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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

11 Best Baby Formula Brands (2024 Guide)

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure.

Look no further for the complete list of the 11 best baby formula brands! With a high-quality and nutritious option for every baby, this guide covers it all from the best European & American formulas to the best vegan and goat milk formulas. In this comprehensive guide, I will lead you through the list of the best formulas on the market today, the differences between American and European brands, answer common questions about baby formula, and more! Let’s get started!

A collage of the best baby formulas on a white background.

Not only can the decision to move to formula be a hard one, but the process of actually choosing the right baby formula can be just as challenging, if not more! One walk down the baby formula aisle and you may be overwhelmed by all of the different options – what nutrients and style does my baby need and which actually is the healthiest baby formula?

When I made the transition from breastfeeding to formula with my daughter, I encountered the same overwhelm and confusion. Being determined to find which baby’s formula option was the most healthy and nutritious for her, I embarked on a journey to learn as much about baby formula as possible. I interviewed doctors and pediatricians, pediatric dietitians, scoured baby formula ingredient lists, read scientific articles on formula ingredients, and more. 

A great byproduct of all of this research is that I can now share all that I’ve learned, saving you the time and effort of doing so yourself! This list is a summary of the best formulas on the market – it is a collection of tried and true formulas as well as newer brands. All are sources of complete nutrition, made with the highest quality ingredients, and are options you can feel great about feeding to your little one. 

A Note On Breastfeeding Vs. Formula

As you may have heard, breast milk is considered to be the gold standard for infant nutrition (source). Unfortunately, however, as many of us have experienced – breastfeeding is hard. It isn’t common to have milk supply or latching issues, overwhelming exhaustion, employers or work schedules that don’t support it, and more. Additionally, for non-birthing parents or adoptive parents, breastfeeding simply just isn’t an option. 

If you are frustrated or disappointed that you aren’t able to breastfeed or need to wean earlier than planned, remember that the most important thing is the love and care you give your baby. Breast isn’t best; FED is best. Thankfully, there are now so many high-quality formula options available for formula-fed infants that you can feel – not just guilt-free – but great about what you choose to give your baby.

But First, A Disclaimer

As a board certified health coach and certified nutritionist, I support products and ingredients that are rooted in science and are evidence-based. Using my background in nutrition, along with extensive research (see below for details), consultations with experts, and my own personal experience giving my two kids formula, I was able to arrive at this list of the best baby formula brands in this guide. This post has also been medically reviewed and fact checked by Katie Drakeford, MA, RD, CSP, LD, CLC (see my about page for more info about Katie).

My baby formula reviews and recommendations are based on:

  • Over 150 hours of in-depth research
  • Speaking with thousands of parents about what formulas have worked for them (along with personal experience of formula-feeding with my own two kids)
  • Reviewing the manufacturer’s claims and ingredients list, stages, and varieties of over 65 different formula brands
  • Speaking with doctors, pediatricians, and dietitians
  • Reviewing countless articles and peer-reviewed studies

Though I may receive a commission (at no extra expense to you) if you purchase through some of the affiliate links provided, I only recommend products I’ve researched, evaluated, consulted experts on, and would feel comfortable giving to my own two children. 

As always, I only share products that are the highest quality and that can help you and your family the most. By purchasing any of these products from the links below, you help keep this blog running, so thanks for your support!

Keep in mind that every baby & situation is different, so when it comes to choosing a baby formula, please consult with your child’s pediatrician first before starting or switching to a new formula. My recommendations are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Baby formula being prepared in a bottle.

At A Glance: The Best Baby Formulas

Before we get into the specifics of which formulas are the best for each category, here is a list of our quick pics! 

Best Overall American Baby Formula

Bobbie Organic Infant Formula

Can of Bobbie organic infant formula.

Why I Love It: In January 2022, a new US-based, healthy baby formula entered the market! Bobbie Organic Infant Formula is by far, the best baby formula made in the US today. It is fantastic for quite a few reasons: this organic formula is made with a European recipe but is made in the United States and is FDA-approved. It also meets the European Union’s nutritional standards and is made with only pasture-raised organic milk from Organic Valley, making it one of the best organic options available today.

A big part of what makes Bobbie the best overall is what it doesn’t contain: there is no corn syrup, sugar solids, palm oil, hexane-derived DHA, GMOs, gluten, or maltodextrin; just only wholesome and natural good-for-your-baby ingredients! It certainly is one of the best baby formulas around, not to mention one of the best American formulas without corn syrup.

Bobbie is formulated for infants aged 0-12 months of age and is not intended for premature babies. It has a whey-to-casein ratio of 60:40 which matches that of mature breast milk, making it gentle on digestion. There is more DHA in this formula than in most American-manufactured formulas, too – it comes in at 20mg/100kcal, the highest percentage in the US market that also meets EU standards. 

There are a few drawbacks of this formula: it does not contain probiotics or prebiotics so you will likely want to supplement with those. It is also made with nonfat milk so an increased amount of vegetable fats need to be added to the formula to reach the macro blend needed to be a complete source of infant nutrition. The formula also only has one stage, which many other American formulas also have. Many European brands have 3 to 4 stages to account for the changes in their formulations which mimic the changes in breast milk as the baby matures. 

Not only is Bobbie available for purchase in Target, but they also have a very convenient and flexible subscription model. To try out the formula before you subscribe, just grab their starter bundle, which offers two cans for the price of one! 

Where To Purchase: Target & Company Website 

Cost: $26 for a 400g (14.1 oz) can, which makes about 105 fl. oz of formula (or $.25/fl oz.).

