First, read my affiliate disclosure.
As you may have seen in our updated Safe Infant Formula Guide, I recently recommended Holle as the healthiest infant formula on the market. Unfortunately, it’s become harder and harder for American moms to find Holle and HiPP (another popular European formula), as both have been removed from Amazon.
Some parents have resorted to buying European formula on eBay, but many of you feel uneasy purchasing something so important from unverified sellers. About a month ago, I began a screening process to find a trustworthy online vendor where my readers and clients could confidently buy European baby formulas.
Bottom line: If it were my baby, I would buy his formula from Little World Organics. Here’s why…
My Vetting Process
I started on Holle’s website, and contacted the retailers they listed to see if any of them would ship to the U.S. The answer was no. I then looked into a variety of websites that were mentioned on blogs and parenting forums as places moms were buying Holle formula–some of these had good reviews and others had failed to deliver the formula parents ordered. One mom told me that she drove by the address listed on one of the websites and found a boarded-up building in a bad L.A. neighborhood.
I narrowed my list down to the websites that seemed not sketchy (based on my online research), and scheduled phone calls with the owners of these sites.
Why Most of Them Didn’t Make the Cut
While I cannot say that any of these companies seemed outright dishonest–or that I truly believe anyone is taking empty Holle formula containers and filling them with Similac–I didn’t feel completely reassured by my conversations with most of these vendors. Perhaps some of this was a language barrier (plus time-zone issues–one guy in Germany was nice enough to speak with me at midnight his time!), but in many cases I just couldn’t seem to get a clear answer on the supply chain. I really wanted to know exactly where this formula was coming from, and how these vendors were getting it to their customers in the U.S. Another thing I didn’t like about many of these sites is that they didn’t seem to know anything about why these formulas were superior, and in many cases they would ask that I recommend a bunch of other European products they wanted to sell to U.S. parents–most of which of course were not Good Stuff! I like entrepreneurs who are driven by something other than an opportunity to capitalize on worried/conscientious/neurotic moms (I, of course, belong to both of these groups as a mission-driven entrepreneur and a neurotic mom).
I found such a person in Lacey of Little World Organics–and this is the site I am now officially recommending for parents wanting to purchase Holle or HiPP formula.
Why I Like Little World Organics
- The founder of LWO, Lacey, is a mom, and the business was born out of a desire on her part when she couldn’t breastfeed and set out to find the very safest infant formula for her son, Jack.
- Lacey buys HiPP and Holle formula in large quantities from European retailers–her supply chain was straightforward, and she was happy to show me receipts from the companies she works with.
- All of the feedback from her customers is overwhelmingly positive. She ships orders quickly, and she seems to almost never run out of stock.
- Because LWO is based here in the U.S., it’s easier to communicate with them. Should you have a problem with your order, you’ll get a response quickly and from someone whose first language is English rather than German, French, or Mandarin (as was the case with some of the other company reps I talked with.)
A Note on X-Rays
A lot of you wonder if you should be concerned about formula being x-rayed when it comes through customs (as is the case for any imported food or food ingredient). What I have read suggests that this is not a risk, and this article may be particularly reassuring to those of you who are concerned: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/01/12/145107755/why-x-rayed-food-isnt-radioactive-and-other-puzzles.
Please note that Gimme the Good Stuff is not responsible for the quality of either the formula itself or the experience of ordering from Little World Organics. I am simply saying that based on my research, if I were buying a European formula for my own child, I would be getting it from Little World Organics.
P.S. If you don’t want to bother with European formulas at all, it seems like the new Baby’s Only Whey Protein formula may be a good bet. Stay tuned for my official review once I have a chance to dig a little deeper on their ingredients.
P.P.S. Here’s an update from July 2015: Lebenswert is a newish formula under the Holle umbrella. The Stage 1 Lebenswert formula is actually better than original Holle because it contains lactose instead of maltodextrin (the former being closer to breastmilk). Lacey recently added this formula to her lineup at Little World Organics!
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