While breastfeeding remains the best source of nutrition for babies, it might not always be possible because of the individual circumstances parents find themselves in. Many opt to use formula as a supplement or a substitute, and many children have grown healthy from using formula.
But the big question for any parent who considers using formula struggle with is, which formula should I use? Well, all babies are different and react differently to ingredients in formulas, but choosing a formula modeled after breast milk as much as possible will ensure that your child gets the same nutritional benefits.
In this review, we will be discussing these formulas that are designed like breast milk and look at what you should look out for.
Here is what to look for when picking formula tasting closest to breast milk:
- DHA/ARA: Most formulas in the market include these ingredients. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid) are fatty acids that are naturally present in breast milk. They promote the development of the eyes and brain. There has been controversy surrounding these essential fatty acids because of how they are sourced. Some formula manufacturers use hexane, which some parents feel is unsafe, although no studies have shown any harm from DHA and ARA extracted using hexane.
- Probiotics and Prebiotics: These are good bacteria and HMOs that are naturally found in breast milk, which keep the digestive system healthy and help with immunity.
- Sweeteners: These also act as the primary source of carbohydrates. Breast milk is naturally sweet so, manufacturers sweeten their formulas using lactose. But because lactose is very expensive, some brands substitute with plant-based sweeteners like maltodextrin sourced from potatoes, rice, or corn. Some formulas might also use organic brown rice syrup or glucose syrup solids. Be careful of the kind of sweetener in your formula of choice because some sweeteners like sucrose are associated with obesity.
- Choline/Taurine/lycopene, Lutein: These are synthetic nutrients that are added to meet the nutritional requirements for the development of the eyes, brain, nerve cell activity, and other body systems.
- Nucleotides: They are also found in breast milk and form the building blocks of the DNA. They enhance growth and also help with immune function.
- Essential vitamins and minerals: These are useful for strong bones, teeth, blood, and robust growth.
- Organic formula: Most people nowadays opt for an organic diet because it is believed to be natural and safe. We have featured some organic formulas on this list. These types of formulas do not contain synthetic materials and are also non-GMO, or ingredients are not genetically modified in other words. Also, note that you should look out for USDA certification when shopping for organic formula.
What Makes Formula Taste Like Breast Milk: Creamy taste & Holle Formulas
I personally consulted to ask what makes formula have the taste of breast milk. In my research, I concluded that organic formulas make the best formula that tastes exactly like breast milk.
These organic formula uses natural ingredients which gives them a creamy taste just like breast milk. Several parents have great things to say about the Holle Bio line of organic infant formulas. Holle brand is from Germany and is considered a premium brand with a known track record of quality – their cows are fed with lush certified biodynamic pastures.
Holle infant formulas are as close to breast milk as possible, which means that instead of a bitter, commercial taste, it is creamy and sweet instead. Infants love a creamy formula with just a hint of sweetness, which is just how breast milk tastes.
Holle infant formulas are made from raw ingredients (99% to be exact) and milk that comes from happy cows fed with natural/organic feeds. You can find them on Amazon here, although it was not available when we last checked.
Best Formula that Tastes like Breast Milk: Enfamil Espire
Using the above 7 factors to rate each of the formulas that taste close to human breast milk, Enfamil Espire emerged as the overall best formula that tastes like human milk. This formula came top specifically because it offers two ingredients not found in any other formula. In addition, this formula does not add any unnecessary sugars and overall, it is healthier and your baby will think it is your breast milk.
10 Best Formula That Tastes like Breast Milk
- Enfamil Enspire
- Enfamil NeuroPro
- Similac Pro Advance
- Earth’s Best Organic
- Gerber Good Start Gentle
- Similac Sensitive
- Happy Baby Organic
- Enfamil Premium
- Gerber Good Start Soothe
- Baby’s Only Organic LactoRelief
Reviews of Best Formula Like Breast Milk
#1. Enfamil Enspire
Enfamil Enspire is ranks top on this list of formulas like breast milk. When doing our research, we found it has the most ingredients similar to those in breast milk compared to other formulas.
