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Baby’s Only Formula Review | The Picky Eater



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In this Baby’s Only Formula Review, I’m doing a deep dive into this popular organic formula – focusing on two of their infant formula options: Baby’s Only Premium Infant Formula and Baby’s Only Gentle Infant Formula. I’ll break down the key features, benefits, and differences between these two formulas to help simplify your decision-making process. Whether you’re a new parent or someone searching for the best formula for your baby, I’ve got you covered!

Cans of Baby's Only Infant Formula on a white background.Cans of Baby's Only Infant Formula on a white background.

Navigating the journey of feeding your baby can be complex, and is so personal for every new parent. While breastfeeding stands as the initial recommendation, it’s just not always possible or realistic for all mothers to breastfeed – either exclusively, or at all. There can be so many different reasons why new parents may not be able to breastfeed, making formula feeding a viable and often necessary choice for many families. 

For me, transitioning my daughter to formula at 8 months was a difficult decision, but was so necessary for my mental and physical health! When I made the switch, it was important to me to find a formula that not only supported her developmental needs but also one that aligned with my values and expectations for quality and safety.

After consulting healthcare professionals, fellow parents, and diving deep into the infant nutrition space, I realized the importance of choosing a reputable and trustworthy brand. As a result, I have developed a working list of the best organic baby formulas that meet these guidelines. 

Good news: Baby’s Only Formula is one of the best options out there! Whether you’re a first-time parent looking for a formula that will meet your baby’s nutritional needs or you’re considering a switch to a formula that better suits your growing baby, Baby’s Only has a variety of options to meet your baby at every age and stage. It’s a great (and affordable!) choice for parents prioritizing organic ingredients and comprehensive nutrition for their child.

In this review I’ll dive deep into Baby’s Only Formula, highlighting what makes it distinct, summarizing insights from other parents, addressing common concerns, and more. Baby’s Only has a range of both infant formulas and toddler drinks, and for this review I’ll be focusing on two of their infant formulas: Baby’s Only Organic Complete Nutrition and Baby’s Only A2 Organic Milk.

By sharing this journey with you, I hope to ease the decision-making process, offering clarity and confidence in whether Baby’s Only is the right pick for your family. Let’s explore together!

But First, A Disclaimer

As a board-certified health coach and certified nutritionist, I support products and ingredients that are rooted in science and are evidence-based. Using my background in nutrition, along with extensive research (see below for details), consultations with experts, and my own personal experience giving my two kids formula, I have reviewed Baby’s Only Formula and recommend it highly. 

I may receive a commission (at no extra expense to you) if you purchase through the links provided. I only recommend brands that I have evaluated, believe are the highest quality, would give to my own two children, and that can do the most to help you and your family. By purchasing any of these products from the links below, you help keep this blog running, so thanks for your support!

Keep in mind that every baby & situation is different, especially yours, so please consult with your pediatrician first, especially when starting or switching to a new formula. My recommendations are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard or delay in seeking professional medical advice because of something you read here!

The Verdict: Baby’s Only Is The Best Affordable, Organic American Made Infant Formula

When it comes to the best affordable, organic infant formula from the United States, Baby’s Only is one of the best formulas you can find. Not only are they one of the oldest American organic formula makers, their formula is free of GMOs, corn syrup solids, hexane-derived ingredients, added sugar, among other things!

Baby’s Only infant formula is easy to find at Target, and also has convenient subscription plans via their website (more on that below); making it easier to purchase and more affordable than many other organic brands. As you will see in this Baby’s Only review, there are many other reasons to love this high-quality and trustworthy US formula brand.

What Is Baby’s Only Formula? 

Baby’s Only was founded in 1999 and initially launched with America’s very first toddler formula – later developing their Premium/Complete Infant Formula, Pea Protein Toddler Formula, and Gentle Infant Formula lines. 

Their mission is to “make high-quality, organic baby formula accessible for every family.” I love this, because while organic formula is typically the cleaner choice for babies, it can be really expensive, and not all families can afford it. But parents shouldn’t have to choose a less-ideal option because they can’t afford the organic version – and that’s where Baby’s Only comes in! 

When I first started researching baby formulas (over 10 years ago!) – Baby’s Only hadn’t yet launched their infant formula – but I was still impressed by the ingredients in their toddler formula because of their commitment to organic ingredients, and the fact that every single one of their cans of formula are made right here at their headquarters in Ohio. 

