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Since having my first baby, I’ve prided myself on shopping for organic baby formula. But, if I’m being totally honest, I don’t exactly have a solid reason as to why. For years I’ve heard the benefits of eating organic produce (it contains fewer pesticides, is fresher, and creates less pollution, to name a few), so I’ve operated under the assumption that if I eat organic, perhaps my baby should, too.
As I’m on the search for the best formula for my family, I dove into the details of organic formula and am excited to share my findings with you. Below, I share what I’ve learned, plus eight organic formula brands you may want to consider.
Before We Begin…What Is “Organic” Formula?
In order to be considered an “organic” formula, at least 95% of the ingredients must be USDA certified organic, with the exception of salt and water. The remaining 5% or less may be made up of non-organic ingredients from the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, as long as these ingredients aren’t commercially available as organic.
Ingredients must be grown, processed, and handled according to the USDA organic standards—which regulate and minimize the use of synthetic pesticides and other synthetic chemicals, chemical fertilizers, and growth hormones. While all formulas marketed in the United States must meet nutrient requirements set by the FDA, brands that have the USDA organic seal are organic in addition to being FDA regulated.
What To Look For When Researching Organic Formulas
When researching organic formulas, look for lactose as the first ingredient listed on the nutrition label. Additionally, easy-to-digest fatty acids – like sunflower, safflower, soybean, and coconut oil – are also a yes. On the contrary, be wary of palm oil (which is not always easily digested) and maltodextrin (which is sometimes used as a substitute for lactose as the main carbohydrate source). Keep an eye out for formulas that contain highly-processed sweeteners, such as glucose, corn syrup, or brown rice syrup, and look for a formula with a third party heavy metal certification or testing program.
Some Popular Options – And How They Stack Up
Bobbie Organic Infant Formula
Founded in 2018 by two moms who struggled to breastfeed and were frustrated with the formula options on the market, Bobbie is the first European-style infant formula that’s both made and sold in the US and meets FDA requirements for infant formula. Its only carbohydrate is lactose, which is also the primary carbohydrate in breast milk. Additionally, its 60:40 whey to casein ratio closely resembles that of mature breast milk (and also makes it a more gentle option for your baby’s digestive system). On top of that, Bobbie formula provides 20 milligrams of DHA per 100 calories—which meets the EU standards for DHA.
It’s made with Organic Valley grass-fed milk from pasture-raised cows from across 45 small, family-owned American co-op farms in Vermont and Ohio. Bobbie does not use palm oil, corn syrup, cane sugar, gluten, maltodextrin, heavy metals, or pesticides. In fact, it's the first infant formula to receive both the Clean Label Project Purity Award and the Pesticide-Free certification.
Try Bobbie's Starter Bundle to see if it's the right fit for you and your growing family! 2 cans for just $40, plus free delivery.
Earth’s Best® Organic Dairy Infant Formula with Iron
Like Bobbie, this organic powdered formula is made with lactose as its only carbohydrate. It contains no corn syrup solids, maltodextrin, or other carbohydrate sources. Fortified with iron, lutein, omega-3 DHA and omega-6 ARA to support brain and eye development, Earth’s Best Organic Dairy Infant Formula also boasts added prebiotics to aid in gut health and immune function. It’s available in Sensitive and Gentle varieties for babies who have trouble digesting the original formula.
Earth’s Best is manufactured in the United States using organic milk from cows fed certified organic grain and hay. It’s currently priced starting at $28 per can and is available for purchase online and in stores such as Target, Walmart, and Kroger.
Happy Baby® Organic Infant Formula
Happy Baby uses lactose from cows raised on organic farms as its main source of carbohydrates. Made with nonfat milk and whey protein concentrate, Happy Baby has a whey-to-casein ratio of 30 to 70. It includes DHA and ARA fatty acids for brain and eye development, in addition to dual prebiotics (GOS and FOS) to promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria and support your little one’s digestive system. This formula comes in Stage 1 and Stage 2 options to provide the nutrition needed throughout your little’s entire first year of life.
Happy Baby is produced in the United States with ingredients sourced from certified organic farms and is currently priced at $30 per can. It’s available for purchase online and in stores such as Walmart, Kroger, Meijer, and Target.
