Breast milk is often hailed as the ultimate source of nutrition for babies. However, there are plenty of reasons why moms might opt for formula instead. Hold on, before you slam that browser shut or unleash an angry comment, hear us out. We're not saying that you should ditch breastfeeding altogether. We just want to offer some alternative options when breast milk poses challenges or isn't a feasible choice.
With more organic options available, formula can be an excellent choice for moms seeking top-notch nutrition for their little ones. But how can you determine if a formula is the right fit for you and your baby? In this article, we're going to introduce you to the world of organic baby formula.
We'll discuss what to look for in an organic baby formula and factors to consider when choosing a formula. We'll also review the 10 best organic baby formulas on the market so that you can make an informed decision for your child's health and well-being.
If you are already familiar with the benefits of organic baby formula, feel free to skip ahead to our list of top 10 recommendations by clicking this shortcut link[DS1] .
So, grab a cup of coffee or tea and let's get started.
Understanding Organic Baby Formula
What's the difference between organic and regular baby formula? That's the million-dollar question. Is it worth spending extra on organic options? Well, we believe it is. Let's begin by understanding the basics.
Breast milk is, hands down, the absolute best source of nutrition for your little one. It's like a perfectly balanced meal, packed with all the essential nutrients they need to grow and thrive. And let's not forget about colostrum, that super-powered first milk that's loaded with essential antibodies and immune-boosting goodness . It's like giving your baby some superpowers to fight off any germs and illnesses that may come their way. But we also understand that breastfeeding isn't always possible or desired for some moms.
But hey, we get it. Breastfeeding isn't always an option for every mom out there. That's where organic baby formula swoops in to save the day. It's a safe and healthy alternative that gives your little munchkin all the good stuff they need to keep on growing.
Certification and Standards
In the United States, regular baby formula is regulated by the FDA and must meet nutrient guidelines. For organic baby formula, the USDA steps in to set the bar high. So, when you spot that USDA Organic  label, you know at least 95% of the ingredients in the formula are certified organic.
We're talking about ingredients grown and processed without any synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). And get this, the organic dairy ingredients come from cows that enjoy an organic diet. No growth hormones or antibiotics here, folks! It's all about giving your little one the best.
Key Benefits of Organic Formula
There are several potential benefits of choosing an organic baby formula for your child:
Lower exposure to harmful chemicals and pesticides.
Because organic ingredients are cultivated and processed without the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or chemicals, the formula contains reduced levels of potential contaminants. At the same time, organic formulas are devoid of artificial colors , artificial flavors , and preservatives , which we now know may affect children's neural development.
No added hormones or antibiotics.
Organic dairy ingredients are sourced from cows that aren't administered growth hormones or antibiotics. This makes sure that your little one consumes substances free from any unnecessary and harmful elements that could lead to allergies, obesity, and other autoimmune issues  later in life.
Ingredients in Organic Baby Formula
From a nutritional standpoint, all baby formulas are crafted with ingredients that closely mimic breast milk. They boast a well-balanced blend of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to fuel your baby's growth and development. There are four types of formula: cow's milk, goat's milk, soy milk, and specialized formula. While they may vary slightly in ingredients, calorie content, and nutritional composition, rest assured that they all adhere to FDA guidelines for infant nutrition.
The primary carbohydrate source is usually lactose, naturally found in breast milk. However, for babies who are allergic to lactose , there are several lactose-free specialized formula options available. Some of the common options use lactose-free cow's milk, while other brands may use a rice-based or amino acid-based formula.
Here comes the sneaky part. Many regular formulas include corn syrup and brown rice sugar as a carbohydrate source, even though they are significantly less nutritious and harmful to your baby's health. Other times, maltodextrin  is used to add the extra sweetness to trick your baby into finishing the bottle quickly. Yes, it's a cheap way to reduce product costs, but it comes at a high price to your baby's health.
The most affordable organic baby formulas tend to use cow's milk as their main protein source[DS2] . However, the casein protein can be a bit tricky for babies with sensitive tummies. That's why some parents go for formulas with goat milk or use partially hydrolyzed cow's milk protein. These options are gentler on your baby's tummy and can help with issues like colic and gas . In other cases, whey protein concentrate may be used as a substitution.
Did you know that human breast milk is nearly 98% composed of triglycerides ? Crazy, right? This means it gives babies up to 55% of their main energy sources . But guess what? Some formula brands use subpar oil sources like vegetable oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil. Not exactly the best for your baby's health.
