Americans have long had a complicated relationship with when, where, and how to use baby formula. To add to the conundrum, European baby formula has taken center stage in recent years as the new “premium” option.
If you’re new to the discussion, you might be wondering what all the hype is about. Is European baby formula truly superior? What are the differences between European vs American baby formula?
And, most importantly, which type of formula is best for your little one?
We’ll answer those important questions and more, so keep reading to learn all about organic European baby formula.
European vs American Baby Formula: At a Glance
Don’t get us wrong. There are high-quality baby formulas available on both sides of the Atlantic. However, because Europe has stricter laws and regulations, they produce formulas that are “cleaner” than their American counterparts.
The truth is that certain ingredients, such as corn syrup and fructose, are not widely used (or even banned) in the European Union. The same is true of GMOs and synthetic hormones.
Unfortunately, these are some of the most common ingredients you’ll find in American-made baby formula. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, since the majority of US baby formula brands are owned by pharmaceutical companies.
Meanwhile, Europe imposes very strict standards on its baby formula (and even stricter regulations on organic products). The result is a cleaner, healthier, and more nutritious formula for your baby — without those harmful additives.
What Makes European Baby Formula Better?
Only about one in four American babies are exclusively breastfed through six months of age. This means the majority of parents have some important decisions to make about which type of formula to use.
Now that you have a basic overview of American vs European baby formula, let’s look at some key differences between them.
1. Nutritional Requirements for Infant Formula
In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the production of baby formula. In Europe, this task is handled by the European Commission.
Although there are some differences in the way each organization is structured, their goals are the same: to set the standard for food safety and nutritional composition. Each organization must certify and approve any food product sold in the country, including baby formula.
For formulas made in the US and in Europe, there are minimum and maximum requirements for:
- B vitamins
- Folic acid
So what’s the difference? While both agencies have similar standards for what’s required in baby formula, the European Commission has much stricter guidelines on where these ingredients come from.
2. Allowable Nutrient Sources
All baby formulas must include carbohydrates, which are usually made from sugars or starches. European baby formulas may contain carbohydrates from these sources:
- Precooked or gelatinized starch
Did you notice a common American ingredient that wasn’t on this list? That’s right — high-fructose corn syrup (and other corn syrup solids) is not allowed in European baby formula. The health risks associated with corn syrup are well-documented.
Another noteworthy difference between European vs American baby formula is the inclusion of lactose. Lactose is the primary source of carbohydrates in natural breastmilk. Unfortunately, most US baby formulas contain little-to-no lactose.
Meanwhile, the European Commission requires that 30% (or more) of the total carbohydrates in baby formula must come from lactose.
3. “Staged” Baby Formula Options
In the US, baby formula is a standard “one size fits all” product. However, your baby’s nutritional needs change a lot between birth and one year of age.
For this reason, European baby formulas are broken down into the following stages:
- Pre-stage formula: specific nutrition for babies born prematurely
- Stage 1 formula: for newborns to six months of age
- Stage 2-3 formula: for babies from six months to a year old
- Stage 4 formula: for babies over a year old
Doesn’t it make more sense to use a formula that’s designed specifically for your baby’s nutritional needs rather than a generic formula?
Speaking of options, here’s one more. Some of the best European baby formulas are actually made from goat’s milk. It’s more closely related to human breastmilk and is easier to digest than cow’s milk.
If you need more convincing, goat’s milk formulas are also superior because it promotes a healthy gut, is more alkaline, and contains fewer hormones than cow’s milk.
4. European Farming Practices
A final point we’ll discuss is the European practice of biodynamic organic farming. This holistic, ethical approach to farming considers every aspect of production, starting with the soil.
The farmland is free from pesticides and chemical fertilizers. None of the animals or plants are genetically modified. The food the livestock eats is also free from pesticides, chemicals, and GMOs.
What does this mean for your baby formula? Simply put, European baby formulas are made from ingredients that are as pure as possible. Not only will your baby benefit from this clean source of nutrition, but you’re doing your part to help the planet too.
Organic European Baby Formula: The Choice Is Clear
It’s our sincere hope that this article has helped to clarify the differences between European vs American baby formula.
European baby formula is free of the sugars, chemicals, and other additives so common in American formulas. They’re categorized into different “stages” to meet the needs of your growing infant. They also include probiotics and other natural ingredients to give your baby’s immune system a boost.
Stricter legislation in Europe has resulted in cleaner, healthier formula. Your baby deserves nothing less than the best!
Fortunately, you don’t have to travel far to find the best European baby formula. In fact, you don’t have to travel anywhere at all. Click here to start browsing our most popular brands and have them delivered right to your door.