Fertility

Gerber Good Start Formula Reviews: Everything You Need To Know

Updated on 8 minute read

Overview 

In 1867, pharmacist Henri Nestlé reportedly created the first baby formula for a neighbor’s child who couldn’t breastfeed. It led to the first infant food company, Farine Lactée Henri Nestlé. (1)

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Now the world’s largest food company, Nestle acquired USA-based Gerber in 2007. (1)

Today, Nestle sells different formulas, including Gerber Good Start Formulas.

Which of these formulas can be a good choice for your baby? Can they provide complete nutrition, and are there options for babies with sensitive tummies? Read on to find out.

 

Gerber Good Start Formulas

  • Gentle Pro
  • Soothe Pro
  • A2
  • Extensive HA
  • Soy
  • Grow Nutritious Toddler

 

The brand also offers probiotic drops, which can help support your child’s immune system and digestive health. (2)

 

Similarities

  • Is Good Start formula milk-based? Yes. Whey proteins, which may be easier to digest than casein proteins (another protein in milk) (3)
  • Non-GMO or free from GMOs (genetically modified organisms) (4)
  • GMOs may cause allergies, autism, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), autoimmunity, growth failure, and endocrine system disruption. (4)
  • Does Good Start Formula Have DHA? Yes. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and (ARA) arachidonic acid for improved eye health, brain function, and immunity (5)
  • Choline, which can also play an important role in infant brain and eye development (6)

 

Cons & Possible Disadvantages

  • Maltodextrin – can cause colic, green stools, gas, bloating, and possible intestinal injury (7)
  • Palm oil – can reduce calcium absorption and cause low bone density (8)
  • Soy oil – may not appear to pose a risk to babies with soy allergies, but some parents might still want to avoid this ingredient (9)(10)
  • Soy lecithin – it may contain soy proteins that can trigger an allergic reaction (including hives, wheezing, itchy eyes, itchy or swollen lips, and trouble breathing) (10)
  • Processed vegetable oils – unhealthy trans fats produced in processing these oils may lead to a higher risk of developing coronary heart diseases (11)

 

Differences

What Is The Closest Formula To Breast Milk? Gerber Good Start Gentle Formula (Stage 1)

  • May have the gentleness of breastmilk
  • Prebiotics and probiotics that can promote better gut health (2)(12)
  • Costs the least ($1.5 per oz) of all Gerber Good Start milk-based products for children below 12 months old
  • SoothePro ($1.55 per oz); A2 ($1.65 per oz); Extensive HA ($1.88 per oz)
  • Highest carbohydrate content (11.6 g)

 

Gerber Good Start SoothePro

  • Reduced lactose formula for gas, spit-up, and colic due to lactose intolerance
  • Prebiotics and probiotics (2)(12)

 

What Is The Healthiest Baby Formula? Gerber Good Start A2

  • Special milk from A2 cows, which may be easier to digest (13)
  • Prebiotics and probiotics (2)(12)

 

Gerber Good Start Extensive HA

 

Gerber Good Start Soy

  • Least expensive ($0.84 per oz) of all Gerber Good Start infant formulas (0 to 12 months)
  • Highest iron, protein, folic acid, and vitamin E content

 

Gerber Good Start Grow Nutritious Toddler 

  • Costs $0.82 per oz
  • Formula for toddlers 12 months old and above
  • Highest amount of nutrients per serving among all Gerber Good Start formulas

 

Learn more about each product below, and make sure to consult with your pediatrician before starting a new formula for your baby.

 

Gerber Good Start GentlePro (Stage 1)

Price

  • 20 oz canister: $30

 

Best Features & Safety

  • Powder infant formula with a special blend of DHA, prebiotics, and probiotics (important components found in breastmilk) (2)(5)(12)
  • 2’-FL HMO (human milk oligosaccharide) – a prebiotic abundant in breastmilk (14)
  • Comfort Proteins – small proteins that may have the same gentleness as breastmilk
  • DHA to support brain and eye development (5)
  • Probiotics (Bifidobacterium lactis) that can help support a healthy digestive tract (2)
  • Formulated for babies (newborn to 12 months old)

Product Recall

  • In March 2012, Gerber Products Company recalled one lot (GXP1684) of Good Start Gentle baby formula (23.2 oz, expiration date of March 5, 2013) for having an odd odor. (15)
  • According to the FDA recall advisory, there were no safety or health concerns over the odd odor. But there were consumer reports of babies spitting up or suffering gastrointestinal issues after drinking the formula. (15)
  • Affected consumers may contact 800-487-7763 or Gerber.com for more information about this recall.

