Store brand and name brand formulas must meet the same FDA requirements for nutritional standards. However, generic brands may not have been subject to as much research as brand-name formulas. Parents who do opt to buy brand-name formula should consider a 2015 study done by U.S. News and Pharmacy Times, in which 53 percent of pharmacists recommended Enfamil, 35 percent recommended Similac and 5 percent recommended Nestle-Gerber Good Start.
When choosing formula, the type and form are what matter most. The three common types of baby formula are cow's milk, soy-based and hydrolyzed. Specialized formulas also exist for babies with particular nutritional needs, such as those who were born prematurely or are allergic to lactose. Cow's milk formula is the most commonly used type in the United States, but pediatricians often recommend the use of soy or hydrolyzed formula for babies who are prone to allergies.
Formulas also come in three different forms: ready-to-use, powdered and liquid concentrated. Powdered formula tends to be the least expensive but also requires the most effort to prepare. Ready-to-use formula is the most expensive form and has the shortest shelf life, but it's the most convenient. Liquid concentrated formula falls in between the other two in terms of price and convenience.