Best Overall: Similac 360 Total Care
Best Organic: Happy Baby Organic
Best Ingredients: HiPP
Best for Allergies: Nutramigen
Best Price: Up&Up Baby Sensitive
If you find yourself in a place where you need to begin supplementing with formula, you may be feeling incredibly overwhelmed. You may be asking yourself (and frantically searching Google) things like how do you do it, when should you do it, and what is the best formula for supplementing while breastfeeding? The reassuring news is that according to the CDC, all formulas sold in the US are required to meet nutritional and safety requirements. However, we know that doesn’t exactly help you narrow down which formula to purchase for your babe. So, we polled all of our working moms to determine the best formula for supplementing while breastfeeding.
Related article: Supplementing With Formula: Advice from Experienced Moms
While we know that all baby formulas sold in the US have similar nutritional profiles, there are differences among the various options. The differences come down to the ingredients used to achieve the FDA required nutritional profiles. Most formulas are dairy based meaning they primarily use cow’s milk. However, there are other formulas available that are soy or goat milk based.
It may take some experimentation to see what formula your baby likes and tolerates the most. You know your baby best. Many of our moms have had to try at least 2-3 formulas to find one their baby will drink and that is gentle on their tummies. Breastfed babies will likely have an adjustment period to the introduction of formula into their diet. Their poop may change, they may be gassier than normal, and/or spitting up may occur. Know that this is normal. Speak with your pediatrician prior to introducing formula so he/she can go over what to expect and what to look out for.
Related article: The Top 5 Best Bottles for Breastfed Babies
Consider the Cost
Before we get to our best formulas for supplementing while breastfeeding recommendations, keep in mind the costs of formula. Even though most formulas have a similar nutritional profile, their prices can vary greatly due to branding and/or the quality of ingredients used. Here are a few tips from our experienced moms to reduce cost when it comes to supplementing with formula:
- Most formula brands offer coupons or free cans for moms to try. Check out the company’s website, social media accounts, or call the company directly to see what types of promotions they offer new customers.
- Check with your pediatrician’s office for free samples. Most pediatricians’ offices have free cans of formula or coupons for free cans they can provide to new moms or moms who need to supplement with formula while breastfeeding.
- When you find a formula your baby likes, order it in bulk. Purchasing in bulk can greatly reduce the amount you are paying per can.
- Put a call out on social media. Most new moms are inundated with cans of formula and coupons. Some moms end up not needing or using the formula. Simply ask if anyone has any formula or coupons that they aren’t going to use and offer to take it off their hands.
- If you are low income, check with your local WIC office (https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic). The WIC program exists to provide supplemental foods, healthcare, and education for pregnant women, new moms, infants, and toddlers. Your state may offer additional programs that may help with the costs of formula. Your pediatrician’s office or local health department can give you further information.
Recommended article: Paced Bottle Feeding Explained: Who, What, & Why It’s So Important
Now onto the good stuff!
Best Overall Formula for Supplementing While Breastfeeding
Why we love Similac 360 Total Care:
- Closest Similac formula to breastmilk
- Includes a blend of DHA, lutein, and vitamin E which are all found in breast milk
- Contains Human Milk Oligosaccharides (prebiotic blend similar to breast milk)
- One of the most commonly recommended by our moms’ pediatricians
What our moms say…
“We started Similac 360 Total Care when my daughter was 5 months old at the recommendation of my pediatrician. She said it was one of the best formulas for supplementing while breastfeeding. I was so worried she would have trouble going back and forth between breastmilk and formula, but we had no problems. I recommend this formula to all new moms who need to supplement!” — Lexi H.
“We tried several different formulas with my baby, but Similac 360 Total Care is what he ended up liking best. I also liked that it didn’t cause gas like other formulas did (and my babe did, too!). It’s such a personal preference when it comes to formula, but we have loved Similac 360 and won’t use anything else.” — Kristina F.
“I was dreading having to supplement with formula, but there was no way I could keep up my milk supply with twins while working. I started giving them a bottle or two of Similac 360 Total Care each day and they took it with no hesitation. They’re both in the 80% percentile for weight and height, so they’re clearly thriving! I also liked that Similac included immune support.” — Julie S.
Related article: Can I Mix Breast Milk and Formula? Yes, Here’s How.
Best Organic Formula for Supplementing While Breastfeeding
Why we love Happy Baby Organic:
- Organic and non-GMO ingredients
- No added corn syrup solids
- Includes prebiotics that mimic those found in breast milk
- Easier on baby’s tummies compared to other organic formulas
- Smells better than other formulas
What our moms say…
“We used Happy Baby Organic when I decided to supplement with formula while breastfeeding since my supply tanked when I went back to work. My daughter actually won’t drink anything else now. I tried to switch to something a little cheaper, but my girl wouldn’t take it. So, Happy Baby it is!” — Caitlin L.
