Baby Formula

Learn more about the different types and forms of baby formula. Discover the average baby formula cost, benefits and popular baby formula brands.

Milk is an important part of your child’s diet because it is rich in important minerals, such as protein and sodium. However, young infants are unable to properly process milk, which is where formula comes in. On average, infants remain on formula for the first 12 months. After this, your infant is able to process traditional milk, although it is not uncommon to keep an infant on formula for several more months.

There are multiple types of formula available. The general benefits are the same among each type of formula, but there may be additional advantages depending on the type of materials used. Another difference is form. Powdered formula must be mixed and stirred with water. Concentrated liquid formula also requires liquid, but not as much as powdered. Ready-to-use formula does not require any mixing. Listed below are some of the benefits and top formula brands for your consideration.

Benefits of Using Baby Formula

For many parents, the biggest benefit of using baby formula over breastfeeding is convenience. With formula, you can feed your infant at any time with minimal hassle. Preparing powder or liquid based formula is a quick and easy process. This convenience also allows you to be more flexible with your schedule. If you want to send your infant to daycare or visit a family member, you can simply pack formula for him or her.

Another convenience with using formula is both parents can participate in feeding. This not only takes some of the burden away from the mother, but it gives the other parent a chance to bond with the infant. Scheduling feedings with formula is also easier, especially during the first few months.

Many mothers also find using formula a freeing experience. With formula, there is less pressure to follow dietary trends to keep your milk healthy. This is an especially welcome change after being pregnant and having limited dietary options. It is also important if you have any health issues, since you are freed up to take whatever medications you need without having to stress about how it affects your milk.

Cost of Baby Formula

Calculating the costs of baby formula is tricky because there are so many brands to consider. There are also different ways of looking at the price, such as calculating costs per day versus each month. There are also different discounts available, such as buying in bulk or using state sponsored programs to reduce the cost of formula. On average, you can expect to spend $20 to 45 each week in formula, before applying discounts. Most parents end up spending around $1,200 to $2,000 each year in formula.

Types of Baby Formula

The standard baby formula is milk-based. This type of formula is designed to mimic the health benefits of milk, but in a more digestible form for infants. If your infant is unable to process milk due to a lactose intolerance, you can instead use an extremely hydrolyzed baby formula, also known as predigested formula. This type of formula contains broken-down milk proteins, which are easier for infants to digest, even with a lactose allergy.

Another alternative is to use soy-based formulas. This type of formula is made with soybeans and supplemented vitamins and minerals. It is not only good for lactose intolerant infants, but also infants with an intolerance to galactose. 

Another consideration is organic baby formula. This is often milk-based, but does not contain any added pesticides, herbicides, hormones or antibiotics normally found in milk-based formula. Finally, special formula is available if your infant was born with a health condition.

If you are unsure which formula is best for your infant, consult your pediatrician. When you are looking at ingredients, make sure you are purchasing an iron-fortified formula. While nearly all formula is iron-fortified, there are some brands that use different ingredients, especially if you are purchasing organic formula.

Similac Pro-Advance Formula

Similac is a popular brand of powdered baby formula because it uses a special milk ingredient, Oligosaccharide, which boosts an infant’s immune system. It also contains other vitamins and nutrients to support brain development and eye health. It is one of the most common baby formulas used in hospitals, making it a reliable choice if you are overwhelmed with formula options.


Enfamil offers several categories of formula. In addition to traditional formula, they offer specialized options to help infants with sensitive stomachs or allergies. NeuroPro contains MFGM and DHA, which are good for brain-building. Enspire contains lactoferrin, to help strengthen immune systems. The company frequently provides coupons and samples if you join the Enfamil Family Beginnings program.

Earth’s Best

If you are interested in organic formula, Earth’s Best is an excellent choice. Unlike many other organic options, Earth’s Best does not use any added syrup for flavors. It is also a good source of protein and carbohydrates. The company provides a gentle formula for infants with sensitive stomachs, as well as both a reduced lactose and soy-based formula.