Let me start by saying, that I flunked breastfeeding, TWICE, so my kids are formula fed babies, and my baby girl drank the same stuff I am about talk some smack about.
WARNING: Seriously, don’t read this if you don’t want to know the details about formula and what’s in it. Ignorance is bliss if you want it to be!
For a lot of moms formula will come into the equation at some point. Most doctors recommend waiting until 1 year of age to give regular milk, so if you don’t/cant do breast milk until that time, then you are left with formula to give your wee one. Now, with my first babe I just fed her what the docs gave her and whatever I could easily find at Target. She’s a smart cookie, and is still living after drinking it, so seriously, no judgments if you are currently giving your baby regular old formula or if you plan on doing so in the future!
Organic Vs. Non-Organic Formula
So, let me break it down real simple for ya! Formulas that are NOT organic will have the following:
* GMO’s- Genetically modified Ingredients
* Milk from cows that have been given growth hormones or antibiotics
* Ingredients that were treated with pesticides and herbicides and fumigated in storage
*Use oils that were processed with the use of neurotoxic solvents like hexane
If you decide that you are going to skip the organic route, then the rest of my post doesn’t matter, feel free to go back to eating Bon Bon’s on the couch (because thats what us Moms do all day, right?!) All NON-organic formulas are pretty much created equal. If you are going to go with Organic, then that’s a whole different ball of wax or ball of crap, whatever you want to call it!
Soooo, what does it mean IF you buy Organic formula? Ask and you shall receive:
**NO genetically modified ANYTHING
** The cows MUST be fed organic feed and cannot be given growth hormones
**ALL crops must NOT be treated with pesticides or chemicals
** Farms must pass an inspection
There are only 7 brands of Organic formula out there. That’s right, only 7! Crazy right?! There must be bazillion brands of cereal out there!
Lets focus on the 3 companies who make Organic formula in the US of ‘Merica
PBM (Perrigo): These are the guys making Vermont Organics, Bright Beginnings, Whole Foods 365 brand, Earths Best, and Wal-Mart Parents Choice
Abbott Laboratories: Similac Organic formula (these guys are “winning” as far as SALES goes)
Natures One: Baby’s Only Organic: (This is a family owned operation and not a publicly traded corporation) This formula is labeled as Toddler formula, but that is only because they want to promote breastfeeding before the age of 1, but it IS perfectly fine to give it to your baby!
I am going to focus on only a few ingredients that I think are enough to help you in making the decision that you feel is best!
Baby formula tries to closely mimic human milk (obviously), but cows milk has less lactose than human milk. So, the formulas need to make up for it by adding more of the sweet stuff. Lactose is THE best option to make milk sweet annnnnnd be the most similar to human milk. However, this shizzz is pricey $$$
Sadly, this means going on a budget (I hate it when my hubby uses that word!) for these formula companies. So, what do you think they did? That’s right! No more lactose, and instead plant based sweeteners.
Formulas like Earths Best and 365 Whole Foods brand all HAD lactose as the sweetener, and THEN did a subtle introduction to Organic corn syrup annnnnd lactose. Within time, the lactose was missing all together. Boo!! Now all, but two uses an organic corn syrup solid to sweeten the formulas.
The only two missing from this list is Similac Organic and Baby’s Only Organic
Similac Organic: This formula decided to use straight up sugar to sweeten the formula. The NY times actually wrote an article slamming this whole thing. READ IT. In Europe formulas are not allowed to have sugar sweetened infant formula. Basically, they don’t want your kid getting FAT, or overfed. Annnnnd, to make this research even sweeter they did a taste test, and found that Similac Organic was just as sweet as “Country Time Lemonade.” I used to use that shit to mask the taste of vodka in my adult drinks!
Baby’s Only Organic: This brand is the only one using brown rice syrup to sweeten their formula. The only issue with this is that rice can contain high levels of arsenic (check out my post on rice cereal). So, Baby’s Only got right on that and made sure their formula didn’t have high levels of arsenic in it.
