Generic vs Name Brand Formula

Updated on May 31, 2011
L.C. asks from Colorado Springs, CO
18 answers

What is your opinion on generic vc name brand formula? Unfortunately starting 2 months ago I could no longer breast feed (medical reasons) my now 4 month old. I have been using Enfamil, but it's just so darn expensive. I was looking at the generic brands at the store and they are less than half the cost of the Enfamil. I would love to switch to one of the generic brands, but not if they are not as good or are lacking something the name brands have. Am I just paying for the "name" or is there really a big difference between them?

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for your great advice (minus Pamela and son). Pamela, I had cancer 8 years ago, resulting in some long term medical issues. Of course I would rather breast feed my babies, but not everyone can. You should feel blessed that you were/are able to and get off of your high horse and have some sympathy for those that can not. Thanks again everyone for your input! I am going to slowly change over to either Good Start or the Target brand (we don't have a Kroger where I live).

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answers from Washington DC on

Generic is the same as the name brand. All infant formula is regulated by the FDA to meet certain nutritional needs. If you compare the nutrients on both cans you will see that they will match. You are paying more for the name, not because it's any better. With my first daughter I started using the name brand, and then I realized how much money I could be saving with the generic, and it was a big difference, about a 10 dollar difference. I never went back to name brand again.



answers from Chicago on

Hi L.,
My daughter was breastfed until about 8mos of age. At that point I put her on Enfamil. After using that for a while, we decided to try the Target generic of enfamil. It is literally almost half the price. I talked with my daughter's pediatrician & she said that they are identical. Just a brand name vs a store name. I switched her gradually to the generic. It was fine and she had no problem with it, and it save us a ton of money!!
Hope this helps!

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answers from Kansas City on

Generic is the exact same thing as the expensive name brand. I have used Costco's Kirkland formula for both my kids and plan on also using it with my third. It's around $16 for a huge can while similac is about $35 for the exact same crappy standard formula. :)

For the moms (one in particular) who LOVE to bash formula feeding, I sure hope when your baby is born in a few weeks you will be able to breastfeed and for some unforsaken reason, you don't have to ever give your baby formula. On second would be nice to see you have to eat some crow!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I wish SO much I had known that the FDA requires ALL formulas to be of the same standard (the only variation being if a company manufactures a specialty formula, you may not find that exact formulation in generic) -when my first was born (same for diapers and wipes). I would have saved so much money! We used generic store brand for the second, and it's fine. It's also 50% less than Enfamil or Similac! We used Kroger brand and Target brand -with Kroger seeming to be a little more preferred.

And yes, some of us give our kids "crappy" formula because it truly is more preferable than having our children starve to death. Not everyone can breastfeed or provide enough milk to solely breastfeed no matter what anyone says, and those of you with SUCH an F*ING issue about it need to ask yourselves why is it ANY of your business?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

All commercially made and sold formula are held to the same crappy standards...

***ADDED @ Julie***

I say 'crappy' because they are very loose about what goes into your child's body thru formula - the same crappy standards they have for agricultural animal husbandry in gathering milk, meat and growing of food. So not only do the cow products used get recalled, so can the chemical solution they use to coat the cans, the chemically altered compounds used to create the fillers and high sugar contents, etc.

Less than 3% of women GLOBALLY cannot physically breastfeed... that is GLOBALLY. About another 3% of the female population actually truly are taking medications or treatments in which is not compatible for breastfeeding Mothers. MOST MEDICATIONS ARE BREASTFEEDING SAFE AND FRIENDLY. If you and others choose not to get the information from those who actually have it and are quite willing to share it - that's not my fault, nor is it my job to commend you on NOT researching it before giving inferior food to your infant.

***Added to L. and ABM***
Chemotherapy is one of the few families of drugs that are non compatible... but according to your statement, you aren't on it anymore. If you could breastfeed for 2 months, chance are very high you 'could' have continued. I was not referring to YOU in particular anyways in my above statements.

ABM - it wasn't easy for me to breastfeed the first time around. I had a very traumatic birth, major complications that required return stays at the hospitals after I went home after the initial 3 days after birth and had family (and nursery nurses) who sabotaged my decision to breastfeed. It took 2 months before I was able to find someone to help me and get us on track. I fought and fought hard to succeed at breastfeeding - so I don't need whiners like you complaining it isn't easy for everyone. DUH!!! Unless you were raised in a family where nursing is common - most women din;t have a clue and breastfeeding classes hospitals offer are hilariously lacking.

I of course plan on taking time off with this one - and since I'm having a Home Birth, I'm sure my health will be much better this time around and not work against trying to bond and nurse my newborn. I'm also married this time around and don't have to feel forced back to work at 6 weeks because I would loose my residence.

I love how you women do the same damn thing to me that you complain and rant about my doing to others.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pocatello on

I am a breastfeeder, not a bottle-feeder... so I can't tell you which one is the "best one"- I think that depends on the baby and their own nutritional needs more than anything. If I were to use formula, I would look into name brand, generics, and organic formulas. Keep in mind that you may be able to get large quantities of formula from online sites shipped to you at a reduced price compared to what you spend on formula... and ask any BF friends you have if they got coupons for formula that they aren't using... I had loads of them that I gave to friends and family who chose to bottle-feed or part time formula-feed (and some made a can or two of formula almost free!).