One look at Baby’s Only formula ingredients, and you’ll know that you can feel good about feeding it to your little one: both infant formulas are made with organic lactose as the primary carbohydrate and first ingredient. 

​​Most importantly, Baby’s Only doesn’t contain any added sugars or glucose syrup, palm oil, hexane-extracted DHA, artificial flavors, or colors. Instead, it is made with only the good stuff that you’ll want when choosing a baby formula.

Their dedication to quality, safety, and variety makes Baby’s Only a standout choice for parents across the United States looking for the best for their babies.

What Types Of Formula Does Baby’s Only Make?

You’ll find a wide variety of formulas on Baby’s Only’s website, divided into infant formulas vs. toddler drinks, and regular vs. sensitive formulas. Baby’s Only is dedicated to creating formulas designed to meet different nutritional needs and preferences – so you can find the best fit for your baby.

Baby’s Only Infant Formulas Include:

Organic Complete Nutrition Infant Formula: One of the best organic baby formulas, crafted with high-quality ingredients. This formula is designed to closely mimic mature breast milk, providing essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for your baby’s development, and made with organic milk, lactose, and whey protein as the primary ingredients.

A2 Organic Milk Infant Formula: This formula is also modeled after mature breast milk, made with easy-to-digest A2 milk proteins for infants with more sensitive stomachs. Organic lactose, organic A2 nonfat milk, and organic whey protein are the primary ingredients here. Some studies suggest that A2 milk is easier to digest than A1 milk (which is used in the majority of infant formulas on the market today) (source). 

Baby’s Only Toddler Formulas Include:

Organic Dairy With Whey Toddler Drink: Made with organic nonfat milk and organic lactose, this is their classic dairy toddler drink with an extra helping of whey to support digestion. 

Organic Pea Protein Toddler Drink: This formula is 100% plant based! It’s a lactose-free, dairy-free, and soy-free formula for toddlers with lactose intolerance or cow’s milk protein allergy. This formula does use organic brown rice syrup as a carbohydrate source, as a replacement for the lactose found in their dairy toddler drink. 

Organic Sensitive DHA/ARA Toddler Drink: This soy-free toddler drink has reduced lactose, and is specially formulated to support lactose sensitivities. It also has DHA and ARA added for healthy omega 3 fats. This formula also uses brown rice syrup instead of lactose as the carbohydrate. 

Goat Milk DHA/ARA Toddler Formula: One of the best goat milk formulas, with easy-to-digest DHA, ARA, and naturally occurring prebiotics. Uses brown rice syrup as the main carbohydrate.

Baby’s Only Organic Complete Nutrition vs. Organic A2 Milk Infant Formula: What’s The Difference?

As you can see – Baby’s Only provides quite a few different formula varieties, so you really can find the best fit for your child. For this post, I’m going to dive deep into the two Baby’s Only infant formulas that are on the market today: their Organic Complete Nutrition, and their Organic A2 Milk Formula. 

Both options offer high-quality, organic nutrition tailored to your baby’s needs, but they come with distinct features that might make one more suitable for your little one than the other.

I’m going to give you a detailed overview of the ingredients, nutritional content, what makes each formula unique or better for certain babies and help you figure out which one could be the best pick for your child. Whether your baby has a sensitive tummy or you’re just trying to find the healthiest option, I’ve got the info to help you decide.

Baby’s Only Complete Nutrition Infant Formula

Can of Baby's Only A2 Organic Complete Nutrition Infant Formula on a white background.Can of Baby's Only A2 Organic Complete Nutrition Infant Formula on a white background.

Baby’s Only Organic Complete Nutrition Infant Formula is a milk-based powder formula made with organic ingredients like lactose (a milk sugar) and organic skim milk. It’s their closest formula to breast milk, with a 60:40 whey-to-casein ratio.

It meets all nutritional requirements for infants, including essential vitamins and minerals to support a healthy immune system, strong bones, and brain development. I love this formula because it doesn’t contain any GMOs, artificial growth hormones, syrup solids, or palm oil!

Key Ingredients: This formula is fortified with iron, calcium, vitamin D, and choline – like all infant formulas. It is made with lactose as the primary carbohydrate, as well as organic nonfat milk, organic whey protein concentrate, and organic vegetable oils (organic high oleic sunflower oil, organic soybean oil, and organic coconut oil).

