The Best Baby Formula 2020 Review [Updated Guide]
Your baby is finally here! However, worry and confusion are slowly replacing your joyful smile. What should I do to ensure my baby’s healthy development? What is the best baby formula for my child?
According to experts, the best baby formula is the one closest in composition to breast milk. Again, Infant formula should be free of artificial growth hormones. As such, it is critical to vet the ingredients before buying any baby formula.
Sadly, baby formula options are a dime a dozen. To help you make the right choice, we compared various baby formulas and prepared this guide.
Since baby formulas serve varying purposes, we categorized each baby formula for its use to help you select which best suits your baby. Here, we considered the composition of baby formula and their benefits to your kids’ diet and development.
Before delving into the guide, let’s answer the burning question.
Is baby formula safe for a baby’s consumption?
Since baby formulas are FDA approved, you should be confident that they are safe.
However, each baby responds differently to various products.
Here, we enlist formulas that pack nutrients and ingredients which will help you manage:
- gas and constipation episodes
- Acid reflux
By controlling these, you will notice the proper weight gain and positive development of your child.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the baby formula review.
Here, The 10 Best Baby Formula for 2020
1. Similac Pro-Advance Infant Formula – Best Organic Baby Formula
The Similac Pro-Advance Infant Formula packs incredible benefits for your baby. Notably, parents using this organic formula report a reduction in gassiness, fussiness, and spitting of infant formula by their babies.
Additionally, this infant formula is advertised as a great option to help build your baby’s immune system and boost their cognitive and visual development. The Pro-Advance delivers this owing to its natural ingredient composition of:
- 2′-F.L. Human Milk Oligosaccharide– a prebiotic that nourishes the immune system by feeding bacteria in the gut to boost the strength of the immune system.
- DHA, Lutein, and Vitamin E – DHA is vital for brain development, and Lutein helps the eye to function correctly, while Vitamin E is essential for the development of body cells
- Other ingredients include: minerals, vitamins, Non-fat Milk, Lactose, Whey Protein Concentrate and natural oils (e.g., coconut, soy)
Note: – the 2′-F.L. Human Milk Oligosaccharide (HMO) is not obtained from breast milk.
Also, the amount of these ingredients is significant, thus promotes the healthy development of your baby.
Additionally, this baby formula is free of artificial growth hormones as it is made of dairy products (from cows) which are not treated with synthetic growth hormones.
Warning: DHA is a controversial topic when it comes to infant formulas. As such, ensure to consult to gain assurance that it’s what you need for your baby.
You cannot afford to gamble with your kid’s health. For this reason, many people recommend organic baby formulas. These formulas are free of artificial enhancers, thus, give milk formula a natural taste.
However, not all organic baby formulas are safe for your child’s consumption. Since natural infant formulas are pricier than standard formulas, some brands may try to keep the prices low by adding low-quality ingredients.
To observe the quality, it is critical to study the ingredients of organic baby formulas first.
Similac is among the brands focused on replicating the taste and components/ingredients of breast milk. While this is a problematic goal, this formula has a high acceptance rate among many infants.
2. Enfamil A+ Infant Formula– Best formula milk for baby 0-6 months
The stage one Enfamil A+ Infant Formula is the best way to start your newborn’s diet. The formula features nutrient-rich ingredients for the first six months of baby development, without triggering side effects.
Among the Ingredients of this baby formula include:
- Dual probiotics: for the development of the delicate and sensitive digestive tract. Similarly, it allows the formula to sail smoothly along the gastrointestinal tract.
- Choline and DHA are essential components for proper brain and eye development.
- Fibers and Polydextrose: they enrich the formula to aid in the breakdown of the elements of the formula. Also, it softens the stool, thus makes the baby happier and less fussy babies.
What makes this rank among the best baby formulas is the vast array of minerals, vitamins, and natural oils that it provides for your baby’s development.
At birth, the digestive system of your baby is not capable of handling complex foods. As such, you should invest in the best baby formula, which is easily digested without causing stomach upset. Enfamil A+ Infant Formula has been designed primarily to cater to the nutrient needs of newborn babies; thus is a great option.
3. Earth’s Best Organic Dairy Infant Powder Formula – Earth’s Best Baby Formula
Earth’s best organic dairy infant powder formula is an excellent option if you are out for a nutrient-rich diet. Like breast milk, it packs a wide range of nutrients that can be easily absorbed by babies between zero to twelve months.
Since it lacks artificial softeners, it does not trigger allergies, thus is an excellent choice for infants. Geared towards making a product close to breast milk, the manufacturer uses lactose from cow milk to prepare this baby formula.
- Omega 3 (DHA) and Omega 6 (ARA) fatty acids: essential for the development of the eyes and the brain.
