I wrote this guide on how to choose organic baby formula for the first time in 2012. Overall, things have moved in a positive direction on the formula front.
Here are two ways the industry seems to be changing for the better:
- Many companies have ditched corn sugars in favor of lactose. Lactose occurs naturally in cow (and goat) milk and much more closely mimics human milk.
- Many organic baby formula brands are using lower quantities of cheap, problematic oils (such as soy and canola). They’ve increased the amount of healthier oils (such as coconut).
The bottom line: infants born today will almost certainly enjoy a healthier formula than did their siblings born even 2 years earlier!
As always, my goal with this updated guide is to make choosing the safest product easy. We’ve researched dozens of brands of organic baby formula so you don’t have to.
(You’ll notice that we are now including several brands of goat milk formulas in this guide. If you want to read more details about these formulas check out this post.)
What About the Baby Bottle?
Here is a cheat sheet to help you choose the safest bottle for your baby, whether you are breast- or formula-feeding!
Two important disclaimers before I jump in:
- I am not a medical professional or a nutritionist. I’m just a label-reading mom like the rest of you, here to share what I’ve learned and which organic baby formula I would choose if I were shopping for my own baby.
- When I recommend vendors from whom you can purchase European organic baby formulas, I am not guaranteeing that you’ll have a satisfactory experience shopping with them. I’m simply telling you the companies with whom I would feel comfortable were I looking to buy formula myself. I’m also an affiliate partner with some of them, so please read my disclosure page.
P.S. Breastmilk is Better Than Any Organic Baby Formula
Needless to say, I’m pro-breastfeeding. I have only two kids, but I breastfed for a total of 7 years, so you can do the math.
The reality is that many of my readers and clients–most of whom are amazing moms with beautiful, healthy children–formula feed at least some of the time. And one thing that all formula-feeding moms want to know is, what is the safest, healthiest organic baby formula I can give my child? I’m here to help answer that question.
Best American Organic Baby Formula
If you want an organic baby formula that you can get in this country, my vote is Happy Baby. I’m putting this above Baby’s Only because it is approved for infants, and ahead of Plum Organics because it doesn’t contain taurine.
You will read more about these formulas below, under The Good Stuff.
What to Avoid in Baby Formula
When it comes to choosing a safe infant formula, it’s mostly about avoiding the bad stuff. Here are some controversial ingredients and additives that you will find in most baby formula:
Organic alone doesn’t make a formula safe, but avoiding any non-organic formula a good start. Conventional formula likely contains GMOs, traces of pesticides, milk contaminated with antibiotics or growth hormones, and oils extracted with hexane. Organic baby formula is almost always superior to anything conventional.
Soy formula is usually only recommended if a baby suffers from dairy intolerance. If you’re buying non-organic formula, the soy is likely genetically modified.
Synthetic l-methionine is added to soy formula to meet nutrition requirements. Because it is produced with things like hydrogen cyanide and other air pollutants, it is prohibited in European organic foods. This means that there is no such thing as organic soy-based infant formula in Europe.
Soy-based formula contains soy protein isolates, which my mother the health coach describes this way: “highly processed soybeans that have been chemically altered to no longer resemble a whole food.”
Soy formulas tend to have higher levels of aluminium contamination since soy sucks up alumnium from the soil.
Soy formula also contains high levels of plant-derived estrogens (phytoestrogens). In fact, the concentrations of phytoestrogens detected in the blood of infants fed soy formula were shown to be 13,000 to 22,000 times greater than the concentrations of natural estrogens–the effects of this are simply unknown.
Unfortunately, even most dairy-based formulas contain soy oils or lecithin.
Palm oil and palm olein.
These are commonly added to formula to help replicate the high palmitic acid content of breastmilk. But the structure of the fat molecules in palm oil (and other vegetable oils) is different from that found in breast milk, and the fats are digested differently.
