The 3 Best Formulas Closest to Breast Milk


Though breastfeeding is the best and most natural way to provide a baby with essential nutrients, some moms may not be able to breastfeed due to various reasons such as maternal infections, substance abuse, or low milk production. Some families need to make this choice because of financial needs. Adoptive families may also find themselves unable to access breast milk, and begin a journey of formula feeding.

You cannot feed newborn cow’s milk. The next best solution is to feed the baby with formula to ensure that they get proper nutrition. Choosing a baby formula is a bit of a daunting task though – there are so many infant formulas on the market! What is the closest formula to breast milk? Below, we discuss three of the top infant formulas designed to be closest to breast milk.

#1 – Similac Pro-Advance Infant Formula

Ninety years ago, the first Similac baby formula was developed by Moores and Ross milk company. Similac has been known to make innovations to provide babies a solid and healthy start to their development. Similac Pro-Advance Infant Formula is a trusted brand that supports brain and eye development, as well as helping with fussiness, gassiness, crying, and spit-up.

Similac Pro-Advance is the first leading infant formula with no artificial growth hormones. Parents reported a reduction in fussiness, gassiness, crying or spit up after just 1 day of feeding, and the improvement was maintained while feeding the formula. Their exclusive blend of DHA Lutein and Vitamin E is important for supporting baby’s brain and eye development. This product provides immune support by encouraging immune cells to release protective proteins in amounts more like the breastfed baby. Their no palm olein oil blend allows for better calcium absorption and it’s also a very popular infant formula brand chosen by moms, and the one fed in many hospitals.

Technical Specifications

  • Type: Powder
  • HMO: Yes
  • Non-GMO: Yes
  • Prebiotics or Probiotics: Prebiotics
  • Pack Size: Pack of three, 6.75 pounds

Pros

  • Complete nutrition for babies.
  • No GMOs.
  • HMO to support the baby’s immune system.
  • No Palmolein oil.
  • Contains DHA, lutein, and vitamin E, which support brain, eyes, and overall growth and development.
  • Prebiotics for baby’s gut health
  • You get three packs, which make this baby formula more economical than the other two.

Cons

  • Some bad batches have been reported by users. Don’t feed if the formula is darker in color than usual.

#2 – Gerber Good Start Soothe Powder Infant Formula

Gerber, founded in 1927, is a subsidiary of Nestle. Ever since Nestle was founded in 1867, it has been a common household name for baby care. They are known to produce high-quality products for the well-being of babies.

Gerber Good Start Soothe Powder Infant Formula is a nutritious formula for babies who are experiencing colic, excessive crying, fussiness and gas. It contains probiotics and prebiotics to improve the good bacteria in your baby’s tummy and promote soft stools. The Gerber Good Start line has been made to provide wholesome options that will introduce your infant to complimentary products like probiotic supplements.

Gerber understands that nutrition evolves over time so it offers a range of different formulas for infants from 0-12 months old in order to meet their different needs. This formula in particular is aimed at babies experiencing colic, excessive crying, fussiness and gas. It contains prebiotics and probiotics to improve the good bacteria in your baby’s tummy and promote soft stools. Additionally, Gerber Good Start line products have been made to comfort your baby’s tummy, with options such as single-grain cereals and 1st foods fruit and veggie purees.

Technical Specifications

  • Type: Powder
  • HMO: Yes
  • Non-GMO: Yes
  • Prebiotics or Probiotics: Probiotics
  • Pack Size: Pack of one, 1.91 pounds

Pros

  • It has easy-to-digest proteins for better digestion.
  • Containing DHA helps eye and brain development.
  • It helps with gas and colic because it has probiotics in it.
  • It has a lid design that seals the pack to ensure the freshness of the formula.
  • It contains HMO, which enhances immunity in babies.

Cons

  • A few reviewers have reported their babies experienced constipation after using this formula.
  • The scoop is not designed well. It can make a mess while pouring into the baby bottle.

#3 – Enfamil Enspire Infant Formula

Enfamil Enspire Infant Formula is a baby formula that provides complete nutrition for babies through 12 months. It has MFGM and Lactoferrin for brain support, two key components found in breast milk, which makes it Enfamil’s closest infant formula ever to breast milk. Lactoferrin is a protein found in colostrum and breast milk that provides immune support and intestinal development, and MFGM has been shown to support mental development. This baby formula can help improve your baby’s digestive health with dual probiotics.

The Enfamil brand was the first to replicate breast milk and was launched by Mead Johnson company in the late 1950s. Since then, they have made several changes to accommodate the growing nutritional needs of babies, making it an excellent choice among baby formulas.

Technical Specifications

  • Type: Powder
  • HMO: Yes
  • Non-GMO: Yes
  • Prebiotics or Probiotics: Dual Prebiotics
  • Pack Size: Tub, 1.28 pounds

Pros

  • It has Lactoferrin, which may help to enhance immunity in babies.
  • It also has DHA, which acts as a building block for brain development.
  • Dual probiotics help improve gut health in babies.
  • It doesn’t contain any GMOs.
  • It is suitable for babies up to 12 months of age.

Cons

  • It doesn’t offer relief from gas.
  • It is the most expensive of our three choices.

Similac Pro-Advance vs. Gerber Good Start vs. Enfamil Enspire

Nutritional Content

Similac Pro-Advance, Gerber Good Start, and Enfamil Enspire all have a nutritional content that mimics breast milk and offers a balanced nutritional substitute.

