Why Are Parents Going To Extremes To Import European Baby Formula?
Families who bottle feed or who supplement their breastfeeding with infant formula have a wealth of options to choose from. Some of the biggest names in the US such as Gerber, Enfamil, and Similac are the go-to options for families all over the country. While good marketing and being some of the oldest companies around have worked for decades, many families are looking for healthier options.
Are There Healthier Infant Formula Options?
Traditional infant formula is not bad for your child, however, there are better options out there. Organic formula and European infant formula present a healthier choice with less sugar, chemicals, and additives in the mix. Most, if not all traditional infant formulas are made with GMOs, added sugars, and fillers that lack any nutritional content. While these ingredients are not harmful, they do have long term effects on the overall health of a child.
Studies show that infants who consumed higher levels of sucrose and other fillers tend to be more prone to overeating as they get older. The full long-term effects of GMO’s are not currently known, but keep in mind that everything that goes into the body affects your system at the cellular level.
European Infant Formula and Baby Gut Health
Newborns and infants alike often suffer from stomach problems such as constipation, gas, and diarrhea. While some of these issues can be traced back to a simple issue with hygiene such as a poorly washed bottle, most often they are caused by the formula ingested.
Most US based infant formulas do not add probiotics or prebiotics to their mixtures. These are extremely important for infants because they simply do not have the existing gut flora to maintain a balanced digestive system. Breastfed infants get probiotics and prebiotics directly from breast milk, but babies that are formula-fed, or those who are supplementing with formula can benefit from added probiotics and prebiotics.
Unlike local brands, European baby formula from brands such as HiPP and Kabrita offer added probiotics and prebiotics to help to nourish the gut. The results in an infant that will be able to avoid chronic constipation, gas, and diarrhea caused by their infant formula.
The Importance of the Ingredients in Infant Formula
The EU has very strict infant formula standards and even more strict regulations on their organic baby formula. In Europe, formula manufacturers are barred from using fructose, corn syrup, sucrose (table sugar), rice syrup and carrageenan in infant formula. These are only a few of the ingredients barred from infant formula, but they also happen to be the most prevalent in US-based brands.
Most of these are used as sweeteners to make the formula palatable for infants as well as to fulfill the carbohydrate content requirements of infant formula. Breast milk has a natural sweetness that encourages infants to drink, however, the sugar in breast milk is natural and formulated specifically for infant bodies.
A certain amount of sweetness is needed in infant formula to ensure metabolic function and consumption, however, in Europe more natural and healthy methods are used. Most often European infant formula will use lactose unless it is a milk-free formulation. Lactose is the natural sugar that comes from milk and offers much-needed carbohydrates and sweetness to infant formula. Maltodextrin which is a complex carbohydrate is used in very small doses my some European brands when lactose is not an option, such as in their milk-free formulas.
Another item you won’t find in European infant formulas is Carrageenan. This red seaweed extract is generally used as a thickener and a binding agent. It is most comparable to starch and is often found in Vegan food as a gelatin substitute.
European Farming Practices & Why They Matter
European farms engage in Biodynamic Organic Farming. The importance is that this type of farming is even better than traditional organic farming. Every aspect of the product starting from the soil its planted in all the way to the community in which the farm is located is considered in biodynamic farming. European infant formulas that have the Demeter label or come from Biodynamic Organic Farms are guaranteed to be processed in the methods listed below.
There are no chemical fertilizers or pesticides used and none of the plants or animals undergo genetic modification. How that translates to better infant formula is that every ingredient is as pure as possible. The cows or goats that produce the milk for infant formula are happy, well cared for, and raised on land that is free of chemicals and pesticides. The food they are fed also is free from chemicals, pesticides, or modification. Your infant formula will be made from the best ingredients produced in the most efficient manner, which means that your child will truly benefit from an eco-friendly product that was made with their health and the plant in mind.
Why Choose European Formula Over Local Organic Infant Formula?
European brands such as Lebenswert, Holle, HiPP, and Nanny Care are very popular brands that offer a wide range of infant formulas. European infant formulas are mainly organic, and the ones that are not are clearly labeled.
Regardless of being organic or not, European infant formulas follow a strict approval process that ensures it has a high nutrition content with little to no fillers. Certain types of sugars are not allowed in any type of infant formula in Europe, and each must also have a certain level of added vitamins and minerals. Infant formulas in the USA have varying levels of added nutrients which can vary greatly from brand to brand and even from one stage of formula to the next.
With so many advantages, it is clear why many families are going to such extremes to obtain European infant formula for their child. Everyone wants the best, and when it comes to infant formula, origin location is not a deterrent. Mommy Formula is always here to help you obtain the best European formula options to meet your child's needs, check out our other blog post for more information on brands and stages.