In this article, we’re going to look at the most common ingredients in European organic baby formula from brands like Holle, Lebenswert, HiPP and Loulouka.

In comparing these ingredients with mass-produced American foods, you might find that the whole foods, like cow’s milk, aren’t listed.

  • PRE- AND PROBIOTICS - Many adults take probiotics to improve their digestive systems. There are helpful bacteria that live in our guts. They’re harmless and necessary. By including them in the formula, the companies are helping baby’s digest their formula better.
  • SOY - Early in life, soy is a bit problematic. It’s used as an emulsifier and to add protein. There are two concerns: soy is a frequent allergen, and it contains phytoestrogens, chemicals that act like estrogen in your baby’s body. Avoiding soy is better until the baby is completely off formula, but definitely in the first six months.
  • PALM OIL - Palm oil is used as fat in baby formula. It adds calories and palmitic and oleic acids, both of which are vital to your baby’s growth, especially in the brain. Fats are vital to growing babies. Never cut out fat or put your baby on a diet without specific instructions from your pediatrician. Most fats, especially those in the formula, are very good for babies.
  • WHEY - This is a liquid leftover from the process of making cheese. Whey is mostly lactose, providing sugars and energy to the baby, It also contains some protein. Whey should avoid it for babies that are lactose intolerant.
  • OMEGA-3 AND 6 - These are vital fatty acids used for the construction of cells in the body. Most formulas get their fatty acids from fish oil, but it’s also derived from nuts, eggs, and more. This is a more recently included ingredient that might not be necessary, but breast milk contains essential fatty acids. Formula makers add it to guarantee that babies get the best nutrition possible.
  • MALTODEXTRIN - This is an ingredient derived from plants that add sweetness and is used as a thickener. Many people don’t like it because it’s an “artificial” sweetener, but the companies use it because it’s organic and makes formula smoother and more palatable.
  • LACTOSE - Lactose is the primary sugar in milk, breast milk, cow’s milk, and goat’s milk. While sugar gets a bad rap from most people, sugars are necessary for life, especially for little, growing bodies. Lactose can be problematic for lactose-intolerant babies. If your baby rejects formula or spits it all up, call your pediatrician.

Non-organic, and even American organic formulas, often have many chemicals instead of these naturally occurring ingredients. Be sure to read your baby’s formula labels to see how much of it is from whole foods and filled with good nutrition.

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