January 07, 2022 21 min read
Trying to find the right baby formula for your baby can be overwhelming. Of course, you want to buy the best quality for your little one. You probably pay close attention to the ingredients, and most likely decide to go organic.
This is for all parents out there who are looking for the perfect organic baby formula for their little one. This article is supposed to be a guide and offers some recommendations.
Of course, your decision which milk formula to feed should always depend on the individual nutritional needs of your baby, your personal preferences and the advice of a pediatrician.
Table of Contents
In the basic concept an organic milk formula is a formula which consists primarily of organic ingredients which means...
All truly organic baby formula must have the appropriate certification. The notion of organic certification depends on the state regulations of the producer's country.
European products are certified by European Commission. In the USA, products are certified with the USDA NOP seal of approval.
This is evidenced by the certification on the packaging, which guarantees organic quality of products.
The certification rules and regulations vary from country to country. The certifications stipulate the growing, processing, storage, shipping, and packaging of organic baby products.
The United States has a body called USDA that regulates the certification of organic baby formula. It has categorized certification of organic products into livestock, crops, multi-ingredient products, and wild crops. The United States has other certification plans such as the National Organic Program (NOP) and the Organic System regulation program.
The European Commission has made the EU-wide label for organic baby formula mandatory in the region. Apart from the public EU-Eco-regulation certification program, there are other private certification programs. The private certification programs include Demeter International, and Bioland.
European standards for organic formula are very strict. For example, they prohibit the use of certain added sugars in formula, such as sucrose (plain sugar) or corn syrup. Additionally, at least 30% of all carbs in the baby formula have to come from lactose only, which aims to help with digestibility. In many other countries, this is not a requirement for baby formulas.
No detectable levels of pesticide residues are allowed (no more than 0.01 mg per kg) and addition of DHA is required per law.
Organic farming in Europe must follow strict regulations. The adherence to these regulations is monitored via frequent controls and testing of the products. European organic farms must follow rules for appropriate animal husbandry and environmental practices and establish a sustainable agricultural system.
The requirements affect all stages of the food supply chain and the whole farm management, food processing and production processes. For a product to hold the EU Organic certification at least 95% of its agricultural ingredients must stem from organic production.
Parents are right to be concerned about harmful agricultural products, such as insecticides, hormones. EU organic formula is free of GMOs and tested for harmful substances that could enter during the agricultural process.
In addition to this, it's not permitted to add artificial colors and preservatives, tastes or taste improvements to formula. And as much as possible the processed ingredients should remain as close as possible to their natural form.
European private organic certifications, such as Demeter and Bioland, go beyond EU organic standards and are considered some of the most strict in all of Europe. They insist on biodynamic agriculture, which means self-sufficient agricultural practices (for example, food and fertilizer are made of personal production). Their standards exceed a conventional EU organic certification, going beyond measures when it comes to animal-welfare and sustainable production practices.
The German organic baby food company HiPP has introduced an additional organic label for their milk formulas. They vouch to go beyond conventional organic standards and aim to achieve even lower levels of pesticide traces than required by law and carry out a complete quality check at a high technical level.
The choice of the organic baby formula depends on many factors. Formulas are divided according to different characteristics. Pediatricians recommend not making a decision on your own, and to obtain advice from a specialist. A medical professional will take into account the unique nature of your baby and tell you in detail how to monitor the reaction to their formula so you can be sure that it's working for your child.
Although the decision about what formula to feed your child should be made in partnership with your pediatrician, as a parent it's important for you to understand how baby formulas are categorized and what you should look for in a formula.
Baby formulas differ by the following characteristics
Liquid and powder. There are no special recommendations on the choice, but powdered formulas last longer and are more readily available on the market.
According to their purpose, products are divided into lactose based, hypoallergenic, special (like Anti-Reflax and Comfort formula by HiPP) and lactose-free. The choice depends on the individual needs of your baby.
It is especially necessary to get a doctor's consultation before choosing a lactose-free formula, hypoallergenic formula, or special formula.
Special milk options are intended for issues such as regurgitation, colic, and dysbacteriosis. A hypoallergenic formula is intended for babies who are at risk of milk allergies. Lactose-free formula is shown in case of severe intolerance to cow's milk.
Different formulas for different ages. Baby formulas are divided into stages depending on your baby's age to provide balanced nutrition. It is absolutely necessary to feed your baby a formula that is appropriate for their age. For example, give a newborn baby formula is not intended for children past the age of12 months as they contain too much non-adapted protein.
