Best Baby Formula in India
Everyone says breast milk is best. But the wise says, “Breast milk is best but only when you have it.” Experts say 2% of women can’t breastfeed no matter what ever they eat, drink or how much ever they try to produce milk. In such situations, or when you have multiple children or maybe simply because breastfeeding is not a feasible solution for your family, you have to opt for the next best solution—Baby Formula.
Many of you would have read about the incident where a newborn died because the mother hadn’t started producing enough milk yet and the lactation consultant as well as doctors were urging to breastfeed and none realized that the baby wasn’t getting sufficient milk. In the end the newborn succumbed to extreme dehydration and brain complications. The mother lamented, “If I had given him only one bottle, he would still be alive.”
So, trust your instincts and if your baby needs formula, give it by all means and just be deaf to any judgement from people around you.
How to Choose Right Baby Formula?
Types of Formula
There are mainly 3 types of baby formula available in the market. They are cow milk based, soya based and protein hydrolysate formula. All the formulas we have mentioned in this list are milk based.
Soya based formula is given to babies only if they are found to have milk allergy and trigger reactions like gassiness and rash. In such cases, consult your pediatrician and opt for the formula that the doctor recommends. Do not opt for soy based formula without consulting a doctor, as it could lead to many undesired complications.
Babies who are allergic to soy and milk are given protein hydrolysate formula. In such cases too, pediatrician’s recommendation is the way to go.
Opt only for those brands that are backed by reputed pharma companies. A baby’s nutrition is one area that you wouldn’t want to play with. Even if ingredients remain the same, the manufacturing process and safety guidelines followed by established pharma companies are more reliable than fly-by-night operators.
Strictly follow the age recommendation mentioned on the formula. The nutrition required for a newborn is quite different from what a 6-month or 2-year old’s needs So, manufacturers add minerals, vitamins and other nutrients as per the age requirements as per the regulations provided by the health authority.
Baby Formula & Gassiness
Some babies may not react quite well to baby formula. They may develop gassiness and may show symptoms of colic like excessive spit up, crying after feeding etc. More than often, the culprit might be the feeding bottle. Comotomo bottles are a great option for babies who are prone to gassiness. You could also check our list of best baby bottles.
If the problem still persists, then consult your pediatrician. It could be baby’s reaction to the particular formula or baby could be lactose intolerant.
Note- The below list is not to be considered as a medical advice. Consult your pediatrician and follow their recommendation for a suitable formula for the baby.
Best Baby Formula
Below, we have shortlisted some of the best baby formula from reputed manufacturers. We have based this review mainly on the ingredients. Individual reaction to the formula may vary. What might cause gas and colic in one baby may work perfectly fine for another baby. You might find that a particular formula causes constipation in your baby, but it might not be so for another baby. So, user reviews may not really be useful when choosing formula for your baby. Rather, you may have to spend some time, money and energy on a few trial and errors to find out the one best suitable for your baby.
In our comparison, we found that Similac is the best in terms of its nutritional content. It has higher level of essential vitamins, minerals, nucleotides and it resembles closely with breast milk compared to other formula brands. If your baby doesn’t have any undesired reaction to Similac, then by all means opt for it. If not, try experimenting with other brands to see what suits your baby best.
Similac, which is owned by Abott, offers different varieties of formula as per baby’s growth and individual requirement.
Similac Neosure is for babies who are born prematurely before 37 weeks and with birth weight lesser than 2.5 Kg. It has higher fat (4.4 gm per 100 ml instead of 3.7 gm in Similac Advanced) and carbohydrate (8.3 gm per 100 ml instead of 6.6 gm in Similac advanced) content, which helps premature babies gain weight quicker.
Similac Advanced Stage 1 is for babies under the age of 6 months and Stage 2 is for babies from the age of 6-24 months. Being rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acid, folic acid, zinc and iron, the formula helps in physical and brain development of the baby.
Moreover, Similac doesn’t have any added sugar. The sweetness is only from the presence of lactose.
Similac also has soya based infant formula which is for babies who are lactose intolerant. However, do not start using it until your pediatrician recommends.
The first thing we noticed about Nestle NAN Pro is that it doesn’t come in a tin like Similac. So, once you open it, you will have to pour the content in to an air tight container.
