Gone are the days where people do not take a second look before using or consuming a product. Nowadays, we are becoming more and more aware of every item we use. And one of the common deciding factors is if the product is organic.
Organic, in a sense where it is free from any artificial ingredients. At the same time, manufacturers are also making their organic products synonymous with the label eco-friendly. This way, you’re also being environmentally-conscious, along with being health-conscious.
When you’re busy or if you have difficulty expressing milk, you have to rely on baby formula. Of course, nothing can beat breast milk, but some days call for the help of formulas. And as much as possible, you want to find the safest option there is. Therefore, why not go organic with formulas as well?
However, just because the product has the word “organic” in it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s legitimate. So to help you find the best organic formula, we have gathered the 10 best products worth considering. We also wrote a buyer’s guide in case you have some questions in mind.
But before we go into the reviews below, make sure you’ve talked with your pediatrician as well. He/she still has the best recommendations that’ll specifically suit your baby’s needs and requirements.
Best Organic Baby Formula Comparison Table
|Similac Pro-Advance||Powdered||3 X 36 oz||0 to 12 mos.|
|The Honest Company||Powdered||21 oz||0 to 12 mos.|
|Munchkin Grass Fed||Powdered||25.6 oz||1 to 3 yrs.|
|Plum Organics||Powdered||21 oz||0 to 12 mos.|
|Happy Baby||Powdered||21 oz||0 to 12 mos.|
|Gerber Natura||Powdered||23.2 oz||0 to 12 mos.|
|Earth's Best||Powdered||23.2 oz||0 to 12 mos.|
|Happy Tot||Powdered||23.2 oz||1 yr and up|
|Baby's Only LactoRelief||Powdered||12.7 oz||1 yr and up|
|Baby's Only Dairy||Powdered||12.7 oz||1 yr and up|
Read also: Best Baby Food Maker
Best Organic Baby Formula Reviews
Similac Pro-Advance – Best Organic Non-GMO Baby Formula
Our first organic baby formula is the Similac Pro-Advance. And while a lot of products in this review are non-GMO, this is our top pick if you’re meticulous with that factor. GMOs stands for genetically modified organism. And just from hearing the word modified, makes every parent question the safety of it for their baby.
The reason why it’s something to be careful with is that this “modification” is what makes the organism resistant to diseases and insects. Even though we need more evidence to conclude the harm caused by consuming GMOs, the thought of babies potentially acquiring toxins meant to kill insects and other organisms is not something parents can easily ignore.
Back to our review, we know that you’ll feel more at ease in using a non-GMO baby formula. In particular, Similac Pro-Advance is one of the more popular formulas that are non-GMO. And according to the brand, babies reportedly are less fussy and gassy upon using this formula.
Helpful for Baby’s Immunity
If you’re familiar with Similac Advance, you might be wondering what makes Pro-Advance different from that product. Well, the main difference is that this formula has 2’‐fucosyllactose (2’ FL), which is a human milk oligosaccharide (HMO.) This makes this formula closer to the gold standard of baby food that is breast milk.
But what is 2’ FL? This HMO is a prebiotic that aids in helping the immune system. What they do is “help”, or more specifically, feed the good bacteria in the gut. Therefore, HMO helps in strengthening your baby’s immune system.
So far, we’ve seen positive studies regarding the use of HMO in baby formulas. But like with any formula ingredients, we still need more research that focuses on several aspects regarding its effectiveness.
Similar to Breast Milk But…
Other than 2’ FL, Pro-Advance also includes a blend of DHA, lutein, and vitamin E. Again, you’ll notice that with this formula, Similac is really aiming to make it as similar to breast milk as possible. These ingredients help in growth, and brain and eye development. But understandably, you might be having second thoughts in getting this milk because of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid.)
We know this ingredient has been causing discussions in the baby formula community regarding its safety. However, there is not much evidence to claim its danger or long-term benefit. In fact, the FDA is not regulating the use of fatty acid additives to infant formula. Therefore, we recommend that you consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns about using this formula.