 

Cons

  • It contains maltodextrin, soy, and processed vegetable oils.
  • It also has palm olein oil, which can reduce calcium absorption and lead to low bone density. (8)
  • It had a recall. (15)

 

Ingredients

  • Whey protein concentrate (hydrolyzed, reduced in minerals)
  • Vegetable oils (palm olein, soy, coconut, high oleic safflower, or high oleic sunflower)
  • Lactose
  • Corn maltodextrin
  • 2’-O-fucosyllactose prebiotics
  • M. alpina oil (ARA)
  • C. cohnii oil (DHA)
  • Bifidobacterium lactis probiotic cultures
  • Soy lecithin

Nutritional Facts

Each serving (5 fl oz) contains:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total fats: 5.1 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 11.6 g
  • Proteins: 2.2 g
  • Iron: 1.5 mg
  • Calcium: 67 mg
  • Folic acid: 15 mcg
  • Choline: 24 mg
  • Vitamin A: 300 IU
  • Vitamin E: 2 IU

Reviews

When we became pregnant with our second daughter I knew Gerber Good Start was what I would choose, if I didn’t breastfeed.” – Reviewer on Gerber’s website.

Had to switch to this from similac advantage for WIC. My daughter started spitting up, having diarrhea, and screaming 24/7. This formula caused her stomach to be distended and so much gas.” – Reviewer on Gerber’s website.

 

Gerber Good Start SoothePro

Price

  • 19.4 oz canister: $30
  • 12.4 oz canister: $18.99

 

Best Features & Safety

  • Gerber Soothe may solve common feeding issues: crying, colic, fussiness, gas, mild spit-up, and uncomfortable poops.
  • 2’-FL HMO (human milk oligosaccharide) – a prebiotic abundant in breastmilk (12)
  • Probiotics (Lactobacillus reuteri) – may help promote a healthier digestive system (2)
  • The brand claims that these probiotics have been clinically shown to reduce crying by 50% in fussy infants.
  • Comfort Proteins – small proteins that may be easy for tiny tummies to digest
  • Carbohydrate blend with only 30% lactose, which may help ease fussiness and gas (16)
  • DHA that can help support brain and eye development (5)
  • Formulated for babies from birth to 12 months old

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • It contains maltodextrin, soy lecithin, palm oil, soy oil, and other questionable vegetable oils.
  • It may be prone to clumping.

 

Ingredients

  • Corn maltodextrin
  • Whey protein concentrate from milk (enzymatically hydrolyzed or broken down and reduced in minerals)
  • Vegetable oils (palm olein, soy, coconut, and high-oleic safflower or high-oleic sunflower)
  • M. alpina oil (ARA source)
  • C. cohnii oil (DHA source)
  • Soy lecithin
  • Lactobacillus reuteri (DSM 17938) probiotic cultures

Nutritional Facts

Each serving (5 fl oz) contains:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total fats: 5.1 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 11.2 g
  • Proteins: 2.2 g
  • Iron: 1.5 mg
  • Calcium: 72 mg
  • Folic acid: 15 mcg
  • Choline: 24 mg
  • Vitamin A: 300 IU
  • Vitamin E: 2 IU

 

Reviews

By day 2 I had a happier more peaceful baby girl who also slept better.” – Reviewer on Gerber’s website.

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.