The bulk of organic baby formula is made on the basis of cow's milk, which includes beta-lactoglobulin. When entering the child's stomach, the formula reaches a curd-like consistency and only then begins to be digested under the influence of the stomach acids.
Fatty acids contained in dairy products provide energy to enterocytes (intestinal cells). Due to this fact the cells renew themselves quickly. Milk of cows contains a lot of micronutrients, such as iron.
Goat's milk baby formula can be particularly beneficial for babies who have a mild cow's milk sensitivity (not for those with an established allergy or severe lactose intolerance) or parents looking for an alternative to cow milk that is not soy. Protein and fatty acids, which are in abundance in goat's milk, are often easily digested. Goat milk can be a great option for many children.
Unless medically necessary, soy-based products are not recommended for consumption by babies and children. For the average healthy baby, a soy based formula will have more disadvantages than advantages:
Soy formula is a therapeutic dairy-free food for babies in their first year of life. They are often used a last resort and are not intended to be fed to "healthy" children who are tolerant of milk protein and lactose.
Lactose-free and soy-free formula can only be prescribed by a pediatrician, after a proper examination of the child. This formula is only recommended in certain situation, below are some possible scenarios...
Learn more: Vegan Baby Formula: Good or Bad?
Hypoallergenic baby formulas are typically hydrolyzate cow's milk protein based and used as an alternative to goat's milk or soy formula. Hydrolyzate proteins have been extensively broken into smaller pieces which is generally better absorbed by the baby and less allergenic.
HiPP HA Combiotiс is a hypoallergenic breast milk substitutes developed on the basis of hydrolyzed (split) protein and contains:
It is clinically proven that the combination of hydrolyzed protein with a complex of probiotics and prebiotics:
It should be noted that HiPP HA and HiPP special milk do not hold the organic label, because of the hydrolysis of proteins, which makes it an even better digestible formula. Still, you can be sure that all of HiPP’s special milk comes in traditional HiPP quality!
Hypoallergenic formulas are not one size fits all. If one child will be fine with the consumption of goat's milk, the other may have an allergic reaction, everything is individual. When choosing a formula for your child, you should first of all consult your pediatrician!
What are anti reflux baby formulas for and what do they consist of? Anti reflux is a milk product that reduces regurgitation. The consistency of this product is very thick, but beyond that, the formula has the ability to thicken in the baby's stomach. The thickener is usually carob gum, a dietary fiber of natural origin. The fiber swells in the acidic environment of the stomach, and its contents become thicker to reduce spit up. Carob bean gum can also help to relieve constipation in young children.
This baby formula is sometimes recommended as a treatment for persistent disorders in a child.
Comfort baby formulas can not only help with digestive problems, but they also provide all the baby's needs for healthy growth and development. Digestive problems are quite common during the first days and sometimes months of a baby's life. It is during this period that the gastrointestinal tract is still developing, there is often bloating, colic, and a tendency for constipation which can lead to a crying baby and anxious family. A comfort formula is specifically tailored to help sooth these problems.
The many benefits of choosing an organic baby formula:
Instead of one composition fitting all ages, European formulas come in different stages. This way the ingredients are always adjusted to the specific age of the baby. Just as the composition of breast milk changes with a growing baby, so does the composition of the formula with different stages. The ingredients correspond to the nutritional needs of babies during different phases of their development.
Per European regulation, they are divided into infant milk, follow-on milk, and growing-up milk. Each of these stages has age-appropriate specific nutritional requirements that all manufacturers must follow.
Organic baby formula labeled "PRE" is often the stage closest in composition to breast milk. It has lactose as the only source of energy (like breast milk) and does not contain any starch or maltodextrin, which makes it easily digestible. Newborns have very sensitive tummies, therefore pre formula is the best in the beginning stage of life.
Like PRE formulas, stage 1 is suitable from birth. Because of some additional ingredients (like starch or maltodextrin) not found in PRE formula, stage 1 can take a little longer to digest (some babies will feel fuller for a longer amount of time). We suggest feeding stage 1 during the first 6 months only when you feel PRE is not sufficient anymore for your baby to feel full and satisfied.
Not all baby formulas brands offer a PRE formula. Some brands offer only stage 1 formula that like PRE is lactose-based without other sources of carbohydrates added, therefore similar to PRE stage and appropriate for newborns.
The term follow-on formula describes formulas for babies ages 6-12 months. Depending on the brand, it can be divided into stages 2 and 3 or only stage 2. Follow-on formula is made specifically for the age where your baby is starting to eat a mixed diet with solid foods. Higher amounts of nutrients in age-appropriate levels can help to ensure the best development of your child.
