Choosing baby formulas can be a pain for many parents, especially since they can’t have a conversation with their babies to ask them their thoughts on the particular formula. Furthermore, if you are looking for a healthy organic baby formula, this means you are looking into the details of each ingredient even closer! Click here for our favorite place to find healthy options!
If you are pregnant, choosing formula might not even be something you consider, so keep it in mind once the baby is born. For those of you that are currently breastfeeding, depending on milk supply or life situations, you may need to supplement with a formula at some point during the first year. Others that already have their baby on formula, choosing a different formula might not even be a consideration, but read on to see if your current formula choice is the best option!
With all that being said, we have compiled this article to help you with your formula choosing journey, provide you with some places to start, and ease a bit of the anxiety you may have in the overwhelming world of formula options.
#1 Organic v Non-Organic
First things first, if you are looking for a healthy formula, you may naturally sway your decision towards an organic version. For the most part, organic formulas will be healthier than the non-organic choices, but just because it is labeled organic, doesn’t mean you have chosen the healthiest option. Remember, many companies are ready to make money off the overwhelmed parents and do the bare minimum to make their products organic for the extra up charge they are allowed. Do your research on the company as well as the ingredients!
This leads us directly into the ingredient’s discussion. If you are trying to really compare formulas, organic or non-organic, you really need to dig deep into what those ingredients are.
Best example is the ingredient sugar. If you ask many parents if sugar is good for their babies, they will automatically say no. And for the most part, sugar isn’t good in the wrong form, but in the form of lactose, it is exactly what the baby needs. Many baby formula companies understand that the sugar is necessary, but they don’t always place it in the healthiest form into their baby formula.
Organic sugar is just as bad for the baby as regular sugar – and check your baby formula cans, because there are some that have organic sugar in their ingredients! Furthermore, sugar in the form of glucose syrup solids and high fructose corn syrup is equally not a good form of sugar for your baby. There are many studies to prove that use of these ingredients can lead to many health complications in your children throughout adulthood! A quick Google search and you will find many articles about why you should avoid these ingredients in your baby formula. Not surprising, you may also find baby formula companies fighting this as a myth – you can make your decisions on how to take that information into consideration.
Instead of going into details about all the rest of the ingredients to consider (we don’t want to come across as bias), here’s a small list for you to further research and make your decisions on:
- Preservatives/Additives (Melamine can seep in through these!)
- Artificial DHA/ARA
- Synthetic Nutrients
#3 European Formula vs American Formula
The good news is that if you are looking for a healthy baby formula, choosing European baby formulas already eliminates many of the concerns stated above. The reasoning is due to the strict regulations the EU has in place for their baby products.
Moreover, by choosing organic European formulas, you have eliminated the list of ingredients we just gave you in one quick sweep! Not only do you eliminate the terrible ingredients, but you also demolish the chance of cross-contamination of toxins seeping into the organic formulas. The EU organic formulas take into consideration the whole environment, meaning cows and goats are grazing on lands that don’t have non-organic farms nearby. Their soil is clean of toxins and their animals are healthier – meaning they don’t need antibiotics like American cows, which is even less of a chance of toxins ending up in the formula.
Another point with European formulas, many of the brands are from family-owned companies. Why is this important? They started designing their baby formula because they wanted something better for their own children. This establishes much more trust in the brand than one that is owned by a pharmaceutical company and big companies. Bottom-line, EU baby formula companies are forced to have higher standards legally, but many of these companies do it simply because they care about the babies that are consuming their products and want to provide the best for their fellow parents!
#4 Sensitive Options
Perhaps at this point you have settled on an organic baby formula, but your baby is super sensitive. There aren’t many sensitive baby formula options in America that avoid the bad ingredients; for the most part, soy is found in almost all of the sensitive options! This should be concerning to parents, especially since there are many studies of how it negatively affects hormonal development in babies due to the phytoestrogens found in soy. Nevertheless, baby formula producers seem to supplement with soy for an easy solution to lactose sensitive babies.
Don’t fret, there are options for your sensitive baby that are clean, but you may need to consider the European options for this. For example, HiPP has a hypoallergenic line of formula options made with clean ingredients. These formulas have hydrolyzed lactose, which means the protein is broken down into smaller fragments to make it easier for your baby to digest and eliminate that discomfort. They also offer an anti-reflux option as well as a special comfort option that take that HA style even further for the super sensitive babies.
You may not have even considered this, but instead of completely dismissing lactose, switching the animal the lactose is from can also help your sensitive babies. This is why many parents have been choosing goat milk formulas vs cow milk formula.
Goat’s milk has a different protein than many of the cow milk formulas (except the specialized A2 cow milk formulas). The A2 protein that makes up all goat milk has been found to be easier to digest for babies, and it allows many babies a chance to still consume lactose without upset tummies. Plus, goat’s milk creates a softer, looser curd in the tummy, and it breaks apart with less work on baby – since their digestive system is still developing, this can mean a world of difference.
#5 Extra Goodies
One final thought on the healthy formula decision journey, what extras do you want in your formula? While it is not necessary to have any of the extras, sometimes they can make a difference in your baby’s development. For example, the EU has made it mandatory to add DHA/ARA into their baby formulas as it is positively linked to brain and cognitive development.
Some brands, like Lebenswert, stick with the basic solid structure of formula – keeping the cleanest bio-Demeter solution possible. Since it is an EU brand, it already has the bare minimum of DHA, but it doesn’t include anything more.
Other brands, like HiPP, and prebiotics and probiotics into many of their options. The combination of these ingredients has been shown to really help with the developing digestive system in babies, leading to less gas/constipation issues.
Lastly, brands like Kendamil only offer whole milk formula options. They believe that the whole milk is the best choice, as it contains the super healthy nutrition found naturally in the fat that many of the skimmed milk formulas have eliminated. Plus, they have the bonus natural MFGM in their whole milk recipe, which is fantastic for immune health in babies.
After reading this article, we hope to have eliminated some of the overwhelming stress on how to even get started finding the healthiest formula. Of course, more anxiety may have been created when you have learned about the bad things in the current baby formulas. We understand but know that you do have options for buying the healthiest baby formula. At the end of day, remember your baby deserves the absolute best you can give, whatever that may be!