Return to top
featured in… The Huffington Post Cooking Light Reader's Digest Women's Health BuzzFeed Glamour Whole Foods Oprah Winfrey Network CNN Food Network

Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

The Best Organic Baby Formulas (2020 Guide)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
Share This:

This in-depth, parent-friendly guide will help you find and buy the best organic baby formulas. You will learn why you should consider organic formula, what ingredients to avoid in formula, and where you can reliably purchase the best organic baby formula. I update this post monthly to ensure that all of the information below is recent and accurate!

Click here to see the 10 best organic baby formulas!

Why organic baby formula?

We’ve all heard the advice: “Breast is best.” For a few moms, that advice is easy to follow. Unfortunately for many moms, it’s not.

The truth is, breastfeeding is HARD.

Not hard as in “oh this is hard, I don’t feel like doing it,” but hard as in: My baby won’t latch; I have low milk supply; My nipples are sore/bleeding/blistered; I have no place to pump at work; I have mastitis; I’ve seen dozens of lactation consultants, and I’m still having problems.

If you love breastfeeding, great. But if you need to supplement or switch to formula, that’s okay! Many moms feel guilt over weaning early or not being able to breastfeed as much as they’d like. But honestly, the most important thing is the love you give to your baby, and that you and your baby are happy and healthy. Breast isn’t best; FED is best.

For me, nursing my daughter Layla was one of the most physically and emotionally challenging parts of new motherhood. Many of the early days ended in tears. When I weaned Layla after 6 months of emotionally taxing nursing and pumping, I needed to select a baby formula. I did a ton of research to find the best options on the market today. I read online, spoke with doctors, and asked fellow mothers to find the best formula.

What I learned is that most formulas, especially those produced in the US, are loaded with ingredients that aren’t very healthy for your baby.

Fortunately, there are a few high-quality, organic baby formulas available. Most of these formulas are produced in Europe, and there are reliable places that you can buy them online.

Below, I have summarized my research and listed the 10 best organic baby formulas available today. Later in the post, I cover what ingredients to avoid in baby formula, provide an analysis of each top formula, include a detailed chart that ranks all of the organic formulas available, and list a few reliable places to buy formulas online.

The 10 best organic baby formulas

While there is no perfect formula, the baby formulas below are considerably better than the rest. Click on the formula name to go to the best online retailer of the formula.

HiPP Dutch Stage 1
HiPP Dutch Stage 1

The best overall organic baby formula. It has a whey-to-casein ratio that mimics breast milk, uses vegetable oils for fat, contains prebiotics and probiotics, and contains DHA/ARA. It’s also free of GMO ingredients, added sugars, starch, soy, and synthetic nutrients and preservatives.

hipp pre baby formula
HiPP PRE Germany

HiPP Germany is a nutritionally complete formula that contains ingredients very similar to HiPP Dutch. The main difference is the packaging (comes in a cardboard box vs. a can)

loulouka best organic baby formula
Loulouka

Loulouka is the only organic formula that uses whole milk (instead of skimmed milk) and contains no soy or palm oil! It’s made in Switzerland and is the best option for parents who want a formula with no DHA/probiotics added (and want to supplement with those separately). Loulouka is also free of added sugars, GMO ingredients, starch, and synthetic nutrients and preservatives.

hipp uk stage 1
HiPP UK Stage 1

HiPP UK is also quite similar to HiPP Dutch, the main difference is that it doesn’t contain probiotics (it only has prebiotics). At $0.048/gram, it is the best value organic infant formula option available.

lebenswert stage 1
Lebenswert Stage 1

Lebenswert provides a great option for parents who want a simple list of clean, organic ingredients and who want to supplement with probiotics and DHA separately. Lebenswert also has a proper whey-to-casein ratio and is free of added sugars, GMO ingredients, starch, soy, and synthetic nutrients and preservatives.

Holle PRE baby formula
Holle PRE

Holle PRE is very comparable to Lebenswert in ingredients, and is also a great option for parents who don’t want pre/probiotics or DHA added to their formula and want to supplement with that separately. This formula is specially formulated for babies aged 0-3 months but can be used for the first 6 months of life.

kabrita best baby formula
Kabrita USA

The best goat milk formula. The ingredients are non-GMO, with added prebiotics and a whey-to-casein ratio that closely resembles that in breast milk. This option contains no glucose syrup solids, no maltodextrin, no taurine or l-carnitine, and no palm oil. It is marketed as a toddler formula, but meets the nutritional requirements for infant formula. As with all formula, consult your pediatrician before using this for your baby.

best baby formula babys only whey
Baby’s Only with Whey

Baby’s Only with Whey is also a lactose formula, but made with organic skimmed cow’s milk, and organic whey. It has no added sugars, and is free of synthetic ingredients, but lacks pre and probiotics. The DHA in this formula is derived from eggs, so it’s naturally extracted. Lastly, this is marketed as a toddler formula but similar to Kabrita, it meets the nutritional requirements for an infant formula. As with all formula, consult your pediatrician before using this for your baby.

best baby formula happy baby
Happy Baby

This formula doesn’t have gluten or corn syrup. It’s Non-GMO, and is designed for easy digestion. It contains pre and probiotics. It contains palm oil and soy oil, but has naturally derived DHA. It’s also a bit thin, so takes baby some time to get used to.

holle bio stage 1
Holle Bio Stage 1

Holle is comparable to Lebenswert in ingredients, and is also a great option for parents who don’t want pre/probiotics or DHA added to their formula and want to supplement with that separately. The main drawback to Holle Bio is that it has maltodextrin added.

holle goat stage 1
Runner Up: Holle Goat

A good alternative to Kabrita if you are looking for a truly organic goat milk formula with no DHA and probiotics added. Like Holle Bio, the main drawback to this formula is the added maltodextrin.

