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How to Pick the Right Formula for Your Baby

I am a Similac ambassador and received compensation for this post.

Breastfeeding your baby is always the best first option, but many moms face a time in their babies lives that they need to supplement or switch to formula. When you’re facing that decision for yourself, it can be confusing to know how to pick the right formula for your baby from all of the options available. 

Nationally-syndicated pediatrician Dr. Sue Hubbard, “The Kid’s Doctor,” has five tips to help parents in the search to find a formula that works best for their family:

How to Pick the Right Formula for Your Baby

How to Pick the Right Formula

How to Pick the Right Formula for Your Baby pinit fg en rect red 28

1. Figure out your lifestyle needs and which form of formula will support them: Infant formula generally comes in ready-to-feed, concentrated liquid and powder versions. Which form is going to work best for you will depend on where you plan to use it, how often and how much money you want to spend. If you’re often on-the-go with your baby, ready-to-feed options may be easier while powder or concentrated liquid versions generally provide better value.

2. Understand the ingredients: While the FDA regulates all infant formula, that doesn’t mean all brands are the same, much like all schools have set educational standards but differ in various ways. Infant formulas primarily consist of carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to support your baby’s health. But some infant formulas, like Similac, have added lutein, which is a nutrient to support your baby’s eye development.

3. Be mindful of your water source: The type of water you have access to may affect the type of formula you want to use. Most U.S. doctors say tap water is safe to use for infant formula and has the added benefit of fluoride. However, water quality can vary based on your location. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor. You may need to boil the water first, use bottled water or consider a ready-to-feed formula.

4. Watch and learn: The best way to know if a formula is right is to gauge your baby’s reaction, as it can take anywhere from two days to two weeks to adjust to a formula. If he or she digests it easily, then you’ve probably found a formula that works. If that’s not the case, talk with your doctor to see if your baby needs a special formula. Options for specialty formulas may include soy, low-lactose or hypoallergenic formulas.

5. Consider your baby’s exact age: As babies grow and solid foods are introduced, consider a formula designed for older babies. Parents can look for a formula geared specifically for babies who are 6-12 months old, which is designed to complement the introduction of solid foods. Parents typically introduce solid foods, like cereal, into their baby’s diet around six months old; although keep in mind that this is a gradual process. Breast milk or formula is still the primary source of nutrition after this time. Although foods like cereal are a good source of carbohydrates, consider a stage two formula that has additional protein, vitamin C and calcium to complement your baby’sdiet to support their growth and development.


To me, the most important thing is to pay attention to your baby and the clues they’ll give you to what is and isn’t working and to trust in your own gut feelings. As a mom, you’ll often know what’s best for your child instinctively and with a bit of trial and error. Don’t be afraid to switch formula’s if the one you started with just isn’t working for you. You can also try swapping with a friend if they are facing a similar problem with a formula that just isn’t a match for their child.

How to pick the right infant formula

Similac is a trusted formula brand that can help guide you when you hit questions along the road. Their website has a dedicated Feeding Expert section that can answer any of the questions you face with feeding your baby – both breastfeeding and formula feeding. They have a FormulaFinder tool that can guide you in picking the right formula for your infants need as the perfect first place to start in picking the right formula! You’ll be able to find a range of formulas for every stage and preference including sensitive tummies and organic varieties.

What helped you pick the right formula for your baby?

Similac partnered with bloggers such as me for its Similac StrongMoms Ambassador Program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Similac’s polices align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. 

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Sunday 20th of July 2014

we didn't use formula. i can imagine there are so many variables involved with all the different brands available.


Sunday 20th of July 2014

We had difficulties finding the right formula for my daughter. Our pediatrician helped us to narrow down the right one, which ended up being Similac.


Sunday 20th of July 2014

I nursed all of my children, but I realize that not every mom is able to. These are such important things to think about when choosing formula.

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