The Best Baby Formula

What's Covered

Breast milk has been seen as the best source of food for babies between 3-6 months and WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding of infants for 6months.[1] However, there are many challenges associated with breastfeeding that some mothers prefer introducing baby formula. Sometimes you don’t produce enough breast milk and the baby becomes irritable and unmanageable because of hunger. Are you a lactating mother who is always busy at work traveling a lot and has no time to breastfeed? Well, introducing a baby formula to your bundle of joy isn’t a bad idea.

Considerations when buying a baby formula

The nutritional content of the formula

The right baby formula should contain both proteins and carbohydrates. Babies between 0-6months should have only 10grams of protein and 95 grams of carbohydrates. These nutrients are essential in the healthy growth and development of the baby.

The form of the formula

Baby formulas come in three forms mainly powdered, concentrated liquid, and ready to use. The ready-to-use formulas are the best to be given to infants of 6months and below and can be used even when weaning is introduced. The powder formula is suitable for babies older than 6months and can only be given to newborns under a doctor’s prescription. Choose the form suitable for your baby.

Cost of the formula

Before picking a bay formula for your baby, consider your financial status. Choose a baby formula that is economical and affordable to you, and if purchasing one is expensive for you, use a homemade formula.

Birth weight of the child

Children who are born underweight are best given formulas that are enriched with nutrients for required healthy growth. However, these should be given in moderation to avoid overweight.

Formula ingredients

The ingredients in the formula should be baby-friendly and enhance brain and nerve development. Some formulas contain omega-3 and 6 which are nutritional for the child. Only buy what suits your baby.

Age of the baby

Choose the right formula for your child’s age. Children below 6months should be given formulas containing 10grams of protein and 95grams of carbohydrates a day and a higher amount for older children. Seek your doctor’s advice before deciding.

Packet label

Read the label on the formula carefully and keenly to ensure the right ingredients and nutrients are in the product. Don’t just buy formula because of an appealing advertisement you saw on Tv. Seek help and guidance from a qualified professional. Also, check for the expiry dates to ensure you don’t stock expired products.

Iron enrichment

Every child needs iron for blood enrichment and healthy growth. Iron deficiency causes anemia which can interfere with the child’s growth; therefore, baby formulas should be iron-enriched.

Availability of the formula

Use a baby formula that is easily available at your outlet. Changing formulas due to unavailability can bring allergic reactions to the infant. Go for a formula that you can easily find every time you want to buy.

Allergy

Some children may exhibit protein allergies, therefore hydrolyzed baby formulas can be used since these are easily digested and non-allergic.

Probiotics and prebiotics.

Consider a formula with probiotics to help in boosting the baby’s immunity and eases digestion. Choose a formula that has prebiotics added to promote the growth of probiotics.

Professional advice

Before buying a baby formula, seek advice from your doctor or any other qualified professional to choose the right formula for your baby. In case of formula changing, seek the pediatrician’s advice.

Things to avoid in a baby formula

Not all baby formula advertised in the market is good and healthy for babies. Most of these companies are in business and are out to make gains. When buying baby formula for your child, here are some key features you ought to watch out for and avoid.

Calcium

This is a metal used to prevent batteries for corrosion, therefore even the smallest amounts in baby formula can cause serious health problems and interfere with the kidney functionality

Faux iron

Iron is required by the body to prevent anemia, however, faux iron which is in powder form is not good for babies. It’s difficult for babies to absorb and may pose health risks.

High carbohydrates

The baby needs carbohydrates for energy to function and grow but high carbohydrate levels aren’t healthy for babies since they can result in overweight. Go for baby formula with low carbohydrates.

Preservatives

Preservatives can increase allergic reactions in babies and cause digestion problems. These are used to make food last longer and are in the form of Sulphur dioxide and additives. These ingredients aren’t natural, therefore, check the baby formula label carefully to avoid purchasing one with preservatives.

Artificial Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and Arachidonic Acid (ARA)

Babies need these fatty acids for brain development. However, the ones added to baby formula are synthetic and have no proven health benefits. Instead, these acids can cause vomiting, stomach upset, and pains in babies.

Arsenic

Rice-based baby formula can contain this chemical and when consumed in large amounts can lead to cancer in the long run. Be careful to read labels correctly when doing your purchase.

Gluten

This protein is not good for babies who are less than a year old. Babies can be allergic or intolerant to gluten, therefore, select a gluten-free formula.

Mineral oil

The ingredients used to manufacture mineral oil are not healthy for the baby’s body. These may cause problems in the intestines and cause diarrhea in babies. Choose a baby formula with no mineral oil in it.

Soy lecithin

It is used in baby formula to make it non-sticky. Soy is a nutritious food but soy lecithin should not be added to baby food. It can start allergic reactions in babies that can last a lifetime, therefore, avoid baby formula with this ingredient. Soy-based formulas cause potential reproductive health risks and they contain glucose syrups that are dried and may pose risks of tooth decay to children.[2]

Vegetable oils

Manufactured vegetable oils are bad and unhealthy for a growing infant.