 

Gerber Good Start A2 (Stage 1)

Price

  • 20 oz canister: $32.97

 

Best Features & Safety

  • Protein blend of whey and A2 milk, which may be similar to breastmilk (13)
  • A2 milk comes from a different breed of cow and has a special milk protein that can be easier to digest than A1 milk typically used in standard formulas (13)
  • A2 milk can help ease symptoms of lactose intolerance (13)
  • Whey is a milk protein that may be easier to digest than casein (another milk protein commonly used in formulas) (17)
  • Probiotics (L. reuteri) and prebiotics 2’-FL HMO that may help promote better digestive health and bowel movements (2)(12)
  • No artificial growth hormones, which may be linked to certain cancers (18)
  • Although evidence of increased cancer risks may be inconclusive, you might still want to avoid formulas with these hormones. (18)
  • Consumer rating value of 4.8 out of 5.0 on Gerber.com

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • It contains palm oil, soy oil, and other processed vegetable oils.

 

Ingredients

  • Lactose
  • Vegetable oils (palm olein, soy, coconut, high-oleic safflower, or high-oleic sunflower)
  • Whey protein concentrate (reduced in minerals)
  • Nonfat A2 dry milk
  • Soy lecithin
  • 2’-O-fucosyllactose prebiotics
  • C. cohnii oil (DHA source)
  • M. alpina oil (ARA source)
  • Lactobacillus reuteri (DSM 17938) probiotic cultures

Nutritional Facts

Each serving (5 fl oz) contains:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total fats: 5.1 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 11.4 g
  • Proteins: 2.1 g
  • Iron: 1.5 mg
  • Calcium: 67 mg
  • Folic acid: 15 mcg
  • Choline: 24 mg
  • Vitamin A: 300 IU
  • Vitamin E: 2 IU

 

Reviews

He doesn’t spit up after drinking it and he doesn’t have issues sleeping after eating. It sits well with his stomach.” – Reviewer on Walmart.

This made my son super constipated and had stringy poop.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Gerber Good Start Extensive HA

Price

  • 14.1 oz canister: $26.47

 

Best Features & Safety

  • Hypoallergenic infant formula
  • Extensively hydrolyzed, 100% whey protein – when proteins are broken down into very small pieces, they can be better tolerated by babies with a cow’s milk protein allergy.
  • Symptoms of cow’s milk protein allergy can include wheezing, vomiting, trouble breathing, itchy or watery eyes, swollen lips, or hives. (19)
  • Lactose-free formulation, which can help ease gas and fussiness associated with lactose intolerance (20)
  • Lactose is a sugar found in dairy products. But some babies have lactose intolerance, which means that they can’t digest this type of sugar. Symptoms can include gas, loose stools, nausea, and bloating or abdominal cramping. (20)
  • Fat blend with MCT oil, a kind of oil with shorter chains that make them easier to digest and absorb (21)
  • Probiotic (Bifidobacterium lactis), which can promote better digestive health (2)
  • DHA for brain and eye development (5)
  • Can provide complete nutrition for babies from 0 to 12 months

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • It contains maltodextrin, soy oil, and processed vegetable oils.
  • It contains potato starch. Although modified starches are considered safe by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), there’s continued public pressure to remove this ingredient from baby food. (22)

 

Ingredients

  • Corn maltodextrin
  • Enzymatically hydrolyzed whey protein isolate (from cow’s milk)
  • MCT oils (medium-chain triglycerides)
  • Vegetable oils (soy, high oleic sunflower, and high palmitic vegetable oil)
  • Potato starch
  • M. alpina oil (ARA source)
  • C. cohnii oil (DHA source)
  • B. lactis probiotic cultures

 

Nutritional Facts

Each serving (5 fl oz) contains:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total fats: 5.1 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 10.9 g
  • Proteins: 2.6 g
  • Iron: 1.8 mg
  • Calcium: 90 mg
  • Folic acid: 15 mcg
  • Choline: 24 mg
  • Vitamin A: 312 IU
  • Vitamin E: 2 IU

 

Reviews

The taste isn’t awful although it’s not his favorite he will drink it with one scoop of his old formula (happy baby organic). No more constipation, eczema cleared up, no spit up.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

Hypoallergenic formula is disgusting!” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Gerber Good Start Soy (Stage 2)

Price

  • 24 oz can: $20.24 

 