Ingredients to avoid in organic baby formula

The US doesn’t have very strict standards for organic baby formula, which means that even the best organic baby formula options can have harmful ingredients. Below are the ingredients that shouldn’t appear in organic formula—as outlined by the National Organic Standards Board—and are banned in the European Union, which has much higher standards:

  • Processed Refined Sugars (Syrup, Syrup Solids): Corn syrup (glucose syrup solids), maltodextrin (a partially hydrolyzed starch derived from corn, rice, or potatoes), sugar, or brown rice syrup. Manufacturers use these because they are cheaper than lactose (which is what should be in formula).
  • Synthetic DHA and ARA: DHA and ARA are naturally found in breastmilk, but the DHA and ARA added to formula are extracted from algae and fungus, often using hexane (a neurotoxic petroleum-based solvent). The National Organic Standards Board has guidelines against this, but the USDA still allows it in organic formulas sold in the US.
  • Synthetic Preservatives: Ascorbic palmitate and beta carotene are the common ones to avoid here.
  • Synthetic Nutrients: This includes lutein, lycopene, nucleotides, taurine, l-carnitine and l-methionine. These are banned in formulas in the EU, but are allowed in the US.
  • Palm Oil: Palm oil is in most formulas (EU & US), but it can form “soaps” in the baby’s intestines – which can cause digestive issues/gas/etc. However, I’d still choose palm oil over soy oil (check out this study about soy).

Unfortunately, nearly all baby formulas sold in the US have one or more of these ingredients to avoid.

So what’s a mom to do?

Stick to the high-quality European formulas. The EU has stricter standards for infant formula, and HiPP, Holle, and Lebenswert, all produce formulas with wonderful ingredient lists.

Below, you can find details on the 10 best formulas available on the market today, and a list of places where you can buy these formulas online.

The 10 best organic baby formulas

1. HiPP Dutch – Best Overall

HiPP Dutch Stage 1

Why I love it: Of all the formulas, this is the best organic baby formula. It has a whey-to-casein ratio that mimics breast milk, uses vegetable oils for fat, contains prebiotics and probiotics, and contains DHA/ARA. It’s also free of GMO ingredients, added sugars, starch, soy, and synthetic nutrients and preservatives. It also comes in an easy-to-dispense, airtight container!

Keep in mind: If you are concerned about hexane extraction, HiPP uses this method to retrieve the DHA and ARA in their formula. They claim, however, that 100% of the hexane is removed after extraction and is not detectable in their formulas. Given that this European brand follows guidelines that are much more stringent than those in the US, I’m inclined to believe them.

2. HiPP Germany – Second Best Overall

Why I love it: HiPP Germany is a nutritionally complete formula that contains ingredients very similar to HiPP Dutch.

Keep in mind: The only reason I have listed this as second best is the fact that its container is harder to dispense from than HiPP Dutch’s is (foil bags vs. an airtight can).

3. Loulouka – Best Whole Milk Formula with No Palm or Soy Oil

loulouka best organic baby formula

Why I love it: Loulouka is the only formula available that uses whole milk instead of skimmed milk, and it is also the only formula I’ve found that uses no soy oil or palm oil (it uses coconut oil instead!) Full of healthy fats, organic, from grass fed cows – it’s a great option for your little one, especially if you are looking for a formula free of DHA, ARA, pre and probiotics.

Keep in mind: Like Lebenswert (which appears just a few spots down), this formula has no DHA, ARA, prebiotics or probiotics, so you will have to supplement if you choose this for your baby.

4. HiPP UK – Best Value

HiPP UK Stage 1

Why I love it: HiPP UK is also quite similar to HiPP Dutch. At $0.048/gram, it is the best value organic infant formula option available.

Keep in mind: The main difference between HiPP UK and HiPP Dutch (besides the price) is that it contains no probiotics, only prebiotics. Like HiPP Germany, it also has a container that’s harder to dispense from (foil bags vs. an airtight can).

5. Lebenswert – Best Formula Without Prebiotics, Probiotics, and DHA

Lebenswert Stage 1

Why I love it: Lebenswert provides a great option for parents who want a simple list of clean, organic ingredients and who want to supplement with probiotics and DHA separately. If hexane-extracted DHA and ARA concern you, Lebenswert may be just the thing you’re looking for. Lebenswert also has a proper whey-to-casein ratio and is free of added sugars, GMO ingredients, starch, soy, and synthetic nutrients and preservatives. 

In addition to a top-notch ingredients list, Lebenswert also boasts a Bioland certification, which is even more thorough than EU organic certification.

Keep in mind: Personally, I prefer pre/probiotics and DHA added to formula – both for convenience, and also because there is no prebiotic supplement sold separately for babies (there are only probiotic supplements available).

6. Holle PRE – Best For Babies 0-6 Months

Holle PRE baby formula

Why I love it: Holle PRE is very comparable to Lebenswert in ingredients, and is also a great option for parents who don’t want pre/probiotics or DHA added to their formula and want to supplement with that separately.

Holle baby formulas are Demeter biodynamic certified, which has even more stringent and careful regulations than Bioland. This ensures the purest, non-GMO ingredients, the highest standards for animal welfare, and a commitment to biodiversity and sustainability.

Keep in mind: Again, with Holle options, parents would need to supplement probiotics and DHA since it is not included in the formula. Holle PRE can be used until 6 months of age, but it’s specially formulated for babies 0-3 months. After 6 months you’ll have to move to a Stage 1 or 2 formula. As another note, Holle Bio PRE contains no added maltodextrin, but stages 1 and 2, which are still lactose-based, do contain added organic maltodextrin.

7. Kabrita USA – Best Goat Milk Formula for Toddlers and Babies

Why I love it: If you’re looking for the best goat milk formula, I’d recommend Kabrita USA. The ingredients are non-GMO, with added prebiotics and a whey-to-casein ratio that closely resembles that in breast milk. This option contains no glucose syrup solids, no maltodextrin, no taurine or l-carnitine, and no palm oil.  For more details on why that’s my top choice, see my post on the best goat milk formulas here!

Keep in mind: Kabrita goat milk formula is only available in the US as a toddler formula, but it does meet the nutritional requirements for an infant formula. If you choose to use this for your infant, consult with your pediatrician first. As another note, although Kabrita formulas contain clean, non-GMO ingredients, they are not technically organic. Kabrita formula is produced in Europe where strict regulations already limit the use of antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides, and govern animal welfare.

