component amino acids. Because they don’t have intact proteins, these may be best tolerated by babies with various allergies. (11)

Here’s an option you can choose:

  • Similac EleCare

 

Soy-Free Formulas

As much as 8-14% of babies with cow’s milk allergies are also allergic to soy. (5)(11)

While soy formulas are among the most popular non-dairy options, you can pick the following for babies who are allergic to both soy and cow’s milk proteins:

  • Else Plant-Based Complete Nutrition for Toddlers
  • Baby’s Only Organic Pea Protein Formula

 

Read on for more information about these infant formulas.

 

Enfamil Enspire

Price

  • 20.50 oz tub: $41.99
  • 20.50 oz tub, case of four: $158.99

 

Best Features & Safety

  • It contains lactoferrin, a protein highly abundant in colostrum that can help improve immune development and healthy tummies in babies. (12)
  • It also has brain-nourishing nutrients DHA (omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid) and choline. (13)
  • It contains two types of prebiotics (galactooligosaccharides and polydextrose) which can support your baby’s healthy gut microbiome. (3)

 

Ingredients 

  • Nonfat milk
  • Lactose
  • Vegetable oil (palm olein, soy, coconut, and high oleic sunflower oils)
  • Whey protein-lipid concentrate (milk)
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Lactoferrin
  • Galactooligosaccharides
  • Polydextrose
  • Mortierella alpina oil (source of omega-6 fatty acid ARA, arachidonic acid)
  • Crypthecodinium cohnii oil (DHA source)

 

Nutrition Facts

Each serving (5 fl oz) contains:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total fats: 5.3 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 11.2 g
  • Proteins: 2.1 g
  • Vitamin A: 300 IU
  • Vitamin C: 12 mg
  • Iron: 1.8 mg
  • Calcium: 78 mg
  • Linoleic acid: 800 mg

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It’s made from whey proteins that may be easier to digest than cow’s milk casein proteins. (14)
  • It contains proteins (lactoferrin), fats (MFGM), and carbohydrates (lactose) abundant in breast milk.
  • It’s a non-GMO formula that can provide complete nutrition for your baby’s first year.
  • It has two types of prebiotics.

 

Cons

  • It’s made from non-GMO ingredients, but it may contain some genetically engineered material due to manufacturing environments and process sources. 
  • It contains soy oil. Although highly processed soy oil isn’t considered an allergen, you might choose to avoid any soy ingredient in your child’s diet. (15)
  • It also has highly processed vegetable oils.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

I’ve had to supplement my breastfed baby’s diet with formula and the transition has been seamless. Her tummy doesn’t seem to be upset, no issues with gas and her dirty diapers haven’t changed a bit.” – Reviewer on Enfamil’s website.

Negative Reviews 

My daughter had horrible constipation and pain from this formula when we needed to supplement at 6 weeks. It was horrible…” – Reviewer on Enfamil’s website.

 

Similac Advance Infant Formula

Price

  • 20.6 oz tub: $26.99
  • 36 oz can, pack of three: $115.99

 

Best Features & Safety

  • This iron-fortified milk-based infant formula is designed to provide complete nutrition for your baby’s first year.
  • It doesn’t have palm olein oil, which can decrease calcium absorption. (16)
  • It has key ingredients found in breast milk in a blend called OptiGRO (DHA, lutein, and vitamin E) that can support eye health and brain development. (17)(18)

 

Ingredients 

  • Nonfat milk
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Lactose
  • High oleic safflower oil
  • Soy oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Short-chain fructooligosaccharides
  • Crypthecodinium cohnii oil (source DHA)
  • Mortierella Alpina oil (source of ARA)

 

Nutrition Facts

Each serving (5 fl oz) has the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total Fats: 5.6 g
  • Total Carbohydrates: 10.5 g
  • Proteins: 2.07 g
  • Vitamin A: 300 IU
  • Vitamin B6: 60 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 9 mg
  • Vitamin D3: 60 IU
  • Vitamin E: 1.5 IU
  • Vitamin K: 8 mcg
  • Iron: 1.8 mg
  • Calcium: 78 mg
  • Linoleic acid: 1,000 mg

 

Product Recall

Massive Similac Formula Recall (2010)

