Appropriate woman nutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and the right baby nutrition in its first years ensure proper growth and development. Besides, it affects distant (so-called long-term) health effects, programming the baby’s health for years to come.
Millions of documents, guides, and manuals have been devoted to breastfeeding. According to the WHO, a woman should strive for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of the baby’s life. Breastmilk produced by a healthy, well-nourished mother fully satisfies the infant’s need for all essential nutrients, ensuring its proper development.
What to Choose If You Can’t Breastfeed?
If for various reasons, often beyond your control, you cannot breastfeed, you should reach for high-quality infant formula, for example, a European formula, which will provide your baby with the necessary nutrients.
Breastmilk substitutes, or baby formulas, are usually made of cow’s or goat’s milk proteins, and their composition should not only imitate human breast milk but also make the pace and quality of infant development as close as possible to those of exclusively breastfed babies. However, it is impossible to fully reproduce the composition of breast milk, since it changes from day to day as the baby grows and its needs change.
Which Baby Formula Is the Best for Your Baby?
Multiple ingredients in the compositions of baby formulas from various manufacturers, along with ubiquitous marketing, make young parents feel lost in countless varieties of baby formulas. In the European Union, the composition and nutritional value of all products for infants are regulated by the European Commission, so they do not have critical differences and it is difficult to talk about which products are better.
You should select the baby formula for your infant according to its age because each developmental period has its needs. Besides, it is essential to consider the baby’s specific nutritional needs, if there are any. For this reason, you should consult a pediatrician before choosing a formula for your baby.
Numerical Designation of Baby Formulas
The basic designation on formulas is the numerical designation. This is a common labeling method adopted by all manufacturers. Numbers from 1 to 5 indicate the age ranges of the child, during which the given formula should be provided. As breastmilk changes from month to month, baby formula changes as well. Products marked with the symbol “1” are infant formulas intended for newborns and infants in the first six months of life. The symbol “2” on the package refers to the product designed for babies between the age of 6 and 12 months. Further age ranges vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. With each subsequent number, the composition and proportion of macro- and micro-elements of the formula changes.
Letter Symbols on Baby Formula Packages
Among the letter symbols of baby formula packages, one can distinguish those common to all manufacturers and those assigned individually by the companies producing them. The most common types are HA and AR. HA is for a hypoallergenic formula, i.e., intended for allergy sufferers or babies with a family history of allergies. The abbreviation AR stands for anti-reflux, or specially thickened mixtures used when the baby is heavily and persistently regurgitating. Special additives like potato starch or other thickeners make the mixture denser and more sticky. This, in turn, helps to reduce regurgitation in infants.
Other designations for baby formulas include the following:
- Comfort — for babies with a tendency to colic;
- Sensitive — formulas with a lower content of cow’s milk protein, intended for infants with gastrointestinal tract hypersensitivity;
- MCT — formulas enriched with an additional amount of unsaturated fatty acids, intended for infants with recurrent ailments of the digestive tract, gas, diarrhea;
- O-lac or SL — lactose-free formulas.
Reputable Manufacturers of Organic Baby Formulas in the EU
If you are searching for the safest organic food for your infant, consider purchasing a baby formula from one of the reputable European manufacturers. They are known for producing a wide range of formulas for babies with different needs. You will find formulas based on cow’s or goat’s milk, as well as ones enriched with probiotics and prebiotics, hypoallergenic formulas, and other types of infant formulas.
Here are some of the most popular organic European baby formula manufacturers:
- HiPP offers diversified HiPP kindermilch options for children. The manufacturer uses ecological ingredients and strives for sustainable farming and production.
- Holle holds a certificate from Demeter, the strictest standard for organic agriculture worldwide. The company also produces baby formulas from wholesome and organic components and takes sustainability to a new level.
- Löwenzahn Organics is known for its formulas with DHA from algae oil and organic prebiotics.
- Kendamil is a British company responsible for all stages of its baby formula production. It uses naturally occurring Human Milk Oligosaccharides in its unique products. All components of Kendamil’s baby formulas come from animal welfare-conscious farms.
The products for babies from these manufacturers are made entirely of ecological ingredients and meet the highest criteria, so you don’t have to worry about environmental damage or danger to your little one.