Best Formula For Breastfed Babies

Many parents will give their breastfed baby some amount of formula. There are many reasons a parent may choose to also give their baby formula in addition to breast milk. The most common one is not making enough breast milk. If your baby is hungry, you need to feed them, and both breast milk and formula are nutritious options for your baby. This is absolutely not harmful to your baby, and if you need to or want to, you should.

Best Formula For Breastfed Babies

So, what is the best formula to use? The answer is, as long as it has been approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration, it should be, in theory, safe to use.

However, there is an entire category of formulas that may be safer for your baby due to a lower risk of contamination. This is called “ready to feed” and it is different from powdered formula.

Ready to feed formula may be a better choice over powdered formula as it tends to have a much lower rate of being recalled. There have been cases of contamination where children have become sick and have even died due to powdered formula.

Baby Formula Recall: It Happens

If you are using powdered formula it is very important to mix the formula with boiling water first in order to kill any contaminants in the powder. Then, after mixing the powdered formula with very hot water to kill potential bacteria, you must cool the bottle and formula so it is not too hot for your baby to drink. Not all powdered formula will have contaminants, but the only way to protect your child from harmful bacteria (Cronobacter Sakazakii) in powdered formula is to be sure to use water that is boiling when mixing.

Boiling formula and then cooling it takes a lot of time. And most parents do not have a lot of free time. For this reason, many parents choose to have ready to feed formula on standby in case they need it.

Ready To Feed Formula

Ready to feed formula is a great option for the breastfed baby. It is easy to open and use right away. It doesn’t need to be heated up or cooled down and is a quick way to settle your hungry baby. In the ready to feed formulas there are a few options that we like more than others. This is mainly related to size. Brands that carry a 2 oz option in ready to feed are a great idea for newborns and young infants. Once you open the ready to feed formula, it must be used within 2 hours or the remainder must be refrigerated. While putting extra formula into the refrigerator does not seem like a big deal, it truly may be during a middle of the night feeding. Additionally, if your baby is primarily breastfed, then you may not have the option to finish the remainder of the formula in a larger 8 oz or 32 oz bottle. Given how expensive the ready to feed formula can be, most parents will not want to waste it.

Related: Best Bottles For Breastfed Babies


Norberg S, Stanton C, Ross RP, Hill C, Fitzgerald GF, Cotter PD. Cronobacter spp. in powdered infant formula. J Food Prot. 2012 Mar;75(3):607-20. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-11-285. PMID: 22410240.

Kalyantanda G, Shumyak L, Archibald LK. Cronobacter Species Contamination of Powdered Infant Formula and the Implications for Neonatal Health. Front Pediatr. 2015 Jul 2;3:56. doi: 10.3389/fped.2015.00056. PMID: 26191519; PMCID: PMC4489094.

Chauhan R, Singh N, Pal GK, Goel G. Trending biocontrol strategies against Cronobacter sakazakii: A recent updated review. Food Res Int. 2020 Nov;137:109385. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2020.109385. Epub 2020 Jun 5. PMID: 33233087.

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