Is Infant Formula Safe for Babies?
Infant formula is suppose to be as close to breast milk as possible. As the primary source of your baby's nutrition, you want it to be as safe as breast milk too.
Parents who choose formula over breast milk for their babies have a range of reasons whether it is physical, medical, or just choice. With a variety of formulas on the market, they can choose from brands, protein sources, inclusion of minerals such as iron, and so much more. All of the formulas must meet national guidelines, but even as recently as February 2021, parents still have questions regarding safety.
Less than ten years ago, there was public outcry of the ingredients listed (or even not listed) on formula labels. Trace amounts of melamine and cyanuric acid were found in some name-brand formulas, yet they were deemed to be low enough to now raise public health concerns. The same was true in regards to corn syrup as a natural sweetener despite its concerns with connections to childhood obesity and heart disease.
How Has Infant Formula Changed?
Infant formula has made a change for the better, while some of the healthiest formulas are more accessible to babies than before.
- Organic – more infant formula brands have developed a certified organic product that does not contain chemicals or synthetic ingredients found in other products due to better farming practices.
- Sweeteners – Lactose is a natural sweetener found naturally in mother's milk and has replaced sugars and syrups such as sucrose or high fructose corn syrup.
- Oil – Rather than create infant formula with oils that may inhibit the absorption of calcium, more formula brands look to healthier oils. Coconut oil is one alternative to palm oil.
Why Should You Choose European Baby Formula?
European brands have been maintaining their high organic standards for over 50 years. Organic formulas from HiPP, Holle, Lebenswert, and Loulouka follow strict organic guidelines, steer clear of synthetic nutrients and additives, and avoid plant-based sucrose.
Organic: Our products meet organic guidelines that meet or exceed EU guidelines. Lebenswert is a part of Bioland Association that covers organic agriculture throughout Germany while Holle is Demeter-certified, a high level of organic quality by following practices according to the Demeter philosophy. There are no GMOs and they strive to avoid ingredient that may be natural but may not be ideal for a baby's digestive system or neurological development.
Sugar: Sucrose-sweetened formulas have no place in Europe. That ban went into effect in 2009 due to concerns of its lack of nutritional value and could lead to overfeeding. Even organic rice syrup had concerns with being too sweet and the potential for containing arsenic. Organic lactose is used in the earliest stages, such as PRE, while Holle and Lebenswert will use maltodextrin to balance out the sweetness of lactose and milk.
Additives: The ingredients used in European infant formula have a purpose, that is, to nourish a baby. All ingredients are organic unless they are minerals that cannot be sourced organically. However, through research and development, they are all key nutrients that promote growth and development.
As parents, it is important to read labels, know what the ingredients are, and learn which infant formulas are safe for your child. Some brands make it easy to determine what is safe compared to its competitors. With recent concerns about contaminants in baby food, it is important to know where your baby's food is coming from. It is also important to be mindful about the foods that are naturally higher in certain elements, such as heavy metals that are found in the soil. Moderation is key in all foods, but you can be certain that the formulas that we offer here at My Organic Formula are safe and beneficial for your baby.
If you have questions regarding infant formula and your baby or any of the issues regarding baby food, talk to your pediatrician or see if they can refer you to a pediatric registered dietitian who understands food and children.
Edited and reposted from August 2020