When it comes to babies, we all want for them the best nutritious formula that contains key vitamins, proteins, minerals, and carbohydrates. But is organic formula better?
Though breastmilk is the ideal food for babies, some women opt for formula feeding due to personal or medical reasons. Ever since the powdered formula was developed, debates between breastfeeding and formula feeding was a common topic among moms. Some moms do both – breastfeeding their babies and also feeding formula as a supplement.
Now, when it’s about formula feeding, arguments have extended to whether organic or non-organic/standard formula is better.
When you are pregnant or a new parent, you want the best of everything for your child, and most of the time it can be overwhelming. Choosing the right type of formula is one such challenge that many parents face, especially now when they have two types in the market: organic and standard.
It can be overwhelming to have so many options and even more so when you don’t know how the ingredients in the formula will affect your child. We’ve tried making it easier for you and summarized the options below.
The term organic should give you an idea of the quality of the product. Organic products are produced with synthetic nutrients meaning man-made ingredients without the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, or genetic modifications. Nor do they generate radiation as most conventional products do.
It is also important to note that organic does not mean all-natural. The FDA, on the other hand, demands that all formulae, organic or not, contain certain nutrients as well as preservatives that can be made synthetically, like lycopene, lutein, and nucleotides.
To certify a product as organic, the food must be produced on a farm that follows some strict practices such as:
- enhancing soil and water quality
- reducing pollution
- providing healthy and safe livestock environment and
- using only natural, organic pesticides, and fertilizers
Organic formulas are also GMO and hormone-free. Organic farms are kept under strict supervision so they follow the guidelines set according to federal organic standards. This means that some of the preservatives, additives, and flavors found in the standard formula are not added to the organic one. Though both types of formula are sweet, organic ones exclude ingredients that may potentially be harmful to your baby. You can check out this organic baby formula list to make an informed decision on which to buy.
Increasing concerns surrounding our food sources include certain chemicals and pesticides that our food may be exposed to. Therefore, it is only natural that parents opt for organic food products to reduce the child’s exposure to pesticide residues and chemicals set in standard or regular formulas.
Organic baby formulas are also a good choice if your child’s immune system is compromised. It can reduce further health problems which would otherwise inflate if standard formulas, that contain traces of pesticides, are consumed.
Regular formulas have been designed in such a way that their taste should resemble breast milk or at least close to it. Breast milk contains natural sugars like lactose whereas standard formulas contain sweeteners like corn syrup which can be harmful to the baby in the future.
Sweeteners such as corn syrup are used widely in regular formulas as a form of carbohydrates, to make it resemble breast milk. There are other sweeteners that can be harmful such as:
- Palm oil
- Refined sugars
- DHA and ARA
- Synthetic preservatives and nutrients
Researchers and scientists use these sweeteners in formulas as babies are already conditioned to prefer sweet breast milk. However, they can be harmful and may threaten their health in the future.
Issues with Standard Formula
Standard baby formula has a higher sugar content than its organic counterparts which, if fed exclusively, could eventually lead to obesity problems and trouble with weaning. This is one of the many reasons why parents opt to feed organic formula instead.
Another issue with the standard formula is that it includes cow’s milk as an ingredient. Though healthy, it can be potentially lethal if your baby is allergic to it.
Even if your baby is not allergic, cow’s milk still poses a threat. How? Cows graze on grass that has been treated with pesticides. Therefore, when you drink the milk or feed your baby the formula, both of you may be ingesting harmful chemicals which may cause long-term health issues such as a damaged nervous system, lung infections, or a weak immune system.
With organic baby formula, you can be at peace feeding your baby an appropriate and safe product where you won’t have to worry about potential health risks.
The “Food and Drug Administration (FDA)” strictly monitors all baby formulas to ensure that manufacturers stick to specified nutritional criteria. However, organic baby formulas have to meet stricter federal requirements in order to get a certified stamp.
In terms of nutrition, though the profile is equivalent, organic baby formulas are much safer than conventional formulas. The latter includes added colors, additives, and flavorings that are still not fully understood how they affect babies.
So instead of taking a risk, it’s advised to switch to organic formulas which emulate breast milk and provides optimal nutrients. Organic formulas are developed with quality organic ingredients which would provide your child with the necessary nutrition for their proper growth and development without fillers or additives.
Another important factor is the levels of hormones and antibiotics in formulas. The regular formula contains elevated levels of hormones and antibiotics which, with daily consumption, may lead to diseases (such as obesity) and resistance towards antibiotics later in life. It also increases the risk of allergies. Organic formulas, however, are hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and hypoallergenic.
Benefits of Choosing Organic Baby Formula
The organic baby formula provides you with the assurance that your baby’s nutritional needs are met while minimizing their exposure to harmful chemicals, and undesirable preservatives and additives. Since organic formulas contain minimal ingredients, it is virtually free from hormones, lethal pesticides, antibiotics, and heavy metals. In addition, fewer ingredients mean that it is easily digestible.
Organic baby formula is a healthier choice for babies. It does not include unhealthy sweeteners or cow’s milk that has traces of harmful pesides. The only sweeteners that are included are whey protein and lactose which is a natural way to sweeten the milk. However, many organic brands have banned sweeteners altogether as children are likely to favor sweet food which, in the long run, might cause them to be obese or suffer from diseases such as diabetes.
It also does not use cow’s milk that has been genetically modified. It is the purest alternative to breast milk for your child.
Other health benefits of using organic formula are:
- It contains lutein (a type of vitamin called a carotenoid) which is a vital ingredient that is good for your child’s eyesight
- It is also rich in antioxidants, and
- It does not contain heavy metals
All these benefits of the organic baby formula mean you can rest assured about the quality and safety of the product and provide it to your baby, knowing it is a healthier alternative than standard formulas.
Is Organic Baby Formula Worth It?
Like all organic products, the organic formula comes at a higher price. It depends on your decision whether the organic formula for your baby is worth the expense.
When you decide to formula feed your baby, it is important to consider the chronic exposure to certain harmful ingredients that may be a potential health risk over time. If your baby receives formula occasionally and you have a tight budget, a standard formula is an acceptable option. However, if you’re planning to exclusively feed formula to your baby as the infant’s primary source of nutrition, it is worth considering going organic to minimize health risks and exposure to dangerous chemicals.
Some parents, in order to get around the cost issue, prepare their own version of organic baby formula at home, but this practice has been considered to be unhealthy and unsafe for the baby by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Don’t let the cost of organic formula affect the way you feed your baby. A well-fed baby is a healthy baby.
As parents, our children’s health is our top priority. We all want what’s best for them. Many parents spend a lot of time figuring out what and how to feed their babies in the best possible way.
When it comes to feeding your child, the healthiest option is breastfeeding. However, if you do not want to breastfeed due to personal or medical reasons, then the organic baby formula is the next best alternative. Additionally, when you go shopping for an organic formula, make sure you read the labels as it’ll give you an idea of what the product contains. This will help you make an informed decision.
Using organic baby formula means you can be at ease and confident that your child will not face potential health issues that standard formula can cause. Packed with nutrients, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, it is not only a healthier choice for your children, but also mitigates future health problems.
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