Best Baby Formula 2017 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Breast milk is best for babies. Yes, it is. But sometimes uncontrollable situations could draw moms to go on formula feeding even though they most likely want to breastfeed. But sometimes, this could lead to the anxious thought of them not being good moms.

But giving your little one formula doesn’t make you a bad mom. Don’t worry; you are not alone - I am with you. I believe in the benefits of breastfeeding, but as a working mom, baby formula is my salvation.

And because breastfeeding is essential, baby formulas nowadays are made to resemble breast milk and meet the standards set by FDA that all formulas must contain the recommended amount of nutrients that infants need.

Choosing a baby formula, I think, is one of the hardest tasks of motherhood. Supermarkets contain a wide selection of baby formulas, each claiming to be the best. And so I did my research and found the perfect choice, so I wanted to share with you my list of options to also let you pick your best baby formula.

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Top 6 Best Formulas For Your Babies

Here is a table for your quick comparison:

Best Pick

2nd Pick

Budget Pick

Upgraded Pick

Best for Gassy Babies

Best Soy Formula

Formula

Image 

Form

Powdered

Powdered

Powdered

Ready to Use

Powdered

Powdered

Protein Source

Cow’s Milk

Cow’s Milk

Hydrolyzed Protein

Cow’s Milk

Hydrolyzed

Protein

Soy

Featured Nutrients

MFGM,
Lactoferrin,
Probiotis, DHA, Choline 

2’-FL HMO, OptiGRO, Probiotics

Comfort Proteins, Probiotics 

DHA
Iron

Inositol, DHA, Prebiotics, Iron

Comfort Proteins, Probiotics,

DHA
Iron

Organic Soy, DHA/ARA,
Iron

Non-GMO

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check
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USDA Certified Organic

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close
close
close
close
check

Sweetener

Lactose

Lactose

Lactose

Corn Maltodextrin

Lactose

Corn Maltodextrin

Organic Glucose

Packaging

20.5 oz (Pack of 1)

23.2 oz
Single Tub

32 oz
(Pack of 1)

2 oz (pack of 24) (20 Cal)

22.2 oz. (Pack of 6)

23.2 oz.
(Pack of 1)

Get Started

Here are my best picks for the best formula for your baby:

I do believe in the power of breast milk as the best source of infant nutrition that is why I pick my best formula with a composition closest to the real thing.

Enfamil Enspire is the first and only formula that is enhanced with MFGM and Lactoferrin, components naturally found in breast milk. MFGM or Milk Fat Globule Membrane foster cognitive development, while Lactoferrin, naturally found in colostrum, supports the immune system.

Other added nutrients are DHA and Choline for brain nourishment, Prebiotics for aiding digestion, and nucleotides for immune health, among other fundamental vitamins and minerals regulated by the FDA.

Enspire is a non-GMO formula designed to provide complete nutrition for babies. The texture is thick and creamy, and the taste is not too sweet. I love that it uses lactose as its only sweetener – no corn.

Via Amazon.Com

The only downside of this formula is the hefty price, but when it comes to your baby’s health, it was worth a shot.

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    MFGM and Lactoferrin components
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    Non-GMO
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    Relatively Expensive
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    Some babies do not like the taste
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    Not suitable for babies with lactose intolerance

Common complaints when introducing baby formula are spit ups, gas, and other digestion issues. You may want to find a formula that your baby would digest easily.

Similac Pro-Advance loves your baby’s gut with 15 years of extensive research for an added ingredient- 2’-FL HMO, a prebiotic previously found in breast milk that helps strengthen and nourish the baby’s immune system like a breastfed infant.

Testimonies of moms say it greatly reduced fussiness, gassiness, and spit-ups just after a day of feeding. Other moms swear to its efficacy on transitions from breastfeeding to formula or mixing it up.

Aside from the nourishing prebiotic, it also designed the OptiGRO, a unique blend of DHA, Lutein and Vitamin E, to support brain development, eye health, and developing cells, respectively.

Via Amazon.Com

If you are looking for an alternative to my first pick, this will be your best bet. It is also closer to breast milk, 100% Lactose, Non-GMO, and the price' a little bit cheaper than Enspire.

