When it comes to feeding your little loved one, you want to give him or her the healthiest and most nutritional formula, and sometimes breastfeeding is not an option. As a parent with so many brands available, it’s difficult to know which is best to buy for your child.
One of the first decisions to make is if you want to buy organic or nonorganic formula. Organic formula is definitely the way you want to go. We’ll start with sharing why, and then we’ll speak to the best organic baby formula you can find for your child.
Organic vs. Nonorganic
As your baby is growing in size, so are his or her immune, digestive and central-nervous systems. That makes your baby’s body more susceptible vulnerable to the toxins, bacteria, and foodborne pathogens that are sometimes found in nonorganic food. Pesticides and other chemicals are often used to help protect crops from insects, diseases and more.
Organic foods, however, are grown with natural compost or manure rather than with synthetic chemicals, fertilizers or pesticides. Research has shown that babies and children who eat organic food have a lower risk of exposure to these potentially harmful pesticides. The Organic Foods Production Act bans synthetic preservatives in organic food, which makes organic formula the superior choice.
Here are important considerations for purchasing formula for your baby.
Traditional nonorganic foods often contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms). A GMO could be a plant, animal or an other organism, and its genetic makeup has been modified with science. When genes are modified, you risk making unstable combinations of plants, animals, and bacteria. You do not want to risk your baby’s health with any product that is unstable or unnatural.
Examples of food with a high risk of GMOs include corn, soy, animal products, and squash and zucchini. Considering that soy could contain GMOs, it’s best to only give your baby soy formula if he or she is dairy intolerant. The good thing about European organic foods is that they do not include any soy-based formulas.
As formula is typically made with cow’s milk, it has less lactose, which is a carbohydrate. In an effort to make formula as similar to breast milk as possible, manufacturers typically add sweeteners.
Some sweeteners are less healthy than others. The best-case scenario is when lactose is added to sweeten formula because it’s the most similar to human milk.
Lactose is also the most expensive, however, so sometimes manufacturers use plant-based sweeteners instead, such as corn syrup, including maltodextrins, which are partially hydrolyzed starch molecules, or brown rice syrup—NOT good for the little kiddo.
Sometimes palm oil is used in baby formula to make up for a lack of palmitic acid, which is naturally found in breast milk. The goal is to match the fatty acid profile, but the presence of palm oil has been shown to lower calcium and fat absorption, and lead to lower bone mineral density, as babies aren’t able to absorb palm oil properly.
DHA and ARA are oils added to increase fatty acids in baby formulas, which some mothers worry their babies won’t get by not consuming breast milk.
However, with these supplements comes the possibility of algae and fungus, which is unnatural. Back before the Organic Food Production Act, there were many reports of babies who suffered from gastrointestinal issues after consuming baby formula with DHA and ARA. Avoid these whenever possible.
Synthetic preservatives, such as beta-carotene and ascorbyl palmitate, are added into formulas to reduce the chance of oxidation and spoilage. You have to be careful with any formula that claims to “prevent rancidity,” for example because potentially unnatural preservatives have been added.
These preservatives do not provide any nutritional value to your baby and are therefore not allowed in organic foods. That being said, however, if a synthetic preservative is considered essential to the food, then it’s permissible.
Carrageenan is a food additive often used in animal experimentation, which has been linked to gastrointestinal disease in some laboratory animals. Choosing European baby formulas for your baby is a great way to avoid Carrageenan because it’s prohibited in the European union.
Our Top Best Organic Baby Formula Picks
As a parent, feeding your baby organic formula is the best option, since there will be zero chance of GMOs, no pesticides and no DHA/ARA. With that in mind, the choice between organic or nonorganic baby formulas seems like an easy one. Now you just have to decide which brand.
Use the following brand guide to help you choose the best organic baby formula.
A German, family-owned business, HiPP Organic has been producing baby food since the 1930s. HiPP products focus on the best organic baby formula for the little one with a sensitive stomach (gas, constipation, allergies and acid reflux).
With HiPP, you get all-natural, nutritional baby food, which includes ingredients like coconut and sunflower oil. Dairy products are processed from grass-fed cattle. They use lactose as a sweetener and probiotics as well.
Also from the 1930s, Holle comes from Germany and is the most popular brand throughout Europe. They offer a variety of products, including milk, porridge and vegetables.
Holle follows strict guidelines against pesticides and chemical fertilizers and uses raw ingredients to meet biodynamic and organic standards. They also use ingredients like coconut and sunflower oils. Though it does not contain any unapproved synthetic preservatives, it still does use palm oil and maltodextrin.
Lebensewert is a trustworthy German brand introduced in 2009. They focus on chemical-free products with lactose, a much more natural sweetener than maltodextrin.
Keep in mind, in order to be labeled “USDA organic” baby formula must be at least 95 percent organic — meaning that there is 5 percent that may still be made nonorganically. Just because a product is marketed as “natural,” “free-range,” and “no hormones added” does not mean it’s been verified as organic.
Do what’s best for your baby and choose European organic baby formula. Happy feeding!