Pros
Only US-based formula that is made with a European recipe
USDA Organic Certified and non-GMO
FDA-regulated
Meets EU formula nutrition requirements
Whey-to-casein ratio that is identical to that of mature breast milk (60:40 ratio)
No palm oil
No corn syrup, syrup solids, sugar, or maltodextrin
Formulated specifically for infants aged 0-12 months
Made with pasture-raised milk
Lactose is the only carbohydrate
Contains naturally extracted DHA & ARA
Cons
No prebiotics or probiotics
Does contain soy oil, but soy oil does not have the estrogenic components of soy protein so is less problematic
Only one stage of the formula
Not good for premature babies
Not made with whole milk
Buy Now

Best Overall European Baby Formula

HiPP Dutch

Can of HiPP Dutch Stage 1 organic baby formula.

Why I Love It: If you are looking for the best European-style formula that is made in the EU, HiPP Dutch is for you! This EU-brand makes some of the best baby formula in the world. It is organic and non-GMO, certified to European standards, made without sugar, starch maltodextrin, or soy, and it contains probiotics, prebiotics, DHA, and other omega-3s necessary for immune health and cognitive development (source, source). 

Though it does not contain any sugar or starch, the formula is lower in lactose than some other brands of formula, making it gentle on developing little digestive systems. HiPP is also known to reduce symptoms such as colic, constipation, gas, or bloating.

The high quality of this formula combined with their unique formulations for specific ages makes HiPP a fantastic option for parents who want complete nutrition tailored to their baby’s age and developmental needs. The formula comes in 4 different stages, two of which are specifically formulated for your baby’s first year of life. For example, Stage 1 is formulated for babies under 6 months old; I consider it to be the best formula milk for newborns and babies 0-6 months old. Stage 2 is for babies 6-12 months old, making it a great option for older babies who have started to add solids to their diet. (Learn More: HiPP vs. Holle Formula).

Where To Purchase: Organic’s Best

Cost: $48.99 for an 800g can, which makes about 210 fl oz of formula(or $.23/fl oz).

Pros
Organic and non-GMO
Offers different stages of formula starting from birth
Contains probiotics and prebiotics
Non hexane-extracted DHA & ARA
Whey-to-casein ratio is identical to that of mature breast milk (60:40 ratio)
Lactose is the only carbohydrate
Lower lactose for gentle digestion
No corn syrup, sugar solids, starch, or maltodextrin
Carbon neutral company
Cons
Does contain palm oil, but is organically and sustainably farmed
Not made with whole milk
Buy Now

Best Organic Baby Formula

ByHeart Whole Nutrition Infant Formula

Can of ByHeart Whole Nutrition Infant Formula on a pink background.

Why I Love It: ByHeart Whole Nutrition Infant Formula is another new formula in the American baby formula market. Though some parents may be hesitant to try a newer company, this new brand ran one of the largest clinical trials by a new baby formula brand in 25 years. They tested it on 311 healthy babies over 6 months and even compared their formula to breast milk. No other formula companies have done that, proving how trustworthy the company is and how safe and healthy the formula is. Furthermore, ByHeart has received the Project Purity Clean Label award, certifying that each batch of formula has been tested for over 400 contaminants – including heavy metals, pesticides, dangerous microorganisms, and more. 

If you are looking for the best formula for newborns, ByHeart is one of the best organic options. This brand is FDA-approved and made with organic grass-fed whole milk, not skim milk, meaning that they don’t have to augment the milk with as many additional vegetable oils.

Other aspects that set this brand apart are that it is iron-fortified formula and includes two proteins, lactoferrin, and alpha-lactalbumin, that are in breast milk but not in many formulas, making its protein profile the most similar to human milk. Finally, you won’t find any corn syrup or sugar in ByHeart, making it a great infant formula without corn syrup.

ByHeart’s whey-to-casein ratio is 80:20, which mimics breast milk during early lactation (vs. 60:40, which is the ratio for mature breast milk). 

The most significant drawback of ByHeart is that it does not contain probiotics. Some parents have also reported the formula can be foamy when mixed up, but the company reports that mixing it with warm water can reduce this. 

Currently, you can only purchase ByHeart on their company website. They do offer discounts for setting up a subscription service through their site, however.

Where To Purchase: Company Website

Cost: $42 for a 680g (24 oz) can, which makes about 168 fl oz of formula (or $.25/fl oz). Subscribe and save for as low as $39/can (or $.23/fl oz).

Pros
Organic and non-GMO
Clean Label Project Certified
Made with organic grass-fed whole milk (that is not treated with artificial growth hormones)
No corn syrup, sugar solids, or maltodextrin
Non hexane-extracted DHA & ARA
No palm oil
Lactose is the only carbohydrate
Contains prebiotics
Contains lactoferrin and alpha-lactalbumin, two proteins that are also found in breast milk
Made in small batches
Cons
Does not contain probiotics
Whey-to-casein ratio is 80:20 (mimics early breast milk values)
Only available for purchase on the company website
Only one stage of the formula
Some parents report that the formula can be foamy
Buy Now

Best Baby Formula For Breastfed Babies

Kendamil

A can kendamil organic baby formula on a white background.

Why I Love It: Kendamil is a family-owned company based in the Lake District of the United Kingdom. Though they offer a standard and organic version of their formula, their standard formula is made with whole milk from Red Tractor-certified farms, or farms that produce their dairy according to high humane and quality standards, making it safe, traceable, and as nutritious as possible. 

Kendamil’s Organic First Baby milk is made with 100% organic whole cow’s milk. Because both types of formula are made with whole milk, minimal added vegetable oils are needed to supplement the formulas to make them safe for formula feeding. This also makes this milk’s fat profile more natural and similar to the composition of breast milk. 

Otherwise, both Kendamil traditional and organic are vegetarian-friendly, made with non-hexane-extracted DHA, have lactose as their only carbohydrate, and contain at least all of the minimum amounts of necessary vitamins and minerals – such as Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Iron, and Folic acid. They do not contain palm oil and are made without corn syrup or any other syrup or sugar solids, making it another great pick if you are looking for a corn syrup-free formula. 

