The Best Baby Formulas of 2023

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Best Baby Formulas


Baby formulas are an easy and convenient way to ensure your baby is getting the nutrients they need if you cannot or choose not to use breast milk. The best baby formulas are modeled after breastmilk, contain 20 calories per ounce, and should be iron-fortified to prevent iron deficiency anemia.

Reviewed & Approved

Gerber Good Start GentlePro is our top infant formula pick because it contains easy-to-digest proteins, all necessary vitamins and minerals, and added DHA and AA, which may support brain health. For a nutritionally complete dairy-free option, try Mama Bear Soy-Based Powder Infant Formula, which is a great option for babies with a cow's milk allergy or families following a vegan diet.

Formula Shortage Update: Many parents and caregivers are dealing with the repercussions of the current infant formula shortages in the United States. To help meet demand, formulas are being brought in from other countries. These formulas have FDA approval, and we have added these products and more details about them to this article. Our list now includes some picks—such as Nestle Nan Supreme Pro 1 for infants 0-6 months old and Bubs Organic Grass-Fed Follow-On Stage 2 for infants over 6 months of age—that may be unfamiliar but are completely safe.

If you are feeding your baby with a formula, the FDA regulates all commercially available infant formulas. So you can rest assured that you are giving your baby a product that meets minimum nutrition and safety requirements.

There are dozens of infant formulas on the market, which might make it difficult to choose. Our experts agree it's best to take note of the protein and carbohydrate sources, be sure they contain the right amount of added iron for your baby, and decide if you want a formula that is powdered, liquid concentrate, or liquid ready-to-feed. If your baby was born prematurely, they will likely benefit from an enriched preterm formula that contains more calories and protein and higher levels of some vitamins and minerals. A number of formulas are also specially designed to account for allergies or digestive differences in babies. To review the best infant formulas, our prenatal dietitian conducted hours of research and spoke to a pediatric dietitian.

Based on our reviews, these are the best baby formulas on the market today.

Recall Alert: ByHeart Formula

On December 11, 2022, formula manufacturer ByHeart voluntarily recalled five batches of its Whole Nutrition Infant Formula due to a concern of potential contamination with Cronobacter sakazakii, a bacteria sometimes found in dry foods that can cause life-threatening infections and meningitis.

According to the FDA announcement, the company has not received any consumer complaints and the recall is being done “out of an abundance of caution.” If you are considering buying or have ByHeart formula, be sure to check out the company website for additional information on the recall and the batches affected.

Our Picks

Best Overall: Gerber Good Start GentlePro at Amazon

Best Budget: Kirkland Signature ProCare Non-GMO Infant Formula at

Best Organic: Earth's Best Organic Dairy Infant Powder Formula at Amazon

Best for Gassy/Fussy Baby: Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease Infant Formula at Amazon

Best for Milk Allergies: Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic Infant Formula at Amazon

Best European-Style Formula: Bobbie Organic Infant Formula

Best Alternative Milk Formula: Mama Bear Soy-Based Powder Infant Formula with Iron at Amazon

Safe Formulas Available from Overseas

Nestle NAN Supreme Pro 1 at

Bubs Follow-on Formula Stage 2 at

Kendamil Classic First Infant Milk Stage 1 at

Kendamil Goat First Infant Milk Stage 1 at

Best Overall

Gerber Good Start GentlePro

Gerber Good Start GentlePro


  • Easy-to-digest proteins

  • Prebiotics and probiotics to mimic breastmilk

  • No GMO ingredients

  • Added DHA and AA

  • Contains palm olein, which may not be ideal

Product Availability Update

Due to the national shortage, this item is not available at some retailers. It is currently available for immediate shipping from Walmart, and from limited distributors on Amazon at a high price. We will continue to monitor availability and update the inventory status of these products regularly.

The Gerber name is synonymous with all things baby, and it’s a brand you can trust to provide your little one with top-notch nutrition. Gerber Good Start GentlePro gets our overall top pick. It is well-tolerated by many babies Nicole Lattanzio RD, CNSC, CSP, a pediatric dietitian and the owner of The Baby Dietitian PLLC, works with.

Cow’s milk-based infant formulas usually contain a mixture of casein and whey proteins, but casein can be difficult for some babies' new digestive systems. Gerber's GentlePro formula is free from casein and contains easy-to-digest partially broken down whey proteins, which Gerber calls “Comfort Proteins.”

