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10 Best Formulas To Supplement Breastfeeding

Sometimes, breastfeeding babies doesn’t always work out. It was a disaster with my oldest daughter, and she wound up drinking only formula. I never tried with my son.

However, I have known quite a few moms that strictly breastfed their babies and a few others that started out breastfeeding only but switched over to partially breastfeeding and supplementing with formula.

It’s important to remember that you know what’s best for both you and your family. If supplementing with formula is what is best, then there are plenty of amazing formulas on the market to help you make sure that your baby gets everything that they need.

Short On Time? Here Are Our Top Choices

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What Is Supplemental Formula?

Most moms that need to supplement with formula are going to hear the term supplemental formula. This is the formula that you will use in place of breastmilk when you’re not feeding your baby breastmilk. It’s simply a term that is used to say that. 

How To Use Formula For Supplementing

When you decide that your little one will be drinking formula in addition to breastmilk, you’re going to encounter a lot of information thrown at you at once. Some will say not to mix the two, while other experts swear by it.

You’ll be bombarded with so much that you feel you have to do, it can be overwhelming. It can be helpful to break things down into steps to make the process more manageable.

You’ll also need to remember that every mama is on her own journey. Some moms may choose to only give formula until their supply is back up, others may wean off the breast completely, and still, others may continue using both.

You need to take everything into account and make the decision that you feel is best. No one knows you and your baby as you do. 

Getting Started With Formula

If you’re new to using baby formula, you will need a few things. For example, you’ll need bottles, nipples, a drying rack, and a bottle warmer if you plan to make bottles in advance.

Most bottles will work, but I preferred to use anti-gas bottles with my children as did my daughter. Both my grandson’s nurses/doctors in the NICU and his pediatrician recommended Dr. Brown’s bottles, and he did exceptionally well with these. 

He was unable to drink out of several other brands because he had to have the longer nipple that Dr. Brown’s bottles have though.

I used Playtex bottles with disposable liners because not having to scrub bottles as much was worth it to me. That extra little bit of convenience and sterilization was worth the tiny extra cost of buying disposable liners. 

Can Using Supplemental Formula Cause Nipple Confusion?

Typically, your baby will be fine drinking from both a bottle and your breast. Nipple confusion is gone over a lot. It does happen on occasion, but it’s also used as a marketing gimmick by companies that make nipples. 

Start your baby off on whichever bottle you prefer, and use any nipple. It might take them a moment to latch on, but most babies do fine. It might also take them a tiny bit longer to latch onto your breast, but they should get the hang of it.

If your little one just so happens to be one of the baby’s that experiences nipple confusion, then you need to pick up nipples that are made for breastfed babies. 

Continue To Switch Breasts

Even though your baby will also be drinking formula, you want to switch breasts when you are breastfeeding. This will help keep your milk supply up. It can also help keep it even.

The milk in one breast can begin to dry up if it’s not used, leaving you with a pretty uneven milk supply. Last, but certainly not least, you’ll be more likely to get a clogged duct on the breast that you’re not using as often. 

Increase Your Skin To Skin Contact

Skin-to-skin contact is very important for babies.  When you breastfeed a baby, this naturally happens.

We rarely think to bottle feed a baby half-naked, so babies that are being fed with a bottle are not getting the same skin-to-skin contact when they are being fed. You can make up for this by making sure that your little one still gets plenty of skin-to-skin contact throughout the day. 

Feed Formula In Moderation

When breastfeeding and using a supplemental formula, you want to make sure that you don’t accidentally feed your little one too much formula in the beginning.

Instead, feed them a bottle in between breastfeeding sessions to start out. Then, you can slowly increase this amount daily or every 2-3 days.

It will take your baby time to adjust to having the formula, and spacing out those bottles will make the transition easier. Last, this can guarantee that your baby still gets a lot of their nutrition from breastmilk. 

You may want to consider giving your baby formula a couple of hours after breastmilk. This works out well because you’re just giving them the formula to top off the breastmilk.

They will still get most of their nutrition from breastmilk. This idea won’t work well if you want to give your little one formula while you’re at work, etc. though. 

baby formula

Don’t Obsess Over The Ounces Of Formula

It’s really easy to measure how much your baby is eating when you have bottles that measure it for you. It can make it easy to get caught up in trying to figure out whether your baby is eating enough, eating too little, etc.

Instead, focus on feeding the baby until they aren’t hungry anymore. Sometimes babies will eat a little bit more and other times they will eat a little bit less. Both situations are completely normal.

You didn’t measure how much your baby was eating when they were breastfeeding, and there’s no reason to do it now unless your pediatrician advises you to do so. 

How To Choose A Formula

When it comes to which formula is the best formula for breastfed babies, there are quite a few things that you’ll need to consider. A lot of formulas on the market are considered the best, and for different reasons.

Instead of trying to find the ultimate formula, consider all of your options. You’ll also need to take these things into consideration. 

WIC May Only Work With Certain Brands

In my county, WIC has a contract with Gerber. Because of that, WIC coupons, which provide free formula, are a Gerber brand. In order to use a different type of formula, you need a prescription from your doctor.

That means that your doctor needs to think that a different type of formula is best for your baby too. If you aren’t on WIC, what brand they have a contract with won’t matter. 

Don’t Forget Your Budget When It Comes To Supplemental Formula

One thing that most parents are going to want to consider is their budget. The more expensive a can of formula is, the more you’re going to spend.

If you’re working with a tight budget, that is definitely something you need to consider when you’re looking at different brands of formula. 

