In partnership with Bobbie.
* ByHeart is currently not taking customers, but are due back on the market soon.
We’re back with the latest installment of our Throwdown series, this time putting two premium baby formula brands to the test. Those who have spent time researching baby formula are probably aware that different brands have vastly different ingredients – some with less desirable additives like corn syrup, maltodextrin or pesticides. In fact, U.S.-based formula brands have historically been so terrible that many parents turn to European formulas, like Hipp or Holle, which are great but tough to find here.
Luckily, two newcomers have recently hit the scene, changing the formula game dramatically and making it easier for American parents to feed their babies something they feel good about. Let’s see how Bobbie and ByHeart stack up against each other…
Test #1: Ingredients & Quality
First things first, I’m just excited that we have two high-quality formula brands to review. Both brands are relatively new, and it was a big deal when each was green-lighted by the FDA (it’s an extremely tough process). They’re both modeled off of breast milk and certified clean by the Clean Label Project.
Using a European-style recipe, Bobbie’s formula was designed with gentle digestion and immune support in mind. All ingredients are USDA Organic and made without GMOs, synthetic pesticides, or fertilizers. You can get a breakdown of why each ingredient matters here, but highlights include Organic Valley grass-fed milk from pasture-raised cows raised across 45 small, family-owned American co-op farms that prioritize quality and sustainability, water-extracted DHA Omega-3, an organic fat blend with coconut oil, and easy-to-digest whey protein. In fact, Bobbie is the only Clean Label Project certified formula to meet the EU DHA recommendations (with 20 mg of DHA per 100 cal). Overall, a stellar line up of ingredients with 60% whey protein to 40% casein, a similar ratio to mature breast milk. And, I appreciate that Bobbie offers an Organic Infant Formula and a Gentle Infant Formula— for fussy or gassy babies— in which the proteins are broken down for even easier digestion.
This self proclaimed “mother of all formulas” rewrote the traditional formula recipe after five years of studying breast milk. While the formula itself is not organic, it’s made with organic lactose, a high-quality protein blend made with alpha-lactalbumin and lactoferrin (to support baby’s microbiome, organic lactose), and grass-fed whole milk to promote brain development, bone strength, and yep – healthy pooping! In terms of whey-to-casein ratio, ByHeart is 80/20, which is closer to colostrum than mature break milk. Here’s a great overview if you want to learn more.
Test #2: Taste & Consistency
I feel great about the ingredients in both brands – you really can’t go wrong here. But what about taste? A formula is only good if baby will actually drink it…
This formula is…dare I say, delicious? It’s easy to prepare and the powder dissolves easily into a consistent, creamy liquid. With just a hint of sweetness and a fatty, milky taste, my daughter gulped this one right up.
ByHeart’s formula is equally creamy, and tastes pretty good too. I love that the can comes with a hard edge so you can easily taper off exactly one scoop before making a bottle. However, this one dissolved much better in hot water than cold, so it would be tough to make bottles ahead of time (something that’s critical for me as I pre-make bottles every morning for daycare).
Test #3: Cost & Convenience
Premium ingredients come at a cost, and these two formulas are a bit more expensive than those you’ll find on store shelves. However, they’re on par or even a bit cheaper than their European counterparts.
This formula runs $1.84/oz and one can makes about 26 4 oz. bottles. I love the easy, convenient subscription model which delivers right to your door every month so you’ll never be without formula. Bobbie is available at Targets nationwide and is the only US FDA regulated, EU style baby formula offered in Target.
(*ByHeart is not currently in the market.) ByHeart’s cans are $39 each (or $1.63/oz) and make 46 4 oz. bottles. It’s similarly subscription-based, meaning no last minute trips to the grocery store for formula, ever!
Test #4: Brand Values
While not totally critical, I always feel better supporting brands that prioritize sustainability and align with my values.
Bobbie is the only female-founded and mom-led infant formula company in the U.S., and helping families is the core of this brand’s mission. I also love that the brand is proactive about taking a firm stand on important issues related to feeding, parental leave, and other family-focused topics. Each purchase “gives back” to support a variety of causes, including mastectomy moms who are unable to breastfeed, Baby2Baby, and Brilliant Detroit.
ByHeart’s big focus is quality, and making sure the brand can stand by each ingredient in the most meaningful way. Its “farm to formula” approach supports local, sustainable farming across the globe, from Denmark to upstate New York. ByHeart also donates a percentage of each sale to families in need through its Open-Hearted Initiative.
Test #5: Safety
Because baby formula is heavily regulated, understanding safety and processes is important.
Bobbie’s scientifically supported recipe is rooted in safety and quality, with each batch of formula going through over 2,000 quality tests. It’s made by an experienced, U.S.-based manufacturer that has been making infant formulas for over 35 years! As a parent, this makes me so much more comfortable and at ease, knowing my baby is getting formula made by a company with so much experience and a track record of safety.
ByHeart, the newest formula on the market, ran a massive clinical trial to ensure safety and standards. There is great data on the ingredient profile and positive impact on babies – and the process for ingredient suppliers is rigorous, taking approximately 1,000 hours and 110 steps. However, while its U.S.-based manufacturer (known as the “ByHeart Kitchen”) has strict quality controls and checks, this is a brand new manufacturer and doesn’t offer the same track record Bobbie offers, so you do need to put a bit of trust in the process.
Final Verdict: Bobbie
This was a seriously tough throwdown, and the truth is, there’s really no wrong answer. Both baby formulas contain extremely clean and high-quality ingredients, are easy to prepare, offer convenient monthly subscriptions, and from brands focused on giving back. If I had to choose, Bobbie has a slight edge primarily because it’s organic, offers a Gentle option and and it’s easier to make cold bottles to prepare for the day. At the end of the day, fed is best (especially with the current baby formula shortage in the United States) and I feel lucky to have two great options!