Palm oil and palm olein have been shown to inhibit the absorption of calcium and fat. On the other hand, plant-derived fats that match the structure of the most common fat molecules in breast milk have been shown to promote more healthy bacteria in the gut, reduce colic and gas, reduce constipation, and allow for fat and calcium to be absorbed better.
From what we know, only one company—Kabrita, which makes a goat milk formula—uses these more beneficial fats (high SN-2 palmitate, a.k.a. “OPO fats,” a.k.a. “structured truglycerides”), which are produced by an enzymatic reaction on a mixture of vegetable oils.
If you want to avoid palm oil, Loulouka doesn’t contain it.
Most formulas now boast the addition of essential fatty acids DHA and ARA. DHA and ARA are long chain fatty acids found naturally in human breast milk, which make up the major long chain fats in baby’s brain and nerve tissue.
We know that naturally occurring oils from food, food-based oils, and mom’s diet (in breast milk) is highly beneficial, but some studies have shown no benefits when DHA and ARA are added to formula.
DHA and ARA extracted by hexane and other methods are relatively new and the jury is out on whether they are harmful, beneficial, or of no consequence at all.
Bottom line: Extracted DHA and ARA are not the worst stuff in formula, they are in relatively small quantities, and they appear to be okay for most children.
They definitely are an issue for some children, and for those parents, being aware of extracted DHA and ARA as the potential source of the problem could be very helpful.
If you’re worried, avoid formulas with these ingredients:
- DHA oil
- algal oil
- cohni oil (DHA)
- alpina oil (ARA)
If you choose a formula without DHA added, but want to supplement on your own, this is the brand I like.
You will find this additive in tons of stuff in your health food store, and infant formula is no exception.
Derived from seaweed, carrageenan helps stabilize liquid formula, but numerous animal studies suggest that it leads to intestinal inflammation and colon tumors. The European Union has outlawed the use of carrageenan in all infant formula, but in the United States it appears in both conventional and organic baby formula.
Synthetic preservatives are sometimes added to prevent the oils in formula from spoiling. Two that have snuck into even organic baby formula: beta carotene and ascorbic palmitate.
There are several synthetic nutrients that you will find in organic baby formula, none of which is legal for anything labeled organic in the European Union.
Look out for the following:
- lutein is hexane-extracted from marigolds.
- lycopene is produced with toluene, a neurotoxic benzene derivative.
- nucleotides are produced from chemically-treated yeast.
- taurine is processed with carcinogenic sulfuric acid.
- l-carnitine was banned by the National Organic Standards Board because of concerns over carcinogenic properties.
Unfortunately, even the U.S. organic baby formulas we recommend below do contain some of these synthetics in order to meet FDA nutrition requirements.
Breast milk is naturally super sweet, so formulas invariably contain added sugars.
The sweetener that most closely mimics that found in human milk is lactose, but this cow’s milk-based sweetener is expensive. As a result, many manufacturers instead use plant-based sucrose, which was banned by The European Union in 2009 (except for babies with allergies), because of concerns of over-feeding and subsequent obesity. The FDA provides no such regulation on what kind of sugars can be used.
Other sweeteners include maltodextrin (made from rice, corn, or potatoes), and “glucose syrup solids,” which is just a clever name for corn syrup solids.
In 2012, concerns were raised about formulas sweetened with brown rice syrup when Dartmouth researchers found that organic baby formula made with organic brown rice syrup contained six times the EPA’s safe limit for arsenic.
Most organic baby formula these days, even the superior European brands, seem to choose maltodextrin as a sweetener, since it’s cheaper than lactose and helps powdered formula dissolve quickly.
My two cents on sugar: I’m not a big fan of maltodextrin, but I do feel that it’s better than white sugar or corn syrup. The best organic baby formula will contain only lactose.
Do It Yourself: Homemade Organic Baby Formula
For those babies who need a hypoallergenic formula, many pediatricians recommend Pregestimil or Nutramigen (both by Enfamil) or Allimentum (by Similac).