On the bright side, Similac guarantees that the source of their milk has not been treated with any artificial growth hormones. It is also worth noting that this product is Kosher and Halal if this is something you consider when buying a product.
The Honest Company Organic Premium Infant Formula – Editor’s Choice
When you’re on the search for the best organic baby formula for infants, one of the first things that you should look for is a certification. In particular, a USDA certification should put you at ease, knowing that you’re getting a genuinely organic product. Now, what makes this formula our top pick?
What does a USDA-certified product mean for parents? Basically, getting this certification verifies that the production of the formula has complied with the regulations set by USDA for an organic product. This ensures you that the ingredients used in the formula follow the criteria set by USDA and have come from trusted organic farms.
The Honest Company organic premium infant formula is one of the products in this review that has this certification. And since this formula is cow’s milk-based, the USDA certification also guarantees you that the cows themselves are not raised with hormones or antibiotics.
Modeled to Breast Milk
Like our first baby formula, the Honest Company modeled their product to be very similar to breast milk. With this in mind, you can expect that they have also created a blend of iron, vitamin D3, calcium, choline, and folic acid. These ingredients all help for your baby’s growth and development, the same way he/she benefits from breast milk.
DHA or No DHA, Your Choice
As we have mentioned earlier, adding DHA in a baby formula sparks debates among parents and experts. However, since there is also no evidence to say that it is dangerous, some companies and parents still add it because it aids in brain and eye development.
However, if you’re still conflicted, the good news is the Honest Company offers two formulas with one not having DHA. And the one that we’re reviewing here is the formula without the added DHA.
Tasty But Healthy
Other than DHA, we are very pleased that this formula has no gluten, carrageenan, corn syrup, GMOs, and sucrose-added milk. If you’ve read our buyer’s guide beforehand, you’ll know the possible effects of these ingredients on babies.
But if it lacks sweeteners, will your baby still like its taste? This premium formula opted to use lactose instead of sucrose or corn syrup. Like we’ve said earlier, it’s close to breastmilk, so it still tastes good using a natural sweetener. And according to the company, they have also created a new version of this formula to completely rid of glucose syrup solids and just use organic lactose.
Helps Good Tummy Bacteria
Like our previous formula Similac Pro-Advance, the Honest Company also adds a prebiotic in this product. The idea behind this is that adding this plant-based fiber (fructose-oligosaccharides) supports the good bacteria in your child’s tummy. Similar to the prebiotics in breast milk, it also helps in digestion and immune function. But like we’ve said earlier, talk to your pediatrician if you’re not sure in using a formula with prebiotics.
Lastly, this formula does have some ingredients that you might want to check, which are palm oil and soy ingredients. Different babies react differently, especially with these ingredients. Therefore, be extra diligent and watchful on how your baby reacts with this formula.
Munchkin Grass Fed Toddler Milk Drink – Best Organic Formula for Toddlers
Because we want to make sure that this review is inclusive, we also included 4 formulas for toddlers. If you’ve started your baby on an organic baby formula, why not use a toddler formula when he/she grows up as well?
Grass-Fed Milk: What is the Advantage?
What we have here is the Munchkin Grass Fed toddler milk drink. It comes in a cute-looking can that definitely stands out from the rest. It comes in white and green, which is like a reminder to the consumer of its main selling point- being a grass-fed milk drink.
According to Munchkin, this formula is made with 100% certified grass-fed milk all the way from New Zealand. So what separates a grass-fed milk among the other formulas in the market? Grass-fed milk comes from cows who have a 100% forage-based diet. But organic cows, on the other hand, have 80% forage-based feeds and the remaining 20% from grain and concentrates.
Higher Omega 3 Fatty Acids
In a healthy standpoint, a study found out that grass-fed milk contains higher omega 3 fatty acids which is important for brain and eye health. Of course, for growing children, this is very important for their long-term development.