8. Baby’s Only with Whey – Best Toddler Formula

best baby formula babys only whey

Why I love it: Baby’s Only with Whey is the best cow’s milk-based formula available in the US. It is made with organic skimmed cow’s milk, and organic whey. It has no added sugars, and is free of synthetic ingredients, and has naturally extracted DHA (from eggs).

Keep in mind: This is technically a toddler formula but similar to Kabrita, it meets the nutritional requirements for an infant formula. It also has no pre/probiotics so you would have to supplement with that separately. As with all formula, be sure to consult your pediatrician before using this for your baby.

9. Happy Baby – Best Infant Formula Available in the US

best baby formula happy baby

Why I love it: This formula doesn’t have gluten or corn syrup. It’s Non-GMO, and is designed for easy digestion. It contains DHA, pre and probiotics. And it’s also the best organic infant formula available in the US (since Baby’s Only is technically a toddler formula).

Keep in mind: This formula does contain soy oil, which is less ideal. It also has a thinner consistency that not all babies might like.

10. Holle Bio – Best Organic Standards

Why I love it: Holle is very comparable to Lebenswert in ingredients, and is also a great option for parents who don’t want pre/probiotics or DHA added to their formula and want to supplement with that separately.

Holle baby formulas are Demeter biodynamic certified, which has even more stringent and careful regulations than Bioland. This ensures the purest, non-GMO ingredients, the highest standards for animal welfare, and a commitment to biodiversity and sustainability.

Keep in mind: Again, with Holle options, parents would need to supplement probiotics and DHA since it is not included in the formula. Holle Stage 1 also has maltodextrin added.

Runner Up: Holle Goat – Best Organic Goat Milk Formula for Infants

Holle Goat Milk

Why I love it: Holle Goat is the only goat milk formulas that is organic. Holle’s goat formula is also suitable for infants. Some evidence suggests the protein ratios in goat milk more closely resemble that of breast milk. There is also research that suggests goat’s milk is more easily and completely digestible by infants than cow’s milk is. This means that goat’s milk formula may be perfect for a baby with sensitivities to cow’s milk formula. 

Keep in mind: Unlike Kabrita, Holle goat milk formula does not contain added whey (so the whey:casein ratio in Holle might be constipating for some babies). Holle Goat also includes maltodextrin to balance the sweetness of the milk. It also contains no added pre/probiotics or DHA.

What about the best hypoallergenic formulas for babies?

If you’re looking for detailed information about the best hypoallergenic baby formulas, this post outlines the best options as well as what ingredients to look for to find the best fit for your baby. I have included a short summary of the top 3 hypoallergenic formulas below as well!

1. HiPP Anti-Reflux – Best for Reflux

HiPP Anti-Reflux

Why I love it: HiPP Anti-Reflux formula is EU certified organic, and it is a wonderful option for babies with sensitive tummies. This formula uses 100% whey (and no casein) to prevent reflux or spit up. It also contains prebiotics and probiotics, as well as DHA. 

Keep in mind: HiPP Anti-Reflux contains organic maltodextrin (in addition to lactose). This is to help in easing digestion for little ones.

2. HiPP Hypoallergenic – Best for Cow’s Milk Protein Sensitivities or Allergies

Why I love it: HiPP Hypoallergenic baby formula is free of casein and contains protein hydrolysates that break down proteins for infants who struggle to do so on their own. It also contains pre- and probiotics and DHA. Try this formula if your baby has a cow’s milk allergy or sensitivity and you haven’t tried another hypoallergenic option (or you’re trying to move away from the US hypoallergenic options because of concerns over ingredients). Has extensively hydrolyzed protein, (86-87% broken down), 100% whey (no casein), but with the same lactose content as a non-hypoallergenic baby formula. 

Keep in mind: HiPP Hypoallergenic is not technically organic, because hydrolyzing the milk protein requires more processing. However, all other ingredients included are still organic.

3. HiPP Comfort – Best for more severe cow’s milk protein allergies

hipp comfort baby formula

Why I love it: This is an even more broken-down formula for babies who have a more severe cow’s milk protein allergy and can’t tolerate HiPP HA. It is the most similar to a US hypoallergenic formula. Extensively hydrolyzed protein, (86-87% broken down), 100% whey (no casein), reduced lactose content and modified fats.

Keep in mind: HiPP Comfort is not technically organic, because hydrolyzing the milk protein requires more processing. However, all other ingredients included are still organic. Also, while HiPP Comfort is the closest to a US hypoallergenic formula, it’s still not as broken down as Alimentum or Nutramigen (which is 93% hydrolyzed), so if your baby can’t tolerate Comfort you will have to move to a US hypoallergenic formula.

Where can you buy European baby formula in the US?

If you want to buy HiPP, Lebenswert, or Holle online, I have found six online retailers who are either based in the US or ship to the US in a reliable and safe manner! I’m in personal contact with the owners of all 5 of these companies, I feel comfortable recommending all of them to you.

1. Huggable

screenshot of Huggable - where to buy the best organic baby formula

Huggable is the most reliable, reputable, online retailer for buying healthy, organic European formulas. Huggable is based in the Bay Area and founded by a mom who (just like me) was looking for healthier baby formula options for her little one. Madhu, the owner, is committed to making the first year of feeding your baby as easy and stress-free as possible.

After extensive research and conversations, I feel confident in recommending Huggable as one of the best places to purchase European baby formulas, including HiPP, Lebenswert, Holle, and Holle Goat.

Huggable formulas ship free on orders over $50 and arrive at your doorstep in 1-5 business days! And, they truly care about the comfort and happiness of both mom and baby. They have a baby satisfaction guarantee, where if a formula isn’t right for your baby, they’ll send you a box of another to try, 100% FREE.

Huggable makes it easy for you to see the ingredients in each of the formulas you buy. For HiPP: You can see the ingredients here, For Lebenswertyou can see the ingredients here, and For Holle: you can see the ingredients here.

