Best Baby Formula - What To Look For + Product Recommendations

Chad Birt

Written by Chad Birt on Fri Dec 22 2023.

Mom holding baby.

Being a new parent is stressful! There’s so much to learn and you want to do everything perfectly. But with so much to do and so many decisions to make, you may find yourself suffering from mental fatigue.

One of the most common challenges new moms face is feeding. Finding the right formula can be especially tough If you don’t exclusively breastfeed. There are so many options out there and you want to give your little one the best. What’s a mom to do?

First off, don’t stress! You aren’t alone and we’re here to help. This guide covers everything you need to know about baby formula, including what to look for and product recommendations. 

What Is Baby Formula?

Baby formula is a type of food formulated for children 12 months and younger. It’s made from cow’s milk protein processed to mimic human breast milk. 

Baby formula is packed with vitamins and minerals, ensuring your infant gets the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. 

Some mothers choose to exclusively breastfeed, but research shows that 67% of American babies 3 months and older consume some formula as part of their regular nutrition

What Should Parents Consider When Choosing a Baby Formula?

Rihanna Jones, RN, a registered nurse with more than four years of experience working in neonatal intensive care units says parents should consider several things when looking for baby formula, including:

The Nutrients Provided

Good nutrition is key to your baby’s health and development. Studies show that children deprived of nutrition are more likely to experience developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, and learning challenges.

“Make sure the formula you choose contains key nutrients, like iron, DHA, and ARA for brain development,” Jones explains.  

When selecting a baby formula, new parents should look for key nutrients like iron, DHA, and ARA for brain development. 

Your Baby’s Nutritional Needs

A full-term baby has different nutritional needs than a preemie. Jones says there are specialized formulas for different needs, including those designed for premature babies. “These formulas often contain extra nutrients to support growth and development,” she says.

Whether Your Baby Has Allergies

“Some babies have a milk intolerance and develop symptoms like vomiting, skin reactions, respiratory problems, and fussiness, after feeding. In severe cases, intolerance can lead to poor weight gain and growth,” Jones explains. “Parents should consult with their child’s pediatrician for an accurate diagnosis. Dietary changes, like switching to a hypoallergenic formula or adjusting the breastfeeding mother’s diet, may be recommended for effective management.”

Ingredients and Additives

Consider looking for an organic formula if you’re worried about additives and artificial ingredients.

“Organic formulas are free from artificial additives and pesticides,” Jones says. “Many of these formulas also resemble the nutritional composition of breastmilk.” 

Carewell’s Best Baby Formulas

We carry a variety of baby formula here at Carewell. The list below features a combination of our most popular and best-selling formulas. Where possible, we’ve included real customer feedback under the heading “Hear It From a Mom”. 

1) Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease Ready-to-Use Infant Formula

This baby formula from NeuroPro features a breast milk-inspired formula with MFGM and DHA to support your child’s growth. It’s easy to digest and contains vitamins and minerals that bolster immune health.

Key Benefits & Features:

  • Comes in a six-pack of ready-to-use bottles

  • Designed to help reduce crying within 24 hours

  • Formulated to ease gas and fussiness

Hear it from a caregiver

“I really like the to-go Enfamil bottles, but they have been hard to find. I found them here [at Carewell] and they shipped right away!”

- Hayley C.

2) Similac Advance 20 Infant Formula Powder

This nutritionally complete baby formula from Similac contains calcium for bone growth, prebiotics for digestive health, and OptiGRO –– a blend of vitamin E, DHA, and lutein that supports brain and eye development.

The balanced nature of the formula can be used to supplement breastfeeding or replace it entirely. 

Key Benefits & Features:

  • 20 calories per fluid ounce

  • Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids

  • Formulated to support infant growth and development

Hear it from a caregiver

“Quick shipping; Good product.”

- Carmen F. 

3) PurAmino DHA & ARA Hypoallergenic Amino-Based Formula with Iron

This baby formula from PurAmino is formulated for infants with severe allergies to cow’s milk and other foods. Many parents tell us it’s also suitable for babies with gastrointestinal problems, including chronic diarrhea, short bowel syndrome, and protein maldigestion.

Key Benefits & Features:

  • Iron-fortified

  • Formulated to support infants and toddlers with allergies and food sensitivities

  • Contains DHA & ARA, fatty acids necessary for brain and eye development

4) Enfamil Reguline Infant Formula

Have a constipated baby at home? Then this formula is for you! 

