Bringing up a baby while ensuring no synthetic product on the diet could be a challenging task for new parents. Therefore, organic baby formula often works as a solution for parents who want to ensure optimum safety and nutrition for their babies. Moreover, for mothers and babies who cannot breastfeed properly, choosing a good quality baby formula is a big concern. For them, the baby formula works as the primary nutrition source. While there are plenty of conventional baby formulas available on the market, some companies manufacture and market organic products as well. Here are some reasons why it may be worth considering buying organic instead of choosing conventional baby formulas.
What is the Baby Formula?
Baby formula is also known as infant formula or infant milk. It is designed for infants under 12 months of age. Baby formulas come in powder or liquid form, which can be fed through bottle-feeding or cup-feeding. Depending upon the instruction of the manufacturing brand, one should use a baby formula with or without water. The process of manufacturing baby formulas ensures that the formulas sustain all the essential nutrients that a baby should get.
Breast milk is considered the primary and optimal source of nutrition for babies up to 12 months of age. For babies who are getting breast milk, baby formula can work as a nutrition supplement. However, many mothers and their babies can’t breastfeed due to various circumstances. Fortunately, baby formula can be a perfect alternative ensuring those babies get the nutrients they need.
Conventional baby formulas may contain hormones, chemicals, and pesticides, whereas organic products are free of these elements. For this reason, choosing organic makes it safer than non-organic formulas. Organic infant formulas are made from either cow’s milk or soy. For vegan parents who do not want animal-derived ingredients in their infant formula, choosing soy-based products makes the safest choice.
Certified Organic or Organic Ingredients?
While looking at the baby formula labels, the parents can see that some products are mentioned as made with organic ingredients while some are mentioned as U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved. The former category is risky as the products made with organic ingredients could have approximately 30 percent of non-organic ingredients.
On the other hand, an organic baby formula that comes with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certification is comparatively safe to buy. The USDA-certified products are grown in pesticide-free soil and meet USDA regulations for processed foods. As a result, these are free from hormones, chemicals, flavors, colors, preservatives, and pesticides.
Possetting is a common symptom in babies who bring up a little food during or after a feed. Though it is not an indication of sickness, a parent should avoid feeding a baby too quickly or too soon. Some babies are allergic to baby formulas and the most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, and persistent cough. The parents should consult a physician if these symptoms are seen.
Safe Ingredients in a Baby Formula:
Depending upon the manufacturing brands, the ingredient list of baby formulas can vary widely. However, there are specific components that should be present in all. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a baby formula should contain minimum amounts of 29 nutrients. Moreover, the FDA has specified levels in 9 of those nutrients, which should not exceed for every 100 calorie-serving. Here is a list of the ingredients that the FDA has recommended in baby formulas.
- Linoleic Acid
- Fat-Soluble Vitamins A, D, E, K
- B Vitamins: B6, B12, Niacin, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Folic Acid
- Vitamin C
Unsafe Ingredients in a Baby Formula:
One should check the list above while ensuring the essential nutrients in baby formula. While buying an organic baby formula, one of the biggest concerns for parents is which ingredients they should avoid. Below is a list that the concerned parents can follow to avoid harmful elements in baby formula, whether organic or non-organic.
- Corn Syrup: It is essential to avoid unnecessary sweeteners to a baby’s diet. Corn syrup has a high amount of fructose that can harm a baby’s health.
- Added DHA and ARA: Docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid are two fatty acids found in breast milk. When these are externally added to baby formula, these may have an adverse effect. However, recent studies contradict this fact and several studies even show some benefits of these two elements. Therefore, consulting a child nutritionist can be the best choice when a parent is skeptical about whether to avoid these two ingredients in baby formula.
- Palm Oil: It is an ingredient strictly avoided by vegans since it is highly destructive to the environment. Another reason for avoiding palm oil is that it may inhibit calcium absorption in infants.
- Carrageenan: It is a thickener derived from seaweed. Some studies show that Carrageenan may cause intestinal inflammation in babies.
- Metals and Pesticides: Unfortunately, some baby formulas contain metals and pesticides but do not mention their names on the label. Hence, one can choose products that have been independently tested for metals and pesticides.
- Hormones and Antibiotics: Animal agricultural practices may use hormones and antibiotics. As a result, these may be present in dairy-based baby formulas. Hence, choosing a certified organic product should be the best choice for the concerned parents.
- Flavors and Colorings: Artificial, synthetic flavors or colorings are extremely harmful to infants. These have the potential to increase the likelihood of hypersensitivity and behavioral disorders.
Whether organic or non-organic, all baby formulas vary in texture, taste, and feeding procedure. But, these are considered completely safe for an infant when a USDA certification is there on the label. Non-organic baby formulas may include corn syrup, pesticides, and other harmful chemicals that the parents should be aware of. Another process of selecting the best organic baby formula is by checking the price. Most baby formulas that are mentioned as made with organic ingredients may run a little cheaper than the USDA-certified ones. Also, buying an overseas brand may cost more than buying a local product. For all these reasons, buying baby formulas in larger quantities can help the parents save the budget.