Antibiotic and GMO-Free
The milk of this formula is also free from antibiotic and GMO thanks to the diet of the cows. It also has higher levels of vitamin A and E, which wouldn’t need any explanation regarding their importance on a growing child’s health.
What we love with Munchkin is that it is very easy to dissolve. It doesn’t form any clumps or weird oily residue that parents hate about formulas. At the same time, we’re noticing that children love the taste of this product.
No to Corn Syrup, Yes to Lactose
The secret behind is that Munchkin contains lactose and lactoferrin that is naturally found in breast milk. This means they help in making the formula taste good, but also aids in building a strong immune system as well.
And another impressive inclusion in this formula is that it has hexane-free DHA. Yes, we know that DHA is something that you have mixed feelings about. But one of the main reasons why parents try to avoid it is if it is hexane-sourced.
What to Consider
Now, if there are ingredients that might raise an eyebrow, it will be the use of soybean oil and skim milk. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you have to discuss with your pediatrician your child’s nutritional needs since skim/non-fat milk has a high concentration of protein and minerals.
Plum Organics Organic Infant Formula – Best Organic Baby Formula for Sensitive Stomachs
Our next organic baby formula is from Plum Organics. And we have to say right off the bat that in terms of looking like breast milk, this has to be the closest. It doesn’t have the yellowish tinge that most formulas have, and mixing it with water is also easy. However, you may notice that it has more bubbles than other brands.
Vitamins + Fatty Acids
Like our previous formulas, Plum organics has vitamins such as A, D, and E. However; it does have palm and soy oil that your baby might have a different reaction to. It also has sunflower oil, but what is really the effect/purpose of plant oils in a baby formula? The straightforward answer to this is that these oils affect the fatty acid content of the formula. This helps with the absorption of the vitamins above, and also make the formula nutritionally closer to breastmilk.
Easy to Digest
If you’ve checked the ingredients, chances are you’ve also noticed the organic whey protein concentrate among them. What this ingredient does is that it helps babies digest the formula better. The whey protein is also what makes newborn formula different from formulas for older children, which have a higher casein content.
Gentle on Your Baby’s Tummy
Other than whey, Plum Organics also mentions that their formula has prebiotics. As you have read from the other products, this helps the good bacteria in the gut. And prebiotics will, therefore, help your baby’s immune system against infections and inflammations. Prebiotics plus the fact that this formula is whey-dominant is also what makes this product gentle on babies’ stomachs. If you have a colicky baby, a formula that is easy to digest and contains prebiotics is something to consider.
We are also glad that this product uses organic lactose instead of corn syrup. Since lactose is a carbohydrate, you can assume that this becomes a source of energy for your baby. But other than this role, it also makes the milk tastier without the need for artificial sweeteners.
Now, if you’re worried about the validity of this formula’s claim about being organic, you’ll be pleased to discover that it has a USDA certification. It is also free from GMOs, antibiotics, and growth hormones.
However, if you’re still unsure of DHA and ARA, it is worth noting that this formula has them. In particular, the formula sourced these fatty acids from Mortierella alpina oil and Dha algal oil. As we have mentioned throughout this review, you can read more research regarding these fatty acids and make your own call about them.
Happy Baby Organic Infant Formula – Best Organic Formula for Transition From Breast Milk
Non-GMO and USDA-Certified
Our fifth organic baby formula comes from Happy Baby. And just like the previous products, you will be pleased that this is USDA certified and has no GMO. Right off the bat, Happy Baby also made sure that this formula is modeled after breast milk. This means they’re using organic lactose as their carbohydrate and skipping the use of corn syrup.
Promotes Healthy Gut
You will also find the familiar prebiotics that’ll help the good bacteria in your baby’s gut. In particular, Happy Baby has fructooligosaccharide (FOS) and galactooligosaccharide (GOS), which mimic human milk oligosaccharides.