“My husband and I did a ton of research into formulas because I needed to feel confident and assured in the specific formula we decided to give our baby. We decided on Happy Baby Organic even though we aren’t super into organic foods ourselves. I liked that this formula didn’t include hexane, GMOs, soy or high fructose corn syrup. I also liked that it didn’t smell as bad as others. Happy Baby smells more like cream of wheat compared to other formulas which had a synthetic smell. There were a bunch of other reasons we decided on Happy Baby Organic, but the most important one was that our baby took to it just fine. That made all the stress and research worth it.” — Lindsey K.
“I used Happy Baby Organic when I had to supplement. It all came down to ingredients and availability for me. I wanted a formula similar to breast milk with organic ingredients, but I also wanted something I could find in the store if I ever ran out unexpectedly. Happy Baby is what I went with and I have no complaints. I would highly recommend it to any mom looking for the best formula to supplement with while breastfeeding.” — Jessica D.
Related article: Breastfeeding While Sick–Everything You Need to Know
Formula with the Best Ingredients for Supplementing While Breastfeeding
Why we love HiPP:
- European formula from a company founded in 1899 by parents who had twins that had trouble breastfeeding
- Certified organic and approved by the European Commission (similar to the US FDA) which has even more rigid ingredient requirements than the FDA
- One of the most similar formulas to breast milk
- No corn syrups or corn based sweeteners
- Smells and tastes better than American formulas
What our moms say…
“We decided on HiPP from Germany for several different reasons when I needed to supplement with formula while breastfeeding. It’s made from organic milk and contains no corn syrups or sweeteners (a problem with “natural” American formulas), and it doesn’t smell icky like most formulas available in the US. It seems expensive, but you can often purchase it in bulk which makes the price per box comparable to formulas you can find in stores here in the USA. I won’t use anything else!” — Anna B.
“This will sound strange, but we decided to go with HiPP formula because my baby’s poop was the same on HiPP as it was while breastfeeding. With other formulas, my baby’s poop smelled disgusting. I figure poop doesn’t lie, so we stuck with HiPP! It’s definitely the best formula to supplement with while breastfeeding. ;)” — Felicia K.
“We started using HiPP at the suggestion of my pediatrician. We tried Alimentum originally, but my little one was still having reflux issues. She has a milk protein allergy, so I had to purchase the hypoallergenic version but it worked great. She still had a little reflux, but it was so much better on HiPP. I liked that the European Commission has a higher standard than the US FDA when it comes to ingredients in baby formulas. I’ll never use anything else.” — Nicole M.
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Best Supplementation Formula for Allergies
Why we love Nutramigen:
- Lactose free which makes it perfect for babies with dairy intolerance
- Sucrose free (i.e. free of table sugar)
- Includes LGG probiotic to help with allergies
- Fast relief for colicky, allergy-prone babies
What our moms say…
“My pediatrician had me start my son on Nutramigen when he was only one month old due to a dairy intolerance. He told me to give him only Nutramigen for two weeks and then begin reintroducing breast milk (after going dairy free myself) since dairy proteins can stay in breast milk for up to two weeks. I thought it would take several days to see a difference in my baby after giving him formula, but I noticed a difference in him the first day. He started crying and spitting up less. I was so amazed and relieved! I reintroduced breast milk to him after a few weeks, and thankfully, he was able to switch between both just fine. We weren’t without bumps along the way, but Nutramigen certainly changed my little guy for the better.” — Tara J.
“My daughter had diarrhea and extreme fussiness when she was tiny. She was diagnosed with milk intolerance by her pediatrician. We tried Alimentum and her issues resolved almost immediately. However, she would cry during her feeds because she hated the taste of it. We decided to switch her to Nutramigen and she took it so much better! And she had no mucus or blood in her stool which she had experienced before we switched to a hypoallergenic formula. I always recommend Nutramigen to moms who are going through similar experiences.” — Tabitha R.
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Best Priced Formula for Supplementing While Breastfeeding
Why we love Up&Up Baby Gentle:
- Best price for the quality
- Often on sale or promo at Target
- Easily accessible
- Easy to mix and use
What our moms say…
“I consulted my pediatrician and went with his suggestion, which if I remember, was the purple Enfamil. He actually said the Target brand was the same formula. I supplemented with formula as needed, and my baby had no issues. I definitely recommend this to moms as one of the best formulas for supplementing while breastfeeding.” — Audrey M.
“We used Target Up&Up Baby Gentle to supplement while breastfeeding. You get double the formula for the same price. All formula is held to the same FDA standards so I personally think you are just paying for the name with other formulas.” — Monica R.
“I tried several different formulas for my baby, but he had a hard time with all of them. They either caused him gas, spitting up, or made him cranky. I ended up grabbing a can of Target’s Up&Up brand formula, and it ended up working best for him when he needs a bottle of formula. As if I needed another reason to love Target even more!” — Joanne S.
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