Milk-based baby formula is a popular and safe alternative or supplement to breastfeeding. Giving your baby a milk-based formula ensures they will receive the necessary protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for healthy development. The composition of milk-based formula is very controlled and regulated, so you can be assured your baby is being given proper nutrition. Choosing an organic milk-based formula can ease your mind further by knowing the formula is made from organic ingredients and free from artificial flavors, colors, or additives.
We searched through many products and reviews to bring you a list of our seven favorite organic milk baby formulas. Our favorite product is the Happy Baby Organic Infant Formula because it contains complete nutrition with DHA and ARA for healthy brain and eye development. It also boasts prebiotics to promote a healthy digestive system. We also created a buying guide with insight from a pediatrician to give you more details on selecting the perfect organic milk baby formula, so scroll down to read more!
We selected our favorite organic milk baby formulas based on the following criteria:
Keep these aspects in mind when browsing our best organic milk baby formulas, and check out our Buying Guide below for more details!
Happy Family Organics
Happy Family Organics
Infant Formula With Iron, Stage 1
Organic First Infant Milk
Organic Ready-to-Feed Infant Formula
Infant Milk Dairy Formula
Organic Toddler Milk Drink Powder
Happy Baby Organic Sensitive Infant Formula
Sensitive Toddler Formula
Best for Gut-Healthy Prebiotics
Best Award-Winning Formula From the U.K.
Best Ready-to-Feed Formula
Best Formula for Complete Nutrition
Best Enriched Milk Drink With a Taste Toddlers Love
Best for Babies With Sensitive Stomachs
Best for Lactose-Intolerant Toddlers
|Form||Powder||Powder||Ready to feed||Powder||Powder||Powder||Powder|
|Main ingredients||Organic lactose, nonfat milk, palm olein or palm oil, soy oil, coconut oil||Organic whole milk, demineralized milk, whey protein powder, skim milk, coconut oil, rapeseed oil||Organic lactose, nonfat milk, high oleic sunflower oil, soy oil, coconut oil||Organic lactose, partially hydrolyzed whey protein, palm oil or palm olein, soy oil, coconut oil||Organic skim milk, maltodextrin, cane sugar, palm oil or palm olein, whey protein, soy oil, coconut oil||Organic nonfat milk, maltodextrin, glucose syrup solids, palm olein or palm oil, whey protein concentrate||Organic brown rice syrup, milk protein concentrate, canola oil, high oleic sunflower oil|
|Enriched with||Dual prebiotics, DHA, ARA, iron, folic acid, choline, vitamin D and calcium||DHA, ARA||Iron, DHA, lutein, vitamin E||DHA, prebiotics, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, iron||DHA, ARA, lutein, prebiotics, calcium, iron||Dual prebiotics, DHA, ARA, iron, folic acid, choline, vitamin D, and calcium||Organic DHA, choline, lutein, iron|
|Free from||GMO, corn syrup solids, carrageenan||GMO, palm oil, soy oil, corn syrup||GMO, artificial growth hormones, palm olein oil, antibiotics||Hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, GMO||GMO, artificial colors, artificial flavors, artificial growth hormones||GMO, pesticides, BPA packaging||GMO, palm oil, corn syrup, hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, fertilizers, soy|
|Certifications||USDA organic||GB-ORG-05||USDA organic||USDA organic||USDA organic||USDA organic||USDA organic|
|Amount||21 oz.||28.2 oz.||32 oz.||34 oz.||21 oz.||21 oz.||12.7 oz.|
Here's a list of the seven best organic milk baby formulas that are recommended on Amazon, Walmart, and more. We made our choices based on the points listed in the buying guide below, as well as reviewer comments when available.