- Lutein: for the development and proper health of the eyes
- Organic lactose: for sweetening
- Proteins: Organic Whey, Organic whey protein concentrate, Organic non-fat milk
Warning: some products from Earth’s Best’s contain glucose syrup solids alongside lactose. For your newborn baby, we recommend buying the lactose-only formula.
By limiting your options to organic baby formulas, you can easily pick a product that meets your baby’s unique needs. The Earth’s infant baby formula creates natural products that infuse lactose-only profile and additional prebiotics.
As such, it reduces the upsets of enhanced sweeteners while keeping it tasty enough for your baby.
Keep in mind that some organic formulas have added minerals, vitamins, and in some cases, enhancements. Since these products are synthetically derived; they aren’t organic. As such, when referring to natural, it is often reflective of the protein, fat, and carbohydrate parts of the formula.
4. Enfamil A.R. Spit Up Baby Formula – Best baby formula for acid reflux
The Enfamil A.R. Infant Formula is geared towards reducing spit-up tendencies in babies. Among the signs that your baby has acid reflux is when they spit food they have just eaten.
A formula that reduces this habit is one that helps control acid reflux. Notably, the manufacturing process and the ingredients of this product meets the reflux reduction guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Apart from reflux issues, this product can solve a range of digestive problems.
- Omega 3 DHA and Choline: for brain development. Also, they help the baby to improve their memory and better their nervous system and muscle control.
- Vitamins C and E and Selenium: for the development of the immune system
There are 30 total nutrients within the formula to complement the baby’s diet.
What makes this the best infant formula for reflux control is the approval by pediatricians. A testament to its quality, the milk formula reduced the spit-up rate among infants in a double-blind, randomized control thus promises you a better feeding time for your baby.
The Enfamil A.R. is thicker than standard formulas hence is effective in dealing with reflux issues. Unlike other reflux baby formulas, however, the parents that use this product cite that it does not cause constipation or bloating.
Even more, the parents also report a weight gain for infants upon changing to the formula.
Warning: Since the formula is thick and foamy, it might prove challenging to prepare.
Acid reflux is a common thing for infants between zero to three months.
Acid reflux usually occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter is weak or underdeveloped. The sphincter is supposed to prevent food backflow into the esophagus. If it doesn’t close properly, the stomach content flows back.
An infant with mild reflux will spit-up food after eating. In severe cases, your kid may show signs including slowed weight gain, crying, and irritability, refusal to eat, etc.
Baby formulas can be used to manage this condition. Usually, when you visit a doctor, they may recommend a change in the type of formula you are using.
However, Enfamil A.R infant formula is the best baby formula for managing spit-ups.
5. Gerber Good Start Gentle (HMO) – Best Tasting Formula for Breastfed Babies
Good taste and smell are essential for infant formula. Unlike some milk formulas whose smell push you away, the Gerber Good Start Gentle (HMO) is formulated to resemble breast milk in all aspects.
The milk formulation is packed with nutrients for proper development of your baby while offering them the gentleness of breast milk. The corn syrup and proteins contained in this formula give it a sweet taste while keeping it gentle on your kid’s tummy.
- 2′-F.L. Human Milk Oligosaccharide: a potent prebiotic similar to that found in breast milk for digestive health
- Comfort Proteins: e.g. whey protein
- Probiotic lactose: for immunity and digestive health
- Expert-recommended DHA supports brain and eye development.
This milk formula also packs a sufficient number of vitamins, minerals, essential oils, and sweeteners.
When transitioning to baby formula, you must find a supplement with a closer taste and smell to breast milk. While babies react differently to baby milk formulas, experts rank the Gerber Good Start Gentle (HMO) among the all-round baby formula milk, with a pleasant taste.
6. Happy Baby Organic Infant Formula – Best natural baby formula
Happy baby organic infant formula is a unique formula hailed for its effectiveness in enhancing growth while reducing the adverse effects associated with other formulas.
The formula has ingredients that give it a composition close to breast milk. It offers complete nutrition for your baby’s diet in the first year. Even better, this baby formula boasts of a generous number of prebiotics, vital vitamins, and minerals.
The notable ingredients of this milk formula are:
- Prebiotics: GOS & FOS prebiotics which are essential for gut health. These prebiotics are the third-largest components, just as in breast milk.
- Protein: mainly whey and casein
- Lactose: the most abundant compound that supplies energy to your growing infant
- DHA/ARA: the formula uses the recommended type of the fatty acids to ensure brain and nerve development
- Vitamins & Minerals: it packs mineral and vitamins found in milk, e.g., Calcium, Phosphorus, Copper, Iron, Vitamins C & D, Folic Acid, and Choline. These components are essential in the development of body organs and tissues.
The Happy Baby Organic Infant Formula is the best option for a parent looking for nutrient-rich baby formula for boosted baby development. The milk formula offers ideal nutrition, thus an excellent kickstart for your child’s development.