The GentlePro formula also contains the probiotic B.lactis and a prebiotic called 2’-FL HMO, which is modeled after the completeness of breastmilk. For fat, this formula uses a blend of palm olein, soy, coconut, and safflower oil; it also adds DHA and AA for brain health. Our one hesitation is the inclusion of palm olein, as some research suggests that palm olein may be associated with lower fat and calcium absorption and decreased growth and bone mineralization. All necessary vitamins and minerals are also present in this powdered, ready-to-mix baby formula. Although it does not contain GMO ingredients, this formula is not organic.

Price at time of publication: $43

Key Specs:
Carbohydrate Source: 70% lactose | Protein Source: 100% whey partially hydrolyzed | Added Nutrients: Pre and probiotics, DHA, AA | Form: Powdered

Best Budget

Kirkland Signature ProCare Non-GMO Infant Formula

Kirkland Signature ProCare Non-GMO Infant Formula


  • Contains DHA, lutein, and 2'-FL HMO

  • Certified Kosher and Halal

  • Quality that matches leading brands

  • Must be a Costco member

Product Availability Update

Due to the national shortage, this item is currently out of stock. We will continue to monitor availability and update the inventory status of these products regularly.

You may enjoy wandering the aisles of Costco and trying food samples, so why not pick up a budget-friendly baby formula while you’re there? The Costco store brand, Kirkland, provides a product that has a similar nutrition profile to leading brands. Standout nutrient features of this formula include DHA for babies’ brain development, lutein for their eyes, and 2’-FL HMO as a prebiotic for gut health and immune system.

Kirkland is an inclusive brand and produced a product that is certified Kosher and Halal, so parents with cultural dietary considerations can comfortably use this formula. It does not contain palm oil, is easy to digest, and is available at an affordable price. The one catch is that you have to be a Costco member to have access to this brand.

Key Specs:
Carbohydrate Source: Lactose | Protein Source: Whey protein concentrate | Added Nutrients: DHA lutein, prebiotics | Form: Powdered

Best Organic

Earth's Best Organic Dairy Infant Powder Formula with Iron

Earth's Best Organic Dairy Infant Powder Formula with Iron

Courtesy of Amazon

  • USDA Organic

  • Prebiotics, DHA and AA, and lutein

  • All-lactose formula to more closely mimic breastmilk

  • More expensive than non-organic formula

Product Availability Update

Due to the national shortage, this item is currently out of stock at some retailers. It is currently in stock on Amazon and ready to ship. We will continue to monitor availability and update the inventory status of these products regularly.

If your family values certified organic products, then look no further than Earth’s Best Organic Dairy Infant Powder with Iron. This product is made with organic milk from grass and grain-fed cows that have never been given artificial growth hormones. As far as organic formulas go, Earth’s Best is the most affordable; however, it is still more expensive than non-organic varieties.

Earth’s Best claims this is the closest formula to breastmilk as it is an all-lactose product (meaning no corn syrup or other carbohydrates). It also includes added whey protein alongside casein, prebiotics for immunity, DHA and AA for brain and eye development, and lutein which is a carotenoid important for eye health.

Price at time of publication: $50

Key Specs:
Carbohydrate Source: Lactose | Protein Source: Whey and casein | Added Nutrients: DHA, AA, lutein, prebiotic | Form: Powdered

Best for Gassy/Fussy Baby

Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease Infant Formula

Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease Infant Formula


  • Easy-to-digest proteins

  • May reduce fussiness, crying, gas, and spit-up within 24 hours

  • Contains MFGM

  • Expensive

Product Availability Update

Due to the national shortage, this item is currently out of stock in the powdered form on Amazon but it is available in certain sizes on and It is available on Amazon in the ready-to-use form here and on in the ready-to-use bottle form. We will continue to monitor availability and update the inventory status of these products regularly.

While we would like to think that all formulas are created equally and should be well tolerated by all babies, sometimes that’s not the case. If your baby seems uncomfortable or cries loudly, expressing discomfort after a feed, it might be time to investigate a different formula. Enter Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease Infant Formula—a formula that has been clinically proven to reduce fussiness, crying, gas, and spit up within 24 hours of starting.

