Can’t (or Choose Not To) Breastfeed? Which Formula Brand Is Best For Your Baby?

Hi mommies,

Recently I’ve re-posted David Wolfe’s image on facebook (see below):

baby-formula-ingredients

As you can imagine, this one has got a lot of comments. Some moms agreed with the message, and some disagreed. Here’s what one mom wrote in the comments:

“ugh, this post makes me so mad! stop posting controversial shit. This is not educational at all and just makes mothers feel even worse at a time that they are already going through a hard time. Not everyone can breastfeed (as you obviously know) so just inform people that some formulas may be better than others and maybe give some options and explain why. Don’t make generalizations with pictures like this!”

It took me some time to rebound and get back on track, but this mom is totally right! It’s time you and I talk openly about baby formula and the bad ingredients it is made with, and of course about better options, and at the very end, there’s even a recipe for a homemade baby formula. So keep on reading!

My Breastfeeding Horror Story

I’d like you to know that I couldn’t breastfeed my babies because my breasts just didn’t produce enough milk, and believe me I’ve tried everything I could to produce the milk. I’ve gone through the hell of teaching my babies to latch on properly, cracked and bleeding nipples, rented a breast pump and spent hours milking myself. It was so embarrassing to even look my husband in the eyes because I literally felt like a cow. I’ve even got pills from my doctor to stimulate milk production (Domperidone). I’ve tried really hard for three months and nothing about this process was neither romantic nor sexy. It was clear that my body, for whatever reason, couldn’t produce sufficient amount of milk to feed my baby, and therefore I had no choice but feeding my babies with a baby formula. 

Choosing the Right Baby Formula Was Very Difficult

Because the ingredient list was very long and didn’t look healthy at all! I’ve spent hours at Walmart comparing the different brands and they all had the same crap in them. Eventually, for lack of knowledge and education, I fed my first daughter with Enfamil and my younger daughter with Similac (low iron).

If you are a true beginner to the world of nutrition I know all of this might sound a little coo coo. So many parents use the commercial baby formulas and their babies are fine, so why go through the extra hassle of buying a baby formula online or even make your own?

The reality is that a lot of babies are not doing OK with these formulas, and that’s when it becomes really challenging for parents. Another point is because these formulas are loaded with sugar and soy, babies learn to prefer sweet flavored food very early in their lives, which explains why so many children become addicted to sugar. Feeding children with the best quality of food is our responsibility as parents, and I think all parents should pass on this legacy to their children and the next generations to come.

Comparison of Commercial Baby Formulas From Worst to Best

Soy-Based Baby Formula

The controversial picture I’ve shared on Facebook was not of a dairy baby formula, it was of a soy-based formula which is used to feed children who are sensitive to dairy, or by parents who choose not to feed their family animal-based foods. That is a serious problem since a soy-based formula is probably made from GMO soy and corn which was proven to be unhealthy and is very high in sugar (the label states 10% (!!!) is sugar, and I assure you that they use white refined sugar and not Sucanat). Moreover, thanks to soy’s phytoestrogens, babies who are fed exclusively a soy-based formula are estimated to take in the estrogenic equivalent of five birth control pills per day! Those hormones can have lasting, long-term consequences including early onset puberty, menstrual irregularities, and fertility issues in the future.

Parent’s Choice Baby Formula

parent's choice

Ingredient List

Couldn’t find the ingredient list on their website! It is either well hidden or I’m blind! Please let me know if you can find it because I couldn’t.

Nestle’s Good Start Baby Formula

Nestle Good Start

Ingredient list:

PARTIALLY HYDROLYZED REDUCED MINERALS WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE (FROM COW’S MILK), CORN MALTODEXTRIN, LACTOSE, PALM OLEIN, SOYBEAN OIL, GALACTOOLIGOSACCHARIDE SYRUP, COCONUT OIL, MINERALS (POTASSIUM CITRATE, POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, CALCIUM CHLORIDE, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SODIUM CITRATE, MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE, FERROUS SULPHATE, ZINC SULPHATE, COPPER SULPHATE, POTASSIUM IODIDE, MANGANESE SULPHATE, SODIUM SELENATE), HIGH OLEIC SAFFLOWER OIL AND/OR HIGH OLEIC SUNFLOWER OIL, M. ALPINA OIL*, VITAMINS (SODIUM ASCORBATE, INOSITOL, CHOLINE BITARTRATE, ALPHA-TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, NIACINAMIDE, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, RIBOFLAVIN, VITAMIN A ACETATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, FOLIC ACID, PHYLLOQUINONE, BIOTIN, VITAMIN D3, VITAMIN B12), C. COHNII OIL**, TRYPSIN, SOY LECITHIN, TAURINE, NUCLEOTIDES (CYTIDINE 5′-MONOPHOSPHATE, DISODIUM URIDINE 5′-MONOPHOSPHATE, ADENOSINE 5′-MONOPHOSPHATE, DISODIUM GUANOSINE 5′-MONOPHOSPHATE), ASCORBYL PALMITATE, MIXED TOCOPHEROLS, L-CARNITINE.

