Organic baby formula is a better choice for your baby than conventional baby formula. If you are looking to supplement or formula feed, invest in the best organic baby formula that you can afford.
There are many valid reasons you might choose or need to use baby formula. Maybe you had to go on medication and won’t be able to nurse as expected. You might be experiencing postpartum depression.
Maybe you aren’t producing enough milk and need to supplement with formula. (For many moms that are committed to breastfeeding, struggling to breastfeed or produce enough milk can be a big disappointment. If you are having a difficult time nursing, please see a certified IBCLC lactation consultant for assistance. Seeing a lactation consultant in your early days of nursing is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby.)
No matter the reason exclusively breastfeeding isn’t an option, how do you choose the best organic baby formula for your baby?
There’s a lot to consider when choosing the best organic baby formula for your baby. (Spoiler alert: most mainstream US formulas just aren’t good enough when it comes to ingredients.)
How Do You Choose the Best Organic Baby Formula For Your Baby?
The first thing I want you to know is that there is no such thing as the perfect baby formula – organic or not.
But typically, you’ll find that organic baby formula brands contain far better ingredients than traditional brands. And you’ll also find that European baby formulas are made with higher standards than most American formulas.
If your little one is going to be on formula, I would encourage you to choose one of the best European organic baby formula options if that’s within your budget.
What your baby consumes directly impacts their health and well-being, and sadly, traditional formula made by the likes of Enfamil, Gerber, and Similac, among others, contain harmful, unnecessary ingredients, including corn syrup, maltodextrin, and GMOs. Even some organic formulas are made with unnecessary ingredients that aren’t good for a baby’s developing digestive system, so please choose your baby’s brand of formula wisely and carefully.
Ingredients to Avoid in Baby Formula
Just some of the unhealthy ingredients that should not be in conventional baby formula (but are) include:
- Carrageenan (a potential carcinogen that is prohibited in the EU)
- Sweeteners such as brown rice syrup
- Palm Oil (which is difficult on the digestive system)
- Synthetic DHA and ARA extracted with neurotoxic hexane
- Synthetic preservatives
- Synthetic nutrients
- Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
Take a close look at the ingredients list on any traditional brand of formula, and you’ll probably cringe.
Baby Formula Options – What Can You Give Your Baby?
If breastfeeding isn’t an option and you aren’t open to using donor milk (or can’t afford it), there are some safer organic brands of baby formula available.
Your choices for baby formula boil down to the following:
Cow’s milk formula: Dairy-based formula is the most common type of formula given to babies, although dairy can cause gas and fussiness in many babies that are intolerant to milk proteins
Goat-milk formula: Goat’s milk formulas are a great alternative to dairy-based formula, but are typically not recommended for babies who are allergic to dairy
Soy-based formula: An alternative to cow’s milk, soy-based formula is another option. However, unless your soy-based formula is organic, you can assume the soy is GMO (in which case it is not safe for babies in my opinion).
Hypoallergenic baby formula: Hypoallergenic formula is for babies with milk and/or soy-protein allergies, and contains highly broken down milk proteins which are easier for babies to tolerate
Homemade baby formula: Another option is to make your own baby formula using this recipe from the Weston A Price Foundation or this recipe from Mt. Capra; discuss this with your pediatrician before making your own formula. Personally, I don’t trust myself to make my own baby formula, although I did consider it at one point. This company carries a lot of the ingredients you need.
Related: The Best Probiotics for Babies
The 8 Best Organic Baby Formulas
As we said above, there is no perfect option. But here are some of the best options currently available on the market. Please thoroughly review this list, weigh the pros and cons, and decide on the best formula for you.
The Best Organic Cow’s Milk Formula
A detailed study of baby formula has been conducted by Charlotte Vallaeys, former Director of Farm and Food Policy at the Cornucopia Institute and now a Senior Analyst for the Consumer Safety and Sustainability Program at Consumers Union. Vallaeys details many of the ingredients you should avoid when choosing a brand of formula, which I’ve listed above.
Her recommendation is that if you’re not interested in making your own baby formula, you should consider an organic European baby formula. (If you do decide to make your own organic baby formula, I would shop for some of the ingredients from this online store.)
I tend to agree with the recommendation to buy European baby formula, but there are a few American brands that I would feel comfortable with as well.
Here are some of the best organic baby formula options currently on the market:
Made with organic ingredients and with milk from cows raised on Demeter-certified biodynamic farms, Holle is one of the most popular European brands of organic baby formula. Anecdotally speaking, many moms say their baby’s colic symptoms eased up when switching from an American formula to Holle. This is one of the highest quality organic baby formula brands available.
Choose between three stages of Holle Baby Formula:
Lebenswert is another great organic baby formula brand to consider, especially since this brand does not contain any maltodextrin or starches. It does, however, still contain such vegetable oils as palm oil, rapeseed oil (canola), and sunflower oil. Lebenswert is gluten-free and certified organic to Bioland standards.
Lebenswert is available in three stages:
HiPP is a European brand that ranks high up there in quality, as well, and it contains no gluten, maltodextrin, or soy lecithin. HiPP makes slightly different versions of their organic baby formula for the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands. For example, some contain probiotics and starches while others do not, and the Dutch version comes in a can and has a longer shelf life, while the others are in a box. Choose the version that is best for your needs.
HiPP comes in three main versions:
- HiPP German: the company’s original formulations; HiPP German includes prebiotics and probiotics
- HiPP Dutch: comes in a can and has a longer shelf-life
- HiPP UK: comes in a slightly smaller box than HiPP German formulas
If you’re looking for an American-made (and easily accessible) organic baby formula, consider Baby’s Only. This is a good choice because it is easily accessible and does not contain palm oil or hexane-extracted DHA/ARA. If you get the version that contains DHA, you can feel comfortable knowing that it is safely extracted from egg yolks.
Some families use Baby’s Only from birth, though it is labeled as a toddler formula. Check with your pediatrician to make sure it has all the necessary nutrients for your baby.
Baby’s Only comes in a few different versions, including:
Happy Baby is another good choice for American baby formula because it is easily accessible, certified organic, and contains probiotics and a prebiotic. I know a few families who have really loved it.
Happy Baby comes in three stages:
- Stage 1 Organic Infant Formula (0-12 months)
- Stage 2 Formula (6-12 months)
- Stage 3 Formula (12+ months)
Organic Goat Milk Formula
While dairy can cause inflammation in the body, goat’s milk is less allergenic and much more easily digested. (Fun fact: it’s also naturally homogenized.)
However, please note that most babies who are sensitive to cow’s milk proteins are also sensitive to the protein found in goat milk. Thankfully, this doesn’t apply to all babies, but it is still a concern if your baby is sensitive to cow’s milk proteins.
While there are several great goat milk formulas available, there is only one that is organic.
In addition to their cow’s milk formula, Holle also makes organic goat milk formula for babies using 99% organic ingredients certified to
Holle organic goat milk formula comes in three stages:
Buy on Designed by Nature
If you are looking to try a goat’s milk formula, consider Designed by Nature, which is partially organic. Designed by Nature’s formula is gluten-free and high in fatty acids and contains no soy, corn, GMOs, artificial sweeteners, food dyes, or pesticides. It contains carefully chosen ingredients such as olive oil and cod liver oil.
Hypoallergenic European Baby Formula
Now that we’ve gone over the best organic baby formulas, I also want to alert you to the possibility that your baby may not take that well to your formula of choice. Some experimentation may be necessary to find a brand your baby is comfortable with.
If your baby has reflux, food allergies, eczema, or food sensitivities, you may want to consider a hypoallergenic baby formula. Talk to your pediatrician or gastroenterologist about whether this is the best option for your baby.
HiPP is the only European manufacturer that makes hypoallergenic baby formula. However, due to the need for hydrolyzed proteins, HiPP’s comfort/hypoallergenic formula are not organic.
There are three options made by HiPP.
This contains partially hydrolyzed whey proteins and can be gentler for sensitive babies. The whey to casein ratio is 60:40 similar to breastmilk, but the casein is not hydrolyzed, making this option less effective for the most sensitive tummies.
This formula is made using locust bean gum so that it’s thicker and easier for your baby to keep it down. It contains non-synthetic vitamins and minerals. As with choosing any formula for a sensitive baby, discuss this with your pediatrician before trying it.
By on My Organic Store
This is closest to American hypoallergenic formula and has reduced
If your baby doesn’t tolerate European hypoallergenic formula, you may need to switch to an American hypoallergenic formula like Alimentum, Neocate, or Nutramigen. Your pediatrician or pediatric gastroenterologist (who you should see if your baby has reflux) can help you choose which formula to use. I know many babies who did much better on a hypoallergenic formula.
(If you suspect that your baby might be sensitive to corn, I have heard that the Alimentum Ready-to-Feed v
While there are no “perfect” baby formula options out there, I think there are a few good ones to consider. Did you find an organic baby formula that you’re comfortable with? Hopefully one of these options will work for you!
Founder and CEO | The Gentle Nursery
After learning about the toxic chemicals found in mainstream baby products, Yasmine created The Gentle Nursery to help other parents make healthy choices for their babies. With a 10-year background in research, analytics, and leadership for a Fortune 100 company, Yasmine applies the same principles and attention to detail to every article she writes and researches. Yasmine’s advisory team includes an amazing team of moms, medical professionals, chemists, and other experts that help ensure accuracy and perspective.
Yasmine is also the creator of Biomeology Prenatal Probiotics and the author of The Baby Registry Handbook. Yasmine’s driving mission is to help reduce the rates of disorder, disease, and trauma in mothers and children and to inspire others to lead a healthier, happier, and non-toxic life. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California, a doula in training, and is currently studying to become a Functional Nutrition Coach.