June 19, 2024

Vita Nectar

Health is the main investment in life

8 Best Baby Formulas: Parents’ and Dietitians’ Picks

7 min read

With more options on the shelves, shopping for formula can be overwhelming. To help you choose, here’s our take on the best baby formulas.

There is no one brand or type of formula universally best for all babies. In fact, 2009 American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and AAP guidelines state that infant formulas are “nutritionally interchangeable.”

However, that doesn’t mean that choosing a baby formula is straightforward.

In fact, figuring out which formula to buy can be confusing, and it’ll likely take some trial and error to figure out which option works best for your baby and budget.

Speak with your pediatrician if you have concerns about your baby’s nutrition or digestion or for a recommendation based on their individual needs.

The baby formulas on this list are considered the “best” because they earn high marks from parents and doctors for their ease of use, store availability, overall value, and ingredient quality, and for relieving digestive issues.

We also ran our list by registered dietitians and talked with parents about their experiences with these specific brands of baby formula.

To help sift through what actually matters when choosing a formula — spoiler, the best formula is the one your baby tolerates and that you can afford — we consulted baby feeding coach Erin Moore, RN, CPNP, CLC.

Keep reading to see our picks of the eight best baby formulas, along with tips for choosing and using baby formula.

Disclaimer: All the formulas tested on this list, except Bobbie, were purchased independently. While Bobbie provided formula for free, our opinions are ours alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the brand.

Pricing guide

We based our pricing guide on ounces (oz) in the container before mixing.

  • $ = under $1 per oz
  • $$ = $1–$2 per oz
  • $$$ = over $2 per oz

Best baby formula overall

Bobbie Organic Infant Formula

Price: $$

Why we love it: We chose this formula as our top pick because it has high quality ingredients, meets nutritional requirements for infant development, is available in store at Target and online, and has a high customer satisfaction rate.

Parent’s review: Our director of social media used Bobbie with her baby and said: “Bobbie has been a great solution for my family. My baby took to the formula with no issues and after using it exclusively for 1 week, I noticed far less spit-up when burping after feedings. I love that the formula is available via subscription.

“As a busy working mom, it’s easy to lose track of shopping list priorities until it’s too late, and with the subscription, I never have to worry about not having formula.”

Other options: ByHeart is another great alternative that is also made with grass-fed, organic whole milk. Like Bobbie, ByHeart offers convenient subscription plans delivered directly to your door, but at a slightly lower price per serving.

Best name-brand baby formula

Similac 360 Total Care Infant Formula

Price: $$

Why we love it: This formula is often recommended by pediatricians, is a top pick for supplementing breastfed babies, and is highly rated by parents.

It includes a blend of DHA, lutein, and vitamin E — all nutrients found in breast milk.

It also contains five human milk oligosaccharides (HMO) prebiotics, which is why the company claims it is more similar to breast milk than other formulas.

Other options: Similac 360 Sensitive, with partially hydrolyzed proteins for easier digestion, is available for babies with more sensitive tummies.

Best baby formula for gas

Enfamil Gentlease Infant Formula

Price: $$

Why we love it: If you’re looking for a formula that’s easier for your baby to digest, this is one option that might work.

Enfamil claims that in a 2008 clinical trial, this partially hydrolyzed formula reduced gas and associated fussiness and crying in 1 day.

Parent’s review: Healthline editor Ren Dias shared that she initially tried Kendamil Infant Formula, but found that it was too bubbly and gave her daughter gas pains.

Her pediatrician gave her a free sample of Enfamil Gentlease, which ended up being a better fit.

According to Dias, “We like that it helps prevent gas, is smooth and easy to mix, is widely available (I can get it at Target, Costco, or even my local grocery store), and often has coupons and rewards.

“However, the biggest downside is that it made our baby constipated. We have to mix each bottle with a scoop of Enfamil Reguline, meaning we spend more on formula. It’s easier now that our baby can have solids. We can give her pears, peaches, and prunes to ease constipation,” explained Dias.

Parent tip: “It is very sticky, so I suggest keeping the scoop outside the container (otherwise, the formula powder clings to the scoop, and you end up with formula all over your fingers). It’s easier to mix if you put the water in first,” shared Dias.

Best baby formula for preemies

Similac NeoSure Infant Formula

Price: $$

Why we love it: This formula comes from a leading formula brand and provides an assortment of essential nutrients to support growth and development of preemies.