  • Nearly 5 million containers of various Similac products have been recalled due to possible contamination with the small common beetle in 2010. (19)
  • The brand only recalled powder formulas; no liquid concentrates were included. (19)

 

Similac Advance Liquid Formula Recall (2006)

  • In 2006, Abbott Laboratories recalled Similac Advance liquid formulas from lot codes 40177RH and 40172RH for a manufacturing defect that may cause a decrease in its vitamin C content. (20)
  • The recall also included Similac Advance hospital discharge kits with lot code 41699D5. (20)

 

Similac Advance Powder Formula Recall (2005)

  • Similac Advance with iron powder formula was recalled in February 2005 for possible contamination with particles of polyvinyl chloride plastic due to a manufacturing problem. (21)

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It doesn’t contain added sugars or corn syrup.
  • It’s certified Kosher and halal.
  • It contains ingredients found in breast milk, including lactose and prebiotic FOS (fructooligosaccharides). They can help improve your baby’s gut health and also support their developing immune system. (22)

 

Cons

  • It has potential allergens from milk and soy ingredients.
  • It had several recalls. (19)(20)(21)
  • It contains vegetable oils.
  • It also has soy oil.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

My baby has never had any trouble keeping it down.” – Reviewer on Similac’s website.

Negative Reviews 

It is difficult for baby to digest Similac Advance. Frequency increased for vometting whatever baby drinks.”  – Reviewer on Similac’s website.

 

Similac Soy Isomil Infant Formula

Price

  • 30.8 oz tub: $36.98
  • 30.8 oz tub, pack of four: $147.96

 

Best Features & Safety

  • It features Similac’s exclusive blend of DHA, vitamin E, and lutein. These are special ingredients in breast milk that can help support your baby’s brain and eye development. (17)(18)
  • It has the prebiotic FOS (fructooligosaccharides). 
  • It may help prevent fussiness or gas in your baby.

 

Ingredients 

  • Soy protein isolate
  • Corn syrup solids
  • High oleic safflower oil
  • Sugar
  • Soy oil
  • Coconut oil 

 

Nutrition Facts

Every serving (5 fl oz) has the following:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total fats: 5.46 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 10.4 g
  • Proteins: 2.45 g
  • Vitamin A: 300 IU
  • Vitamin C: 9 mg
  • Iron: 1.8 mg
  • Calcium: 105 mg

 

Product Recall

  • It was among the Similac formulas recalled in 2010 due to possible contamination with larvae and/or full-grown adults of the small common beetle. (19)

 

The following lots were affected: (19)

  • Similac Isomil Advance Soy Powder, Lot No. 7007450820 (23.2 oz)
  • Similac Isomil Advance Soy with Iron Powder, Lot No. 7007455964 (12.9 oz)

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It’s fortified with iron.

 

Cons

  • It contains corn syrup, sugar, soy oil, and questionable oils.
  • It had a recall in 2010. (19)

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

I had to switch my daughter to Similac Soy Isomil formula. Her pediatrician recommended to keep her on this formula as she has a milk allergy.”  – Reviewer on Walmart.

Negative Reviews 

Went from Similac Advance to Similac Soy and my baby just got worst.” – Reviewer on Walmart.

 

Enfamil ProSobee Soy-Based Infant Formula 

Price

  • 12.9 oz can: $21.99
  • 20.9 oz can: $31.99

 

Best Features & Safety

  • It’s formulated from soy-based proteins.
  • It can help ease fussiness, bloating, and colic due to lactose intolerance.
  • It may be suitable for vegetarian or Kosher diets.
  • It has DHA (source: Crypthecodinium cohnii oil) and ARA (source: Alpina oil). (23)

 

Ingredients 

  • Soy protein isolate
  • Vegetable oil (coconut, soy, palm olein, and high oleic sunflower oils)
  • Corn syrup solids

 

Nutrition Facts

Every serving (5 fl oz) contains:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total fats: 5.3 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 10.6 g
  • Added sugars: 0 g
  • Proteins: 2.5 g
  • Vitamin A: 300 IU
  • Vitamin C: 12 mg
  • Iron: 1.8 mg
  • Calcium: 105 mg

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It can be a good choice for lactose intolerant babies.
  • It can also be ideal for those following special dietary guidelines (such as vegetarian or Kosher diets).