If forced to choose between these, I would go for the Allimentum since it skips the carrageenan and corn syrup. But I can’t call any of these Good Stuff since all three contain ingredients of concern and none is organic.
Nutramigen is probably the very worst of these, comprised of 48% corn syrup solids!
If it were my baby, I would choose HiPP HA organic baby formula, which contains no sugar, corn syrup, or maltodextrin, and is full of good prebiotics.
Please check with your pediatrician first if you suspect an intolerance or allergy.
Other Things to Consider When Choosing Baby Formula
Since we wrote the last version of this guide, we’ve had questions about the following important issues.
In an attempt to mimic real breast milk as closely as possible, formula manufacturers engineer their products to have a specific whey/casein ratio. Not sure what whey and protein are? Here’s the deal:
- Whey proteins stay in liquid form in the stomach (when exposed to stomach acid)—think the watery whey that separates in a container of natural yogurt–and exit the stomach more quickly. Whey proteins are therefore easier to digest and are rarely a source of allergies.
- Casein proteins form solids in the stomach (like cheese curds) and empty at a slower rate. They are more likely to cause digestive issues and be a source of allergies.
There is controversy over the optimal whey/casein ratio for a baby formula because the ratios found in breast milk change over time: whey content is high in early lactation (with a ratio of about 90:10), and by late lactation, whey and casein protein amounts are roughly equal.
Goat milk and cow milk both have a whey to casein ratio of about 20:80. Whey protein is added to formulas to adjust this ratio.
So what is the optimal whey/casein ratio? This depends on factors such as how old your baby is (in other words, how developed his/her digestion is), whether your baby has any digestive issues (like reflux, which may be a reaction to too much casein), and whether your baby is sensitive or allergic to casein.
We also don’t really know how much of the whey and casein added to formula actually ends up being assimilated by the baby. It’s definitely worth having a conversation with your pediatrician about which formula has the right ratio for your baby, although in many instances the whey/casein ratio isn’t even an issue you need to worry about.
If I were looking for a formula for a baby older than 12 months, I would choose Kabrita. There is strong evidence that goat milk more closely mimics human breast milk, and Kabrita is the only formula I know of that contains the beneficial type of palm oil (see more on this above).
Kabrita has generously offered 10% off for my readers with code GIMMEKABRITA.
Prebiotics & Probiotics
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria, and prebiotics are food for probiotics. You probably already know that good gut bacteria is key to healthy immune function.
Breast milk has natural prebiotic properties, such as its oligosaccharide content, and breastfeeding introduces lots of healthy bacteria to the breasted infant’s microbiome. In an attempt to mimic human milk (and ride the wave of current health trend!), many formula manufacturers now add prebiotics and probiotics to their products.
There’s little research to suggest that this offers any real benefits, and the American Association of Pediatrics doesn’t officially recommend it, but they are probably also not harmful to healthy babies.
My two cents: I probably wouldn’t rely on what’s in formulas as an effective probiotic/prebiotic supplement (mostly because of dosage and quality/viability of the organisms). Parents who are really interested in supplementing with probiotics should choose a high-quality product like Klaire Labs Ther-Biotic.
Aluminum in Infant Formulas
Unfortunately, it seems like high aluminum content in formulas is pretty much ubiquitous (studies confirm this in UK and Canadian markets, and there is no research done yet on formulas in U.S. market).
It’s not clear exactly why this is, but there are a variety of modes of potential contamination: raw materials (powdered milk may have aluminum added to prevent clumpiness, for instance), additives (like phosphorous), and manufacturing processes.
What we don’t know is how much of the aluminum that’s ingested ends up accumulating in the body of infants and toddlers. In adults, most aluminum is excreted, but what remains does accumulate and can cause problems in the long term.
There’s little that consumers can do about it day-to-day, except for:
- Choosing breast milk if possible, even if that means using a service like this.
- Avoiding soy-based formulas, as these tend to be the worst offenders.
