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5 Best Formula for Breastfed Babies According to Experts

baby drinking formula milk

When my 2nd child was eight months old, I had surgery. All of a sudden, my purely breastfed daughter had to switch to formula because I was taking very strong medication. It was challenging to find milk that my little one would like. During that time, there was little information on the internet on the best formula milk for breastfed babies. So, I had to ask several pediatricians, my mommy friends, and parenting forums for recommendations. It was as if I was back in school and doing rigorous homework.

I am aware of the struggle, mama. That is why I’ve created this list to help you choose the best milk for your baby – whether you’re switching to formula full-time or just supplementing. Like my research many years ago, I also had advice from the experts and moms like you and me. 

What to Consider When Choosing Formula Milk

Every baby is unique, and trying a few different formulas before finding the right fit for your little munchkin is perfectly normal. Trust your instincts and your baby’s cues; remember, it’s all part of the learning process.

Powder or Liquid?

Formula milk available in the market comes in powder, liquid concentrate, and ready-to-feed forms, each with pros and cons. For instance, powdered formulas are cost-effective but require preparation. On the other hand, liquid concentrates are convenient but might be pricier. Lastly, ready-to-feed options are the easiest but have a higher price tag.

Consider Allergies and Sensitivities

Observe your baby after feeding. If you see signs of discomfort like fussiness, unusually big tummy, or excessive crying, then your baby is more likely to have milk or lactose allergies. If this is the case, a hypoallergenic formula is best for your little one. 

Ingredients Matter

Take the time to scrutinize a formula milk’s ingredients list. Look for options with easily digestible proteins, healthy fats (like DHA and ARA), and essential vitamins and minerals. Experts recommend skipping brands with artificial flavors, colors, and unnecessary additives since they harm your baby’s health.

Nutritional Requirements

Ensure the formula you choose matches your baby’s age and developmental stage. Keep in mind that they have different dietary needs as they grow. Infant formula is tailored for newborns, while follow-on formula suits older babies transitioning from breastfeeding.

Organic vs. Non-Organic

Organic formulas may be pricier, but they offer peace of mind for health-conscious parents. These products’ ingredients are grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. On the other hand, non-organic formulas are still regulated and safe for consumption. It is up to you to weigh your options based on your preferences and budget.

Professional Recommendation

Seek guidance from trusted healthcare professionals like pediatricians or lactation consultants. They can provide options matching your baby’s dietary needs and health issues. Their expertise and experience can give you the reassurance you need.

To help you with your search, I asked experts and moms for the best formula for breastfed babies.

HiPP Dutch Organic Formula

HiPP Dutch Organic Formula - Stage 1

Here’s what the expert says: 

I’ve been reading many positive reviews for the HiPP Dutch Stage 1 in several online parenting forums. So, I asked a doctor about it to confirm the news. She told me this formula was designed with utmost care for babies from birth to six months. The secret to its effectiveness is Metafolin – a compound found naturally in breast milk that works wonders in boosting infant folate levels. 

Made with a whey-based formula, it’s easy on those sensitive bellies and won’t cause pesky allergies. Plus, it’s free of gluten, soy, eggs, starch, and added sugars, making it a safe and wholesome choice for your little one. It’s also a go-to choice for those who want to avoid genetically modified ingredients and preservatives. 

Here’s what a mom says:

I invited Sonya, a mama of two under two, for coffee to know her formula milk story. She was unable to breastfeed either of her sweet babies. After a few days of struggling to feed her firstborn, she observed his weight dipping down over a pound. So, she started on HiPP Dutch following a doctor’s recommendation. Her little guy is approaching his second birthday and has grown steadily ever since. She was glowing as she told me that her son is athletic, eats and sleeps like a champ, and is a ray of sunshine in their lives. She swears it is because this formula gave him such a strong start. 

As a mom who has gone through the grieving process of being unable to breastfeed and opting to go the formula route, she thinks she made the best choice. Her second born has been fed this formula since birth and is also excelling on the growth charts. It agrees with her digestion, mixes up perfectly, and tastes good. Her parting words were, “If you can’t breastfeed, there are good options for our kids out here, and this is one of them”.

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Enfamil Enspire

Enfamil Enspire formula milk

Here’s what the expert says: 

There is a buzz going on in the pediatrician’s office about this milk. Its high prices are not stopping parents from grabbing the stocks from online and brick-and-mortar stores. I wanted to know why this milk was flying off the shelves, so I asked a doctor why there was a high demand for this formula.  

One significant feature of this product is its proprietary formulation. Its composition closely mirrors breast milk, a fact that many moms (and babies) appreciate. It has Milk Fat Globule Membrane or MFGM an ingredient that supports cognitive development in babies. Secondly, it is the only formula in the US to include Lactoferrin, a powerful immune-supporting protein found in breast milk. Lastly, this formula’s dual HMO prebiotics create a healthy gut microbiome. All of these nutrients significantly strengthen the immune system, a crucial process needed especially at this time.

Here’s what a mom says:

Dawn, a first-time mom, shared that her little one struggled with tummy issues. He would have crying sprees after every feeding. She tried several formulas but only noticed that her baby’s fussiness and discomfort stopped when she switched to Enfamil Enspire. During one of her intensive milk deep dives, she discovered that besides keeping the gut healthy, this milk’s Lactoferrin content has antioxidant and antibacterial properties. She said, “It’s been incredible watching our little one grow and easily hit milestones”.