They contain all the necessary vitamins, minerals, protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

None of the three baby formulas have GMOs in them.

The lactoferrin in Enfamil Enspire helps boost immunity in babies.

The unique blend of Lutein, DHA, and Vitamin E in Similac Pro-Advance supports overall growth in babies. The baby formula also helps in better absorption of calcium with no palm olein oil.

Winner: Similac Pro-Advance

Type

All three are in powdered form. You would need to prepare them every time you need to feed your baby. However, the powder form of the formula makes them more economical than other ready-to-use or concentrated formulas.

Gerber Good Start Formula has a resealable container that keeps air out and the formula fresh for long-term use.

Winner: Gerber Good Start

Gut Health

Prebiotics and probiotics are responsible for improving gut health in babies.

The Similac Pro-Advance Formula has prebiotics in it to help improve gut health in babies.

Gerber Good Start has both probiotics and prebiotics to offer better gut health in babies. It also has comfort proteins that improve gut health in kids.

Enfamil Enspire also has dual prebiotics, which help the growth of good bacteria to support gut health.

Winner: Gerber Good Start

Extra Features

Some baby formulas are designed to offer relief from gas and fussiness in babies.

The probiotic L. reuteri in the Gerber Good Start is known to soothe colic and spit-ups in babies.

Winner: Gerber Good Start

What makes a formula similar to breast milk?

There are a few things to consider when comparing formula to breast milk.

  • DHA/ARA: These components are present in most other formulas available. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid) are essential fatty acids found naturally in mother’s milk, and assist with eye and brain development.
  • Essential vitamins and minerals: Vitamins and minerals are necessary for healthy bones, teeth, blood, and growth.
  • Probiotics and Prebiotics: Probiotics and prebiotics are healthy bacteria that are found in breast milk naturally, keeping the digestive system functioning properly while also assisting with immunity.
  • Choline/Taurine/lycopene, Lutein: These are manufactured nutritional supplements that are added to formulas to meet the nutritional requirements of the eyes, brain, nerve cell activity, and other body systems during development.
  • Nucleotides: Breast milk also contains nucleotides, which are the fundamental components of DNA. They promote growth and boost immune function.
  • Sweeteners: The addition of a sweetener to formula provides the bulk of carbohydrates. Because breast milk is naturally sweet, lactose is added to make the formulas more palatable. However, because lactose is costly, some producers use plant-based sweeteners such as maltodextrin derived from potatoes, rice, or corn instead. Organic brown rice syrup or glucose syrup solids might also be found in formulas. Sucrose as a sweetener is linked to obesity. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4595857/)

What are other alternatives for breast milk?

As an alternative to breast milk, baby formulas are manufactured to mimic the nutritional content of breast milk to ensure the proper overall development of babies. We have introduced three of the best baby formulas above that mimic breast milk well.

The only other key alternative for breast milk is donor milk. Donor milk is donated by other mothers who are lactating. For mothers who cannot produce breast milk, donor milk is excellent for meeting a baby’s nutritional requirements.

What is the best formula to supplement with breast milk?

There are a lot of baby formulas in the market. The three that we mentioned earlier: Similac Pro-Advance, Gerber Good Start Soothe, and Enfamil Enspire, are good for supplementing breast milk. However, before starting any baby formula, please consult your pediatrician.

Is it OK to breastfeed during the day, and use formula at night?

Yes, it is quite natural to switch between breastfeeding and using formula. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics advises exclusively breastfeeding a newborn until he or she reaches six months old, formula supplementation has advantages.

Combination feeding, where a baby is breastfed as well as formula fed, is a fantastic option. It means a mother can share the responsibility of feeding baby with dad or other family members – helping everyone bond, and giving mom a chance to sleep overnight.

Should I mix formula and breastmilk?

Breast milk and formula should not be mixed together. You cannot use breastmilk instead of water when making up formula, or add formula powder to breastmilk to ‘thicken’ it.

If you don’t have enough breastmilk or formula alone for a feed, offer the breastmilk to baby first, then ‘top up’ with formula afterward. Dispose of any remaining formula or warmed breastmilk once baby is full.

In conclusion – fed is best

write a conclusion paragraph for the above article It is important to note that there are a lot of baby formulas in the market. The three that we mentioned earlier: Similac Pro-Advance, Gerber Good Start Soothe, and Enfamil Enspire, are good for supplementing breast milk.

Fed is best, however. As a new parent, giving yourself undue stress over choosing the most perfect baby formula shouldn’t be something you feel you have to do. The best baby formula for your little one is one that helps your child to grow, and thrive. Therefore, instead of stressing yourself out over which baby formula is the best for your baby, choose one that is accessible, reasonably priced, and meets any specific needs your baby has.

Use the Similac Pro-Advance Infant Formula, if:

  • You want the best value for the price you pay.
  • You want a formula that allows better calcium absorption.

Use the Gerber Good Start Soothe Powder Infant Formula if:

  • You want a formula that helps with gas and colic.
  • You want an easy-to-digest formula while improving immunity in your baby.

Use the Enfamil Enspire Baby Formula if:

  • You want to bolster immunity in your baby.
  • You want to help boost gut health in your baby.

Carly Wight

Mother of two young boys (6 and 3!) and an avid "Googler", Carly is the kind to research something to the nth degree. Be it about products, hacks, or techniques, she shares what she finds out at her website - Fairy Good Mommy.

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