You may wonder why whole cow’s milk isn’t used in the formula to take advantage of that fat. The reason is that vegetable fats tend to provide higher levels of unsaturated fatty acids than animal fats. Another reason is that animal fats are more prone to dioxins and other contaminants  that may harm your baby's health. Using animal fats requires additional steps and precautions, which can increase production costs. However, for vegan and vegetarian formulas, organic coconut oil often serves as a suitable substitute.
Organic baby formulas go above and beyond the basics. We're talking prebiotics, probiotics, DHA, ARA, carotenoids, vitamins, and folic acid. These extra goodies support all-around development. Prebiotics and probiotics keep that tummy flora thriving. DHA and ARA are the dynamic duo that nourish your baby's brain and eyes. And let's not forget about the minerals and vitamins added to pump up the formulas' nutritional value.
What's the Deal With European Baby Formulas?
The United States baby formula market is mainly dominated by 4 big corporations . However, because of recent contamination and shortage issues with popular brands, many parents are looking at European baby formula alternatives. What makes these formulas stand out? In some ways, European food safety has stricter regulations on certain additives, such as food coloring and preservatives.
European organic baby formulas have a slightly different standard in terms of their composition and production methods. Unlike the United States, where the FDA doesn't enforce the addition of DHA, European formulas  generally have higher DHA levels and lower iron levels.
Until very recently, all the European baby formula on the US market was kind of illegally imported. Not counterfeit or anything, but the FDA was like, "Nah, can't sell it here." But there was this huge shortage, so it became like a secret "don't ask, don't tell" thing. Crazy, right?
However, as of 2021, European brands have been approved for sale  in the US. With this new development, parents have more options to find the best organic baby formula for their little ones.
Things You Need To Consider With European Brands
If you do decide to purchase a European organic baby formula that hasn't been approved by the FDA, there are a few things you should know. These products are resold by third-party distributors and may not be stored or transported properly. This could potentially affect the quality and safety of the formula.
A huge problem is instruction. Be prepared to do a lot of translating. Even if you're fluent in the language on the package, the measurement is in Europe's metric system, so you'll have to do the conversion yourself.
Dietary Considerations and Restrictions
Don't you wish that each baby came with a little instruction booklet on their dietary restrictions? Unfortunately, that's not the case. Every baby is unique and may have different sensitivities or allergies to certain ingredients in their formula. Luckily, organic baby formulas offer various options to accommodate these dietary needs. Here are some common specific formula options for different dietary restrictions:
● Lactose-Free: For babies with lactose intolerance, there are organic formulas made from plant-based sources such as lactose-free milk, soy, or rice.
● Hypoallergenic: These formulas are specifically designed for babies with allergies to cow's milk protein. They use hydrolyzed proteins that are easier for the baby to digest.
● Gluten-Free: Some babies may have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, and organic formulas made from grains like rice or corn are suitable alternatives.
● Soy-free: For babies with soy allergies, there are organic baby formula options that don't include soy protein.
● Vegetarian/Vegan: For moms following a vegetarian or vegan diet, there are organic formulas made without using animal products. If you're torn about your little one not getting the DHA, there are vegetarian formulas with microalgae to provide the essential fatty acid for brain development.
Always Consult With Your Pediatrician
When it comes to choosing the best organic baby formula for your little one, it's crucial to consult with your pediatrician. Trust me, they're the ones who know your baby's medical history inside and out, and they can provide expert guidance on which formula is best suited to meet their unique dietary needs. So, don't be shy. Reach out to your pediatrician and discuss your options before making any decisions.
Feeding Practices and Considerations
To fully maximize the benefits of your organic baby formula, it's crucial to grasp some key insights and considerations when it comes to nourishing your little one.
Feeding Frequency and Amounts
When it comes to nourishing your little one with organic baby formula, it's crucial to grasp the ins and outs of feeding frequency and quantity. As your baby grows, their feeding requirements will evolve, so it's vital to stay in touch with your pediatrician for any adjustments or changes. Also note that at a certain point, you'll need to switch the formula to a baby follow-on formula.
While preparing bottles may seem like a simple task, there are a few key things to keep in mind:
1. Read the label: Carefully read the preparation instructions on the formula package, as different brands may have specific mixing ratios.
2. Use safe water: Use either boiled and cooled water or purified water to mix with the formula to ensure it's free from contaminants.
3. Measure accurately: Use the provided scoop to measure the formula powder and level it off to ensure the correct amount is used.
4. Temperature check: Test the formula's temperature by dropping a small amount on your wrist before serving it to your baby. It should be lukewarm, not too hot or too cold.
