There are many factors to consider when choosing an organic formula for your baby, and regardless of the type of formula that you nourish your little one with, you can feel good about choosing a high-quality product made with premium organic ingredients.
Knowing that your bundle of joy is getting all the yummy vitamins and nutrients that their growing body needs can make your feeding routine simple and effective, leaving more time to enjoy all the precious moments that parenthood has to offer.
If you have been scouring the internet looking for ways to simplify your feeding routine and need help choosing the perfect organic baby formula for your little one, we are happy to guide you through this process.
When deciding which milk formula to feed your baby, the choice should always be based on the individual nutritional needs of your baby, your personal preferences, and the advice of a pediatrician.
The Difference Between Organic and Regular Formula
The ingredients in our organic baby formulas are carefully selected and curated to come packed full of quality ingredients. All milk formulas follow the same set of production standards, which are outlined below. They are…
Free from GMOs
Free From artificial preservatives
Made without the use of hormones or steroids
Made with extremely restricted use of antibiotics (only used when necessary for the health of the animal)
All animals are fed an organic diet without synthetic substances
EU Organic formulas include at least 95% organic ingredients resulting in a natural and healthy product
All organic baby formula must have the appropriate certification. The type of certification depends on the state regulations in the country where the organic products are being produced.
European products are certified by the European Commission. In the USA, products are certified with the USDA NOP seal of approval. If a product has been certified organic, this will be clearly labelled on the packaging.
EU vs US Organic Baby Formula
The certification rules and regulations vary from country to country. The certifications determine how organic baby products are grown, processed, stored, shipped and packaged.
The United States has a body called USDA that regulates the certification of organic baby formula. It has categorized the 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.
You can rest assured that European standards for organic formula are very strict. Examples of their commitment to quality include the prohibiting of certain added sugars in formula, such as sucrose (plain sugar) and corn syrup.
A quality that sets them apart from some other countries is the standard that at least 30% of all carbs in the baby formula must come from lactose, which aims to help with digestion. In addition, no detectable levels of pesticide residues are allowed (no more than 0.01 mg per kg).
Organic Farming Standards for EU Baby Formula
Organic farming in Europe must follow strict guidelines and regulations. The adherence to these regulations is monitored via frequent testing. European organic farms must follow rules for appropriate animal husbandry and environmental practices and establish a sustainable agricultural system.
This means that choosing EU organic formulas are not only great for your baby, but they also an eco-conscious choice!
The requirements affect all stages of the food supply chain and 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.
This organic farming process keeps harmful agricultural products such as insecticides and hormones out of baby formula. EU organic baby formulas are free from GMOs, artificial colors, and preservatives, keeping the formula as close to its natural form as possible.
European private organic certifications, such as Demeter and Bioland, go beyond EU organic standards and are considered some of the strictest in all of Europe.
They use biodynamic agriculture, which means that their agricultural practices are self-sufficient by generating their own fertility. 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 then required by law and carry out a complete quality check at a high technical level.
Organic Formula Guide
The decision about what formula to feed your child should be made in partnership with your pediatrician, although, as a parent it's important for you to understand how baby formulas are categorized and what you should look for in a formula to make sure your little ones nutritional needs are being met.
Types of European Organic Formula
The many benefits of choosing an organic European baby formula:
The LCP omega-3 fatty acid (DHA) is required by EU law, but many organic formulas also contain omega-6 and taurine, all of which are a part of your baby's brain and vision development.
Options for babies prone to bloating, colic, and constipation.
Organic formulas are often enriched with probiotics and prebiotics.
There are formulas with a reduced lactose content to accommodate children with digestive sensitivities.
Baby formulas differ by the following characteristics:
Formulas based on age.Baby formulas are divided based on a babies age to ensure that they are getting the nutrients they need at that specific stage of development. It is necessary to feed your baby a formula that is appropriate for their age.
Liquid and powder.Both are great options, but powdered formulas last longer and are more readily available on the market.
Products are divided into lactose based, hypoallergenic, lactose-free, and special (like Anti-Reflux and Comfort formula by HiPP). The choice depends on the individual needs of your baby. 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 and lactose-free formula is used in cases of severe intolerance to cow's milk.