*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not affiliated with or recommended by Dr. Regina Hardin unless explicitly stated so. Prices were gathered from respective EC sites on June 30, 2022.
|Main ingredients||Organic lactose, nonfat milk, palm olein or palm oil, soy oil, coconut oil|
|Enriched with||Dual prebiotics, DHA, ARA, iron, folic acid, choline, vitamin D and calcium|
|Free from||GMO, corn syrup solids, carrageenan|
|Main ingredients||Organic whole milk, demineralized milk, whey protein powder, skim milk, coconut oil, rapeseed oil|
|Enriched with||DHA, ARA|
|Free from||GMO, palm oil, soy oil, corn syrup|
|Form||Ready to feed|
|Main ingredients||Organic lactose, nonfat milk, high oleic sunflower oil, soy oil, coconut oil|
|Enriched with||Iron, DHA, lutein, vitamin E|
|Free from||GMO, artificial growth hormones, palm olein oil, antibiotics|
|Main ingredients||Organic lactose, partially hydrolyzed whey protein, palm oil or palm olein, soy oil, coconut oil|
|Enriched with||DHA, prebiotics, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, iron|
|Free from||Hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, GMO|
|Main ingredients||Organic skim milk, maltodextrin, cane sugar, palm oil or palm olein, whey protein, soy oil, coconut oil|
|Enriched with||DHA, ARA, lutein, prebiotics, calcium, iron|
|Free from||GMO, artificial colors, artificial flavors, artificial growth hormones|
|Main ingredients||Organic nonfat milk, maltodextrin, glucose syrup solids, palm olein or palm oil, whey protein concentrate|
|Enriched with||Dual prebiotics, DHA, ARA, iron, folic acid, choline, vitamin D, and calcium|
|Free from||GMO, pesticides, BPA packaging|
|Main ingredients||Organic brown rice syrup, milk protein concentrate, canola oil, high oleic sunflower oil|
|Enriched with||Organic DHA, choline, lutein, iron|
|Free from||GMO, palm oil, corn syrup, hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, fertilizers, soy|
When choosing an organic baby milk formula, you should pay attention to factors such as the formula type, ingredient list, and organic certification. Also, keep a look out for any unnecessary additives.
There are various types of milk-based formulas such as lactose-free, lactose-reduced, or hydrolyzed. Based on your baby's needs, you should choose a suitable type accordingly!
Dairy-based formula (or milk-based formula) is currently the most prevalent type on the market. Non-fat dairy milk is a great base to create a formula because it shares an important component with human milk: the carbohydrate lactose.
Dairy-based formula is made from cow's milk that has been treated to resemble human breastmilk. The reason why cow's milk has to be altered is simple: it contains a high concentration of protein and minerals that can stress a newborn's immature organs. Plant-based fats are also added to help the dairy milk better resemble the high fat content of human milk.
All of this gives dairy-based formula a balanced amount of nutrients for your baby and is easy to digest. However, some babies are allergic to the proteins in cow's milk and might need other kinds of formula. Consult with your pediatrician if you think this is the case.
Choosing to breastfeed is a personal choice, and babies should be able to grow and thrive on either formula or breastmilk. It is important to remember, however, that breast milk is a biologically active fluid that can inherently adapt to the health needs of babies as well as providing a natural boost to immunity.
Some babies are lactose-intolerant and suffer from symptoms such as diarrhea or gassiness when lactose from human or dairy milk. This means they might need lactose-free formulas that substitute lactose for vegetable sugar, like corn starch syrup. Keep in mind that lactose-free and lactose-reduced formulas are still made from cow's milk, but they should be safe for your baby to consume.
If dairy is also an issue, soy-based formulas are popular alternatives to dairy formulas. Soy formulas are recommended for babies with galactosemia, lactase deficiency, or those with vegan dietary restrictions.
Soy-based formulas must meet the same nutritional standards as dairy formulas, so they are a suitable replacement. Due to their high aluminum content, however, soy-based formulas might not be appropriate for pre-term babies as aluminum has been linked to reduced bone mineralization. When in doubt, consult your pediatrician!
Babies who are born with a rare disease called galactosemia will need a lactose-free formula as well. Galactosemia is caused by the body's inability to process galactose into glucose, which causes galactose to build up in the blood, tissues, and brain. Symptoms include seizures, poor feeding, jaundice, and irritability.