Your baby might now be participating in family dinners and eating balanced meals. Growing-up milk can be implemented into your child’s diet as an additional source of nutrition. It can also be used to prepare porridges.
Some European baby formulas do not come in stages. This is true for special formulas which are formulated especially for babies with specific nutritional needs (for example when struggling with digestive issues or reflux). They are all-stages formulas, meaning that one product is appropriate for your growing baby from birth as long as they need formula.
For more detailed information, you can check out - European Baby Formula Stages Made Simple
Breast milk for babies is the best as it's a natural source of all the nutrients your little one needs. It contains dozens of different vitamins and minerals. When choosing an organic baby formula for your baby you should always pay attention to the composition of the product and try to select one that comes close to the composition of breast milk.
It is important for the health of an infant that the formula is balanced in terms of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, polyunsaturated fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, which must be present in the baby formula.
Now let's look at what should go into baby formula.
Casein and whey protein are the main components of goat or cow's milk. In fact, they are building blocks for your child's body and act as a catalyst for various biochemical processes. Baby formulas from birth to 6 months of age contain mainly whey proteins while baby food for children over 6 months of age often contains more casein.
Taurine is an amino acid necessary for the growth of the body for the development of a child's central nervous system and eyesight.
Lactose (milk sugar) - this substance is of great importance in the nutrition of children under one year of age. Lactose promotes faster absorption of iron and calcium in children, which are necessary for the healthy development of the child. In addition, it provides the child's body with energy and creates favorable conditions for the development of good microflora thus supporting your little one's overall nutrition.
Dextrin Maltose is a natural carbohydrate that promotes the growth of bifidobacteria in the intestines.
Linoleic acid is a fatty acid that is vital to the development of the human brain and eyes. It's commonly found in sunflower, coconut, soy and corn oils.
Prebiotic fibers regulate gut health and in combination with probiotics promote the development of healthy microflora in the body to enhance the protective properties of the immune system.
Probiotics are being included in some infant formulas, these are little microorganisms that stimulate the growth and reproduction of healthy intestinal microflora thus enhancing the protective properties of the child's body
Infant formulas also include: zinc, manganese, iodine, copper and selenium which are minerals necessary for the normal development of the child.
The nutritional values of certain vitamins and minerals in the formula change according to your child's age so they are different for different stages. It should be noted that the content of these nutrients in the baby formula is much higher than naturally found in breast milk which it to help compensate for the fact that they are less efficiently absorbed when your baby takes them through formula rather than breast milk.
So, we've figured out the basic ingredients in organic baby formula milk. Now let's look at the list of ingredients to avoid when choosing formula.
Too much sugar can be a very dangerous for small children. It has been associated with vitamin B deficiency in children and these vitamins are extremely important for normal digestion in small children and the absorption of carbohydrate-containing products by their body. Additionally, sugar changes the ratio of calcium and phosphorus in children's blood, increasing the level of calcium and decreasing the content of phosphorus. This inflated level of calcium in the body can result in calcium being released into urine or the formation of calcium deposits in bone tissues. Impaired calcium absorption can bring about rickets in children or negatively affect the formation of teeth and bone tissue, in general. All of this to say that it's very important to choose baby food from formula to purees and porridges that doesn't contain added sugar.
The harms and benefits of soy to our bodies have been argued for a long time and much controversy surrounds its use in baby formula. But no matter what arguments "for" and "against" soy are made, one thing is clear: children's food should not in any way contain genetically modified soy!
As for natural soy, it is not recommended to include it in the diet of healthy children. Soy formula is intended for therapeutic medical use and only a doctor/pediatrician should prescribe it to the child, no one else.
Palm oil is very popular in children's food products mainly because it contains palmitic acid, an important nutrient found in mother's milk. At the same time, the palmitic acid molecule of breast milk is structurally different from the one derived from palm oil. Once palmitic acid from palm oil enters the baby's body, it binds to calcium and form what's known as an insoluble soap which is thought to contribute to colic and constipation. However, palm oil has been approved for safe use in baby formula.
If you want a palm oil free option, there are many organic baby formulas in Europe that use alternative vegetable oils such as coconut oil. One of our favorite formulas which is palm oil free is Kendamil!