Long story short, this stuff is added to formulas to mimic human milk, because human milk has palmitic oil, but they are NOT the same.
Palm oil is a problem because it can form “soaps” in your babe’s gut. This is NO bueno and is said to effect their development and health. It can also lead to hard stools and lower bone mass density.
Everyone but Similac and Baby’s Only contain palm oils. Earth’s Best used to NOT have it in their formula, but added it in in 2007.
**Palm oil is one of the first ingredients in Enfamil! PS: this is the same stuff I gave my super smart little daughter, and she’s alive and well. Just don’t want you to think I am bein’ all judgy about Enfamil.
DHA and ARA
We all see these big capital letters on the packing of our formula and some of us know what they mean while others just assume its important to give to our kiddos. Here is the cliffs notes version.
DHA is an omega 3 fatty acid and ARA is an Omega 6 fatty acid; both of which are found in human milk. However, the DHA and ARA that are added to formula are NOT the same as what is in human milk. It’s kind of like a knock off purse. It may look and feel like a Gucci bag, but it ain’t.
I don’t want to get into my findings, but the bottom line is this: Studies say that this is used as a marketing tool, and has no real benefit to your infant. There have even been some reports of diarrhea and vomiting from these additives. So, if your infant formula doesn’t contain these big capital letters on the label, rest easy, your tiny human will still be brilliant and have great eye sight. Oh, and one more thing, almost every formula has DHA and ARA on their formula cans, so its kinda hard to avoid.
This is added to some ready-to-go formulas, same little bottles they give you in the hospital. It is only added so you don’t have to shake the bottle of formula! It is a totally unnecessary additive that causes “gut” issues. For more info check out my previous post on milk HERE.
Synthetic lycopene, Lutein, Synthetic l-Carnitine, L-Methionine
The only formula that contains ALL of these synthetic ingredients is Similac Organic. Every other formula does not contain the above ingredients. FYI: Some of those listed are banned in European countries.
Ok, ok, so you have blabbed for this long about formula, now what?!! Which do I choose?
My short answer is this: I have NO freaking clue! Now that you know what is in the formula, you can make a proper decision. The truth is, I thought I had it figured out with a master plan to use two formulas, but in the end it just didn’t seem to jive with my second babe.
What is Graytmama’s formula for formula: I am done with the Non-organic formulas! I’m sure my daughter will hold it against me when she grows up and finds out I gave her baby brother the “good stuff”. I can just hear her now, “Ugh! Mom, you clearly never loved me, because you gave me Non-organic formula, now none of the boys like me at school!” It’s worth the extra money to at least give that to my baby. With #2 we WERE giving him Baby’s Only Organic and importing a formula from Europe called Hipp. Both of these formulas can be bought on Amazon.
Issues with Hipp Organic: Takes about a month to ship. Has fluoride in the formula, but not a ton. This stuff is amazeballs! You hardly have to shake it, and the consistency looks just like breastmilk. It’s got all the goods! I cant say for sure if this formula was bugging my babe’s belly or if he was just being all new and shit, but I dropped it because I had to blame something for the sleepless nights.
Issues with Baby’s Only Organic: Constipates for realz!
We were alternating between the Hipp and Baby’s Only, until my guy turned in a nut job that was waking up ten times a night. There are only a few culprits when it comes to newborns and food is definitely one of them. I don’t discourage either formula, I think they are both great, but I made the switch to Earth’s Best to see if there were any changes. Things seem to be better, and the poops are good, so I am sticking with Earth’s Best for now.
For the record: I WAS trying to avoid Earth’s Best because of the whole “maggot incident”. That’s right, MAGGOTS! Some mama posted a video of a food packet with a maggot crawling out of it. Oh god, I just threw up in my mouth.
I know there is so much information out there, and this can be SUPER confusing! Whatever choice you make, know that you are a GraytMama!!