I exclusively breastfed for the first 5 1/2 months until the complications I was having outweighed the benefits for our family. (That will be another post.) There is an extreme amount of pressure placed on new mothers to breastfeed for the first year which caused me great anxiety over making the switch. Like most parents, I only want the best for my child, so I did tons of research on which formula may be the best option.
My concerns began when I took a look at the ingredients in the leading brands Similac and Enfamil samples I had received by mail and was shocked to read that the first ingredient in both brands was corn syrup solids. (Corn syrup solids are not the same as high fructose corn syrup, they are used as a form of carbohydrates which replaces lactose in formula when allergens are a concern, however it still bothered me that this was the first ingredient.) Before I continue, I do realize that there are thousands of babies exclusively fed these two brands of formula and they turned out very healthy, however I decided to do further research to ease my mind that I was giving my baby what I determined to be the best she could have since I was no longer able to offer breast milk and did not feel comfortable using donated milk as I felt that formula was much more regulated and consistent.
I read several articles and talked to several other mothers as well as my pediatrician who unfortunately offered little incite as to which brand was best to use other than to say that they are all very similar and any would do unless we found that she had allergies. This to me was like saying that eating McDonald’s daily was the same as eating a well-balanced diet of whole foods. There had to be a difference somewhere.
Two articles in particular proved most helpful in making my decision. The first article is on the ‘food babe’ blog. Please note that I am not in the practice of trusting my child’s nutrition to someone who calls themselves the ‘food babe’, however the guest blogger featured in this post has excellent credentials. The article breaks down each ingredient in layman’s terms explaining how they affect babies. Click here for the article. The most concerning ingredient to me was palm oil which causes ‘soaps’ in the baby’s gut. (Soaps also explained in the article.) This concern is further validated in the other article which takes a slightly more laid back, yet just as credible source. Click here for the second article.
After careful consideration, I chose Baby’s Only Organic Dairy ‘Toddler’ formula. It seemed to me to be the best formula available in the United States as far as I could determine by my research. The only other viable options seemed to be HiPP or Holle which are European formulas which are only available on the grey market in the United States and are not regulated by the USDA. It seemed to me that even if these two brands had slightly better ingredients, there was a chance I would not hear about any recalls and if there were recalls, I would most likely be forced to dump out my investment instead of having them replaced as I would be able to do with American made Baby’s Only.
There is some confusion with Baby’s Only as the can clearly reads ‘Toddler Formula’, however upon further review of the back of the can it is labeled this way to encourage breastfeeding for the entire first year. The formula is perfectly fine to for infants from birth on. Another concern that often arises is DHA and ARA. Baby’s Only offers a formula which is specifically labeled with DHA and ARA, however the plain dairy version also states on the back that it “includes Alpha-Linolenic and Linoleic Fatty Acids the human body converts to DHA & ARA. These fatty acids are found in breast milk and are important to brain and eye development.” (See previously referenced food babe article which states that these supplements may be more of a marketing scheme than they are actually beneficial for babies. Apparently Nature’s One is no different.) Because of this, I see no need to spend extra for the can that is labeled “with DHA & ARA.” That being said, if you so choose to purchase this version take note that Baby’s Only with DHA contains the only organic compliant form of DHA available. They use a process involving egg yolks which no other brand uses.
If you would like to know more about Nature’s One products concerning Non-GMO and their DHA process please click here.
I would be remiss if I did not post a review of the product I have suggested. As of today my little one has been on Baby’s Only for one month and we are very happy with it. She seems to like the taste and has very minimal spit up and no issues with gas. For the first few weeks she did have slight constipation which was eased with a small watered down dose of prune juice daily until symptoms subsided. (Please speak to your pediatrician as to prune juice dosage and formula options appropriate for your baby.)
11 month update – As we enter our last month on Baby’s Only Organic formula I have not one single complaint. My baby is happy and healthy and meeting all of her milestones and the pediatrician says she is in perfect health and thriving. I am very glad I did my research and know that I am giving my baby the best formula in the US!