Many mothers, of course, are aware that young children's food must not contain gluten until they are at least 6 months of age. You may be asking, what is wrong with this vegetable protein found in most cereal crops? Gluten is poorly broken down in the body of very young children. It can also provoke the development of "celiac disease" (gluten heteropathy). Although many adults can handle gluten, it's presence in children's food before the age of 6 months is not appropriate. That being said it won't help your baby to delay the introduction of gluten once it is appropriate for them to consume and at 6 months once your baby has an established diet of solid foods it is recommended that gluten be a regular part of your little one's diet.
Gliadin is a substance contained in the shell of cereals which provokes necrosis of the intestinal villi. These villi are necessary for the absorption of nutrients into the body, and thus are important to the health of your baby's body. Once your baby's body grows and matures, they will become like responsive to the potentially damaging effects of gliadin but it's best to avoid it until that point.
Phytin is a substance that interferes with the absorption of calcium, salts and vitamin D. The problem is that phytin contains phosphorus - again, a substance that links the calcium salts, not allowing them to be absorbed.
Here’s an easy-to-understand overview of our organic baby formula’s main ingredients explained.
Here's an easy-to-understand overview of our organic baby formula’s main ingredients explained. If you want to know more, head over to our support center.
Holle cow’s milk formula is made in Germany and comes from biodynamic farms, which makes it one of the highest quality organic infant formulas. Demeter certification surpasses conventional European organic standards making it exceptional in its quality. The ingredients are kept as simple as possible without unnecessary additives or processing and without any corn syrup or other syrup solids. Essential fatty acids like DHA, natural minerals, and vitamins support the healthy development of the eyes, brain, and nervous system. It can be fed exclusively or as a supplement to breast milk from birth onwards.
Why we love it:
❤ Demeter quality
❤ Small list of ingredients
❤ No unnecessary additives or processing
HiPP’s infant formula comes with added probiotics and prebiotics that support a healthy gut flora and help with digestion. The Lactobacillus fermentum® in the formula was originally derived from real breast milk and it helps set this formula apart from other organic baby formulas on the market. Those prebiotics and probiotics are an important advantage of HiPP' organic infant formulas and it helps to make the composition more similar to breast milk.
DHA and ARA are added to help ensure healthy development of the brain and nervous system, and important minerals and vitamins aid a healthy development. HiPP German Stage 1’s ingredients come from EU certified manufacturers and the HiPP organic seal vouches for an even higher organic standard than that of the standard EU organic label.
Why we love it:
❤ Contains probiotics & prebiotics
❤ Trusted HiPP Organic quality
❤ Super satisfying
❤ Certified Organic (EU Organic)
Holle Goat Stage 1 contains LCP‘s (DHA and ARA) derived from algae, whereas most other formulas use fish oil. It can be suitable for children who have problems digesting cow’s milk due to the slightly different protein and fat structure and less lactose that can make it is easier for the body to digest. However, it is not suitable for baby's with a cow's milk allergy or severe lactose intolerance. It comes in trusted organic Holle quality which means there are no pesticides or chemical fertilizers used at any stage of its manufacturing process. Essential fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins in age-appropriate amounts are added and make it one of the best organic formulas.
Why we love it:❤ Easily digestible
HiPP Dutch is one of the best European organic baby formulas suitable for babies from birth. What sets it apart from other HiPP formulas is that it's starch and maltodextrin free. The only carbohydrate is lactose. The lactose and organic whey provide your baby with the necessary energy they require to grow. The organic formula comes in famous HiPP quality and is comprised of a carefully selected ingredients list. Just as in HiPP German, the added probiotics and prebiotics help your child develop a healthy immune system.
Why we love it:❤ Starch-free
For better digestibility, HiPP Comfort provides you with a baby formula low in allergens and adjusted to be especially easy on the tummy. As in hypoallergenic formula, the milk proteins are broken down into smaller pieces to help reduce the risk of a baby’s body perceiving them as foreign and thereby causing an allergic reaction. Additionally, it is more gentle to a baby’s digestive system due to the reduced lactose content and it has an adjusted fat structure that is closer to that of breast milk. The organic whey provides your child with the same energy as other formulas and omega-3 (DHA) and omega-6 help ensure the best development of your baby's brain and nervous system.
Why we love it:
❤ Our best and gentlest formula for babies with sensitive tummies
❤ Easily digestible with extensively hydrolyzed protein
❤ Famous HiPP quality
❤ 25 years of experience in allergy prevention
We offer a range of high-quality baby formulas, including some of Europe’s biggest and most popular organic baby formula brands: HiPP and Holle. Both companies can look back on decades of experience in the organic baby food industry and enjoy an excellent reputation in Germany and the rest of Europe.