Huggable also supports single moms — they recently launched the The Huggable Supermom Scholarship, which awards $2,000 and a year of free baby formula to single mothers who are on their way to achieving degrees!

2. My Organic Company

myorganiccompany

My Organic Company was founded in 2017 by two parents: Cecelia and Kevin who are dedicated to ensuring that organic European formulas are available to any parents who want them in the US! They have three different warehouses across the US to ensure safe, fast and reliable shipping. And their supply chain is so robust they virtually guarantee that they will be in stock of all formulas at all times!

They have all the standard European formulas like HiPP DutchHiPP UKHiPP GermanyHolleLebenswertGoat Milk formula, and the sensitive formulas (HiPP HA, HiPP Comfort, Anti-Reflux); but they even have LouloukaGood Night Formula from HiPP, as well as Stage 3 and Stage 4 formula from HiPP, Holle, Lebenswert and Loulouka! They offer the largest most expansive set of European formulas available today.

My Organic Formula ships free on orders over $50, and you can receive an additional 10% off by using the code “THEPICKYEATER” at checkout.

Other things that make them great: they have a comprehensive mixing guide for every formula that’s easily accessible here, they have a subscribe and save option (save an additional 7%), and amazing customer service!

3. DutchExpatShop

DutchExpatShop - where to buy the best organic baby formula

DutchExpatShop is pretty awesome because they are the most affordable online retailer for HiPP Dutch! Many of you have struggled with HiPP Dutch being out of stock, and DutchExpatShop pretty much guarantees that they will always have HiPP Dutch at an affordable price to ship to the US.

They are based in the Netherlands, and they also have the widest selection of Baby Care products from the Netherlands that I’ve seen. The cool thing about their shop is that you can get any products from Holland and Belgium through their site (even stuff for mama like yummy snacks, fresh cheesesbeauty products, body care and more!)

4. Organic Baby Food

Organic Baby Food - where to buy the best organic baby formula

Organic Baby Food is a reputable, online retailer based in the EU who has fast shipping to the US! They sell HiPP, Lebenswert, and Holle, along with Hypoallergenic formula and Goat’s Milk formula. They have reasonable prices, reliable shipping (within 1-3 business days!), amazing customer support, and I have been in contact with the owner personally.

In addition to baby formula they also have a variety of organic cereals and snacks for babies from HiPP/Holle/Leb, as well as a line of baby care products (shampoo, lotion, calendula) that are gentle and free of any synthetic ingredients so they are perfect for babies!

A few other great things about this company: guaranteed delivery within 2 days, money back if your shipment is delayed, dedicated customer support (a few hours turnaround time for emails or direct phone support at 1-800-701-4303), and deep discounts up to 60% off sometimes! They are also giving readers of The Picky Eater a 10% off coupon code at checkout – just use the code: PICKY and you will get the discount!

5. Bottles & Burps

Bottle & burps - where to buy the best organic baby formula

When it comes to affordability, Bottles & Burps is the lowest priced US retailer I have found that sells HiPPHolle, and Lebenswert. I met with Courtney and Blake, the co-owners, and learned that they had the same experience as I did when trying to find healthy formula for their little one. They are committed to bringing high quality, European formula to parents in the US.

Bottles and Burps has bulk pricing discounts which start at 2 boxes of formula for a 5% discount and increase to a 15% discount for 8 boxes. They offer FREE shipping for orders over $15, and orders arrive between 1-3 days in the US (same day for NYC!) Bottles & Burps is also offering a $10 discount code using the code PICKYEATER10 (just enter it manually in the checkout process!)

6. Kabrita USA

Kabrita USA - where to buy the best organic baby formula

Kabrita USA is one new option for Goat Milk that I recommend. Kabrita has a new formulation that is now available nationwide – in stores like Costco, Walmart, Whole Foods, and on their website! The new formulation has NO glucose syrup solids, no taurine or l-carnitine, AND has GOS (a prebiotic) added. The new formulation makes Kabrita the best Goat Milk formula out there – better than Holle Goat!

It’s cheaper than Holle, available in the US, European sourced, non-GMO, no Palm Oil (they use palmitic oil instead), no maltodextrin, easier to digest than Holle — Kabrita’s whey/casein ratio is very close to breastmilk, while Holle’s isn’t and I have heard that babies who struggle with constipation do better on Kabrita. Also, Kabrita is offering 10% off all ordes with the coupon code GENTLEKABRITA.

Best organic baby formulas, ranked from best to worst

Below is a detailed chart ranking all of the best organic baby formulas. At the top of the chart, I’ve included a hypothetical line for the “ideal” formula – so you have something to measure all of the other formulas against.

best organic baby formulas chart ranking all formulas both european and us

For anyone looking for a goat milk formula specifically, I have a separate chart in What’s the Best Goat Milk Formula for Your Baby?

Note: Regarding GrassFed and PureBliss – they are not part of my best organic baby formulas list (since they are not technically organic). But they are non GMO and antibiotic free, and their ingredients list is relatively clean, which is why I have added them at the bottom here as they are available in the US and are better than all of the non-organic formulas available in the US today. More details on how they can be non GMO and grass fed but NOT organic are below in the 4/6/17 Update!

What about the best Vitamin D, DHA and Probiotics Supplements for babies?

Recommendations on Supplementing: DHA, Vitamin D, Probiotics

I have gotten a lot of questions about what to supplement with if your baby is on a formula that doesn’t have DHA added, what probiotic to use, or what to do if your baby is getting some breastmilk along with their formula (in which case you need to add Vitamin D). Note: The EU just released new standards for DHA in baby formula which you can read about here. If you are looking for additional supplementation for DHA, Vitamin D and/or Probiotics, here are my top picks for baby supplements:

Vitamin D: I absolutely love these Baby Vitamin D Drops. There is literally nothing added to them (no flavors, colors, etc.). They are liquid and you only need one drop in your baby’s bottle per day. You can also just apply the drop on your baby’s pacifier, on your nipple (if you’re nursing), or on your finger and have your baby suck it off. Super easy, tasteless and pure.