Child Age Range: 0 – 12 months

Cost: With the subscribe and save option on Baby’s Only’s website, the cost of a 21 ounce can is $24.64, and the cost of a 31.7 ounce can is $35.69. This comes to $1.17 per oz for the smaller can, or $1.13 per oz for the bigger can!

Where To Buy: Baby’s Only is available in many stores, as well as online. You can find it at Target and Walmart, as well as online on their website, with a subscription option to save 20%.

Sizes Of Cans: Complete Nutrition infant formula comes in two sizes: 21oz or 31.7oz

Customer Reviews:

“I was looking for a formula that checks for heavy metals and this is the only one that I found that was reasonably priced. The color and smell is a lot better than the other formulas we tried .”

“Within a day he was drinking his bottles fuss free, no tears no crying. And even better was never constipated!”

No artificial growth hormones

No corn syrup or maltodextrin 

Clinically studied recipe, created to support healthy growth & development

60% whey, 40% casein ratio like mature breast milk 

100% lactose for carbohydrate source

Meets all FDA requirements for infant nutrition

Available in store (Target, Walmart) and online 

No prebiotics or probiotics added

Buy Now

Baby’s Only A2 Organic Milk Infant Formula

Can of Baby's Only A2 Organic Milk Infant Formula on a white background.Can of Baby's Only A2 Organic Milk Infant Formula on a white background.

Baby’s Only A2 Organic Milk infant formula is an organic, easy-to-digest milk-based formula, with no syrup solids, maltodextrin, or GMOs! The main difference between this formula and the Complete Nutritioninfant formula is that Baby’s Only A2 Organic MilkFormula uses only A2 organic milk, which refers to milk that contains only the A2 type of beta-casein protein.

Beta-casein is a major protein in all cow’s milk, and exists in several variants, the most common of which are A1 and A2. Regular cow’s milk, and consequently most cow’s milk formulas, contain a combination of A1 and A2 beta-casein proteins. However, some studies have shown that A2 protein may be easier to digest compared to A1 protein (source). A2 milk also happens to be the same type of beta-casein protein found in breast milk (source).

Key Ingredients: This formula includes organic lactose, organic A2 nonfat milk, organic high oleic oil, organic soybean oil, organic whey protein concentrate, and organic coconut oil. It includes important vitamins and minerals like folic acid, vitamin E, and calcium (like all infant formulas).

Child Age Range: 0 – 12 months

Cost: With the subscribe and save option on Baby’s Only’s website, the cost of a 21 ounce can is $26.34, and the cost of a 31.7oz can is $38.24. This comes to $1.25 per oz for the smaller can, or $1.20 per oz for the bigger can!

Where To Buy: Baby’s Only A2 Organic Milk infant formulais available in many stores like Target and Walmart, as well as online on their website with a subscription option to save 20%.

Sizes of Cans: This infant formula comes in two sizes: 21oz or 31.7oz

Customer Reviews:

“This is the only formula my baby can tolerate. I’m grateful it’s organic and heavy metal tested. The price is so much better than big brands too. Couldn’t recommend this more!”

“​​I bought this formula a few weeks ago, and the difference in my child’s stool was immediate. My child is much happier and spits up less.”

No corn syrup or maltodextrin 

60% whey, 40% casein protein ratio like mature breast milk 

Contains exclusively easy-to-digest A2 proteins

100% lactose for carbohydrate source

Meets all FDA requirements for infant nutrition

Available in stores (Target, Walmart) and online 

No prebiotics or probiotics added

Buy Now

What Makes Baby’s Only Formula Different?

Long Track Record: Baby’s Only has been around for over 20 years, trusted by many parents as the top formula for their little ones. I love that they have a long track record of making affordable organic baby formulas right here in the United States. 

Domestic Manufacturing: Based in Ohio, they utilize domestic, in-house manufacturing for better control and oversight of the production process, and have extensive quality checks. You can have peace of mind knowing that this formula is closely monitored from sourcing to rigorous testing procedures! 

High Quality Ingredients: Not only does Baby’s Only meet USDA Organic regulations and is Non GMO, their infant formulas are created to be as similar to breast milk as possible, making them easy to digest and nutritionally complete for your baby. Not only that, their ingredients list is simple, including only a carbohydrate source (organic lactose as the first ingredient), milk proteins and whey (organic nonfat milk and organic whey), healthy fats (organic high oleic sunflower oil, soybean oil, and coconut oil), and vitamins and minerals.

