Your baby is very precious to you, and so it only stands to reason that you are going to want only the best of the best for your child. This is especially important when it comes to what you feed your child. While breast milk is obviously the first choice for most parents, there could be many reasons why you will need to start feeding your child baby formula. Each case is different. For some, it could be just a choice not to breastfeed. Others cannot produce enough breast milk, and yet others may have babies with special dietary needs.
When it comes to infant formula, there are quite a few options on the market these days. Not only do you have different brands made in the US, but you also have more and more parents flocking to the European brands. We are going to dive into what the hype is all about when it comes to European infant formulas and if they are really worth it.
What Is European Baby Formula?
European Baby Formula is an infant formula that is manufactured in Europe and uses European ingredients. The formulas, much like the ones found in the US, are designed and formulated with the aim of substituting or supplementing breast milk. While they are not approved by the FDA, European Baby Formula is regulated by the European Commission. Standards are much higher, and the baby formulas made in Europe are said to be made with the milk of cows that live on biodynamic farms.
Is It Safe for Your Child?
While European Formulas are safe to use generally, there are a few risks to keep in mind. The biggest risk would be that the formulas are made in stages. What this basically means is that they have a different formula for children from birth and up to six months of age. They have a different formulation for those who are between six months to twelve months, and yet another for those who have been weaned onto solid food and who are considered toddlers. This means that when you are purchasing European baby formula, you will need to make sure that you are purchasing the correct stage for your baby. If you don’t, your baby could be undernourished or get an overdose in certain ingredients.
There could also be problems such as reading the ingredients list. Different European countries speak different languages, so depending on which country has made the formula, you may or may not be able to get the list of ingredients in English. For example, the German baby formula will have instructions in German, so you will most likely need to translate the instructions to know what stage it is and what the ingredients are.
Since the European formulas are imported, there could be a chance that your baby will be left without his or her regular formula if the supplier suddenly shuts down. When babies have to suddenly switch foods, it is very difficult on their systems.
Difference Between the US and European Formula
The farming practices that are followed in the US and in Europe are different. In Europe, the animals that they get their milk from are always grass-fed, so the quality of milk produced by them is better than what you can find in the US. Usually, the US cows have corn in their diets. There is a difference between organic formula and grass-fed formula when it comes to infant formulas in the US. European organic baby formula is also grass-fed formula. This is the ideal situation as it is the most natural and healthy option.
Something that a lot of parents like is that in Europe you also have an option of being able to get a baby formula that includes goats milk as a base for the formula. In the US it is mainly just cows milk.
The formulas in Europe are made for different stages. In the US, there is one formula for babies of all ages.
What Makes Parents Choose European Formula for Their Babies?
While US baby formula is quite healthy and has helped many babies grow strong and healthy, parents flock to the European brands because they have a lot more health benefits overall. Here are just a few reasons why parents love them:
1. The European Baby Formulas Have Higher Organic Ingredient Standards
The European Commission is far stricter than the US when it comes to ensuring that their baby formula is organic. In the US, the way that the ingredients are monitored is that they only set out a broad guideline that needs to be followed. Ingredients should be contamination-free and safe to use is their main concern. The FDA does not always set strict rules about which fats, proteins and carbohydrates can be used, which is why the US brands often have processed ingredients such as corn syrup.
In Europe, any formula that has the milk solids intact should not contain any sucrose. They have more detailed requirements for some of the other ingredients as well.
While there is some use of GMO ingredients in the US brands, the European formulas are always organic.
2. European Formulas Imitate Breast Milk More Closely
In breastmilk, lactose is the main carbohydrate that is present. However, in the US, there are a number of brands that use sweeteners that have been processed.
European formulas also choose to use whey. This is important because it can make the base that is made of cow’s milk similar to the breast milk protein composition of human breast milk.
Even the blend of fats that they use is specially designed to come as close to the fats in breast milk. Probiotics are often also included in European Formulas.
3. European Formula Have Lower Chances of Resulting in Diabetes and Obesity
Lactose is where the sweetness in milk comes from. Since the European brands often keep the lactose in their formulas, there is no need to add any artificial sweeteners. The sweeteners that are used in the US are often processed and unhealthy in the long run. The US organic brands use healthier ingredients, but it is a standard requirement for European Brands.
4. The European Formulas Are Healthier
While US formulas are healthy as well, the formulas made in Europe are favoured by many parents as they have noticed that their children have fewer health issues when they are on the European formulas. The formulas are gentler on your baby’s system.
How Are These Formulas Packed?
The packaging in Europe is different from the US, and that goes for your baby formula as well. Here are a few things to keep in mind about the packaging:
1. Boxed, Not Canned
Cans are more common in the US, but when it comes to Baby Formula in Europe, they come in boxes. The boxes will often have two pouches that contain the formula.
2. The Measurements Are in Grams
Rather than getting the measurements for how much formula needs to be used in ounces, the ones from Europe have them in grams. So, you are going to have to get ready to do some conversions.
3. Instead of Ages, There Are Stages
Instead of mentioning the age of the baby that should be using the formulas, the boxes will often contain the “Stages”.
Stage 1 is from birth to six months, stage 2 is from six months to ten months, stage 3 is from ten months to one year. Stage 4 is from one year onwards.
If you are interested in buying European Baby Formula for your child, you should make sure to do your research well about where to buy European Baby formula from. It is not FDA approved and will not be found in most stores. Make sure to run your decision by your paediatrician, especially if your child has special dietary needs.