If you have decided to either supplement or completely switch to formula feeding, you might be nervous about how your breastfed baby will react to the change.
Opting for a formula that tastes like breast milk seems like the best decision, but as the taste of human milk changes naturally, it’s impossible to replicate it in formula.
However, there are brands that have a more pleasant taste than others, (don’t be afraid to taste the formula yourself!) and are more likely to be accepted by babies who breastfeed.
Human milk tastes sweet, so it’s best to go with a formula that also tastes somewhat sweet, but be sure to watch out for the sugar content.
On my list you’ll find the closest formulas to breast milk in terms of nutrients and taste.
Every baby is unique, so it’s possible that your child takes well to a formula that another child can’t stand, so be prepared for a lot of trial and error!
Even though it’s impossible to make a formula that tastes exactly like breast milk, all of the following brands are generally well-tolerated by nursing infants, so you can try any of them.
Baby Formula That’s Closest To Breast Milk
To save you scrolling through Amazon for hours trying to figure out which formulas taste like breast milk or are most similar to it nutritionally, here are the top baby formulas that are closest to the real deal.
1. Enfamil Enspire Infant Formula With MFGM & Lactoferrin
Enfamil Enspire is undoubtedly one of the best baby formulas on the market when it comes to similarity to human milk, particularly in terms of nutrients.
Although it is at a higher price point compared to other brands, it also contains ingredients that are only found in mother’s milk, making it an excellent choice for breastfed babies.
First off, it contains lactoferrin, which is an important nutrient in colostrum. Both of these nutrients are essential for the development of a child’s immune system and also support the intestinal system.
Furthermore, it includes milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) which is a key ingredient for your baby’s cognitive development.
As well as these two essential nutrients, Enfamil Enspire contains choline, iron, and omega 3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
It’s also important to mention that this formula is free from GMOs.
If you’re looking for a good quality infant formula that is nutritionally similar to breast milk, I recommend trying this one first.
2. Gerber Good Start A2 Milk
Gerber Good Start is another excellent formula that tastes like breast milk.
What sets it apart from many other brands is that it’s made from A2 milk. ‘A2’ refers to casein (a protein found in milk), and milk that has high levels of A2 beta-casein content is called A2 milk.
Some experts believe that A2 milk is healthier than regular milk, and isn’t as difficult to digest if you’re lactose intolerant.
So what does this mean for your child? Well, if your baby has a sensitive stomach or you’re worried about how his digestive system will react to formula, you might want to try Good Start first.
In fact, many parents whose babies have struggled with recurring gassiness and spit-up find that this formula works like a charm.
The formula also contains L. reuteri, an important probiotic for baby’s digestive health. What’s more, a 2011 study found that this probiotic can even improve symptoms of colic.
Additionally, this formula includes prebiotic 2′-FL Human Milk Oligosaccharide (HMO), which occurs naturally in breast milk, a prebiotic that is essential for the development of a healthy digestive system.
Good Start is a non-GMO formula and contains DHA to support the development of your baby’s eyes and brain.
When it comes to preparing the formula, you’ll find that it mixes well and you won’t have to deal with the annoying clumping that’s quite common with many other brands.
3. Similac Pro-Advance Non-GMO Infant Formula with Iron
When choosing baby formula for the first time, most parents end up comparing Enfamil vs Similac as they are so commonly used. I shared some insight regarding the Enfamil formula closest to breast milk above, and now it’s time for Similac!
Similac Pro-Advance includes a variety of nutrients that aim to support your baby’s health and development. First off, Pro-Advance contains OptiGRO, which is a mix of DHA, vitamin E, and lutein, and together, these nutrients support your child’s brain, eyes, and overall growth.
Your child’s gut health and immune system will be supported by the prebiotic 2′-FL HMO, too.
What’s more, there are no artificial growth hormones in this formula.
The formula mixes well and you shouldn’t have any issues with clumping.
If you need a hypoallergenic option, I recommend Alimentum or Enfamil’s Nutramigen.
4. Enfamil A2 Premium Infant Formula
Like the Gerber Good Start formula mentioned above, Enfamil A2 premium formula is made from A2 milk, which is said to be better for digestive health. So if your baby has a sensitive tummy you should consider this formula, as it could be the best choice for your child.
