The Ultimate 2023 Guide To Organic Baby Formula
This article is a complete, parent-friendly guide about organic baby formulas that will help you choose the best organic formula for your little one.
What Is Organic Baby Formula?
Organic baby formula is defined as a formula manufactured with at least 95% ingredients that adhere to organic standards. Organic standards include:
- No genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
- No pesticides or insecticides
- No antibiotics
- No hormones
- No synthetic preservatives
- No artificial flavors and colors
EU organic standards are even stricter and heavily regulated. The EU standards include:
- No synthetic nutrients.
- No syrup solids or added sugar.
- At least 30% of calories must come from lactose - a naturally occurring carbohydrate.
Some organic baby formula brands go an extra mile and achieve additional certifications, like Bioland (Lebenswert) or Demeter (Holle), that meet even higher organic standards. Demeter certification is the top-ranked organic certification in the entire world.
Let’s take a closer look at these certifications.
1. What Is Demeter Certification?
You might have noticed a Demeter certification on Holle baby formulas. Demeter certification proves that your baby formula ingredients are coming from Biodynamic farms. Biodynamic farming has become the gold standard of organic farming because it ensures animal welfare and the sustainability of the environment. Demeter certification must be renewed on a yearly basis.
The Demeter standards include:
- Holistic and self sustaining farming methods
- Livestock integration
- No dehorning of cattle
- 100% certified organic food
- Prohibition of GMOs
- Ecosystem preservation
2. What Is Bioland Certification?
Like Demeter, Bioland certification is also known as “beyond organic.” It was founded in 1971 with its standards so high that it is difficult to obtain the certification. The Bioland philosophy includes:
- Certified product must contain 100% organic ingredients.
- No genetically modified seeds allowed.
- Animal welfare.
- Respect for natural animal husbandry.
- No use of guano, meat, bone, blood, or manure fertilizers.
- Organic food production on 100% of the farm.
- Use of nitrogen fertilizers in only small amounts.
Lebenswert formulas are Bioland certified.
3. What Is Standard EU Organic Certification?
Achieving an EU organic certification means:
- At least 95% organic and natural ingredients.
- Milk is sourced from grass-fed goats and cows.
- Animals are given no GMOs, hormones, or antibiotics.
- Free from pesticide residue.
- Free from synthetic chemicals and preservatives, and potentially toxic substances.
Types Of Organic Formula
The following are different types of organic baby formula:
1. Cow’s Milk Formula
The most common milk featured in organic baby formulas is cow’s milk because of its good nutritional profile. If you’re considering a cow’s milk organic formula, you shouldn’t be worried because milk is sourced from cows that have not been exposed to hormones, chemicals, or pesticides. Some organic formula brands also manufacture formulas with skimmed milk blended with organic vegetable oils.
2. Goat’s Milk Formula
There are many organic formula brands that make infant formulas with goat milk, such as Holle Goat. Goat milk-based formulas are preferred when a baby cannot digest cow’s milk or shows signs of cow’s milk protein intolerance, such as skin rashes or eczema. Goat milk in organic formulas is easily digestible because of smaller but homogenized fat globules.
3. Soy-Based Formula
If your baby is severely allergic to dairy or is lactose intolerant, they must be given soy-based formulas. However, finding an organic and GMO-free soy-based formula can be difficult because many formula brands use genetically modified soy sources. Also, some studies have reported high aluminum levels in soy formulas.
4. Hypoallergenic Formula
It is estimated that about 7% of infants are affected by cow’s milk protein allergy. For infants with severe allergies, a special amino acid-based formula is recommended. Babies with lactose intolerance or sensitivity to cow’s milk protein are given a hydrolyzed formula, among which the most common is HiPP HA (hypoallergenic). In HA formula, the milk protein has been hydrolyzed or broken down into manageable sizes.
Since hydrolyzed milk protein cannot be achieved organically, HiPP AR, HiPP Comfort, and HiPP HA do not have EU’s organic seal.
5. Formulas Based On Special Issues
Special formulas are given to babies with particular issues like feeding difficulties or troubled digestion. Specialty-based formulas can help the infant ease common digestive issues, such as:
- Acid reflux
- Spit up
For example, HiPP Comfort is easy to digest because it has reduced lactose content and hydrolyzed proteins. Similarly, HiPP AR is given to babies having issues with spit-up as the formula contains a thicker and creamier locust bean gum.
Ingredients To Look For In An Organic Formula
The following is a list of ingredients that should be included in an organic formula:
- Organic milk (cow or goat): Organic milk in formulas is obtained from goats and cows fed on biodynamic farms with a diet of organic grain and grass.
- Organic Whey: Unlike breast milk, cow’s milk has a different composition of whey protein. The cow’s milk protein in the organic formula is altered to achieve the resemblance of casein: whey ratio. For example, in Holle Bio stage 1, the whey: casein ratio is 60:40, which is similar to breast milk.
- Organic Lactose: Both cow and goat milk contain lactose in smaller quantities, but organic formulas are manufactured with additional lactose to match the carbohydrate content of breast milk.
- Vitamins & Minerals: Calcium, potassium, iron, and vitamins A, B, C, D, and K are present in organic formulas.
- Prebiotics & Probiotics: Organic formulas, such as HiPP, contain prebiotic fibers and probiotics to maintain digestive health and strengthen immunity.
- Organic vegetable oils
Ingredients To Avoid In Organic Formulas
- Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
- Synthetic preservatives
- Carrageenan (an inflammation-causing agent)
- Soy (lecithin or oil)
- Glucose syrup, corn syrup, corn syrup solids
Top 3 Organic Infant Formula Brands
The most popular organic formulas from Europe are HiPP, Holle, and Lebenswert.
Holle has been a sustainable and Demeter certified organic formula brand offering simple and wholesome formulas made with cow’s milk and goat milk. Holle is considered as organic ++, because formula ingredients are coming from biodynamic farms.
Lebenswert formulas are manufactured by Holle and resemble Holle’s cow milk formula variety. Lebenswert has achieved Bioland certification due to its 100% organic ingredients.
HiPP is a famous European formula with a wide range of different versions of nutritionally complete formulas. HiPP also offers formulas for babies who struggle with lactose intolerance, acid reflux, colic, and digestive issues.
Choosing an organic baby formula is the best choice for providing your baby with a happy and healthy life. HiPP, Holle, and Lebenswert are the best European organic formula brands that ensures your baby gets wholesome, finest quality, and 100% organic ingredients required for healthy growth and development.