 

Cons

  • It can be harder to dissolve compared with other milk alternatives.
  • It has corn syrup and vegetable oils.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

After just one day, we had less spit up, a full baby, better sleep, no diarrhea, and more sanity!”  – Reviewer on Enfamil’s website.

Negative Reviews 

After ever scoop added to water I stir up the powder and it is still clumpy every time even after shaking it up for a minute.” – Reviewer on Enfamil’s website.

 

Else Plant-Based Complete Nutrition for Toddlers

Price

  • 22 oz can: $36
  • 22 oz can, two packs: $70
  • 22 oz can, four packs: $136

 

Best Features & Safety

  • It’s a non-GMO (no genetically modified organisms, organic plant-based toddler formula.
  • It’s free from soy, dairy, gluten, and corn syrup.
  • It has an iron content (2.22 mg per 100 calories) higher than the FDA requirement (at least 1 mg of iron per 100 calories). (24)

 

Ingredients 

  • Organic almond butter
  • Organic buckwheat flour
  • Organic tapioca maltodextrin

 

Nutrition Facts

Each serving (4 fl oz) contains the following:

  • Calories: 180 calories
  • Total fats: 9 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 19 g
  • Added sugars: 2 g
  • Dietary fibers: 2 g
  • Proteins: 5 g
  • Vitamin A: 145 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 4 mg
  • Choline: 40 mg
  • Iron: 4 mg
  • Calcium: 220 mg

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It’s a plant-based formula that doesn’t have corn syrup.
  • It’s sustainably made to help provide children with whole food and nutrients for natural digestion.

 

Cons

  • Else discloses that this formula isn’t ideal as your baby’s sole source of nutrition. Instead, they recommend using it with breast milk, another formula with cow’s milk, and/or solid foods.
  • It contains almonds and may not be ideal if your child has allergies to tree nuts.
  • It may be prone to clumping.
  • It’s not for infants under one year old.
  • It has maltodextrin.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

First off this formula smells like snicker-doodle, it doesn’t have a chemical smell like other formulas and has a slightly sweet flavor. I use it for all four of my kids to add to smoothies and pancakes as a healthy alternative to cow’s milk or soymilk.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

Negative Reviews 

This product taste disgusting! my baby does not like and she starting to gag.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Baby’s Only Organic Pea Protein Formula

Price

  • 12.7 oz can; one pack: $14.99
  • 12.7 oz can, pack of six: $89.94
  • 12.7 oz can, pack of 12: $179.88

 

Best Features & Safety

  • It’s a toddler formula made using non-GMO ingredients.
  • It may be the only pea protein-sourced formula currently available on the market.
  • It’s a plant-based formula, which may be suitable for Kosher and vegetarian diets.
  • It features essential fatty acids DHA and ARA that can promote brain and eye development. (23)

 

Ingredients

  • Organic pea protein concentrate
  • Organic brown rice syrup
  • Organic high oleic oil (safflower or sunflower)
  • Organic canola oil
  • Organic linoleic sunflower oil
  • Organic coconut oil
  • Organic sunflower lecithin

 

Nutrition Facts

Each serving (4 fl oz) contains:

  • Calories: 80 calories
  • Total fats: 4 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 9 g
  • Vitamin A: 70 mcg
  • Vitamin D: 1.3 mcg
  • Vitamin K: 7 mcg
  • Choline:  10 mg
  • Vitamin E: 1.1 mg
  • Iron: 1.4 mg
  • Calcium: 90 mg
  • Potassium: 110 mg

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It’s a non-GMO toddler formula.
  • It’s OU (Orthodox Union) certified Kosher.
  • It’s made with ingredients grown without insecticides, pesticides, or weed-killer glyphosate.
  • It’s free from glucose, corn syrup, palm olein oil, and palm oil.

 

Cons

  • It’s only suitable for kids above 12 months of age.
  • According to the brand’s website, this formulation meets the baby formula composition guidelines of the U.S. Infant Formula Act and the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics). But pea protein-based formulas still don’t have approval for commercial use.
  • It contains brown rice syrup and highly processed vegetable oils, including canola oil.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

My son doesn’t tolerate dairy as well as my daughter does, so I have to purchase the pea protein formula for him. Fortunately for me, Baby’s Only offers me that option.’” – Reviewer on Nature’s One.

