Organic baby formula is the best option when you are unable to breastfeed.
By choosing organic over conventional you avoid growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, fertilizers and steroids in your baby’s formula.
You may plan to use formula from day one, or you may not be planning to use it all. However, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the healthiest options, in case things don’t go as planned.
Here are some of the choices you will make when selecting organic baby formula:
Organic Dairy or Soy?
My daughter had jaundice when she was two days old. She needed lots of fluid in order to re-hydrate and flush the bilirubin
out of her system.
We were still in the newness of latching on and the colostrum wasn’t providing enough fluid to keep the jaundice from getting worse.
When the nurse told us we needed to supplement, I had to make some big decisions fast. The first was choosing the type of infant formula and the second was choosing how I wanted to give it to her.
“Organic or Soy?” asked the nurse.
I had no idea about the benefits of one over the other at the time. I went with organic dairy because I had been drinking organic milk for years. Ultimately, I’m happy with the decision I made.
Here’s some info to help you choose which is best for your baby:
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says soy formula is safe, but it should be used only when medically necessary; i.e. allergies to dairy, lactose and cow proteins, or a desire to have a vegetarian baby diet.Concerns about soy include: decreased ability of babies to absorb calcium from soy and the effects of phytoestrogens or isoflavones. However, there is little research confirming risks or benefits of using soy in baby formula.
- Babies allergic to cow’s milk are just as likely to be allergic to soy, so you may want to try a hypoallergenic formula if allergies are a problem. Soy should not be used to prevent food allergies.
- If you do use soy, only use organic soy formula, because not only does conventional soy involve heavy use of pesticides, but 87 percent of soy grown and used in U.S. foods is genetically modified (GM).
Powdered Formula or Ready to Use?
- Ready to use organic baby formula is convenient. Just pour it in the bottle and go.
However, check with your formula manufacturer to make sure the formula container is free of harmful chemicals such as Bisphenol-A. You should be sure and store it in a dark area like a pantry and pay attention to the expiration dates once you’ve opened it.Also health care providers recommend disposing of the excess formula rather than saving it. The bacteria from your baby’s saliva mixed with the leftover formula and could make him sick.
- Concentrated infant formula is another option. You mix this liquid with water when your baby is ready to drink it.
- Powdered infant formula is the more economical and eco-friendly option.
You choose how much you mix so you can adjust to your baby’s appetite rather than throwing out the excess from single servings.By opting for a large canister of powder, instead of single use bottles or packages, you can save on waste in the landfills.You may also want to use filtered tap water in lieu of nursery water. As of 2006, The American Dental Association believes water with fluoride damages teeth instead of protecting them.
Supplementing and Breastfeeding?
If you are planning to combine formula with breastfeeding, you may be concerned about giving your baby a bottle during the first couple of weeks. You may have heard it could cause nipple confusion or make your baby not want to latch on.
Here are some alternate feeding systems for this purpose.
- You can have the baby’s father give her the formula using a syringe and tube system.
The tube goes into her mouth instead of a nipple. Involving another caregiver inhibits the baby from associating the scent and taste of the formula with you.
- The second option is called the Medela SNS Supplemental Nursing System.
SNS involves draping a thin tube over your shoulders and inserting it with your nipple into the baby’s mouth.I found it difficult to use and recommend seeing a professional lactation consultant if this interests you.
- Once the latch on is established (you’ll know when) and your milk is flowing, you can bottle feed as needed.
You’ll want to choose glass bottles or bottles made from plastics that don’t leach toxic chemicals, such as those made by Born Free.
Popular Brands of Organic Baby Formula
- Similac Organic Infant Formula with Iron, Ready to Feed. This is the brand I am familiar with. Due to the huge brand name, it will likely be the choice presented to you in the hospital.
- Earth’s Best has organic baby formula fortified with DHA and ARA. Both are brain fats found in breast milk that are good for eye and brain development. Earth’s Best is one of the few brands that carries organic soy and dairy formulas.
- Natures One® Baby’s Only® Organic Infant Formula also makes soy and dairy formula and includes DHA and ARA. However, they include these oils from a different source than most companies.