How to Choose the Best Baby Formula

The following information was provided to Gays With Kids by Reviews.com, an independent research organization.


It’s no secret that in some circles the words “baby formula” can trigger strong opinions. Nonetheless, the fact remains that for many families--especially gay dad families--formula feeding is not only the best option, but it's also often the most viable option.

Fortunately, the FDA regulates all baby formulas in the United States, so at least when it comes to safety, parents can rest easy. What it really comes down to is finding the formula that your baby most tolerates.

To help new dads with this seemingly complicated process, Reviews.com recently published their thorough guide to baby formula, where they broke down what to look for when shopping for formula. They also included a guide of their top recommendations, which range from organic to generic and even includes a soy option.

Here are some of the things you should consider when choosing a formula:

Type of protein: There are typically three types of proteins used in formula - cow’s milk, soy, or a protein hydrolysate. Cow’s milk is considered closest in structure to human breast milk, which explains why it’s used in 80% of formulas. Soy formulas are best used for babies with milk allergies or intolerance.

What the “organic” label means: In infant formula, the only thing that the organic label applies to is the protein, carbohydrate, and fat components of the formula. The added minerals and vitamins are synthetic or derived synthetically, so they can’t actually be considered organic.

Look for lactose as a sweetener: Lactose is what gives breast milk its natural sweetness. Because it can be pricey, many companies use plant-based sweeteners instead. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, but parents should know that the replacement is actually sweeter than lactose and can cause infants to develop a special fondness for extra sweet things as they get older.

Digestibility is number one: The most important factor in all this is finding a formula that works well with your baby, which means the baby enjoys it and can easily digest it without any trouble. Here are a few tell-tale signs of trouble: diarrhea, constipation, gas, reflux, dry or red skin, or chronic fussiness. Every baby won’t react the same way to every formula, so it’s important to pay attention and try to figure out what will and will not be tolerated.

Remember that when it comes to safety of formulas, you’re in the clear, because they’re all regulated. Still, make sure you always check expiration dates and prepare the formula safely with clean water and feed in clean bottles.

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This post was provided to Gays With Kids by a team at Reviews.com, which dedicates months to analyzing existing research, including scientific studies, factual data, historical trends, and user experiences, to come up with thorough analyses of specific products, services, and industries.

They reach out to top experts who have spent countless years immersed in a specific industry in order to get the most up to date information. Pediatricians and a food policy expert were consulted for this specific review. Note that this post is not meant to serve as medical advice and should never take the place of consulting with your medical care provider.

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