By now, you’ve probably been exposed to the European formula craze in one way or another. Maybe your friends have been talking about it. Perhaps you’ve been using it yourself. But what’s the deal with this formula? Is it actually beneficial for your baby? We’ve done some digging to find out.
Here’s the deal – even domestic formulas that are organic contain icky ingredients (like processed sugar or genetically modified ingredients) that your baby simply doesn’t need. Seems like this should be prevented, right? Right. But, as it turns out that there are minimal US regulations that prevent pesticides, processed sugar, GMOs (among other things) from being in infant formula. The FDA doesn’t even require brands to disclose the level of sugar. Parents have been catching on to this, which is why European formulas have been growing in popularity.
In contrast to domestic formulas, European formulas are highly regulated. The quality of certain brands goes above and beyond just being organic. Too good to be true? It’s not. Some European formulas are demeter biodynamic. If you have no idea what that means, don’t worry – most people don’t! It simply means that the formula’s ingredients are sourced via better farming practices. So, the perception that some of these formulas are higher quality is true in some cases. Among the most popular and highest quality formulas are Swiss brand Holle’s and German brand HiPP’s formulas.
American parents are going ga-ga for these formulas, but they can be difficult to get here in the United States. While it’s legal to purchase foreign formula for personal use, you probably won’t find it on the shelf of your local health food store anytime soon. That’s because the FDA can shut domestic distributors down at any moment. That said, mommy groups exist on sites like Facebook to discuss and share ways of getting foreign formula.
So, if it is possible to get your hands on European formula, why aren’t more parents doing it? Besides being hard to get, these formulas cost a pretty penny. A foreign box of formula may cost $10-15+ more than domestic brands as the shipping costs can be high. The shipping time is usually longer, too.
What’s a parent to do? Weigh the pros and cons, and make the decision you feel is best for your family. Whatever decision you make is ultimately the ‘right’ one for you and your little one. Even if you don’t decide to go the European formula route, you can still find higher quality formulas in the US. Just try to steer clear of ones that contain palm oil, synthetic DHA or ARA, carrageenan and added sugar!