Clean Label Project Purity Award: The Clean Label Project Purity Award is a recognition given by the Clean Label Project, a nonprofit organization focused on health and transparency in consumer product labeling. This award is granted to products that have been tested and  screened for over 130 harmful environmental and industrial contaminants and toxins, including heavy metals (like lead, arsenic, and mercury), pesticides, and chemicals used in the processing of certain plastics. I feel good knowing that Baby’s Only formulas meet these strict requirements!

Manufactured In The US: While I am a huge fan of European formulas, I believe that the more healthy, organic formulas we can get right here in the United States – the better it is for everyone! Baby’s Only produces all of their formula in their own state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, which means they have 100% control over their manufacturing, so they are completely on top of quality control of their formula.

Affordable: At $1.10 per oz for the larger organic premium infant formula can size, this is one of the most budget-friendly organic formulas you will find! I love that Baby’s Only puts their formula at a price point that makes it much more accessible to families and babies across the United States.

FDA Regulated: Because their formula is made in the United States, it is regulated by the FDA, which means that Baby’s Only must meet federal nutrient requirements and they must notify the FDA prior to marketing a new formula (source).

Drawbacks To Consider

Though there are many things that I love about Baby’s Only, there are admittedly a few drawbacks. Personally, I feel that the pros outweigh the cons, but it’s still important to consider the following: 

  • Does not include added prebiotics or probiotics. But you can easily supplement with an infant probiotic if your pediatrician approves. I recommend Bobbie Probiotic Drops!
  • Is not a hypoallergenic formula. Even though there is a gentle/A2 version, both of the infant formulas are still made with milk, and therefore may not be a good option for babies who cannot digest cow’s milk or have diagnosed CMPA.
  • Does not contain DHA/ARA. This is also available via supplementation though!
  • Only one stage. Unlike many European formulas which have different stages of formula for different ages of infants, Baby’s Only has just one stage for ages birth to 12 months. 
  • Not intended for premature babies. Baby’s Only is formulated for full-term healthy babies. If you need a formula recommendation for your premature baby, speak with your baby’s doctor for the best choice for your little one.

Where Can I Buy Baby’s Only?

The easiest and most affordable way to purchase Baby’s Only Organic Infant Formula and/or their Organic Gentle Infant Formula is on their website as a one-time transaction, or you can sign up for their subscription service. When ordering, you have the option to purchase 1, 6, or 12 cans.

At this time of publication, they offer a discount of 15% off every recurring order when you set up a subscription purchase and allow you to modify, order more, pause, or cancel at any time, with no questions asked. 

But the great thing about Baby’s Only is that you can also find it in stores across America if you run out of formula unexpectedly! You can find both the premium infant formula and gentle infant formula at Target and Walmart.

How Much Does It Cost?

Baby’s Only will range from about $23-$28 for a 21 oz can as a one-time purchase, depending on whether you buy it at Target, Walmart or on their website. 

Cost of Baby’s Only Premium Infant Formula:

  • Subscribe & Save on Baby’s Only Website: $24.64 for one 21-ounce can
  • Target: $28.99 for one 21-ounce can
  • Walmart: Available as a case of six 21-ounce cans, comes to $22.88 per can

Cost of Baby’s Only Gentle:

  • Subscribe & Save on Baby’s Only Website: $26.34 for one 21-ounce can
  • Target: $30.99 for one 21-ounce can
  • Walmart: Available as a case of six 21-ounce cans, comes to $27.50 per can
Baby's Only boxes delivered to a house.Baby's Only boxes delivered to a house.

What Do Parents Say About Baby’s Only? 

Easy On Digestion: “We’ve finally found a formula that works for us! Really Baby’s only organic formula works great for my daughter. We no long suffer from constant gassiness and fussiness. I love that it’s organic and clean formula with out ALOT of unnecessary ingredients. Highly recommend.” – Elizabeth

Great For Supplementing: “We supplement with formula and this worked really well for us to be able to order in a pinch. Is really easy on his tummy and mixes up well in the middle of the night when we are dead tired 😂 no complaints from him and none from us!” – Emily

Clean Ingredients: “I love the formulation of this infant formula. It has added iron and all the other basic vitamins needed to support a growing baby. I like that it is free of dyes and artificial coloring too. Great to have on hand, even if you plan on breast feeding since you never know if it is going to work out for you. This seems like the next best thing! Happy with this product!” – Jen

Modeled After Breastmilk: “A gentle formula that is easy on baby’s tummy. Its able to be digested, it has all the vitamins and supplements needed with no harsh ingredients. It is labeled that it is modeled after breastmilk. It is easy to scoop out and mix and directions are on the package haven’t had an issue. We have not had any issues since starting this just under 2 weeks ago and will continue to use it.” – Kelsey

How Does Baby’s Only Compare To Other American Formula Brands?