Anyways, most generic brands will say on the box "compare to (BigNameBrand Formula)" - that means that they are going to be almost identical in makeup. Really, pick the formula on what your baby seems to need nutritionally. Personally things I would want would probably be DHA, and ingredients that help against colic and gas (runs in the family).

Here is some info to read through about picking them:

Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Cloud on

Our doctor told us that ALL formulas are the same NUTRIENT WISE! (They HAVE TO BE!) He said the ingredients that are different are the ones for taste. So I say, go ahead and switch!

We were really worried about which formula was best as well because my milk dried up at 6 months with our first.



answers from Raleigh on

I also couldn't breastfeed for long for medical reasons. I started out on Similac, but the Great Similac Recall of 2010 occurred, and I had to switch. At the time, the only thing left at Target was the Target brand formula- the shelves had been stripped of everything else. So we were forced to switch. My baby girl actually took the Target brand (the partially broken down whey variety in the lavendar can) better than the Similac, and we have been using it ever since. She has been happy and so has my pocketbook. You can get a 2lb can for $19.99. Much more affordable than the brand name.
I was told by my pediatrician that there is no difference between the generic and brand name. They all have FDA standards that they must adhere to. The brand names just do more research which is why they have a higher overhead. Don't know if the latter is true, but I can't see a difference. My baby girl is fat and happy!


answers from Dover on

Talk to your doctor and also compare the labels before you decide. I have known people that used the generic with no problems but I used the name brand as it is what WIC provided for my son and what the doctor recommended for our daughter (for my son he gave me two options and we used the one WIC would cover). Both used the same brand although since they were 15 years apart, it was definately a different formulation.



answers from Salt Lake City on

At least you were able to breast feed a little bit. I would go to a generic brand of formula but make sure you transition with the other brand you have been using so your baby doesn't get a belly ache. I am not sure if you have a Sams Club in your area, but with my 2nd son we used the generic brand they sold and it was a big can. Good luck.



answers from Biloxi on

We switched to the Kroger brand after I stopped breastfeeding. The last month I breastfed I supplemented with a name brand, but after switching to forumula full-time we could no longer afford it. My son liked the Kroger just as much as the name brand and nutritionally they are the same. My ped made a comment about how they prefer for parents to use a named formula but never said why. Personally, if the ingredients and vitamin content is the same, I dont' see why generic isn't as good, hence our continuation of using it even after the dr's comment.



answers from Lincoln on

My friend always used the Target brand that compared to Enfamil. Another always used Good Start (I think it might be Gerber now). Their children have all turned out fine! If I used formula I would probably use a generic or mix one with the real thing. I just got almost $23 of Gerber formula coupons that I won't use. If you message me your address I'll send them to you. Someone might as well use them!



answers from Omaha on

Give it a try! I was unable to breastfeed my kids too. Honestly, I first thought it was creepy, but was willing to try. I learned it feels very natural to hold your child in your arms and nurse, but I was still unable to do it. I did pump as long as I could, but both of my kids were pretty much formula-fed babies.
My son seemed to have some lactose issues, so we put him on enfamil gentlease and you are right it is so expensive. Our doctor said the generic brands have to meet the same rigorous standards as the name brands so if we found one we liked he said that would be great for my children and our budget. We tried Walmart's brand Parent's Choice and it worked very well for my son. My daughter had a similar issue so we immediately put her on it too. Didn't work for her and she ended up on Similac for the duration of her first year. My kids are very healthy, happy and extremely smart. Breastfeeding is great if you can do it, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with formula feeding either-generic or otherwise! Good luck to you!



answers from Jacksonville on

We switched to the Walmart equivalent to Enfamil Gentleese (sp.) when our pediatrician told us they were most likely made by the same company. There are FDA guidelines for that kind of stuff, they can't skimp or add fillers.



answers from Grand Rapids on

Formula is highly regulated by the federal government. The store brands are just as good as the expensive name brands.


answers from Milwaukee on

I used Parents Choice, bought at Walmart. My daughter's pedtrician said that it was a good one. My daughter is a smart, healthy 5 year old so I see no issue with the generic. We did look at what was in each, they are very similar. I would just do research on the one you want to switch to, talk with the peditrician and then go for it.



answers from Denver on

I use the Kroger brand. My son didn't handle any of the name brands very well and as a last ditch effort I tried a can of the Kroger and he did fantastic. The doctor thinks its a great brand and he is growing and doing better then he was on the name brand formula. Not to mention the price it 10 times better on the budget!


answers from Tulsa on

I breast and bottle fed. When I had him on formula, he was on generic. If you look at the labels of the generic brands, a lot of them have the breakdown of all of the vitamins for themselves and the major brands. I would buy Member's Mark formula from Sam's club. A huge can of that would last a while in our house. You will be fine if you use generic.

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