It is especially necessary to get a doctor's consultation before choosing a lactose-free formula, hypoallergenic formula, or special formula.
Cow's milk formula
Majority of organic baby formula is made with cow's milk, which contains many micronutrients, such as iron. When entering the child's stomach, the formula reaches a curd-like consistency and only then begins to be digested with the help of stomach acids. Fatty acids contained in dairy products provide energy to enterocytes.
Goat's milk formula
Goat's milk baby formula can be 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. Goats milk is full of protein and fatty acids, which can be easily digested.
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:
Plant protein lacks vital amino acids. A full range of essential nutrients is only found in animal protein.
A plant-based formula does not guarantee that the protein is hypoallergenic, so a child may have an allergic reaction to it as well. Many babies that are allergic to cow milk are also allergic to soy and so a special amino acid formula may be recommended instead.
Soy protein can have worse absorption in the gastrointestinal tract than animal protein which means manufacturers must increase the content of micronutrients such as iron, zinc and calcium.
Soy formulas often have a high manganese content, which can play a role in the development of hyperactivity in a child.
Soy formulas usually lack prebiotics and probiotics which are helpful for supporting gastrointestinal health.
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 situations, below are some possible scenarios...
Allergies that require the use of a soy formula
Congenital, temporary, and acquired lactase deficiency
Galactose metabolism disorders (galactosemia)
Viral diarrhea due to phytoestrogens (isoflavones)
Hypoallergenic baby formulas are typically hydrolysate cow's milk protein based and used as an alternative to goat's milk or soy formula. Hydrolysate proteins have been extensively broken into smaller pieces which is generally better absorbed by the baby and less allergenic.
HiPP HA Formula is a hypoallergenic breast milk substitute developed with hydrolyzed (split) protein and contains:
Probiotic cultures of lactic acid bacteria and originally extracted from real breast milk
Important dietary fibers and natural prebiotics
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
It is clinically proven that the combination of hydrolyzed protein with a complex of probiotics and prebiotics:
Reduces the risk of allergies
Strengthens the natural immune system
Promotes healthy intestinal microflora
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 easily digestible formula. Regardless, 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 anallergic reaction. When choosing a formula for your child, you should first consult your pediatrician.
Anti Reflux Formula
Anti-reflux formulas are a milk product that reduces regurgitation. The consistency of this product is very thick, but beyond that, the formula can thicken in the baby's stomach. The thickener is usually carob gum, which is 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.
Comfort baby formulas can not only help with digestive problems, but they also provide all the nutrients that a growing baby needs. 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, which can cause bloating, colic, and constipation. A comfort formula is specifically tailored to help sooth these problems.
Baby Formulas Stages
As your baby grows, so do their nutritional needs. Formulas are curated to accommodate these changes and are offered in a range of stages. Just as the composition of breast milk changes with a growing baby, so does the composition of the formula. This ensures that the ingredients are adjusted to provide age-appropriate nutrients for your little one.
Per European regulation, they are divided into infant milk, follow-on milk, and growing-up milk.
Stage PRE and 1 - Infant Formula (0-6 months)
Organic baby formula labelled "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 leaving your baby full and satisfied after their feeding.
Not all baby formulas brands offer a PRE formula. Some brands offer only stage 1 formula that, similar to PRE, is lactose-based without other sources of carbohydrates added.
Stage 2 and 3 - Follow-on Formula (6-12 months)
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 some solid foods. Higher amounts of nutrients in age-appropriate levels can help to ensure the your child is being fully nourished.
Growing-up Milk (12+ months)
Your baby might now be participating in family dinners and eating balanced meals. Toddler formula can be implemented into your child’s diet as an additional source of nutrition. It can also be used to prepare porridges and cereals.
Some European baby formulas do not come in stages, meaning that one product is appropriate for all stages of development. This is true for special formulas which are formulated specifically for babies with unique nutritional needs, such as digestive issues, intolerances, allergies, or reflux.
Feeding your little one with breast milk is the best option for their health, as it already contains dozens of different vitamins and minerals that your growing baby needs. 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 is comparable to 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.
Now let's look at all the nutrients you can find in quality baby formula.