Baby’s Only vs. Earth’s Best

Baby’s Only and Earth’s Best are two companies dedicated to creating high-quality organic baby formula that’s manufactured in the US. 

Both of these infant formula brands are USDA organic and Non-GMO, and are free of syrup solids, added sugars, and artificial ingredients. 

The main differences between the two are: Baby’s Only doesn’t contain DHA, ARA, prebiotics or probiotics, while Earth’s Best contains DHA, ARA and prebiotics. Baby’s Only doesn’t contain palm oil, while Earth’s Best does. Earth’s Best is also slightly more expensive than Baby’s Only. Learn More: Baby’s Only vs. Earth’s Best

Baby’s Only vs. Similac

Baby’s Only and Similac are both long-standing American-made formulas. Both have no syrup solids or added sugar and use lactose as the primary carbohydrate source. Here are some of the main differences between Baby’s Only and Similac:

  • Baby’s Only has a 60:40 whey-to-casein ratio (the same as breast milk), while Similac has a 48:52 whey-to-casein ratio, meaning that it may be harder on digestion. 
  • Baby’s Only is also organic and non-GMO, while most of Similac’s formulas are not.
  • Most of Similac’s formulas include pre/probiotics, while Baby’s Only does not, but you can always supplement!

Baby’s Only vs. Enfamil

Baby’s Only and Enfamil are both established baby formula brands that don’t have any added sugars and are made in the United States. Here are some of the key differences between the two formulas:

  • Enfamil has a large variety of formulas to choose from. They offer a non-organic option and a non-GMO option. They used to have an organic version, but it has been out of stock for quite some time with no indication of when it will be back. But both of Baby’s Only’s infant formulas – the premium and gentle versions are organic and non-GMO.
  • Enfamil contains palm oil, but Baby’s Only does not. 
  • Enfamil contains DHA, but Baby’s Only does not.
  • Enfamil is more expensive than Baby’s Only. Their flagship NeuroPro formula costs $1.73 per ounce. 
  • Both mix well, but Enfamil has been reported to have a metallic taste.

Baby’s Only vs. Kendamil

Baby’s Only and Kendamil are both great formula companies, dedicated to providing high quality organic formula at an affordable price. Here are the main differences between the two:

  • Baby’s Only is made exclusively in the US. Kendamil is made in the UK, but it was approved by the FDA to be sold in the United States as part of Operation Fly Formula during the 2022 formula shortage. 
  • Baby’s Only’s infant formulas are all organic and non-GMO, but Kendamil has both a non-organic and an organic version (but both versions are made with milk from grass-fed cows). 
  • Both formulas have no palm oil, no sugar or syrup solids.
  • Both are also FDA regulated
  • Kendamil is made with whole milk while Baby’s Only is made with nonfat milk. Kendamil also includes DHA, ARA, and prebiotics, while Baby’s Only does not.

Baby’s Only vs. Bobbie

These are another two amazing formula companies based in the US! I’m a huge fan of both Bobbie and Baby’s Only, and find them pretty comparable in terms of quality and commitment to providing the best for babies. Both are certified organic, non-GMO, and contain no sugar or syrup solids. Here are the main differences between the two:

  • Bobbie contains DHA (meeting both US and EU standards), while Baby’s Only does not contain either.
  • Bobbie is slightly more expensive than Baby’s Only, which is probably the most affordable organic infant formula I’ve found in the US.

Baby’s Only vs. Happy Baby

Baby’s Only and Happy Baby are both organic infant formulas, modeled after breast milk, that are made in the United States. Both also have a standard/complete infant formula and a gentle formula for more sensitive tummies. The differences are:

  • Happy Baby contains DHA, ARA and prebiotics, while Baby’s Only does not
  • Baby’s Only doesn’t contain palm oil, while Happy Baby does
  • Happy Baby is more expensive than Baby’s Only
  • Baby’s Only is widely available, while Happy Baby can be harder to find and/or can be out of stock.

