I am a huge proponent of breastfeeding because it provides the best nutrition and health benefits for babies and moms, but I also recognize that it doesn’t happen naturally or easily for all mothers. It can also be really painful and difficult during the first few weeks; there are many times during those early days of breastfeeding where I have questioned my decision to breastfeed exclusively. For many moms, difficulty or inability to breastfeed can be a big struggle and disappointment. This is where either donor milk or non-GMO organic baby formula can come in handy.
If you decide to give your baby formula, please consider using only one of the best non-GMO, organic baby formula options available. 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.
If you plan to breastfeed, should you have baby formula on hand as backup?
Some moms-to-be avoid buying any formula before their baby is born, thinking that it might jinx or hinder their breastfeeding efforts (especially in those early days when nursing is extra painful and hard to adjust to), while others prefer to have at least a can of formula on hand. I can relate to both trains of thought, so I encourage you to figure out what works best for you and stick with that plan. I have intentionally never bought any formula because I didn’t want to reach for it in a moment of exhaustion or weakness (and there were many of those moments during my first couple of weeks breastfeeding both babies). I can say with certainty that not having any formula on hand helped me stick to my goal of breastfeeding. I nursed my first baby until he was 2 years old (I thought for sure we’d stop at 12 months…) and it got much easier over time.
How do you choose a brand of organic baby formula?
Please be sure to only give the best quality baby organic formula you can afford. Just some of the unhealthy ingredients that should not be in baby formula (but are) include:
- Carrageenan (a potential carcinogen that is prohibited in the EU)
- Sweeteners such as brown rice syrup
- Palm Oil
- Synthetic DHA and ARA extracted with neurotoxic hexane
- Synthetic preservatives
- Synthetic nutrients
- Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
What is the best non-GMO organic baby formula available?
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, some of which I’ve listed above.
Her recommendation is that if you’re not interested in making your own infant formula, you could consider importing Holle brand formula from Europe, although it still contains maltodextrin and palm oil. This is the best formula available on the market. Alternatively, consider Hipp (another European import) or Baby’s Only Organic formula, which is a non-gmo organic baby formula made in the US that does not contain palm oil or hexane-extracted DHA/ARA.