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Infant formula is the next best food for baby after breast milk. It's actually probably in about fourth place, after breast, breast, and breast. It is made by heat treating cow milk proteins to make them more digestible. Unprocessed whole milk forms large curds in the stomach that are very hard for babies to digest.
I usually recommend the powdered formula (WITH IRON please), mixed with city water which nowadays is usually fluoridated. That way baby gets a complete diet with all required vitamins and minerals. It's also a lot cheaper, and lighter to lug home from the grocery.
Soy formulas are also quite acceptable and nutritious. Babies often like the soy better because it is made with table sugar instead of not-so-sweet milk sugar. The down side is that the stools may be even thicker or harder than with cow milk formula.
There is a lactose free formula which you really don't need to worry about unless your doctor recommends it (see lactose intolerance).
Then there are special pre-digested hypoallergenic formulas discussed below, best recommended by your doctor. They are specifically for treatment of milk intolerance.
I personally would not recommend any formula without DHA and ARA-A supplementation ("lipil"). These are becoming standard, even among "generic" or house brand formulas. Make sure you get them. Low iron or no iron formulas are on their way out, too - at long last. There is no medical justification for iron-free formula, since iron is a very important nutrient for growing babies.