Finding the best formula after breastfeeding for your baby for new moms can feel overwhelming. Whether you aren’t producing enough milk and need to supplement for a short period of time or you are ready to wean and want to find the best formula for your baby, there are a lot of different options available.
If you are concerned about not producing enough breast milk for your baby, it is so important to see a lactation consultant. It is the best way to make sure the latch is correct and will ensure a strong breastfeeding relationship.
If your pediatrician and lactation consultant both agree that supplementation is necessary for a short time while you work on getting your supply up, then also talk to them to see what is the right formula for your baby.
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Can you give your baby formula after breastmilk?
In short, yes you can. It’s important to note that whatever formula you give your baby is telling your body that it doesn’t need to make that milk. So if you give your baby a 4 ounce bottle of formula, then your body doesn’t know it will need to produce those 4 ounces for your baby unless you are pumping after to continue that demand.
Combination feeding can be done to supplement for a short time if the baby’s doctor says the baby needs to supplement with formula for a short time. Just be sure to make a plan with your lactation consultant to wean from bottle feeding or formula feeding if that is your desire. Any breast milk that you give your baby will benefit their health and their immune system.
How to introduce formula to a breastfed baby
- Have a family member help
The first time you introduce formula to your baby it’s a good idea to have family members be the one to introduce it. Your baby might be hesitant to accept a bottle of formula from you because it’s just not what they were expecting that they would be getting from their mom.
- Find a good bottle
Find a bottle nipple that is shaped similarly to a breast to avoid nipple confusion. This will ensure a correct latch for when you are breastfeeding.
Find out the best bottles for breastfed babies here
- Try a different position
Try a different position then when you breastfeed. If your baby is in the same position that they typically breastfeed in, then they might not be open to trying something else.
- Don’t let baby get too hungry
If your baby is really hungry, they won’t be up for trying a bottle. Make sure there is some breast milk already in their tummy. This is a great way to have them more relaxed and open to trying the bottle.
Related: Best Pacifiers For Breastfed Babies
What is the closest formula to breastmilk?
First off, formula companies are always trying to improve their products to get even just a little bit closer to breast milk but they have never been able to add all the amazing benefits that breast milk has to offer.
The best baby formula out there will always be a step behind breast milk because the breast milk that you make is perfectly made for exactly what your baby needs which is pretty amazing! Later we will break down the best formulas for your baby.
Can formula cause constipation?
Yes. Formula is thicker than breastmilk and it can take longer to digest. From this baby’s stool can get hard and make a really fussy baby. Some say that switching formulas won’t help but I personally have seen a huge difference from changing brands and baby’s diet. If you are dealing with constipation with your baby or are worried about it happening, you can use these probiotics and they really helped us.
Formula fed babies might deal with a little bit of constipation the first week or so but there’s a good chance that they will adjust soon on their own. If they happen to have a milk allergy then you should talk to their doctor about switching to a goat milk or soy milk formula.
What to look for when buying a formula
There are so many different formulas to choose from when looking for the best formula after breastfeeding. Fortunately commercial formulas are tightly regulated by the FDA to ensure they are getting the essential nutrients that your baby needs.
The important thing that you should be mindful of when choosing a formula is that you want natural ingredients. A lot of companies use vegetable oils and things like corn syrup solids in their formulas and it is something to avoid if you can help it.
If you do decide that you want to supplement with a formula, like Gerber Good Start, Organics Best Formula, or Earth’s Best Organic Infant Formula . They are all safe choices for healthy infants under one year of age. When looking for the best formula for your baby, it should read as many natural ingredients as possible. All of the best formula for breastfed babies should also be iron-fortified with DHA and ARA oils added to support brain development.
DHA and ARA
DHA and ARA are two different types of long chain fatty acids that are found in breast milk. They help with early neurodevelopment, child cognitive outcomes, brain and eye development in your baby. DHA and ARA are not required to be added to formulas. All formulas recommended here have DHA but only a few have ARA that you can see in the comparison chart below.
A full-term baby has enough iron stored up from her mother to last for the first 4 months of life. After your baby is 4 months of age, AAP recommends that you supplement with iron. Some formulas are fortified with iron to meet these nutritional needs.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Probiotics are healthy bacteria in the gut and prebiotics are food for the healthy bacteria to flourish. Probiotics and prebiotics are not required, but may improve the gut microflora of formula-fed infants. They can also be healthy with digestion health which can be beneficial if a baby is having a hard time transitioning to formula from breastmilk.
Related: Best Baby Bottle For Babies That Refuse A Bottle
Best Formulas After Breastfeeding
With all the different types of formula milk, babies have different needs depending on their age. With the help of your pediatrician, try different brands to see what works best for your baby.
The Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusively breastfeed for 6 months and continue for at least 12 months since it is the optimal source of nutrition for your baby. If you choose to not breastfeed or choose to supplement, here are some good options for you baby.
If you would like to try your formula at the best price, be sure to check out formuladeals.com
Best Overall Formula
This is a plant based and is a lactose free formula. This is a great option if you’re worried your baby has lactose intolerance. This soy formula is non-gmo and is also organic. It contains all the amino acids and essential nutrients to promote eye and brain development. This checks all of the boxes and in my opinion, is the best formula after breastfeeding.
Best Organic Formula
This organic formula designed to closely mimic breast milk is rich in the vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed for your baby’s first year of life. It contains prebiotics similar to those found in breast milk such as calcium, vitamin D, DHA and zinc as well as organic lactose from cows raised on certified organic farms.
This is a great organic baby formula that has great ingredients and all of the essential nutrients.
Best for sensitive tummies
This is another good choice as an organic infant formula. This gentle baby formula provides vitamins D, E and K, calcium, gentle proteins and DHA for brain and eye development. It has easy to digest proteins for sensitive tummies to help keep your baby in a good mood.
An added bonus is it’s made with milk from dairy cows raised in pastures and fed a 100% organic diet.
Best formula after breastfeeding that’s most like breastmilk
This is a cow milk based formula that are pasture raised cows. It is inspired by a European formula with plenty of DHA and omega 3s that are sustainably sourced from algae.
Bobbie formula has organic coconut, sunflower or safflower, soybean oil, and is modeled after the average fat content of breast milk.
Bobbie’s whey to casein is a similar whey to casein ratio as mature breast milk does and since whey is easier to digest, this ratio supports gentle digestion.
Best Store Brand
Up & Up
This formula is easy on the tummy and very affordable. Target’s non-GMO baby formula is made from cow’s milk protein that’s broken down into smaller parts to help with digestion. This can head reduce fussiness, gas and crying.
Buy it at Target
Walmart also has a great store brand option that you can buy
Best formula after breastfeeding to prevent gas
Gerber Good Start Gentle Pro is made with 100% whey protein; part of the proteins are predigested or hydrolyzed. This matters because casein is a more difficult protein to digest, and can curdle in stomach acid. By starting out on predigested whey protein, we’re giving little tummies gentle introduction to foods.
This is a great formula choice to transition from breast milk and will be gentle on their tummies but be aware it does a mix of some vegetable oils to have all the essential fats, carbohydrates, and proteins that babies need.
Best formula after breastfeeding for constipation
Similac Pro-Advance contains an immune system boosting prebiotic that’s similar to the one found in breast milk. It is also non-GMO and does not have artificial hormones added to it. This formula contains DHA, Lutein, and Vitamin E, that are also found in breastmilk, and help support baby’s brain and eye development.
Best Dairy Alternative Formula
This organic formula is made with very clean ingredients. The milk in the baby formula comes from goats raised on organic biodynamic farms that adhere to EU regulations which is stricter than the United States. Goats are able to graze freely on fields and pastures that result in a higher quality of milk for your baby’s food. The organic vegetable oils are also more easily absorbed by the body, providing fatty acids, necessary for development.
Holle comes in 3 different stages depending on your baby’s age to suit your baby’s nutritional needs. There is Stage 1 for 0-6 months, stage 2 for 6-10 months, and Stage 3 for 10 months of age and on.
Best formula after breastfeeding that’s most affordable
Mama Bear Sensitivity Baby Formula that has 99 percent less lactose than standard milk-based infant formula which makes it great for babies transitioning from breastmilk. This formula is most comparable to the Similac Pro-Sensitive infant formula but with a much more affordable price. It has 2′-FL HMO which is the prebiotic that is similar to the prebiotic that is found in breastmilk that benefits your baby’s immune system and helps with the digestive track.
This formula is non-gmo and has no artificial growth hormones. It has Vitamin E, DHA, and Omega-3’s that is great for brain and eye development.
Best formula after breastfeeding for a toddler
This is a great option if your baby is past 12 months old and you are worried about them getting enough nutrients from their diet. It is a milk based formula with added DHA and ARA derived from egg yolks. It’s organic and gluten free. It’s a great option if you just need to add in some extra nutrients for a picky eater.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life and continuing with appropriate foods for 2 years and beyond for your baby’s health. As a new mother be sure to find additional support with a lactation consultant and join a breastfeeding group in your area.
What’s most important is finding the right choice for your family and that you are supported.
If you are having a hard time introducing a bottle to your baby, be sure to read this on the best tips when introducing a bottle to your baby.