The proteins in this product are partially hydrolyzed (broken down) and easy for a sensitive tummy to handle. NeuroPro Gentlease also contains MFGM, which stands for milk fat globule membrane. This is a substance naturally found in breastmilk important for brain structure and development and is also added to certain Enfamil products to help with digestive issues.

While this product is high quality, made with non-GMO ingredients, and can be purchased in various forms, it does run a touch higher in price than your standard, non-specialized formulas.

Price at time of publication: $48

Key Specs:
Carbohydrate Source: Corn syrup solids | Protein Source: Partially hydrolyzed nonfat milk and whey protein concentrate solids (soy) | Added Nutrients: MFGM, DHA, AA | Form: Powdered and liquid

Best for Milk Allergies

Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic Infant Formula

Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic Infant Formula


  • Broken-down proteins

  • Lactose-free

  • Contains 2’-FL HMO

  • Expensive

A Note on Similac Recalls

In February 2022, Abbott recalled several powder formulas produced at a manufacturing plant in Sturgis, MI, following bacterial infections and infant hospitalizations linked to the products.

If you use a formula from Abbott's Alimentum, Similac, or EleCare brands, look out for the following to see if your product is affected by the recall: The first two digits of the code are 22 through 37; the code on the container has K8, SH, or Z2; the expiration date is April 1, 2022, or later. You can also check the lot number on the bottom of the package on Abbott's recall page.

Currently, the recall only applies to powder formulas and does not include pre-made, liquid formulas like the one recommended here.

You can find more information about the recall on the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) recall page.

Also of note, in October 2022, Abbott recalled certain lots of their 2 ounce ready-to-feed liquid formulas. The recall should not impact the Infant Formula Supply in the US. You can find more information about this recall via the FDA here.

Gas is one thing, but if your baby starts to exhibit signs of extreme discomfort, develops a rash, is constantly vomiting, or has blood in their stool, these could be signs of a more serious milk protein allergy. Since even a small amount of cow’s milk can cause this immune reaction, it’s best to switch formulas.

Similac Alimentum is clinically shown to reduce symptoms of colic from a milk protein allergy within 24 hours. The source of protein still comes from cow’s milk but in the form of casein hydrolysate, which means that the large protein molecules are already broken down and made digestive-friendly for baby. Additionally, rather than using lactose, which can cause further tummy troubles, this product uses corn maltodextrin.

As an added boost, Alimentum includes 2’-FL HMO, an immune-nourishing ingredient that may also contribute to a happier gut. This product is also free of palm olein oil to help encourage softer stools since babies with cow’s milk allergies can be more prone to constipation. With all of these benefits, Similac Alimentum's hypoallergenic infant formula is on the pricier side when it comes to baby formulas. Yet, many parents’ reviews note that it was immensely helpful for their child and well worth the cost. It’s always worth scouting out coupons or asking a pediatric healthcare provider if they can provide financial assistance.

Price at time of publication: $71

Key Specs:
Carbohydrate Source: Corn maltodextrin | Protein Source: Casein hydrolysate | Added Nutrients: 2’-FL HMO | Form: Liquid

Best European-Style Formula

Bobbie Organic Infant Formula Milk-Based Powder with Iron

Bobbie Formula

  • USDA Organic

  • Meets both EU and FDA standards for infant nutritional adequacy, including iron

  • Third-party tested for heavy metals and contaminants

  • Not suitable for infants with a soy allergy

Product Availability Update

This product is available online at for a one-time purchase or monthly subscription.

Bobbie Organic Infant Formula is a USDA organic, milk-based powder that meets both the EU and FDA infant formula standards for safety and nutritional adequacy, suitable for infants ages 0-12 months. With 1.2 milligrams of iron per 100 calories, this formula meets U.S. standards for iron fortification. In addition to meeting vitamin and mineral needs for infants, it also contains DHA omega-3s from algae oil, supporting brain and eye health.

This formula is made from organic, pasture-raised cow's milk, with carbohydrates coming from lactose and protein from organic whey protein concentrate. Bobbie's transparent sourcing and third-party testing make it a trusted brand.

This female-founded and mom-led company also has a giveback mission, partnering with Baby2Baby, providing infant formula to a network of non-profits around the country. They also advocate for insurance equality for moms who cannot breastfeed due to breast cancer.

