The Potential Health Benefits of Organic Baby Formula: Insights from Medical Research

Healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. This is what many people all over the world are becoming increasingly aware of. If you’re one of those people, you will surely also be concerned about the health of your baby. Why, then, go with a traditionally produced baby formula? Rather, why not go for an organic formula, which is produced using more natural ingredients than other formulas?

The organic baby milk formula market is competitive, with different companies coming out with their newly developed products, trying to come up with the ‘best’ version. Two of the most popular brands of baby formula are Enfamil and Similac. Read a quick account of Enfamil vs. Similac and you’ll have a good chance of knowing which way to go when it comes to choosing an organic formula for your baby.

As fast as the products emerge, research into the area of organic formulas develops. We already know that human milk is the best option for your baby. However, the new organic formulas are getting closer and closer to emulating what it is that makes human milk so effective.

What is baby formula?

Baby formula is an alternative to breast milk. It is a powder that you mix with boiled water to form a runny liquid, which the baby is fed in a bottle. It’s carefully designed to mirror, as much as possible, the nutrients and other elements a child would get from breast milk.

A successful baby formula should give your baby all the nutrients it needs for its age and to ensure it will grow well and be healthy.

What goes into organic baby formula?

The basis of most baby formulas is cow’s milk, to which minerals and other nutrients are added. This is then dehydrated to form the powder.

Organic formulas are based on using cow’s milk that is sourced from farms practicing organic farming. The result is that the formulas contain a high percentage of naturally occurring nutrients.

Comparisons have been made between human milk and the ‘usual’ formula (which has been produced the same way for years), and human milk and organic formula. The results indicate that it is organic baby formula that is closer to human milk.

It is the amount and types of metabolites in human milk that makes the difference. Breast milk contains more of both these ingredients than either the ‘usual’ baby formula or the organic formula. However, it is the organic formula that is being researched to develop it to more closely mirror human milk.

How does organic formula differ from other forms of baby formula?

Something labeled as being ‘organic’ has been assessed to very high standards by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). It will also then be monitored by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration). For a formula to be labeled ‘organic’, most of the ingredients must be produced without the influence of anything artificial, such as insecticides.

This means that the cows from which organic baby formula is made must be farmed organically, according to the USDA guidelines; and that the formula must be produced with the correct procedures, approved and monitored by the FDA. Part of the requirements to meet the status of ‘organic’ means that the production of the organic formula must agree with the USDA National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances.

The net result of this is that the organic baby formulas will be free of artificial additives, such as GMOs (genetically modified organisms), antibiotics and artificial elements, such as sweeteners.

What does research tell us about organic baby formula?

Studies have been done on the advantages for infants of the addition of bioactive compounds to infant formula. This is all to seek ways to ensure that the formulas have as many as possible of the type of macronutrients and micronutrients in human milk. It’s also the opportunity to optimize the make-up of infant formula, so the ingredients in the infant formula will be the best for the babies.

Just about all the ingredients in organic baby formula are natural. This means your baby will be exposed much less to chemicals or artificially controlled minerals and other additives that are found in other types of formula.

Because of this, the organic formula produces a form of milk that your baby should be able to digest quite easily. It’s because the organic formulas affect the microbiota in the intestine positively.

If you use organic baby formula, your baby is less likely to develop allergies, simply because there are fewer ingredients and they are mostly natural. However, individual babies will differ in terms of the type and number of allergies they may show.

Where to, now?

Research into organic baby formula, thus far, has still only been done on a small scale. Research into infant nutrition is always developing, though, and more and more studies will be conducted.