When parents talk about alternatives to baby formula, they are usually talking about alternatives to a cow's milk-based baby formula. Milk-based formula for your baby can include Enfamil Lipil, Similac Advance, or Nestle Good Start.
If a baby is having a formula intolerance or allergy, with diarrhea, gas, or fussiness, then it might be time for a formula change if you aren't breastfeeding. Since these can also be normal symptoms from time to time, it is often a good idea to talk to your pediatrician before changing your baby's formula.
When you do change from a cow's milk-based formula, parents often change to:
- a reduced lactose (Enfamil Gentlease Lipil) or lactose-free formula (Enfamil LactoFree Lipil or Similac Sensitive)
- a soy formula (Enfamil ProSobee Lipil, Similac Isomil Advance, or Nestle Good Start Soy)
- a hypoallergenic formula (Enfamil Nutramigen Lipil, Similac Alimentum Advance, or Neocate)
Alternatives to Baby Formula
Besides breastfeeding and the formulas listed above, there aren't any other good alternatives for your baby. You should specifically avoid homemade formula made from cow's milk or evaporated milk, soy drinks, and goat's milk.
Some parents are surprised about the goat's milk warning, since they think it is easier to digest than cow's milk-based formula. That may be true, but goat's milk doesn't have all of the nutrients, specifically vitamin B-12 and folic acid, that a baby needs. So while goat's milk that is pasteurized and vitamin supplemented is usually fine for older children, it should not be given to infants under age 12 months of age as a substitute for breastfeeding or baby formula.
Raw goat's milk, which is unpasteurized, can also put your baby at risk for infections and vitamin deficiencies, since raw milk isn't supplemented with vitamins and minerals.