Negative Reviews 

My baby didn’t do well he had a skin reaction.” – Reviewer on Nature’s One.

 

Enfamil Nutramigen with Enflora LGG Infant Formula

Price

  • 12.6 oz can: $34.99
  • 19.8 oz can: $45.99
  • 27.8 oz can: $58.99

 

Best Features & Safety

  • According to their website, Enfamil Nutramigen is clinically proven to reduce colic symptoms due to cow’s milk allergy within 48 hours.
  • The brand also claims that this formulation may help reduce the incidence of future allergies (including allergic rhinitis, asthma, eczema, and hives).
  • It’s a hypoallergenic formula that contains DHA to support your baby’s brain development. (23)
  • It has LGG (Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG) cultures, which are probiotic or gut-friendly bacteria for your baby’s healthier digestive system. (25)

 

Ingredients 

  • Corn syrup solids
  • Vegetable oil (coconut, soy, high oleic sunflower, or palm olein oil)
  • Modified casein hydrolysate
  • Modified corn starch
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus (probiotics)
  • Mortierella alpina oil (for ARA)
  • Schizochytrium sp. oil (for DHA)

 

Nutrition Facts

Each serving (5 fl oz) contains:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total fats: 5.3 g
  • Protein: 2.8 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 10.3 g
  • Vitamin E: 2 IU
  • Iron: 1.8 mg
  • Calcium: 94 mg
  • Choline: 24 mg
  • Iodine: 15 mcg

 

Product Recall

Nutramigen was recalled in 2001 due to potentially dangerous preparation instructions (written in Spanish), which may cause serious health issues and possible death. (26)

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It’s free from artificial growth hormones, lactose, table sugars, and sucrose.

 

Cons

  • It contains palm olein oil, corn syrup, and vegetable oils.
  • It can be more expensive than traditional formulas.
  • It had a recall. (26)

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

We switched our daughter after determining a cow milk allergy was causing intestinal issues. This has helped tremendously ease some discomfort. Well worth it.” – Reviewer on Target.

Negative Reviews 

I give a 1 star only because it made my son projectile vomiting after each bottle until it was time to feed him again.” – Reviewer on Target.

 

Similac Pro-Advance

Price 

  • 20.6 oz tub: $28.99

 

Best Features & Safety

  • It has the prebiotic 2’-FL HMO (2’-fucosyllactose human milk oligosaccharide) that can support your baby’s developing immune system. (27)
  • It also contains OptiGRO, a special blend of vitamin E, DHA, and lutein which may promote brain development and eye health. (17)(18)

 

Ingredients 

  • Nonfat milk
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • High oleic safflower oil
  • Soy oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Short-chain fructooligosaccharides
  • 2’-FL HMO
  • Lutein
  • Crypthecodinium cohnii oil (DHA)
  • Mortierella alpina oil (ARA)

 

Nutrition Facts

Each serving (5 fl oz) contains:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total fats: 5.6 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 10.5 g
  • Proteins: 2.07 g
  • Vitamin E: 1.5 IU
  • Iron: 1.8 mg
  • Calcium: 78 mg
  • Linoleic acid: 1,000 mg
  • Choline: 24 mg
  • Iodine: 15 mcg

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It contains DHA and ARA.
  • It doesn’t have artificial growth hormones.
  • There’s no palm olein oil.

 

Cons

  • It has soy oil and other highly processed vegetable oils.
  • It may cause constipation.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

My grandbaby is using this and she is doing great! Gaining weight, less fuss, better sleep, and not constipated.” – Reviewer on Similac’s website.

Negative Reviews 

Switched baby from advanced to this pro advance and that’s when problems started. He was restless, crying, gassy and inconsolable. He began to sleep less at night.” – Reviewer on Similac’s website.