Baby’s Only Formula FAQs

Where is Baby’s Only Formula made?

All of Baby’s Only Infant Formulas and Toddler Formulas are made at their manufacturing facility in Ohio. 

Is Baby’s Only Formula FDA approved?

Though the FDA doesn’t formally approve formulas, all formulas marketed in the United States must be FDA reviewed before being marketed. Baby’s Only has been through this process and meets all of the FDA requirements for an infant formula, and is therefore considered to be FDA-regulated. 

Is Baby’s Only easy to digest?

Yes, both of Baby’s Only infant formulas are considered to be easy to digest for many babies, particularly due to their organic composition and the quality of ingredients.

Both the complete nutrition infant formula and the gentle/A2 version uses a 60:40 whey to casein protein ratio, similar to mature breast milk, which is intended to make it easier for infants to digest. The A2 formula in particular is especially easy to digest, since it contains only A2 milk proteins which are gentler on babies’ tummies.

Lastly, Baby’s Only Organic chooses high-quality, organic ingredients to minimize the presence of potentially irritating substances like pesticides, which can contribute to its digestibility.

Does Baby’s Only Formula have heavy metals?

Every batch is 3rd party tested for purity and safety (including heavy metals, microorganisms, contaminants, and other contaminants), and Baby’s Only received the Clean Label Project Purity Award.

How long is Baby’s Only Infant Formula good for?

Unopened cans of formula (still in the sealed container) have a long shelf life! They are good for up to 2 years from the manufacturing date – as long as they are stored in a cool, dry place.

Once the container is opened, Baby’s Only recommends that you use up the container within 1 month. Keep in mind: any prepared formula must be used within 1 hour of preparation.

How Do I Prepare Baby’s Only Formula?

If you’re wondering about Baby’s Only formula preparation – I have you covered!
This formula is super easy to make and mixes up well with no chunks. Here are the Baby’s Only infant formula mixing instructions:

1. Wash hands with soap and water and get a clean bottle.
2. Add filtered warm water or cooled boiled water (cool to room temperature) to the bottle and then add the formula powder. You’ll want to use 1 unpacked, level scoop of baby formula powder for every 2 fl oz of water. Important note: Make sure the water isn’t warmer than 100 degrees F.
3. Shake the bottle for 30 seconds to mix and serve immediately.
4. Discard any leftover formula after 1 hour.

Final Thoughts

I hope this Baby’s Only infant formula review answered all your questions about Baby’s Only and helped you to decide if Baby’s Only formula is the right option for your little one! But before starting any formula, or if you ever have any questions about your child’s health and well-being, always consult their pediatrician as they will be able to guide you to the best decision. 

Overall, Baby’s Only is a fantastic American-made formula. It is made with clean ingredients, is organic and non-GMO, is a complete source of infant nutrition, is FDA-regulated and made according to the FDA dietary guidelines, and has a taste that babies love.

If you’re asking yourself, “Is Baby’s Only formula worth it?”, my answer would be yes! It’s absolutely worth it if it works for your baby, and it’s affordable which means it should be accessible for most budgets. If your baby is a full term infant, with no specific allergies or intolerances (e.g. CMPA or lactose intolerance), then Baby’s Only infant formula could be a great option for your child.

For more recipes, guides, tips, and tricks, check out the Best For Kids section of my blog. If you have any more questions about this product or brand or want to share your experience with Baby’s Only, please do so in the comments below or message me. I respond to every message I receive!

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5 Family and Community Engagement Strategies to Improve Student Outcomes



Strong school-family-community partnerships bring exceptional value to children’s education. A recent book by Karen L. Mapp, a senior lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and four other co-collaborators synthesizes the available research to explain who benefits from these partnerships and the many advantages of family and community engagement.

Everyone Wins! The Evidence for Family-School Partnerships & Implications for Practice (Scholastic, 2022) cites various research to demonstrate how family-community-school partnerships benefit all stakeholder groups when they’re approached effectively:

  • Students have higher grades, better attendance, deeper engagement in school, greater self-esteem, and higher rates of graduation and college attainment.
  • Educators enjoy better job satisfaction, better success motivating students from different backgrounds, more family support, and an improved mindset about students and their families.
  • Families have stronger relationships with their children and better rapport with educators. They can navigate school policies and advocate for their children more effectively.
  • Schools enjoy a better climate, more support from their community, and improved staff morale—leading to better teacher retention.
  • School districts and communities become better places to live and raise children. They experience fewer disciplinary problems, greater participation in afterschool programs, and more family and student involvement in decision-making.
community members talking and hugging in matching green volunteer t-shirts in front of an outdoor mural

What elements make school-family-community partnerships particularly effective? Here are five tips for how school systems can successfully promote family and community engagement in education and drive better student outcomes.