The formula is formulated from cow milk, and all the ingredients are non-GMO. It comes in powder form in a 20.5-ounce tub and you can use it for babies from 0 to 12 months.
- Lactoferrin- is an important protein for supporting the immune system and is naturally found in breast milk and colostrum.
- MFGM (Milk Fat Globule Membrane)-also found in breast milk fat and vital for cognitive development.
- Omega 3 DHA and Choline- supports brain and eye development, and also present in breast milk.
- PDX and GOS Prebiotic- support immune system development and gut health
- It is also fortified with iron and vitamins D, C, and E
- Lactose-Sweetener and source of carbohydrate
#2. Enfamil NeuroPro
Enfamil NeuroPro is the closest version to the Enspire formula, with only slight differences in their composition. It also contains added MFGM and DHA, which we said from our previous review, are naturally present in breast milk and help in brain development. Some studies have shown that MFGM in formula supports cognitive development, although more research is still needed.
NeuroPro formula is designed to offer complete nutrition for babies aged 12 months and below. It is available in a 20.7 ounce tub and in ready to drink bottles, which is convenient for those with a busy lifestyle.
NeuroPro also has a gentle formula for babies that are prone to tummy sensitivity called Gentlease. We would recommend you to try it out if your baby experiences spit-ups and fussiness. You can use NeuroPro Sensitive if your baby is lactose intolerant.
- MFGM- supports cognitive development and similar to breast milk
- Omega-3 DHA and choline-supports brain development
- Dual prebiotics- promotes a robust immunity and digestive health
- Non-GMO ingredients
- No artificial sweeteners
- Has formula variations for sensitive tummies
- Has ready-to-use form
- Easy to mix without forming clumps
- It is a bit expensive
- Some people find the smell unpleasant
The next on our list is Similac Pro Advance. Similac says it is their closest formula to breast milk. Like the previous formulas, it is suitable for babies from 0 to 12 months. It comes in a large tub and like NeuroPro, it also available in ready-to-feed bottles for moms on the go.
Similac Pro Advances is very similar to breast milk because it contains 2’FL HMO. It is a prebiotic and the most abundant component found naturally in breast milk. Another component also found in breast milk is DHA, which, combined with Lutein and Vitamin E, forms a blend that Similac refers to as OptiGro. Further, this formula is made with milk from cows that are not treated with artificial growth hormones.
You might want to try this formula if your baby suffers from gas, fussiness, and spit-ups. In fact, the company boasts that these symptoms reduce within a day of switching to Pro Advance.
- 2-FL HMO- an oligosaccharide used to feed healthy bacteria in the gut and support immunity.
- DHA-supports brain development
- Lutein- supports eye health
- Vitamin E- supports healthy development of cells
- Lactose-a sweetener and source of carbohydrate
- Does not use artificial sweeteners
- Does not contain the unhealthy palm olein oil found in other formulas
- Non-GMO ingredients
- The 2FL HMO is the kind that circulates throughout the body
- Designed to alleviate gas, fussiness, and spit-ups
- Available in a ready-to-feed form
- It is expensive
If you are interested in an organic formula that is modeled after breast milk, Earth’s Best Organic can be a good start. It has a USDA certification as organic and Kosher certified as well to show that the ingredients used do not have pesticides and fertilizers. In that sense, it is as natural and safe as breast milk.
The formula is packed with the same high-quality nutrients we have seen in the previous formulas and is also fortified with iron. Iron helps in the formation of red blood cells which transport oxygen to all parts of the body.
You can use Earth’s Best for babies from 0 to 12 months of age, and it comes in a 23.2 ounce can.
- Lactose- acts as a sweetener and source of carbohydrates
- Omega 3 DHA and Omega 6 ARA fatty acids- supports brain and eye development
- Lutein – supports eye health
- Prebiotic- for digestive health and immunity
- USDA certified Organic and non-GMO
- Does not use artificial sweeteners like corn syrup
- Doesn’t dissolve easily and is very foamy
- It has a fishy smell
- Some babies may react differently
If you are looking for an easy-to-digest formula just like breast milk, we recommend you to try our next product, Gerber Good Start Gentle. The formula is designed to provide the gentleness of breast milk and complete nutrition as well. Parents who have tried it before also report that it dissolves easily. If a formula dissolves smoothly and is not foamy, it helps to reduce excessive tummy gas.