- Preparing powder formula with a silicon-rich mineral water—in the U.S., Volvic and Fiji water fit the bill. Experts believe that this could reduce the absorption of aluminum across the gut of the child and also potentially help the child to excrete aluminum in the body via the urine. However, these are areas which are also being researched.
BPA in Formula Cans
Good news: there is one thing you no longer have to worry about when buying formula, and it’s big, bad BPA. The FDA has finally gotten with the program and banned BPA from formula container linings. Of course, I worry about what’s being used in place of BPA, but still this is a small victory!
One Important Way to Make Formula-Feeding Safer: Filter Your Water!
Tap water may be contaminated with chlorine byproducts, weed killers, insecticides, solvents, lead, BPA, phthalates…the list goes on. Fluoride is present in infant formula, and when combined with fluoridated tap water, infant exposure levels can exceed safe amounts. Invest in a good carbon water filter.
The Good Stuff
- Baby’s Only makes an organic baby formula with no added DHA. Their other formulas include DHA and ARA extracted from egg lecithin, which may or may not be problematic for babies who react to hexane-extracted DHA.
- Baby’s Only organic baby formula is made in the USA by a family-owned business that is not publicly traded.
- Baby’s Only does not contain palm oil.
There are a few not-so-great things about Baby’s Only Organic Baby Formula:
- This formula does contain some synthetic ingredients, such as nucleotides.
- Baby’s Only regular dairy formula contains brown rice syrup. In response to concerns about high arsenic levels, they created a high-tech filter that removes inorganic arsenic from brown rice syrup, reducing it to undetectable levels, as confirmed by the Consumers Union. Still, I recommend Baby’s Only Whey Protein formula because this one is sweetened with just lactose.
- Baby’s Only formulas are technically “toddler” formula, because in order to have FDA approval as an infant formula, a company must conduct clinical trials and undergo extensive testing. Many people choose Baby’s Only even for infants, but you should check with your pediatrician to be sure.
This Australian formula is very similar to to the European brands. It doesn’t have DHA/ARA or corn ingredients, but it does contain soy and palm oil. It contains 97% organic ingredients, but unlike Lebenswert, the dairy in this formula doesn’t come from biodynamic farms.
Bimbosan Organic Baby Formula
This Swiss brand of organic baby formula looks similar to the other European brands. I love the lack of maltodextrin, palm oil, corn syrup, and sugar! Bimbosan doesn’t include DHA/ARA. Unfortunately, I can’t find any vendors selling this formula.
Finally! Someone is manufacturing a formula in Germany and offering it to American parents at a lower price point, although for now it’s only approved for toddlers. Unfortunately, you have to live in the Bay Area of California to be able to buy this formula. The good news is that Bobbie is planning to expand, and hopefully it will soon be available nationwide.
Here’s why Bobbie is Good Stuff:
- The organic milk used in Bobbie’s formula comes from grass-fed cows in Germany. We know that grass-fed cows produce milk that has higher levels of a range of nutrients.
- Bobbie sweetens their formula with lactose, not sugar or maltodextrin.
- Unlike other American formulas, Bobbie contains a unique probiotic blend, with four live strains that have been clinically proven to improve gut health.
- Bobbie is free of soy and carrageenan, as well as other synthetic nutrients found in many American formulas.
Happy Baby’s organic baby formula is a great option for parents who want to avoid corn syrup and maltodextrin, but don’t want to order European formulas.
I love that lactose is the first ingredient in this formula, and that it skips synthetic taurine (note that it’s main competitor, Plum, does contain taurine).
I also like that this formula contains a nice prebiotic blend; in fact it contains nearly four times the prebiotics found in an other organic baby formula in the U.S. market.
The only negatives of this formula are that it contains soy oil and algae-derived DHA.
Choose from Stage 1, 2, or 3 depending on your baby’s age.
For now, Kabrita is approved for 12+ months (although people do use it for infants). The whey/casein ratio is 50:50, making this an ideal option for babies 12 months and older. (Kabrita hopes to debut an infant formula in the U.S. market later this year.)