Price at time of publication: $26

Key Specs:
Carbohydrate Source: Lactose | Protein Source: Organic whey protein concentrate | Added Nutrients: DHA | Form: Powdered

Best Alternative Milk Formula

Mama Bear Soy-Based Powder Infant Formula with Iron

Mama Bear Soy-Based Powder Infant Formula with Iron


  • Suitable for cow’s milk allergies and vegans

  • Kosher certified

  • Less expensive than leading brands

  • May be clumpy when mixed

Product Availability Update

This item is currently out of stock on Amazon. We will continue to monitor availability and update the inventory status of these products regularly.

If you’ve identified that your baby does indeed have a cow’s milk protein allergy, but the price of specialty hypoallergenic formulas feels overwhelming, consider this Mama Bear Soy-Based Powder instead. Soy-based formulas are 100% free of dairy, so no lactose, no cow’s milk protein, and no worries for parent and baby. Aside from an allergy, families who follow a vegan diet and wish to raise their child in the same custom will find soy formula perfectly acceptable and nutritionally complete. This Mama Bear Soy formula is also certified Kosher as well as gluten-free.

Mama Bear is an Amazon private label brand, so it is significantly less expensive than other leading brands’ (Enfamil, Similac, Earth’s Best) soy formulas while maintaining top-quality nutrition. This formula contains DHA and AA, no artificial growth hormones, and no GMOs. The reviews from parents are glowing. Not only is the price comfortable, but it has soothed their baby’s symptoms and has a pleasant taste. One downside is that the powder can remain a little clumpy even after mixing, but it was not a dealbreaker.

Price at time of publication: $22

Key Specs:
Carbohydrate Source: Corn syrup | Protein Source: Soy protein isolate | Added Nutrients: DHA, lutein, vitamin E | Form: Powdered

Formulas from Overseas

The below product picks are options from non-United States-based companies that have received FDA approval for distribution in the U.S to help address the formula shortage.

Nestle NAN Supreme Pro 1

Nestle NAN Supreme Pro 1


  • Contains DHA and AA fatty-acids

  • Uses partially hydrolyzed whey protein

  • Not suitable for all ages

Product Availability Update

This item is currently in stock and available online for immediate shipping from Walmart and Amazon.

Nestle is a name you are likely familiar with, but did you know that they also produce exceptional quality baby formulas? The FDA has authorized the sale of the Nestle NAN Supreme Pro 1 formula in the United States during the unprecedented infant formula shortage.

This product is one you can trust and almost identical to infant formulas found in the US. Their Pro 1 formula contains the ever-critical addition of  iron, DHA and AA fatty acids from fish oil, choline for eye and brain development, and the probiotic, bifidobacterium lactis. The Pro 1 formula is what Nestle calls a “starter” formula and is only recommended to be used up until 6 months of age.

Once a baby is 6 months and solid foods are being introduced into the diet, Nestle offers a “transitional” formula called NAN Supreme Pro 2. Many of the base ingredients are the same as the Pro 1, but the quantity of certain nutrients have been adjusted to account for the changing needs and diet of the baby. More specifically, the Pro 2 formula contains more carbohydrates, calcium, slightly more iron, phosphorus, and magnesium, but fewer omega-3s, vitamin A, and oligosaccharides.

The FDA anticipates the arrival of 249, 500 cans (6.5 million 8 ounce bottles) in June/July, and it will be sold on and other online retailers.

Price at time of publication: $39

Key Specs:
Carbohydrate Source: Lactose | Protein Source: Partially hydrolyzed whey | Added Nutrients: DHA, AA, probiotic | Form: Powdered

Bubs Organic Grass Fed Infant Formula Stage 1

  • Third-party tested for heavy metals and contaminants

  • Certified Organic and Non-GMO

  • Not suitable for all ages

  • Not suitable for infants with a soy allergy

Product Availability Update

This item is currently in stock and available for immediate shipping online at Amazon, Target and buybuyBaby.

Similarly to the Nestle NAN formulas, a high quality two-step formula that hails from Australia is now available to American consumers as well. Aussie Bubs strives to provide the best of what nature offers through their line of grass-fed infant formulas. Sourcing milk from grass-fed cows produces a product richer in omega-3s, beta-carotene, lutein, and vitamin E to name a few key nutrients.

