Understanding the Difference in Baby Formulas

In the parenting world, there is always a discussion or debate going on about breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. Many new parents want to know how long they need to breastfeed if they can breastfeed in public, what Nursing Cover they need and how many, and if they should supplement breastfeeding with baby formula. The topic of baby formula is quite dichotomized as there are people who think breastfeeding is compulsory and those who think formula will do just fine. Either way, being armed with the right information is a good way to keep you prepared when you have your baby. Today’s discussion is all about baby formulas, the types, the differences between brands and what you should look out for during purchase.


Baby Formula Brands


After deciding to feed your baby formula, the next step is deciding what baby formula to use. You have to decide, what type of formula, what brand, and even what flavors.

In general, all baby and infant formula brands that are sold in the United States must meet the minimum nutritional requirements of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (the 'Infant Formula Act') and FDA regulations. Make sure you clarify this just in case. Once the base requirements are met you still need to check all the brands and choose. There are major brands which are quite common like Enfamil, Similac, or Nestle Good Start, and store brands from Walmart, Target, or Kroger, etc. If you choose to get an independent brand, make sure it is


Choosing a Baby Formula and Baby Formula Types


Breast milk should always be the obvious first choice but of this is not an option, your pediatrician would recommend a good formula and brand to use. When it comes to types of formula, there are even more options. Sometimes, a baby could be having a problem with the formula they are being fed and so the parent has to choose a different type of formula or a different brand. A lot of times, just changing to a different brand is not enough to stop the aversion to the type of formula your baby is having. You might have to choose a different type of formula after consulting with your doctor or pediatrician. Some signs of a formula intolerance might include unexplained fussiness, excessive gas, diarrhea, spitting up, vomiting, and poor weight gain. Depending on your situation, there are several basic formula types to take note of.


Cow's milk-based formula: The Cow milk-based formula. Cow milk-based formula is a type of formula that your baby should be on if you are substituting formula for breastfeeding. Examples of these are Nestle Good Start Gentle Plus, Similac Advance, or Enfamil Lipil.

"Gentle" formula: The "Gentle" formula has less than normal lactose than a milk based formula, This can be used for babies with excess gas or fussiness.


Lactose-free formula: The Lactose-free formula is as the name implies, for babies with lactose intolerance. Some examples are Enfamil LactoFree Lipil and Similac Sensitive.


Added rice starch formula: The added rice starch formula is for babies with acid reflux (examples: Enfamil A.R. Lipil and Similac Sensitive R.S.) Make sure you talk to your doctor before deciding on using any specialized type of baby formula.


Elemental formula: The Elemental formula is for babies that have milk protein and soy allergies. Again, make sure you talk to your doctor before deciding on using any specialized type of baby formula.


Amino acid based formula: The Amino acid based formula is a specialized formula made for babies with milk protein and soy allergies who don't tolerate an elemental formula.


Soy formula: The Soy formula is for babies with galactosemia, lactose intolerance, and milk protein allergies. Some examples are Enfamil Prosobee Lipil, Nestle Good Start Soy Plus, and Similac Isomil Advance.


Formula for premature babies: Formula for premature babies are made to have more calories and other nutrients for premature and low-birth-weight babies. Some examples are Enfamil EnfaCare Lipil and Similac Neosure.


Next-step or toddler formula: The Next-step or toddler formula is for older infants and toddlers between the ages of 9 and 24 months of age. Some examples: Enfamil Next Step Lipil, Nestle Good Start Gentle Plus 2, and Similac Go & Grow. At this stage, your baby is probably already starting to graduate into eating solid food.

Keep in the mind that you should never try to save money by diluting baby formula. Whichever baby formula you buy, always carefully follow the mixing instructions.

Is Mixing Formulas ok?


There are many schools of thought on whether it is ideal to mix formulas or not but the general consensus is that it is ok if you follow the mixing instructions properly. A lot of parents worry that if they switch from one formula brand to another, they may cause their baby fussiness, stool changes, upset or worse–that they could put their baby at risk. This is a legitimate fear, however, if you follow the instructions properly, you should be fine. Sometimes changing formula helps new babies adapt better to their feeding. Switching them up can even help clarify worries in some scenarios when a parent worries about excessive gassiness, intolerance, or significant burping or spitting up.

Experimentation with formula brands (i.e trying different brands to see which the baby enjoys the most) in an otherwise healthy newborn is okay. But it’s not necessary at all, either. Babies just want to eat, sleep, and cuddle. They don’t care. It’s totally fine to switch between formulas or buy whatever is on sale for example but it’s better to not switch too often. Give your baby time to settle into a formula and feeding pattern and don’t react to a poop change for example too quickly. Give your baby a week or two to settle into a new formula before reaching a conclusion on whether it is right for them or not.

Parents often want to buy the formula on sale; they wonder can they switch it up and save money. Other parents wonder if the baby gets bored with having the same formula over and over again and wonder if they can switch up the formula flavors. Other parents want to mix two different formulas to get the best of both worlds. Whatever the reason might be, its ok to change or mix formulas. Breastmilk is not always the same flavor as it changes depending on the mums' diet so breastfed babies get a different flavor each day and that's ok. So long as the nutrients, calories, fat, and protein are constant, your baby will be just fine.