- How to Choose The Best Organic Baby Formula (With Reviews)
How to Choose The Best Organic Baby Formula (With Reviews)
A mom always wants the best for her child, and that includes everything from clothing to sleeping arrangements, their general lifestyle choices, and everything else in-between. Food is something which is always on our minds, and in terms of your growing baby, you have to get it right, to keep them healthy and give them the best chance at growing and thriving.
Growing babies need a constant source of nutrients, and we have to be so careful what we send their way, in order to help them stay healthy, boost their immune system, and help them grow into the wonderful human beings we want them to be.
With all this in mind however, it’s no wonder that so many new and expectant moms are confused about what to give their baby, especially in terms of baby formula.
If you’ve been scouring the internet, trying to find all the right information to make your decision, consider this your one-stop shop for all the information you need.
Why Choose Bottle Feeding?
The decision between breast feeding and bottle feeding is a personal one, and it is something which every mum makes differently. The official advice from healthcare bodies is to breastfeed for the first six months of life at least, but not every mom chooses this option. There are many reasons that new moms decide to go down this route, and the usual ones include:
Personal choice – some women simply don’t like the idea of it
You totally avoid the health issues which can come from breastfeeding, such as mastitis and cracked nipples
There are various types of formula milk to suit special diets, e.g. soy-free and dairy-free
It is less demanding for mom – Feeding in public isn’t an issue and you can share the work with your partner, e.g. night feeds etc
You don’t have to think about what you eat, because it doesn’t have any effect on your baby’s milk
You can monitor how much milk your baby is taking much easier
These are the main reasons why many moms, both first time and multiple times, choose to opt for bottle feeding their baby. Of course, this has to be a balanced decision between this and breastfeeding, but for many new moms, breastfeeding isn’t an option, either through personal choice or through the fact that they simply can’t do it. For that reason, bottle feeding is a very viable option too.
What to Look For in a Baby Formula
You only have to visit the baby care section of the supermarket to see that there are many different brands and types of baby formula on the market, and it can be difficult to figure out which one is best for you and your baby. Of course, not all babies are the same, so it may be that your friend’s baby takes fantastically well to one particular type, but your baby simply doesn’t like it for some reason or another – babies are human after all!
Of course, there is also the case of whether your baby has any specific allergies, and this is something you need to take into account when purchasing the right type of baby formula.
As a general rule however, there are certain things which make up a high quality baby formula product, and these include:
A recognisable brand – Yes, it’s often the case that big brands are a little more expensive than lesser known ones, but it’s true that you sometimes get what you pay for. These big brands give you confidence, and there is nothing more important in your life than the health and wellbeing of your baby. For that reason, avoid the ones you haven’t heard of, and certainly the ones you haven’t seen good reviews on, and stick to what you know.
Price – Obviously this is something you are going to have buy over and over again, and unless you have a money tree in the back garden, you need cost effectiveness. Having said that however, nothing is more important than quality, so weigh this up.
The protein content of the formula – There is some research to suggest that high protein content in formula milk can contribute towards obesity in children, but your child does need a certain amount of protein in their diet; it’s about getting the balance right. For babies up to six months old, around 10g of protein per day is sufficient, because this is what would be the case if they were exclusively breastfed.
Vitamins and minerals – Whatever we consume these days, it’s worth checking the label, but if you want to get the best source of vitamins and minerals for your baby, you should be looking at the label of your baby formula. Look for such things as probiotics and prebiotics, and something called ‘gold formulas’. These contain certain types of fatty acids which aid brain development and are beneficial to eyesight.
Special dietary requirements – We mentioned that some babies develop allergies or intolerances to certain ingredients in formula milk, but there are several special diet forms of formula available on the market; the main ones include hypoallergenic formula, AR thickened formula, amino acid formula, extensively hydrolysed formula, soy formula, and lactose-free formula.
To give a quick run down of what these special types of formula milk are:
AR/thickened – This means ‘anti-regurgitation’ and it is thickened slightly to help babies who regularly suffer from gastro-oesophageal reflux. This is something which should be checked with your doctor beforehand however.
Hypoallergenic – If your baby has a risk of suffering from allergies, then HA formula is a good option, because the proteins are broken down into small portions, which make it easier for the baby to digest.
Extensively hydrolysed formula – This particular formula contains cow’s milk but it has been treated in order to break down the problem proteins which are known to cause allergy symptoms in babies. If your baby has a cow’s milk allergy then this is usually the first go-to choice.