For babies with gassiness, colic, or any other digestive discomfort issues, you might need partially hydrolyzed formulas that contain milk proteins that have been broken into smaller parts to help babies digest better. However, this type of formula is not suitable for those with an allergy to cow's milk.
For babies with an allergy to cow's milk, extensively hydrolyzed formulas might be the best choice. For this type of formula, milk proteins are further broken down into their most basic form. The extensively hydrolyzed formulas will usually be recommended by a doctor.
Baby formulas often come in three forms: powder, concentrated liquid, and ready-to-feed. Powdered formula is the most inexpensive type and just needs to be mixed with water. It also has the longest shelf-life. The only real con is that it can take some work to make sure all of the powder dissolves in the water.
A concentrated liquid formula also needs to be mixed with water. Although it's more expensive than the powdered type, concentrated liquid formulas can dilute faster than powdered formulas. There is also the ready-to-feed formula. Formula is already mixed in and does not require any dilution, making ready-to-feed formula a convenient option, especially for travel. However, it might be a bit expensive and have a shorter shelf life than a powdered option.
No matter what kind of formula you use, make sure to follow the instructions in terms of storage or the time of usage in order to ensure the quality of the formula. Some require you to store them in the fridge after opening, and some products should only be consumed within one hour.
Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals create the essential makeup of baby formula. As mentioned, you will generally find lactose as the most common form of carbohydrate unless selecting a formula for a lactose-intolerant baby; then you will find carbohydrates like sugar, sucrose, or rice starch.
The fat found in baby formula is not from dairy as the milk tends to be non-fat; instead, you will find plant-based fats like palm oil, coconut oil, or sunflower oil. Protein is often found in the form of milk or whey protein. If a baby has difficulty digesting the protein, you might find a formula with hydrolyzed whey. And for babies with digestive disorders or vegan diets, soy protein is the most prevalent.
The vitamins and minerals found on the ingredient label might be a little confusing at first; it is important to familiarize yourself with the names used to identify them. For instance, vitamin B2 can be listed as riboflavin and vitamin C is often labeled as ascorbic acid.
Formulas tend to be enriched with various nutrients such as DHA or probiotics to ensure the well-being of your baby. However, take caution when choosing an enhanced formula product, since not all of the nutrients actually support the health of your baby.
Many organic formulas are enhanced with DHA and ARA to help with your baby's brain and eyesight development. They are omega-3 fatty acids that can be found in human milk. However, it is still not clear whether or not the addition of DHA and ARA in formulas is actually beneficial to babies.
Some studies state that DHA and ARA supplemented formulas reduce the risk of respiratory or skin issues in babies, but some find no real benefits. The way DHA and ARA are manufactured is also a concern. They are extracted with hexane, a petroleum-refining byproduct that could cause gastrointestinal upset.
Some formulas are also fortified with lutein, an antioxidant also found in human milk that is said to help in the development of the baby's brain and eyesight. It is also not conclusive whether lutein has any beneficial effects when used in infant formula. The use of products with DHA, ARA, and lutein should be at the discretion of the parents. Contact the manufacturer for up-to-date information on the levels of each fortification in the formula.
For babies who only rely on formula-feeding, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests an iron-fortified formula as a means to help them obtain all the essential nutrients.
If your baby is already using an iron-fortified formula, you don't have to use any other supplements. Still, it's best to consult with a doctor to make sure that your baby needs an iron-fortified formula.
For the first four to six months of life, most babies have sufficient iron stores. Iron is needed to ensure optimal growth and development of the brain and nervous system.
A benefit of an iron-fortified formula is that babies who receive it prior to the introduction of complementary foods at six months will likely not need to use an iron supplement.
Some formulas are enriched with prebiotics or probiotics, the healthy bacteria that reside in the intestines. For babies who suffer from diarrhea or other digestive issues, probiotic and prebiotic infant formulas might provide them with some relief. The use of prebiotics or probiotics should be discussed with your doctor, though, especially if your baby is immunocompromised or born prematurely.
Keep in mind that to actually produce benefits, each serving must include more than 100 million live cultures. Additionally, it's not necessary to complement breastfeeding with a probiotic formula, since breastmilk is already a rich source of probiotics.