5. Storage: Store any unused mixed formula in the refrigerator and use it within 24 hours. Dispose of any remaining formula in the bottle after your baby has finished feeding.
Transitioning from Breast Milk
When it comes to transitioning from breast milk to organic formula, it's crucial to take it slow for your little one's adjustment. Let's start by adding some organic formula to your breastfeeding routine and keep an eye out for any changes like reflux, constipation, allergies, or colic. See how your baby responds and give them time to adapt. And if you're unsure, don't hesitate to consult your pediatrician for guidance. They'll have your back every step of the way.
Tips on Transitioning From Breastmilk to Organic Baby Formula
To make the switch to organic baby formula smoother, consider the following tips:
● Gradually increasing the ratio of formula to breast milk over time.
● Offer a bottle of organic formula when your baby is alert and relaxed, but not overly hungry or tired.
● Experiment with different nipple flows on the bottle to find the one your baby prefers.
● Get your spouse, partner, or caregiver to lend a hand in introducing the bottle. Your little one might associate you with breastfeeding and be a bit resistant to taking a bottle from you.
● Make sure to provide comfort and connection during feeds. Transitioning from breastfeeding can be an emotional journey for both you and your baby.
Each baby is unique, and the transition process may take some time. The goal is to aim for a gradual and supportive approach to ensure your baby's comfort and well-being during this change. Remember, we want to make this transition as smooth as possible for your little one.
Best 10 Organic Baby Formulas
We know that researching on your own can be overwhelming, especially with so many options available. That's why we've compiled a list of the top 10 organic baby formulas to make your decision easier. We've split our selection into two lists: one for American-based brands and another for European-based brands.
Best 5 American Organic Baby Formulas
[Happy Baby Organic Formula]
● Lactose is the main component in this formula
● The powder source comes from grass-fed cows
● Enriched with essential nutrients and dual prebiotics that closely mimic breast milk
● Certified USDA organic and non-GMO
● Includes DHA and ARA
● No corn syrup
● No antibiotics
● No artificial growth hormones
● Fish and shellfish-free
● Egg-, Fish-, and Shellfish-free
● Limited to a usage window of 30 days post-opening
● Potential for bacterial growth if contaminated with moisture
● Contains common allergens including milk and soy
Having recently tried Happy Baby's Sensitive Formula, we were pleased with how it catered to our little one. Even though it is high in lactose, our fussy little guy loves the taste and has no issues with digestion. The formula mixes well, and we appreciate that it is stored in a recyclable plastic case[MF3] .
When it comes to nourishing our baby, we don't take chances. It was reassuring to find that this formula is made with quality organic ingredients. Prebiotics are a bonus, supporting our baby's gut health, which is a huge plus in our book.
The downside is that you only get one month once you crack open this canister of formula. It's a tighter window than what we're used to, but hey, freshness is the name of the game here. We took extra care to keep any moisture away, knowing just how vital it is to maintain the formula's integrity. It's a small effort that pays off big time to keep our little one nourished and not getting tummy problems.
[Bub's Organic Formula]
● Complies with all Australian state and federal regulations.
● Receives global certification and US FDA certification.
● Includes a blend of prebiotics and probiotics supporting a happy tummy.
● Backed by a Clean Label Project Purity Award, reassuring the product's quality.
● The main component is organic whole milk.
● Includes both prebiotics and probiotics.
● The milk comes from happy cows raised on pastures.
● No GMO, corn syrup, maltodextrin, growth hormones, food coloring, artificial sweeteners, pesticides, or preservatives.
● Clean Label certified.
● Pricier than some conventional formulas, demanding more from your budget.
We all know there's a big difference between cows fed on a grass diet versus cows that get to happily graze on an organically grown, pesticide-free pasture. If you're looking for the latter, Bub's Organic Formula is an excellent choice. This formula has received both global and FDA certifications, ensuring top-notch quality.
Unlike many brands that take the shortcut, Bubs uses organic whole milk as its main ingredient. This makes it a better option for babies who have a difficult time digesting plant-based formula.
Not only that, but Bub's also includes prebiotics and probiotics in their formula to promote healthy gut bacteria, essential for your baby's overall well-being. And if you're still unsure about its quality, know that it's received the Clean Label Project Purity Award, a third-party certification program that verifies a product's purity and safety.
We get that it can be pricy, but we also know that your baby's health should always be the top priority. So, if you're willing to invest a little more in an organic formula that provides optimal nutrition and digestive support for your little one, Bub's Organic Formula is worth considering.
