This guide will help you to learn where to buy the best organic infant formula and what to take care of. Additionally, you will understand what ingredients to avoid, which brands to consider and where you can buy it safely.
Why is organic baby formula the best?
Usually “Breast is best” is the advice you will hear. But for many moms that is not easy to follow.
Breastfeeding is not easy.
This isn’t meant as it would be overly complicated, but there might be several difficulties you’ll experience, such as: I don’t have enough milk supply; My nipples are sore; I have no place to pump; or other similar things.
If you are really into breastfeeding, that is awesome, no need to change anything. But if you need to switch to formula or supplement, there is no need to feel ashamed or bad about it. The love you give to your baby and that you and your baby are healthy is the most important thing.
What I needed to notice is that most US formulas got bad ingredients and are not ideal for your baby’s health.
But I got to know that there are a lot of high-quality formulas available which are produced in Europe. They got way stricter regulations and most of them are totally organic as well!
After reading up a lot on this, I compiled a list of my research and selected the 10 best formulas for you and where you can reliably buy them. Afterwards, I cover the different ingredients and what to avoid in infant formula.
The 10 best organic baby formulas
As there is no perfect formula, the ones listed below are getting very close to it. Just click on the formula to go to the best shop to buy these!
The most recommended organic baby formula out there. It uses vegetable oils for fat, makes use of pre- and probiotics, contains DHA/ARA and got a whey/casein ratio which is very close to breast milk. It does not contain starch, soy, artificial nutrients, preservatives, added sugars and is fully GMO free.
The first organic baby formula which is 100% made in the UK. It uses whole milk, contains prebiotics, DHA and ARA. Kendamil is totally GMO free, does not use starch, preservatives or added sugars.
Holle PRE does not contain pre- and probiotics, nor ARA, so it is a great option for parents who do not want to have this in their formula, however DHA is added. It is specially formulated for babies in the age of 0 – 3 months but it can be used for up to 6 months.
Holle Cow 1 is comparable with the ingredients of the Holle PRE, the only difference is that it got maltodextrin added as well.
Hipp PRE German ingredients are very similar to the Hipp 1 Dutch version and is a nutritionally complete formula. The biggest difference is that it comes in a cardboard box and not in a tin.
A fully organic goat milk formula which contains no pre- and probiotics, nor ARA. It does contain DHA as it is mandatory in the EU. Like the Holle Cow 1, it does contain maltodextrin which is the only downside.
Same as the Holle Goat 1 German, but it is double the size, so 800 grams instead of only 400 grams. The other difference is that it comes in a tin and not in a cardboard box, so you can reseal it with a lid.
It is very comparable with the Holle PRE in ingredients. Holle PRE is a great choice for parents who want to supplement separately with pre- and probiotics or ARA as it is not contained in the formula. DHA is – as always in the EU – added.
While not labelled organic it is one of the best goat milks around which is produced in New Zealand to exceptionally high standards. It uses whole goat milk as main ingredient, contains as well DHA and is very similar to the Holle Goat, but it does not contain maltodextrin.
This is a nutritionally complete formula, which is suitable for the dietary management of colic or constipation from birth onwards. As it is a specialized milk it is not allowed to be labelled organic, even though the ingredients are sourced in the same way as for the Hipp PRE German. It has been specially made with reduced lactose and hydrolyzed protein compared to standard formula.
What ingredients you DON’T want to have in organic baby formula
In the US you got a wide variety of different organic formula standards, which results in even the best US organic formula can have lower quality ingredients than it should have.
Below you can find a comprehensive list on what should not be in any organic formula and what is banned from usage in Europe as it has way higher standards than the US.
Palm Oil: to mimic breastmilk ingredients, many manufacturers use palm oil to achieve the same level of palmitic acid in their formula. The issue is that in the baby’s stomach palm oil behaves different than palmitic acid. It reacts with calcium and can cause digestive issues. Palm Oil was used in most formulas, but manufacturers turn away from it.
Carrageenan: used as a stabilizer in ready-to-feed formula in the US. However, it is banned in the EU as it can cause intestinal inflammation.
Soy Oil: Soy based formulas and such which contain soy protein are an issue for infants due to their level of phytoestrogen. Soy lecithin and soy oil can contain minimal traces of it.
Processed refined sugars: like brown rice syrup, maltodextrin, sugar or corn syrup (glucose syrup solids). Some manufacturers use these as they are less expensive than lactose – which is what should be in baby formula.
Oils extracted using hexane: Some types of DHA (C. Cohnii oil) and ARA (M. Alpina oil) are manufactured with the use of hexane (a neurotoxic petroleum-based solvent). There are many other forms of DHA and ARA which can be added to formulas without an issue if they did not make use of hexane in the process. When deriving DHA and ARA from other sources than fungus or algae it is not necessary to use hexane,even though it is always removed from the formula after processing and in no way detectable in EU formulas.Any oils listed on EU formula as organic do not use hexane for extraction.
Synthetic Nutrients: such as nucleotides, l-carnitine, lycopene, lutein, l-methionine and taurine. Many US formulas include these, even though they are not required to by the FDA. All of these must be extracted via chemical solvents which are removed afterwards, which is not what you want in your formula and secondly all these are banned in Europe for a reason.
Sadly, most of the formulas sold in the US got one or more of the ingredients to avoid. That’s why I can only recommend the ones listed above.