Choosing A Baby Formula: 3 Things You Should Know

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Choosing A Baby Formula: 3 Things You Should Know

Struggling with breastfeeding and considering baby formula? Find out 3 things before choosing the right one for your kid.

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By Nicole Silber
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Edited by Jovan Mijailovic

Published July 3, 2024.

A pregnant woman choosing a formula for her baby

Parents—myself included—want high-quality nutrition for their children that starts at birth and continues through toddlerhood and beyond. In those first days, breast milk might not be an option for you. You want to be confident you're offering your little one all they need to develop.

» Learn how to transition from breastmilk to formula

In the same vein, many choose to avoid certain ingredients for health, intolerance, or other reasons. With so many products available, it can be tricky to know which ones to pick.

As a pediatric nutritionist, here are factors I consider crucial

» Skip all the worrying and choose the best baby formula

1. Select the Protein Source

Narrow down the protein source for your little one. Consider if they have any dietary restrictions. About 2.5% of children under 3 have a documented cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA). Many kids are also intolerant, which can manifest as gastrointestinal upset, constipation, and various behavioral or skin manifestations.

» Discover a healthy alternative for kids with CMPA

A soy-based alternative isn't always suitable, as some kids can't tolerate it. That's where a plant-based, hypoallergenic formula can be helpful. Plant-based formulas reduce the chance of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer due to their lower saturated fat and higher anti-inflammatory contents.

The latest Else baby formula substitute is free from GMOs, soy, corn, and gluten. It's also low in sugar, with 0.07 oz/5 fl. oz. To give you a better idea of what that means —one packet of sugar you’d see at coffee shops has two times as much.

2. Check the Nutrition Label

After choosing the source of protein in your baby's formula, review the ingredient list for other allergens, such as gluten, corn, or soy.

Since these products need to meet rigorous standards, the nutritional panel is very similar in different brands. But, there are more notable differences between different toddler formulas in their nutritional breakdowns and percent daily values.

» Explore the difference between toddler and infant formulas

Another big difference you'll see is the sugar content. Most formulations for toddlers and children add sweeteners in various forms and amounts to make them palatable for children. That's why you should look for options with the least amount.

As a bonus, look for beneficial nutrients that aren't required. Fiber is excellent for developing gut microbiome and heart health. 

» Check out our recommendations for high-fiber food for kids

3. Look at Formula Quality 

Many families opting for plant-based formulas are looking for non-GMO ingredients with clean processing techniques. These products should also be made with whole ingredients.

Of course, the amount of processing affects the overall look, consistency, smell, and taste quality of the formula, which matters. I believe that parents should be able to drink what their children or babies do.

» Discover the best healthy and delicious meals for kids

The Proper Choice for Your Baby's Nutrition

Choosing the right formula for your baby is a critical decision that can feel overwhelming. By focusing on your pediatrician's recommendation, understanding ingredient lists, and considering your baby's specific needs, you can navigate this choice with confidence.

What works best may involve some trial and error, and it's okay to switch products under medical guidance if needed. Whichever you choose, you're providing your baby with the nutrition they need to grow and thrive.

» Ensure your kid grows big and strong by choosing the best baby formula

The content and advice provided in this article are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for medical diagnosis, treatment, or advice for specific medical conditions. Always consult a pediatrician to understand the individual needs of your child.