Similar to our top pick, Happy Baby also contains no gluten. The importance of this characteristic is that some babies may be allergic to gluten. Some cases even lead to celiac disease that’s characterized by diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Packed with Vitamins and Minerals
What are the other nutrients that you’ll find in this organic formula? If a product wants to mimic breast milk, then it should also contain the right amount of vitamins and minerals. And with Happy Baby, it has phosphorus, calcium, iron, vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, folic acid, copper, and choline. It also has DHA and ARA.
Again, we don’t want to sound redundant with these fatty acids. There is not much evidence to say that they’ll be dangerous, but this is also applicable to their long-term benefits. In this particular product, the company mentioned that they source these fatty acids from non-GMO algae.
The protein content of this formula, on the other hand, comes from nonfat milk. They include whey and casein, which are important building blocks of a growing baby.
What We’ve Noticed
So far, this formula is gentle enough that it doesn’t lead to constipation or diarrhea. However, this will still vary for every baby. The only trend that we seem to notice are parents saying that their babies spit up more often with this formula. Nonetheless, spit ups are normal, but always consult your doctor if you notice other symptoms like difficulty in breathing.
Overall, this is our choice if you want to start your baby on formula. However, it is thinner in texture, so babies may need time to get used to it. And also, never hesitate to talk with your doctor when you’re transitioning from breast milk.
Gerber Natura Organic Infant Formula – Best Easy-Mix Organic Formula
Smooth and Lump-Free Texture
We are halfway on our review, and now, we are taking a look at Gerber Natura organic infant formula. Right off the bat, we want to compare this formula’s texture to the Munchkin Grass Fed Toddler Milk Drink. If you remember, we are impressed with how easy Munchkin dissolves, and we’re pleased to let you know that Gerber Natura is the same.
Some baby formulas that are difficult to mix with water should use slightly warmed water to help dissolve the lumps. But with Gerber, some quick stirs leave the formula smoothly without any clumps. There are no dangerous effects from an undissolved formula, and some products vary in their mixing instructions. However, if you’re busy, the last thing you want is scrubbing off leftover powder. At the same time, a lumpy formula might also mean that your baby isn’t getting the intended amount.
Now, let’s get to the more important review factor, which is the formula’s content itself. Gerber Natura is USDA-certified organic, which means it has passed the standards and requirements to make it “organic.” This ensures you that the formula you’re getting is free from anything synthetic.
Gluten, Antibiotic, and Hormone-Free Kosher Dairy
And like our previous formulas, the cows that produce the milk for Gerber are not treated with antibiotics or artificial growth hormones. It is also a certified Kosher dairy like the other products we’ve reviewed. Other than being free from potential fertilizer/pesticide residue, this formula is even gluten-free, which is always a plus, especially for babies that potentially has allergies.
What to Consider
The carbohydrates of this formula come from organic lactose. If you compare this to the other formulas we’ve reviewed, this is always better since it means the formula has no artificial sweeteners or corn syrup. Lactose is a naturally-occurring sugar in breast milk, and therefore if a formula aims to be natural, it should skip artificial sugars.
However, what conflicts us is that it has organic maltodextrin. Yes, the FDA approves this food additive in terms of safety. However, parents might still get concerned since it is high on the glycemic index and can raise blood sugar levels.
As for the fat content of this formula, Gerber does have palm and soy oils. And like what we’ve always reminded you in this review, consult your baby’s doctor if your baby is allergic or sensitive to these ingredients. Nonetheless, we know that the fat content helps with the absorption of vitamins. And speaking of which, Gerber has vitamins A and E, which are essential for immune system development and rapid growth itself.
With Prebiotics, ARA, and DHA
You will also see organic galactooligosaccharides among the ingredient list. This is a prebiotic, and as you have known from earlier on, it helps with a baby’s digestive health. A prebiotic acts as a food for the good bacteria, and therefore, is beneficial for immunity and digestion. This is also the same reason why we’re seeing parents who mentioned they’ve benefited from this formula when their babies are constipated.
