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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!

What’s The Best Organic Formula For Your Baby?

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This post will help you find the healthiest, organic, best baby formula, and has a helpful chart ranking all of the organic formulas on the market today! I update this post monthly to ensure that all of the information below is recent and accurate!

hipp holle and lebenswert organic baby formula

We’ve all heard the advice: “Breast is best.” Exclusively breastfeed until your baby is 1 year old. Nurse on demand. Formula is “poison.” For a few moms, that advice is easy to follow: they had a natural birth, had so much milk they could donate it, breastfeeding was pain-free, and their baby latched effortlessly. And while I wish it were that easy, unfortunately for many moms, it’s not.

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 baby isn’t gaining weight; I physically can’t breastfeed because I have a health condition; my nipples are sore/bleeding/cracked/blistered; I’m in excruciating pain; I have no place to pump at work; I have mastitis; I’ve seen x# of lactation consultants and I’m still having problems nursing; etc.

Since I’ve had Layla, I’ve gotten a bunch of questions from new moms about breastfeeding, baby food, and what is the best formula for babies (especially regarding safe, organic, healthy formula for their little ones). For me, nursing was one of the most physically and emotionally challenging parts of new motherhood. Many of the early days ended in tears over it. But because I had a decent supply (and I knew many moms who didn’t have enough/any milk at all), I decided to stick with it. It was difficult and challenging every day, but I nursed and pumped for the first 6 months, started weaning around 6.5 months and fully weaned by 7.5/8 months. There was no way I was going to make it to a year, and I was ok with that.

I know a lot of moms feel guilt over weaning early, or not being able to breastfeed as much a they’d like – but honestly, whatever makes you a better, happier mom is what you should do. If you love breastfeeding, great! But if you need to supplement or switch to formula, that’s ok too. The most important thing is the love you give to your baby, and that you and your baby are happy and healthy.

And so, since I knew I was going to need formula for Layla once I weaned, I did a ton of research trying to find the best baby formula on the market today, and ended up finding a wonderful, healthy formula that I felt good about giving Layla, and also ended up using the same formula for my son when he was born too! 

Below I have listed the top 10 best baby formulas I found, followed by more details on each as well as a comprehensive chart that lists even more organic baby formula options than the top 10!

The Best Organic Baby Formulas

Disclaimers to keep in mind:

  • Organic formulas are more expensive than regular formula. I realize that not every parent has the financial means to buy organic formula for their little ones, and that is ok! If you don’t have the means, just do what you can for your baby. No judgments here.
  • Not every baby likes every formula. Some formulas constipate some babies. Again, if you try the formulas I recommend and they don’t work for your baby – that’s ok too!
  • I am advocating 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.

What should you look for when picking the right formula?

What I learned in my research is that the US doesn’t have very strict standards when it comes to organic baby formula. Ingredients that really shouldn’t be in baby formula appear all the time in many organic brands.

The ingredients that shouldn’t appear in organic formula (as outlined by the National Organic Standards Board and are banned in the EU) include:

1) 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).

2) 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. The issue of hexane in formula is a complicated one — and I have more details about that below!

3) Synthetic Preservatives – ascorbic palmitate and beta carotene are the common ones here.

4) 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 (go figure). I won’t go into details on each nutrient listed above, but essentially – many are processed with neurotoxic solvents or are either themselves listed as a toxic ingredient.

Note: 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 the alternative some formulas that don’t have palm oil use – which is soy oil, because of this study about soy that makes it problematic. 

Unfortunately, almost every single formula in the US market has one or more of these ingredients included. Even the EU formulas have Palm Oil (but they have less of it than the US formulas, and so it doesn’t cause digestive issues). That being said, organic formula is still better than conventional formula – because at least organic formula is made with non-GMO ingredients and the cows producing the milk are hormone free.

So what’s a mom to do? Order your formula online from the EU if you can!

Hipp Organic, Lebenswert, and Holle Organic are three brands from the EU that have wonderful ingredient lists for their formulas. HiPP is the best, in my opinion and Lebenswert is a close second. I used HiPP for Layla, and it worked great for us.

For HiPP: You can see the ingredients here, For Lebenswert: you can see the ingredients here, and For Holle: you can see the ingredients here.

To buy either HiPP, Lebenswert, or Holle online, I have found a few online retailers who are either based in the US or ship to the US in a reliable and safe manner!

Where can you buy European baby formula in the US?

