The 10 Best Baby Formulas

Updated March 17, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

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We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Do you have a hungry baby at home? Are you confused by all the different formula choices out there? Our comprehensive selection details the pros and cons of many organic, sensitive and regular options available, so you can make an informed choice about supporting your baby's growth and development in the first year of life. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best baby formula on Amazon.

10. Earth's Best Sensitivity

If your baby is suffering from gastrointestinal discomfort, choose the easy-to-digest Earth's Best Sensitivity. It's blend of carbohydrates helps to lessen diaper blowouts, but it contains glucose syrup solids, which may be a concern for some.
  • reduces spit-up
  • clear lid for quick visibility
  • has a strong unpleasant smell
Brand Earth's Best
Model C10061
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Happy Baby Organic

Happy Baby Organic is filled with wholesome goodness at a decent price. It has a delicious sweet taste and is formulated with essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals to help your baby thrive and hit every milestone as he or she should.
  • container is bpa-free
  • simple feeding instructions
  • may cause constipation
Brand Happy Baby
Model pending
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Enfamil Enspire

If nursing is no longer an option, choose Enfamil Enspire as the next best thing. It is made with milk fat globule membrane and lactoferrin, which are two nutrients naturally found in breast milk, though it gets expensive to buy month after month.
  • gentle on the tummy
  • nice subtle scent
  • produces a lot of foam
Brand Enfamil
Model pending
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Similac Sensitive

Similac Sensitive works well for babies who can't quite handle regular formula yet. It is specially blended to relieve fussiness and gas, and offers complete nutrition similar to natural breast milk for proper eye and brain development.
  • contoured bottle is easy to grip
  • supports strong bones
  • tab on the lid for quick access
Brand Similac
Model AB-408C
Weight 11.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Gerber Good Start Soothe

Gerber Good Start Soothe is a great alternative for fussy babies who can't seem to hold down other brands. This hypoallergenic blend contains the L. reuteri probiotic, which is proven to help reduce colic and gas for a happier baby.
  • foam settles quickly after shaking
  • can help reduce acid reflux
  • keeps babies feeling full
Brand Gerber Good Start Infan
Model 20458
Weight 7.3 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Earth's Best Organic Premium Dairy

When it's time to wean, look to Kosher-certified Earth's Best Organic Premium Dairy to keep your little one growing strong. It's made from the milk of cows fed with wholesome grain and hay, plus it contains no artificial flavors, growth hormones, or preservatives.
  • lutein for eye development
  • preparation is quick and simple
  • fatty acids for mental growth
Brand Earth's Best
Model Bluezone Mall
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Plum Organics Grow Well

Plum Organics Grow Well is newer to the market, but has quickly become a popular choice due to its unique formula that uses organic lactose as its only carbohydrate, instead of corn or glucose syrup solids. It's one of the best alternatives to breast milk.
  • approved by oregon tilth
  • includes whey protein
  • thick and creamy consistency
Brand Plum Organics
Model 200460001008
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Gerber Good Start Gentle

Gerber Good Start Gentle contains comfort proteins that are easy on the digestive system and also help to prevent constipation. It has the nutrition and taste of breast milk to make the transition to bottle feeding a smooth experience.
  • good for colicky babies
  • container keeps it fresh for 1 month
  • includes iron supplements
Brand Gerber Good Start Infan
Model 37765
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Similac ProAdvance

As the #1 brand chosen by hospitals, trust Similac ProAdvance to give your baby all the nutrients needed in the first year of life. This exclusive blend is made of high-quality non-GMO ingredients, including 2’-FL human milk oligosaccharide for ultimate immune support.
  • comes with a measuring spoon
  • contains a lactose carbohydrate
  • mixes well in water
Brand Similac
Model Sim-6539
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Enfamil Infant

Enfamil Infant is one of the most recommended brands by pediatricians, as it is patterned after mature breast milk, and helps support cognitive, motor, social, and communication development. It also has a special prebiotics blend to support a healthy digestive system.
  • includes dha and choline
  • reusable eco-friendly tub
  • ideal for babies up to 12 months old
Brand Enfamil
Model MJ-200C
Weight 6.7 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Bringing Up Baby

It's not a highly-disputed fact that rearing children is a tough job, particularly from the time of infancy to the day junior comes to you and tells you he's getting married and about to start a family of his own. So many thoughts will run through a new mom's head. How do I raise my baby? Will he or she be fussy? What will their personality be like? How can I positively influence the proper development of that personality and all the best traits? What is the definition of right from wrong? How do I start off on the right foot?

The fact is that there's not always a clear distinction between right and wrong when it comes to raising your baby. At some point, instinct takes over. Simpler still, another question involves how you should be feeding your baby. Though feeding is a basic concept for all life, what your baby eats during its development definitely matters. Is breastfeeding better than formula? Does baby formula have its own advantages over natural breast milk? The answer is that commercially-prepared infant formulas are an excellent and nutritious alternative to breast milk, particularly if you're unable to nurse naturally.

The scientific definition of a baby formula is that it's a manufactured food that is specially-designed and marketed for feeding infants twelve months of age and under. The majority of baby formulas come in a powder, are mixed with water, and are ideal for bottle or cup feeding. The main advantage of most baby formulas is that they simulate the benefits of human breast milk either as a partial or entire substitute. Common types of baby formulas are composed of a combination of purified cow's milk whey, casein (for protein), vegetable oils for a fat source, and lactose as a good source for carbohydrates. Many formulas also contain a mix of vitamins that are important for baby's growth.

Ideally, baby formulas are manufactured under sterile conditions (free from any harmful contaminants) and they at least help to substitute nutrients that a breastfeeding mother wouldn't be able to produce naturally. Aside from the biological benefits of the product, administering baby formula affords new parents the convenience of trading off the feeding responsibility. Since a formula can be placed into a bottle, either parent can participate in the feeding process. This supports equal bonding between both parents and the baby as opposed to the restrictions of breastfeeding with only the nursing mother present.

Formulas also take longer to digest than breast milk, meaning that baby may not need to eat as often as one who depends on breast milk at different times around the clock.

Formula Over Time

The evolution from breastfeeding to bottle feeding and to baby formula has taken an interesting path over time and has even circled back to the continued benefit of breastfeeding today. The practice of wet nursing was very common before the use of feeding bottles or baby formulas. Wet nursing has its origins as early as the year two thousand BCE and continued into the nineteenth century.

By the nineteenth century, artificial feeding became an alternative for wet nursing, thanks to the advancements in individual feeding bottles and the availability of animal's milk. In fact, there were many different types of vessels used for artificial infant feedings dating all the way back to ancient times. Such bottles were also written about through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. However, descriptions of these vessels would detail their uncleanliness.

By the time of the Industrial Revolution (mid-eighteenth century), a more hygienic feeding bottle was introduced in 1851 in France. This type of bottle had a cork nipple and ivory pins in its air inlets to regulate flow. As artificial feeding became more popular, so did the focus on developing new sources of infant nutrition, hence the invention of the first commercialized infant formula in 1867 by German chemist, Justus von Liebig. Liebig's formula was first produced in liquid form followed by a powder for improved preservation of the formula's ingredients.

This formula was made up of a combination of cow's milk, wheat and malt flour, and potassium bicarbonate. By the 1920s, scientists began experimenting with non-milk based formulas for infants allergic to cow's milk. The first non-milk formula was introduced in 1929. During the 1940s and 1950s, baby formulas became synonymous with safety as a healthy substitute for breastfeeding. Today, baby formula makes up one of the largest segments of the baby food industry.

Choosing Proper Nutrition

Development is an important factor that one must consider when looking for the right formula. Formulas rich in the same types of vitamins ordinarily found in breast milk is a big selling point (i.e. vitamin E), as vitamins and nutrients assist with rapid and healthy brain development. Some formulas can also be given in combination with solid foods, which is a strong consideration for babies who are a bit older.

It's never too early to begin building your baby's natural immune defenses. For that reason, selecting a formula that contains prebiotics is an excellent idea as well.

Talk to your pediatrician as well. Your baby's doctor will have a wealth of information that can steer you in the right direction to ensure your baby gets all the nutrients he or she needs during such an important stage of its development.

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Last updated on March 17, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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