Ask Your Pediatrician For Advice On Which Formula Is Best For Supplementing

Most pediatricians will recommend a certain type of formula or several. They can usually back up those recommendations with research, too.

As an additional bonus, your pediatrician might have samples available in the office to give your little one to make sure that they can tolerate the formula. You should also let your pediatrician know that you plan to supplement breastmilk with formula in case this affects your baby. 

Keep In Mind Special Needs Your Little One Has

For example, my grandbaby was a preemie baby. He was on donated breastmilk while in intensive care. Then, he had a prescription for Similac Neosure. However, he just didn’t tolerate it well.

After so many weeks of a fussy, gassy baby he was switched to another formula. Ultimately, Gerber Soothe worked wonderfully. Because he was so small, he needed the additional calories though.

This is why he started out on Neosure. His feeding specialist figured out how many calories he needed, and what concentration we should use in his formula to make sure that he got those. 

It’s also important to remember that food intolerances tend to run in families. While they aren’t necessarily hereditary, it’s safe to assume that your little one may be lactose intolerant if the rest of the household is.

You’ll need to watch for signs that your baby can’t tolerate a certain formula, such as fussiness, gas, irritability, etc. 

Personal Preferences

You’ll also want to consider which formulas are available that meet your preferences for formula. For example, if you would rather have an organic formula, that instantly gives you certain options. The same applies if you don’t want GMOs in your supplemental formula. 

What Is The Best Formula To Supplement Breastfeeding?

The best formula to use when breastfeeding is going to be the best formula on the market that also meets your budget, your baby’s needs, and your preferences.

Because of that, we’re going to look at the top ten formulas on the market for breastfeeding mamas, and the pros and cons of each of them so that you can make an informed decision about what is best for your baby. 

1. Gerber Good Start Soothe

This is the formula that we settled on for my grandson and one of the few that he could tolerate. It instantly helped with his gas, and he was less fussy. He was able to sleep through the night, which didn’t happen on any other formula. We even tried Similac Sensitive, Enfamil, and soy-based formulas. 


2. Parent’s Choice Infant Formula Milk-Based Powder

This is a budget-friendly version of Gerber, in my opinion. Parent’s choice costs significantly less than leading brands because it is a Walmart brand, but it has almost the same exact ingredients.

When we ran out of Gerber, we did purchase Parent’s Choice a few times with wonderful results. I could not find it available on Amazon, but you can purchase it here. 

3. Similac Sensitive

If your little one has a sensitive stomach and you love Similac, this is ideal for you. It is lactose-free, and is well known for being gentle on a baby’s stomach when compared to other formulas. 


4. Happy Baby Organic Formula From Amazon

This formula is great if you’re searching for an organic option to give your little one. It is made from cow’s milk, but only from cows that are grass-fed. There are no GMOs in this formula either. 


5. Enfamil Enspire

Enfamil truly outdid themselves when they created this formula. Then, they did it again by adding key ingredients that are found in breastmilk, such as Lactoferrin and MFGM.

The team at Enfamil specifically designed this formula to be as close to breastmilk as possible and even collaborated with experts on the subject, reviewed studies regarding what is in breastmilk, and more.

However, you should also note that Enfamil Enspire is one of the most expensive formulas at the store, even if it is closest to breastmilk. 


6. Earth’s Best Organic Baby Formula

This is one of the most popular organic baby formulas on the market and for good reason. The cows are fed organic materials, and even the hay that they come into contact with has to be free from things like pesticides. There are no added corn syrup solids or GMOs. 


7. Enfamil Soy Infant Formula

If you’re planning on following a vegetarian diet with your baby or they can’t have milk, this is an exceptional alternative. While it isn’t exactly Enfamil Enspire, it is packed with nutrients that your baby needs for healthy development. 


8. Enfamil NeuroPro

This is another exceptional formula choice. The main ingredients are MFGM, lactose, and whey proteins. You won’t find a lot of corn syrup, although there is a little bit. When it comes to cost, this formula is slightly cheaper than Enfamil Enspire in most grocery stores. 


9. Similac For Supplementation

This formula truly stands out from the rest as a supplemental formula. One of the main problems that you can experience is that your baby will not want breastmilk anymore because the formula is sweeter.

This is actually what happened to my daughter (they gave her a bottle after she was born because I was so sick), and the reason why she was not breastfed. She literally was starving herself because she refused breastmilk.

This is because of the corn syrup that is found in most formulas. You won’t have to worry about that with Similac For Supplementation because there is no corn syrup on the ingredient list. (I wish they would have had this formula eighteen years ago.)


10. Similac Neosure

There are quite a few great things about this formula that make it the ideal choice for preemie babies. It is packed with both calories and nutrients to help them develop.

The doctors and nurses insisted that my grandson have this formula for that sole purpose. After a significant amount of research during those sleepless nights, I can assure you that it will provide your preemie with the nutrition that they need.

I was also told that the only thing better than this formula for my grandson would be breastmilk. (There’s a reason he was home for four months with gas and fussiness before we were given the okay to switch him formulas.)

However, some babies do not tolerate this formula well. My daughter, myself, and her pediatrician felt that the long-term benefits outweighed the short-term side effects, and that’s something that you should also keep in mind when picking a formula like this one for a preemie. 


In Conclusion

When choosing which formula to supplement with, always consider nutrition, your budget, and what’s best for your baby. These ten are the best on the market, so there’s bound to be one that fits your needs.