It also contains DHA and is free from GMOs.
Parents say that this formula has done wonders for alleviating symptoms of gas, and when there’s less gas, there’s less fuss, so your baby will be happy and content after every feeding.
It’s also easy to mix and tastes good, so breastfed babies are likely to take to it quickly.
5. Gerber Nestle Nan 1 Pro Infant Formula Powder
The Nestle Nan formula is an excellent choice for when breastfeeding isn’t going as well as expected, and you need to start supplementing with formula.
The formula tastes good, so babies who are used to nursing aren’t likely to have an issue with it.
It contains 2’-FL HMO and L. reuteri, so it shouldn’t be difficult for your little one to digest. In fact, many parents have found that the fussiness that usually arises due to gas or indigestion goes away when their baby drinks this formula.
It mixes well with water, without forming clumps, and comes at a great price too!
6. Earth’s Best Organic Dairy Infant Powder Formula with Iron
Earth’s Best is a well-known organic formula brand for parents who want to make sure their kids are getting the best nutrition possible.
Their baby formula milk powder is certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), so you can rest assured that it is actually organic.
That’s not to say that other formulas are bad if they’re not organic – there are certain nutrient requirements that all infant formulas must meet, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must be notified by the company before a formula is put on the market.
However, if you want an organic formula, then Earth’s Best is a good place to start.
This formula contains iron, which is essential for healthy growth and especially brain development.
As well as DHA, it contains arachidonic acid (ARA), and together these acids aid in neural, eye, and brain development.
Other ingredients include organic lactose, organic whey protein concentrate, and organic corn syrup solids.
Parents who have made the switch from breastfeeding to Earth’s Best formula haven’t had many problems with gas, acid reflux, or yellow spit-up, or the baby rejecting the formula because of taste.
In case your baby turns out to be sensitive to cow’s milk, Earth’s Best also offers plant based formulas that will be easier for your child to digest.
7. Happy Baby Organic Infant Formula
The Happy Baby formula is another organic option. It’s certified organic by the USDA and doesn’t contain any GMOs. It doesn’t include maltodextrin either, which is a sweetener that’s usually derived from rice, wheat, or corn.
This makes Happy Baby one of the best formulas for gassy babies , so be sure to give it a try if your baby tends to have tummy issues.
This formula also has ARA and DHA, along with many other essential nutrients for your baby’s growth.
8. Enfamil NeuroPro Infant Formula
Enfamil NeuroPro is another formula that contains MFGM. MFGM is normally found in human milk and aids in the cognitive development of infants.
A 2019 study found that adding MFGM to formula was beneficial for the cognitive development of babies, and could even provide protection against infection.
One of the primary concerns of parents is that their formula-fed baby will be more prone to infection or illness than babies who breastfeed, so it’s fantastic to know that there are formulas on the market that can provide this type of support.
This formula is free from GMOs and contains essential prebiotics and DHA. Other nutrients include calcium, vitamin D3, and taurine.
If your child has a more sensitive digestive system, you can try some of Enfamil’s more gentle formulations.
9. Pure Bliss by Similac
Pure Bliss by Similac provides everything your baby needs for healthy growth during the first twelve months and is free from GMOs. It doesn’t contain any antibiotics or palm olein oil either.
If you’re wondering why palm olein oil might be bad for your baby, the answer lies in its effect on digestion, as palm olein oil can cause constipation.
Furthermore, a 2006 study found that palm olein oil can have a negative effect on the absorption of calcium and fat, and also cause lower bone mass.
Pure Bliss includes the important omega-3 fatty acid, DHA, and omega-6 fatty acid, ARA, in addition to the many other key nutrients like lutein and vitamin B12.
The taste is pleasant and babies who are used to breastfeeding take to Pure Bliss quite well.
10. Baby’s Only Organic LactoRelief with DHA & ARA Toddler Formula
So far I’ve only covered formulas for infants up to 12 months, but if you’re thinking about switching past the 12-month mark you’ll need a toddler formula.