Where To Purchase: Organic’s Best & Target 

Cost Of Kendamil Organic: $53.99 for an 800g (28 oz) can, which makes about 215 fl oz of formula (or $.25/fl oz). Buy in bulk for as low as $47.99/800g can ($.22/fl oz).

Cost Of Kendamil Classic: $43.99 for an 800g (28 oz) can, which makes about 215 fl oz of formula (or $.20/fl oz). Buy in bulk for as low as $37.99/800g can ($.18/fl oz).

Pros
Red Tractor-Certified or Organic (depending on the version)
Non-GMO
Made with whole milk
Whey-to-casein ratio is identical to that of mature breast milk (60:40 ratio)
No palm oil
Non hexane-extracted DHA & ARA
Vegetarian-friendly
Offers different stages of formula starting from birth
No corn syrup or sugar solids
No starch or maltodextrin
Lactose is the only carbohydrate
Cons
Does not contain probiotics
Buy Now

Best Gentle Baby Formula

Bobbie Organic Gentle

Can of Bobbie Organic Gentle Infant Formula

Why I Love It: There’s good news if you are in the market for a gentle infant formula: Bobbie now makes and offers an Organic Gentle Formula! This cow’s milk-based formula is organic, non-GMO, meets European certifications, and is the first gentle formula to be made with lactose as its only carbohydrate. 

The main difference between the gentle formulation and Bobbie’s classic organic formulation is that the gentle is made with partially hydrolyzed proteins that are broken down into smaller segments called peptides. Such peptides, since they are less molecularly complex, are known to better support gentle digestion in little ones and be easier on sensitive stomachs

Bobbie Organic Gentle is not suitable for babies who have a cow’s milk allergy, as the blend still contains cow’s milk proteins. Discuss hypoallergenic or elemental formulas with your doctor if your baby has such an allergy. This gentle formula is also not made for premature babies and it doesn’t contain prebiotics or probiotics, either. It is, however, made without palm oil, soy oil, corn syrup, and non hexane- extracted DHA and ARA, making it one of the best gentle formulas available in America.

Where To Purchase: Company Website

Cost: $28 for a 400g (14.1 oz) can, which makes about 106 fl oz of formula (or $.26/fl oz). Subscribe and save for 10% off your first month of formula.

Pros
Organic and non-GMO
Made with hydrolyzed proteins to support easy digestion
Whey-to-casein ratio is identical to that of mature breast milk (60:40 ratio)
Clean Label Project Certified
No palm oil
No soy oil
Non hexane-extracted DHA & ARA
Lactose is the only carbohydrate
Vegetarian-friendly
No corn syrup or sugar solids
No starch or maltodextrin
Cons
Not suitable for babies with cow’s milk allergies
Does not contain probiotics
Does not contain prebiotics
Only one stage of the formula
Not suitable for premature babies
Buy Now

Best Hypoallergenic Baby Formula

Similac Alimentum RTF

similac alimentum formula on a white background.

Why I Love It: Similac Alimentum RTF is a liquid ready-to-feed formula that is specifically formulated for infants who have food allergies, colic or lactose sensitivity. Alimentum RTF is  is more hypoallergenic than many European hypoallergenic options and can easily be purchased on Amazon and at many major retailers. 

This hypoallergenic formula is made with hydrolyzed protein that is derived from milk but does not contain any milk protein. It also contains prebiotics, does not contain palm oil or maltodextrin, and has added DHA for brain and eye health. 

I recommend the liquid ready-to-feed formula above the powdered formula, as it has less sugar. Unfortunately, it contains carrageenan which may cause intestinal inflammation (source), but otherwise is a solid option.  Overall, both offerings are good choices when it comes to cow’s milk protein allergy-safe formulas; the form that you choose is ultimately a matter of personal preference, as the liquid is also slightly more expensive. 

If you would rather go for a European hypoallergenic formula, HiPP HA is a great choice. It is non-GMO, made without any added sugar, and is maltodextrin-free. Furthermore, it contains probiotics, prebiotics, and DHA, and is certified to European standards. Because HiPP HA is made with hydrolyzed protein it isn’t as broken down as Alimentum RTF, making it not always the best option for infants with true cow’s milk protein allergy. If in doubt, consult your healthcare provider when choosing the best allergy-friendly option for your child. 

Where To Purchase: Amazon and Target

Cost: $13.29 for a 32 fl oz, or $.41/fl oz, at Target. A pack of 48, 2-ounce bottles (or 96 fl oz of formula) is also available for purchase on Amazon.  Subscribe and save on Amazon for up to 15% off. 

Pros
Hypoallergenic-safe; contains no cow’s milk proteins
Suitable for cow’s milk allergy, colic, food allergies, and lactose sensitivity
Contains prebiotics
No palm oil
Has added DHA and ARA
No maltodextrin
Ready-to-feed options available
EBT Eligible
Vegetarian-friendly
Cons
Does not contain probiotics
Contains carrageenan
More expensive
Buy Now

Best Baby Formula For Acid Reflux And Colic

Enfamil AR

A can of enfamil AR formula on a white background.

Why I Love It:  Made with added rice to prevent excess spitting-up associated with acid reflux and colic, Enfamil AR features a slightly thicker consistency which is clinically proven to reduce your baby’s spit-ups by over 50% in one week. 

This formula meets the American Academy of Pediatrics’ reflux reduction guidelines and contains DHA, ARA, and prebiotics. Though it does contain palm oil and maltodextrin, it is free of corn syrup, and sugar solids, and the only main carbohydrate other than lactose comes from rice. 

An added benefit of Enfamil AR is that it is also sustainably minded: purchase the tub once and then refill it with more affordable cardboard boxes of the formula for easy recycling and reduced plastic usage. 

