My son, now 20 months, started out using Similac Advance EarlyShield, because that's what the hospital sent home with us (good way to decide on a formula, huh?). I went back to work part-time when Haiden was three months old, and our daycare provider used Parent's Choice (Wal-Mart's store brand), so we switched him to Up & Up milk-based formula from Target at the same time he started daycare.
Since PBM Products manufactures both Target and Wal-Mart store brand infant formulas (along with Sam's Club, Kroger, Walgreens and other retailers), we knew that the only difference between Parent's Choice and Up & Up formulas were the labels. Haiden didn't have any problems switching from name brand to generic formula, so he continued using with the generics until his first birthday.
My daughter, Piper, is 8 months old. She's pretty much followed exactly the same schedule that Haiden did. I was able to collect enough formula samples and checks to get her Similac Advance EarlyShield for free or close to it (I've become quite savvy since starting this website!). Once she started daycare with the same provider at three months, Piper started using the Target brand Up & Up infant formula, too.
I'm writing this because I know that some parents are skeptical of generic formula. I recently had a family member ask me, How can generic formula have the same nutrition when it's half the price of name-brand formula? My answer: consumer perception. As long as people keep thinking that price equals quality, there will always be those parents who will spend $10 more a pop just for a name on a can of formula.
In fact, Mead Johnson, the maker of Enfamil infant formula, recently lost a lawsuit brought PBM Products, the maker of multiple store brand baby formulas. The ruling stated that Enfamil can not claim that their formula is superior to store brand formula. PBM Products also stated that their generic infant formulas have the same nutrients at the same levels as Enfamil!
On the flip side, I do completely understand that babies have sensitive digestive systems. What works for one baby may not work for another, regardless of how similar their formulations are!
That brings me to my question: What formula does your baby use, and why? Is it because it's the best price? Is it because the hospital started using it and you continued? Is it because it's the only formula your baby will eat or tolerate? I'd love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment!