Every parent has to make countless decisions when it comes to their baby. From vaccinations and medications to screen time and nap time, the decisions you make today will impact your child for the rest of their life. Perhaps one of the most important decisions parents must make revolves around feeding their babies. Even if you’re willing and able to breastfeed, at some point you’ll likely have to supplement your breast milk with formula. This leads us to our topic of discussion for today: What’s the best baby formula for your little one?
Keep reading and we’ll outline what you should look for in the best baby formulas. We’ll also reveal some of the best brands on the market today.
What to Look for in the Best Baby Formula
Whether you shop online or at your local supermarket, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of formulas available. To help you narrow in on what’s best for your baby, here are five key factors to consider.
1. Organic vs Non-Organic
We all know that “organic” products are better, but what does it really mean?
The most important thing to know is that Europe and the US have very different definitions of what “organic” can be. The European Union has much stricter standards on their agricultural products, including the products that go into baby formula. Europe even has laws that regulate the welfare of the cows and goats used for dairy production.
What does this mean for your baby formula? Simply put, organic formulas (especially the ones made in Europe) are made from cleaner, purer ingredients. They contain little or no fertilizers or other harmful additives, and they’re also free from anything genetically modified (GMO).
Another benefit of organic baby formulas is that they’re required to include at least 30% of the total calories in the form of lactose. This is the main ingredient in breastmilk and is vital for your baby to have a healthy gut and insulin response.
2. No Harmful Additives
Most US food manufacturers add unnatural preservatives, sweeteners, and flavor enhancers to baby formulas. This is true even in some so-called “organic” brands! Sadly, this practice continues despite the proven health risks of these additives.
Europe’s rigorous standards ensure that none of these potentially dangerous additives go into their baby formulas. Brands such as Holle’s Lebenswert guarantee that there are no artificial sweeteners, colorings, flavorings, or preservatives in their formulas.
Any additives that do go into European baby formulas are 100% beneficial for your baby. This includes iron, vitamin D, and probiotics.
3. No GMOs or Growth Hormones
The majority of European nations have restricted or outright banned the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). And because GMOs aren’t allowed in organic products anyway, you don’t have to worry about any sneaking into your baby’s formula.
Another factor to consider is the use of growth hormones in the livestock used to produce milk. Numerous studies indicate that these growth hormones (which get passed to humans when they drink formula or dairy milk) can have a negative impact on our health.
While the US allows its livestock to receive these hormones, Europe has banned their use for over 20 years.
4. Low in Sugar
Too much sugar is harmful to our health at any age. But when it comes to feeding babies, added sugars early in life make them more prone to developing diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure as adults.
American-made baby formulas often include high amounts of added sugars. For example, Enfamil Premium contains 13.5 grams of added sucrose per serving. These excess sugars can harm your baby’s tooth enamel as well as lead to cravings for unhealthy sweets as they get older.
Once again, European baby formulas come out on top. Sucrose and other unhealthy sweeteners, such as high fructose corn syrup or brown rice syrup, are banned in European countries. In fact, manufacturers aren’t allowed to add any extra syrup solids or sugar to their baby formulas.
5. Cow’s Milk vs Goat’s Milk
Cow’s milk is the standard dairy product used in baby formulas, and it’s well-tolerated by many babies. However, it’s also one of the most common allergens in both children and adults.
For this reason, many parents choose to use goat’s milk baby formulas for their little ones. Even if your baby isn’t allergic to cow’s milk, there are some compelling reasons to consider a goat’s milk formula.
For starters, goat’s milk has more calcium and less lactose than cow’s milk. Its minerals, nutrients, and fatty acids are also more readily absorbed, especially if your baby has a sensitive stomach.
Holle and Kabrita are two European formula brands that offer excellent goat’s milk options. HiPP, Aptamil, and Topfer are also other safe organic brands worth considering.
Best for Baby: Which Formula Will You Choose?
If you’ve been on the hunt for the best baby formula for your little one, we hope this article has shed some light on the topic.
Remember that the formulas that are best for baby will be organic, low in sugar, and free from GMOs or harmful additives. It’s also helpful to have the option of goat’s milk or lactose-free formulas in case your little one is sensitive to lactose.
Formuland has taken all the guesswork out of the decision-making process. We’ve already done our research to present only the best European baby formulas for you to choose from.
Click here to see a comparison chart of our most popular (and nutritious) baby formulas. You can also use the same link to get in touch and ask a question about your baby’s needs.