Corn syrup

Corn syrup is sweet just like sugar therefore, it is advisable in baby formula. It can as well lead to health issues including weight gain and may increase the baby’s appetite for more sugar. It also has no nutritional value to the baby. The best baby formula should be low in sugar.

High Sugar concentration

Too much sugar in baby formula can lead to weight gain and obesity. Babies who consume a lot of sugar in the formula get used to the taste so much that they can’t feed on anything else that is not sugary. Choose a formula with low sugar content.

First and second stage baby formulas

First stage baby formula, also known as infant formula, is given to babies between 0-6 months and can be given until the baby is 1 year old. The main protein component of stage 1 formula is whey which is easy for infants to digest completely. Stage 2 formula also called follow-on formula, is given to children above 6 months but its nutrition content and that of stage 1 are the same. The second stage formula contains casein protein which stays in the baby’s stomach for a long time before being digested fully.

Types of baby formula

Cow milk-based formulas

These are made from cow milk which is purified to taste like and contain the same nutrients as breast milk.  Most baby formulas are made of cow milk protein which has essential nutrients needed by the baby and is easy to digest. Many parents prefer giving children this type of formula unless the baby has allergies to cow milk protein. The best formulas under this category include:

1.      Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease Baby Formula

This is a powdered formula that is non-GMO and good for mothers who can’t breastfeed. It is claimed to resemble breast milk with MFGM and DHA components. It also has nutrients that help in brain development. The formula also contains probiotics that boost the baby’s immunity. Research has also established that it can also reduce fussiness, gas, and crying babies.

Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease Baby Formula
This product ensure required baby growth and development and parents can worry less about the baby’s health.

2.      Similac pro-sensitive infant formula

This non-GMO baby formula has been made with nutrients supporting the immune system, eye, and brain development. It is perfect for babies with sensitive stomachs.

Sale
Similac Pro-Sensitive Infant Formula
when using this formula, the baby becomes less irritable and the mother is less worried/stressed since it is tummy-friendly.it supports healthy growth in babies since it has no artificial additives.

3.      Similac Go and grow toddler drink

This gluten-free baby formula contains 25 essential vitamins and minerals that help support the baby’s growth and development. It is unique since it can be given to toddlers from age 1-4 years.

Similac Go & Grow Non-GMO
this can be used alongside other baby food as a supplement to ensure the baby’s satisfaction and healthy growth. A mother doesn’t have to worry about a gluten-intolerant baby.

4.      Enfamil Reguline Infant Formula

This formula contains omega-3 and other nutrients that promote required development and growth during the first year. This formula is made specifically for soft comfortable stools.

Soy-based formulas

These formulas are made of soy protein. This can be good for babies who are lactose intolerant and are allergic to cow milk formulas.

5.      Enfamil prosobee

This ready to use plant protein bay formula is suitable for babies who are allergic to lactose and milk protein formulas.it is claimed to boost children’s learning capability and deal with sensitive tummies. It is recommended for children from the age of 6months to 3years.

Hydrolyzed formulas

These are made of proteins that are partially or fully broken down into smaller units, making it easier for the baby to digest compared to cow milk and soy-based formulas. Parents can give these to babies with allergies to soy and cow milk protein. The best hydrolyzed formulas include:

6.      Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic

It contains proteins that are broken down into smaller pieces and it is suitable for babies with protein allergies. This lactose-free powdered formula helps babies deal with colic.

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Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic
this formula is best at dealing with protein sensitivity and it is easy to digest. The mother can have more peaceful and happy moments with the baby since it deals with colic.

7.      Enfamil Nutramigen Infant Formula

This formula is lactose free and has probiotics and nutrients that boost the baby’s immunity and enhances eye and brain development.

Enfamil Nutramigen Infant Formula
the product is easy to digest and gives babies fast relief from colic. It is best for a protein sensitive tummy and prevents future allergies.

8.      Neocate junior

this contains essential nutrients that support growth and development in babies. It is said to be less allergic than all other baby formulas available and it also resembles breast milk.

Neocate Junior
apart from being easy to digest, this formula is suitable for mothers who can’t breastfeed at all.

Goat milk-based formulas

These are infant formulas made from purified goat milk protein. The formulas offer the same growth and nutritional contents as the cow milk formula containing whey protein making it easy to digest and absorb by the baby.[3]babies can still be allergic to goat protein formulas.

9.      Meyernberg whole powdered goat milk

This formula is natural and contains no additives or growth hormones. This kosher certified formula contains no gluten or soy making it perfectly healthy. It is a perfect option for those sensitive to soy and cow milk formulas.

Meyenberg Whole Powdered Goat Milk
This easy to digest formula mimics breast milk and is naturally ensuring a perfectly healthy and happy baby.