I like that Kabrita uses non-GMO goat milk (from Missouri and the Netherlands) and has lactose as the primary added carbohydrate.
What really makes Kabrita stand out, however, is the fat blend that they use. From what we know, Kabrita is the only brand that uses plant-derived fats that match the structure of the most common fat molecules in breast milk. These fats (high SN-2 palmitate, a.k.a. “OPO fats”), which are produced by an enzymatic reaction on a mixture of vegetable oils, have been shown to promote more healthy bacteria in the gut, reduce colic and gas, reduce constipation, and allow for fat and calcium to be absorbed better.
For parents with children with coconut allergies, Kabrita doesn’t contain coconut oil (of course, this could change at any time, so always read the label!).
Kabrita has generously offered 10% off for my readers with code GIMMEKABRITA.
Loulouka Organic Baby Formula
This new Swiss formula is some of the very Best Stuff, and here’s why:
- Loulouka is free of palm oil.
- Loulouka uses whole milk rather than skim, which means they need less vegetable oil (in this case, that’s a blend of coconut, canola, and sunflower oils).
Loulouka is also free of maltodextrin, contains lactose, and is certified organic.
NOTE: Loulouka is currently sold out everywhere, but I will be letting people know as soon as it is again available. In the meanwhile, I am recommending Lebenswert (scroll down to read where to buy).
Plum’s advantage over Baby’s Only formula is this one is FDA-approved for infants, which makes a lot of parents (and pediatricians) feel more comfortable.
Plum Organics formula is sweetened with JUST organic lactose. No corn syrup solids, no glucose solids, no maltodextrin. This is huge.
What might concern you about Plum formula:
- The DHA and ARA oils are extracted using hexane, although the folks at Plum assure me that no residue is left in the final product.
- It contains soy lecithin. This actually doesn’t really bother me since it’s organic soy.
- The oils include palm, soy, coconut, and safflower/sunflower. The first two of these are something of a concern, but hard to avoid in baby formula.
- Compared with the European formulas, Plum still has a lot of synthetic nutrients, such as taurine.
Holle’s Lebenswert formula which features a shorter list of ingredients and one major upside over regular Holle.
One of the the biggest problems with Holle’s original formula is that it contains maltodextrin.
Lebenswert’s stage 1 formula is free of maltodextrin, relying instead upon lactose to lend sweetness to the formula.
Moreover, Lebenswert adheres to Bioland organic guidelines for farmers and manufacturers. These guidelines are even more stringent than the European Union’s Eco-Regulation; you can read more about them here.
Lebenswert also skips a bunch of the synthetic nutrients found in most of the organic formulas in America.
Lebenswert does still contain palm oil and canola oil (called “rapeseed oil”).
Here’s a complete ingredients list of the stage 1 formula: Organic skimmed milk, organic whey powder (partly demineralised), organic vegetable oils (palm, rapeseed, sunflower oil), lactose, potassium chloride, calcium, vitamin C, sodium chloride, ferrous gluconate, vitamin E, zinc sulfate, niacin, calcium pantothenate, copper sulphate , Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6 , Vitamin A, manganese sulfate, folic acid, potassium iodate, vitamin K1, sodium selenate, vitamin D.
Where to Buy Lebenswert
Because it’s from Germany, Lebenswert is not FDA approved, so it can be challenging to obtain here in the U.S.
I’ve vetted the several places to purchase this formula, and am happy to have established affiliate relationships with the following sellers (this list continues to be updated as the market changes):
BabyKind Market(no longer in business) Organic Start(no longer in business)
- Organic Baby Food 24 (based in Germany)
PLEASE NOTE: Lebenswert organic baby formula in stages above 1 do contain maltodextrin. While these are still “Good Stuff” and on par with original Holle, Lebenswert is superior.
This European brand of formula comes from grass-fed, organic, and biodynamic milk. It doesn’t contain a host of the synthetic ingredients that you’ll find in American formulas. It also doesn’t contain soy or corn ingredients.