Like with Similac Alimentum, a good European alternative to this product is HiPP HA. This formula is made with hydrolyzed milk protein and prebiotics to support gentle digestion while being made with all other organic ingredients. It contains non hexane-extracted DHA & ARA and is free of maltodextrin and corn syrup. 

Where To Purchase: Amazon and Target

Cost: $56.99 for an 862g (30.4 oz) box, which makes about 212 fl oz of formula (or $.27/fl oz). 

Pros
Clinically proven to reduce spit-up by over 50% in 1 week
Contains prebiotics
Contains DHA & ARA
More affordable for a specialty formula
Sustainability-friendly
Cons
Not non-GMO or organic
Contains palm oil
Contains soy oil
Contains maltodextrin
No probiotics
Buy Now

Best Affordable Organic Baby Formula

Aussie Bubs Organic Grass-Fed Formula

Can of Aussie Bubs Cow Milk Infant Formula on a white background.

Why I Love It: Though Aussie Bubs Organic Grass-Fed formula is Australian-made, it was approved by the FDA for sale in the United States during the 2022 formula shortage and has been available for purchase ever since! This is an exceptional product, especially for the low price of just $.22 per fluid ounce – the lowest of all organic formula prices!

There is so much more than just the price tag to love about Bubs, however. Their grass-fed variety is organic, non-GMO, and a Clean Label Project Purity award winner, meaning that it is tested for hundreds of contaminants. Furthermore, Bubs does not contain palm oil, corn syrup, maltodextrin, or hexane-extracted DHA. 

Reach for Bubs if you want a high-quality formula that has lactose as the only carbohydrate, probiotics, prebiotics, naturally extracted DHA, more natural fats from a whole milk base, and two stages of formula to progress through as your baby grows. 

Want to read more about this brand? Check out my complete Aussie Bubs Review

Where To Purchase: Amazon and Target

Cost: $39.47 for an 800g (28.2oz) can, which makes about 180 fl oz of formula (or $.22/fl oz).

Pros
Organic and non-GMO
FDA-approved
Certified to Australia’s stricter infant formula standards
Clean Label Project Certified
Whey-to-casein ratio is identical to that of mature breast milk (60:40 ratio)
No palm oil
Made with organic grass-fed whole milk
No corn syrup, syrup solids, sugar, or maltodextrin
Offers 2 different stages of the formula starting from birth
Lactose is the only carbohydrate
Contains naturally extracted DHA & ARA
Vegetarian-friendly
Contains probiotics
Contains prebiotics
Cons
N/A
Buy Now

Best Goat Milk Baby Formula

Jovie

jovie goat milk a2 formula on a wooden table.

Why I Love It: Goat milk baby formula can be another great option for babies who need a gentle digestion option or aren’t tolerating cow’s milk formula well. Whereas most cow’s milk formulas are made with A1 milk protein, goat milk has a different type of milk protein, A2 beta-casein milk protein. Also known as A2 milk protein, this is the same protein that exists in breast milk, making it generally easier for babies to transition to and tolerate (source).

With main ingredients of organic whole goat milk powder and organic lactose, you can feel great about feeding Jovie to your baby. The formula also contains prebiotics, non hexane-extracted DHA & ARA, and is made without palm oil, corn syrup, or maltodextrin. Though Jovie now also manufactures formula in the United States, it is a Dutch brand and is certified to European standards. 

Purchase the stage of formula to best support your baby’s nutritional needs: Stage 1 for 0-6 months and Stage 2 for 6-12 months. Jovie also makes a Stage 3, a toddler formula for babies 12 months+.

Where To Purchase: Organic’s Best

Cost: $63.99 for an 800g (28.2 oz) can, which makes about 182 fl oz of formula (or $.35/fl oz). Buy in bulk for as low as $56.99/can.

RELATED: The Best Goat Milk Formula

Pros
Organic and non-GMO
Certified to European standards
Made to encourage gentle digestion
Made with full cream goat milk
A2 milk protein
Lactose is the only carbohydrate
Contains non hexane-extracted DHA and ARA
Offers 3 stages of the formula starting from birth
No palm oil
No corn syrup, syrup solids, or sugar
No starch or maltodextrin
Contains prebiotics
Cons
Does not contain probiotics
More expensive
Buy Now

Best Sustainable Baby Formula

Holle Bio

Box of Holle BIO Stage 1 organic baby formula.

Why I Love It: Give your baby some of the best in nutrition while being earth-conscious by choosing Holle Bio. Not only is Holle organic and non-GMO, but it is also Demeter certified. This certification is the highest organic certification in Europe, meaning that the farms the milk is sourced from are all chemical-free and only employ practices that promote animal welfare and environmental sustainability (source).  The formula also comes in a cardboard box, making it easier to recycle or reuse. 

This high-quality formula is made with lactose as its only carbohydrate, is vegetarian-friendly, and contains only naturally extracted DHA and ARA. The main drawbacks of it are that it contains palm oil and lacks probiotics and prebiotics. 

Where To Purchase: OBF24

Cost: $28.99 for a 400g (14.1 oz) box, which makes about 100 fl oz of formula (or $.29/fl oz). 

Pros
Organic, Demeter-certified, and non-GMO
Climate positive
Certified to European standards
Lactose is the only carbohydrate
Vegetarian-friendly
Non hexane-extracted DHA & ARA
No corn syrup, syrup solids, or sugar
Offers 4 stages of the formula starting from birth
Cons
Contains palm oil
Does not contain prebiotics
Does not contain probiotics
Buy Now

Best Plant-Based Formula

Bébé M

Can of Bebe M formula - French rice based european vegan baby formula.

Why I Love It: Not only is Bébé M plant-based and dairy-free, but it is also 100% vegan. Due to Vitamin D3 being hard and expensive to source from animal sources, many plant-based formulas do contain D3 derived from lanolin, or the wax-like substance found on sheep’s wool. The Vitamin D3 in Bébé M, however, is 100% vegan, making this one of the few only truly vegan formulas currently available. 

