- Baby’s Only Organic Whey Protein
- Happy Baby Organic Stage 2 Infant Formula
- Kabrita Non-GMO Goat Milk Toddler Formula
- Earth’s Best Organic Infant Powder Formula
- Plum Organics Grow Well Organic Infant Formula
- The Honest Co. Organic Non-GMO Premium Infant Formula
- How to Buy Organic Formula:
Breast milk is best for babies. But it isn’t always an option, no matter what anyone says. If you’re a mom who is having trouble nursing, don’t think you are alone. While consulting a lactation expert for assistance is recommended, things don’t always work out the way you want them. And that is perfectly ok. If you’re considering using formula for any reason, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Traditional formulas often contain unnecessary ingredients that can also be harmful to your baby’s developing digestive system such as maltodextrin, palm oil, brown rice syrup, synthetic preservatives and nutrients, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Motherhood is never easy so we’d like to help take some of the burden away. Below is a list of the best organic formula available in the market today.
Baby’s Only Organic Formula has no GMO ingredients, no palm oil, no hexane-processed DHA, and no corn syrup. While it’s regular dairy formula is made with brown rice syrup, we’re happy to share that this one not only contains organic whey protein to help your baby digest the milk better, it also uses organic lactose which is what the best organic formulas use. However, it still contains soy ingredients and nucleotides.
- contains organic lactose
- no palm oil
- organic whey protein to aid digestion
- contains nucleotides
- has soy ingredients
Happy Baby Organic Baby Formula is one of our picks because it does not contain a lot of the unnecessary ingredients you may find in other organic formulas such as corn syrup, maltodextrin, and synthetic taurine. What it does have is lactose (it’s the first on the list) as well as a nice prebiotic blend of GOS and FOS which ensures your baby has a healthy amount of good gut bacteria. It’s also non-GMO and the milk came from cows raised in organic farms. Plus, the packaging is BPA free. However, it is slightly more expensive. It does contain palm oil and soy ingredients which aren’t really good for your baby. Also, it seems to be more difficult to mix the formula with water than other organic formulas so you may need to put more effort in shaking the bottle than you normally would. It’s not really a problem but it’s something to take note of.
- Organic lactose
- Prebiotic blend of GOS and FOS
- BPA-free packaging
- Contains soy ingredients and palm oil
- Slightly more expensive
- Difficult to mix the formula with water
Kabrita Non-GMO Goat Milk Toddler Formula is perfect for those who are thinking about switching to formula once their little one turns a year old. The whey/casein ratio in this one is 50:50, similar to what happens to breast milk during late lactation. It uses non-GMO goat milk sourced from Missouri and the Netherlands and uses organic lactose as its carbohydrate. This formula is also the only certified glyphosate free formula sold in the US. Also, it doesn’t contain the usual synthetic nutrients you’ll find in other formulas such as carnitine and taurine. But what really makes them stand out is the use of OPO fats or high SN-2 palmitate which are beneficial fats that have a similar structure to the most common fat molecules in human milk. These fats ensure that your baby will get more good gut bacteria, lessen the occurrence of gas and colic, and promote the absorption of fat and calcium. However, it does contain hexane-extracted DHA and ARA. This still may not be the ideal option of your child is lactose intolerant. Also, it may be non-GMO milk but it is not certified organic.
- the only certified glyphosate free formula sold in the US
- the only formula that contains OPO fats
- 50:50 whey/casein ratio
- contains hexane-extracted DHA and ARA
- may not be for lactose-intolerant children
- Not certified organic
Earth’s Best Organic Infant Formula is a USDA organic option that is perfect for mom’s who want to supplement their breastfeeding. This is because it tastes almost like breastmilk which would make it easier for your baby to transition between two different milks. But that’s not why this formula made it on our list. It’s actually because it contains organic lactose instead of brown rice syrup, corn syrup, or any other sweetener that’s bad for your little one. And it does contain a lot of nutrients such as DHA, ARA, lutein, and prebiotics. However, it also contains palm oil which isn’t all that great. Lutein is a synthetic nutrient. And the DHA and ARA are derived from algae using hexane which is also not good. While there are definitely pros and cons to using this organic formula, it’s one of the easiest to obtain in the US and it’s affordable.
- organic lactose
- organic whey protein
- affordable price
- contains hexane-derived DHA and ARA
- contains synthetic nutrients
- contains palm oil
Plum Organics Grow Well Organic Infant Formula is FDA-approved for infants unlike Baby’s Only formula which makes it a better choice for parents who want to start using organic formula from the get-go. Plus, its only carbohydrate source is cow’s milk lactose which is a huge deal in the infant formula world. No corn syrup, glucose solids, maltodextrin, etc. It is USDA Certified Organic, kosher dairy, and gluten-free. However, it does contain hexane-extracted DHA and ARA plus palm and soy oil. It also has some synthetic nutrients such as taurine. But formulas without those ingredients are hard to come by in the US so it doesn’t make the Plum Organics formula that bad.
- Uses only cow’s milk lactose
- USDA Certified Organic
- FDA-approved for infants
- Contains palm oil and soy ingredients
- Contains hexane-extracted DHA and ARA
- Contains synthetic nutrients such as taurine
The Honest Company Premium Organic Baby Formula isn’t the best there is and should probably be the last in your list of choices due to several things. It contains soy and palm oil as well as corn syrup which is listed as organic glucose syrup solids. It is also slightly more expensive compared to other brands. That said, it is still actual organic milk in this formula and it does contain lactose. It also doesn’t include hexane-extracted DHA which is a good thing. If any of the other organic formulas on our list don’t make the cut with your baby, then this is one choice you can still safely make. Take note that as of January 2018, the manufacturer was able to produce organic formula without the corn syrup, using lactose as its sole source of carbohydrates though it has yet to be sold in Amazon. It is only available in certain retail stores.
