46 answers

Best Formula for Newborns

I am having a baby in 5 weeks and am unsure what formula to feed my baby. This is my second child. My first child we gave her Similac as the hospital offered however she spit up a lot and we ended up putting her on Similac Soy which still seemed very harsh on her belly.
I've been told by many friends that they prefer Enfamil however the prices are so high for both Similac and Enfamil. I am wondering if anyone prefers any other "generic" cheaper brands or any comments on whether to try to Similac again with this child or switch to Enfamil. Currently the hospital that I will have my baby only carries Similac or Good Start so I assume those are my options while we are there. By the way I would love to breastfeed however I had a lot of trouble with my milk supply with my first and I'm not ready to go through the stress again with this child. Any advise would be helpful.

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More Answers

have you considered breast feeding? It is truly the BEST food for babies.

You can also make your own formula if breast feeding is not an option. Please visit the website www.westonaprice,org and look under the feeding babies section for more information.

Soy is a terrible food and formulas made from soy should be avoided.

Hope this helps and good luck to you.

1 mom found this helpful

I find it sad that you need to explain why you are not breastfeeding and justify your choice to use formula - especially in this forum. Yes I'm a huge fan of breastfeeding but it's always better to reduce stress in a family!

My son was breastfed but still half his feedings were bottles (often formula made with Breast milk). He is both soy and milk intolerant and we had to get prescription formula. In CT, insurance is required by law to cover the cost - although they will deny the claims and make you go through hoops to get it (just put a copy of the law in with your claim - that's what I did!). If your baby is more than a little fussy and it lasts more than a week or so, ask your pediatrician about other formulas - a baby needn't be in pain to eat.

1 mom found this helpful

I would check with your doctor first of course but I can say I am a mom of 4 (15,12,5,4). I used Similac for my first son since there was no generic brands. Once the generic brands came out and studies showed they were equivalent and just fine I used them and loved them. I mainly used Walmart brand (powder)and loved the price,and mixed great. My doctor says our kids are the healthiest (we never need to see her) so generic worked for me. Don't worry. Start with the inexpensive ones and then go from there if it doesn't work. :)

gosh, I echo the suggestion to keep an open mind about breastfeeding. Its free, best for baby (and mom) and does not have to be stressful if you have the right help. In fact I have found breastfeeding to be the most relaxing, enjoyable experience you can have with your baby. If you need help figuring out why it was so stressful and how you can remedy that with this baby, we are all here to help! I know we have all had our challenges with breastfeeding in the beginning, that's what groups like Le Leche League, and mamasource are for. There are countless remedies and options for you. Put the word out and we are all there to help! Either way good luck!

Firstly, I would recommend that you at least try the breastfeeding again with your upcoming new child... you may find it easier this time around because you aren't experiencing everything for the first time. Plus, maybe this baby will take to it better?

Regardless, when we switched to formula, we went with our ped's recommendation of Enfamil Lipil and that seemed to go down fine with our DD.

good luck!

I just want to second the suggestion that you keep an open mind about breastfeeding. With some good support, it could prove less stressful than fussing over formula.

Hi M.
I think that whether a baby is breastfed or bottle fed a lot of them go through phases of gas, constipation, or fussiness. With my kids it always seemed to be the case whenever I changed their feedings in any way. If I upped their food intake then they would have a week of gas and constipation until their little belly adjusted to the change. If I started them on cereal, same thing...and so on. So you have to allow for some of that. Their little body is still so new that it doesn't take much to throw it off. I think sometimes it is more of an immaturity issue than anything else. Just be patient and you will find what works for your little one. Just like a breastfeeding mom has to eliminate certain foods from their diet to find out why their baby is not tolerating their milk, it is the same with formula. You need to test different ones before you find what is causing the problem.
Good luck with your new little one. It will be so nice for your daughter to have a little sister to play with :)

The best formula is breast milk. That's it.
You should talk to a lactation consultant if you had troubles before. It's just not fair to your child to say you won't even try.

We found the similac to be way to harsh also. We used goodstart and loved it. you can register on goodstart web site and get coupons in the mail. I don't think you have to go with what the hospital offers. you could always bring in your own. I have heard that the parents choice from walmart is good and is much less expensive. I think it is better to start with one and see if it works rather than use one in the hospital and change it when you get home. check with the hospital and see if you can bring your own.

I used all forms of Similac (regular, sensitive, soy) and I also used Enfamil (because the hospital did) and they all seemed to work fine. I would make sure if you want to use a brand to sign up for mailings and coupons on their websites. I always had $4 and $5 coupons off, i never paid full price.