Bébé M is manufactured in France, meaning that it is certified to European standards. It can be purchased in the United States through online retailers and is available in three different stages of formula to support every stage of your baby’s development. Every stage is made without palm oil and contains naturally extracted DHA. Though the formula does have ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid, it does not contain ARA, prebiotics, or probiotics.

Because this organic formula does not contain dairy, lactose, nuts, or gluten, it is a great allergy-friendly option for babies who have milk intolerances or allergies. It’s made from rice and designed to aid with symptoms of reflux. It is important to note, however, that this product is labeled as “Foods for special medical purposes (FSMPs)” and should be only given under medical supervision. Always consult your pediatrician before introducing the formula to your baby.

Where To Purchase: OrganicsBestShop.Com

Cost: $64.99 for a 600g (21.2 oz) can.

Pros
Certified organic and non-GMO
Certified to European standards
100% vegan
Made with 100% vegan vitamin D3
Dairy-free
Allergen-friendly
Offers 3 stages of the formula starting at birth
No palm oil
Contains naturally extracted DHA
Cons
Contains maltodextrin
Is more expensive
Does not contain ARA
Does not contain probiotics
Does not contain prebiotics
Buy Now

What To Look For When Choosing Baby Formula

Shopping for a baby formula can be overwhelming! Formula marketing and product labeling highlight the selling points of their products, but what really matters when you are choosing a baby milk formula for your baby? 

Here’s a quick list of what to keep your eye out for: 

  • Lactose As The Main Carbohydrate: Just as lactose is the main carbohydrate in breast milk, you want to choose a formula that has lactose as the number one carbohydrate in formula. Ideally, the formula will only have lactose, but if it has other forms like rice, lactose will be first on the ingredient list. 
  • Complete Nutrition: Choose a formula that meets the nutritional standards set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States or the European Commission in the EU. By doing so you can know that the formula contains all of the essential nutrients your baby needs for healthy growth and development.
  • USDA Organic: When buying formula for your baby look for one that is certified USDA organic. This means that it was produced with only natural pesticides and does not contain GMOs or hormones. Most organic formulas also will not contain any artificial ingredients, ensuring that it is as natural and nutritious as possible. 
  • Whey-To-Casein Ratio: To encourage gentle digestion, you want to find a formula that has a whey-to-casein ratio of 60 whey protein to 40 casein protein, or that which is the ratio of mature breast milk. 
  • Added DHA & ARA: DHA (or, docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (or, arachidonic acid) are fatty acids that should be added to the formula, as they are both present in human breast milk. Both of the acids have been determined to help with eye and brain development and immune system responses, making them essential criteria ingredients in the best infant formula (source). 
  • No Added Sugars, Corn Syrup, Or Syrup Solids: If it isn’t in breast milk, why add these processed ingredients to baby formula? If shopping for a goat or cow’s milk based formula, the best choice is always one that contains lactose as the primary carbohydrate, not corn syrup or other sugars. If shopping for a hypoallergenic or plant-based formula, look for its main ingredients to be natural and non-sugar-based, such as rice, soy, or pea protein.
  • Probiotics: Since breast milk contains probiotics, it is best to also look for a formula that contains them. Probiotics help to build healthy gut flora for your baby, bolstering their immune system and more (source). If a formula you choose otherwise looks like a great pick but doesn’t contain probiotics, consider supplementing the formula with an infant probiotic
  • Prebiotics: These are the food ingredients that probiotics feed off of. HMO prebiotics, also known as human milk oligosaccharides, are present in human milk and are known to bolster the baby’s immune and digestive system (source). If possible, choose a formula that has these added.

What To Avoid When Choosing Baby Formula

  • Added Sugars: Look for a formula that doesn’t contain added sugars in the form of syrups or syrup solids. Some to look out for are corn syrup, maltodextrin, sugar, or brown rice syrup, corn sugars, and syrup solids.
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): It is important to avoid GMOs when shopping for baby formula because they are known to be toxic to young children, may increase risk of developing food allergies, can alter the nutritional value of food, and more (source).
  • Hexane-Derived DHA And ARA: The DHA and ARA added to formulas can be extracted from algae and fungus naturally using water or chemically by using hexane, a neurotoxic petroleum-based solvent. While hexane is undetectable in the formula after processing, finding a formula that has naturally derived DHA is usually the best option.
  • Synthetic Preservatives Or Stabilizers: The more natural the formula, the closer it can potentially be to breast milk. Some preservatives and stabilizers to watch out for beta carotene, ascorbyl palmitate, and carrageenan (source 1, source 2).
  • Soy Or Soy-Based Formulas: Too much soy in infancy or otherwise has been linked to early menstruation and potentially other issues (source), making soy formulas a category to avoid if possible.
  • Palm Oil: Some infant formula brands add palm oil to their formulas to create a fatty acid composition similar to that of human milk. This is problematic because researchers have discovered that palm oil inhibits the absorption of DHA, fat, and calcium as well as causing digestive issues (source), making an ingredient to avoid whenever possible.
Feeding bottles with baby formula, pacifier, toys and towels on light grey table indoors.

What Are The Differences Between American & European Baby Formula? 

Unfortunately, many baby formulas made in the US contain at least one of the problematic ingredients listed above. There are newer American-made organic baby formulas, such as Bobbie and ByHeart, that have much better ingredient profiles, but European baby formulas can also be a great option for new parents to consider. 