The Baby’s Only formula is organic (USDA certified) and suitable for kids between 12 and 36 months of age. It’s free from pesticides, corn and glucose syrup, antibiotics, and many other ingredients you probably wouldn’t want your child taking.
Moreover, the company doesn’t use hexane, a toxic chemical, to process the DHA that goes into the formula.
Your baby will be sure to like the taste of this formula, and most importantly it will be gentle on her stomach, so you can say goodbye to fussiness and crying.
11. Similac Organic Infant Formula with Iron – Ready to Feed
It’s not uncommon to hear parents report that their baby has rejected several different kinds of powdered formula, but seems to love liquid formula that comes in ready-to-feed bottles.
The Similac Organic formula is USDA-certified, so there’s no need to worry that it’s just a marketing gimmick. And it’s available in ready-to-feed bottles.
It doesn’t contain palm olein oil, GMOs, or antibiotics, either.
Among the essential nutrients, you’ll find DHA, vitamins A and E, iron, and lutein.
Babies generally digest it well, but feel free to check out their Organic formula with A2 milk if you’re concerned your baby’s tummy might be too sensitive for this formula.
Keep in mind that the pack of formula does not include bottle nipples, so you’ll need to purchase those separately.
12. Similac For Supplementation
Although you can technically supplement with any kind of formula, this formula was made specifically for that purpose. It has plenty of prebiotics to support your baby’s gastrointestinal system, and is also free from palm olein oil.
Other nutrients include magnesium, iron, and vitamin C, and be sure to check the label for more info.
Parents love how gentle this formula is on their baby’s stomach, and it doesn’t cause gas or constipation.
It also has a pleasant taste, so your little one should like it!
13. Gerber Good Start Soothe
If your baby already has a sensitive stomach, you might want to start off with a gentle formula.
The Good Start Soothe formula was specifically made for babies who suffer from colic or gas, and it contains proteins that are gentle on the baby’s gastrointestinal system.
Furthermore, it contains the probiotic L. reuteri and DHA.
The taste is also quite pleasant, so your baby isn’t likely to be put off by it.
The only downside is that it comes at a higher price point, but it will be worth the investment if it manages to soothe your baby.
Does Formula That Tastes Like Breast Milk Exist?
Finding a formula that tastes like breast milk is a tall order considering the taste of your breast milk can change due to a variety of factors, such as:
• The food you ate that day (many moms don’t want to eat onions during pregnancy or while nursing for example to avoid digestive problems or a fussy baby).
• Any medication you might be taking.
• Whether the milk is fresh or defrosted.
Baby formula, however, has a consistent taste.
Generally speaking, human milk is very sweet, so if your little one doesn’t like the taste of infant formula, it could be because it’s simply not sweet enough.
In this case you can try a sweeter brand, but be mindful of the sugar content.
When switching from breast milk to formula, I recommend starting off with brands that are closer to human milk in terms of nutrients. This is far more important than taste, and you might discover that your baby doesn’t mind the taste of formula.
Online reviews will also give you an insight into the taste and smell of a particular formula brand – some have a stronger taste than others, but it also depends on whether your baby is picky or not.
How Long Will It Take For My Baby To Adjust To Formula?
If your baby was exclusively breastfed up until now, you might be anxious to know how long it might take your baby to accept formula without fuss.
Stopping breastfeeding cold turkey is not generally recommended because it can be difficult for both the mother and child. It’s best to make a gradual change, giving yourself enough time to adapt. Around a month should do the trick.
This way you’ll have enough time to overcome any obstacles you might encounter, and you’ll be less likely to experience uncomfortable conditions such as breast engorgement.
It’s also possible to mix formula and breast milk for a while before making a complete switch to formula, so your baby gets used to the different taste.
What Can I Do If My Baby Won’t Drink Formula?
If you’re really struggling to find a brand of formula your baby likes, perhaps it’s time to look at the factors that could be making your little one averse to taking a bottle.
Here’s a quick overview:
• The formula isn’t warm enough.
• Baby doesn’t like the bottle or the bottle nipple.
• Baby has started solid foods recently and is too full for a bottle-feeding.
• Baby is too distracted during feeding.