My daycare provider suggested I use Target brand, same ingredients but only $12 a can instead of $28-ish. I've been using that for a while and it's been fine as well.

Also, every baby is going to be different, so I would try what you have (if you sign up you get a lot of free samples) and just buy whatever works. Good luck!

My daughter also had stomach problems as a newborn and was on the similac lactose-free formula when I wasn't nursing , which was expensive. After she was about six months old a friend told me about the Parent's Choice brand at Wal-Mart, I decided to try it as it has all the same nutritional aspects right on the label in comparison to similac and enfamil. It comes in every variety: soy, lactose free, organic, etc. and it is literally half price. The formula was great for my daughter, never noticed a difference in taste or bothered her stomach and she stayed on it until she was one and I switched her to soy milk. I would reccomend trying it it saved us a lot of money, and I truly felt the quality ws good.

One of my boys was born early, needed supplemental formula, and he had bigtime digestive issues. Not only was it cheaper, but to our surprise he actually did BEST on the Costco formula! We discovered this after trying Similac liquid, regular powder, soy, hypoallergenic, etc. Separately, my nephew (a few months older) couldn't tolerate any formula besides the Walmart brand - my sister tried all the major brands and he really struggled. Go figure.

Hi! I had the same problem with supply with my first child. I found a great generic brand at shaws and another one at walmart. The organic version was still half the price of regular similac! I can't remember exactly what they were called but they were the only generic brands at those stores. On a side note I would really encourage you to try breastfeeding again. When it came time for my second (only 16 months after my first!) I assumed I would formula feed. I half heartedly decided to give bf another try for a 6 week trial. Those 6 weeks were not fun. I did not enjoy breastfeeding at all altho I had a good supply this time I think because I was eating more. I tried to quit after 6 weeks but my son wasn't into that! I kept it up for another couple miserable weeks and then suddenly it just got better. My supply regulated. My nipples and breast weren't sore. My son and I had established a good routine. Now he is 10.5 months old and I LOVE breastfeeding! I could never have imagined that was possible! It's such a nice time to snuggle and bond with my little guy. Of course every situation is different and formula is FINE! I just wanted to let you know it may be possible to do this second time around:) best of luck with your new baby!!


Almost all mothers can successfully breastfeed their babies with the right information and support. Please feel free to contact me, Patty Kostka, I'm one of the La Leche League Leaders in Cumberland/Lincoln group, ###-###-####. I'd would be glad to send you information or have you attend one of our meetings. I originally got involved with League because my son was not gaining well. We got off to a rough start, emergency C section, sleepy baby, not enough information or support. With the help of La Leche League I was able to increase my milk supply and he was fully breastfed However, if I had known what I know now...we could have prevented the low supply issue in the first place. Please call me or another La Leche League Leader, we may be able to help you.
Go to www.lalecheleague.org for more information and local leader listings.

Patty Kostka

JUST A THOUGHT..maybe the breast feeding will be different with this one.. did anyone tell you to try herbs for milk production.. they are used in hospitals in australia and europe. I used/ use them.
one is called fenugreek or there is a mother's milk tea sold by herbal traditions.
you have five weeks.. maybe do some research. I guess you need to relax also.. too much stress causes you to loose milk and the more you let your baby feed the more milk you will make. good luck either way.

We used the Similac Advance for both of out kids. The formula has improved since our 2 y/o son was born. Our 5 mos old daughter is on the newest Immune Defense or something. She does not have the constipation issues that our son dealt with. Different kids, different experiences. Enjoy! 1+1 does not equal 2! :)

when my daughter was born she was started on good start. it's a good formula. unfortunately she has some gastric problems and we had to change her but it's not expensive and if you sign up on their website they give great coupons. good luck!

my daughters both used goodstart because it was the only one that they seem to have no gas issues with. If there was a generic brand with the comforts protiens I would have bought it. Generic brands are the same and are way less.

First of all. Do not let anyone tell you that you NEED to try to breast feed again. If it is going to put you through to much stress then that is worse for the baby, and your recovery.

I have found the best prices at BJs for formula, and the Good Start is actually cheaper then the Similac. And every baby is different, so I would even try the BJ's brand formula, and see how your baby takes it. If there are not issues then stick with it. It is much cheaper! And I don't work for them I promise.

