How to Choose the Right Formula for Your Baby

Start off with a standard cow’s milk formula; all US-made commercial baby formulas meet FDA nutritional guidelines.

Formula is comprised mainly of dairy proteins (lactose), carbohydrates, and vegetable oils. You should consider opting for one with lower lactose or one more easily digestible for babies who may have dairy sensitivities or allergies.


As any parent can attest, raising a baby can be expensive. Infant formula is no exception, yet knowing more about your options will make informed choices much simpler for both your budget and your child’s wellbeing.

There are three primary types of formula available to parents today: powdered, liquid concentrate, and ready-to-eat. Powdered and liquid concentrate formulas must be mixed with water prior to being used; ready-to-eat bottles have already been mixed and can be fed directly into bottles or fed directly. Organic or premium brands tend to cost more; those designed specifically to address allergies, intolerances or medical conditions will cost even more; milk-based formulas remain popular but there are soy, goat’s milk and other plant-based options that help accommodate various diets or help reduce cow’s milk allergies.

Baby formula is strictly regulated by the FDA, but selecting an ideal formula for your infant depends on several different factors. Your pediatrician can provide advice based on both their own advice and what best meets the health history and needs of your little one as well as possible less expensive generic or brand options that meet federal nutritional requirements but might be more affordable options.

As there is no ideal formula, the best place to begin is by consulting a pediatrician or registered dietitian for advice. They will be able to guide your decision in the right direction while making sure it is prepared correctly.

Your baby’s comfort level should always come first when selecting the ideal formula. Keep in mind, though, that what works for other babies might not necessarily work for yours – something which is perfectly normal and acceptable. Some parents report one type of formula helps alleviate certain symptoms while other report exactly opposite results.

If you are still uncertain of your choice, try sticking with one method for a couple of weeks before making any major modifications. This will give you an idea of whether it works properly while also eliminating too many variables that could cause adverse reactions.


Infant feeding can be a source of great anxiety. With so many formula choices and pressure from society to breastfeed, as well as recalls of baby food products, selecting an ideal formula may seem impossible. But with some helpful guidelines in mind, narrowing down options should become much simpler.

If you’re uncertain which formula can last the longest and would best meet the needs of your child, consult their pediatrician for guidance. Your physician can also advise whether any special dietary or allergy restrictions must be considered when making this selection.

It’s best to choose an FDA-approved formula within your budget that meets all other criteria; all US formulas do. When making this choice, be mindful that ingredients play a large part. So before investing more money in an organic full-size cow’s milk protein formula, check its ingredients list carefully and pick one which best meets the needs of your baby.

There may be instances in which soy-based formula is the appropriate solution, such as for infants diagnosed with galactosemia who cannot digest lactose from cow’s milk, but in general, the AAP recommends choosing milk-based formula as their first choice.

Consider what type of nipple will best suit your baby and when to replace it. Nipples should be cleaned daily and replaced every two months or when signs of wear arise; some babies prefer slower flow nipples while others can feed from an open cup throughout infancy.

Carbohydrate sources for formula should also be taken into consideration. Options available to parents who are concerned about sugar include sucrose, corn syrup solids and brown rice syrup; there are even low-sugar formulas.

Lastly, when it comes to formula preparation and storage, always read and follow the directions on the tin closely. Do not attempt to extend a formula by adding more water than instructed; doing so could lead to bacteria growth that could endanger your baby’s health. Furthermore, import formulas haven’t gone through FDA review, meaning they could contain pathogens that pose health threats that are deadly for them and their consumers.


There is an array of baby formula brands, types, and forms available; regardless of which you select, your pediatrician will work with you to ensure that your infant receives proper nutrition throughout his first year.

Most babies need only standard cow’s milk or soy-based formula to meet their nutritional needs, including both generic and name-brand formulas manufactured in the U.S. that must comply with FDA requirements for infant nutrition. Some families also opt for organic infant formula, which uses certified organic ingredients regulated by the USDA and contains no genetically modified organisms; these tend to be more costly than regular formulas.

Before choosing an infant formula, it is also important to understand its processing. Baby’s bodies digest protein differently from how it handles carbohydrates – that’s why it is useful to know which protein type and lactose content exists in each formula you consider before making your final choice.

Also keep in mind that most formulas use palm oil as an emulsifier in their recipes, although this poses no health risks to children. If this ingredient bothers you, other emulsifiers such as shea butter and sunflower seed oil can be used instead.

Your doctor can suggest some specialty formula options as well, including lactose-free options for babies suffering from galactosemia – an intolerant condition caused by lactose intolerance – as well as special formulas tailored for premature babies or those suffering from certain diseases and conditions.

If your doctor prescribes a special baby formula, it is essential that you adhere to their recommendations regarding serving amounts, feeding schedules and preparation methods, which may differ significantly from traditional commercial infant formulas. Of course, it is perfectly fine to experiment with other options if your child doesn’t seem to respond as well to one formula or has allergies or other medical concerns that prevent him or her from accepting one particular variety of infant food.


Due to recent Ebola outbreak and supply chain concerns, parents have become concerned with selecting infant formula. While no formula can match breast milk’s nutrients exactly, according to U.S. government standards all infant formula must meet certain minimum nutritional standards – therefore making non-name brand formula suitable and within your budget.

Most baby formulas come in powdered (which must be mixed with water to create the drink), concentrate, or ready-to-feed forms. It’s essential that parents follow the instructions on the formula tin to properly mix their formula – overdoing it can result in too much liquid, leaving your child dehydrated and leading to constipation; underdoing can produce thick and difficult-to-swallow formula that causes discomfort and colic for those prone to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Formulas available today range from cow’s milk and soy to hydrolysed and prethickened varieties, offering multiple solutions for allergies, intolerances and medical conditions as well as cultural or religious considerations. Specialty formulas designed specifically to aid these conditions have proven extremely helpful to their users.

Your first instinct may be to purchase foreign infant formula online, but it is best to stick with products available in your region. The international formula may not be FDA-regulated and contain contaminants that could make your baby sick; if in doubt about any brand’s safety reach out to your pediatrician for advice.

There’s a lot to consider when selecting the appropriate baby formula, but no single formula should be seen as superior to any other. While formula cannot replace breast milk completely, it provides an effective means of meeting their nutritional requirements. Your baby will let you know when enough is enough by slowing down or pausing longer between sucking sessions; if they remain dissatisfied then try offering another formula different milk type may provide more satisfaction.