Seeing your little one struggle to poop is heartbreaking, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing anything wrong. Some babies are just more prone to digestive issues than others. This formula contains prebiotics that soften the stool. It also has 30 nutrients to support your child’s growth and development.

Key Benefits & Features:

  • Most infants have soft, comfortable stools within a week of starting use

  • Contains DHA to support brain development

  • Provides complete nutrition for babies up to 1 year old

Hear it from a caregiver

“It’s really hard to find this formula in stores and even though it’s a bit pricey, I love that it comes straight to my house. Thank you!!”

- Ana S.

Enfamil Reguline Infant Formula, Powder, 12.4 oz., 167002, 1 Each
Enfamil Reguline Infant Formula, Powder, 12.4 oz.

Price: $28.50 - $159.52

5) Earth’s Best Organic Sensitivity Infant Formula with Iron

This all-natural, organic baby formula from Earth’s Best has 95% less lactose than standard milk-based formulas. It’s formulated for children with digestive issues and reduces the risk of gas and post-meal fussiness and crying.

Key Benefits & Features:

  • Reduced lactose milk-based powder for easier digestion

  • Contains omega-3 DHA and omega-6 ARA to support eye and brain health

  • Contains prebiotic fiber to support infant immunity

“I often recommend Earth’s Best baby formula to my clients,” Jones says. “Formula brands like this and Happy Baby are committed to using organic ingredients. They prioritize quality ingredients and aim to provide a cleaner, more natural option for infant nutrition.” 

6) Alfamino Infant Formula with Iron

This infant formula is for babies on lactose-free and gluten-free diets. In fact, it’s often prescribed to infants with underlying medical issues, like multiple food allergies, short bowel syndrome, and malabsorptive conditions

Key Benefits & Features:

  • Nutritionally complete formula for babies with sensitive digestive systems

  • Intended for use under a doctor’s supervision

  • Amino acid-based powder

Hear it from a caregiver

“We can’t find this medicated formula just anywhere. Most places have marked it up so much it breaks the bank. We’re so glad we can have it auto-shipped and it’s cheaper here!”

- Dara M.

7) Gerber Good Start Complete Nutrition Infant Formula

The Gerber brand has been synonymous with baby food for nearly 100 years, so you can feel confident purchasing this product. 

It features a breast milk-like formula that includes probiotics, iron, and human milk oligosaccharides. It’s non-GMO, loaded with nutrients, and promotes soft, easy-to-pass stools. 

Hear it from a caregiver

“With the [baby formula] shortage going on I was so relieved to find someone with accurate stock availability who was able to get my baby’s food to me!!”

- Anna S.

Need Some Help? Get In Touch!

Don’t feel like you have to choose a baby formula alone and without guidance. Our friendly Care Specialists love helping new parents and can answer any question you have about baby formulas and infant feeding. Call (800) 696-CARE or send an email to support@carewell.com

Best Baby Formula - Commonly Asked Questions

1) Is it okay to try several different baby formulas, or is it better to stick with one?

Jones says that generally, it’s okay to try different formulas, especially if your baby is a picky eater or has special dietary needs. “However, consistency is important for some babies, so monitor their reactions to changes,” she adds. “If you notice symptoms like digestive issues or fussiness after eating, visit your pediatrician for an accurate diagnosis.”

2) Should new parents stock up on baby formula due to the recent shortages?

“While formula shortages can occur and are very scary, it’s essential to stay informed. You may consider having a reasonable stockpile (maybe enough to get you through 1-2 weeks), but avoid hoarding to ensure availability for all infants who need formula,” Jones explains. “Staying connected with your pediatrician can provide guidance (and peace of mind) during shortages.”

3) Can my child’s pediatrician help me choose a baby formula?

Yes! Jones says it’s crucial to consult with your child’s pediatrician when choosing a formula, especially if your baby has specific dietary requirements or allergies. 

“Understanding your baby’s needs and preferences can guide you to the most suitable formula for their optimal growth and development. At the end of the day, the paramount concern is ensuring your baby receives proper nutrition and is fed adequately.”

It's crucial to consult with your pediatrician when choosing a formula, especially if your baby has specific dietary requirements or allergies. Understanding your baby's needs and preferences can guide you to the most suitable formula for their optimal growth and development. At the end of the day, the paramount concern is ensuring your baby receives proper nutrition and is fed adequately.

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Chad Birt
Chad Birt

Chad Birt is a freelance medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.