But as far as the breast feeding goes. I tried with my first and we suffered for the first 5 weeks because it was so painful for me. Then with my second I figured I'd give it a try again, but not that long (I was unemployed so it was cheaper). The second one worked much better and we were successful at it until 6 months when she started eating more solids, and my milk decided it didn't like the adjustment. So it's all up to you, do what's best for you, because in the long run, that is what is best for the baby as well. Plenty of MIT and Harvard grads I'm sure were bottle fed!

I know little about powdered formulas except it was determined on here last week that the generic brand formulas, much less in cost, had identical components as the expensive ones.
Now, I would advise you to try to breastfeed this child as you well know, mothers milk is the very best thing for your baby.
It has been my experience, as a mother of seven, that each pregnancy and each child is different. You may well have no problem at all with your milk supply with this new baby.
I am not sure there ever is really any milk supply problem with mothers breasts as much as there is worry, stress, pretty classically expected from a new mother. You cannot see the milk the baby is sucking so you do not know if there really is any. And if you have a fussy or colicy baby, you may think it is not getting enough milk at all.
After all, for past twenty thousand years mothers have nursed their children with no options of formula. I do think there may have been a problem here and there, but rarely, very rarely.
Try to relax, not compare, and try to breast feed. Give God and mother nature a chance to do their thingy.
If you feel you absolutely cannot, then I am sure the other mothers will tell you what is the best powdered stuff for your child.
Best wishes and God bless
Grandmother Lowell

Congratulations on the impending birth of your daughter! About the formula, my first had a milk protein allergy. We had to put her on Enfamil Nutramegin(?). Because out doctor deemed her as having a "medical condition" our insurance covered her formula for one year. I would just pick up a month's supply at the pharmacy. If your new baby as any issues, talk to your doctor about whether it could be considered a medical condition. We thought there was a chance that out 2nd child would have the same issue. He did not so we did not get free formula for baby number 2 (bummer). He had Similac at the hospital. When he got home, we wanted to try a generic for the whole money saving aspect. We put him on the Costco generic Kirkland formula. You get 2 big tubs of powder for $20. It's a great deal. He did really well on it and he is a happy healthy baby boy. Hope this helps!

I used the Enfamil Lipil with Iron. A friend of mine used the target brand that is supposed to be the same with a lot less cost. Her kids did great on it. I'm not sure of the name, but I'm sure if you went in it's probably next to the Enfamil. Hope that helps. Also, I used to buy mine at BJ's.. that seemed to help a little with the cost.

The Costco generic brand worked well for us. My sister used the Walmart brand, and that worked for them. You might just have to try some and see what happens. They're all a little different, but basically the same, if that makes any sense.
As for the breastfeeding, I totally understand. I have one child, and she was breastfed, but I was so stressed, and felt so much pressure that it's what i HAD to do, that I was miserable (we had some issues too). With my next child, I'll BF again (because I've heard it can be totally different the second time around), but I won't be so strict about not supplementing with formula. I think everyone in the house is happier when mom isn't stressed! Good luck with your new addition to the family!!

my first was on similac without any problems. my second started on similac but due to acid reflux we sent to good start (orange can) that has comfort protiens for easy digestions. works well and is cheaper than similac or enfamil.

don't know where you shop though... market basket only seems to have the smaller cans. i usually end up at BJ's or babies R Us to get the larger cans (25oz) that usually last me 7-8 days.

My suggestion would be the target brand Formula It is equal to the Enfimil in every ingredient and my Dr recommended it as For the Soy ( my son could not handle the regular) was 13 apposed to the Soy enfamil being $27. Also when we used the soy Enfamil he was still very very gassy but had no gas at all with the target brand. it is much less bubbley.


Any generic would be fine. I found I preferred the BJ's brand because we got a huge can for $20.00. It was also the only thing my daughter tolerated. She, too, couldn't take Similac and I think it's because it got too foamy when mixed and caused her to have gas. The BJ's formula doesn't foam up like some and she drank it without problems.

Good luck.

I used Parent's Choice with Lipids and Iron (Walmart Brand). Its ALOT cheaper than Enfamil and is pretty much the same thing. I know that Parents choice now has a formula for sensitive stomachs. Every baby is different though, so your new baby might not have the stomach problems that your other one did.

