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In many ways the task of buying baby formula has never been easier. It’s sold at nearly every supermarket, pharmacy and local health shop plus can be delivered straight to your door by many reputable online sellers. But as any parent that experienced the formula crisis of 2022 would tell you, it’s good to be prepared.
Luckily, our team spends a ton of time researching baby formula every year and we’ve compiled all the best strategies for you. By the end of this you’ll be armed with the knowledge to save hundreds of dollars over the course of the first year of your child’s life (and thousands if you continue using formula after year 1).
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Top tips for buying baby formula
We spend a ton of time researching baby formula every year and more and more parents have turned to online shopping to make sure they have the formula their family needs. It didn’t use to be great, but most formula brands now make it a pretty seamless experience to do your shopping online.
You never have to shop in a store again. Most FDA regulated formulas in the US are available at many different online retailers and nearly all EC (European Commission) formulas are available across a wide range of reputable online retailers that import straight to your front door.
Save $100’s by shopping around online. Once you find the formula your baby tolerates best, the best way to save is by shopping around online. Online prices can vary quite a bit from one site to the next so if you are organized you can end up saving hundreds of dollars depending on how much formula you need.
Always look for the price per ounce. That is the easiest way to compare and contrast the pricing across different online retailers. Most retailers show this right next to the price but some make it a bit more hidden.
Prices will vary from online to in store. If you see different prices for your formula online than you do in store, that’s totally normal. Prices in store tend to be more stable whereas online prices fluctuate quite regularly with the big online retailers depending on stock levels and promotions.
Store brand formulas are all the same. Amazon, Walmart, Costco, Sam’s Club, Walgreens, Target, Kroger all sell a very affordable store brand formula. And guess what… they’re all exactly the same. Literally just a different sticker. They are all produced by the same manufacturer in the same manufacturing plant. So you can shop around for the best discounts.
Look for refill packages or bulk discounts. Enfamil, SImilac and all store-brand formulas (Walmart, Target, Amazon, Costco, etc.) package their standard formulas in different shapes and sizes. Some of them sell big refill bags or provide bulk order discounts which can save you quite a bit.
Check your memberships. Amazon and Walmart have additional ways to save if you’re a paying Amazon Prime and Walmart+ member. You get discounts of 5-15% prices (plus free shipping) if you set up a formula subscription. So if you’re a big shopper at one of these retailers these memberships can be another way to save some coin on your formula vs buying it in the store.
It’s nearly impossible to find discounts on speciality formulas. For all you parents that need a specialty formula, it’s another kick in the gut. We feel for you and wish we had a better answer here, but we rarely see specialty formulas on sale or offered in bulk.
Buying baby formula online vs in-store
If you go into any grocery store, pharmacy, health food store, or sometimes even your local convenience store, you’ll see baby formula. With how sophisticated online shopping has become though, the only real advantage of shopping in-store is the convenience of buying it while you shop for your other household needs.
Formulas do go on sale in-store but it’s usually only when they need to get rid of their supply that is starting to age. Formula is not a product that typically gets promoted in the local grocery store weekly shopping catalog alongside all the other coupons of offers. So you may get lucky and walk into your local store and find your formula on sale, but that’s unlikely to happen very often.
So that then opens the door to buying online. And as you can imagine there are lots of options. Lots of options can feel overwhelming but it’s actually a good thing because you can shop around quite easily and do it all while binging Netflix.
The benefits of shopping online are mainly around savings but as we’ve seen over the last couple of years with the supply chain issues in the baby formula space, buying online can give you peace of mind that your formula will just show up at your doorstep.
Buying baby formula direct from formula brands
New formula brands such as Bobbie have made the process incredibly simple. You can go to their site and buy directly from them. They offer a flexible subscription service which you can easily turn on/off. They also give priority access to their products to their subscribers in case of any supply chain issues.
Bobbie is our top choice for US manufactured formula so they are worth checking out.
The massive US formula brands – Enfamil, SImilac and Gerber – all have their own websites you can buy from, but they’re not usually the best place to buy.