The best natural baby formula is one that contains vital ingredients that boost your baby’s development—as such, settling for a natural formula is not enough.
It is critical to ensure that your baby formula boosts your child’s growth rate without triggering allergies and upsets. In this case, try the happy baby organic infant formula.
7. Gerber Good Start Soy 2 Plant-based Protein – Best vegan baby formula
The Gerber good start soy infant formula is a soy-based on-GMO baby formula, which is suitable for lactose-intolerant infants. Although free of lactose, this formula is fortified with crucial minerals and vitamins that are found in breast milk.
As such, this soy formula guarantees complete nutrition without causing gas for your baby. Essentially, this formula is kind to your infant’s developing tummy.
The soy protein is easy to digest, while the DHA is incorporated to enhance the development of the brain. The formula is also packed with real fruits, vegetables, and grain, to kick start your baby’s nutrition.
What we found to amazing about this product is the manufacturer’s commitment to improving its contents. This way, the babies get the right set of nutrients.
Many parents prefer this formula because it is more palatable than other soy baby formulas. Also, the Gerber Good Start Soy 2 Plant-based Protein infant formula makes the digestion process effective, resulting in less gas and curbing constipation
Since vegans rely on plant nutrients, the choices for baby formulas are narrowed to soy baby formula. For this reason, experts advise that vegan babies be breastfed for longer.
Among the vegan baby formulas options are; almond, soy, and coconut milk. While picking a breast milk substitute, consider the level of protein and mineral, among other compounds. Typically, the baby formula should resemble the composition of breast milk.
8. Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic Infant Formula – Best baby formula for colic
Colic is painful, and that why babies cry. With the right baby formula, you can manage colic and save your baby from excruciating pain. Typically, this formula can reduce symptoms of colic resulting from protein sensitivity within 24 hours.
This milk formula from Similac comes with proteins that have been pre-digested (broken into smaller pieces). By breaking down proteins, this ranks the best baby formula as it is easier for ingestion, thus reduces gassiness for infants with lactose intolerance.
Breaking proteins down into smaller pieces eliminates allergic reactions and makes it easier for babies to digest.
- DHA and ARA,
- Vitamins, minerals, and essential oils required for the growth of the baby.
An outstanding feature of Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic Infant Formula is that it is free of gluten and lactose. As such, this is a suitable milk formula for babies with food allergies and colic.
While the causes of colic are unclear, there are numerous efforts to improve the symptoms. Besides persistent crying, a colicky baby is easily irritated and has a lesser appetite.
Colic is associated with gas, which arises in children with lactose intolerance. Experts suggest that lowering the amount of sugar in the milk could reduce the symptoms of colic.
As such, buying a formula that has a low amount of lactose could reduce the incidences of colic.
If your baby experiences difficulty with digesting the proteins in cow’s milk, you can opt to buy formula with hydrolyzed whey.
9. Similac Pro-Sensitive Non-GMO Infant – Best baby formula for sensitive stomach
The Similac Pro-Sensitive Infant Formula is as easy to digest milk-based formula. The formula has been proven to work well for most babies with sensitive tummies. Lactose-sensitive babies can safely use this formula.
The range of nutrients is extensive, and the blend ensures that nutritional requirements for the babies are complete and in the right proportions.
The formula follows strict guidelines to help tackle the problems of constipation, spit-up, fussy stomach, and gas effectively. This non-GMO Similac formula is the best bet for babies with sensitive tummies.
Additionally, the formula can boost the immune system thanks to the natural prebiotics.
- OptiGRO: this is a blend of DHA, Lutein, and Vitamin. The unique combination of powerful ingredients ensures that the baby has a general high growth rate, proper development of the brain, and the eyes, development of the body cells, improving the performance of the immune system.
- 2′ F.L. human milk oligosaccharide: a potent prebiotic for gut immunity. The prebiotic quickly circulates within the body of the baby at a faster rate than other formulas.
- Other ingredients include minerals, vitamins, milk protein isolates, and vitamins in sufficient amounts, just like breast milk.
It is important to note that the baby formula does not have artificial growth hormones.
- The formula has a near breast milk consistency
- No artificial growth hormones
- Reduces the tendency to spit
- Can manage colic and other digestive problems
- Frothy/foamy which may result in gas
While baby tummies are not complicated, a baby formula may cause issues including gas buildup. Nonetheless, getting the right formula for your baby boosts their development without stomach upsets.
As such, getting the right baby formula will keep your baby free from constipation and unbearable incidences of bloating. Overall, the Similac pro sensitive is the best baby formula for babies with sensitive stomachs.