 

Enfamil Gentlease NeuroPro Baby Formula

Price

  • 19.5 oz tub, single pack: $29.99
  • 19.5 oz tub, case of four: $116.99

 

Best Features & Safety

  • It contains smaller, partially hydrolyzed, easy-to-digest proteins.
  • It also has MFGM (milk fat globule membrane) that can support your baby’s cognitive development. (4)

 

Ingredients

  • Corn syrup solids
  • Partially hydrolyzed nonfat milk
  • Whey protein-lipid concentrate
  • Vegetable oils (soy, coconut, palm olein, and high oleic sunflower oils)
  • Schizochytrium Sp. oil (DHA source)
  • Mortierella alpina oil (ARA source)

 

Nutrition Facts

Each serving (5 fl oz) contains the following:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total fats: 5.3 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 10.8 g
  • Added sugars: 0 g
  • Proteins: 2.3 g
  • Vitamin E: 2 IU
  • Vitamin K: 9 mcg
  • Iron: 1.8 mg
  • Calcium: 82 mg
  • Linoleic acid: 780 mg
  • Choline: 24 mg

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Pros

  • The proteins in this formulation have been broken down into smaller pieces, which can make this formula easier to digest.
  • It may be ideal for sensitive tummies.
  • It has a thinner consistency which can make it dissolve more easily.

 

Cons

  • It has palm olein oil, other vegetable oils, and corn syrup.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

Helped so much with my son.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

Negative Reviews 

This formula gives my baby bad constipation and horrible foul gas.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Earth’s Best Non-GMO Soy-Based Infant Formula

Price

  • 23.2 oz tub: $31.96

 

Best Features & Safety

  • This soy formula may be suitable for lactose intolerance.
  • This plant-based infant formula meets FDA requirements for complete nutrition.
  • Most of its ingredients are organic.
  • It contains DHA from algal oil.

 

Ingredients 

  • Soy proteins
  • Organic corn syrup solids
  • Organic palm olein or palm oil
  • Organic soy oil
  • Organic coconut oil
  • Organic high oleic oils (safflower or sunflower)
  • Mortierella alpina oil (ARA source)
  • DHA algal oil (schizochytrium)

 

Nutrition Facts

Each serving (5 fl oz) contains:

  • Calories: 100 calories 
  • Total carbohydrates: 10.6 g
  • Total fats: 5.3 g
  • Proteins: 2.5 g
  • Vitamin A: 300 IU
  • Vitamin B6: 60 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 12 mg
  • Vitamin D: 60 IU
  • Iron: 1.8 mg
  • Calcium: 105 mg
  • Linoleic acid: 750 mg
  • Choline: 24 mg

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It contains ARA and DHA for your baby’s eye health and brain development. (23)
  • It’s Kosher certified.

 

Cons

  • It has potential allergens: soy proteins.
  • It also contains soy oil, corn syrup, palm olein oil, and vegetable oils.
  • It doesn’t have dairy ingredients but is made in dairy equipment, which may increase the risk of cross-contamination.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

This one isnt harsh on her stomach, she doesnt spit up, shes not gassy.” – Reviewer on Earth’s Best website.

Negative Reviews 

My 7 month old breastfed baby wouldn’t even take a sip of this from his bottle. I tasted it and agree – yuck.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Happy Baby Organic Infant Formula

Price

  • 21 oz container: $29.99

 

Best Features & Safety

  • It’s formulated after breast milk and features dual prebiotics.
  • It contains ARA and DHA from non-GMO algae.
  • It’s USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) certified organic.

 

Ingredients List

  • Organic nonfat milk
  • Organic whey protein concentrate
  • Organic lactose
  • Organic palm olein or palm oil
  • Organic coconut oil
  • Organic soy oil
  • Organic high oleic (safflower or sunflower) oil
  • Organic GOS (galactooligosaccharides)
  • Fructooligosaccharide (FOS)
  • Organic soy lecithin
  • Mortierella alpina oil
  • DHA algal oil (schizochytrium)

 

Nutrition Facts

Each serving (5 fl oz) contains:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total fats: 5.1 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 12 g
  • Proteins: 2.07 g
  • Vitamin A: 300 IU
  • Vitamin C: 12 mg
  • Vitamin D: 60 IU
  • Vitamin E: 2 IU
  • Iron: 1.5 mg
  • Calcium: 94 mg
  • Potassium: 109 mg

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It meets the FDA requirements for infant formulas.
  • It’s free from corn syrup solids.