This health-conscious and eco-friendly mom is also so relieved that she’s giving her son wholesome and natural food, just as she always planned. This is because this formula gets its sweetness from lactose instead of corn syrup. And yes, this milk may come with a hefty price tag, but Dawn revealed that sleeping peacefully through the night is always worth the splurge. Bonus points for the reusable tub, too!

Earth’s Best Organic Dairy Infant Formula

Earth's Best Organic Dairy Infant Formula

Here’s what the expert says: 

Earth’s Best is all about keeping it real for your little one. But what sets it apart? A doctor shared her opinion with us. She revealed that this formula is USDA-certified organic, meaning you can trust that it’s made with only natural and ethically sourced ingredients. Parents can rest easy knowing this product does not contain growth hormones or antibiotics. It also has DHA, ARA, lutein, and prebiotic fiber – a dream team for a baby’s growth and development.

Many of her patient’s parents have reported that issues like gas and fussiness have significantly decreased after switching to this formula. In addition, it’s fortified with iron, a nutrient responsible for proper brain development. A word of caution, though. The added iron gives it a metallic taste that may take much getting used to. However, once your baby’s palate has adjusted, it’s goodness all the way. 

Here’s what a mom says:

“To be honest, I considered this formula because of its eye-catching red tin and the word Organic written on the label,” said Samantha – a mom who had just ended her maternity leave when her son was four months old. She had no time to do much research since there were still adjustments to her new role at home and in the office. Her intuition prevailed, so this momma went for the natural option, knowing it was good for her baby’s health. 

She loved that it’s organic but easy on the pocket. Also, compared to other formulas that passed their way, she found this very easy to prepare. This mom also appreciated the packaging, including an easy-pull seal. Lastly, she mentioned that Earth’s Best formula doesn’t have a weird smell that is familiar to other products. 

Bobbie Organic Infant Formula

Bobbie Organic Infant Formula

Here’s what the expert says: 

“As a doctor, I believe it doesn’t matter whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding. It’s all about doing what works best for you and your baby- Bobbie gets that”. This is the statement of the board-certified pediatrician we interviewed for this article. He agrees with the company’s approach of highlighting the benefits of organic milk. Some infants may not thrive on breast milk alone due to parents facing health challenges or logistical constraints. A high-quality formula like Bobbie can offer a safe and healthy alternative. 

Since it contains organic lactose, the primary component of breast milk, it tastes very similar to momma’s liquid gold. It also has added nutrients like high DHA and iron, which set the stage for brain and muscle development. 

Here’s what a mom says:

I first heard of Bobbie when my cousin received a package containing milk while visiting her house. Interestingly, it was part of the company’s subscription program for which she had signed up. This unique way of purchasing formula milk is just one of its many good features. Another would be its reputation for being a close sister to breast milk, making it a winner in the hearts and minds of many parents.

For moms like my cousin who are going through breastfeeding challenges, this formula is heaven-sent. Many rave about its clean, delicious taste, high-quality nutrients, and European-standard formulation. While it may not work for every baby, its thoughtful manufacturing practices and dedication to quality make it a top contender in the battle for the best formula for breastfed babies. 

Similac 360 Total Infant Formula

Similac 360 Total Infant Formula

Here’s what the expert says: 

According to a pediatrician we talked to for this article, a baby’s fussiness and tummy problems are one of the most common complaints of parents. She recommends Similac 360 mainly because it does not use palm olein oil. This ingredient messes up digestive functions. Its absence allows for excellent calcium absorption, ensuring strong bones for your growing bundle of joy.

Additionally, this product has 5 HMOs, the closest prebiotic blend to breast milk. This formulation nourishes your baby’s gut, where 70% of the immune system resides, giving them the protection they need to thrive. Furthermore, it also contains essential blocks that support brain development, so your little one can easily reach those adorable milestones. 

Here’s what a mom says:

“We’re in the hospital, fresh parents with our hungry little munchkin. And what does the hospital hand us? You guessed it – Similac 360. And let me tell you, it’s been a game-changer ever since”. This is the story narrated by Rachel, a mom of three. Their newborn has quite an appetite – she’s practically devouring this formula! Judging by her baby’s enthusiastic reactions, this stuff must be the crème de la crème of baby nourishment. 

She shared a scoop, though – following the instructions to a T is crucial. Of course, no one wants to mess around when it comes to feeding your tiny human. But once you’ve got that down, it’s smooth sailing from there. What this busy momma loves the most is that this liquid gold comes straight from the factory. No need to stress about mixing powder – nobody has time for that when you’re on newborn duty! Plus, it’s a lifesaver for those late-night feeds or jet-setting with your little one in tow.

Start Your Formula Milk Journey One Bottle at a Time

Every baby is different, so what worked for Sonya, Rachel, or Dawn’s kids may not work for your little one. Keep on trying to weigh the details that we’ve shared with you. Furthermore, remember that it is essential to consult with your pediatrician before changing your baby’s feeding routine. Lastly, trust your instincts, momma – you know your baby best!

We’d love to hear your recommendations. Have you tried any of the five best formula for breastfed babies that we’ve mentioned? Your story might help a momma feeling lost in the supermarket’s milk aisle. 

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5 Best Formulas for Breastfed Babies
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