Source: http://www.nestle-baby.ca/en/products/good-start-infant-formula-lp/good-start-stage-1-infant-formula/nestle-good-start-with-omega-3-and-6

Let’s Break Down the Ingredient List, Shall We?

PARTIALLY HYDROLYZED REDUCED MINERALS WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE – If you drain a yogurt in a cheesecloth, the water that comes out is the whey and it is good for babies as it is packed with good bacteria. However, in this formula, the whey comes from a concentrate and has reduced minerals, which is done to make the cow’s milk easier for babies to digest, but at the same time reduces the quality of the whey which is an important nutrient.

CORN MALTODEXTRIN – Ingredient #2 is a sweetener! In Canada 80% of corn is GMO, therefore it is pretty safe to assume that this company used GMO corn in their baby formula.

LACTOSE – ingredient #3 is again sugar (lactose is a disaccharide containing glucose and galactose units present in milk).

PALM OLEIN – This oil “has been shown to lower calcium and fat absorption“.

SOYBEAN OIL – this ingredient is very cheap and found in 99% of processed foods, and unless the soy is organic it would be GMO.

MINERALS AND  – All minerals and vitamins in this formula are synthetic and made in the lab, which means our body might not be absorbing them properly or in worst cases doesn’t even recognize them as nutrients.

In the part, Nestle’s Good Start baby formula has been sued for causing the death of millions of children in third world countries, you can read all about it here.

Enfamil A+ Baby Formula

Enfamil

As you probably know the ingredients listed first on the ingredient list are highest by weight, so this formula is very high in sugar (LACTOSE), bad quality oils (PALM OLEIN OIL, SOY OIL andHIGH OLEIC SUNFLOWER OIL), and GMO soy and corn (SOY LECITHIN, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS).

The Ingredient list:

LACTOSE, MODIFIED MILK INGREDIENTS, PALM OLEIN OIL, SOY OIL, COCONUT OIL, HIGH OLEIC SUNFLOWER OIL, POLYDEXTROSE, GALACTOOLIGOSACCHARIDE SOLIDS (GOS), SOY LECITHIN, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, MORTIERELLA ALPINA OIL*, MALTODEXTRIN, CRYPTHECODINIUM COHNII OIL**, TAURINE, NUCLEOTIDES (ADENOSINE 5′-MONOPHOSPHATE, CYTIDINE 5′-MONOPHOSPHATE, DISODIUM GUANOSINE 5′-MONOPHOSPHATE, DISODIUM URIDINE 5′-MONOPHOSPHATE), L-CARNITINE, ASCORBYL PALMITATE, MIXED TOCOPHEROLS, (MAY CONTAIN POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE)

Source: http://www.enfamil.ca/en/products/newborn-formulas/enfamil-a

Similac Advance Baby Formula:

similac

Out of all the commercial brands, Similac baby formula has the best ingredients, although it also contains soy that is most likely GMO and also a phytoestrogen.

The Ingredient List: 

Nonfat Milk, Lactose, Whey Protein Concentrate, High Oleic Safflower Oil, Soy Oil, Coconut Oil, Galactooligosaccharides. Less than 2% of the Following: C. Cohnii Oil, M. Alpina Oil, Beta-Carotene, Lutein, Lycopene, Potassium Citrate, Calcium Carbonate, Ascorbic Acid, Soy Lecithin, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride, Ferrous Sulfate, Choline Bitartrate, Choline Chloride, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Salt, Taurine, m-Inositol, Zinc Sulfate, Mixed Tocopherols, d-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, L-Carnitine, Vitamin A Palmitate, Cupric Sulfate, Thiamine Chloride Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Manganese Sulfate, Phylloquinone, Biotin, Sodium Selenate, Vitamin D3, Cyanocobalamin, Calcium Phosphate, Potassium Phosphate, Potassium Hydroxide, and Nucleotides (Adenosine 5’-Monophosphate, Cytidine 5’-Monophosphate, Disodium Guanosine 5’-Monophosphate, Disodium Uridine 5’-Monophosphate).
Contains milk ingredients.