• Baby is sensitive or even allergic to the brand of formula you’re using.
• Baby doesn’t want to drink from a bottle while being held by mom.
• You wait until your baby is too hungry to offer formula.
• Try ready-to-feed formula instead of powder formula.
You should first check the temperature of the formula. While some babies don’t mind drinking cold or room temperature formula, others prefer it warm.
After all, the temperature of freshly expressed milk is the same as your body temperature – 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, so warm the formula to this temperature and see if your baby prefers it.
You can gently warm the bottle in a pot of water, or use something like a portable bottle warmer to make the process easier.
Never warm a bottle in a microwave, as it doesn’t distribute the heat evenly.
Sometimes the issue is in the bottle. Check whether the flow of the bottle nipple is too slow for your baby, and upgrade to a faster one if necessary. It’s also possible that your baby simply doesn’t like the bottle, so you might need to try another brand.
You should also consider other factors that might be contributing to your baby’s formula aversion, such as the introduction of solid foods. If you’ve started feeding your child solids, there’s a possibility he’s not hungry enough to drink a full bottle.
If you notice that your baby is too distracted to focus on feeding, find a quiet room where you can give him his bottle – sometimes all you need to do is create a calm atmosphere without loud noises and bright lights.
Another possibility is that your baby’s tummy is sensitive to the brand of formula you’re using. Most formulas are made from cow’s milk, and if your baby is allergic or lactose intolerant then that might make him fussy and cause gas, among other uncomfortable symptoms.
In this case, you’ll need to switch to a lactose-free formula – your pediatrician will be able to give you more advice.
It’s also worth mentioning that sometimes babies simply don’t want to drink from a bottle if they’re being held by mom. This is common in cases where the baby was exclusively breastfed.
If this happens have someone else give the bottle to the baby while you leave the room. With you out of the picture the baby might be able to focus on the task at hand.
You can also try a change of scenery, especially if your baby has negative associations with bottles. Go for a walk, get some fresh air, and offer the bottle to your child when you notice she’s nice and relaxed.
Try not to wait until your baby is really hungry to offer a bottle of formula, as a hungry baby is usually cranky and not in the mood to try something new.
If the baby starts smacking lips, turning around to find the breast, or sucking on hands, it’s high time to feed your little one.
Finally, you can try offering your baby ready-to-feed formula instead of powder formula.
Many parents have noticed that ready-to-feed formula goes down without a fuss, but when they give their baby powder formula the baby doesn’t drink it as quickly or even refuses to drink it altogether.
Always remember to be a patient type of mom or dad and take a break if you get frustrated – you can always try later!
The Bottom Line
Finding formulas that taste like breast milk can be tricky as there’s no way to do a taste test before making a purchase, especially if you’re online shopping.
Plus, some special formulas like Elecare or Neocate are known for having a slightly unpleasant taste.
There’s also the fact that some kids are pickier than others – if you’re lucky, your baby will be one of those kids who doesn’t mind trying new foods, but if this is not the case you might need to try out several formulas before finding the one that works.
Generally speaking, baby formula that tastes like breast milk is on the sweeter side, but this shouldn’t be the most important factor. Take a look at the ingredients and how they compare to other brands, while keeping your baby’s digestive issues in mind (if there are any).
If nothing seems to work you can try a ready-to-feed formula, as many moms and dads have found that their babies prefer its taste to powder ones.
Luckily, modern formula is closer to breast milk than ever, so you’ll still be giving your child the best possible start in life!
• Koonce, T., Mounsey, A., & Rowland, K. (2011). Colicky baby? Here’s a surprising remedy. The Journal of family practice, 60(1), 34–36.
• Hernell, O., Domellöf, M., Grip, T., Lönnerdal, B., & Timby, N. (2019). Physiological Effects of Feeding Infants and Young Children Formula Supplemented with Milk Fat Globule Membranes. Nestle Nutrition Institute workshop series, 90, 35–42.
• Koo, W. W., Hockman, E. M., & Dow, M. (2006). Palm olein in the fat blend of infant formulas: effect on the intestinal absorption of calcium and fat, and bone mineralization. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 25(2), 117–122.
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