Here are the main differences between American and European Formulas:

  • Regulating Body: U.S. formulas are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the FDA, whereas European formulas are regulated by the European Commission. The European Commission sets much stricter standards for their formula, as outlined in the following bullet points. 
  • Carbohydrates From Lactose: The European Commission requires that at least 30% of the carbohydrates in the formula come from lactose. Furthermore, they do not allow sucrose or corn syrup in baby formula (source). The FDA does not currently have a set carbohydrate standard and does allow the use of corn syrup in formula milk.
  • Organic & Non-GMO: European formulas are required to be organic and non-GMO whereas the FDA does not currently require American formulas to be either. 
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Formula sold in the EU is required to contain DHA. American formula brands are not required to add it (source 1, source 2 ).
  • Vitamin D: An important supplement for babies who are recommended to avoid sun exposure, vitamin D aids in calcium and phosphorous absorption (source). American formulas are required to deliver 20 IU of vitamin D per 100 calories, whereas European formulas must contain at least 40 IU per 100 calories (source). 
  • Synthetic Chemicals And Preservatives: Formulas made in the EU are not allowed to contain any synthetic ingredients. U.S. formulas, on the other hand, are allowed to contain some (source). 
  • Iron: The minimum amount of iron required to be in European baby formula (1.3 mg/100kcal)  is lower than that which is required to be in American formulas (1.8 mg/100kcal; source). 
  • Stages: Many European formula brands make different stages of formula for different ages of babies, replicating the changes in the profile of breast milk as babies get older (source). Almost all American formulas, on the other hand, only sell one stage of infant formula.

RELATED: 6 REASONS WHY PARENTS ARE OBSESSED WITH EUROPEAN BABY FORMULA

What Are The Different Types Of Baby Formula?

When you are shopping you will likely see that there are many types of infant formulas to choose from. Here’s a rundown of the different categories: 

  • Cow’s Milk Formula: Most formulas fall into the category of cow’s milk-based formula. To make this type of formula, cow’s milk is altered and enhanced to resemble breast milk so that it is more easily digestible while being a complete source of nutrition for babies. 
  • Hypoallergenic Formula: These formulas are for babies who have allergies or other serious health problems related to digesting cow’s milk formula. There are several types of hypoallergenic formulas including partially hydrolyzed, extensively hydrolyzed, and free amino acid-based to choose from.
  • Goat Milk Formula: This formula is made with goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk. You may want to consider this option for a baby who has a cow’s milk sensitivity. Note: if they have a diagnosed cow’s milk protein allergy, your child’s doctor will likely recommend a hypoallergenic formula for them. 
  • Plant-Based FormulaIf you are looking for a formula that is made with predominantly vegan or plant-based ingredients, plant-based, dairy-free, or vegan formulas are for you! Instead of being made with milk, they are made with rice, pea protein, or soy proteins. Vegan formulas are made with all plant-based ingredients as well as plant-derived vitamin D3. Plant-based formulas are made with primarily vegan products, except for ingredients such as animal-derived vitamin D3. Dairy-free formulas are made without milk-based products.

Different Forms Of Formula

Each of the above types of formula can come in a selection of different forms. They are: 

  • Powder: The most common form of formula is powder formula. It often comes in a canister or plastic container with a scoop and is mixed with water for easy reconstitution. Powdered formula is popular because it travels well, has a decently long shelf life, and tends to be more affordable and available for purchase.
  • Liquid Concentrate: This form of formula is a concentrated liquid. These liquid formulas are mixed one-to-one with water. Because of their convenience, they tend to be more expensive than powdered formulas. Furthermore, parents need to be sure to not add too much water when reconstituting the formula for feeding. 
  • Ready-To-Feed: For utmost convenience, choose a ready-to-feed formula. As the name implies, this formula is sold in small containers which contain formula that just needs to be poured into a bottle to feed. This form is the most expensive and also can be prone to error if formula preparers accidentally add additional water to it before feeding.
Baby drinking best palm oil free baby formula - Bobbie formula out of a bottle.

FAQs

What is the closest formula to breast milk?

Baby formulas are intended to be a substitute or a supplement for breast milk. You might assume most formulas would then be designed to closely resemble breast milk in their ingredients. However, many formulas on the market contain synthetic ingredients. Lactose is the main carbohydrate source in breast milk. The other main components of breast milk are proteins and fats. Finding a formula that features lactose as the main carbohydrate, whey as the protein, and a fat blend that doesn’t contain palm oil is the way to go when looking for a formula that most closely resembles breast milk.

Which formula do breastfed babies prefer?

If you are looking to supplement breastfed babies with formula or transition them to formula altogether, the best formula for infants is one that has a whey-to-casein ratio of 60:40 (the same as that of mature breast milk), has a smooth and creamy texture similar to human milk, and that does not cause indigestion, spit-up, or allergy issues. A few formula brands that fit this criterion are Bobbie, HiPP, Aussie Bubs, ByHeart, Holle, and Kendamil.

Are baby formulas FDA-regulated?

Yes, all formula brands that want to go to market in the United States need to meet FDA regulations before hitting store shelves. The FDA sets safety standards, such as a minimum number of nutrients, the safety of the formula ingredients, and the accuracy of product labeling, and more that need to be met before being approved (source).

This regulation standard applies to both American-made and select European-made formulas that are available for purchase in American stores, as select European brands have been approved by the FDA for sale in the U.S. in response to the 2022 formula shortage.

What is actually the best baby formula?

There are currently many different great brands of healthy and quality baby formulas available for sale. The best formula for babies is the one that your baby likes, is made without corn syrup, has lactose as the only carbohydrate, is made with as many natural ingredients as possible, and fits your family’s budget. Some of my top recommendations for baby formula are Bobbie, ByHeart, HiPP, Kendamil, and Aussie Bubs.

Is organic formula better than conventional?

From a health perspective, organic formula is better than conventional formula because it is free from pesticide residue. It is also made under stricter regulations, ensuring a higher quality product. Because of this, organic formulas are often more expensive and can therefore be cost-prohibitive for families. 