 

Cons

  • It has potential allergens: soy and milk.
  • It contains soy oil, palm olein, and other vegetable oils.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

The first time I offered it to my baby, she immediately drank it all without any issues! She didn’t spit up or anything crazy!” – Reviewer on Amazon.

Negative Reviews 

For some reason my bottle was super foamy ( over 1/4 was foam). I tried to let it sit to see if it would settle, but the foam would not resolve.” – Reviewer on Happy Family Organics’ website.

 

Gerber Good Start Soothe Pro Infant Formula

Price

  • 30.6 oz can, single pack: $36.48

 

Best Features & Safety

  • It contains a special blend of comfort proteins (made up of partially broken-down, 100% whey proteins) with prebiotics and probiotics which can promote better gut health and soft stools. (3)
  • It may also help reduce gas, fussiness, crying, colic, and mild spit-up.
  • This formulation contains 2’-FL HMO, a prebiotic abundant in breast milk. (27)

 

Ingredients 

  • Whey protein concentrate (enzymatically hydrolyzed from milk)
  • Corn maltodextrin
  • Vegetable oils (soy, coconut, palm olein, high-oleic safflower, or high-oleic sunflower)
  • Lactobacillus reuteri (DSM 17938) probiotic cultures 
  • Mortierella alpina oil (ARA source)
  • Crypthecodinium cohnii oil (DHA source)

 

Nutrition Facts

Each serving (5 fl oz) contains:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total fats: 5.1 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 11.2 g
  • Proteins: 2.2 g
  • Vitamin A: 300 IU
  • Vitamin B6: 75 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 10 mg
  • Vitamin D3: 60 IU
  • Vitamin E: 2 IU
  • Vitamin K: 8 mcg
  • Iron: 1.5 mg
  • Calcium: 72 mg
  • Linoleic acid: 900 mg
  • Choline: 24 mg

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It contains probiotics (Lactobacillus reuteri) and prebiotics (2’-FL HMO) that may promote better gut health to help prevent gas, colic, and reflux. (27)

 

Cons

  • The formulation tends to form lumps and may be more difficult to dissolve than regular formulas.
  • It has palm olein, maltodextrin, and vegetable oils.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

First bottle I could tell she liked it more. After a few days she started having regular bowels, no spit up, and less gassiness.” – Reviewer on Gerber’s website.

Negative Reviews 

I find that it wants to lump and it will not shake out. I have to get a spoon in bottle and crush it down.” – Reviewer on Gerber’s website.

 

Similac Pro-Total Comfort

Price

  • 20.1 oz tub: $29.99
  • 36 oz can, case of three: $121.49

 

Best Features & Safety

  • It contains the prebiotic 2’-FL HMO to support your baby’s developing immune system. (27)
  • It has partially hydrolyzed whey proteins (broken-down proteins) for easy digestion.
  • It features OptiGRO, a proprietary blend with DHA, lutein, and vitamin E that can help promote your child’s brain development and eye health.

 

Ingredients 

  • Whey protein hydrolysate
  • Corn maltodextrin
  • High oleic safflower oil
  • Sugar
  • Soy oil
  • Coconut oil
  • 2’-FL HMO
  • Short-chain fructooligosaccharides
  • Beta-carotene
  • Lutein
  • Crypthecodinium cohnii oil (for DHA)
  • Mortierella alpina oil (for ARA or arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid)

 

Nutrition Facts

Each serving (5 fl oz) contains:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total fats: 5.4 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 10.7 g
  • Proteins: 2.32 g
  • Vitamin E: 1.5 IU
  • Iron: 1.8 mg
  • Calcium: 105 mg
  • Linoleic acid: 1,000 mg
  • Choline: 24 mg
  • Iodine: 15 mcg

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It’s free from artificial growth hormones and palm olein oil.
  • It uses partially hydrolyzed proteins that can be easier to digest by sensitive tummies.
  • It’s made from non-GMO ingredients. 

 

Cons

  • It has added sugars and maltodextrin.
  • It also contains soy oil and highly processed vegetable oils.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

This is the ONLY formula my baby doesn’t get constipated with.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

Negative Reviews 

She throws up horrible after every feeding no matter what. Then her poop is green which it was never before.” – Reviewer on Similac’s website.

