Parenting·4 min read

International Baby Formula Is Finally Hitting Shelves. Here’s How To Figure Out Which One To Buy

Kendamil baby formula
Getty Images
Jun 16, 2022

The FDA just announced it’ll work with foreign baby formula manufacturers to allow them to sell in the US for-ev-er. This goes one step further than their move back in May to ease restrictions in response to the baby formula shortage. Since then, more than 20 international baby formula brands (and counting) from countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and Mexico already have temporary approval to sell, sell, sell. And many more will arrive this month and through the fall.

Other good news: Abbott’s formula plant in Michigan is back up and running after flooding from heavy rains forced it to shut down in mid-June. Reminder: It’d only been in production for less than two weeks after closing due to contamination concerns. That — mixed with supply chain issues — had parents scrambling to feed their babies over the last few months.

So, are international baby formulas safe?

Yes. The FDA temporarily loosened up regulations to allow baby formula manufacturers abroad to sell in the US. Makers have to apply and meet certain FDA safety and nutrition requirements (a process that will remain open until November). Bridget Young, Ph.D., pediatrics assistant professor at University of Rochester Medical Center and founder of a website that helps families with baby formula, said parents can trust the formulas coming from abroad. In particular, she said European baby formula has been popular in the US for a while. And good news: she said those countries actually have stricter ingredient requirements than the US.  

What ingredients should I look for in baby formulas?

Focus on the protein (Think: whole milk or nonfat milk.) And try to match as many ingredients as you can to the formula you’ve been using.

“When an infant has a tolerance issue with their formula, the vast majority of the time it’s an issue digesting the protein,” said Young, who also runs an infant feeding research lab. “You want to know if your baby is having a formula that has been processed to make the protein size smaller. That’s a term that you’ll see on the label that will say 'partially hydrolyzed.’ You may see ‘partially hydrolyzed nonfat milk’ or ‘partially hydrolyzed whey protein,’” she said.

Young created a graph that breaks down the ingredients in each of the imported formulas to help you make the best decision for your baby.

How do American baby formulas differ from international ones?

Young said to pay attention to the mixing instructions. Formulas in the US use one scoop of powder for every two ounces of water. Many European baby formulas are mixed using one scoop powder to one ounce of water. And remember: Most international labels will have water volumes listed in milliliters not ounces. Pro tip: Use the FDA’s conversion chart for help.

What international baby formulas are available to buy? 

Glad you asked. See below for the brands and dates to know. 

theSkimm

The baby formula shortage has created a nightmare for parents. The FDA hopes importing baby formula will help boost supply and give parents more options, now and later. International brands may be new to you. But experts say they’re safe. Reminder: if you have Qs, go to your pediatrician for answers. 

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Aptamil First Infant Milk Stage 1

Available at major retailers and us.aptamil.com.

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Bellamy’s Organic Organic Infant Formula Step 1

Available at major and specialty retailers.

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Bellamy’s Organic Organic Follow-On Formula Step 2

Available at major and specialty retailers.

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Bubs Easy-digest Goat Milk Infant Formula Stage 1

Available at Kroger Co. stores (such as Kroger Supermarkets, Ralphs, and King Soopers), Albertsons, and online retailers.

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Bubs Easy-digest Goat Milk Infant Formula Stage 2

Available at Kroger Co. stores (such as Kroger Supermarkets, Ralphs, and King Soopers), Albertsons, and online retailers.

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Bubs Organic Grass Fed Follow-On Formula Stage 1

Available at Kroger Co. stores (such as Kroger Supermarkets, Ralphs, and King Soopers), Albertsons, and online retailers.Loading Spinner

Bubs Organic Grass Fed Follow-On Formula Stage 2

Available at Kroger Co. stores (such as Kroger Supermarkets, Ralphs, and King Soopers), Albertsons, and online retailers.

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Bubs Supreme A2 Beta-Casein Protein Infant Formula Stage 1

Available at Kroger Co. stores (such as Kroger Supermarkets, Ralphs, and King Soopers), Albertsons, and online retailers.

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Bubs Supreme A2 Beta-Casein Protein Infant Formula Stage 2

Available at Kroger Co. stores (such as Kroger Supermarkets, Ralphs, and King Soopers), Albertsons, and online retailers.

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Gerber Good Start Gentle

Available at key retailers and Gerber.com.

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Kendamil Classic First Infant Milk Stage 1

Available at Target stores nationwide US.kendamil.com.

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Kendamil First Infant Formula with Iron

Available at kosher supermarkets and some mainstream retailers that sell kosher milk.

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Kendamil Goat First Infant Milk Stage 1

Available at US.kendamil.com.

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Kendamil Organic First Infant Milk Stage 1

Available at select Target stores nationwide US.kendamil.com.

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NAN SUPREME Pro 1

Available at Gerber.com and other online retailers.

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NAN SUPREME Pro 2

Available at Gerber.com and other online retailers.

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NAN ExpertPro SensiPro

Available at Gerber.com.

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Neocate Infant DHA/ARA

Available through direct ordering, hospitals, health care professionals, pharmacies, healthcare product distributors and the WIC program.

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Similac Total Comfort Stage 1

Available at Similac.com and other online retailers, plus emergency samples for WIC program.

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Similac Total Comfort

Available at Similac.com and other online retailers, plus emergency samples for WIC program.

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Similac NeoSure

Available at Similac.com and other online retailers, plus emergency samples for WIC program.

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