- Enfamil has a surprisingly good online ordering experience where you can see all of the different sizes they offer which is helpful when comparing options across different retailers. We found that Enfamil’s website was always the most expensive after looking through Amazon, Walmart and Target. So we’d only recommend buying here if you need one of their speciality formulas which are less likely to fluctuate in price across different retailers.
- Similac and Gerber both have websites but their online ordering is pretty sparse so you’d be better off shopping around at the bigger online retailers below.
If you’re buying a store brand formula from Amazon (Mama Bear), Walmart (Parent’s Choice), Target (up & up), Walgreens (Well Beginnings), Costco (Kirkland), or Sam’s Club (Member’s Mark) you can only find their formulas on their websites. Their specific brand will not be sold anywhere else. But these formulas are all interchangeable because they are produced by the same manufacturer. So when you think of it like that, your formula is now sold at basically every big retailer in the country. #winning
Buying baby formula from big retailers
The pricing on the big retail websites below fluctuates in near real time these days depending on a whole host of factors. So it’s always worth noting down which retailers sell your specific formula and check the price differences before ordering. We’ve seen price differences of $5-10 across the big retailers below which can add up to hundreds of dollars quite quickly if you’re buying a decent amount of formula.
- Amazon sells lots of formulas and most of the major brands have an official Amazon store you can find. It’s important to only buy from verified Amazon sellers that are in the US. Here is a list of all the ones we could find: Enfamil | Similac | Aussie Bubs | Baby’s Only | Aptamil | Happy Family | Serenity Kids | Gerber | Earth’s Best Organic | Kabrita | Else Nutrition
- Amazon Prime members can subscribe and save 5-15% so if you already order a lot of stuff on there this could be worth exploring.
- Amazon has massive bulk pouches for Enfamil and Similac that can save you lots of money.
- Accepts FSA (Flexible Spending Accounts) and HSA (Health Savings Accounts) for eligible items
- Accepts WIC (Women, Infants, and Children)
- You can also get access to special Amazon Mom deals and promotions
- Amazon also sells their Mama Bear store brand formula exclusively on Amazon. Remember store brand formulas from all of the big retailers below are all the same, so you can shop around.
- Walmart sells lots of formula but you don’t have to worry about different sellers like on Amazon, as Walmart is behind all of their sales.
- Walmart+ members can save on shipping and get other benefits as well which can make online ordering even more attractive.
- Walmart also sells massive bulk pouches for Enfamil and Similac that can save you lots of money.
- Accepts WIC and if you’re SNAP EBT eligible, they also have a handy dandy filter that will only show you the formulas that are SNAP eligible.
- Walmart also sells their Parent’s Choice store brand formula exclusively on Walmart. Remember store brand formulas from all of the big retailers below are all the same, so you can shop around.
- Target is a big player in the formula game now. They stock lots of options in store and online.
- Target’s RedCard will give you 5% off all Target in-store and online purchases. So if you’re addicted to Target, this might be a good option to consider given it has no annual fee either.
- Target also sells massive bulk pouches for Enfamil and Similac that can save you lots of money.
- Target also sells their Up & Up store brand formula exclusively on Target. Remember store brand formulas from all of the big retailers below are all the same, so you can shop around.
- At the time of publication, Costco offered 4 different formula brands… Enfamil, Similar, Kabrita and their Kirkland store brand formula which is the same as the others mentioned above.
- We’re huge Costco fans at The Swag so if they sell the formula you’ve chosen, then it’s a great place to shop but you might be able to find the formula cheaper in other places.
- At the time of publication, Sam’s Club offered 5 different formula brands… Enfamil, Similac, Baby’s Only, Gerber, and their Member’s Mark store brand formula which is the same as the others mentioned above.
- Sam’s Club is definitely a great way to shop so if you’ve already got a membership and have chosen one of the formulas they sell, this is a great place to look online or in person.
- Thrive Market is a really cool website and community focused on supporting the best organic and sustainable products on the market.