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    2’-FL HMO prebiotic
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    OptiGRO blend (DHA,Lutein, Vitamin E)
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    Non-GMO
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    Relatively expensive
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    Not suitable for babies with lactose intolerance

Gerber is developed while thinking about your baby’s little tummies. Gerber knows that your baby’s digestive system is still developing so they created Comfort Proteins- small, easy to digest proteins that is gentle on the gut and promote soft stools.

In addition, it also contains the expert recommended DHA that supports the brain and eye development. This non-GMO formula has lactose and corn maltodextrin as the sweetener, which explains how it is gentle on the stomach, and how it is suitable for babies with lactose intolerance (though the condition rarely happens).

With its complete nutrition and gentleness on the tummy, plus an affordable price, equal a happy mom and happy baby.

Via Amazon.Com

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    Affordable
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    Easy to digest
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    Non-GMO
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    Clumpy and a little hard to dissolve
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    Some doesn’t like the smell

Your baby’s first months are the most crucial time, especially for new moms. The convenience of a ready to use formula is a lifesaver where you don’t have to worry about mixing milk and washing bottles. It is also great for night time feeding or going out.

Enfamil Ready-to-Use formula is great as breast milk supplement when new moms are still in the way of establishing her breast milk. This formula is great for a newborn but transitioning to powder any time is easy. 

But it is not only the convenience that it boasts; as another product of my best pick, Enfamil Premium is also made as closest to breastmilk as possible. Though it doesn’t have MFGM and Lactoferrin like Ensure does, it has inositol- a brain nourishing component naturally found in breastmilk. Plus, it has unique Triple Health Guard- a blend of 30 nutrients for growth, twice the Omega-3 DHA as the other leading brand, and Prebiotics to support the immune system.

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Enfamil Premium Ready to Use is a non-GMO formula specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of babies 0-3 months. It is expensive but is priceless within the first few weeks when everything else is new and stressful. 

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    Ready-to-Use
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    Best for newborn
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    Inositol component
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    Triple Health Guard
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    Non-GMO
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    Expensive
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    Don’t come with nipples

Babies are naturally gassy. Formula-feed babies may also get gas by sucking extra air while drinking or it can also mean they are sensitive to the formula.

Fight the fussiness with another pick from Gerber. The Gentle Formula is also designed for gassy babies, but the Soothe Formula is better with the lactose-free ingredient. Lactose intolerance is the body's inability to digest lactose that could result in gas and bloating, among other symptoms. Gerber Soothe doesn't use lactose as the sweetener and has Corn Maltodextrin instead.

But lactose intolerance is found to occur rarely in babies; then it is more likely for your baby to have milk protein allergy. Gerber Soothe also has a solution to that. Its Comfort Proteins are hydrolyzed to digest easily by the little tummies. Plus, the exclusive probiotic L. reuteri, helps encourage beneficial bacteria for a healthy gut. 

Via Amazon.Com

It all starts in the gut. A healthy gut means a healthy immune system to fight infections and illnesses. While Gerber Soothe is specially designed to ease colic, fussiness, and gas, This Non-GMO formula has DHA, Iron, and complete nutrition that your baby needs.

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    Hydrolyzed Protein
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    Best for infants with cow’s milk or soy allergy
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    Non-GMO
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    Lactose-free
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    Some parents complain of their babies getting constipated

Why Soy-based? Soy formula is dairy free, plant-based baby formula perfect for babies with dairy allergies. Symptoms of milk allergy include colic, stomach upset, vomiting, and bloody stools. If you suspect that your baby has milk allergy, you may want to switch to a no milk-based formula.

Earth’s Best is not only Soy-based but also Organic to ensure a synthetic-free and chemical-free ingredients, among other nutrients closest to breast milk for complete nutrition plus DHA and ARA.

It may not have Prebiotics, but the lactose-free ingredient may help avoid digestive issues. It may also be on the expensive side, but it becomes invaluable when it comes to babies sensitive tummies.

Via Amazon.Com

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    Soy-based
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    Organic
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    Lactose-free
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    Non-GMO
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    Relatively Expensive
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    Clumpy and a little hard to dissolve
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    Some doesn’t like the smell

3 Form of Baby Formula

Baby formulas come in three forms, which you can choose depending on your budget and need for convenience.