Their Stage 2 Formula, which is designed for children over 6 months of age, is certified organic, iron fortified, contains beneficial probiotics and prebiotics for gut health, and is a blend of 50% whey and 50% casein proteins. It is proudly free of palm oil and corn syrup.

Aussie Bubs’ Stage 1 formula delivers the same high quality. Specifically made for the needs of infants 0-6 months old, compared to the Stage 2 formula, Stage 1 provides slightly more whey versus casein protein, more omega-3s, and higher folic acid. Both the Stage 1 and Stage 2 utilize soy lecithin as an emulsifier, so they would not be suitable for babies with a soy allergy. However, their omega-3s are sourced from algae, so these products do not contain fish if that is a dietary concern for your baby or family.

The FDA news release notes that Bubs Australia will plan to provide 1.25 million cans of several varieties, two of which include the Organic Grass Fed Stages 1 and 2 formulas.

Price at time of publication: $41

Key Specs:
Carbohydrate Source: Lactose | Protein Source: Whey protein concentrate | Added Nutrients: DHA, AA, probiotic | Form: Powdered

Kendamil Classic First Infant Milk Stage 1

Kendamil Classic First Infant Milk Stage 1


  • Uses nutrient-dense whole milk

  • Does not contain palm oil, corn syrup, or maltodextrin

  • A Stage 2 formula has not yet been FDA-approved for US delivery

Product Availability Update

This product is now available for shipping in the U.S. online at and available for in-store pickup at select Target stores nationwide.

Kendamil, a proudly 100% British brand, has made its way to the United States. The nutrient profile is similar to US-based products, so you should feel confident giving this formula to your baby. Kendamil uses a whole milk base, a major nutrient source providing satiating and digestible fats, protein and carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and minerals. This product is vegetarian due to sourcing the DHA from algae and avoiding animal rennet. It is also Halal and Kosher Certified.

Kendal Nutricare, the parent company that produces Kendamil, has already imported over 1 million cans of formula and is scheduled for continued shipments. One key point to note is that the Stage 2 formula has not been FDA-approved yet; however, the Stage 1 formula is nutritionally suitable from 0-12 months. The Stage 2 formula, which is intended for babies 6 months and older, is re-formulated to adjust for natural changes in breast milk and the introduction of solids.

Price at time of publication: $34

Key Specs:
Carbohydrate Source: Lactose | Protein Source: Demineralized whey protein | Added Nutrients: DHA, AA, prebiotics, MFGM and HMOs (3-GL) | Form: Powdered

Kendamil Goat First Infant Milk Stage 1

Kendamil Goat First Infant Milk Stage 1


  • Digestive friendly A2 whole milk

  • Does not contain palm oil, corn syrup or maltodextrin

  • A Stage 2 formula has not yet been FDA-approved for US delivery

Product Availability Update

This item is not available in the U.S. yet. We will continue to monitor availability and update the inventory status of these products regularly.

For babies with slightly more sensitive tummies, or even an allergy to cow’s milk specifically, Kendamil brings to the US market their Goat First Infant Milk Stage 1. They source whole milk from A2 goats, which produce milk that is richer in short and medium chain fatty acids, making it easier on digestion. Otherwise, the nutrient profile is similar to cow’s milk formulas in the US, but with slightly higher iron, selenium, and more fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K).

This goat’s milk formula also contains 3’-GL-Galactosyllactose, a postbiotic. Postbiotics are produced when specific strains of bacteria are fermented under strictly controlled environments. These postbiotic byproducts are similar to human milk oligosaccharides that play a role in immune system development.This product is also vegetarian, sourcing DHA from algae and avoiding animal rennet. Additionally, it is Halal and Kosher Certified.

Again, a Stage 2 follow-on formula for babies 6-12 months is not set to be released in the US as of that latest FDA report; however, the Stage 1 formula is nutritionally suitable for babies 0-12 months.

Key Specs:
Carbohydrate Source: Lactose | Protein Source: Demineralized goat whey protein | Added Nutrients: DHA, AA, MFGM and HMOs (3-GL), prebiotics | Form: Powdered

What Parents and Caregivers Should Know About European Infant Formula

In recent years, there has been an increase in consumers purchasing European infant formulas. While you can certainly choose this option for your infant, be mindful of a few key features.