- No hexane-extracted DHA
- Certified organic
- Contains lactose
- Contains palm and soy oil
- Contains corn syrup
- Slightly more expensive
How to Buy Organic Formula:
What works for some mothers aren’t always best for all. While there is no question that breast milk is best for babies, it may not be something that works for you and your family. And there is no shame in admitting that. It’s a painful enough decision to make. Nobody should make you feel bad about making it. Fortunately, if breastfeeding is not an option for you, there are healthy alternatives available – organic formula. If you’ve made the difficult decision to use formula, obviously, you want to be sure that your baby gets the best, healthiest one. And there lies the problem. It can be difficult to sort through the many options available. Plus, there are a lot of things you need to know so you can make the right decision. As if parenthood wasn’t hard enough, eh? Well, to help ease that burden, we’ve constructed this guide that should help you find the right organic formula to ensure that your baby grows healthy and happy.
Why go organic?
We all know that traditional infant formula isn’t going to be as healthy as breast milk. But what few people realize is that these formulas actually contain ingredients that are unnecessary and potentially harmful to a baby. These include sweeteners such as processed refined sugars, palm oil, DHA and ARA extracted using a neurotoxic petroleum-based solvent called hexane, and carrageenan which is a common food additive that has been linked to gastrointestinal diseases and colon tumors. Also, traditional formula tends to contain GMOs, synthetic preservatives such as beta carotene and ascorbic palmitate, and synthetic nutrients such as taurine, lutein, nucleotides,l-carnitine, l-methionine, and lycopene.
Now, that doesn’t mean that all organic formula you see in the market do not contain any of these ingredients. Most, if not all, of them would not contain milk from cows that were given GMO feed, injected with synthetic growth hormones, or given antibiotics. The same goes for the sweeteners and oils used in the formula; they shouldn’t be GMO or come from crops that have been treated with pesticide. However, some will still contain palm oil, maltodextrin, DHA and ARA, and carrageenan. This is why reading labels is so important. Don’t let the marketing stuff fool you. Check the ingredients to know what your baby will be eating. While there is no organic formula that does not include all of these unnecessary ingredients (yet, we’re still hoping), you can still choose the safest option if you know what to avoid.
So what SHOULD organic formula contain?
As we’ve mentioned, the primary difference between traditional formula and organic formula is where the milk came from. Organic formula should contain milk from healthy, grass-fed cows that have not been given antibiotics or injected with growth hormones and grew up in a biodynamic farm.
Organic Whey Protein
The better organic formulas like the Baby’s Only Organic Whey Protein should use organic whey protein instead of synthetic alternatives or soy. This is because it is more easily digested by a baby and has less potential side effects. Soy is believed to increase estrogen production in babies and may contain higher levels of aluminum contamination since soy is known to absorb aluminum from the soil.
As we’ve mentioned, palm oil is a big no-no for babies. This is because it can prevent calcium from being absorbed by the bones of the baby, leading to significantly lower bone mass. In addition, the oil combines with the calcium and forms into a “soap” that lead to hard stools.
The healthier alternative is to use plant-derived fats that match the unique structure of the fat molecules that you commonly find in breast milk. Why is this important? This leads to healthy gut bacteria, increased bone density, better energy intake, and reduced constipation. So what are these fats? Well, these beneficial fats are known as high SN-2 palmitate or “OPO fats.” But that’s not to say that other oils such as safflower/sunflower and coconut are not beneficial. In fact, a lot of organic formulas today have started lowering the amount of soy and palm oil they use and have increased the amount of healthier oils such as coconut.
Lactose is a carbohydrate found in any mammal’s milk. However, human milk has a much higher amount than cow milk which is why breast milk tastes sweet. To mimic breast milk, manufacturers add sweeteners to the cow milk. Now, the best kind of organic formula should only use lactose. However, it is also the most expensive which is why a lot of products in the market contain plant-based sweeteners. Of all the sweeteners they can use, maltodextrin is probably the safest though it still isn’t the best. Sugar, brown sugar syrup, corn syrup, and glucose syrup solids all have cause for concern. Earth’s Best Organic Infant Powder Formula does not contain any of those sweeteners; instead it uses organic lactose.
Any other things I should consider?
The Whey/Casein Ratio
Whey and Casein are proteins that are found in breast milk and manufacturers add them to organic formula in order to mimic it as closely as possible. Now, research has found that the ratio of whey and casein proteins in breast milk changes over time. During early lactation, the ratio is around 90:10 which becomes roughly 50:50 during late lactation. Cow and goat milk have a whey/casein ratio of 20:80 which means that manufacturers add more whey to adjust the ratio. While there is no study as of now that shows how much of the whey and casein in the milk is absorbed by the baby during digestion, it still pays to be informed. Check with your pediatrician on what ratio is right for your baby. The Kabrita Non-GMO Goat Milk Toddler Formula, for example, is only ideal for toddlers because of its whey/casein ratio which is 50:50.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
We’ve all read about the importance of gut health. Well, probiotics are the good bacteria and prebiotics are what they eat. Now, breast milk has both of these ingredients. To yet again mimic breast milk properties, a lot of manufacturers add these ingredients to their product. Research has yet to prove or disprove the significant benefits that result in adding probiotics and prebiotics to organic formula. But doing so isn’t likely to be harmful to your little one. The Happy Baby Organic Stage 2 Infant Formula contains more prebiotics than most other organic formulas.
Just like with most parenting choices, what works best for some parents and their babies won’t always be best for all. The best organic formula for your baby is one that he or she is happy to drink, doesn’t cause allergies, and ensures he or she is healthy. In other words, your choice will be dependent entirely on your child’s preference, nutritional needs, and sensitivities.