[Baby's Only Organic Gentle Infant Formula]
● Closer to breast milk's natural composition
● Non-GMO and USDA Organic certified
● Guaranteed to use only organic non-fat milk source of A2 proteins
● Contains DHA and ARA
● Made in the USA
● Includes organic coconut oil and organic sunflower oil
● Doesn't include palm oil, corn syrup, maltodextrin, food coloring, growth hormones, artificial sweeteners, pesticides
● Doesn't include prebiotics and probiotics
● Includes soy lecithin and soybean oil
You're probably wondering what's A2 milk when you first read about Baby's Only Organic Gentle Infant Formula. As the name suggests, it refers to a type of milk that contains only A2 beta-casein protein, instead of both A1 and A2 proteins found in regular milk. Why is this important? Some studies have shown that A2 protein is easier to digest , making it a better option for babies with sensitive tummies.
On the flip side, Baby's Only Organic Gentle Infant Formula falls short in the DHA and ARA department — those essential fatty acids crucial for brain and eye development. It also misses out on the prebiotics and probiotics that work wonders for gut health. However, fear not! It does come packed with organic coconut oil and organic sunflower oil, delivering healthy fats to fuel your little one's growth.
Now, let's talk about soy lecithin and soybean oil, which may raise eyebrows for some parents. But hey, consider this — the formula is still non-GMO and USDA Organic certified, meeting rigorous standards for organic production. So, if you're tight on the purse strings and still yearn to give your baby the crème de la crème of organic formulas, Baby's Only Organic Gentle Infant Formula is definitely worth a try.
[ByHeart Whole Nutrition Formula]
● Made from organic grass-fed cow whole milk
● Patented protein blend that's closest to breast milk
● Certified Pesticide-Free & Non-GMO
● All carbohydrate source comes from lactose
● Includes lactose-derived prebiotic
● Uses DHA from algal oil
● No corn syrup
● No gluten
● No genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
● No maltodextrin
● No soy
● No artificial growth hormones
● Received the Clean Label Purity award
● Small-batch production to ensure thorough mixing and quality control
● Prebiotics, probiotics, and DHA added for optimal gut health and brain development
● Babies with lactose intolerance may not tolerate this formula well
● Contains vegetable oils
ByHeart is the new kid on the block in the American organic formula scene, but boy, are they shaking things up with their whole milk approach. Picture this: organic grass-fed cow whole milk transformed into a patented protein blend formula that's bursting with essential fats and contains the closest nutrients to breast milk. The result? A formula that's as close to nature as possible, giving your baby the nutrients they need for optimal growth and development.
But wait, there's more! While other organic formulas rely on skim milk, ByHeart takes things up a notch with whole milk. That means more of those brain-boosting omega-3 DHA fats for your baby's noggin. And forget about those sketchy additives like corn syrup and maltodextrin. ByHeart keeps it real with only lactose and no fillers.
They also go the extra mile with lactose-derived prebiotics and probiotics to support your baby's gut health and immune system. And did we mention their small-batch production? Each can of formula is mixed with love and meets the highest quality control standards.
Now, let's address the elephant in the room. If your baby has lactose intolerance, this formula might not be their jam. And hey, we get it. Some parents have concerns about vegetable oils in the mix. But overall, ByHeart is the ticket for parents seeking a top-notch organic formula that's as close as it gets to breast milk. With their certifications and commitment to safe, natural ingredients, you can trust ByHeart to give your little one the royal treatment.
Best 5 European Organic Baby Formulas
If you're a believer in European formulas, you're not alone. However, if you're not from Europe, there may be a few unique European organic formula brands that you've yet to discover. Let's introduce you to the 5 best European organic baby formulas out there and see what makes them stand out.
[Bobbie Organic Infant Formula]
● Certified USDA & EU Organic
● Milk source comes from organic American grass-fed organic valley cows
● No palm oil, no soy allergens, no corn syrup
● Certified pesticide-free, no corn syrup, no fillers, no maltodextrin
● Gentle, partially hydrolyzed proteins
● Ideal for fussy babies, babies prone to gas
● Includes DHA and ARA
● Includes canola oil and canola lecithin
Bobbie is the first European organic infant formula "made in the USA." This brand is both USDA and EU Certified, which is something unique to consider. Bobbie takes pride in sourcing milk from grass-fed cows raised on American farms. Imagine happy cows grazing on lush, green pastures and supplying the milk used to make your baby's formula. That's a picture that should put any parent at ease.
Bobbie also excludes palm oil, corn syrup, and soy allergens from their formula. This is great news for parents who want to avoid these ingredients due to possible digestive issues or allergies. Additionally, Bobbie doesn't contain fillers, maltodextrin, or added sugars.