DHA: The only Omega 3 supplement I’d recommend for kids is Nordic Naturals. They have an infant DHA supplement and a children’s DHA supplement – both of which are extremely pure, have no added preservatives or sugar, and are in liquid form so they can be added to just about anything!

ProbioticsI love Garden of Life’s line of probiotics – they are shipped cold and their infant/kids one can be added to your baby’s bottle (starting at 3 months of age), and can be used even when your child gets older (just add the powder to their milk). I also like Klaire Labs’ powdered probiotic. For infants 0-3 months of age, I recommend BioGaia’s probiotic. For older kids, Garden of Life also has a kids’ chewable probiotic if you need and option that doesn’t require refrigeration, and I take their adult capsule daily.

Baby Food: For those of you transitioning to solids and looking for homemade baby food recipes, I have a bunch of easy recipes you can try here! But in those instances when you’re on the go and looking for a healthy, organic, pre-made option, my list of the healthiest baby food pouches should help.

Final Thoughts

Not every baby likes every formula. Some formulas constipate or irritate some babies, yet keep other babies’ tummies perfectly happy. If you try the formulas I recommend and they don’t work for your baby – that is ok! 

There is no perfect formula, but some are still much better than others. If you can afford it, the best organic baby formulas are HiPP, Lebenswert, and Holle – so I’d recommend shipping your formula from Europe whenever possible! Organic infant formulas are more expensive than regular formula, and not every parent has the financial means to buy organic formula for their little ones – and that’s ok, too! Just do the best you can for your baby. No judgments here.

Overall, I advocate a world of no judgments when it comes to breastfeeding or formula feeding. All you can do as a mom is your best. Whether you breastfeed for a year, or 6 months or 1 month, or 0 months doesn’t make you a better or worse mother. A happy healthy mom and happy healthy baby is all that matters.

Appendix A: More Info on Hexane Extracted DHA/ARA in Formula

I spoke with an expert who has her BS in Biology with a minor in Chemistry, who worked in an organic chemistry lab for 2 years and worked with many solvents used in extractions, compound purification, and analysis, and then went on to get an MS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She is extremely knowledgable when it comes to hexane and extraction methods, so I asked her for her thoughts on how concerned we should be about hexane-extracted DHA/ARA in the best organic baby formulas on this list. Here is the summary: 

  • Hexane is often used as extraction solvent for extracting fats. This is because it has a low boiling point when compared to most fats, which makes it easy to get rid of post-extraction – leaving the fat behind.
  • To get rid of Hexane, chemists use a large apparatus called a “rotary vap” that gets rid of the solvents and you end up with a pure powder substance (usually a chemical compound). The next step is to check the purity of the compound using a machine called an NMR or MS, which tells you whether you have any of your solvent left.
  • This woman told me that she never, ever found an issue with having hexane still present after drying her sample.
  • Since formulas are a powder, they are heated to the point of water removal, and therefore the hexane should be all gone. It is unlikely that hexane is left in properly treated formula, but you are placing trust in the formula and manufacturing industry that all formula is being properly prepared.
  • Note: All oils that don’t have a cold-pressed process are extracted using hexane – this includes corn oil, soy oil, vegetable oil, etc. (unless otherwise specified on the bottle). Hexane is also used during the development process for drugs – many drugs are purified in a hexane solvent and then it is dried off. So if you are going to question hexane, you need to be aware of the other areas where it is used in our regular food and drug supply!
  • When it comes to being concerned about hexane vs. other questionable ingredients in organic formulas – maltodextrin, soy oil, etc., I’d be more concerned about maltodextrin vs. hexane extracted DHA. This is because maltodextrin’s glycemic index is much higher than table sugar and I personally believe a lot of issues today come from sugar and inflammation, and even when hexane is used it should be gone by the time the formula is packaged.
  • Unfortunately, there is no formula out there that doesn’t have at least one of the “offending” ingredients I have listed above! For me personally, I would choose hexane-extracted DHA over maltodextrin or soy oil for example. This is because soy oil is also extracted using hexane, and maltodextrin has an extremely high glycemic index. In addition, formulas that contain soy oil or maltodextrin are 100% guaranteed to contain these ingredients, versus hexane which is likely not traceable in a formula that has used it as a method to extract DHA/ARA before the formula has been prepared!

Appendix B: Detailed Updates by Date Below!

Update as of 7/22/19: Organic Start has unfortunately shut down due to regulatory issues with the FDA, so any updates below referencing Organic Start have had the links to their website removed. This was not the fault of Organic Start, and their formula and company is still reputable and the formula they were selling was high quality.  All of the other retailers of organic formula listed above are still selling European formula and I can vouch for all of them! Something similar happened in July 2017 (which you can see in my update list below). Note: Loulouka was a formula made by Organic Start, so that is no longer available as well.

Update as of 1/24/19: Honest Co. has improved the ingredients in their formula!! Yay!! They no longer use glucose syrup solids or taurine, and have added prebiotics. Because of this they jumped a bunch of places on the list and are now comparable with Happy Baby!

Update as of 12/31/18: I have added a reputable retailer to my site who I have been able to communicate with and understand the ins and outs of their company! They are DutchExpatShop – the cheapest seller of HiPP Dutch that I’ve found. Also, if you’re looking for a Facebook group about baby formula, I’d recommend this particular Facebook group that’s meant as an unbiased discussion forum for baby formula in a supportive, non-judgmental manner.

Update as of 3/15/15: The Honest Company just came out with an Organic Baby Formula – that, in my opinion, is now the best option for an Organic formula made in the US. The first two ingredients in the formula are similar to HiPP (Organic Non Fat Milk, Organic Lactose) — but then the third ingredient is “Organic Glucose Syrup Solids,” which is not great but still better than Baby’s Only (which has “brown rice syrup” as the first ingredient). The Honest Co. formula is still not better than Holle or HiPP, but is better than all of the other US formulas out there.

