When a new little bundle of joy arrives, he or she is usually accompanied by free samples and coupons, from manufacturers of course. And few industries are more attuned to new parents than formula-makers like Enfamil and Similac. Are they worth the price?
For some parents, the answer is yes. For others, buying a generic or store brand infant formula meets their budgetary needs. The Infant Formula Act, passed in 1980 and updated in 2014, ensures that all formulas, including store brands and other generics, are identical in the nutrition they provide and the circumstances of their manufacture. The 2014 update to the Infant Formula Act requires manufacturers to test nutrient content "in the final product stage, before entering the market and at the end of the products' shelf life," according to the FDA. It also ensures specific testing for disease-causing bacteria, like salmonella, and prompts manufacturers to prove that their infant formulas support normal physical growth.
Consumer Reports found that of the three main types of infant formula — powdered, concentrated liquid and liquid — powdered was about one-quarter of the price. A container of powdered formula is about $21 compared to liquid formulas that can range to $62 or more.