I love that Holle formulas are made from milk from Demeter-certified farms. This means that the cows are pastured in organic farms.
Holle’s”Bio Pre” line contains no maltodextrin, so it’s only sweetener is lactose. I like that the Bio Pre line has more milk fat than other formulas. This means it contains fewer vegetable oils.
Unfortunately, Holle has not been approved by the FDA, so it’s difficult and expensive to obtain in the U.S. I’ve vetted three places to purchase this formula:
BabyKind Market(no longer in business) Organic Start(no longer in business)
- Organic Baby Food 24 (based in Germany)
I like that the primary ingredients in these formulas—goat milk, carbohydrates, and oils—meet a very high, European organic standard. These are the only goat milk formulas that are officially organic.
This formula forgoes hexane-extracted DHA/ARA, the most concerning preservatives, and the most problematic synthetic nutrients. (Formula 1 does have L-methionine).
I don’t like that maltodextrin is the primary added carbohydrate here, but I appreciate that it is organic. I gave Holle a few points for including lactose. I’m also not a fan of the palm, sunflower, and grapeseed oils, but they are organic in this case.
Holle isn’t imported to the U.S. so can be hard to purchase. I’ve vetted the following places to purchase this formula:
BabyKind Market(no longer in business) Organic Start(no longer in business)
- Organic Baby Food 24 (based in Germany)
Although European HiPP formula does contain palm oil and soy oil, it is blended with coconut oil.
The major upside to HiPP is the lack of plant-based sweeteners (it uses lactose instead). HiPP also contains beneficial probiotics. My clients who use this formula say their baby’s poop looks like it did when they breastfed (weird but true!).
The only major concern with HiPP is the powder variety of its formula was found to have high aluminum levels. So I now tell my clients to go for the ready-made version if they can.
If your baby needs a hypoallergenic formula, I recommend HiPP HA.
As with Holle, HiPP can be hard to purchase in the U.S. and expensive to have shipped from Europe. I’ve vetted three places to purchase this formula:
The Okay Stuff
I am so happy to see that Earth’s Best has gotten rid of the corn syrup in their formula! The only sweetener is now organic lactose, making this formula almost Good Stuff. I’m still only calling it Okay Stuff because of the sheer number of synthetic nutrients. It also contains several soy ingredients. Finally, Earth Best’s sensitive organic baby formula has corn syrup solids as the very first ingredients.
I like these things about Honest Company formula:
- It’s mostly milk. The only other American-made formula I recommend to clients, Baby’s Only, has brown rice syrup (a sweetener) as its first ingredient, so this is a plus for Honest.
- It contains lactose. It’s also great that Honest formula contains lactose as a sweetener, which is most similar to breast milk. (Unfortunately, Honest also uses corn syrup to sweeten this formula—more on this below.)
- It skips some synthetics. Some of these additives are not allowed in organic products in Europe; it’s nice to see an American brand leaving them out.
- It doesn’t contain hexane residue. The biggest plus to Honest formula is that the DHA they use is actual fish oil. Most formulas, even organic ones, use hexane-extracted oils from algae and fungus.
- It’s free of carrageenan. Derived from seaweed, carrageenan helps stabilize formula, but numerous animal studies suggest that it leads to intestinal inflammation and colon tumors.
I can’t call Honest Formula Good Stuff because it contains:
- Corn syrup. The biggest bummer about Honest’s formula is that it contains corn syrup (cleverly called “organic glucose syrup solids”). Honest uses mostly lactose to sweeten their formula, but they blend it with cheaper corn syrup.
- Palm oil. Honest’s formula also contains palm oil, which is not properly absorbed by infants, and may contribute to decreased bone density.
- Soy. Honest formula also contains soy oil and soy lecithin. I’m not into soy for babies, since it is a source of phytoestrogens, which may have negative health implications.
- Synthetic preservatives. Honest formula contains two synthetic preservatives that Europe doesn’t allow in organic products: beta carotene and ascorbyl palmitate. I’m not convinced these are particularly harmful in the concentrations present here, but their effects are unknown.