Organic formulas

These are baby formulas made with no hormones promoting growth, preservatives and are free from artificial additives. Organic formulas are made from milk. Check with your doctor before purchasing any organic formula for the baby. The best organic formulas include:

10.  Gerber good start non-GMO

This is an organic easy to digest baby formula that is friendly to the baby’s stomach. It also has natural nutrients required for general growth and development. It is suitable for babies up to 1 year old.

Gerber Good Start GentlePro (HMO) Non-GMO
The formula is easy to digest and tummy friendly and it has nutrients that ensure the baby attains required healthy growth.

11.  Earth’s best organic dairy infant powder

It is suitable for the first 12 months and has nutrients such as iron needed for the baby’s eye and brain development. This formula is good for immune development and contains omega -3 and omega-6 just like breast milk. It has natural non-GMO ingredients with no additives or growth hormones.

Earth's Best Organic Dairy Infant Powder Formula
This easy to digest powdered organic formula ensures healthy baby growth and you can rest knowing that the baby won’t be affected much by the product.

12.  Similac Pro-Advance Non-GMO

This is an organic formulathat contains complete nutrients for the baby’s general growth and development of the brain and eye. It contains a blend of DHA, lutein, and vitamin E that are also in breast milk making it to be preferred by many.

Similac Pro-Advance Non-GMO Infant Formula
this formula is like breast milk with non-GMO nutrients for healthy baby growth.

13.  Happy baby organic infant formula

It has been designedlike breast milk and contains essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients contained naturally in breast milk. The formula contains 4 times, GOS and FOS, bacteria than other formulas for the best immunity.

Homemade formulas

These are baby formulas made at home either because a parent can’t afford commercial baby formula or due to shortages. However, this formula is not recommended since attaining the right nutrient and ingredient balance remains a big issue. When nutrients are not balanced as required, then this may negatively affect your baby’s growth and development.

Specialized formulas

These available for babies with certain conditions or premature and are only given under a doctor’s prescription. This formula is also for babies with medical conditions such as fat metabolism disorders, allergies, gastrointestinal disorders, and insufficient renal. These babies require close monitoring by the required professionals.[4]

Benefits of using baby formula

Convenient

It is easy to use and anyone can be trained to bottle feed the baby when you are not around. The procedure of mixing the baby food is very simple and some formulas are also ready to use, therefore, no hustle in mixing.

Freedom

When breast milk is the only source of baby food, it means you have to be with the baby most of the time. And if not so, you have to struggle with a breast pump to produce milk. The baby formula gives mothers the freedom to go about doing their things without worries since the child will easily be bottle fed.

Eases life for working mothers

It is easy for mothers who use the baby formula to go to work and you no longer have to deal with the stress of pumping breast milk for the baby. All you have to do is buy a baby formula that suits your baby and the caregiver will feed the baby-making you worry less and concentrate on work.

Baby satisfaction

The baby formula takes longer to be fully digested compared to breast milk, therefore, be rest assured that the baby will stay full for long. A satisfied baby is a happy baby.

Not painful

Feeding the baby formula doesn’t hurt even one bit compared to breastfeeding. At times during breastfeeding, the nipples become so painful and you still have to feed it o the baby. This is painful and stressful for mothers.

Non-allergic versions

For babies with allergic reactions, for example, to proteins, can be fed bay formula versions that are baby-friendly. The formula contains proteins and nutrients that can easily be broken down by the bay’s digestive system completely. So, the mother doesn’t have to be on a diet.

Calorie intake awareness

For every baby food given, you can know the number of calories the baby is consuming. When buying baby formula, read the labels carefully to know how many calories are in the food.

Nutritious

Baby formula contains essential nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates vitamins, and iron that is required by the baby for healthy growth and development.

Final Thoughts

Every parent aims at raising a healthy and happy baby without worries about his/her health. When it comes to baby formulas, you need to be watchful of what your baby consumes. The focus should be on raising a healthy and happy baby. I would recommend the following three baby formulas for any mom who wants to supplement breastfeeding or stop breastfeeding completely.


[1] Fewtrell, Mary S., et al. “Optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding: what is the evidence to support current recommendations?” The American journal of clinical nutrition 85.2 (2007): 635S-638S.

[2] Dodds, Rosemary. “Choosing a formula–what is the evidence for different milks and added ingredients?.” New Digest 51 (2010): 24-9.

[3] Zhou, Shao J., et al. “Nutritional adequacy of goat milk infant formulas for term infants: a double-blind randomised controlled trial.” British journal of nutrition 111.9 (2014): 1641-1651.

[4] Green Corkins, Kelly, and Teresa Shurley. “What’s in the bottle? A review of infant formulas.” Nutrition in Clinical Practice 31.6 (2016): 723-729.

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Author

Vivian Perry

Vivian Perry

Mother of 3 kids. Enjoy reading parenting books and studied child care degree. Vivian loves to learn and write about parenting tips and help her kids to grow positively with grit mindset.
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