The infant section of the grocery store is nothing short of overwhelming – especially to a new parent, exhausted from sleepless nights spent awake caring for their little one. There are seemingly limitless options when it comes to baby formula. You’ll see choices for pre-mixed liquid and dry powder formula. Ingredients like DHA and ARA will promise you that this is the best baby formula for your child. But which one should you buy?
When choosing the best baby formula for your little one, there are several factors to consider. Read on to learn more about how to pick the best baby formula. And through it, all, remember – fed is best!
The Best Type of Baby Formula
First, you’ll want to take into account how you wish to purchase the formula. Baby formula can come in a powder or pre-mixed liquid form. The appeal of the liquid mixture formula is that you can quickly pour it into bottles and serve it to your baby. You don’t need to go through the hassle of mixing it with water. However, it expires sooner than its powder formula counterpart.
The good news is you can often find the same brand of formula in both powder and liquid forms. For the sake of convenience, you can get a powder version of the formula for use at home and a liquid version for use on the road.
The Best Baby Formula Ingredients
Infant formula is filled with a variety of ingredients. However, ensure you consider the following vital nutrients when making an informed purchase:
DHA and ARA
Both DHA and ARA are forms of long-chain fatty acids found in breastmilk. Research shows a positive correlation between the intake of DHA and ARA and early child cognitive development. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also acknowledges that these fatty acids are helpful for early neurological development. The FDA has also approved the inclusion of DHA and ARA ingredients in all formulas.
You’ll often see many infant formulas promoting the inclusion of DHA and ARA ingredients. However, not all formulas include these fatty acids. So do your research before purchasing a formula.
Iron is another crucial ingredient to watch for in baby formula. The AAP recommends using an iron-fortified formula for the infant’s first year to ensure proper iron intake. Speak to your pediatrician if you use a combination of breastfeeding and formula. The doctor will recommend an iron supplement for your baby or specific formula to meet your infant’s needs.
Consider the addition of probiotics to your little one’s formula. While not a required ingredient, the AAP discusses the benefits of probiotics in improving an infant’s gut health. Discuss starting a formula with probiotics when meeting with your baby’s pediatrician, as it seems a better path for healthy infants.
The Best Baby Formulas
There are hundreds of brands of formulas currently on the market, all promising different benefits for your baby. Be aware that some formulas are specifically made for infants with lactose allergies or colic. Other formulas are made with all organic ingredients.
When shopping for infant formulas, remember that generic brands often offer the same quality ingredients for much lower prices. With that in mind, here are the best baby formulas:
1. Gerber Good Start GentlePro
Parents have turned to Gerber for all baby food needs since 1927. Gerber’s GentlePro formula is modeled after the complete nutritional formula of breastmilk. It’s high in iron, offers DHA and a probiotic formula to ease digestion. Gerber used the protein casein to use whey, a far gentler option for developing stomachs. Parents should consider this formula if they have a baby who frequently has reflux.
2. Enfamil A.R. Infant Formula
If your baby has a severe issue with gastrointestinal reflux, spitting up all the liquids it takes from bottles, Enfamil A.R. formula might be the formula for you. Severe reflux issues can impair proper growth and development for infants by hampering weight gain. Enfamil A.R. is one of the most recommended formulas by pediatricians and can reduce the number of your baby’s spit-ups.
What’s unique about this formula is the added rice which thickens the formula consistency. When the rice enriched formula mixes with the stomach acid in a baby’s belly, it thickens further, weighing the product down and preventing reflux from occurring. Enfamil A.R. is clinically proven to reduce spit-ups by 50% after one week of use. An excellent option for parents of baby’s with severe reflux issues.
3. Similac Alimentum
Should you find your infant presenting symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation after consuming a milk-based formula, your child might have a milk protein allergy. The best approach is to contact your doctor for follow-up and further testing.
When it comes to infant formula, the norm is for it to be milk-based. However, Similac Alimentum is hypoallergenic and lactose-free, making it easy to digest for those milk protein allergies. Similac claims a noticeable 24-hour difference and reduction in crying due to protein sensitivity.
4. Earth’s Best Organic Dairy Infant Formula
If you’re looking for USDA-certified organic ingredients in your formula, go with Earth’s Best Organic Dairy Infant Formula. Earth’s Best also promises non-GMO, no artificial growth hormones, and organic grass & grain feed certifications on its ingredient list. Their milk-based formula is also high in iron, DHA, and ARA for your baby’s growth and development.
The Best Formula for Your Baby
When considering the best baby formula for your little one, there are many factors to consider. What type of formula is best for your household – powder or pre-mixed? Is the formula you’re considering have the key ingredients crucial for your baby’s development? When you keep these considerations in mind, you’ll find the perfect formula for your infant!
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