I've used Enfamil with both of my kids, after weaning from breastfeeding. I would encourage you to try breastfeeding. I had a completely different experience with my two children. The first had difficulty latching, had to use a nipple shield and pump after each feeding for 10 wks, finger feed, fed for 45 min each time etc, and then at 6 wks, supplement with bottles too because of low weight gain....but I stuck with it and it got easier and I did it for 6 months. My second child latched no problem, was done in 10 min on each side and grew like a weed. It was refreshing for me to know that it could be so much easier. Breastfeeding is truly a team effort. The baby has to demand the milk in order to keep your supply adequate. Your second child (not sure if this matters, but I had a girl first and a boy second) may be able to make it work. You could try it at least while you're home from work and transition to formula down the road. Do what works for you and your family.

Walmart have a great tasting organic formula, compares to all major brands and is cheaper, my youngest loved it.
Good luck!

I had a lot of belly issues with my five month old and she ended up being hospitalized when she was 4 months old from them. The hospital there recommended Goodstart as it's very easy on the stomache.

Good luck!!

Hi M. - Babies really differ on what types of formula they receive well, even in the same family! After I stopped nursing my girls, they both liked Enfamil and used that pretty much the whole time they were on formula. It did take a little trial and error with what they took to, but that was it in the end. There was a post the other day, by the way, about generic formula, which I also used with my youngest for about 4 months at the end before switching to milk. I used the Costco version of Enfamil and it was great. It was sooo much cheaper and had the exact same ingredients... just some more for you to think about! Good luck with everything! I love having two girls! :)

Hi M.,

I used Good Start with both my younger children and Enfamil with my oldest. Yes, my oldest spit up a lot with Enfamil. My two younger ones loved Good Start, were so much less gassy, and hardly ever spit up. Good start is also expensive, and maybe more than the others, not sure. I did try several cheaper brands with my second child during some hard times, but no matter what I tried, she'd get constipated, and would spit up. If money is an issue, you may have to stick with Enfamil or Similac.

Good Luck!


I had similar issues with milk supply so I understand your desire not to go through that again! I used Nestle GoodStart. I loved it. The hospital had started us on Similac. I did not like the smell (especially when they spit it up) and my child constantly was gassy or spit up on it. I found GoodStart to smell better and be much gentler. No spit up or gassy issues at all. It is also cheaper and if you sign up on their website they will send you a lot of coupons. Good luck!

I am a mom of 2 also and for my daughter I used the Walmrt Brand Parents Choice (which the Pediatrician recommended) and it was affordable and Great. For my son I used the Parents Choice and Carnantion Good Start because someone gave me a whole bunch. That is also much more affordable than Similac or Enfamil. Dont pay those prices.


Congrats on this exciting time! I think it's really important for women to support each other in their choices, so I think you should feel free to do whatever you want to have a (reasonably) stress-free childrearing experience! Breastfeeding can be different with each child so you could consider trying it to see if it's easier this time, but certainly keeping all options open on formula. Breastfeeding is certainly cheaper and if you enjoy it, that's great. You could consider a lactation consultant, or La Leche League (free).

On formulas, dairy can be difficult. I used soy as my child had a problem with milk. I used ProSoBee which is the soy formula made by the same company that makes Enfamil. FYI both were formulated by the same team of scientists. One of the reasons that they are expensive is that they were patented at the time - they were unique formulas and were awarded US patents. There is tremendous expense involved in the research, and also in the application process for a patent. One of the reasons prices remain high is that the company wants to recoup the expenses they laid out in the beginning. After many years, the patents expire, and other companies can copy the ingredients.

In general, even if the ingredients are the same, you sometimes have to worry about the quality of the raw materials. For example, a lot of people think that they or their infants have an allergy to a raw ingredient, when in fact they are reacting to something in the processing. Soy is a great example - it's used worldwide and has been for 5000 years, and in its natural state there is really nothing to cause an allergy. Once we in the industrialized world process it with alcohol or something else, or preserve it with something chemical, or mix it with some sort of emulsifier, suddenly there's an allergy!

So, a generic isn't necessarily of lesser quality than a name brand - it really depends on what they do to it. It's really hard for a consumer to tell. So I would say, if you try something and it doesn't agree with your baby, don't assume it's the dairy, or the soy, or the fact that it's a generic. Just switch to another one and see if the same thing happens. For that reason, I would try some samples from the hospital or the pediatrician, and then when you find something that works fine, buy in bulk.

The powdered formulas contain the same basic nutrients as the liquid - the liquid has to be refrigerated but it's convenient otherwise. However, if it isn't used up, it does go bad so that's a waste. The powdered is more portable and keeps longer, but you definitely have to mix it up. I used to carry it in the baby bottle, then add water when necessary. If I was out at a restaurant, I just added cold water and then had the waitress bring me hot water as if for tea - add that to the cold, and presto - a warm bottle!