Source: http://abbottnutrition.com/brands/products/similac-advance

Earth’s Best Baby Formula

earth's best

Earth’s Best formula is much better in terms of ingredients and also the fact that some of the ingredients are organic. However, this baby formula also contains soy, which is a phytoestrogen and in my opinion should not be fed to babies.

Ingredient List:

ORGANIC LACTOSE, ORGANIC NONFAT MILK, ORGANIC GLUCOSE SYRUP SOLIDS, ORANIC PALM OIL OR PALM OLEIN, ORGANIC WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, ORGANIC SOY OIL, ORGANIC COCONUT OIL, ORGANIC HIGH OLEIC (SAFFLOWER OR SUNFLOWER) OIL, AND LESS THAN 1%: MORTIERELLA ALPINA OIL*, CRYPTHECODINIUM COHNI OIL**, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, BETA-CAROTENE, VITAMIN D (CHOLECALCIFEROL), VITAMIN E (dl-ALPHPA TOCOPHERYL ACETATE), MIXED TOCOPHEROL CONCENTRATE, VITAMIN K (PHYTONADIONE), ASCORBYL PALMITATE, THIAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE, RIBOFLAVIN, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, CYANOCOBALAMIN, NIACINAMIDE, FOLIC ACID, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, BIOTINE, ASCORBIC ACID, CHOLINE CHLORIDE, INOSITOL, CALCIUM CARBONATE, CALCIUM CHLORIDE, CALCIUM HYDROXIDE, FERROUS SOLFATE, SINCE SULFATE, MANGANESE SULFATE, CUPRIC SULFATE, MAGNESIUM PHOSPHATE, POTASSIUM BICARBONATE, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, POTASSIUM IODIDE, POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE, POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, SODIUM SELENITE, SODIUM CITRATE, TAURINE, ORGANIC SOY LECITHIN, NUCLEOTIDES (CYTIDINE-5’-MONOPHOSPHATE, ADENOSINE-5’-MONOPHOSPHATE, DISODIUM URIDINE-5’-MONOPHOSPHATE, DISODIUM GUANOSINE-5’-MONOPHOSPHATE, DISODIUM INOSINE-5’MONOPHOSPHATE). CONTAINS SOY and MILK.

Source: http://www.earthsbest.com/products/product/2392310040

Better Formulas for Baby That You Can Purchase Online Only

The following baby formulas are made in the Europe where legislation relating to food labelling and ingredients is much stricter than in the US and Canada, therefore I trust these brand much more than a brand that is sold here. If choosing to use these brands, you need to do it way in advance as the shipping takes from two to four weeks. It would be a good idea to order a few cartons at a time at least a month in advance.

HIPP Organic

hipp-organic

 

For the full ingredient list, click here

To buy this formula online, click here

Nature’s One Baby’s Only Formula 

baby's-only-organic-formula

For ingredient information, click here.

To buy this formula online, click here

Holle Organic Infant Follow-On Formula

holle-organic-infant-formula

 

For the list of ingredients click here

To buy this formula online, click here

Nannycare Nanny Goat Milk Infant Nutrition

nanny-care-goat-milk-basedFor the full list of ingredients, click here

To buy this formula online, click here

Make Your Own Baby Formula

This portion of the article is brought to you by Yael Scutaru, a reader of our blog who made her own baby formula and was kind enough to share her story and the recipe. 

When I was 6 months pregnant with my son, I met an amazing woman – Jenn Pike. She was a nutritionist at a local gym. She gave a talk about estrogen dominance and encouraged all women to go home and to read the labels on all the products that we were using on our skin. I did and I was distressed to find out that she was absolutely right – every chemical that she mentioned was in every product that was in my bathroom cabinet.

This was the first step in my journey to a more natural living. I have started reading articles, researching topics and slowly changing my eating habits, what I put on my skin and into my body.