1. Successful Family Engagement Requires Intentional Leadership

Engaging with families has to be a core activity and not just an afterthought. It requires a total commitment by school and district leaders, and this commitment must include investing in the tools and training needed to help educators effectively engage with families from all backgrounds. It must be a real and intentional focus, and as Mapp says: “It’s real when I see it on your budget sheets.”

2. Teachers and Administrators Must Communicate Clearly and Consistently

To encourage family involvement in their children’s education, educators must interact with families frequently—and in many ways. For instance, teachers and administrators might engage with families in person during school drop-off and pick-up periods, set up a Family Information Board in the school’s lobby, write and distribute regular newsletters or blog posts, and/or send emails or text messages to parents.

Communicating effectively is one of the National PTA’s “National Standards for Family-School Partnerships,” which guides how schools and families should work together to support student success. Teachers and administrators should learn about and meet families’ preferred methods of communication, and families should be able to share and receive information in culturally and linguistically relevant ways.

3. Develop Healthy, Positive Relationships Based on Mutual Trust and Respect

Interactions between educators and families should be positive and reciprocal, with families feeling valued and supported. Educators can establish trust and encourage healthy, two-way communications with families by sharing information about their children’s positive behaviors and accomplishments and which skills may need work. Listen to all parents and provide opportunities for shared decision-making.

4. Be Mindful of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Welcoming all families and fostering a sense of belonging is another National PTA standard. When families engage with your school, do they feel respected, understood, and connected to the school community?

To ensure equity and inclusion, learn about the families you serve and their unique needs and challenges. Use culturally responsive engagement practices. Create opportunities for connection, especially with historically marginalized families and students. Learn about and seek to remove barriers for families to participate fully in their children’s education.

5. Help Families Support and Extend the Learning at Home

Students learn more effectively when they have opportunities at home to practice, reinforce, or extend the skills and lessons they’ve learned in school. Educators can facilitate this process by giving families specific ideas for expanding their children’s learning at home, such as by incorporating core math and literacy concepts into everyday routines.

Schools can also make instructional resources such as take-home packs, activity sets, and other materials available to families to support their children’s education.

How School Specialty® Can Help

School Specialty has more than six decades of experience in providing tools, resources, and strategies that promote successful education both in school and at home. We offer arts and crafts, early childhood, ELA, math, science, STEM/STEAM, physical education, special needs, and social emotional learning resources for families, as well as games, puzzles, and general supplies.

How do you promote family engagement in your classroom and community? Let us know in the comments!

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Preteens and skincare: What parents should know – CHOC




Published on: April 16, 2024
Last updated: April 9, 2024

Should teens and preteens be using so many skincare products with fancy ingredients? A pediatric dermatologist answers parents’ questions.


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Living With Crohn’s: My Daily Routine



By Michelle Pickens, as told to Danny Bonvissuto

As early as I can remember, I’ve had issues with my health. When I was little, I had severe constipation, nausea, vomiting, and food sensitivities.

As I got older, those symptoms transitioned into diarrhea, irregular bowel movements, and pain. I was always very fatigued and my immune system was weak: The second someone in my class had the cold or flu, I’d get it, too. Looking back, it was a sign.

From a mental perspective, my anxiety was high. What if I need to find a bathroom? What if I’m nauseous? Doctors would say, “Oh, you’ll grow out of it. It’s just your anxiety.”

Finally, a Diagnosis

After years of misdiagnosis, I was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2015. I was 23 and had just finished up college while working full time. My symptoms were getting worse. I had a lot of vomiting and pain. The fatigue was at the point where it was difficult for me to work or even get out of bed some days.

It was so bad it pushed me to seek additional care. I took a couple months off, looked for another job, and went through all the doctor appointments it took to get the diagnosis.

There’s no blood test for Crohn’s. No way to prove what you’re feeling. Eventually I saw the right doctor, who did a test with a pill camera called a small bowel capsule. (This is a pill-sized camera that you swallow, allowing doctors to see inside your digestive system.) It tracked my intestines and was able to get into a blind spot where neither a colonoscopy nor endoscopy can see inflammation. 