Update as of 5/25/15: Baby’s Only just came out with a Whey Protein Formula that now is probably the best option for an Organic formula in the US. Nutritionally, it seems much better than the original Baby’s Only formula with brown rice syrup. Some things to note: 1) It looks like the nucleotides in this formula aren’t added synthetically – that Baby’s Only just discloses that all milk proteins have naturally occurring nucleotides – in which case that seems ok. 2) They do have organic soybean oil and soy lecithin in their formula 3) They don’t have palm oil (like HiPP does) in the formula or glucose syrup solids (like the Honest Company’s formula) which is great. This makes Baby’s Only with Whey a pretty great option – and might be the best option in the US since it doesn’t have glucose syrup solids like the Honest Company’s formula does. Between HiPP, Holle and Baby’s Only with Whey, it’s a bit of a toss up between whether you’d rather have soybean oil or palm oil in your baby’s formula. I might still go with Hipp or Holle first, and then Baby’s Only with Whey Protein, and then the Honest Company’s formula in the US. Note: Holle also has a new formula called Lebenswert – which doesn’t have maltodextrin (for stage 1; it does for stage 2/3).

Update as of 3/31/16: Plum Organics just released a formula which is a great option for Organic formula in the US! It doesn’t have any syrup solids (yay!) and it has a combination of 4 oils (coconut and high oleic sunflower – which are great; and palm/soybean oil – not as great). Between Plum Organics and Baby’s Only with Whey – I think they are both great options for a formula you can purchase in the US. Baby’s Only with Whey might be slightly better because they don’t have palm oil, but honestly I’d say they are pretty comparable.

Update as of 4/30/16: Honest Co. is being sued because their formula contains Taurine and other ingredients that really shouldn’t be in organic formula. The problem is, those ingredients are considered OK by the FDA and the same ingredients are in many of the organic formulas available in the US (like Earth’s Best and Baby’s Only with Brown Rice Syrup)! That’s why I recommend the European formulas over any formula in the US – the EU formulas have the cleanest list of ingredients by far. I hope the FDA changes their standards on what ingredients are considered acceptable for organic formulas – depending on how the suit turns out I’ll update this list accordingly!

Update as of 6/21/16: I just found out about a German formula available in the US called “BabyLove“. The ingredients look great, are really in line with HiPP and Holle – and are a great option for your baby! The only ingredient on their list that I’m not sure about is “sweet whey powder” – I’m not sure if that is lactose, or if that’s added sugars. The company claims that their formula has no added sugars, but I haven’t found any more information than that. Either way, the rest of the ingredients look pretty comparable to HiPP or Holle so I’m adding it as a #3 option for your little one!

Update as of 7/23/16: HiPP UK has changed its ingredients for its Stage 2 formulas (they now include soy). BUT – the Dutch version of HiPP still has high quality ingredients and no soy. Also, a new formula called Topfer just came out, and their ingredients are very comparable to HiPP or Holle Leb! I’d definitely recommend their formula!

Update as of 11/4/16: Earth’s Best has recently changed the ingredients in their formula — they no longer use syrup solids as the sugar! Now they use lactose. That’s definitely an improvement! They have FOS (which is a prebiotic sourced from sucrose – so it’s not bad), and they still have palm oil, taurine, etc. on their ingredients list but getting rid of the syrup solids is a big plus.

Update as of 1/10/17: Regarding hexane extracted DHA in formula – this is what I’ve found to be true: Baby’s Only with Whey Protein has confirmed that the DHA in their formula is NOT extracted using hexane. As for the DHA in HiPP, their company statement says: “HiPP Infant milks use natural sources of DHA and ARA, derived from fish oils.”

Update as of 4/6/17: There are a few new formulas coming out (or that have just come out!) Happy Baby in the US, PureBliss by Similac, and GrassFed by Munchkin. HappyBaby is a decent option in the US – I’d rank it after Regular Holle (the chart above is updated!). GrassFed and PureBliss both have decent ingredients (the only “offending” ingredients are Soy Oil and Taurine) but they are not certified organic. Both say that their formulas are made with 100% Grass Fed Cow Milk, have no antibiotics and are non GMO – but they are not organic. This is likely because in some capacity, >5% of their ingredients by mass were not sourced-organic. Also, you can feed cows grass that has been sprayed with non-organic pesticides and it’s still considered “grass fed” but it wouldn’t be considered organic. They mention that the cows are GMO, rBGH and antibiotic free, but do not address the grass itself, so that might be another reason why it’s not organic. I have kept them on the list at the bottom because their ingredients are pretty good (you can read about GrassFed’s ingredients here), and are better than some of the other formulas in the US that are on the market today, but they can’t be considered “organic formulas.”

Update as of 7/1/17: Many of you have asked me questions about the FDA’s recent crackdown on US-based sellers of European formula. This is happening because the FDA does not allow sellers to buy formula in Europe and sell it here in the US under a US business name. The formula has to come directly from Europe. It is 100% legal to order formula from Europe for personal use. If your order is less than $800, you will not be charged duty. It’s important to use reputable sites who know international shipping declarations so that your package of formula doesn’t encounter problems when arriving in the US! That’s why I highly recommend Organic Baby Food, because they are familiar with these declarations and will get your formula to you without any delays or issues.

Update as of 4/1/18: There is a new Goat Milk formula that has recently come out – from Kabrita USA. Their Goat Milk formula has lactose and whey as the primary ingredients, palmitic oil instead of palm oil, and no glucose syrup solids in the newest formulation! I have also heard that it’s better than Holle Goat for babies who struggle with constipation. Currently their formula is labeled as a “toddler formula,” but their formula does meet the FDA’s nutrient requirements for an infant formula and I’ve heard that infants do well on it. Kabrita USA is moving through the required steps (laid out by the FDA) to be marketed and sold explicitly in the US as infant formula as well!

Update as of 4/10/18: Many of you have mentioned that HiPP Dutch can be out of stock from time to time and have asked for the next best thing. If you don’t want to use Lebenswert or Holle PRE, another great option is HiPP PRE! It’s basically identical in ingredients to HiPP Dutch, so it’s the perfect replacement when needed.

the best organic formula for your baby. healthy baby formula, best organic baby formula

1,056 responses to “The Best Organic Baby Formulas (2020 Guide)”

  1. Hi Anjali,

    I am a new mom from New Jersey. I would like to thank you for your knowledge and the information that you provided through your blog. I’m glad that I’ve come across this. I’ve been struggling to choose a baby formula for my 3 month old. She is on Similac pro- advance and is not doing so well with it. I cannot really thank you enough. Kudos to you for all the research. It is really helpful.