- So you’ll find the following organic formulas on their site: Happy Baby Organic, Aussie Bubs Organic (including their goat milk formula), Baby’s Only Organic, Serenity Kids, Kabrita, Else Nutrition (Plant Based).
- Their prices are very competitive to the big online retailers and during my research we actually saw some formulas were cheaper here than anywhere else. Our guess is they also have variable pricing that can change in near real time so you won’t know what the price is until you check.
- Join today for $5/month, billed annually, or $12/month, billed monthly. Annual members can cancel anytime within 30 days for a full refund.
- Members get up to 30% off thousands of healthy groceries.
Pharmacies (Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid)
Your local pharmacies should stock a decent range of formulas in store and online. This can make things easy for you if you’re already shopping for other household goods or medication. They won’t have the best range of formula but should be fairly price competitive compared to the bigger retailers like Amazon and Walmart.
- CVS carries the big name brands (Enfamil, Similac, Gerber) plus their CVS Health store brand formula which is the same as the Amazon, Walmart and Target formulas we mentioned above.
- Rite AId is similar to CVS in that they carry only the big players (Enfamil and Similar) and also now stock their own Rite Aid store brand formula.
- Walgreens has a much bigger range than CVS and Rite Aid. They currently have Enfamil, Similac, Gerber, Elecare, Aptamil, Earth’s Best, and NAN on their website plus their Well Beginnings store brand. So this is where we would shop first if you’re either going to a pharmacy or want to double check on prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Grocery Stores (Vons, Kroger, Albertsons)
Your local supermarkets can also carry a decent range of formulas in store and online. This can make things easy for you if you’re already doing your grocery shopping. They won’t have the best range of formula but should be fairly price competitive compared to the bigger retailers like Amazon and Walmart.
- Vons/Albertsons carry a pretty wide selection of formula on their website which includes: Enfamil, Similac, Happy Baby Organics, Earth’s Best, Gerber, Aptamil and their Signature Care store brand.
- Kroger has a smaller range on their website which includes Enfamil and SImilac plus their Comforts store brand. Interestingly they also now carry Aussie Bubs which we like to see as it’s one of our preferred formulas to Enfamil and Similac.
Where to buy your preferred baby formula brand
Where can you buy Bobbie (our #1 recommended US formula)?
- Bobbie is available on their website and at Target but we would highly recommend going straight to their website. Not only will they help you figure out how much formula you need, you can also get on their subscription which provides peace of mind that you are the first to get Bobbie formula if there were ever another shortage of formula.
- Their subscription is super flexible and their customer service is amazing if you have any questions.
- We’ve written up an in-depth review of Bobbie if you want to learn more about this amazing new formula brand.
Where can you buy Holle baby formula in the US?
- You can buy toddler formulas plus some of their amazing food products on the HolleUSA website but you won’t see their infant formulas there. That is because they are not regulated by the FDA at this stage.
- Holle is one of the most respected European formula brands of all time and many US parents have turned to this brand when looking for a premium formula that takes immense pride in the quality of the ingredients it puts in its formulas.
- The best way to get Holle is to shop at one of our partner online distributors that specialize in bringing European formula into the US.
Where can you buy Kendamil formula in the US?
- Kendamil is one of the international formula manufacturers that the FDA gave special clearance to enter the US market after the baby formula crisis in 2022. They are a welcome addition to US parents.
- Kendamil does not ship direct to US customers from their website but we’ve partnered with a couple of great suppliers that do.
- Kendamil is now sold nationwide at Target and likely will continue to expand but we found the easiest and most reliable way to get your hands on this incredible formula is through a well respected EU formula supplier.
- We’ve written up an in-depth Kendamil review that goes through the history of the company, their recent entry into the US market
Where can you buy Aptamil formula in the US?
- Aptamil is one of the international formula manufacturers that the FDA gave special clearance to enter the US market after the baby formula crisis in 2022. They are a welcome addition to US parents.