It was such a relief to get the diagnosis because it made me feel like I wasn’t crazy. For so many years I knew something was wrong and couldn’t name it. I also felt hopeful. Once I knew what I was dealing with, I knew I could work to get to a better place.

Sharing My Story

In 2016, I started a blog called Crohnically Blonde as an outlet to connect with people as I go through the stages of dealing with Crohn’s. When I first started to share, there weren’t as many people talking about it.

I’ve been able to form relationships in an online community through shared experiences. I hope someone can see my story and feel that, if they’re at the beginning of their journey, there’s a way to get through.

Managing My Medication

At first, I was on a lot of medication that wasn’t working well and was a huge imposition on my schedule. Now I get infusions of an immunosuppressive drug every 7 weeks.

It means being away from my family and job for 4-5 hours, and managing child-care coverage during the treatment and the weekend after, because I feel almost flu-like. The extra help allows me to rest and fuel back up after the treatment.

I have the option to be on more medications to control my symptoms. But I try to shy away from those and manage it on my own because I don’t want to be on medicine for every single thing.

Before I had my son, I was more willing to try different medications. But while I was pregnant, I could barely be on any of the Crohn’s medicines. After I had him, it didn’t make sense to be reliant on them.

Crohn’s, Pregnancy, and Motherhood

Crohn’s affected me throughout my pregnancy. I got very sick in my third trimester because I went off my immunosuppressive drug to avoid passing any on to the baby. I ended up having to be induced early so I could get back on the medication as soon as possible.

My son, Maddox, is 1 now. Crohn’s changed my expectation of what I thought motherhood would be.

I’ve learned that I’d rather be present and able to enjoy him in the good moments than push it when I’m sick. It’s been difficult. But if I’m not well, I can’t be there for my child. I try to be with him as much as I can, but there are times when I need to step back and take an hourlong nap.

I have a great support system: My husband, mom, or mother-in-law can step in and help out for a little while, and when I feel better, I can be a better mom. There are also days when I don’t have accessible help. In those situations, I’ll do lower-key activities that I can enjoy with him but that aren’t physically demanding on me.

Schedule and Adjust

Right now I’m in a pretty good spot. I work from home now, as a recruiter for a tech company, and that makes a huge difference. A lot of my anxiety in the past was around being in an office and being sick. Now that I can work remotely, it’s such a game changer.

But Crohn’s still affects my day-to-day. I have days where I’m feeling sick, and need to rest and change my plans so I’m home and not out somewhere.

No matter how planned-out I have my day or week, if I’m not feeling well that takes precedence. I like to be a very scheduled person. But I have to roll with the punches and have a plan B.

The biggest challenge is managing my sleep and stress. They’re both very influential in symptom flare-ups. I have to get at least 8 hours of sleep, no matter what. And I try to incorporate time to de-stress, like reading a book or relaxing at the end of the day.

Going to therapy helps offset stress as well, and is now part of my ingrained self-care schedule.

Social Life Strategies

My co-workers, family, and friends are very understanding. But that wasn’t the case at first. The more open I’ve been about Crohn’s, the more people understand that I’m not flaking out if I have to change plans; there’s an underlying reason.

I only have a certain amount of energy, so now I pick and choose. I know I need to work and be with my family, which means I have less energy to put into social situations.

I plan out what I’m comfortable doing, but have also become comfortable with changing plans. Even if I’m excited to go out to dinner with a friend, I don’t push it if I feel terrible that day.

Food in Flux

I’ve followed a gluten-free diet for years. I started with an elimination diet and realized that gluten was bothering me.

Other foods aren’t as black and white. I can eat a salad one day and it’s fine, and eat the same salad the next day and it makes me sick. I repeat the safe foods that don’t make me sick and stick to a general schedule of three meals a day that are pretty much all gluten free.

Sometimes the timing matters: I’ll wake up and feel nauseated and need a starchy food like dry cereal. If I’m going on a road trip, or have a big event, like a wedding, I plan it out and try to be careful about what I eat leading up to it because I don’t want to be sick. But it’s hard because you never really know. It’s kind of a gamble.

Flexibility Is Key

I’ve learned to be as flexible as possible. I never know what each day is going to bring, I just have to trust that my body is telling what it needs for that specific day. That’s my priority, and everything else can wait.


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