Specifically, the enriched formula aims to help premature babies “catch up” in growth better than they might with standard term formulas.

Just be sure to talk with your doctor about whether to use formula with extra calories and how long to continue with it, as some doctors recommend switching formulas after a few months.

Specialty formulas such as this one are especially important to use under medical supervision. It’s also important to follow the formula preparation instructions exactly to reduce the risk of infection from Cronobacter sakazakii.

Other options: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that liquid formulas may be safer for preemies and babies with compromised immune systems. In rare cases, powdered formula may harbor Cronobacter sakazakii, which can lead to infection. Speak with your doctor for specific formula suggestions.

Best baby formula for food allergies

Enfamil Nutramigen with Enflora LGG Infant Formula

Price: $$$

Why we love it: This formula is a great hypoallergenic option for babies who are unable to tolerate cow’s milk or soy. Plus, it’s backed by many positive reviews from parents.

According to Enfamil, this formula reduced crying in 90% of babies within 48 hours. The brand claims the formula may reduce future allergy issues.

Anecdotal reports suggest many parents saw improvements in their baby’s eczema, colicky crying, and runny stools after switching to this formula.

Other options: You can find Enfamil Nutramigen in a liquid concentrate form. This means that you’ll mix the liquid with water for bottles instead of using powder. Some parents find this method more convenient.

Best budget baby formula

Kirkland Signature ProCare Baby Formula

Price: $

Why we love it: Your baby drinks a ton of formula in their first year, and many formulas are quite pricey. Fortunately, this budget-friendly formula from Costco provides the same nutrition and safety at a fraction of the cost.

Plus, it comes packaged in two 42-oz containers, so you don’t have to worry about restocking quite as often.

Other options: If you prefer not to buy a Costco membership, there are other great picks on our list, many of which have coupons available online or through your pediatrician.

Best goat milk formula

Kendamil Goat Milk Infant Formula

Price: $$

Why we love it: For some babies, a goat milk formula might be more gentle on the stomach and easier to digest, and this formula from Kendamil is a good option.

In addition to being free of soy, palm oil, and corn syrups, it also boasts an impressive array of nutrients designed to support growth and development, including vitamin D, naturally occurring MFGM, prebiotics, and plant-based DHA and ARA derived from marine algae.

Parent’s review: Healthline Nutrition editor and registered dietitian Kelli McGrane shared that she tried this formula with her second baby, who seemed extra irritable after drinking a bottle of pumped milk or Bobbie Original. After switching to Bobbie Gentle and still not seeing any relief, she decided to try Kendamil Goat based on positive reviews from other moms.

According to McGrane, “This formula was honestly such a lifesaver. Within 1–2 weeks after making the switch, I noticed a significant improvement in his fussiness and reflux after feeds.

“In addition to liking the formulation and ingredient list, I like that I can pick it up during my regular Target run. I also appreciate that it comes in a larger container with an inner shelf for leveling out each scoop. The shelf also functions as a place to rest the scoop when the container is closed, reducing the amount of contact between my fingers and the powder.

“Mixing the bottles is a breeze, and, most importantly, my son loves it. He’s been on the formula for over 5 months now, and I plan on continuing with it until he’s 1 year.”

Other options: If you’re having trouble finding Kendamil Goat, Aussie Bubs is another goat milk formula made with a similar set of ingredients at a comparable price point.

Best plant-based baby formula

Gerber Good Start Soy Powder Infant Formula

Price: $$

Why we love it: This soy-based formula is free of lactose and cow’s milk protein, which may make it easier to digest for babies with certain health conditions.

It’s also highly rated by parents and offers other nutrients that are important for your baby’s development, like iron, vitamin D, calcium, and DHA.

Parent’s review: Healthline Media staff member Rochelle O. shared that she chose Gerber Good Start Gentle Soy because, “I wanted it to be as close to breast milk as possible, [and] I also wanted a formula that was gentle on my baby’s tummy.”

She noted that it is a light powder that us easy to mix and was “overall a good fit for our family.”

Other options: Enfamil Simply Plant-Based offers a very similar formulation to Gerber Good Start. While it tends to be a little more expensive than Gerber Good Start, it may be easier to find online and in big chain stores like Target.

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