    • Hi Prasanna! Thank you for reaching out to me and I’m so glad my blog has been helpful for you! Don’t hesitate to get back in touch if you have any questions at all!

  2. Hi
    My LO has cow milk protein allergy and I have tried every formula you name it. He doesn’t not take the amino acid ones( as it’s tastes really bad !! Today i came across the baby’s only pea protein and he took it very well. I am supplementing. I was wondering what are you thought on that ?

    • Hi Niloo! Baby’s Only with Pea Protein can be a good option if many of the other alternatives haven’t worked! It does have brown rice syrup as the first ingredient so that is not ideal, but when compared to the hypoallergenic formulas your choices are limited already so it is ok!

  3. Hello! My LO will be a month old in a couple days. On day 10 we started him on HIPP comfort after some constipation and reading it was gentle on stomachs and thinking that it would be best. Now he is suffering from horrible gas and I have heard that having him on this without a known allergy is doing more harm than good? Is this true? Am I better off switching to HIPP Dutch gradually? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Tara! HiPP Comfort is gentle on stomachs but it is a hydrolyzed milk protein – so if your baby doesn’t need a formula with broken down milk proteins, there is no need to use HiPP Comfort. I don’t think it would necessarily be doing him harm, but if he doesn’t have a diagnosed allergy yet, I would use something like HiPP PRE which is meant for babies 0-3 months and is more gentle than HiPP Dutch but not a broken down milk protein. And then yes, I would switch him gradually over 1-2 weeks! Hope that helps, and I hope you find a formula that works for your little one!

  4. Does anyone know of any other organic formula comparable to Baby’s organic that can be given to an infant as I am aware that Baby’s Organic promotes from 12 months and up?

    • Hi Katherine! Are you looking for a US based formula or are you ok with ordering a European formula? If you’re comfortable with European formulas, I’d go with HiPP Dutch – which is comparable to (and actually a little better) than baby’s only. If you want a US based formula, you can go with Happy Baby which is comparable to Baby’s Only except for that it has soy oil and Baby’s Only does not. Hope that helps!

  5. Hi Anjali! I sent a message asking about a recommendation for the best organic formula for stage 2 (6months+). My son currently is taking Hipp Germany stage 1 and I am looking for the next stage so would love your thoughts. Sorry if I missed your reply! Really looking forward to your response!

  6. Hi,
    Thank you for such great information. I have a question about HIPP UK and the different stages. My son will be 10months on 3/25/20. I am still using stage 1, the reason being is that around the same time that I made the switch to stage 2 my son got really sick with RSV, Influenza A, and Pneumonia. We were in the hospital for over a week because besides the obvious respiratory symptoms he started to have bloody/jelly stools. We were hospitalized for a week, after his lab work and ultrasound came back normal they determined the stool issue may have been due to the viruses and the different medications he was on. While in the hospital the doctors asked me if I had changed his formula. I explained to them that the only change I had made was switching from stage 1 to stage 2. After that happened I got a little paranoid and still wonder if the formula had anything to do with his stool issues. (I did notice that stage 2 when mixed was more foamy/bubbly than stage 1). I have always ordered my formula from a reputable seller – formuland.com and have never had any issues. I guess my question is: as far as nutrition goes is it ok to give him stage 1 till he turns 12months or does stage 2 have certain nutrients he needs for his age? He drinks 22-25 oz of formula per day and usually has three solid meals. Your thoughts are appreciated 🙂

    • Hi Heather! The main difference between Stage 1 and 2 is that Stage 2 has more iron. So if your son is eating really well and is eating a wide variety of foods (it sounds like he is!) then you could be totally fine staying on Stage 1. I’d just double check with his pediatrician to make sure the iron content of Stage 1 is sufficient based on how he’s eating/drinking to confirm!

  7. I’ve been following this post and your blog for a few years now and it’s finally time for me to order my first batch of formula 😉 Thanks for aaaaalllll of the information and the breakdown. Question: I really like that Loulouka has whole milk and no vegetable oils. But is there any information on whether coconut oil is easily absorbable or digestible by infants when compared to vegetable oil? Also, given that it has no pre/probiotics and we are unlikely to supplement this additionally in the very beginning/newborn stage, does the addition of these supplements in HiPP Dutch make it a better choice despite the skimmed milk/vegetable oil differences with Loulouka? TIA!

    • Hi Ramya! I’ll answer your questions in order 🙂
      1) Coconut oil for infants should be fine — there is no research to suggest that it’s not easily absorbed and Loulouka included it because the fat profile is similar to other oils used in other formulas
      2) If you are unlikely to supplement with pre/probiotics and DHA, then I would recommend HiPP Dutch over Loulouka in the early infancy stage. The skimmed milk/vegetable oil differences aren’t as significant (in my opinion) as much as pre/probiotics + DHA is needed! Hope that helps!

  8. Hi Anjali!
    Really appreciate your knowledge and expertise in the area of baby nutrition. After reading your blog I decided to start my infant on Hipp Dutch Stage 1. He is now coming up to 4 months and I am starting to look at stage 2 formulas to prepare for when he is 6 months. Do you have a similar blog entry re: best organic formula for stage 2? Also, I am looking for the best organic stage 1 food to buy. Any recommendations in vendors? Do you already have a blog on this? I searched and couldn’t find anything on store bought food. Look forward to your reply!

  9. Hi,

    I currently use HiPP Dutch but I think my baby may be allergic ….do you suggest HiPP HA? …and is that HA German version still considered organic?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Jenna! Because HiPP HA uses hydrolyzed milk proteins (and due to that extra processing it can’t be considered organic), none of the hypoallergenic formulas available in Europe are truly organic. That said, they are much closer to organic standards than the US hypoallergenic formulas and the ingredient lists are much cleaner (e.g. no syrup solids or added sugars!). But yes, HA or Comfort are the best European options for babies who have lactose/dairy sensitivities. Hope that helps!