Potential health benefits may also include fewer colicky symptoms, food allergies, and eczema or atopic dermatitis. Prebiotics are non-digestible ingredients that feed friendly or good bacteria in your baby's belly.
Probiotics are gut-friendly live bacteria found in foods and supplements. Research continues to explore the health benefits of pre and probiotics. A discussion with the pediatrician is always encouraged when deciding to use an enhanced infant formula.
By choosing organic formulas, you already exclude ingredients that might be contaminated with antibiotics, growth hormones, or other harmful chemicals. However, "organic" alone doesn't necessarily mean the formula is necessarily healthier.
Carrageenan is a common additive in infant formulas. It comes from seaweed and helps thicken and preserve the liquid formula. However, several animal studies have shown that carrageenan may trigger intestinal inflammation. It has been deemed safe for consumption at smaller levels, but those concerned with possible digestive issues might want to avoid this additive.
Some organic formulas contain palm oil and palm olein, which are used to help the formula achieve the same palmitic acid level as breastmilk. However, studies have indicated that palm oil and palm olein can hinder the absorption of calcium and fat. Most babies will have no issues absorbing the calcium and fat, but babies with digestive issues or those born prematurely could have issues with absorption.
Palmitic acid is important for the development of bones, fatty acid metabolism, stool consistency, and the gut microbiome.
Since palm oil and palm olein can decrease the absorption of calcium and fat, babies who consume these ingredients can have inadequate bone mineralization or have harder stools.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires that products are only certified organic if they're grown on soil with no synthetic substances such as fertilizers or pesticides. The products should also contain no artificial flavors, colors, growth hormones, or additives. To be certified organic, 95 percent of the ingredients used must be organic.
Some synthetic substances, like vaccines for animals, are allowed when used to achieve a specific purpose, but they must first be approved by a specialized board. Additionally, every single phase of the production process, including processing, handling, and storage, has to comply with the guidelines established by a certification body like the USDA.
So when you're choosing an organic product, look for one that bears a registered organic trademark like "USDA Certified Organic". Don't just choose a product that's labeled "organic" by the manufacturer, since it might not contain up to 95 percent organic ingredients or be manufactured in strictly supervised conditions.
Baby formula is easy to use, but you should still be careful when preparing and storing the formula in order to ensure the quality of the formula, as well as the well-being of your baby.
Before doing anything, you should wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and ensure that all of the utensils that you need to prepare the formula, including bottles, nipples, or spoons, are clean.
Keep all the components separate and place them in a washing basin. Avoid washing them in the sink as it could contaminate them with germs. Wash each piece thoroughly with soap and water. Then you should allow them to air dry.
Another must is to follow the manufacturer's instructions when preparing and storing the formula. In particular, you should use the exact amount of water as suggested in the instructions. Don't try to estimate or eyeball the amounts, since diluted formula might cause water intoxication or malnutrition. Meanwhile, too little water might stress the baby's digestive system, causing dehydration.
It's important to check the instructions for storage as well. For powdered formula, many brands recommend using refrigerated bottles within 24 hours of preparation. Meanwhile, for liquid concentrated or ready-to-feed products, the time can go up to 48 hours.
Make sure not to leave the formula out for over two hours. You shouldn't use leftover formula for later use since your baby's saliva might cause bacteria to grow. So toss it out, then clean and sanitize the bottle for later use.
It's not advised to store formula in the freezer. Formula already prepared in a bottle can be put in the refrigerator for about two days. You should also pay attention to the expiration dates to ensure that the formula is still safe to use.
If you're wondering how to prepare your baby's formula, Dr. Hardin has some input. Check out a commonly-asked question about baby formula below.
Dr. Hardin says, "The best way to warm baby formula is to use a bottle warmer or let it sit in a bowl of warm water. You can also run warm water over the bottle.
Please test the temperature on the back of your hand to make sure it's not too hot. Microwaving is not advised as it heats unevenly which may result in hot spots."
If you need some options to help you take better care of your baby, check out our suggestions!
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary, as well as extra tips and advice. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
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