Lastly, you will also see Mortierella alpina oil that’s a source of ARA and Dha algal oil for DHA among its ingredients. These sources are similar to what Plum Organics uses, and we recommend that you read more about ARA and DHA extraction to help you make your final verdict.
Earth’s Best Organic Dairy Infant Formula – Best Natural-Tasting Organic Formula
Our next organic infant formula comes from a popular company, which is Earth’s Best. Now, to live up to the name “organic”, it also follows the trend of our products that are free from growth hormones, steroids. antibiotics, and fertilizers.
USDA-Certified Organic and Kosher
Earth’s Best is also USDA-certified organic, so you know their claim as “organic” is legitimate. It is also Kosher similar to our previous formulas and conforms to the Jewish dietary regulations of kashrut.
Earth’s Best does not use corn syrup solids, and instead, sticks to lactose. Again, if you’re looking for the best natural baby formula, it has to be very similar to breast milk in terms of its ingredients. Therefore, it should be free from any artificial additives, including its sugar content. You also don’t have to worry about GMOs in this formula’s ingredient list, which is to be expected since it is certified organic by USDA.
ARA, DHA, and Probiotics
Just like Gerber Natura, Earth’s Best organic formula has DHA, ARA, and a prebiotic. But instead of galactooligosaccharides as its prebiotic, this formula uses fructooligosaccharides. However, they both serve the same purpose, which is for digestive health and immunity.
From Protection to Development
You can also see in its list the familiar vitamins you’d find in a formula. They include the B-vitamins, vitamin A, D, E, and C, as well as zinc, and potassium. These ingredients all combine to help with a baby’s development and immunity.
Now, for the controversial ingredients, it does have palm oil and soy oil, which some babies might react to. At the same time, the formula’s DHA and ARA, which helps for eye and brain development, have their drawback, and that is the fact that they’re grown in a lab.
Tastes Like BreastMilk
As for the taste, it isn’t too sweet. This is good since this flavor is closer to breast milk. And even though it has iron, we didn’t get a strong taste or smell from it. However, this formula is not as easy to mix, and it tends to form clumps. Our suggestion is to use a slightly warm water and be meticulous in the instructed measurements.
Happy Tot Organic Toddler Milk – Runner-Up Best Toddler Formula
Our last three organic formulas are all for toddlers, and what we have here is the Happy Tot organic toddler milk. And just like the Munchkin Grass Fed Toddler Milk Drink, this toddler formula comes in an eye-catching can. In particular, Happy Tot comes with a purple lid that you will surely notice among shelves.
And since we’re comparing Happy Tot to Munchkin, we want to point out that it uses skim milk as well. We recommend that you consult your child’s doctor if you’re still not sure if you can switch your toddler to skim milk. Skim milk is low-fat, and very young children still needs their fat. However, when their growth is steady, it should be okay to use skim milk.
And as for its consistency, though the two toddler formulas are similar, we find Munchkin a tad smoother once it dissolves.
Non-GMO and USDA-Certified
Now, what makes this toddler formula organic? Well, straight to the point, it is indeed certified by USDA, so you know that Happy Tot is true to its claims. It has no GMO or anything synthetic during its production and ingredients itself. However, it does have the controversial ingredients that you’re familiar with now, such as palm oil, soy oil, DHA, ARA, glucose syrup solids, and maltodextrin.
If you’ve been looking for studies about the effects of these ingredients in a formula, chances are you’ve seen very few of them. We notice that most studies all have the same recommendation, which is to do more trials to test the validity of both their negative and positive effects to the health.
DHA, ARA, Vitamins, and Minerals
As we have mentioned earlier, oils are added to formulas to help some vitamins get absorbed better. At the same time, adding fat content also makes the formula more comparable to the composition of breast milk.