 

Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic Formula

Price

  • 12.1 oz can: $28.99
  • 19.8 oz can: $39.99
  • 19.8 oz can, four-pack: $167.99

 

Best Features & Safety

  • It contains casein hydrolysate from milk sources.
  • It’s clinically proven to be hypoallergenic. (28)
  • It has MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides) which  may be easier to digest and absorb. (29)

 

Ingredients 

  • Casein hydrolysate
  • Corn maltodextrin
  • Sugar
  • High oleic safflower oil
  • Soy oil
  • MCTs (Medium-chain triglycerides)
  • Crypthecodinium cohnii oil (for DHA)
  • Mortierella alpina oil (for ARA)

 

Nutrition Facts

Each serving (5 fl oz) contains:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total fats: 5.54 g
  • Protein: 2.75 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 10.2 g
  • Vitamin A: 300 IU
  • Vitamin C: 9 mg
  • Iron: 1.8 mg
  • Calcium: 105 mg

 

Product Recall

The powder form of Similac Alimentum hasn’t been recalled.

The ready-to-drink Similac Alimentum formulation (32 oz bottles) was recalled in September 2006 due to a manufacturing defect that led to lower vitamin C content. (30)

It affected just one lot (401895V) with stock code 57512. 

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It’s free from palm olein oil.
  • It’s a hypoallergenic formula.

 

Cons

  • It contains corn maltodextrin, added sugars, soy oil, and highly processed vegetable oils.
  • Its liquid formulation had a recall. (30)
  • You need to store the opened can in cool temperatures.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

No more horrible gas or constipation.” – Reviewer on Similac’s website.

Negative Reviews 

His gas has continued and has in fact worsened. This formula is so thin, so when he was eating, he was eating every 1.5-2 hours when before he was eating every 3 hours.” – Reviewer on Similac’s website.

 

Similac Elecare

Pricing

  • 14.1 oz can: $44.97 

 

Best Features & Safety

  • It’s an amino acid-based baby formula made for special medical purposes.
  • It’s hypoallergenic.
  • It contains 2’-FL HMOs (human milk oligosaccharides). These are prebiotics (bioactive carbohydrates) in breast milk, which may promote a healthier immune system. (3)
  • It contains omega-6 ARA and omega-3 DHA, essential fatty acids that may promote better brain development. (23)

 

Ingredients 

  • Amino acids
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Vegetable oils (high oleic safflower oil, soy oil, and MCT oil from palm kernel oil and coconut oil)
  • 2’-fucosyllactose (derived from lactose)
  • ARA from M. alpine oil
  • DHA from C. cohnii oil

 

Nutrition Facts

Every serving (5 fl oz) contains:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total fats: 4.8 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 10.7 g
  • Proteins: 3.1 g
  • Vitamin A: 273 IU
  • Vitamin C: 9 mg
  • Iron: 1.8 mg
  • Calcium: 116 mg
  • Iodine: 8.9 mcg
  • Potassium: 150 mg

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It’s formulated to provide complete nutrition for your baby’s first year, particularly if your baby has dietary restrictions due to certain medical conditions.
  • It doesn’t have soy oil.
  • It may be suitable for vegetarians.

 

Cons

  • It may cost more than traditional cow’s milk formula.
  • It contains corn syrup and vegetable oils.
  • It has maltodextrin. Though not listed on its main ingredients, maltodextrin was identified as one of the carbohydrate sources in Elecare’s datasheet posted by their parent company Abbott Nutrition. (31)
  • It can have a strong scent and may cause stool discoloration.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

My son is anaphylactic to milk and this is the only formula he’s tolerated.” – Reviewer on Walmart.

Negative Reviews 

Loose stools. Smells awful! Expensive!” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

PurAmino Hypoallergenic Infant Formula

Price

  • 14.1 oz can: $48.99
  • 14.1 oz can, case of four: $171.99

 

Best Features & Safety

  • It’s a hypoallergenic, purely amino acid-based formula.
  • It’s iron-fortified.
  • It contains DHA and ARA.