The reasons Good Start Gentle formula is like breast milk are because it contains comfort proteins in the form of hydrolyzed whey protein concentrate. Hydrolyzed proteins are smaller in size and, therefore, gentle for little tummies to digest. Additionally, it contains DHA, HMO, and probiotics, which are also constituents of breast milk. This formula is for babies aged 0 to 12 months, and ingredients are sourced from cow milk.
Lastly, it comes in a unique container that has a button latch for opening and a hook on the inside with a scoop. This design ensures hygienic handling and makes the formula retain its freshness.
- Lactose and maltodextrin- as sweetener and carbohydrates
- Iron- for blood building
- DHA- for brain and eye development
- 2FL HMO- provides food for healthy bacteria and supports immune system
- Probiotics- promotes a healthy digestive system
- Great flavor and taste
- It dissolves easily
- Easy to digest
- Great for babies who are lactose intolerant because the lactose is reduced
- Great storage container design
- Some customers take issue with the added maltodextrin
- Customers find the scoop to wide
Similac Sensitive is our next formula that is designed like breast milk. The formula is gentle and shares lots of it’s ingredients to the Pro Advance formula we reviewed earlier. Similac Sensitive is specially formulated for babies who are lactose sensitive. If your baby is sensitive to lactose, it can be fussy and gassy. To help with this issue, Similac Sensitive uses a lower amount of lactose and more corn syrup as a sweetener and a carbohydrate source.
Similac Sensitive is like breast milk because it also contains 2’FL HMO, a vital prebiotic, which by now you know feeds the good bacteria and supports immunity development. It’s derived from milk from cows that are not treated with growth hormones and has a non-GMO option.
The formula also contains OptiGro like Pro Advance, which is a blend of DHA, Lutein, and vitamin E. These nutrients are also naturally found in breast milk.
- 2′ FL HMO- an immune nourishing prebiotic
- DHA- supports brain development
- Lutein- supports eye health
- Vitamin E- supports development of cells
- Ideal for lactose sensitive babies
- Available in a ready-to-feed form
- Great flavor and sweet
- A bit expensive
The next product on our review is another organic formula named Happy Baby. It is also certified organic by USDA and all the ingredients are non-GMO.
It is a milk-based formula modeled like breast milk in many aspects. First, it contains galactooligosaccharides (GOS) and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) prebiotics, which make up the third-largest component of the formula like in breast milk. These two prebiotic fibers help with digestion. Further, the formula contains the same great nutrients found in breast milk like whey and casein-derived proteins, essential vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, folic acid, vitamin C& D, and choline.
It also contains Omega-3 DHA and ARA; however, the company sources from organic algae, while many other formula companies extract using the controversial hexane.
- Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids- support brain and eye development.
- GOS & FOS prebiotics-provide food for good bacteria and support digestive health
- Essential vitamins and minerals- support a strong heart, brain, bones, muscles, and eye development.
- Lactose- acts as a sweetener and source of carbohydrates
- No artificial sweeteners
- USDA-certified organic
- Dual prebiotics to help with digestion
- Does not use hexane to extract DHA
- It is foamy
#8. Enfamil Premium
Enfamil Premium is the third formula from the Enfamil brand we have featured on this list. Unlike all the previous formulas, this formula is designed for infants from 0 to 3 months of age. Being an infant-specific formula only suggests that it is safe and gentle, just like breast milk.
Enfamil Premium is like breast milk because they both contain similar quantities of inositol. It is also nutritionally rich like breast milk using what Enfamil calls Triple Health-Guard. It is a special blend like what we saw earlier with Similac’s Optigro. Triple Health Guard is a combination of Omega-3 DHA, GOS prebiotics (like we saw in Happy Baby formula), and 30 nutrients for growth.
The other thing that makes this formula as gentle as breast milk is that the proteins are specially designed for tiny tummies to digest.