All infant formulas sold and manufactured in the United States must meet the nutrient requirements laid out by the FDA, including iron-fortification standards. The FDA requires that all formulas labeled "iron-fortified" must include 1 milligram or more of iron per 100 calories of formula. According the the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics, this amount is generally sufficient to meet infant needs. European formulas are not necessarily formulated to these standards, so some may have less iron.

In response to the national formula shortage, the FDA has approved more European formulas for sale in the U.S., all of which meet FDA standards for safety. However, they may not have all of the same nutrition content standards of U.S. made formulas, including those for iron.

When purchasing infant formulas that are sold or prepared outside of the United States, pay special attention to iron content. This includes European formulas Holle and Hipp, which have less than 1 milligram of iron per 100 calories. If you choose a formula with lower iron content, speak to a healthcare provider about iron supplementation.

The other major concern is mixing. Formulas sold in the United States typically have mixing instructions of 1 scoop per 2 ounces. Standard European formula is one scoop to 1 ounce–and the instructions may be in Dutch or German. Do your research and, of course, reach out to a healthcare provider or registered dietitian with any questions.

How We Selected

Choosing a baby formula can feel overwhelming. Ingredient lists read like another language, and there are a dizzying number of choices for tired, new parents to choose from. We spent hours doing research on the nutrient profile of baby formulas, paying special attention to the types of carbohydrates and proteins and how they mimic breast milk.

We investigated the statistics and science surrounding infant allergies and intolerances and used those as considerations when comparing products. We also evaluated how ingredients were sourced and looked at their price and availability. The Top Pick was chosen based on these factors, as well as recommendations from parents and our pediatric dietitian expert.

Nicole Lattanzio RD, CNSC, CSP, pediatric dietitian and owner of The Baby Dietitian PLLC, was immensely helpful to inform our knowledge of the nutrient profile of baby formulas and navigate the dozens of choices on store shelves. Nicole has worked exclusively with babies and families for the past five years and is well versed in formulas on the market today. She shared with us which ones work well for her clients and which ones she personally endorses as a dietitian and mother.

What to Look for in a Baby Formula

Protein Sources

Nicole acknowledges that there are loads of different formulas on the market, and there are many pieces to consider. “I look for the protein source first as this is one of the biggest factors in terms of tolerability,” she says. Cow’s milk whey protein is the most commonly found form of protein that more closely mimics the protein found in breast milk.

If your baby suffers from gas, colic, or a cow’s milk allergy, they may benefit from a gentler and more easily absorbed protein, such as hydrolyzed (broken down) casein or whey protein. True milk protein intolerance only impacts about 2-5% of infants under 1 year old.

Carbohydrate Sources

After protein, Nicole looks at the carbohydrate source. “I prefer formulas that have lactose as a primary carbohydrate source as this mimics breast milk. When lactose is not used, alternative carbohydrate sources are used such as corn syrup or maltodextrin.”

Some babies may be born with or develop a lactase deficiency which means they lack the enzyme to break down lactose. This leads to gas, fussiness, vomiting, or diarrhea, and in this case, babies may benefit from a “gentle” formula with the corn alternatives mentioned. Nicole says, “True lactose intolerance in infants is very rare. If there are concerns about excessive gassiness or not tolerating formulas, choosing a new formula based on the type of protein will lead to the most success.” 

DHA and AA

When it comes to fat, formulas contain a mix of different types of unsaturated fats and are low in cholesterol and saturated fats. Some products include two polyunsaturated fatty acids, arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are found in breastmilk. These haven’t traditionally been included in the formula as babies can create them using other fats already found in the formula.

These fatty acids are generally known to be beneficial for baby’s brain and eye development. However, research has not yet shown a clear benefit or harm in providing formulas with these fat additions. Formulas that include AA and DHA may be more expensive.


Pregnant parents are able to pass down iron to their growing baby in the third trimester, and that iron storage will last them through the first four months of life. For formula-fed babies, it is recommended to receive an iron-fortified formula from birth. Most commercially available formulas contain 4-12 mg of iron. If your baby is breastfed or receives a combination of formula and breast milk, check with your pediatrician about iron supplementation.

Form and Preparation

Baby formulas come in powder, liquid concentrate, and ready-to-feed liquid formulas, and there are pros and cons to each kind. Powdered is the most economical. When making a bottle of formula with a powder, be sure to measure out the water ounces first, then add in the powder and shake to prevent concentrating the formula.