 

Ingredients 

  • Amino acids
  • Corn syrup solids
  • High oleic sunflower oil
  • Medium-chain triglyceride oil
  • Soy oil
  • Modified tapioca starch
  • Mortierella alpina oil
  • Schizochytrium sp. oil
  • Taurine

 

Nutrition Facts

Each serving (5 fl oz) contains:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total fats: 5.3 g
  • Protein: 2.8 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 10.6 g
  • Iron: 1.8 mg
  • Calcium: 116 mg
  • Linoleic acid: 860 mg
  • Vitamin C: 12 mg
  • Potassium: 110 mg
  • Iodine: 15 mcg

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It may be used as your baby’s sole nutrition source up to six months old.
  • It can be a milk substitute for children up to 24 months old if needed. But always check with your pediatrician before switching or starting formulas.

 

Cons

  • It contains corn syrup solids, soy oil, and highly processed vegetable oils.
  • It may have a strong scent that’s different from other formula options.
  • It’s several times more expensive than traditional formulas.
  • It can cause poop discoloration.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

My twin girls did so well on this formula! Symptoms began disappearing within days of first use. Highly recommended!” – Reviewer on Enfamil’s website.

Negative Reviews 

This product is terrible. It smelled like Clorox. bleach. Whatever you do, never ever give this product to your child or use for any sort of human consumption.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Summary And Recommendations

There are many high-quality formulas you can choose for supplementing your breast milk or as the main source of nutrition for your baby. 

The best infant formula to pick is the one that can provide what your child needs the most. 

You can pick a traditional formula if your child doesn’t have any dietary restrictions. Still, your pediatrician may suggest a different formulation for babies with certain sensitivities, allergies, or medical conditions:

 

Traditional & Regular Formulas With Special Ingredients

  • Similac Advance
  • Enfamil Enspire

 

Soy & Non-Dairy Formulas

  • Similac Soy Isomil
  • Enfamil ProSobee

 

Soy-Free Formulas

  • Else Plant-Based Complete Nutrition for Toddlers
  • Baby’s Only Organic Pea Protein Formula

 

Lactose-Free Formulas

  • Enfamil Nutramigen

 

Non-GMO Formulas

  • Similac Pro-Advance
  • Enfamil Neuropro Gentlease

 

Organic Infant Formulas

  • Earth’s Best Soy-Based Infant Formula
  • Happy Baby Organic Formula

 

Partially Hydrolyzed Formulas 

  • Gerber Good Start Gentle
  • Similac Pro-Total Comfort

 

Extensively Hydrolyzed Formulas

  • Similac Alimentum

 

Amino Acid-Based Formulas

  • Similac EleCare
  • Enfamil PurAmino

 

 

 

REFERENCES

(1) https://brainhealthfrombirth.com/formula/

(2) https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/129/3/e827/31785/Breastfeeding-and-the-Use-of-Human-Milk

(3) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25535999/

(4) https://bmcpediatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12887-020-02087-9

(5) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/milk-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20375101

(6) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lactose-intolerance/symptoms-causes/syc-20374232

(7) https://www.greenamerica.org/blog/downsides-gmo-infant-formula-we-asked-pediatrician

(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019963/

(9) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32519524/

(10) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1573521411000054

(11) https://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/formula-options-for-infants-with-food-allergies.aspx

(12) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27234407/

(13) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6566660/

(14) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4882692/

(15) https://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/soy-allergy.aspx

(16) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8780336/

(17) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10479465/

(18) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6164534/

(19) https://buffalonews.com/news/similac-recalls-powdered-formula/article_a7d6e134-56bc-56c7-b29d-11edd4093b1e.html

(20) https://www.aappublications.org/content/27/9/2006229

(21) https://abcnews.go.com/Health/ParentingResourceCenter/similac-recall-bug-parts-baby-formula-worry-parents/story?id=11710959

(22) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705355/

(23) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10479465/

(24) https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/able-groupe-recalling-products-labeled-infant-formula-formulas-have-insufficient-iron-levels

(25) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16448475/

(26) https://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/10/us/national-briefing-science-and-health-recall-of-baby-formula.html

(27) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6213476/

(28) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2007924/

(29) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5209465/

(30) https://www.aappublications.org/content/27/9/2006229

(31) https://www.abbottnutrition.ie/downloads/10-EleCare-datasheet-HCP-version-3-Jan-020.pdf

 

 

 

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