Frequently Asked Questions About Formula

Are Store-Brand Formulas as Good?

2. I've seen store-brand formulas on the shelves next to the big-name brands, and they're less expensive. Are they just as good?

There are some differences, notes Robert Baker, MD, co-chief of gastroenterology and nutrition at the Children's Hospital of Buffalo and a member of the AAP's committee on nutrition, but the generic formulas are definitely adequate. That's because all formulas sold in the U.S. must comply with minimum health standards set by the FDA. However, unlike brand-name formulas, store brands aren't continually tinkering with their recipes -- adding extra ingredients, for example, or making changes to the protein makeup or the ratio of one nutrient to another. And this tweaking, which aims to make formula more like breast milk, may add benefits in terms of baby's growth and development.

"But none of the evidence definitively states that the newer formulas are better," says Dr. Baker. So if parents are trying to save money, they can consider using the store brands.

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