While all infant formulas help to nourish your baby, there are many different types. Some are specially formulated to support specific nutrition needs your baby may have.
If you need help choosing a formula, talk to your doctor. You can also compare options with our Formula Finder.
The different types of baby formula
Milk-based, iron-fortified formula
This is the most common type of formula, and it’s often recommended by doctors. If this is your first time feeding with formula, it’s a good place to start. These formulas provide complete nutrition to support your baby’s growth and development. They contain milk-based protein and important vitamins and minerals, including iron. The carbohydrates in these formulas come from lactose, which is the major carbohydrate in breast milk.
Four milk-based formulas to try are Similac Pro-Advance® Pure Bliss™ by Similac, Similac® Organic and Similac® Organic with A2 Milk.
- Sensitive infant formula
If your little one shows signs of a sensitive tummy, like fussiness, gas, or mild spit-up, sensitive formulas are designed to help. They contain carbohydrates such as maltodextrins, instead of lactose, making them suitable for infants who may be sensitive to lactose. Try Similac Pro-Sensitive,® a formula created for babies with sensitive tummies.
- Partially hydrolyzed infant formula
If you’ve tried a sensitive formula and your baby is still showing signs of fussiness, gas, and mild spit-up, partially hydrolyzed formulas may help. This type of formula is also good for babies with lactose sensitivity. Similac Pro-Total Comfort™ has partially hydrolyzed whey protein and is great for babies who have difficulty tolerating other milk-based formulas.
- Soy-based formula
If your baby has fussiness or gas when feeding with other formulas, you might want to try a soy-based formula. Soy-based formulas have been clinically shown to support growth and help reduce fussiness and gas. Your doctor may also recommend a soy formula if your baby has galactosemia. Vegan families often prefer a soy-based formula for their babies. No other soy-based formula has been studied more than Similac® Soy Isomil®. If your baby’s fussiness or gas seems excessive, ask your physician about switching.
Specialized nutrition baby formula
If your baby has a food allergy or other specific nutrition needs, specialized nutrition formulas can help meet his needs.
For cow’s milk allergy, your baby’s doctor might recommend Similac® Alimentum®. It’s a hypoallergenic, extensively hydrolyzed formula for infants, including those with colic symptoms due to protein sensitivity and food allergies.3,4
To learn more about food allergies and the formula options, check out our Food Allergy and Colic section.
Similac® NeoSure® is specially designed for babies born prematurely to promote catch-up growth on the outside—and on the inside. It’s a nutrient-enriched formula that has increased protein, vitamins, and minerals compared to term infant formula.
For more information on nutrition for babies born prematurely, check out our Preemie section.
Organic baby formula
Organic formulas contain the same ingredients you would find in a standard, milk-based, iron-fortified formula. The difference is that all certified USDA-organic products must meet the USDA’s strict production and labeling standards. Products with the USDA organic seal must contain at least 95% organic ingredients and have no genetically modified ingredients. Learn more about Similac® Organic.
For more info on our organic formulas, visit our Organic & Non-GMO Formulas page.
As your baby grows into a toddler and you start introducing new foods, picky eaters may miss out on some important nutrients. Toddler formulas, like Go & Grow by Similac® HMO, are designed for children between ages 12 and 36 months and can help fill nutrient gaps. Some of the nutrients toddlers may miss out on are iron, vitamin C, and vitamin E because they aren’t in regular milk.
To learn more about the nutrition needs of your toddler, visit our Toddler section.