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This post is sponsored by ByHeart. All opinions expressed in this ByHeart baby formula review our exclusively my own.
I am really excited about ByHeart Infant Formula. It’s both super clean and high performing. In the past couple of years, we’ve seen some new products that edge us closer to an ideal, FDA-regist infant formula. ByHeart takes us pretty much there. ByHeart is both a new player and a game-changer among American formulas.
From in-house manufacturing to careful ingredient selection to sky-high purity standards and great performance, there’s a lot to highlight here. Read on to learn more about why I think that ByHeart is the very Best Stuff.
The Back Story on ByHeart Formula
Everything that stands out about ByHeart comes from its origin story.
ByHeart began several years ago when Mia Funt and Ron Belldegrun, a brother-sister duo, set out to create the best infant formula and realized that nutrition science was ahead of current formulations. They convened a group of doctors and scientists to devise their own recipe, but then they couldn’t find a manufacturer who met their standards. (As has been highlighted by the recent formula-supply crisis, there are only a handful of formula manufacturers in the United States, two of whom dominate the market.)
So Mia and Ron decided to acquire their own facility to manufacture their formula, in small batches, from ingredients that are very carefully selected and sourced. (Believe it or not, this hasn’t happened in decades!)
ByHeart Formula Is Cleaner Than Organic
The first time I scanned the ingredients list for ByHeart formula, I noticed that most but not all of the primary ingredients are organic. Then I learned that ByHeart is the first formula to be certified by the Clean Label Project, and it was awarded the highest tier “Purity Award.”
Clean Label screens the formula for more than 400 contaminants, and ByHeart’s own internal quality control program screens for more than 700. Included among the contaminants they screen for are pesticides and heavy metals. This means that their product is held to a higher standard than a mere “organic” label provides, and I can’t state strongly enough how crucial this is.
I’m glad that ByHeart has set this as a new standard for the formula industry and I hope that a bunch of other brands follow suit!
ByHeart’s Obsessive Ingredient Sourcing
ByHeart uses the terminology “farm to formula” to reflect how they source their primary ingredient–organic, grass-fed, whole milk from Maple Hill Creamery in upstate New York. Fresh milk gets from farms to ByHeart’s manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania within 48 hours. (More on why this milk matters in a moment.)
“Farm to formula” also describes how ByHeart has direct relationships with every supplier of their ingredients. Because ByHeart manufactures its own formula, rather than contracting it out, they choose each supplier and establish strong quality-control practices to ensure the purity of their ingredients.
I’ve seen other companies (of formulas and non-edible products) have contamination scandals that get traced back to contracted-out manufacturing. The stories end up sound like, “Oops, we didn’t know that was in our product, because someone else manufactures it and puts our label on it.” I really like the fact that ByHeart has so much control over not only its manufacturing, but also its supply chain.
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Proven Benefits of ByHeart Formula
Because ByHeart’s recipe pushed the envelope of FDA-approved infant formulas (by including whole milk, of all things!), they commissioned an unbiased third party to conduct a clinical trial to see if their formula was both safe and effective, with breast milk being the gold standard.
This ended up being the largest clinical trial by a new infant formula brand in over 25 years. The full results will be published in Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, but the findings demonstrated that, like breastmilk, ByHeart supports efficient growth, easy digestion, less spit-up, and softer poops.
The Smart Ingredients in ByHeart Formula
ByHeart Infant Formula Ingredients: organic grass-fed whole milk, organic lactose, organic vegetable oils (organic high oleic sunflower, organic low erucic rapeseed, organic coconut, organic sunflower), organic galactooliosaccharides, alpha-lactalbumin whey protein, whey protein hydrolysate, less than 1%: lactoferrin, dha algal oil (schizochytrium), mortierella 2eleni oil, vitamin a palmitate, vitamin d3, vitamin e acetate, vitamin k1, thiamin hydrochloride, riboflavin, vitamin b6 hydrochloride, vitamin b12, niacinamide, calcium pantothenate, folic acid, biotin, ascorbic acid, mixed tocopherols, ascorbyl palmitate, l-carnitine, inositol, calcium phosphate, sodium citrate, calcium carbonate, potassium citrate, ferrous sulfate, potassium chloride, magnesium phosphate, calcium chloride, zinc sulfate, cupric sulfate, manganese sulfate, potassium iodide, sodium 2elenite, potassium bicarbonate, choline chloride.
Here’s a breakdown of the key features that make ByHeart unique and beneficial:
- Milk: ByHeart is the first American formula to use organic, grass-fed whole milk (versus skim milk) as its base. Because they use whole milk, they can add smaller amounts of other oils to achieve the necessary fat content. And like breast milk, whole cow’s milk is a natural source of cholesterol and other fats important for brain development.
- Fat blend: In order to mimic the fatty-acid profile of breastmilk, ByHeart uses coconut oil for saturated fatty acids; sunflower oil for omega-6 fatty acids; high-oleic sunflower oil for monosaturated and omega-6 fatty acids; and rapeseed oil for omega-3, monosaturated, and omega-6 fatty acids. Notably absent are soy oil and palm oil. ByHeart sources oils that are organic, non-GMO, low in erucic acid, and not hexane extracted.
- Protein blend: Their formula includes a proprietary protein blend that combines the two most abundant proteins found in breast milk (alpha-lactalbumin whey and lactoferrin), plus broken-down proteins (whey protein hydrolysate), to achieve a whey-to-casein ratio of 80:20, which mimics colostrum. This is key because it can’t be found in other formulas, and it helped ByHeart demonstrate major benefits in its clinical trial.
- Carbohydrate source: Like breast milk, ByHeart has lactose as its primary carbohydrate. (Many other formulas use cheaper, inferior sugars.) They don’t add any other sugars, and a bonus of lactose is that it serves as a prebiotic in the gut.
ByHeart has no corn syrup, maltodextrin, palm oil, or soy—all problematic ingredients that are found in even organic formulas. Many of you will be excited to hear that this is the first non-specialty, soy-free American formula.
My ByHeart Baby Formula Review in a Nutshell
ByHeart’s purity standards check all my boxes. I like that their formula performs well, thanks to the fact that they took great pains to design a formula that’s as close to breast milk as possible. I think that ByHeart is the best formula option for babies who tolerate cow’s milk, and am so glad that this is now an option for parents. If you’ve tried this formula, please comment below with your experience!