new born baby having organic infant formula from plastic nipple bottle

Proper infant nutrition is elemental to a child’s growth, physical and cognitive development, and overall health. Although parents wish to nourish their nutrients with breast milk, ultimately, “fed is best.” So parents switch either partially or entirely from breast milk to infant formula to meet infant nutritional needs. 

One statistical report highlights that 54% of American infants consume infant formula exclusively or partially. Additionally, organic baby formula is emerging as a preference for parents. 

1. Nutrients Infant-friendy Organic Food Sources 

The idea is to create infant formula with a nutrient profile that most closely mimics breast milk, given infant formula substitutes or supplements breast milk. One research study tested breast milk samples from donors and established that its nutrient profile features various macronutrients, micronutrients, and bioactive components.  

Breast milk’s macronutrients (those needed in large quantities) are protein, fats, and carbohydrates. On the other hand, its micronutrients are vitamins A and B complex, K and D.  

Its bioactive compounds (food-derived compounds essential for biological processes) include oligosaccharides (HMO) and polyunsaturated fatty acids like DHA and ARA in omega 3, lutein, and prebiotics. The bioactive compounds bolster an infant’s immunity, induce anti-inflammation effects, promote gut health, and facilitate healthy organ development. 

Organic infant formula features macronutrients, micronutrients, and bioactive compounds extracted from organic food products. However, an infant’s body reacts uniquely to different nutrient sources.  

For example, while palm oil has a fatty acid profile that accurately mimics breast milk, it can overwhelm an infant’s digestive system.

Second, different food sources also feature unique nutrient densities and quality. For example, while standard bay formulas feature glucose or corn syrup as the primary carbohydrate sources, organic baby formulas contain lactose, which is present in breast milk. 

While the FDA strictly monitors all infant product formulas to ensure they meet the recommended nutrient profile, it does not have a list of obligatory nutrient sources. 

asian crawller having formula milk

2. A USDA “Organic” Seal 

The word “organic” in organic foods refers to the farming methods utilized in producing the said organic foods. Organic or ecological farming methods are agricultural systems that utilize eco-friendly farming inputs for pest control and fertilizer. Such inputs include animal manure composted and kelp. 

Besides plant-based organic food products, animal-rearing agricultural systems whereby the livestock feed exclusively on organic animal feed. Moreover, organically-bred livestock does not consume growth hormones or antibiotics and utilizes rotational grazing to promote soil health.  

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets the basic requirements for a farm to receive accreditation as an organic farm. A USDA certifying agent must visit an organic farm to inspect the system and farming records before submitting it for a USDA organic certification. 

Besides cultivation and livestock-rearing standards, the USDA also sets food-handling standards for food products labeled as organic. The Food-handling requirements primarily apply to packaged food products labeled as organic, including infant formula. 

According to the USDA’s food-handling standards, all non-agricultural ingredients in the product must feature in the FDA’s national list of allowed substances.  

Second, all the ingredients in a multi-ingredient product organic label must be organically produced. The only exception is if an ingredient(s) is commercially unavailable in organic form. Therefore, any product labeled as “organic: must contain at least 95% purely certified organic ingredients.  

The USDA organic seal appears exclusively on the product packaging for products certified to contain 95% certified organic ingredients. Any product with less than 95% but more than 70% organic ingredients may market the product as “made with organic,” but such products do not feature the USDA organic seal. Therefore, exclusively purchase baby formula with the USDA organic seal to ensure you purchase high-quality, purely organic formula. 

child having milk

3. Place Of Manufacture 

According to one report, the US imported 4.3 million kilograms of infant formula in 2021. Although the FDA regulates baby formula production in the US, imported products have different definitions of organic products and production standards. 

For example, while the FDA has a list of must-include baby formula ingredients, including synthetic additives, organic baby formula products from the EU do not feature synthetic ingredients. However, European imports may lack essential nutrients featured on the FDA’s quality control list. Therefore, only purchase organic infant formula with a “made in” label and research the country of origin’s production standards beforehand.  

4. A Listed Base Source 

Organic infant formula utilizes cow, goat, or soy milk as its base ingredient, and each base ingredient has advantages and disadvantages. For instance, goat milk has a higher protein, vitamin, and fat content than cow’s milk. Also, some infants may be allergic to specific bases, so ensure you buy an organic infant formula with the base ingredient categorically listed. 

mom feeding Infant Formula to her child

5. A Whey to Casein Protein Ratio 

As stated earlier, protein is a macronutrient in infant formula. Organic infant formula features two proteins, whey and casein, in brand-specific ratios.

However, while casein promotes satiety in an infant, it is somewhat challenging for some infants to digest. Therefore, consider the whey-to-casein ratio, especially if your baby has colic. 


Organic baby formula shopping is overwhelming, given the numerous brands available and the consequences of a poor choice. However, you can use the quality markers above to simplify your choice when getting started on baby formula or switching brands.

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