Good luck, whatever you decide!

I don't have an option for formula, but you mentioned wanting to breast feed. I know many women who had horrible times trying to feed their first and then had no problems with their 2nd. I'm sure that someone will have formula advise and I know that you will make the right decision for you and your child, whatever it may be. I just wanted to offer you some anecdotal breast feeding support as well. Good luck!

Most hospitals and WIC say Good Start, my grandkids started on that, a few could not handle reg. formula and had to go to soy, it is kind of a guessing game at first to see what the like and can hold down the best. Good Luck and God Bless

I too had problems with my milk supply with my daughter, and understand the how hard it can be to try and breast feed and just not be able to.
With out daughter, we used the generic brand from BJ's. It ended up being about half the cost, and seemed very similar to similac. My daughter did not have any problems with digesting either brand.
Hope this helps,

My daughter is very sensitive but does well on Good start.
She is breast fed with one formula supplement per day. Does your hospital have a Lactation consultant? She may be able to help you with breast feeding. Even if you can breast feed part time,it would be so beneficial for your babY!

Hi M....first of all congrats on your new baby coming. I am a mom of 3 young kids. I fed my first 2 Enfamil because I was unsure of the generic brands also. With my third, I talked to our pediatrician and asked about generic. He said it was the same as the Enfamil or similac only way cheaper. So, I used Parents Choice for my third. It was absolutely fine. If you feel uneasy though, you can talk to you pediatrician about it. If you decide to go with Enfamil however, you can always ask your pediatrician for samples. Sometimes I would leave there with 4-5 containers of formula.

I nursed but supplemented from the beginning with my second. I started with similac but he really didn't like it. I switched to good start (on the rec. of my pediatrician) and it was much better. He didn't make a face and it didn't smell horrible either. The only downside is that I don't find nearly as many coupons, but some people have found good luck by getting on the mailing list. Good luck with your second!

First off...Congratulations on the soon to arrive newest addition!!! I am the first time mother of a 5 month old daughter; I did breastfeed exclusivly for the first 2 months and then started to introduce formula (I still do a combo of the two). I had coupons and samples of a few different brands so I tried a variety to see what worked for my little girl. She never seem picky about eating anything, but some formulas effected her much differently. Good Start was the WORST for her - she would gobble it all down only to be in extreme discomfort and constipated. Enfamil seemed to be her favorite (Lipil and Gentelese are the two that worked really well); however I agree with the issue of cost with the Enfamil - what I found to be a very close comparision formula to the Enfamil Lipil is the Berkley Jenson Brand (BJ's); a large container of the powder mix is $20 ($37 for Enfamil in a smaller container). I now stock up and buy the BJ's brand in bulk....she seems to love it and is her happy giggley go lucky self when she eats it!

Although I breastfeed ( and eliminate the problem AND the cost) it is Enfamil I have also used and preferred. Why? It tastes better! Really, try try them! Its pretty good. Similac tastes kinda yuck. Funny I know but hey- they have to live on it for a year. BJs and Costco have BIG cans and that helps a lot, or by the case I think. Buy in bulk . Try a few and read the labels...Nestle makes a lot of health care nutritional supplements for hospitals etc..like for patients who cannot eat, and probably are a trustful brand in my opinion. I'd be wary of cheap anything. You only have to buy ONE food for this kid so make it a good one! good luck :)

Carnation Good Start. It's cheaper than Enfamil and Similac and it's not as harsh. My second child couldn't handle the enfamil. She spit up a lot. I switched her to the Good Start and she spit up much much less.

All babies are different and what worked with your 1st, may not work for your 2nd. You will just have to wait and see. I had similar issues with my 1st and breastfeeding - he lasted 8 months and then ended up on Alimentum after a series of trials, my 2nd breastfed for 16 mos, my 3rd for 12 mos. The 2nd and 3rd did not have formula at all.
So you have to do what is best for you and your child.

Hi M. it really depends on your baby and what they can tolerate and it is something that should be discussed w/ the pediatrician that you will be going to. I understand why you are opting to go w/ formula but I had a lot of difficulty nursing my first but had no problem w/ my second it was a great success. If you find your baby doesn't agree w/ the formula in the hospital you can always switch to something different I found that both of my boys when they used formula did best w/ the gentle formula of enfamil that is out there the proteins are broken down further and they were not nearly as gassy when they drank that than they were w/ the regular formula Good start is supposed to be more broken down to be easier to digest too. Good luck. It really is a lot of trial and error if formula upsets their stomach.

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