When my son was born, it was, of course, a huge change. Adjusting to becoming a mom, learning what to do and what not to do. I was lucky to be able to breastfeed him so the first 6 months were fairly easy once we got into our routine.

Then, my son’s pediatrician recommended that I start supplementing my son’s food with formula and solids as he was growing and my milk supply was diminishing. Solids were easy – cut, steam, puree, and feed. But when I turned to read the labels on the formula packages, I was quite shocked. Sugar, modified ingredients, etc. it didn’t sound appetizing at all! I was at a loss. Just at that time, Jenn (who had a son around the same time that I did) posted a blog post about a homemade formula that she developed. I read it and decided to give it a try. In preparation, I took a trip to a health food store (the first of many), purchased all the necessary ingredients and prepared my first bottle. The color was a bit unusual – it was the color of mocha because of the molasses in it. But my son loved the taste! He enjoyed drinking it and I could see that was feeling great while on it – he was growing, happy and interactive. I couldn’t see a downside so I continued this route. Sure I received some puzzled looks when feeding him in a public – is this woman crazy? It looks like she is giving her infant some coffee to drink! But that was always a way to engage in conversation and when I explained what it was that my son was drinking, people reacted with wonder and admiration because I was willing to invest time in preparing my own formula.

I continued to make the recipe until my son was about 16 months and by then, he was eating solid foods very well so he didn’t require formula anymore.

When I had my daughter 3 years later, there was no doubt in my mind that I will be making the formula for her as well.

Raising kids is a challenging job, especially today when parents are bombarded with information about the right and the wrong way to do things. I feel good about the choices that I have made and continue to make for my family.

Yael Scutaru is a married mom of 2 who is passionate about natural living.

Homemade Non-Dairy Infant Formula Recipe

how-to-make-a-homemade-baby-formula

Ingredients:

4 cups Rice milk. You can also use Coconut milk, Hemp milk or Almond milk

1/2 – 1tbsp blackstrap molasses (iron and B vitamins)

1/4-1/2 tsp cod liver oil (Carlson & Nordic Naturals are great brands)

1-2 tbsp. flax oil, coconut oil or hemp oil (essential fatty acid)

2-4 tbsp. brown rice protein powder (heartlands organic is a good one, see how your little does with 2 Tbsp. of protein, if there is no constipation or upset then up by 1 Tbsp. at a time until you build 4 Tbsp.)

1tbsp Genestra Pediatravite liquid infant multi-vitamin

1 drop of d-drops 400 IU

1/4 tsp infant probiotic powder

Combine the ingredients together and mix well, I prefer using the Magic Bullet for this job. Store in a glass container in the fridge for up to 48 hours, then discard. Try making a 1/4 of the batch first to see if your baby enjoys this option.

source: http://www.simplicityyoga.ca/home-made-rice-milk-based-infant-formula/

13 thoughts on “Can’t (or Choose Not To) Breastfeed? Which Formula Brand Is Best For Your Baby?”

  1. Great blog.
    Question for the homemade formula recipe:
    I was told that I shouldn’t give so much of the same kind of milk to a baby. Is that true? I was told I need to rotate different types of milks.

    Reply
    • Hi Irit, if you are not making your own almond milk at home it is always best to rotate milks. Silk brand doesn’t have Carrageenan, which is a concerning ingredient other brands are using to thicken their milks. I’ve read a great article recently that commercial almond milk actually contains a miniscule amount of almonds (only 2% of the whole package). So it is always best to make your own nut milk, its supper easy. Here’s a video how I do it at home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QQ-PJ99Bjc

      Reply
  2. Hi Dorit,
    Thank you for the great article!
    Yael, thank you for the recipe. I’m going to prepare the homemade formula and wanted to ask if I can replace the probiotic powder with BioGaia drops. If yes, how many drops you think I should add?
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Rina, YES!! Absolutely you can replace the probiotic powder with BioGaia drops. It is actually not really a replacement, just using liquid drops instead of powder as BioGaia is a probiotic as well! Good luck with making your homemade formula, let me know how it turns out and if baby was doing good with it!!

      Reply
  3. Nanny Care Formula
    NANNYcare Growing up milk is a fortified goat milk drink which helps provide key nutrients including: A rich source of Vitamin D, Vitamins A and C for the normal development and function of the immune system , Iron contributing to normal cognitive, development in childre, Calcium and Vitamin D, needed for normal growth and development of bone in children.

    Reply

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