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Test Your Store Brand Infant Formula Smarts

By Sandra Gordon

You probably know that Parent's Choice and other store brand infant formulas and name-brand formulas offer the same complete nutrition, yet store brands costs up to 50 percent less. Still, how baby formula-savvy are you? Take our quiz to test your knowhow.

True or False: Store Brand Infant Formula must be heated before serving.

Answer: False. It's not necessary to heat any infant formula before serving. Some babies like it cold, right from the refrigerator or from the insulated pocket in your diaper bag.

True or False: If your baby likes and tolerates a name-brand formula, you should stick with it.

Answer: False. Studies show that babies can switch to Parent's Choice Infant Formula without a problem, so there's no need to pay 50 percent more for name brand formula.* Even if your baby has latched on to a name brand formula because, say, you received name brand formula freebies in the hospital (it happens), go ahead and start buying store brand formula once that supply runs out. Switching baby formula is safe and easy; just ask your baby's doctor.

True or False: Store Brand Formula containers contain bisphenol A (BPA), a possible endocrine disruptor.

Answer: False. Store Brand Formula packages contain no BPA, so no worries there. In fact, their new plastic packages are not only BPA-free, they're more convenient and easy to use than ever.

True or Mostly True: Store Brand Formula doesn't contain table sugar (sucrose).

Answer: Mostly true. Nearly all Store Brand Infant Formulas, including organic formula, don't contain sucrose/table sugar. They're sweetened with lactose, which is a carbohydrate that's also found in breast milk, although the lactose used in Store Brand Formula is extracted from cow's milk. Lactose affects taste, contributes to your baby's energy needs, helps your baby build strong bones and develop good bacteria in the gut.

There are two exceptions: Sensitivity formula and soy formula. Some babies can't digest lactose and some parents feel strongly that their baby not consume animal products. For these reasons, Parent's Choice offers a low-lactose formula--known as “Sensitivity Formula” on the label. At least 95 percent of the lactose has been removed and replaced with sucrose (table sugar). The formula still contains cow's milk protein. Soy formula contains corn syrup solids instead of lactose from cow's milk. Both forms of sugar—sucrose and corn syrup solids--are safe and appropriate and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a formula ingredient.

True or False: Parent's Choice Soy Baby Formula is better for a baby than regular Parent's Choice Infant Formulas made with cow's milk.

Answer: False. Parent's Choice Soy Formula—or any store brand soy-based baby formula for that matter—is no better for a baby than regular cow's milk formula. In fact, cow's milk protein is the preferred protein for infants, so if a regular cow's milk formula isn't working, switch to a low-lactose “Sensitivity” formula or partially-hydrolyzed “Gentle” formula (on store brand labels), both of which are made with cow's milk, with soy formula a last resort. Always consult with your health-care physician before considering switching baby formula.

True or False: Store Brand Formula is made in China.

Answer: False. Parent's Choice and other Store Brand Infant Formulas are manufactured according to exacting FDA quality standards in Vermont, U.S.A.

*Retail prices are from an August 2012 retail price survey of national retail stores. Actual prices and savings may vary by store and location.

About the Author

Sandra Gordon is a consumer products expert, a writer, and a mother of two. She has appeared on NBC's Today Show and as a baby safety expert on The Discovery Health Channel's “Make Room for Baby.” A Consumer Reports author, her latest book is Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear.

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