  • Powdered
  • Concentrated
  • Ready-to-use

The most convenient since it doesn’t need to be mix with water, yet the most expensive type.

3 Types of Baby Formula

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    Cow’s milk protein-based formula - Most infant formulas are of this type. Made of altered protein from cow’s milk, resembles breastmilk and is easier to digest.
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    Soy-based formula - Soy-based are vegan options for babies or in situations when the baby is allergic to protein or cow’s milk.
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    Specialized Formula - This formula is designed for your baby’s specific need. Some examples of specialized formulas are:
  • Hydrolyzed Formula. This type is an option for babies who cannot tolerate cow’s milk or soy-based formula; wherein protein is broken down partially or extensively in much smaller sizes.
  • Preemie Formula. These are specially made for premature and low birth weight babies. It contains more protein and higher calories to help them catch up on their growth.
  • Lactose-free Formula. This is for babies with lactose intolerance, where they can’t digest milk sugar lactose because of the lack of the enzyme lactase.
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    Thickened Formula. For babies with reflux, thickened formulas may reduce vomiting.

What to Look For in Your Best Baby Formula

When it comes to nutrients, all formulas are basically the same as regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. But other brands added some beneficial ingredients for your baby’s developmental need.

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    Standard Formula - may not contain additional ingredients but is already complete and balanced with all the nutrients your baby needs.
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    Gold Formula - contains one or more additional ingredients or nutrients.
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    Organic Formula - has organic ingredients; must be certified as organic by US Department of Agriculture.
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    DHA/ARA – fatty acids naturally contained in breast milk that may be added to the formula to help in the proper development of brain and eyes.
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    Probiotics/ Prebiotics - are good bacteria naturally found in breast milk that keeps a healthy digestive system.
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    Choline/Taurine/Lutein - are nutrients that are critical for the brain, nerve-cell activity, and visual development, respectively.
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    Nucleotides - building blocks of our DNA which can also be found in breastmilk that supplement formula to enhanced growth and stronger immune function. 
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    Iron - Always buy Infant formula with iron which is essential for your baby’s overall development.
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    Sweeteners - Lactose is the main source of carbohydrate in breast milk so you might want this on your baby formula. Other brands use sucrose or corn-based sugars which is cheaper but not preferable due to its relation to glucose and insulin. However, all baby formulas are safe, and the effect of using these sources is yet unknown.
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    Non-GMO - are formula produced using ingredients not genetically engineered.

Things You Must Know

  • Look for the Right Formula - Sometimes you have to try a few brands before finding what is suitable for your little one. I suggest that you buy in small packaging first.
  • Always Follow Safety Preparation - Bottle sterilization, accurate measurement, use, and proper storage are crucial when it comes to baby’s health. The AAP provides information for parents on how to safely prepare infant formula.
  • Check Expiration Dates - This is important since you are dealing with a baby product and also necessary if you are buying in bunches. Outdated infant formula could alter the quality and could make your baby sick.
  • About Formula Milk Allergy – You must be watchful of the common symptoms that include skin rashes, fussiness, diarrhea, vomiting, blood or mucus in the stool.
  • Talk to Your Pedia – Your baby’s doctor could suggest a formula that’s right for your baby, and I am sure it could be one or more brands that I have on my list. Also, check with your doctor if some unusual symptoms when introducing baby formula.

Conclusion:

If you have landed on this article, it means you are probably on the search for a baby formula, or simply you want to know which is best for your baby.

The decision to formula- feed your baby is a personal choice. I hope many would agree and would stop judging so quickly. Moms should not feel sorry for any arrangement they made that they think is right for their babies and themselves.

Not every baby is the same. I hope you have found your perfect match on my list. Whatever your pick is, I am sure that it includes the nutrients that your infant need. But I highly recommend Enfamil Inspire because it is the closest thing to breast milk with its added ingredients for complete nutrition necessary for my baby’s exceptional growth and development.

Happy feeding!

Stacy Belk
 

My name is Stacy Belk, I am a nurse, midwife and mother of two children. I would like to share my experiences in taking care of children including activities to do together, recipes to cook, good products to buy and health protection to your family. Do a search now if you like, all you need is here.

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