10. Enfamil Enspire Baby Formula Milk Powder – Best baby formula for constipation and gassy baby
The composition of the Enfamil enspire baby formula milk powder is closest to breast milk. Typically, this is the only formula in the U.S. that has MFGM & Lactoferrin.
It comes with a high number of vitamins and minerals to kickstart your baby’s development and promotes the functioning of the digestive system.
- Lactoferrin: this is a protein typically found in colostrum as well as breast milk. This is important for immune support and the development of the intestine
- MFGM: supports metal development
- Omega 3 DHA and Choline: are essential for mental development
- Other ingredients include Non-fat Milk, Lactose, Vegetable Oil (Palm Olein, Coconut, Soy, and High Oleic Sunflower Oils), Whey Protein-Lipid Concentrate (Milk), Whey Protein Concentrate.
Gas and constipation are among the common uncomfortable conditions that provoke crying in babies. Although burping can help manage gassiness, to some extent, it isn’t a long-term solution.
Similarly, for constipated babies, experts advise taking a lot of water. This can be a little too late. To curb bloating and constipation, gauge the changes in your baby for the initial feeding stages. In case of any adverse reactions, change the baby formula.
Why feed your child baby formula?
Although medical experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months, mothers may be forced to seek alternatives because:
- They are under medication
- Demanding job schedules
In such cases, formula milk is the best alternative to help your baby achieve optimum growth. Even more, baby formula serves as an excellent supplement for breast milk, thus quenches your baby’s thirst without exposing you to breast fatigue.
Since a baby’s digestive system is not fully developed, they cannot transition to animal milk. Also, they may find it challenging to digest various baby formulas.
To ensure that you select a brand suitable for your baby, consult your pediatrician for recommendations.
How to Choose the Best Baby Formula?
Since the market is awash with baby formulas, you need to set parameters in-line with your baby’s dietary needs, thus sifting through the options. Among the factors to consider before buying baby formula include:
Forms of formula
The formula comes in 3 types, i.e., ready-to-use, liquid concentrate, and powdered.
- Ready-to-use formula: As the name suggests, these types of baby formulas don’t need mixing. This type of formula is what most newborns are given in hospitals.
However, once you open them, they have a short lifespan. Additionally, they are highly-priced.
- Liquid concentrate formula: these formulas require mixing equal parts of water and formula. They are not highly-priced.
- Powdered formula: this is the most convenient formula you can buy. It takes less space. However, it has a month shelf-life once you buy it. Preparation is quite comprehensive, and you must follow all directions to make the right formulations.
Types of formula
- Cow’ s-milk-based formula: these formulas have cow’s milk as the main ingredient. The milk protein is altered to make it easy to digest.
- Hydrolyzed formulas: in these formulas, the proteins have been broken down into smaller particles to make digestion easier
- Soy-based formula: these formulas are from soybean proteins/plant-based proteins that have been broken to make digestion easy. However, this formula is not suitable for preterm infants weighing less than 1,800 grams
- Lactose-free formula: this formula is ideal for babies who cannot digest lactose, as they lack lactose.
- Organic formula: these are formula certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The aim is to limit the number of herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals the reach your baby.
The best milk formula must have similar nutrients to those found in breast milk. Also, the nutrients should be supplied in substantial amounts for the optimal growth of your baby.
Examples are Carbohydrates (lactose), Protein, Fat, Vitamins and minerals, Nucleotides, Rice starch, Dietary fiber, Amino acids, Probiotics, and prebiotics.
Frequently asked questions
What is the closest baby formula to breastmilk?
The Enfamil inspire infant formula. This is because it contains Lactoferrin, which is found in breast milk colostrum, thus helps boost immunity and develop the digestive tract. Enfamil also contains nutrients that help boost mental development and necessary vitamins for bodybuilding.
Can you mix breastmilk and formula?
Mixing breastmilk and infant formula is a great way to ensure that your baby smoothly transitions to baby formula. As such, you can mix baby formula and breast milk in the same bottle when feeding your baby, thus ensuring a steady supply of necessary nutrients.
However, avoid diluting breastmilk or formula with extra water. Ensure to follow instructions on the baby formula, thus providing the exact amount of nutrients your baby needs for development.
After how long does baby formula go bad?
Once mixed, the baby formula should be consumed or stored in the fridge within an hour. As such, throw the remaining baby formula after an hour has elapsed to protect your baby from stomach upset.
How can when to change the formula for my baby?
After transitioning to different baby formulas, check for symptoms like excessive crying after feeding, extra gas, and diarrhea.
It’s not about choosing the most famous brand, or the most expensive one. It’s about choosing a nutrient-rich baby formula that will boost their mental, visual, and muscle development.
It is advisable to engage a nutritionist and check how your child reacts to various formulas to ensure an excellent experience for your infant. Also, ensure that you buy a milk formula whose ingredients are closer to those of breast milk.
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