But what sets this formula apart is its pesticide-free certification. Bobbie ensures that their formula is free from any harmful chemicals so that parents have the peace of mind of knowing they're providing the best option for their children.
The only problem with Bobbie is that it does contain canola oil and canola lecithin. While these are considered safe ingredients, some parents may prefer to avoid them. However, the rest of the formula's benefits might outweigh this small con for many parents.
[Holle Bio Organic Baby Formula]
● Biodynamic organic skim milk used in the process.
● Contains 4 stages of formula to meet the nutritional needs of babies as they grow.
● No GMOs, artificial colors, preservatives, steroids, hormones, or synthetic chemicals.
● Free from soy, gluten, and added sugars.
● Contains both DHA and ARA.
● Contains prebiotics and probiotics
● Contains vegetable oil.
● Not lactose-intolerant-friendly
The soil that feeds grass is crucial for cow health and milk quality. Holle Bio Organic Baby Formula guarantees this with biodynamic farming methods that prioritize soil fertility and biodiversity. With 87 years of perfecting their formula, Holle Bio Organic Baby Formula is a trustworthy option for parents seeking pure nutrition for their babies.
This formula undergoes minimal processing to preserve nutrients from organic cow's milk. No added sugars or harmful chemicals make it an excellent choice for parents. With four stages available, Holle Bio Organic Baby Formula meets growing babies' changing nutritional needs.
Some may argue that the inclusion of vegetable oil is a downside. However, it amps up the fat content, providing the necessary calories for growing little ones. The only other problem is the instructions being in another language, so having a translation app handy is helpful if you can't read German or Dutch (depending on the version you purchase).
Unfortunately, this formula isn't suitable for lactose-intolerant babies. Overall, Holle Bio Organic Baby Formula is a premium choice for parents who want pure and nourishing nutrition from the start.
[Holle Goat Organic Baby Formula]
● Made from organic full-cream goat milk
● No corn syrup, artificial preservatives, or harmful chemicals
● Non-GMO, soy-free, and gluten-free
● Minimal processing involved in production process
● Contains vegetable oil
● Contains corn maltodextrin
It's super hard to find a good goat milk-based baby formula, but Holle hits the mark with their Goat Organic Baby Formula. The ingredients are simple and clean, starting with organic full-cream goat milk. Essential vitamins and minerals aid in overall growth and development.
Like its cow's milk counterpart, this formula uses vegetable oil to boost fat content instead of harmful palm oil. However, it also contains corn maltodextrin, which may cause digestive issues in some babies. Overall, Holle Goat Organic Baby Formula is a top choice for parents looking for a high-quality goat milk-based option for their little ones.
[Kendamil Organic Baby Formula]
● Certified by the EU Organic Certification and the UK Soil Association
● Uses whole milk fats
● No palm oil, soy, added sugars, maltodextrin, or artificial preservatives
● Uses algal-based DHA and ARA
● Not lactose intolerant-friendly
The Kendamil Organic Baby Formula is an awesome choice for parents who embrace a halal lifestyle and want to make sure their baby's formula is compliant too. This formula is made with whole milk fats, giving it a composition that closely resembles breast milk, providing all the essential nutrients for healthy growth and development.
One cool thing about this formula is that it uses algal-based sources for DHA and ARA instead of fish oils, making it perfect for vegetarian families too. It's also certified organic in both the EU and US, guaranteeing a product that's free from any harmful chemicals and additives. And guess what? It's non-GMO and free from common allergens like soy or added sugars.
Here's the catch. If your little one is lactose intolerant, this formula might not be the best fit as it contains lactose.
[Lowenzahn Organic Baby Formula]
● Uses whole cow's milk for the closest match to breast milk
● Free of artificial preservatives
● No artificial additives or preservatives
● Doesn't include fish or other seafood
● Includes prebiotics for improved digestion
● Certified organic by EU regulations
● Uses an algae-based DHA source
● Doesn't include probiotics
Lowenzahn is a stellar brand that's been crafting excellent organic baby formula for ages. While it may not have all the fancy frills of some other formulas out there, its commitment to using whole cow's milk and avoiding any harmful stuff makes it the ultimate choice for cost-savvy parents who still want to prioritize their little one's well-being.
We're stoked about their use of an algae-based source for DHA, which means it's perfect for kiddos who might be sensitive to seafood. But hey, just a heads up, it doesn't have probiotics for gut health, so if your munchkin's got tummy troubles, you might want to check out other options.
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9 Best Organic Baby Formulas On The Market in 2024