Healthy Formula Options
It’s a fact—breast milk is the best food for babies from age newborn up to 12 months. I have worked with many mothers who, despite their best efforts, either did not produce enough milk or were unable to nurse their babies at all. For over 50 years in America, infant formula has been available, and there are several reputable brands—Similac, Enfamil, and Gerber to name a few. The formula companies used to market their products as better for baby than breast milk. More recently, as newer research has shown that breast milk is far superior to formula and contains many, many ingredients that cannot be artificially duplicated, the formula companies have moved to including information about breast feeding in their advertising and marketing their products more to be used as supplementation to nursing.
As good as some formulas in the U.S. are, most brands are still made from genetically modified ingredients, and they can also contain milk that is contaminated with growth hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides. Most also are not organic. Some parents think that soy formula may be healthier for their baby than a cow-milk (dairy) formula. But soy formula contains soy protein isolates, which are highly-processed soybeans that have been chemically altered. Soy formula contains high levels of phytoestrogens (plant-derived estrogens). The effects of these phytoestrogens are currently unknown, but they are substances that could potentially be harmful.
Most formulas now contain essential fatty acids for proper brain and nervous system development, which is a good thing, right? BUT, these oils are extracted by methods that involve neurotoxic hexane, even in formulas that carry an organic label. American organic formulas also contain some nutrients (because of FDA nutritional requirements) such as lutein, lycopene, taurine, and l-carnitine, which also use hexane and carcinogenic sulfuric acid extraction methods Breast milk is naturally sweet, and so sweetener is added to infant formula, even the organic formulas. They are usually plant-based sweeteners, made from rice, corn, or potatoes. Arsenic is a concern with rice sweetener, and of course corn syrup is not good for anyone.
Many formulas contain palm oil to try to replicate the palmitic acid in breast milk. But palm oil is not properly absorbed by infants, and decreased bone density has been found in infants who consume formula containing palm oil. Carrageenan is another chemical found in formulas, some organic, and lots of other “healthy” foods. It is derived from seaweed, and it is used to stabilize liquid formula. But is has been shown to cause intestinal inflammation and carcinogenic colon tumors. It has been outlawed in infant formula in the European Union, but it is still used in American formulas, even organic formulas.
So are there any safer formulas for infant feeding? We have discovered two, and I will tell you about them! The first formula has been used with great success by our Nurse Practitioner Nicci. It is called Lebenswert Bio Organic First Infant Milk Baby Formula Stage 1. Here is what Nicci had to say about this infant formula:
“It’s made in Germany but there is a distributer in the U.S. so you can get it in 2 days. I order it from organicstart.com. There is a rewards program and the more you buy at once the bigger the discount. It is a dairy cow formula. The cows are grass fed and certified organic. Europe’s standards for organic are much stricter than ours so I think it’s better than any organic formula made in the U.S. Some of the organic formulas made in the U.S. contain corn syrup or maltodextrin instead of lactose to sweeten because it is cheaper. Lactose is closer to the natural sugar in breast milk. This one uses lactose. It does not contain carrageenan which has been linked to cancer, again a lot of baby formulas in the U.S. contain this. When you compare labels there are far fewer ingredients in this formula compared to other organic formulas out there. They do not use synthetic nutrients like lycopene (in many formulas) and there are no preservatives. My baby girls have had zero issues with this. We were given Similac in the hospital and Harper’s chin turned bright red just from contact with the formula (if needed in a pinch, Enfamil is better than Similac). The reviews from thousands of parents are very high. Many of the people have tried every organic formula out there and this is the only one their babies can tolerate. And they do not irradiate the formula when they ship it from Germany to the U.S.—so no x-rays.”
There is also a U.S. organic formula that is better in many ways than other American brands. It is called Baby’s Only Organic Formula, made by Nature’s One. It is available at Whole Foods and other select stores. This formula uses a non-hexane method of extracting their DHA and ARA fatty acids. It doesn’t contain some synthetic ingredients such as nucleotides and taurine. It has organic lactose and brown rice syrup as sweeteners, and Nature’s One, created a filter that removes the arsenic from the brown rice syrup. This formula is marketed as a “Toddler Formula” but is does receive the FDA’s approval for infant formula. Nature’s One calls it a toddler formula because they believe babies should be breastfed for the first year of life.
Lastly, no matter which formula you choose, you should use filtered water to mix with the formula powder. Tap water contains many contaminants such as insecticides, weed killers, lead, BPA, high levels of prescription medications that have been disposed of improperly, phthalates, chlorine, and other harmful chemicals.
Feed your baby the best way that you are able to!
Blessings to you,