Now, coming to its contents, Nestle NAN Pro 1 is fortified with pro-biotics to improve digestion and reduce colic in babies. It doesn’t contain any added sugar and has a whey casein ratio of 70:30. As the casein content is lower in Nan Pro, it helps in quicker and easy digestion (Breast milk contains whey casein in the ratio 60:40).
Even though it has higher content of carbohydrate, nucleotide and a few other vitamins, overall when you compare the composition in Nan Pro 1 with Similac 1, the latter seems to be a lot more nutritious and beneficial for your baby’s physical and mental development.
Overall, if your baby has any digestive troubles with other formula, NAN pro might be a better option. If not, Similac would be a more nutritious option.
Enfamil A+ is available in 3 versions for 0-6 months, 6-12 months and 12-24 months. They also have nutritional milk powder for babies aged 2 years and above.
Enfamil A+ is found to have higher content of DHA, Pantothenic acid and other essential minerals compared to most other formula brands. It also has added pro-biotics to help with digestion.
When you compare it with Similac Advance, though it contains similar ingredients, the composition of nutrients is marginally different between each other. While Similac is higher in fat, copper, vitamin D, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin and biotin, Enfamil is found to be higher in carbohydrates, magnesium, phosphorus, iodine, zinc, selenium, choline, vitamins B12, C, E and K, folic acid, and inositol.
A drawback however is that it is priced higher compared to Similac and NAN.
Note that the difference in composition is marginal. Hence, consider the price and give preference for your baby’s comfort in digestion rather than nutritional difference between the Similac and Enfamil.
Lactogen has higher mineral content compared to NAN and a whey casein ratio of 65:35, while rest of the composition remains almost at par. However, when you compare it with Similac, the latter is more nutritious.
Just like NAN, Lactogen also comes in a box, so you may have to empty the contents to an airtight container after opening. Price-wise, Lactogen is found to be the least expensive. But it doesn’t make Lactogen an attractive option as the nutritional benefit is not good enough compared with the other brands.
- Formula fed babies are prone to developing stomach infection as their food comes in contact with external environment more frequently than breastfed babies. Hence, ensure that each and every utensil that is used for making formula is thoroughly washed and sterilized before every use.
- Water that is used to mix the formula should be heated to rolling boil for 5 minutes and then cooled down to lukewarm temperature.
- Never boil water for formula using microwave, as heat might be concentrated to certain spots and might cause burns to the baby.
- Add formula powder to water as per instructions mentioned in the product label. Do not add more formula for night feeding to make it thicker thinking that it would help the baby sleep better. This could result in constipation or worse, add load to the baby’s digestive system.
Diluting the formula is also NOT advised as excessive water could affect the ability to absorb nutrients in the formula. In rare cases, it can also lead to seizure due to water intoxication.
- Untouched left over formula in room temperature should be used within maximum of 2 hours. Half-finished bottles should be discarded immediately.
- Store opened formula in an air tight container.
While breastmilk is almost free, formula feeding comes with a lot of related expenses. The obvious of all being formula powder and feeding bottles. You will have to take care to ensure that the bottle doesn’t make the baby gassy. So, use a good quality feeding bottle and more importantly, use the nipple suitable for the baby’s age—this is not only useful for reducing gas, but also for avoiding nipple confusion in breastfed babies who are supplemented with formula.
Some of the other useful accessories that would help for formula feeding are-
Find latest priceThis formula dispenser from Oxo Tot contains three separate sections that can hold enough formula for three 9 ounce feeding. It is especially useful on your outings as you can mix it in a feeding bottle when the baby demands and thus reduce wastage.
Formula fed babies are prone to getting stomach infection as you depend on feeding bottles. The formula has to be preserved properly too. The bottles and any other utensils that come in contact with the formula has to be sterilized thoroughly after every use. If you formula feed frequently, then, do invest in a bottle sterilizer. Not only does it ensure perfect hygiene, but also saves you a lot of time. You can check out our list of best bottle sterilizers.
Find latest priceIf your baby is exclusively on formula or if you have multiples, you would end up mixing formula quite frequently. To make things easier, you could opt for this formula mixing pitcher that prepares 4 bottles of formula at a time. It minimizes air bubbles and thus reduces chance of gassiness in babies too. Find latest priceThis is an extravaganza. No doubt. But if you want a latte machine for making formula, then Baby Brezza has got one for you. Fill in the machine with formula powder, and at press of a button, the machine dispenses 2,4,6,8 or 10 ounces of formula as per your baby’s need. No more lumps and get the perfect mix of formula for your baby every time.