All About Formula
YES: Enfamil Newborn or Similac Advance (quite similar), Similac Total Comfort, Gerber Good Start. (long discussion of options follows)
NO: Earth’s Best Infant Formula, Enfamil Supplementing, Enfamil Gentlease, Enfamil Premium, Enfamil Infant, Enfamil Regulin and Enfamil AR, Vermont Organics, Similac for spit up and Similac Sensitive, Similac Advance Organic
Enfamil Newborn – Enfamil Newborn is the only Enfamil formula I recommend. It’s 100% lactose sweetened and contains both skim milk and whey. The addition of the whey nudges the protein profile closer to human milk, which has more whey and less casein than cow milk. Recommend in rotation.
Gerber Good Start – Widely available. 100% hydrolyzed whey-protein infant formula. 10-15 years ago some data was published indicated that infant formula based on hydrolyzed, whey-protein infant may reduce the incidence of atopy (eczema, allergy, asthma) and type 1 diabetes. Either way, it does seem to be better tolerated by some babies. All of their formulas use the following FA composition: 46% palm olein oil, 26% soy oil, 20% coconut oil, 6% high oleic safflower or sunflower oil.
Some years ago, the carb source in this formula was 100% lactose but is now 30%-100% maltodextrin.
Gerber has three basic dairy formulas for full term infants – nutritional and ingredient comparison: (1) Gentle contains galacto-oligosaccharides. Carbohydrate is 70% lactose, 30% maltodextrin. (2) Protect and Gentle for Supplementing are the same, both containing b. lactis. Carbohydrate is 70% lactose, 30% maltodextrin. I wonder if they’re discontinuing Protect as an infant formula as it’s no longer listed on their site as an infant option, only an “older babies” option for 9-24 mos. (3) Soothe contains l. reuteri. Carbohydrate is all maltodextrin.
I would prefer all coconut oil for the saturated fat (instead of partial palm oil) and would prefer all lactose, but it’s still one of the better options. Recommend Gentle, Soothe, Gentle for Supplementing in rotation.
Similac Advance – Similar to Enfami Newborn–>100% lactose, which is great. Protein profile is closer to human milk. Unfortunately, they use palm oil for saturated fat, but so do all of the other formulas except for baby’s only. Recommend in rotation.
Similac Total Comfort – Protein is 100% Whey Protein Hydrolysate. Sweeteners are the less preferred corn syrup (glucose syrup) and sucrose (which is 50% fructose). However, no palm oil is used–instead, they use coconut oil for SFA. Definitely not recommended for exclusive use due to the sucrose, but, like the others, good for rotating due to the coconut oil and whey protein.
Holle – caution: no choline. european, expensive to source; whey:casein ratio is closer to human milk. Sadly, they haven’t added choline to the formula and palm oil is used rather than coconut oil. They don’t add DHA, ARA, probiotics, all of which may be pros or cons depending on perspective. The sweetener is organic maltodextrin–no corn syrup. Cows are on pasture. Available from various sellers – ebay, euro pharmacies, etc
Hipp Organics (also European)– caution: no choline. The whey:casein ratio is closer to human milk and lactose is the only added sweetener. The cows are on pasture. Unfortunately, no choline is added and palm oil is used rather than coconut oil. They do add galacto-oligosaccharides, AA, fish oil sourced DHA. Ingredients list. Hipp is available from various sellers – amazon, ebay, euro pharmacies, etc.
Baby’s Only Organic – caution: brown rice syrup, though they do process to remove arsenic and test. available with or without DHA and ARA (only brand using non-hexane extraction for DHA, ARA). They use coconut oil instead of palm due to the sustainability and cruelty issues that generally come with palm oil. They use specially filtered brown rice syrup for carbs (arsenic below limits of detection which is 4 ppb). They used to use lactose, but like other mfg, moved away from it. Though this is technically a toddler formula, Baby’s Only does meet the nutritional requirements for infant formula. My thoughts: I like that they used coconut oil instead of palm. I wish they used all lactose rather than brown rice syrup–but still, one of the better options. Due to the brown rice syrup (rather than lactose) and high casein content, best not used exclusively–recommend in rotation.
WAPF formula– they have formula’s based on cow’s milk, goat’s milk and liver. I think they have the potential to be excellent but any change or error could have profound consequences. A formula kit (of the necessary supplements) is available from radiant life but it’s much, much less expensive (by about 1/3) to purchase the supplements from amazon, iherb or similar. While concerns about homemade formula are generally valid (I mean, this is a growing brain we are talking about here!), this formula was created by a lipid biochemist and later modified slightly by a nutritional biochemist–both PhDs and highly regarded researchers in their fields. The formula meets the FDA nutritional guidelines for infant formula and contains higher quality ingredients than any of the currently available commercial formulas.
Earth’s Best Infant Formula – Not recommended. Good protein profile. Slightly more sweetener than other options; twice as much DHA as other brands.
Enfamil Supplementing, Enfamil Gentlease, Enfamil Premium, Enfamil Infant, Enfamil Regulin and Enfamil AR (“Anti-Reflux”)– They have no lactose (all use corn syrup) and have less preferred protein profiles. Not recommended.
Similac Advance Organic– Not recommended. Sweetened with cane sugar and (as you would expect) is quite sweet tasting compared to other formulas containing glucose, lactose or maltodextrin. Uses only skimmed milk with no added whey.
Similac for spit up and Similac Sensitive– Not recommended. Milk protein isolate is used instead of skim milk and/or whey. additional corn-based sweeteners are used to make up for the lack of lactose.
Vermont Organics – Not recommended. Protein profile less preferred (not enough whey)