A rather new face on the market is Loulouka. Even though they do not have many years of experience, they can definitely live up to the high standards set by the market leaders in Europe. Loulouka's formula contains organic ingredients sourced from Switzerland.
All of the formula brands Organic’s Best offers are characterized by unique features and it’s up to you, your baby and your baby's pediatrician to decide which one best suits your little one!
Holle, the first Demeter certified company, is a family-owned company located in the border region of Germany and Switzerland. They were pioneers in biodynamic farming and quickly became one of the leading brands for organic baby food in Germany with over 85 years of experience. They are committed to using only wholesome ingredients and ingredients of organic quality in their products. You’ll notice the Demeter label on many of Holle’s products, which is the highest possible organic certification in Europe!
To help build a better future, two-thirds of Holle’s overall-used packaging materials are glass and paper. They constantly work on reducing their ecological footprint. Since early 2013 the company has been compensating for CO2e emissions and many products are CO2e neutral. Holle takes sustainability to a new level!
From baking gingerbread to first selling baby food in 1899, the company has been family-run for generations. With almost 100 years of experience, HiPP has become the leading brand in Europe's organic baby food industry. They constantly work closely with experts in the field to keep improving their products.
Using wholesome, organic, and nutritious ingredients in their products, most of the ingredients in HiPP formula come from certified 100% organic producers. Because they devote themselves to the future of families, HiPP plays close attention to sustainability and promises to use resources carefully and sparingly, lower CO2-emissions, preserve the soil’s fertility, protect and promote biological diversity, look after cultural areas and keep landscapes in their original forms.
They were one of the first companies to add probiotics and prebiotics to their formula, which aid with digestion. They use a natural lactic acid (Lactobacillus fermentum®), which they originally derived from real breast milk.
HiPP offers the widest range of products. They have various formula lines with different compositions and also offer a number of products for babies with special nutritional needs. These special milks and hypoallergenic formula are for babies with digestive issues or a more sensitive system.
You have probably noticed the Bioland label on Lebenswert’s products. It is one of the strictest private organic certifications out there. Bioland stands for high standards in organic farming, animal husbandry, and environmental awareness. Lebenswert Bio is of exceptional quality - giving you a formula created in line with standards that exceed conventional baby food.
The Bioland label ensures that all ingredients come from certified organic suppliers and guarantees a responsible approach to all humans, animals, and the environment. Lebenswert Bio formula does not contain soy, gluten, or corn syrup. Lebenswert is part of the Holle group and therefore benefits from the expertise and outstanding quality standards of its mother company.
Löwenzahn Organics is a German company that stands for a modern and passionate approach to baby formula. They create their products with the best ingredients and according to the latest nutritional knowledge.
Löwenzahn formulas are made with high quality ingredients, for example, they contain DHA from algae oil (which is great because algae is the original source of DHA) and organic prebiotic fibers (galactooligosaccharides) which are present in a similar form in breast milk and have been kown to aid in the digestive process.
As well, Löwenzahn Organics Pre is EU organic certified. This means that the ingredients of this formula originate from responsible organic production and meet strict regulations. The use of organic raw materials also means no genetic engineering and the lack of pesticides.
Jovie is a Dutch company that is concerned about the health of the environment and the well being of children. The founders are parents as well as nutrition specialists, which gives them an upper hand when creating baby food products for your child.
Jovie uses high quality ingredients and this company, unlike many others, pays very close attention to small details in the ingredients to provide you with a great formula that supports your child’s health. For instance, use organic whole goat milk as a base which is sourced from farms that take care of animal welfare and are constantly testing the quality of the milk, to ensure the best final product.
They also care about our planet and are committed to sustainability which is reflected in their ingredients, production process, and even packaging. This attention to detail for every single aspect of the product is what allows us to vouch for the quality of their formulas!
Here's a quick overview of things to remember when choosing an organic baby formula:
Our team hopes that we have been able to give you as much help as we can on your journey into the world of infant formula. If you are still undecided about your baby formula choice, try to get some advice from your pediatrician and ask our customer care team for help!
Please be aware that this information is based on general trends evidenced in babies, it is in no way medical advice. Your doctor should be your first source of information and advice when considering any changes to your child’s formula, and when choosing your child’s formula. Always consult your pediatrician prior to making any decisions about your child’s diet or if you notice any changes in your child.
The Best Organic Baby Formula 2022 Guide will be updated regularly, always providing you with the latest information!
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