If an organic formula is out of your family’s budget, consider a non-GMO formula, as it will at least not contain any genetically modified ingredients or herbicide residues, which are thought to be detrimental to babies and young children (source). For a more affordable organic brand, consider Aussie Bubs. It is one of the most budget-friendly organic formulas available, coming in at $.22/fl oz.

Can I switch baby formulas?

Though it is generally safe to switch baby formulas, it is often wisest to do so after speaking with your baby’s pediatrician. All formulas approved for sale are tested to be safe and complete sources of nutrition, but some will have protein profiles and flavors that make it easier to transition between.

So, if you decide to make the switch after consulting your doctor, it is recommended to find a formula that has a whey-to-casein ratio similar to that of the original formula.

Furthermore, make the switch to the new formula gradually, mixing the old and new formulas for a few days before slowly increasing the amount of the new formula and decreasing the amount of the old formula until the transition has been made to entirely the new formula. Note that some burping or light indigestion is normal when switching brands; if it continues beyond a few days, however, contact your doctor.

How do I know if my baby cannot tolerate baby formula? 

Signs of baby formula intolerance are: 
* Unusual fussiness or crying 
* Resists sleeping and eating
* Cries more often than usual
* Diarrhea 
* Blood in the stools 
* Vomiting
* Is in pain: wiggles, squirms, tenses muscles, or pulls legs up to their belly 
* Makes uncomfortable faces such as squeezing eyes closed or frowning
* Slow weight gain 

If your baby shows any of these signs after starting a new formula, consult your pediatrician immediately (source).

When do babies stop drinking formula?

Babies can start the process of transitioning off of formula after 1 year. At this time, the American Academy of Pediatrics (or AAP), recommends transitioning babies to whole cow’s milk.

For the most success, make this transition gradually as you would if you were switching formulas (see “Can I switch baby formulas?” above for reference). Also, don’t ever transition babies off of formula or breast milk before 1 year, as the rapid rate of growth and development that babies experience from 0-12 months old requires additional nutrition that formula or breast milk has but whole milk does not.

What should I do if I can’t find my baby’s formula?

If you are ever in a position where you cannot find your baby’s formula in stores or online through reputable trusted retailers, reach out to your baby’s pediatrician. They may have extra cans of formula or be able to reach out directly to a manufacturer to procure formula for you. If they do not have the formula or cannot otherwise source it for you they can also make recommendations for other brands to switch to.

Though some experts say that you do not need to reach out to your healthcare provider if you run out of formula, since many brands of American formula are very similar (source), you will certainly want to do so if your child is on a hypoallergenic, anti-gas or colic, or sensitive formula. 

Final Thoughts

I hope this list of the best formula brands helped you in your decision-making process. There is no perfect formula, but all of the options on this list are the best of their kind. Always discuss your formula choice with your doctor. For any additional medical-related questions, you will also want to consult them.

If you have tried any of these formulas or have discovered any other fantastic brands, please share them in the comments section below – I love reading your comments and respond to every note I get! 

More Baby Formula Guides!

34 responses to “11 Best Baby Formula Brands (2024 Guide)”

  1. Hello,

    I know you had Baby’s Only toddler formula on the list but what about Babys Only Organic Premium Baby Formula?

    Thanks

    • Hi David! I actually recently updated this post to include it, because Baby’s Only Organic Infant Formula is a great option and has really high quality ingredients! Thanks for asking! 🙂

  2. Thank you for all the helpful information! This has been great as I explore options to transition my newborn to something cleaner. I was wondering what your thoughts are on Aussie Bubs formula?

    • Hi Brianna! Aussie Bubs is a great formula option, they’re just not made in the US which is why I don’t list them in this particular post. Hope that helps!

  3. Hi! What do you think of the newer Similac 360 formula? I am concerned with any formula by Abbott because of the factory shut downs.

    • Hi Patsy! The newer Similac 360 formula is fine in the sense that it doesn’t contain added sugar or glucose syrup solids, but my main issue with it is that it’s not organic, so it isn’t ideal in that sense. I would recommend one of the US formulas on this list instead of Similac. Hope that helps!

    • Hi Ann! ByHeart is great, but their waiting list has been so backed up that it’s almost impossible to even get on the waiting list, let alone get the formula. Once they open up fully for distribution I’m planning to add them to this list!

    • Hi Lexie! ByHeart is great, but their waiting list has been so backed up that it’s almost impossible to even get on the waiting list, let alone get the formula. Once they open up fully for distribution I’m planning to add them to this list!

      • Where would By Heart land on this list! I had twins in August and bought Bobbie hoping both of them would tolerate it and only one of them tolerated it. I was so sad it wasn’t both of them!! I am looking for something for my little guy that is more sensitive on his stomach. If I had to do a formula with less lactose or non what would you recommend? This article is so helpful! Thank you for all your research!

      • Hi Victoria! ByHeart is a great formula and I would basically put it in a tie with Kendamil Organic in terms of ingredients (they use whole milk, coconut oil, prebiotics, proteins found in breastmilk, etc)! The issue with ByHeart right now is availability, which is why I haven’t included them on this list yet. I think they are backlogged for a few months so I’m waiting until they get more inventory to list them here. But I would totally recommend ByHeart and think they are a good option. Hope that helps!

  4. What are your thoughts on Serenity Kid’s toddler formula? How would you rank it? It’s another one that meets FDA standards for infant formula but is marketed for 12+ month use.

    • Hi Chelsea! Serenity Kid’s Toddler formula is actually great! I’d rank it right alongside Baby’s Only With Whey, since it has really good ingredients but is technically still a toddler formula. I didn’t know it met the nutritional requirements for infants, which is why I didn’t originally include it on this list! But I see on their website they have said it meets infant nutrition needs in their FAQs, so I’ll be updating this list very soon 🙂 Thanks and hope that helps!