DHA and ARA, on the other hand, are used by manufacturers because they help in brain and eye development. However, they became controversial because of the way they get extracted with hexane.
And as for the latter two, sugars are always something to be careful about because of their link to obesity. Not to mention, if you have to monitor your baby’s sugar levels, you have to be wary of every formula’s ingredients.
On the bright side, this formula is a blend of important vitamins and minerals. You’ll find iron, potassium, zinc, and your must-haves like vitamins A, D, E, and C. However, it appears that Happy Tot has no prebiotics.
Overall, like we’ve always said throughout this review, please don’t hesitate to talk to your pediatrician. Yes, we know, it’s getting redundant with this reminder. But if you want to know more about these ingredients and their potential effects on your baby’s health, it’s best to consult an expert.
Baby’s Only LactoRelief – Best Organic Toddler Formula for Sensitive Stomachs
Our last two organic toddler formula are both from Baby’s Only. And if you recall our chosen baby formula for sensitive stomachs from Plum Organics, LactoRelief is our choice for toddlers with similar conditions.
Because their digestive system is still developing, understandably, toddlers and babies have sensitive stomachs. Now, when we say sensitive stomachs, this can pertain to different reasons and symptoms. This includes colic, gas, constipation, diarrhea.
Of course, the best thing that you can do is ask your pediatrician if your child has been experiencing a sensitive stomach. It is also important that you know which formula products tend to alleviate or worsen his/her conditions.
USDA-Certified and GMO-Free
Plum Organics is our pick for babies with sensitive stomachs because it is easy to digest, and its components are close to breast milk. These characteristics are also similar to what we found with LactoRelief. It is certified USDA organic, so you know the drill; it is free from GMO, antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, or fertilizers.
Kosher and Rated Best in Class by CleanLabelProject
Just like our previous formulas, this formula is Kosher. And to put you more at ease, you should know that CleanLabelProject.org rated this product as “Best in Class.” This way, you know that it is indeed free from any chemicals or contaminants.
No Corn and Glucose Syrup
At the same time, LactoRelief contains no artificial sweeteners like corn or glucose syrup, and even the controversial palm oil that is popularly used by most manufacturers. But LactoRelief also supports brain and eye development, which came from its DHA and ARA content.
How does it fit to the whole “gentle” formula branding? Impressively, Baby’s Only derived their DHA and ARA from organic egg phospholipids. In other words, they didn’t have to rely on hexane to process these fatty acids.
Overall, we love how it is free from those ingredients that we’ve mentioned above. However, we have to also mention that it still contains soy, egg, and coconut, so do be cautious about potential allergies.
On the bright side, the formula’s dairy content is low in lactose. Children with lactose intolerance can’t break down lactose that’s present in milk. And therefore, it leads to symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain. So as you can assume, this toddler formula will be gentle on your child’s tummy even if he/she has lactose intolerance.
Baby’s Only Dairy Toddler Formula – Best Affordable Organic Toddler Formula
We are down to our last product, and as we have mentioned earlier, this also comes from Baby’s Only. In fact, this toddler formula is among the many variations that Baby’s Only offers. The previous Baby’s Only is their LactoRelief formula, while the one here is the dairy with DHA toddler formula.
There are also dairy, dairy whey protein with DHA, soy protein, whey protein, and whey protein with DHA. And as you can see, you have the option to buy formulas without DHA if this is your preference.
USDA Organic and Rated Best in Class
Similar to the LactoRelief variation, this dairy with DHA formula from Baby’s Only is certified USDA organic and rated “best in class” by the CleanLabelProject.org. Again, these certification and rating ensure you that the company does not use GMOs, antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, or fertilizer with their ingredients. This formula is also Kosher-certified, and the packaging itself is even BPA-free, so you know you’re baby is safe from chemicals.
