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Best Formula: 6 Ways to Know It’s the Best for Your Baby

best formula

You only want the best for your baby—we get that. And with many different products and formulas for your baby on the market, it can be difficult to determine which is the right one for your little one.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best formula for your baby, but it’s important to consider the most important ones when picking your product.

If you’re stuck on where to start when choosing a formula, you’re not alone.

However, we’re here to help. Here are 6 tips to help you choose the best formula for your baby!

1. Know the Forms of Formula First

While there are many forms of formulas, formulas in general, can be divided into three main categories. These categories include ready-to-use formula, liquid concentrate formula, and powered formula.

Ready-to-Use Formula

Unparalleled in convenience, ready-to-use formula does not require any mixing or measuring.

Simply open and serve!

This is the kind of formula often fed to newborns in hospitals, and it is especially hygienic. This means it can be helpful if and when you don’t know whether you’ll have access to safe water.

However, keep in mind that this formula has a short lifespan. This means it is less suitable if you want to stock up on formula for your baby.

Once opened, this kind of formula must be used within 48 hours.

Additionally, the convenience of this type of formula comes at a cost, with the prices usually being about 20 percent more per ounce than that of powered formula.

Containers for ready-to-use formula also take up more storage space—both in your cupboards and in landfills.

Also, although ready-to-use formula is undoubtedly the most convenient, many moms complain that it’s more likely to stain clothes because liquid formula is often darker than powered formula.

Liquid Concentrate Formula

The more affordable formula option than ready-to-use formula is liquid concentrate formula.

Liquid concentrate formula requires mixing of equal parts of both water and formula.

This kind of formula also takes up less space, so it may be a better choice for people who don’t have much cupboard space to store formula.

Powdered Formula

Powdered formula, such as Cow & Gate, takes the cake for the least expensive formula. It is the most environmentally-friendly option as well!

Additionally, it takes up the least amount of space in transport, as well as in your pantry and in your garbage can.

The downfall for powdered formula, however, is that it takes significantly longer to prepare, and you must follow the directions exactly.

Lasting approximately one month after being opened, this form of formula has a relatively long shelf life.

Other Types of Formula:

  • Cow’s-milk-based formula
  • Partially and extensively hydrolyzed formulas
  • Soy-based formula
  • Lactose-free formula, such as Aptamil
  • Formula for premature and low-birth-weight babies
  • Human milk fortifier
  • Metabolic formula
  • Organic formula, such as HiPP Organic
  • Other specialty formula

It is recommended to start your baby with a formula made from regular cow’s milk, as most babies will tolerate it very well.

They are also usually the least expensive.

However, if your little one doesn’t seem to be responding to the standard cow’s milk formula, try out soy.

Although soy protein has been controversial, it can work well for children who become gassy, get a rash, or have another negative response to standard cow’s milk formula.

2. Digestion is a Key Denominator

While convenience and expense of a formula do play a role in your selection, the most important factor for the best formula is digestion.

Many parents report their children experiencing digestive discomfort as a result of the baby formula. Therefore, it’s important to choose formula wisely to attempt to avoid such distress.

Even though cow’s milk formula may be the best formula for some babies, it may not be suitable for you baby’s digestion.

If cow’s milk formula seems to cause digestive distress for your baby, try other options such as goat’s milk formula like Holle Goat Milk Infant Formula, or hydrolyzed baby formula, or other types of formula listed above.

Additionally, new formulas are often released and marketed to parents to help babies with digestion issues and to relieve problems such as colic or acid reflux.

So keep an eye out, and if you think your baby could benefit form a specialty formula, ask your doctor about it first!

3. Name Brand vs. Generic—Which to Choose

Because generic brands of formula must also meet the FDA’s requirements for nutrients in formula, generic brands are nutritionally adequate for your child.

In many instances, the only difference between the generic and name brand options is the price.

But while generic brands may be nutritionally adequate, some doctors say formula isn’t the place to hunt for a bargain.

However, no matter which way you choose to go with formula—generic or name brand—always take a minute to check out the label before making a purchase.

Ingredients vary from brand to brand and can make a difference, so be sure to look over the label.

4. Stay on the Lookout for Various Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are also a key denominator during selecting the best formula for your baby.

And while most of the ingredient label describe vitamins and minerals, the words can be hard to figure out.

The vitamins and minerals a formula contains are key in the growth and development of your child. So while many parents are mainly concerned with protein and carbohydrates, check out the whole label.

Some dairy sources have a high amount of vitamins and minerals naturally.

Compare the natural vitamin content in different formulas to make sure you’re getting the best formula for your baby, with the right amount of vitamins and minerals for his or her diet.

Keep in mind that all healthy babies who are not breastfed exclusively be given iron-fortified formula throughout their first year.

5. Homemade Formula—Is it Worth it?

While it may sound like a good idea initially, doctors don’t recommend making the attempt at creating your own formula.

Professionals strongly advise against homemade formula, as it could lead to failure to gain weight, malnourishment, or even death.

Potential dangers of making your own formula for your child include:

  • Some ingredients aren’t safe
  • Contamination is possible
  • An imbalance of nutrients is likely

If you do decide to give homemade formula a try, consult an expert first, always keep the process clean, and watch your child closely for health probelms.

6. Pick One with Plenty of Prebiotic Oligosaccharides

Looking for prebiotic oligosaccharides can be one way to find the best formula for your baby.

Prebiotic oligosaccharides are non-digestible carbohydrates that remain in the digestive tract and can make digestion easier for your baby.

Once in the digestive tract, they perform various important functions and are able to stimulate a specific type of bacteria in the digestive tract.