The formula is non-GMO, and it is available in powder form and a ready-to-use form. If your little one seems to like this formula, when they turn three months, you can turn to the Enfamil Premium variant for your baby to continue enjoying the same great nutrition.
- Inositol- a carbohydrate and a component of the cell membrane that is useful in brain development.
- Omega-3 DHA- supports brain development
- Prebiotics-supports gut health and immune system
- Great pricing
- Brain power with combined DHA and inositol
- It dissolves easily and does not foam
- Specially designed for infants to digest easily
- Available in a ready-to-use form
- Some babies might have a different reaction with some ingredients.
While the Gerber Good Start Gentle formula we reviewed earlier is designed especially for easy digesting, Gerber markets the Good Start Soothe for babies who cry excessively because of colic, fussiness, and gas.
When your baby has indigestion issues, they are likely to have gas, which causes discomfort and a hard belly. Babies become fussy due to this discomfort and might cry excessively and be hard to soothe, or colic in other words. Gerber says that giving your baby this soothing formula; you can be able to reduce the amount of their crying by half.
Like the Good Start Gentle, Good Start Soothe contains hydrolyzed whey protein concentrate, which is easy to digest but it goes further to make digestion even easier by including prebiotics and probiotics, specifically L.reuteri and HMO. Studies have shown that L.reuteri helps to calm colic babies.
It is also sweetened using 30% lactose and has DHA and a blend of essential vitamins and minerals to provide the same great nutritional benefits found in breast milk.
This formula can be fed to babies from 0 to 12 months and does not contain GMO ingredients.
- 30% lactose- acts as a sweetener
- 2fl HMO-supports digestive health and developing immune system
- Probiotic L.reuteri-supports a healthy digestion system and shown to calm colic babies.
- DHA- supports brain and eye development
- Low lactose and hydrolyzed proteins which are easy to digest
- Suitable for babies experiencing gas, fussiness, and colic
- The scoop is too wide and makes it hard to pour the formula into bottles
- May not agree with all babies
We finalize this review with the LactoRelief formula by Baby’s Only. It is a bit different from all the products on this list because it is for toddlers above 12 months. It is an organic formula and has a USDA certification.
The reason it qualifies to be on this list is that it has the advantage over other formulas by not processing its DHA and ARA using the controversial hexane, and it’s not from algae either, but from an organic egg! Any processing that is closest to natural and from organic products is closest to the safety of breast milk.
As you can tell from the name, LactoRelief is for babies and toddlers who are lactose sensitive or intolerant. This is because it has reduced lactose and maintains healthy thresholds using organic rice syrup for sweetening instead of corn syrup or glucose, which causes insulin spikes. It also does not contain palm oil, another ingredient whose use has been controversial among parents.
- DHA&ARA-supports brain and eye development
- Choline-support eye health
- Nice flavor and sweet
- Great for babies with lactose intolerance
- Helps in babies who aren’t able to digest milk proteins
- Has fewer significant nutrients in comparison
Breat-milk Tasting Formula Video:
I am Ashley Davis, a mom of three kids and the editor here at MotherhoodHQ (formerly 10BabyGear). I have been a parent since 2011 and have been doing full-time consulting as a baby sleep expert since 2019. When I am not researching or testing the next baby gear hitting the market, you’ll find me teaching my toddlers a trick or two – especially over the last few months with the lockdown. I hope you’ll find my guides and reviews helpful as you make your next purchase decision. If you have any questions, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holle Cow Milk Toddler Drink, 28.2 OZ
- EUROPEAN, Superior quality milk from cows fed on lush certified biodynamic pastures.
- GMO-FREE, no corn syrup, artificial preservatives, flavors, colors, or other unnatural ingredients.
- CHEMICAL-FREE, Complete nutrient profile with healthy carbohydrates, fats, and micronutrients, Soy-free and gluten-free.
- PERFECT FOR TODDLERS, 12-months of age to the end of the third year as part of a mixed diet of bottle feeds and weaning.
- DHA & IRON (supports healthy brain development), Shelf-stable, BPA Free, FDA registered, Made in Austria.