This dairy formula with DHA and ARA derived these fatty acids from organic egg phospholipids. This means that the formula does not use hexane when extracting these ingredients. Although the issue about hexane in formulas still lacks studies to validate its danger, we still appreciate finding a formula that chose to be hexane-free.
DHA and ARA are present in breast milk and aids in eye and neurodevelopment. That is why whenever companies include these fatty acids without using hexane, we’re sure that parents will be more at ease using the product.
No Palm Oil and Corn/Glucose Syrup, However…
You will also not find corn syrup or glucose syrup, as well as palm oil in this formula. However, as we have criticized in the previous Baby’s Only formula, it still contains dairy, soy, and coconut.
We should also point out that this formula has organic brown rice syrup listed first in the ingredients. Of course, this means that the formula has it in large amounts. This is an issue for us because there are studies that point our relations between arsenic and this sweetener.
Read also: Best Blender for Baby Food
Best Organic Baby Formula Buyer’s Guide
Types of Organic Baby Formula
You can classify the different types of baby formula based on their forms and base.
From the name of it, this type of organic baby formula does not require any additional steps before use. This means you don’t have to measure or dissolve the formula before giving it to your baby.
We like this type of formula because they are more hygienic and safer, especially for very young babies like newborns. However, because of their nature, ready-to-use organic baby formulas have shorter shelf lives compared to the next types. Generally, they must be consumed within 48 hours.
This is probably the most common type of organic baby formula. Because of their forms, powdered formulas wouldn’t require much space for storage. They will also have longer shelf lives, and the lack of need for individual containers makes them environmentally-friendly.
However, you will need to prepare them and follow what’s mentioned in the instructions (e.g., ratio to water.) And speaking of water, you also have to be extra careful of the water you’re using. You can’t also try to be ahead of labor because it’s not advisable to prepare a large batch beforehand.
- Liquid Concentrate
You might also find organic baby formulas in the form of liquid concentrates. And while they bear the word liquid in their name, this doesn’t mean that this formula won’t require mixing with water. The advantage that you’ll have with a liquid concentrate over a powdered formula is you’re not waiting for the powder to dissolve in water. It also takes lesser storage space compared to ready-to-use formulas.
- Cow’s Milk-Based Formula
Whether it’s organic or not, most baby formulas usually use cow’s milk as their main ingredient. Manufacturers add vegetable oils, vitamins, and minerals to the cow’s milk. At the same time, they alter the milk’s protein content, so that babies can digest it easily.
- Soy-Based Formula
If your baby is lactose intolerant, allergic to cow’s milk protein, or is on a vegetarian diet, you can also consider soy-based formulas. And just like with cow’s milk, manufacturers modify the soy protein to make it easier to digest. This formula will also contain vegetable oils, corn syrup, and minerals. However, your doctor might not recommend a soy-based formula if your baby is premature or has a low birth weight.
- Specialty Formula
This type of formula encompasses a wide range of products. Generally, it is something recommended by your doctor if your baby requires specific nutrition or if he/she has a condition.
For example, a specialty formula can be lactose-free and uses corn syrup instead of lactose. This formula is needed by babies who have a condition that makes them unable to digest lactose. You can also find low-sodium products for babies that requires to have low sodium intake.
Another specialized product that might be given to a baby is a protein hydrolysate formula. This is extensively hydrolyzed, meaning it has pre-digested protein. This way, babies will have an easier time absorbing the nutrients. This type of formula is also typically used by babies suffering from various allergies.
It’s good to know that nowadays, we are developing formulas that can help babies with special conditions. In fact, there are even formulas for babies with malabsorption syndromes, heart disease, and those that can’t digest fat or amino acids.
Premature infants or those that have reflux and can’t gain weight can also benefit from formulas pre-thickened with rice starch or has extra calories and minerals to meet their needs. But as we have constantly reminded you throughout this article, make sure to check with your pediatrician if you think your baby needs a specialty formula.
What About Enhanced and Fortified Formulas?