I love that this formula is from grass-fed, New Zealand cows and doesn’t contain corn syrup or maltodextrin. Because of the soybean oil and lack of organic certification, I am designating it as only Okay Stuff.
Topfer Lacatana Bio
A lot of you have inquired about Topfer, and I like that it’s the very oldest of the German formulas! Still, when I drilled down on the ingredients, I don’t think it’s as good as the other European options. This is really just because it isn’t biodynamic, contains canola and palm oils, and uses maltodextrin as a sweetener. I would still choose it over Honest’s organic baby formula, if that’s of any help.
(Note: Topfer’s Stage Pre does not contain any sweeteners at all, making it Good Stuff!).
The Bad Stuff
Avoid any infant formulas that are not organic, for all of the reasons listed above.
Aptamil Nutura is a British brand about which many of you have inquired. Because it isn’t organic and contains corn syrup, I can’t recommend it.
Gerber’s BabyNes is admittedly super convenient, but there are lots of problems with these pods. For one, they are plastic-heavy, with lots of surface area exposure (as opposed to bigger traditional containers.) They also involve warm water running through plastic tubing and other parts in the machine. You probably know that warmth and plastic equals increased chemical leaching. Plus the pods are super wasteful from an environmental standpoint. And what’s in the pods isn’t Good Stuff anyway, with corn sweeteners and no organic ingredients.
Nan formula is perhaps the best of the Bad Stuff, since it does contain lactose as a sweetener. But this formula, made by Nestle, isn’t organic. And if you read all the way down the ingredients list, you will eventually find the corn syrup!
Two other definite Bad Stuff brands who don’t even make an organic variety of their formula:
- Gerber Good Start. This should come as no surprise. Their jarred baby food is also Bad Stuff.
- Enfamil. For some horrible reason this is the brand I chose for Felix when I needed a nursing break due to bleeding nipples and ran out of pumped milk. Wah! Enamel’s Pregestimil and Nutramigen lines (for sensitive or allergic babies) are made up almost entirely of corn syrup and vegetable oils.
The Sneaky Stuff
Bright Beginnings Organic Baby Formula, owned by pharma giant PMB, contains corn syrup, rather than dairy-based lactose, as well as lots of vegetable oils.
Enfamil Enspire doesn’t have a terrible list of ingredients (it’s sweetened with just lactose rather than corn syrup or white sugar), but nothing is organic and it has a ton of synthetic nutrients and some questionable preservatives.
Parent’s Choice Organic Baby Formula contains maltodextrin, as well as all the other bad stuff.
Similac Organic Baby Formula is the only organic formula to contain actual cane sugar, and lots of it. Their ready-to-use formula also contains carrageenan. The only upside? Similac is free of palm oil.
Similac Advance Non-GMO Baby Formula. This marketing ploy really annoys me. GMOs are the least of the problem with conventional infant formula.
Still, I was surprised to see that there isn’t sugar or corn syrup in this formula. If you’re going for a conventional formula, this is the one to get.
This version of Similac contain galactooligosaccharides, which are prebiotics. It isn’t unlike the Baby’s Only Whey in fact, except it isn’t organic (and btw, organic by definition means non-GMO).
This version is actually better than Similac Organic, but it still contains a significant number of synthetic ingredients.
Similac Pure Bliss is yet another version from this pharma giant. This one uses dairy from grass-fed, antibiotic-free cows, but it’s not organic, and is still loaded with synthetic nutrients.
Whole Foods 365 Organic Baby Formula, also produced by PMB, contains palm oil and corn-based sugars.
My Favorite Non-Toxic Baby Bottles
You’ll want to make sure you’re feeding your baby out of a non-toxic, non-leaching bottle. My pick is the Pura line, which is economical, convenient, and earth-friendly because you simply replace the tops to convert it from infant bottle to sippy to straw cup to sports bottle as your child grows.