Burt’s Bees Baby® Organic Infant Milk Dairy Formula
This organic powdered formula is modeled after breast milk and contains organic lactose as its first ingredient. Like Happy Baby, Burt’s Bees organic formula contains both nonfat milk and whey protein concentrate and has a whey-to-casein ratio of 30 to 70. It contains all of the nutrients needed to support your baby’s growth and development throughout the first year of life, including iron and omega-3 DHA (which is important for brain and eye development). It also contains prebiotics to help promote a healthy gut, aid in digestion, and support the immune system. With both Ultra Gentle and Sensitive options, you can tailor your choice to suit the unique needs of your growing baby.
Burt’s Bees formulas are produced with organic dairy ingredients sourced from pasture-raised cows on dairy farms in the United States, Canada, Europe, and New Zealand. Its Organic Infant Milk Dairy Formula is currently priced at $32 per can and is available for purchase online and in stores like Walmart, Meijer, and BuyBuy BABY.
Enfamil® Simply Organic Infant Formula
Enfamil’s first organic formula, Enfamil Simply Organic, is inspired by breast milk. It derives its protein from nonfat milk and whey protein concentrate, and has a whey-to-casein ratio of 20 to 80 (which is more similar to cow’s milk than mature breast milk). It contains omega-3 DHA for brain development and vitamins C and E for immune support, in addition to prebiotics for gut health and immune support, and choline in amounts similar to those found in breast milk. It’s made without antibiotics, added preservatives, artificial growth hormones, or corn syrup solids (and contains a combination of lactose and maltodextrin for its carbohydrate source instead).
Enfamil Simply Organic is made in the United States with ingredients sourced from organic farms and pasture-raised cows. It’s currently priced at $35 per can and available for purchase online and in stores such as Target, Meijer, and Walmart.
Mama Bear Organic Infant Formula with Iron
This organic formula claims to be comparable to Similac Organic – at a cheaper price. It doesn’t contain lactose as an ingredient, but instead uses a blend of organic corn syrup solids and organic maltodextrin as its source of carbohydrates. In terms of protein, Mama Bear Organic uses nonfat milk with a whey-to-casein ratio of 20 to 80. This organic formula contains omega-3 DHA, omega-6 ARA, vitamin E, and lutein for brain and eye development, as well as more than 25 other necessary vitamins and minerals that will help your baby grow and develop throughout the first year of their life.
Mama Bear is made in the United States—with a combination of domestic and imported ingredients. It’s currently priced at $24 per can and is available for purchase online at Amazon.
Parent’s ChoiceTM Organic Infant Formula with Iron
Parent’s Choice with Iron is a milk-based formula that contains nonfat milk as its protein source, a 20 to 80 whey-to-casein ratio, and corn syrup solids and maltodextrin as its carbohydrate sources. It also contains the vitamins and nutrients needed for your little one’s growth and development, with added omega-3 DHA and omega-6 ARA for healthy eye and brain development. This formula is gluten free, non-gmo, and certified Kosher by the Orthodox Union.
Parent’s Choice Organic Baby Formula is manufactured in Vermont using organic milk from cows fed certified organic grain and hay. The most cost-effective formula on this list, it’s currently priced starting at $17 per can and is available for purchase online and in-store at Walmart.
Similac® Organic Infant Formula with Iron
Similac Organic with Iron is formulated with OptiGROTM—a unique blend of omega-3 DHA, lutein, and vitamin E to help support brain and eye development. Made with nonfat milk as its protein source, it has a whey-to-casein ratio of 18 to 82. It also contains all of the essential vitamins and minerals for healthy growth of your little one. Additionally, Similac Organic is made without palm oil or corn syrup solids.
Similac Organic is made in the United States at Similac’s plant in Michigan. It is generally priced at $40 per can for powdered formula. It’s also available as a liquid, ready-to-feed alternative, although this comes with a higher price point.
Which Is Best For Your Baby?
Every baby is unique. That means there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to formula. Every family has different preferences and needs, which means you may have to sample a few different formulas – and consult with your pediatrician – to find the best fit for you.
With that being said, our family has become a Bobbie family through and through. We love that this brand is run by moms who really care. Made with simple, safe, and healthy ingredients designed to be gentle and taste great, Bobbie has consistently proven to be a favorite of mine and my little’s. I recommend at least giving it a try as you search for the best fit for you and yours.