Mother’s milk is the best bet for babies as it naturally contains the right balance of macro-and micro-nutrients to ensure proper growth and health. However, for various reasons, all mothers may not be able to feed their babies. They may depend on a mix of natural milk and baby formula or solely on the latter.
If you fall into the second group, it might be quite confusing to settle on one brand of baby formula. When you walk into a store, many brands of baby formula greet you in the baby foods section. It is difficult to grasp all the information as you’re looking for the best formula for your baby to ensure healthy physical and mental development.
But in the sea of baby formula brands with each one touting its unique properties, it can be nearly impossible to choose. To make your task easier, this post discusses the merits of organic baby formula so that you can instantly remove the conventional ones from your consideration set
What is Organic?
The process of growing crops, vegetables, and fruits without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers is known as organic. Organic products don’t contain genetically modified products.
Organic farming also includes raising livestock without feeding them antibiotics and anything synthetic.
In organic farming processes, no harm is done to the soil or the environment in terms of air or water pollution. The animals are also raised in a natural habitat so that they feed on grass and all-natural products.
Therefore, organic products are free from artificial colors, preservatives, pesticide residues, hormones, and anything else that’s man-made.
Criteria for Organic Labeling
A manufacturer must meet all the criteria before being allowed to market their product as organic.
In the USA, the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances provides a checklist against which manufacturers must check to see if their products can be labeled organic. So, the following criteria are required for organic labeling:
- Adhering to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances.
- At least 95% organic ingredients will enable the use of USDA organic seal.
- Produced without using GMOs that trigger unnatural growth.
- Production is overseen by an authorized certification body appointed by USDA National Organic Program.
- Products with less than 70% organic ingredients must share a list of the organic ingredients.
- Products that have been made with at least 70% organic materials cannot use the USDA organic seal.
What is the Conventional Baby Formula?
In conventional baby formula, the milk base that is used is either cow milk or goat milk. Such milk is not close to mother’s milk because they contain more casein than whey protein. Moreover, the fatty acid content in human milk is not the same as cow or goat milk.
Conventional baby formula contains preservatives, flavors, and additives like prebiotics and probiotics. Plus, they use corn syrup as the carbohydrate source in the formula plus palm oil and processed sugar for sweetening.
How is Organic Baby Formula Different from the Conventional One?
The ingredients contained in conventional baby formula create the main difference between this and its organic counterpart.
- Conventional baby formula uses artificial sweeteners like corn syrup to make the formula taste sweet while its organic counterpart doesn’t use any sweetener that’s harmful to the baby’s health. Other types of artificial sweeteners included in the standard baby formula include palm oil and refined sugars.
- While standard baby formula contains flavors, preservatives, and additives, organic baby formula doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients that may harm the baby’s health.
- Since cows and goats are fed hormones and antibiotics, traces of these make their way into conventional baby formula. On the other hand, organically produced milk and products like infant formula have no chance of containing hormones and antibiotics.
- When cows and other farm animals feed on grass that contains pesticides, the milk from them is not organic. Using such milk in conventional baby formula means that it has pesticide residues.
Reasons to Choose Organic Baby Formula
According to organic baby formula reviews, the main reasons to choose an organic baby formula are:
- It doesn’t contain harmful ingredients that can lead to a compromised immune system, impaired lungs, or injuries in the nervous system.
- Organic infant formula doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners as these can lead to obesity. Instead, they contain natural sweeteners like lactose and whey protein to sweeten the formula.
- As standard formulas for babies contain artificial sweeteners that resemble human milk, it becomes very difficult when it comes to weaning the baby off its mother’s milk. But with organic formula, a baby gets used to having milk that tastes less sweet, making it easier to wean the baby.
- Organic baby formulas do not contain milk from cows fed on pesticide-treated grass. These pesticides found in the regular formula are harmful to the baby’s health.
- Lutein is one of the main components of organic milk formula that helps the baby to have a healthy vision.
- The antioxidants found in organic infant formula fight the free radicals and prevent diseases.
- Since organic baby formula doesn’t contain any artificial or synthetic ingredients, it becomes easier for the baby to digest it.
- Without the presence of hormones and antibiotics, the organic baby formula prevents the development of allergies and ensures that babies are not resistant to antibiotics when they need them.
Types of Organic Baby Formula
In the category of organic baby formula, there are various types that you should be aware of to help you choose the right one for your baby.
Organic Cow Milk Formula
In the organic cow milk formula, the base is derived from either skim or full-fat cow’s milk. If using the skim milk type, manufacturers add a mix of vegetable oils to match it to the fatty acid composition of human milk. When using full-fat cow’s milk, the baby gets the benefits of the milk fat globule membrane that is essential to develop the cognitive functions of the baby. This component is naturally found in the mother’s milk.
To enrich the organic cow milk formula further, the right amount of micro-nutrients like vitamins and minerals are added to ensure a balanced diet for the baby. This results in the baby’s timely growth and development.
Cow milk contains more casein than whey protein when compared to human milk. That’s why in organic baby formula brands made with cow’s milk, additional whey is added to balance the proportion and prevent the baby from having bloating and indigestion.
Organic Goat Milk Formula
Many infants can’t digest cow milk and show symptoms of lactose intolerance like rashes, eczema, and other skin conditions. Although both cow and goat milk are similar, organic goat milk formula is easier to digest for babies while providing the same nutrients.
Goat milk is more similar to human milk as both have smaller fat globules and have a lighter consistency than cow’s milk. However, babies who are allergic to milk protein may react to organic goat milk formula as well.
Organic Soy Formula
Many brands of organic baby formula are based on soy to target babies with lactose intolerance. However, soy milk formula is a plant-derived product that cannot match the natural ingredients present in human, cow, or goat milk.
Moreover, soy is not usually grown without the aid of GMOs, making it very difficult to find a soy milk formula that is completely organic. Also, soy contains compounds that prevent babies from absorbing important minerals. It is not unusual to find traces of heavy metal in soy, which is not healthy for babies.
Some brands of soy baby formula use organic brown rice syrup as a source of carbohydrate. This is deemed better than using corn syrup but still not preferred over lactose.
Organic soy formula for infants is highly processed before being marketed as it needs to match closely to natural milk. Such processed foods are not recommended under normal circumstances for babies.
Specialty Infant Formula
Plenty of babies have a difficult time digesting milk or infant formula. They may have indigestion, bloating, gas, acid reflux, colic, constipation, and other stomach-related conditions.
For this group of babies, some brands offer specialty infant formula with a low content of lactose, carbohydrate sources that are easier to digest instead of lactose, corn syrup, or brown rice syrup, and hydrolyzed proteins.
Hypoallergenic Baby Formula
In this category of baby formula, the milk proteins have been broken down or hydrolyzed to make them more easily digestible by the babies. Although most of the ingredients in this type of formula are organic, the brands cannot be labeled organic because hydrolyzed milk protein doesn’t exist in an organic form.
When it comes to the health and development of your baby, there’s no room for compromise. If you can’t feed your baby yourself, always choose an organic infant formula that’s free from chemicals, hormones, artificial sweeteners, synthetic ingredients, and is, therefore, safe for the baby.