Liquid concentrate is a bit less messy and more convenient but may be slightly more expensive. The most expensive option is the ready-to-feed formula, but it is also the most convenient and least messy. Choose the type that works best for your budget and lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much is baby formula?

    Baby formula can be found at a wide range of price points—from as little as $0.48 per ounce to upwards of $1.80 per ounce or more. Powder is the least expensive option though it may be slightly less convenient, while liquid ready-to-feed is the most expensive and most convenient option.

    Thankfully, you can purchase baby formula with SNAP benefits. Also, a pediatric healthcare provider may be able to provide you with samples, coupons or even write you a prescription to help with the cost.

  • When do babies stop drinking formula?

    Typically babies are weaned from formula and/or breastmilk as their primary source of nutrition around 1 year of age. At this time, their digestive system is mature enough to handle cow’s milk, and they are consuming plenty of solid foods to meet their nutrient needs.

  • Can babies drink cold formula?

    Yes, babies can drink cold formula, but that doesn’t mean they will! One of the conveniences of formula is that it can be mixed with cold or room temperature water and given to the baby. It’s perfectly safe to prepare and serve this way as long as the water source is safe, but some babies have a preference for warmer formula, especially if they had started off breastfeeding and are used to the breastfeeding parent's warm, freshly expressed breastmilk.

  • How much formula should I feed my baby?

    The amount of formula you will feed your baby will change over time, and, above all, parents should respond to their baby’s hunger and fullness cues. In the first few days of life, a baby’s stomach grows from the size of a cherry to the size of an apricot, and babies are able to tolerate a mere teaspoon to 2 ounces of milk per feed. This amount increases with each week, and babies can consume upwards of 32-40 ounces of milk per day as they grow older than six months. Remember that every baby’s needs are unique!

  • Can you give baby formula and breastmilk?

    Yes, there is no one “right” way to feed your baby, so if you want to provide breastmilk and formula, that is perfectly fine. You may choose to provide formula because you need to return to work, and the demands of pumping breastmilk are too high, or perhaps you are having difficulties with low milk supply.

    You may choose to give your baby formula bottles during the day and bond with your baby during nursing sessions in the morning and evenings. Choosing to supplement with formula when needed or solely provide formula is a personal choice. It is important to ensure that parents feel supported in making the decision that is right for their baby so that baby gets the high-quality nutrition they need.

Why Trust Verywell Family

As a registered dietitian and mom, Casey Seiden MS, RD, CDCES uses her clinical expertise and mama instinct to evaluate products, taking into consideration the demands of parenthood and the unique needs of each family. While Casey was able to breastfeed and did not provide baby formula to her own child, she did extensive research regarding the science of baby formulas, studied available products on the market, spoke with mothers who used formula, and consulted a pediatric dietitian expert.

Lauren Capacete, MS, RD, LDN is a clinical pediatric dietitian with over five years of experience working with children and families. She is also an adjunct nutrition professor and experienced freelance writer. Through her clinical experience, Lauren has helped families navigate the world of infant formulas, ensuring babies are getting the nutrition they need and that parents are aware of the pros and cons of each formula option, including European-inspired and homemade formulas.

17 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  9. National Archives: Code of Federal Regulations. FDA Title 21 CFR Part 107.

  10. USDA. Feeding infants and meal pattern requirements in the child and adult care food program: questions and answers | food and nutrition service.

  11. Robert D. Baker, Frank R. Greer, The Committee on Nutrition; Diagnosis and Prevention of Iron Deficiency and Iron-Deficiency Anemia in Infants and Young Children (0–3 Years of Age)Pediatrics November 2010; 126 (5): 1040–1050. 10.1542/peds.2010-2576

  12. CDC - Infant and Toddler Nutrition: Iron.

  13. FDA - Enforcement Discretion to Manufacturers to Increase Infant Formula Supplies.

  14. HHS - Information for Families During the Formula Shortage.

  15. Heyman MB. Committee on Nutrition. Lactose intolerance in infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2006;118(3):1279–1286. doi:10.1542/peds.2006-1721

  16. Simmer K, Patole SK, Rao SC. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in infants born at term. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Jan 23;(1):CD000376. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD000376.pub2. Update in: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;(12):CD000376. PMID: 18253974.

  17. American Academy of Pediatrics. Vitamin D & Iron Supplements for Babies: AAP Recommendations.