- Aptamil is sold at Target, Amazon and Walmart as well as most of your local grocery stores and pharmacies. We found Amazon to offer the best prices.
- We’ve written up an in-depth Aptamil review that goes through the history of the company, their recent entry into the US market
Where is the best place to buy Enfamil baby formula?
- Amazon – Their most popular formulas, including most of their speciality formulas, as well as ready-to-feed and pouches are available online via their Amazon. In our research Amazon was the most consistent with their pricing over time so we’d recommend starting here.
- Walmart & Target – They have a pretty big selection of Enfamil products but it doesn’t seem like quite the lineup that Amazon offers. So just check everywhere before you decide to buy so you can get the best deal.
- Costco & Sams Club – Their flagship NeuroPro Care and NeuroPro Gentlease Care in a Costco sized package. Not a bad deal. You can order online and pick up in store.
- Enfamil Direct – If you’re looking for Enfamil’s full product range, it’s better to go directly to their site. They actually have a fairly nice online ordering system. Enfamil has their own ordering system with bulk order but when we usually look, the same exact products are on Amazon for much cheaper on the official Enfamil Amazon Store.
- Enfamil also have a full blow rewards program etc that is attached to their online ordering platform and their mobile app. We have not fully researched this but if your baby is on an Enfamil formula, especially one of the more expensive ones, this might be worth looking into to save some cash money.
Where is the best place to buy Similac baby formula?
- Amazon – Their most popular formulas, including most of their speciality formulas, as well as ready-to-feed and pouches are available online via their Amazon. As was the case with Enfamil, our research showed that Amazon was the most consistent with their pricing over time so we’d recommend starting here.
- Walmart & Target – They have a pretty big selection of Similac but it’s best to check everywhere before you decide to buy so you can get the best deal.
- Costco & Sams Club – Their flagship Similar 360 Total Care and Total Comfort and in a Costco sized package. Not a bad deal. You can order online and pick up in store.
- Similac Direct – does have a website you can purchase from but we found the experience to be pretty poor compared to other online retailers you can easily find their formula range on.
- If you are looking for one of their speciality formulas then you should definitely check their website if you can’t find it anywhere else. But if you are buying one of their more popular cow’s milk formulas, then this is not the best place to shop.
Where is the best place to buy Gerber baby formula?
- Walmart – we found that Walmart actually has the best range of Gerber products for sale and usually for the best price.
- Amazon – Gerber has a smaller range of products available on Amazon for some reason. If you are on one of their flagship Gerber Goodstart GentlePro or Goodstart SoothePro then you should check Amazon to compare prices with Walmart.
- Gerber direct – they do have their own website but we found that it was never fully stocked for some reason. Most of the products were consistently “out of stock” so we would suggest starting with Amazon first, especially if you’re on one of their standard formulas.
- If you are looking for one of their speciality formulas then you should definitely check their website if you can’t find it anywhere else.
Where to buy HiPP baby formula in the US?
- HiPP is one of the leading European formulas that many US parents have turned to over the year due to their insane focus on high quality ingredients.
- There are 3 different versions of their formula (German, Dutch, and UK) and specialty formulas (Comfort, Anti-Reflux, and Hypoallergenic/HA) that are staged by age in order to best meet your little one’s nutritional needs as they grow up.
- HiPP offers infant formula for newborns, follow-on formulas for babies that are 6 months or older, and toddler milk for kiddos 12 months and up.
- The only place to buy HiPP is through an European formula distributor. Don’t worry we’ve partnered with the best and have ordered from each of them to ensure you’ll have a great experience.
Where can you buy Baby’s Only formula?
- Baby’s Only is produced by a company called Nature’s One. They have a great website where you can purchase their formula directly. Their website offers bulk ordering and a subscription which are great ways to save.
- Baby’s Only can be purchased online through most big retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target as well as Thrive Market.
- It’s best to compare the prices on their website to Amazon to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
Where can you buy Aussie Bubs baby formula in the US?