Amino acid – Some babies who suffer from cow’s milk allergies take well to amino acid formula milk, as well as babies who have a soy milk allergy.
Soy – If your baby is allergic to cow’s milk, they may also be allergic to soy milk, so this is something you need to check with your doctor before switching to this particular type of formula. There are a few contraindications to soy milk formula so again, consult your healthcare professional. A soy formula however is generally only recommended if a baby has a dairy intolerance or allergy.
Lactose-free – Some babies are lactose intolerance and your doctor may suggest switching to lactose-free formula in that case.
What to Avoid in a Baby Formula, And Why
We have talked about what you should look for in a baby formula, as well as the different types available for special diets, but we need to pay plenty of attention to what shouldn’t be in baby formula too.
Of course, anything organic is always better than conventional types, and the same can be said for formula milk. Non-organic food, i.e. conventional baby formulas, may contain traces of pesticides, there could be genetically modified ingredients (GMOs), contamination with antibiotics or growth hormones which were given to the animal, or certain oils, such as palm oil, which has been extracted using Hexate. All of these can be harmful to your baby and affect their health both now and in later life.
The following ingredients should cause a red light and siren to go off in your mind when you check the label:
- Processed refined sugar types – This includes corn syrup solids, Maltodextrin, brown rice syrup (some have detectable arsenic levels), palm oil, DHA and ARA extracted with Hexane
- Synthetic preservatives – Including Ascorbyl Palmitate and Beta-Carotene
- Synthetic nutrients – Including Lutein, Lycopene, Nucleotides, Taurine, L-Carnitine, and L-Methonine
Should You Be Switching Baby Formula?
Finding the right baby formula which suits your child can be a little trial and error in some cases, and if after a while you notice that your child simply isn’t settling that well with the formula you have been using, or they are experiencing symptoms, then it’s totally acceptable to switch to another formula, and see if that suits them better. Remember that swapping and changing too regularly isn’t a good thing, but switching once or twice to find the right one is fine.
The reasons why you might consider changing formulas include:
- Stomach upsets
- Seeming to be hungry all the time
- Excessive gas
- Being quite ‘sicky’
- Changes in stool consistency
- General restlessness
Whilst these symptoms aren’t always going to be exclusively down to formula problems, many moms find that switching formula can help. Obviously, check anything you are concerned about with your doctor first, but formula switches are common and safe.
Generally speaking, you don’t need to wean your baby from one formula to another, but it can be beneficial to go more slowly, to mask any sudden changes or symptoms. In order to transition, you should follow this advice:
Use ¾ of the old formula, and ¼ of the new formula for the first day
Move up to half and half on day two
Use ¼ old and ¾ new on the third day
By the fourth day you should be using 100% of the new formula
What About Goat’s Milk? Is it Better Than Cow’s Milk?
You may be a bit confused about the difference between goat’s milk and cow’s milk, so let’s clear that up and pit the two against each other.
Overall, goat’s milk is thought to be slightly healthier than cow’s milk because the nutritional setup is a little different. Goat’s milk has more vitamins and minerals than cow’s, but on the flip side, cow’s milk is higher in vitamin B12 and has more in the way of Folic Acid. This might seem like splitting hairs, and that is why the decision between the two can be so tough. All formula milks have added vitamins included, so if one lacks in something naturally, it will have been added to boost its power.
Of course, availability is the major issue, because cow’s milk is so much more widely available in regular stores than goat’s milk.
Goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk, because it is classed as being hypoallergenic. If your child is prone to allergies therefore, goat’s milk could be a good choice. Goat’s milk also contains less lactose than cow’s milk. On the other hand however, just like cow’s milk, not all goat’s milks are organic, so you do need to check labels and listings to be sure.
When making the decision between goat’s milk and cow’s milk, it really comes down to personal choice, because what one lacks, the other makes up for, and vice versa.
All About The Organic Baby Food Industry
We have talked at length about how organic formula milk is superior to conventional baby formula, but let’s delve a little deeper into where it comes from, and the industry that makes it, to give you more important information when making your choice.
There are countless companies who make baby formula, but only a small amount truly make organic baby formula – checking the label is the only way to weed these out!
In the US, the biggest organic baby formula brand is PBM Nutritionals, with $3 billion sales every year
Organic formula fed babies are seriously on the rise, as more and more parents realise the benefits of this type of formula over conventional types, that means that business is seriously booming!
Three out of four babies in the UK are fed organic food
So, how do you feel about formula baby food now? And specifically, how do you feel about organic formula?