Types of Baby Formula

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

There are many different types of baby formulas, and they can be confusing. They often contain unfamiliar ingredients or terms on the labels, and making the right choice for your child may be stressful.

So let’s look at all the different types of baby formula so you can understand the options that work best for you and your family.

Are Baby Formulas Complete Nutrition?

Yes. The most important thing about baby formula is that they all are required to be balanced, to provide a baby’s complete nutritional needs for their first year of life.

If necessary, a baby has to be able to live, grow, and thrive on nothing but baby formula. For that reason, they are often developed to mimic the nutritional benefits of breast milk, but there can be a huge variety in ingredients.

Infant formula is one of the most highly regulated foods in the world.

Types of Baby Formula: How It’s Prepared

Baby formulas are prepared and packaged in several different ways, but here are the three primary types:


Powdered baby formula is designed to be mixed with water, like any other powdered drink mix.

Liquid Concentrate

Liquid concentrate baby formula is also designed to be mixed with water, but it dissolves more quickly and is smoother after mixing.


As you might think, ready-to-feed formulas are already mixed and prepared, and just need to be warmed in the bottle.

Which Type of Infant Formula Preparation is Best?

While none of these is a bad choice, there are a few things to be aware of when choosing how your baby food is prepared and packaged:

Your Water Quality

If you have well water or any concerns about the quality of your water at home, it should not be used to mix baby formula. Instead, purchase filtered or bottled water to keep the formula safe.


Powdered baby formula is not sterile, while liquid and ready-to-feed formulas are.


When mixing your baby formula, whether it is liquid or powdered, accuracy is incredibly important. Incorrectly mixing the formula can accidentally malnourish a baby.


When mixing your baby formula, whether it’s powdered or liquid, you can mix it with warm water and skip the step of heating a baby bottle.

Because there are so many options, choose the right type of preparation for your needs.

Types of Baby Formula

Types of Baby Formula: Protein Source

The primary way that baby formula is categorized is based on the source of protein in the formula, and how the proteins are processed. The primary types of formula are based on:

Cow’s Milk

An infant formula that is based on cow’s milk protein is the most common type. However, it is not the same as cow’s milk, and can’t be replaced with standard milk.

For infant formula, the proteins and whey in cow’s milk are adjusted to be a better ratio for the baby’s health, and other nutrients are added that babies require for healthy growth.

Soy Protein

These types of formula use soy proteins instead of dairy proteins and are a good choice for babies who are lactose intolerant or have other medical conditions.

Partially Hydrolyzed Protein

These formulas use cow’s milk proteins, but partially break down the proteins into smaller molecules that are easier for babies to digest.

Extensively Hydrolyzed Protein

In these formulas, the proteins are all broken down into smaller molecules that are easier to digest. They can be a good choice for babies with allergies and health conditions.

Amino Acids

The proteins in these infant formulas are broken down into their smallest components, called amino acids. They are also designed for babies with allergies and health conditions, who need the easiest-to-digest foods.

For most babies, cow’s milk formulas are the easiest and most affordable solution.

Lactose intolerance in babies is extremely rare, so cow’s milk-based formulas have all the protein and nutrients that babies need.

However, there are a lot of great alternative types of baby formula for babies with allergies or lactose intolerance.

Special Types of Infant Formula

For babies who are premature or have health conditions, it’s extremely important to follow a doctor’s guidance on the right type of infant formula for these babies.

These babies have even more delicate digestive systems and may have special nutritional needs.


There are many different types of baby formula. They are defined by how the proteins and nutrients are balanced for baby’s digestion, and also by how the formula is packaged and prepared.

It’s important to choose not just the right proteins for your baby, but also determine whether powdered, liquid, or ready-to-feed formulas are the best option for your baby and your lifestyle.

There are infant formulas for every family and every situation, so make the right choice for your family.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Special offer for our visitors

Get your Baby Free Guide

We will never send you spam. By signing up for this you agree with our privacy policy and to receive regular updates via email in regards to industry news and promotions