  10. Hi! I love this article so much and refer to it often! My 3 month old has been having Hipp German Pre since birth but she’s become extremely gassy and miserable. I have a box of Hipp Pre HA that we haven’t tried. We have tried Loulouka Stage 1 which made her vomit. I really don’t want to give her anything with soy and I noticed the Hipp Comfort has maltodextrin. Any insight or advice? I just want a happy baby!

    Thank you!

    Blake

    • Hi Blake! I’m so glad this post was helpful for you! I’m so sorry to hear about your baby’s digestive issues – that must be so tough! If you haven’t tried HiPP PRE HA I would definitely try that first. If that doesn’t work then you should try HiPP Comfort (which is specifically designed for gas). It does have maltodextrin but in the world of hypoallergenic formulas outside of HiPP HA, it really has the cleanest ingredients list out of the other options. You might also want to get her tested for a milk protein allergy by your pediatrician if you haven’t already. Hope that helps and let me know how it goes!

    • Hi Delia! Mt. Capra provides a “goat milk formula recipe kit” — which includes all of the ingredients you’d need to make goat milk formula at home. I know parents who have done that and their babies have done really well on it. The ingredients are really good in their kit! But I would just make sure your pediatrician is aware and comfortable that you’re planning to do that before making formula at home for your baby. Hope that helps!

      • Thank you! Just talked to the paediatrician today, he was more satisfied with the Mt. Capra over Kabrita formula since my baby is only 2 months old. However, I am concerned that when we travel to London, UK & Dublin, Ireland then on to Melbourne, Australia in few weeks, even though we are staying in a place with a kitchen. Is it feasible or should we use a goat formula or goat formula recipe kit made in each country? Since we are gone for approximately 1 1/2 month in total.

      • Hi Delia! I’m not as familiar with how long the Mt. Capra recipe stays after it’s made (my guess is 24 hours)? If that’s the case then you’ll probably want to take all of the ingredients for making the formula with you and make it fresh in each location you’re in!

  11. Hi Anjali,

    Thank you for this comprehensive review of all the formulas. Wanted your advise in regards to plant based (non-dairy) formulas. What do you recommend as options? Please advise. Thanks

    • Hi Puneet! Unfortunately there aren’t really any good non-dairy formulas out there. I don’t recommend soy formulas (unless your pediatrician has specifically told you to use a soy formula), and the only other option is a pea protein formula made by Baby’s Only. It does have syrup solids as the first ingredient, but is better than soy formula in general. Hope that helps! If there is a specific formula you had a question about let me know and I’d be happy to share my thoughts!

  12. My 5 month old has been EBF since birth and takes bottles of breast milk regularly & well at daycare, but I need to transition to formula due to my work travel. So far I have tried Lebenswert (liked at first, then didn’t like and got a bad rash), Holle Goat (hated), Happy Baby Organic Sensitive (tolerates but doesn’t love and I don’t like the foaminess), and HIPP Comfort (doesn’t really like it and it tasted bitter to me). Going to try HIPP Stage 1 next, but otherwise I am running out of options – any ideas? My guess in tasting all of these compared to breast milk is that none are as sweet.

    • Hi Laena! Most EBF babies will reject all formulas at first because they all won’t taste exactly like breastmilk. I’d recommend picking a formula you feel good about and that your baby has no allergic reactions to, and doing a very slow transition over a period of two weeks to get them used to the new taste. E.g. replacing 1/2oz of breastmilk with formula in each bottle on Day 1, increasing to 1oz on day 2, 1.5-2oz on day 3, etc. Hope that helps!

  13. Hello,
    My daughter is currently 17 months and has been on breastmilk. She isn’t much of a eater. I want to transition her to formula & saw that HiPP is highly recommended. I saw stage one is for 0-6 months, stage two is for 6-12 months.
    What do you suggest for a toddler of her age?

    • Hi Lynne! For toddlers who need formula, I recommend HiPP Stage 3. But if she doesn’t need formula (e.g. your pediatrician is fine with you transitioning her to cow’s milk) then I’d recommend just moving to organic whole cow’s milk instead, which is much easier to manage than formula! Hope that helps!

  14. Hi Anjali!
    I was reading your thread on Bimbosan and it’s becoming more popular now just FYI. Also, Hollehippos, Anewyorkbaby, and Lechebebeshop sells them in the US. But for overseas distributors, I usually order from Vitadrogerie and they ship worldwide. Their customer service seems better than Loulouka.

  15. Hi, I am wondering your thoughts on Baby’s Only new pea protein formula as an option for babies needing a dairy-free option?

    • Hi Jamee! Since there are very limited dairy-free formulas out there, it’s the best option among the dairy-free formulas! The first ingredient is “brown rice syrup” which isn’t great, but when you’re comparing that to the other dairy-free formulas (which are basically just soy formulas) – it’s much better than a soy based formula! If your baby can tolerate hydrolyzed milk proteins, then I’d recommend a hypoallergenic formula like HiPP HA or HiPP Comfort, but if not then Baby’s Only Pea Protein formula is the next best option!

  16. Thank you for such an informative blog. Choosing the right formula for my infant has been very overwhelming! I’m currently breastfeeding and also having to supplement with formula because I’m not producing enough milk. The formula I’m using is Happy Baby. Do I also need to supplement with Vitamin D and Pre or Pro Biotics? My other question is what is the best type of water to use with formula? I prefer not to use tap water. I am looking at getting a filtration system for my house but right now I’d like to know the best type of bottled water.

    • Hi Brittany! If you’re using Happy Baby then you don’t need to supplement with prebiotics or Vitamin D, but you can supplement with probiotics (I’d recommend this one). For water – any type of bottled water should be fine (I used all types of bottled water for my kids!) if you want something even more filtered than that you can buy low flouride and purified/deionized/distilled water at the grocery store too. Hope that helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to newsletter

Copyright 2020 The Picky Eater. All rights reserved.