You can find formulas in the market that include pre- and probiotics in them. According to the manufacturers, the reason behind this is to mimic the immune benefits that babies acquire from breastmilk.
This is due to the fact that the addition of probiotics offsets the “unfriendly” organisms that cause infections and inflammations. But just like our disclaimer above, it’s better to discuss the use of formulas with prebiotics/probiotics with your pediatrician.
Note that this reminder is also applicable if you feel that your baby needs an iron-fortified formula. Your pediatrician can guide you better in knowing your baby’s iron requirements.
And other than probiotics, some formulas are also enhanced with DHA and ARA. Docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid are thought to help with eyesight and brain development. However, further research is necessary to strengthen this claim.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Baby Formula
Ingredients and How They Affect a Baby’s Health
The ingredients that you’ll find in the organic baby formula will dictate its nutritional content and, more importantly, its safety. This is the reason why parents should be aware of what ingredients to expect and avoid in a formula. Are the ingredients helping in providing the proper nutrition, or can the formula do without them?
If you’re using a cow’s milk-based organic formula, the cows themselves should be raised with no antibiotics and are not fed with grass that might contain pesticides. However, if your baby is lactose intolerant or is allergic to cow’s milk, your doctor might recommend a soy-based formula. Just be wary of those that are sourced from genetically-modified soy. All organic baby formulas should avoid GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) because of the risk of pesticide residue, which is an absolute no-no, especially on babies.
Overall, we understand that the amount of information that you must consider in the ingredients can get overwhelming. For example, some organic baby formulas contain controversial ingredients like corn syrup or palm oil.
Parents are also understandably cautious with formulas that have DHA and ARA if they are hexane-sourced since hexane is extracted from petroleum. However, there is not much scientific evidence to prove whether DHA and ARA are absolutely dangerous or beneficial as formula additives.
Organic baby formulas need some sweetness so that babies will like them. And as for breast milk, it already contains lactose that helps with sweetness. But since lactose is expensive to add in baby formula, manufacturers opt in using corn syrup instead. Sadly, corn syrup, or any plant-based sucrose, gets frowned upon because of its link to obesity. Palm oil, on the other hand, sparks debate because it affects bone density and the absorption of calcium and fat.
Medical Conditions and Requirements of Your Baby
An important and non-negotiable step when choosing an organic baby formula is consulting your doctor. In particular, you have to follow what he/she advises for your baby. This is especially true for some babies that might have a lot of allergy triggers or those that have special medical conditions. Your doctor will also be able to give you the best type of organic baby formula that will meet your baby’s needs and requirements.
Powdered formulas typically come in cans. And we know that one of the most popular chemicals that parents stray away from is BPA or Bisphenol A. Back then, there have been numerous arguments about whether this chemical is present at the lining of formula cans.
The good news is that nowadays, countries have been doing various regulations to ban such products. Therefore, it is up to you to check the company of the formula and if they’ve complied with the safety standards for their products.
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If you have made up your mind to be fully committed to breastfeeding, it’s understandable that you feel disappointed when you thought of using formula. However, there will come a time where you will be busy, or you might have difficulty in producing milk itself. Whichever of these reasons it may be, let us make it clear that there’s nothing wrong with needing to use formula for your baby.
Like with all baby products, going organic offers a lot of benefits. You’ll feel at ease knowing that you’re not exposing your baby to anything possibly detrimental. And most companies even make sure that their organic products are made in an eco-friendly way. For us, the best organic infant formula is The Honest Company Organic Premium Infant Formula.
This formula doesn’t have any artificial sweeteners, and it is packed with vitamins and minerals to aid your baby’s development and immunity. It also contains prebiotics and gives parents the option to buy a version with DHA. And to put you more at ease, it is USDA-certified to guarantee its validity as an “organic” formula.
However, at the end of the day, make sure to consult your pediatrician for his/her recommendation. This way, you’ll know which type suits your baby to match his/her needs and requirements.
Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments below!