- Aussie Bubs (or sometimes just ‘Bubs’) is one of the international formula manufacturers that the FDA gave special clearance to enter the US market after the baby formula crisis in 2022. They are a welcome addition to US parents.
- They sell direct from their website and we found this had the best pricing and they always seem to have some promotion going on. Check here first.
- Aussie Bubs is now sold at Target, Amazon, and Walmart as well as most of your local grocery stores and pharmacies. Thrive Market has all of their different formulas and they are competitively priced to everything on the big retailer sites above.
Where to buy Happy Baby Organic formula?
- Happy Baby does not sell directly through their website.
- Happy Baby Organic can be purchased online through most big retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target as well as Thrive Market.
- We found Amazon to have the best prices typically.
Where can you buy Kabrita baby formula in the US?
- Kabrita is a fantastic European brand that is trying to break into the US market.
- They currently only sell their toddler (12+ mo) formula in the US through their US website, Amazon, and Thrive Market.
- But if you’re looking for their Stage 1 (0-6 mo) and Stage 2 (6-12 mo) infant formulas you will have to go to a European formula distributor. We’ve partnered with the best to make it easy on you.
Where can you buy Earth’s Best formula?
- Earth’s Best does not sell directly through their website.
- Earth’s Best can be purchased online through most big retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target as well as Thrive Market.
- We found Amazon to have the best prices typically.
Where can you buy Serenity Kids formula?
- Serenity Kids produces a great toddler A2 formula as well as lots of other great foods for your baby. We are big fans of everything they do.
- They have a great website you can shop around and offer bulk discounts as well as a subscription for their toddler formula.
- You can also buy on Amazon and through Thrive Market. So it’s best to check all 3 websites to see where you get the best deal.
What to do if you can’t afford baby formula?
First off, please do not feed your baby with pure cow’s or goat’s milk. And please do not make your own formula.
Below are the best places to potentially get some formula for free. You might have to hustle around town a bit and you will definitely need to be a bit vulnerable but it’s important to find a safe way to feed your baby.
– Ask your pediatrician
– Freebies or samples from diaper packs
– Request for free samples from brand websites
– Apply for the WIC benefit program (Women, Infants, and Children), if you qualify
– Ask your local food pantry or pregnancy center
– Start a baby registry
What is the safest way to buy baby formula?
Buying online has become the preferred option for many parents as it’s easier and usually more affordable. The big retailers like Amazon, Walmart and Target provide fantastic online ordering systems that can get you lots of different products on the same day or within a couple of days depending on where you live.
There are also many smaller retailers that import European and Australian formula into the US. These formulas may not be approved by the FDA officially so that is something to consider, but they are consumed by millions of babies around the world and adhere to stricter health guidelines than US formula brands are required to follow. Always ask your pediatrician before switching to one of these formulas.
Which retailers offer free shipping on baby formula?
– Walmart and Amazon both provide free shipping when you are signed up to their membership programs, Walmart+ and Amazon Prime.
– Target also offers free 2 day shipping for orders over $35 or if you use your RedCard.
– Many of the brands that sell their formula direct will also provide free shipping once you get to a certain dollar amount.
– All of the European formula distributors are going to have to charge a decent amount of international shipping but rest assured, they are all working hard to continue to make the process as easy and cheap as possible.
Final thoughts on where to buy baby formula
The vast majority of parents are going to have to choose a baby formula at some point. It’s best to be prepared before that moment happens. We talk to lots of parents who wish they had done this kind of research prior to needing the formula. We hope this article can help you be a bit more proactive rather than reactive.
The prices, availability and types of formula listed on various websites or in-store changes frequently. We do our best to keep up but if you see something that we should be aware of or that is incorrect above, email us at [email protected].
Please comment below with any stories or other tips and tricks that other parents might find helpful.
All the best on your formula adventures.
Breastfeeding provides optimal nutrition for infants. Our recommendations are based on the products we have personally used or researched; they are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your pediatrician before making any changes to your child’s diet, especially in cases where your baby has dietary restrictions or allergies.