These bacteria stimulate digestion, making the formula easier for your baby to digest in general. Therefore, look for a formula with plenty of prebiotic oligosaccharides.

What formulas have you tried out for your baby? What have you found to be the top contenders, and which have you found that fall short? Tell us about your experiences with different formula products in the comments!

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Best Organic Baby Formula: Which Is Safest for Your Child?

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When it comes to feeding your little loved one, you want to give him or her the healthiest and most nutritional formula, and sometimes breastfeeding is not an option. As a parent with so many brands available, it’s difficult to know which is best to buy for your child.

One of the first decisions to make is if you want to buy organic or nonorganic formula. Organic formula is definitely the way you want to go. We’ll start with sharing why, and then we’ll speak to the best organic baby formula you can find for your child.

Organic vs. Nonorganic

As your baby is growing in size, so are his or her immune, digestive and central-nervous systems. That makes your baby’s body more susceptible vulnerable to the toxins, bacteria, and foodborne pathogens that are sometimes found in nonorganic food. Pesticides and other chemicals are often used to help protect crops from insects, diseases and more.

Organic foods, however, are grown with natural compost or manure rather than with synthetic chemicals, fertilizers or pesticides. Research has shown that babies and children who eat organic food have a lower risk of exposure to these potentially harmful pesticides. The Organic Foods Production Act bans synthetic preservatives in organic food, which makes organic formula the superior choice.

Here are important considerations for purchasing formula for your baby.

GMOs

Traditional nonorganic foods often contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms). A GMO could be a plant, animal or an other organism, and its genetic makeup has been modified with science. When genes are modified, you risk making unstable combinations of plants, animals, and bacteria. You do not want to risk your baby’s health with any product that is unstable or unnatural.

Examples of food with a high risk of GMOs include corn, soy, animal products, and squash and zucchini. Considering that soy could contain GMOs, it’s best to only give your baby soy formula if he or she is dairy intolerant. The good thing about European organic foods is that they do not include any soy-based formulas.

Sweeteners

As formula is typically made with cow’s milk, it has less lactose, which is a carbohydrate. In an effort to make formula as similar to breast milk as possible, manufacturers typically add sweeteners.

Some sweeteners are less healthy than others. The best-case scenario is when lactose is added to sweeten formula because it’s the most similar to human milk.

Lactose is also the most expensive, however, so sometimes manufacturers use plant-based sweeteners instead, such as corn syrup, including maltodextrins, which are partially hydrolyzed starch molecules, or brown rice syrup—NOT good for the little kiddo.

Palm Oil

Sometimes palm oil is used in baby formula to make up for a lack of palmitic acid, which is naturally found in breast milk. The goal is to match the fatty acid profile, but the presence of palm oil has been shown to lower calcium and fat absorption, and lead to lower bone mineral density, as babies aren’t able to absorb palm oil properly.

DHA/ARA

DHA and ARA are oils added to increase fatty acids in baby formulas, which some mothers worry their babies won’t get by not consuming breast milk.

However, with these supplements comes the possibility of algae and fungus, which is unnatural. Back before the Organic Food Production Act, there were many reports of babies who suffered from gastrointestinal issues after consuming baby formula with DHA and ARA. Avoid these whenever possible.

Synthetic Preservatives

Synthetic preservatives, such as beta-carotene and ascorbyl palmitate, are added into formulas to reduce the chance of oxidation and spoilage. You have to be careful with any formula that claims to “prevent rancidity,” for example because potentially unnatural preservatives have been added.

These preservatives do not provide any nutritional value to your baby and are therefore not allowed in organic foods. That being said, however, if a synthetic preservative is considered essential to the food, then it’s permissible.

Carrageenan

Carrageenan is a food additive often used in animal experimentation, which has been linked to gastrointestinal disease in some laboratory animals. Choosing European baby formulas for your baby is a great way to avoid Carrageenan because it’s prohibited in the European union.

Our Top Best Organic Baby Formula Picks

As a parent, feeding your baby organic formula is the best option, since there will be zero chance of GMOs, no pesticides and no DHA/ARA. With that in mind, the choice between organic or nonorganic baby formulas seems like an easy one. Now you just have to decide which brand.

Use the following brand guide to help you choose the best organic baby formula.

HiPP Organic

A German, family-owned business, HiPP Organic has been producing baby food since the 1930s. HiPP products focus on the best organic baby formula for the little one with a sensitive stomach (gas, constipation, allergies and acid reflux).

With HiPP, you get all-natural, nutritional baby food, which includes ingredients like coconut and sunflower oil. Dairy products are processed from grass-fed cattle. They use lactose as a sweetener and probiotics as well.

Holle

Also from the 1930s, Holle comes from Germany and is the most popular brand throughout Europe. They offer a variety of products, including milk, porridge and vegetables.

Holle follows strict guidelines against pesticides and chemical fertilizers and uses raw ingredients to meet biodynamic and organic standards. They also use ingredients like coconut and sunflower oils. Though it does not contain any unapproved synthetic preservatives, it still does use palm oil and maltodextrin.

Lebenswert

Lebensewert is a trustworthy German brand introduced in 2009. They focus on chemical-free products with lactose, a much more natural sweetener than maltodextrin.

Keep in mind, in order to be labeled “USDA organic” baby formula must be at least 95 percent organic — meaning that there is 5 percent that may still be made nonorganically. Just because a product is marketed as “natural,” “free-range,” and “no hormones added” does not mean it’s been verified as organic.

Do what’s best for your baby and choose European organic baby formula. Happy feeding!