      • Hi Annie! Burt’s Bees Organic formula is a good option! I’d say it’s actually comparable to Happy Baby Organic – I’m adding them to this list now! 🙂

    • Love this so informative thank you so much! I am giving my baby Kabrita thanks to you. My doctor said it was ok for my newborn. However I’m a little concerned and might switch her to a sensitive formula. Wish there were more options on that or that those were higher (better) on the list. If you have discovered new good sensitive formulas let us know please !

      • Hi Jennifer! I’m so glad you found this guide helpful!! I would talk to your pediatrician about whether it’s necessary to switch your daughter to a sensitive formula – if they said Kabrita will work well for her – you might be fine just sticking with Kabrita! Otherwise, if you’re looking for a formula that’s as close to breastmilk as possible, I’d try Bobbie. And yes, I’ll be sure to update this post if I find better sensitive formulas made in the US! Hope that helps!

  5. I’ve been reading a lot about metals in baby food, can you please provide some details on metals in baby formula and the best formulas for low metals?

    • Hi Ray! Bobbie has been tested for purity and is free of heavy metals, as are most other organic formulas on this list! From what I know, it’s the non-organic baby formulas that may have more of an issue.

    • Hi Lana! Similac Pure Bliss is not organic, but it is grass fed (that means that the grass the cows are eating could still be sprayed with pesticides, antibiotics can still be used, etc.). It doesn’t have any added sugar, but it does have some of the synthetic nutrients I recommend avoiding. I’d recommend Bobbie or one of the other truly organic formulas on my list instead!

  6. Hi! You are doing such important work – thank you for this thorough information! It’s been so helpful as I navigate what to give my baby. Is the Happy Baby organic sensitive formula the same as the regular formula you have listed here in terms of the same cleanliness of ingredients?

    • Hi Ashley! The Happy Baby Sensitive Formula isn’t as clean as the regular formula on this list (it’s not even as clean as Happy Baby’s Regular Organic Infant Formula). That’s because, in order to make the formula work for sensitive tummies, you have to remove the lactose in the formula and modify the milk proteins in some cases. When you do that, you have to add in other carbohydrates — usually glucose syrup and/or maltodextrin to balance out the lack of lactose. While that’s not ideal, it’s the best option if you have to use a sensitive or hypoallergenic formula. So if you don’t need a sensitive formula, I wouldn’t recommend going with any sensitive or hypoallergenic formula over a regular one. But if you do need a sensitive formula, then the Happy Baby one is a great option and better / cleaner than most sensitive formulas on the market today. Hope that helps!

    • Hi! They are both great honestly. It really just depends on your preference on what you want to supplement with! Kendmail contains prebiotics, no soy oil, and has DHA + ARA, but it does contain a few synthetic ingredients (however, I have verified with Kendamil that those ingredients aren’t extracted using chemical solvents, so I don’t think including those ingredients is an issue for Kendamil). Kendamil is also made in Europe. Bobbie doesn’t contain pre or probiotics, and I haven’t found a prebiotic supplement for babies yet, so supplementing with that could be tough. It also contains soy oil, but has no synthetic ingredients. Bobbie is made in the US. So it’s really just a question of whether you are ok not having prebiotics at all in your baby’s formula, whether you’re ok with soy oil, and whether you don’t want any synthetic nutrients (and if you have a preference on location of production) to determine whether you should choose Bobbie or Kendamil! You could also just pick one, see how your baby does, and if they do well, then stay on it, and if they don’t do well then try the other one! Hope that helps!

  7. Thanks for the great review! How do you know these toddler formulas are ok to give to infants under 12 months? Are they also vetted by the US FDA? My pediatrician didn’t agree that toddler formulas could be safely used in infants, especially the European ones.

    • Hi Megan! All of the toddler formulas on this list (Baby’s Only, KabritaUSA) are not European formulas – they’re made in the US as well, and therefore have to be approved by the FDA! Both Baby’s Only and KabritaUSA say their formulas meet the nutritional requirements for infants, but Baby’s Only markets theirs as a toddler formula because they want to promote breastfeeding in the first year, and KabritaUSA started as a toddler formula because of their European milk source. I know many pediatricians and parents who are comfortable using Baby’s Only and Kabrita USA for infants, but ultimately it’s up to you and your pediatrician to decide which formula is best for your little one! That said, before January of 2021, Baby’s Only and KabritaUSA had the cleanest ingredients of any organic formula on the market today, but now there is an FDA approved infant-specific formula — Bobbie Organic Infant Formula — which I would recommend above Baby’s Only and KabritaUSA! Hope that helps clarify!

  8. Hi!
    I had a question about powdered formula vs ready to feed. I’ve been told you shouldn’t use powdered formula with newborns due to some type of bacteria potentially found in powdered formula. Is this true? All the options for ready to feed have terrible ingredients and I would rather supplement my newborn with Loulouka than an US ready to feed formula.

    • Hi Danielle! Powdered formula isn’t recommended for preemies or immunocompromised newborns because yes, technically, since your fingers touch the formula scoop and that goes back into the formula powder, there is bacteria from your hands that can get into the formula powder. But for healthy, full term babies, this typically is not an issue (provided your pediatrician isn’t concerned about it for your baby). The most important thing is to wash your hands and dry them well before touching the formula scoop and preparing formula for your baby. I would also talk to your pediatrician to make sure there isn’t any specific reason you should use ready to feed formula over powdered formula for your baby. I used powdered formula with both of my kids in newborn/infancy and had no issues, but they were both full term healthy babies. Hope that helps!

  9. I’ve been reading your posts regarding baby formula. I woyld really lime to try the kabrita but my baby is two months old. Is this safe for her with the nutrients she needs since it us marketed for 12 to 24 months

    • Hi Nicole! Kabrita USA is technically formulated to meet the nutritional requirements for infant formula. I know lots of parents who have used it for their infants successfully. That said, I would just check with your pediatrician to make sure they are comfortable with you using Kabrita for your 2 month old before you start using it!

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