Casein and whey protein
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 development of a child's central nervous system and eyesight.
Lactose (milk sugar)
Lactose is important in 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.
Dextrin Maltose is a natural carbohydrate that promotes the growth of bifidobacteria in the intestines.
This 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.
It should be noted that the content of these nutrients in the baby formula is much higher than naturally found in breast milk which helps compensate for the fact that they are less efficiently absorbed when your baby takes them through formula rather than breast milk.
Now that we have gone over a list of good components of formula that are going to nourish your little one. In contrast, let's look at the list of ingredients to avoid when choosing formula.
Too much sugar can be 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.
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. All of this to say, it's very important to choose baby food from formula to purees and porridges that do not contain added sugar.
The harms and benefits of soy to our bodies have been argued for a long time and much controversy surrounds the use of it in baby formula. No matter the controversy, 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.
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 forms 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 organic 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 Jovie!
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, its presence in children's food before the age of 6 months is not recommended. It won't help your baby to delay the introduction of gluten once it is appropriate for them to consume.
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 food intake.
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 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.
Organic Baby Formula Comparison Chart
All of our organic formulas contain lactose, Omega-3, Omega-6, DHA and are soy free. When it comes to other ingredients, our formulas differ slightly so here's an easy-to-understand overview of our organic baby formula’s.
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.
Organic’s Best Brands of European Baby Formula
We offer a range of high-quality organic baby formulas, including some of Europe’s biggest and most popular organic baby formula brands:HiPP andHolle. Both companies have an excellent representation in Germany and the rest of Europe that spans back decades.
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 Organic Baby Formula
Holle, the firstDemeter certified company, is family-owned and 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 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 continuously improve their products.
Using wholesome, organic, and nutritious ingredients in their products, most of the ingredients in HiPP formula come from certified 100% organic producers. HiPP devote themselves to the future of families and therefore pay close attention to the sustainability of their products. They promise 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 offer several 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 onLebenswert’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 emphasizes 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 known 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 organic 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!
Kendamil prioritizes high quality milk in all of their products. They process all of their formulas at their own facilities, ensuring that their products are not exposed to unnecessary heat treatments. This is the only formula on the market to contain naturally occurring Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs), which sets it apart from the rest.
They go the extra mile to make sure all of their ingredients are sourced for UK Red Tractor Farms. This means their ingredients are responsibly sourced and safely produced from animal welfare-conscious British farms.
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 on the market. 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 ❤ Starch-free ❤ 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's 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. 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.
Holle Goat Stage 1 contains 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 easier for the body to digest. However, it is not suitable for babies 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 fertilisers 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 ❤ Small list of ingredients ❤ Whole goat milk powder ❤ No palm oil ❤ Holle is CO2 neutral ❤ Certified Organic (EU Organic)
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 is 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 consists of a carefully selected ingredients list. Just as in HiPP, the added probiotics and prebiotics help your child develop a healthy immune system.
Why we love it:
❤ Starch-free ❤ Lactose as only energy source ❤ Large, air-tight container ❤ Contains probiotics and prebiotics ❤ Certified Organic (EU Organic)
For better digestibility, HiPP Comfort provides you with a baby formula low in allergens and curated 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 gentler 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 ❤ Starch-free ❤ Famous HiPP quality ❤ 25 years of experience in allergy prevention
While the care of your baby should be monitored by your pediatrician, understanding what goes into your baby’s food and making choices that promote their health and wellbeing can help you navigate your way through parenthood with ease. We know that was a lot of information to take in, to keep it simple and digestible here a few things to remember:
Only infant formula that is appropriate from birth should be given to a newborn baby and formula should be chosen based on stages dictated by your infant's age.
Health problems and difficulty in digesting food will require a medical formula which you need to decide on with the guidance of your child's doctor.
When possible, choose an organic formula rich in vitamins and minerals, which does not contain palm or rapeseed oil.
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.
Disclaimer: Breastfeeding is the best nutrition for your baby, because breast milk provides your child with all the essential nutrients they need for growth and development. Please consult your pediatrician if your child requires supplemental feeding.
The Best Organic Baby Formula 2022 Guide will be updated regularly, always providing you with the latest information!