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What Does Baby Formula Taste Like?

Have you ever been tempted to try your baby’s milk? Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, it is only natural to feel curious and want to know what the milk you are feeding your baby actually tastes like.

Babies can not talk so we can’t hear straight from the little one’s mouth what breast milk or baby formula tastes like. Some parents resort to trying their baby’s milk themselves to find out firsthand what it tastes like and whether they are feeding their baby something that tastes good or not. 

If you are bottle feeding and are curious to know what baby formula tastes like and want to know if there is a formula that tastes like breast milk or if all formulas taste the same, you will find all of the answers in this article. 

Does Formula Taste The Same As Breast Milk?

Baby formula and breast milk are two completely different substances and while formula companies have tried, no formula can mimic the taste of breast milk exactly.

Breast milk is made completely naturally in a mom’s body and is constantly changing to support her baby’s specific needs.

The taste of breast milk can vary from feed to feed and it is an impossible task to create formula milk that can replicate the unique taste of breast milk.

Breast milk is often described as being very sweet and like a watery version of skimmed cow’s milk or sweetened almond or soya milk. Each mother’s breastmilk will taste slightly different and the taste can be impacted by certain foods that a mom consumes. 

To answer the question simply: no, formula does not taste the same as breast milk. 

What Does Baby Formula Taste Like?

So, if it doesn’t taste like breastmilk, what does baby formula taste like?

In order to provide your baby with sufficient nutrition, baby formula companies must try their best to include as many vitamins, minerals, and fats as breastmilk. Unfortunately for babies, this combination of ingredients doesn’t always taste good. 

Baby formula has been described as tasting bitter, fishy and metallic. However, often companies will add sweeteners to their formula to make the taste more palatable for babies.

Due to these added sweeteners, some formulas can taste too sweet, where other brands haven’t managed to get the balance right either and the formula milk tastes bitter and unpleasant. 

baby milk bottle and opened can of formula

Why Does Baby formula Taste Metallic and fishy?

What exact ingredients in the formula make it taste fishy and metallic?

Many companies will fortify their formula with added iron, this can make the milk taste a bit metallic. When omega-3 is added to formula milk it can cause the milk to have a bit of a fishy after taste.

Some formula milk tastes sour, others are sweet and some have a not very nice metallic and fishy taste. When you know that formula milk can taste so bad, it makes it easier to understand why some babies refuse to drink it.

Related Reading: 5 Uses for Expired Baby Formula

Does All Formula Taste The Same?

As we explained above, not all formula milk tastes exactly the same. The taste of a particular brand of formula will depend on what ingredients have been used to make it.

For example, Enfamil Enspire Infant Formula has been created to taste similar to breastmilk and only uses lactose for sweetness as this is the only sweetener found in breastmilk.

Whereas, Parent’s Choice Infant Formula is a gluten-free soy-based baby formula milk and is not as sweet as other soy and cow milk-based formula.

Which Baby Formula Tastes Closest To Breastmilk?

If you have a baby refusing to drink formula because they think their formula milk tastes bad, you may be despairing after reading this article. Don’t worry, there is formula milk that has been created to taste as close to breastmilk as possible.

It is impossible to mimic the taste and composition of breastmilk exactly but many formula companies have done a pretty good job of making formula that tastes more like breastmilk so fussy babies will be more willing to drink it.

The taste of breast milk may not have a consistent taste but more often than not it is sweet. Babies tend to be more accepting of formula milk that has a sweet taste as it is closer to the milk taste they are used to from nursing.

Many brands claim that their milk is the best-tasting baby formula but not all of them taste similar to breast milk. 

Here is a list of the top 3 baby formula milk that tastes most like breast milk:

Gerber Good Start Infant Formula

This formula is said to taste similar to breast milk and includes proteins that are easily digested by your baby. Gerber Good Start Infant Formula uses corn maltodextrin and lactose as sweeteners and it is suitable for lactose intolerant babies.

This is a baby formula that tastes like breast milk and has no strong odor, meaning it is likely to be accepted by more babies. 

Enfamil Enspire Infant Formula

The Enfamil Enspire is one of few baby formula milks that tastes closest to breast milk. The only sweetener used in Enfamil Enspire is lactose, making the taste as similar as possible to breast milk.

Lactose gives breast milk its natural sweetness. This baby formula includes several probiotics, making it easier for babies to digest. Enfamil tastes like breast milk and can be easily digested in a similar way to breast milk, maybe this could be the formula for your fussy baby? 

Similac Isomil Infant Formula

This is a soy-based baby formula made from high-quality soy protein. Soy-based formula milk tends to be less sweet than cow’s milk formulas.

To make the taste more palatable, formula companies add extra sugar to soy-based baby formula, encouraging more babies to enjoy its sweet taste. Similac is said to taste much better than other soy-based formula milk and its sweetness makes it taste similar to breast milk. 


Does baby formula taste different?

The taste is usually one of the biggest differences between formulas. But remember that each baby is different and not all will like the same formula. Considering that breastmilk changes taste depending on what the mom eats, the flavor is not considered a huge factor for most formula-fed babies.

What formula do breastfed babies prefer?

For those babies that are full-term and who are at least breastfed part of the time, the AAP recommends a cow’s milk-based formula that is iron-fortified.

What is the best formula for a newborn?

There is a huge range of formulas available that are perfect for newborns such as; Similac, Enfamil, Gerber, Earth’s Organic Dairy Infant Formula, or Happy Baby Organics. But be prepared that you may have to swap and change formulas to find the one that best suits your little one.

The Final Thought

As parents, we want to know what our babies are eating and many of us are curious to know what our baby’s milk really tastes like. As you have read in this article, all formula milk tastes slightly different, the taste isn’t consistent and often formula doesn’t taste anything like breast milk.

Formula can sometimes taste gross and some babies hate it. Other formulas have been sweetened or include lactose and these formulas tend to be accepted by babies more often as they taste more like breast milk.

There is no one best-tasting formula but there are many formula milks that have been created to taste better and mimic the taste of breastmilk. 

If you would like to compare some of these brands then check out our other articles such as Enfamil vs Gerber or Parent’s Choice vs Enfamil.