Best Features & Safety

  • Soy proteins 
  • Non-dairy, lactose-free formula
  • Formulated for babies with cow’s milk protein allergy or lactose intolerance (19)(20)
  • Can provide complete nutrition for babies from 9 to 24 months.
  • May helps alleviate fussiness and gas due to milk allergy or lactose intolerance
  • DHA that can help support brain and eye development (5)
  • No artificial growth hormones (18)
  • Certified Kosher and Halal

 

Product Recall

  • None
  • In May 2017, Jennifer LaPlante was arrested for alleged tampering with Gerber Good Start Soy formulas. It resulted in a two-month-old baby being rushed to a hospital in Arizona. (23)
  • Based on the investigation, LaPlante reportedly replaced the formula with sugar, baking flour, and rice cereal before returning the container to the store for a refund. (23)
  • Gerber didn’t recall the formula because this was declared an isolated incident. (23)

 

Cons

  • It contains maltodextrin, palm oil, soy oil, added sugar (sucrose), and questionable vegetable oils.
  • It has potential allergens: soy.

 

Ingredients

  • Corn maltodextrin
  • Vegetable oils (palm olein, soy, coconut, and high oleic safflower or high oleic sunflower oil)
  • Enzymatically hydrolyzed soy protein isolate
  • Sucrose
  • Soy lecithin
  • M. alpina oil (ARA source)
  • C. cohnii oil (DHA source)

 

Nutritional Facts

Each serving (5 fl oz) contains:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total fats: 5.0 g
  • Total carbohydrates: 10.9 g
  • Proteins: 2.8 g
  • Iron: 2 mg
  • Calcium: 140 mg
  • Folic acid: 16 mcg
  • Choline: 24 mg
  • Vitamin A: 300 IU
  • Vitamin E: 3 IU

 

Reviews

When my youngest was diagnosed with lactose intolerance and GERD and failed to thrive at 2 months old, the doctor prescribed Gerber soy.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

Shake well! Because if you don’t the powder will leave a residue throughout the bottle.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Summary & Recommendation 

Products from the Gerber Good Start line can be a great formula for your baby. But here are our recommendations so you can pick the right one for your baby:

 

Choose Gentle Formula (Stage 1) if you prefer:

  • Formula that may have the gentleness of breastmilk
  • Formula with prebiotics and probiotics for better gut health (2)(12)
  • Value-friendly formula with the highest carbohydrate content

 

Choose SoothePro if you prefer:

  • Reduced lactose formula for gas, spit-up, and colic due to lactose intolerance
  • Formula with prebiotics and probiotics (2)(12)

 

Choose A2 if you prefer:

  • Special milk from A2 cows, which may be easier to digest (13)
  • Formula with prebiotics and probiotics (2)(12)

 

Choose Extensive HA if you prefer: 

  • Hypoallergenic formula
  • Formula with probiotics (2)
  • Formula with the highest vitamin A content

 

Choose Soy if you prefer:

  • Soy formula
  • Least expensive ($0.84 per oz) of all Gerber Good Start infant formulas (0 to 12 months)
  • Formula with highest iron, protein, folic acid, and vitamin E content

 

Choose Grow Nutritious Toddler if you need:

  • Formula for toddlers 12 months old and above
  • Formula with the highest amount of nutrients per serving among all Gerber Good Start formulas

Other Infant Formulas To Try

 

REFERENCES

(1) https://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/13/business/worldbusiness/13gerber-web.html

(2) https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/formula-feeding/Pages/Probiotics-in-Infant-Formula.aspx

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

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

(5) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29413359/

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

(7) https://blog.babycues.info/2021/april/maltodextrin-in-baby-formula-please-avoid/

(8) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16582027/

(9) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3894482/

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

(11) https://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/multimedia/multimedia_pub/multimedia_pub_fsf_85_01.html 

(12) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4615227/

(13) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818854/

(14) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019891/

(15) https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2012/03/gerber-good-start-gentle-baby-formula-recalled-due-to-an-off-odor/index.htm

(16) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10547247/

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

(18) https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/recombinant-bovine-growth-hormone.html

(19) https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/milk-allergy.html

(20) https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Lactose-Intolerance-in-Children.aspx

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

(22) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29762373/

(23) https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4508364/Arizona-mom-accused-contaminating-baby-formula.html

 

 

 

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