My top four online retailers for all European baby formula are:

Huggable is an amazing, reliable, reputable, online retailer based in the Bay Area, 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 speaking with her extensively and learning about Huggable’s sourcing practices, I feel confident in recommending them as a place to purchase all of the best European baby formulas: HiPP, Holle, Lebenswert, and Holle Goat. Huggable formulas ship free on orders over $40 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 also wants to support 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!

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 pretty much get any products from Holland and Belgium through their site (like even stuff for mama like yummy snacks, fresh cheesesbeauty products, body care and more!)

Organic Baby Food is another reputable, online retailer based in the EU who has fast shipping to the US! They sell HiPP, Lebenswert, and Hollealong 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!

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. Bottles & Burps offers 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!)

One new option for Goat Milk formulas that I recommend is Kabrita USA. 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. I’m actually ranking it as a “1” on the chart below, because it is the best goat milk formula out there. Also, Kabrita is offering 10% off all orders with the coupon code GENTLEKABRITA.

I’m in personal contact with the owners of all 5 of these companies:  Huggable, Dutch Expat Shop,  Organic Baby Food, Bottles & Burps, and Kabrita USA and I feel comfortable recommending all of them to you.

Here is a detailed chart of the best organic baby formulas: They are ranked from best to worst formula

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.

Note: I update this post frequently – this chart is as of July 2019. All updates are listed in detail (by date) below the chart as well! 

chart ranking the best organic baby formulas of 2019, by anjali shah at

For anyone looking for a goat milk formula specifically, I have a separate chart in this post that outlines the best goat milk formula for your baby!

The Bottom Line:

** There is no perfect formula, but some are still much better than others.

** Baby’s Only with Whey is probably the best in the US (that you can buy at your local grocery store)

** If you can afford it, shipping your formula from Europe is the absolute best way to go, and HiPP or Lebenswert are the best formulas out there!

** Regarding Hexane-extracted DHA and ARA, I have gotten confirmation that both HiPP and Topfer use hexane-extracted DHA/ARA – but they both claim that 100% of the hexane is removed after extraction and it is not detectable in their formulas. Given that these are European formulas and the guidelines in Europe are much more stringent than the US guidelines, I’m inclined to believe them.

** Regarding GrassFed and PureBliss – they are not organic formulas, 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). 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.

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 formula. 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!

Best Baby Formula Ranking as of July 2019

#1 | HiPP (prefer the Dutch version of HiPP – which you can also get at DutchExpatShopor HiPP PRE or Lebenswert or Holle PRE or Kabrita USA (if you want a Goat Milk Formula)

#2 | Baby’s Only with Whey Protein

#3 | Regular Holle

#4 | Holle Goat or Happy Baby or Honest Co

#4 |  Plum Organics

#5 | Baby’s Only with Brown Rice Syrup

… and then the rest of the list!

Best US Baby Formula Ranking as of July 2019

I’ve gotten a lot of questions on how I’d rank just the US-made formulas (for folks who can’t afford or don’t want to buy from the EU). For just the US formulas, I’d rank them as follows.

#1 | Baby’s Only with Whey Protein or Kabrita USA

#2 | Happy Baby or Honest Co

#3 | Plum Organics

#4 | Baby’s Only with Brown Rice Syrup (which also has a version with DHA/ARA added)

#5 | Earth’s Best

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.

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970 responses to “What’s The Best Organic Formula For Your Baby?”

  1. Do you have any updates on best US brand formulas?
    My breastmilk supply is dwindling at 6.5 months postpartum and I am starting to research formulas

  2. Woow! super helpful! hi, my baby boy will turn 6 months in august, im currently exclusively breastfeeding but been thinking in suplementing with formula but still thinking about it coz i feel a little guilty since my first girl was exclusively breastfeef for 15 months. Im a little confuse with the names; what is the difference between hipp dutch, uk, pre, im confused and wouldn’t know wich one to order! Thanks in advance

    • Hi Maria! I got your message on IG but I’ll reply here too just in case anyone else has a similar question 🙂 First off, please try to not feel guilty about stopping breastfeeding or supplementing! 6 months is still great and any amount of breastmilk is beneficial to your little one, AND the formulas I recommend are really awesome nutritionally so you can feel good about giving him this formula too! Fed is best, that’s all that matters 🙂 So for HiPP – I’d recommend HiPP Dutch first. If that’s not available, then HiPP PRE, and then after that I’d recommend HiPP UK. Hope that helps!!

  3. Hi, thank you for this article. It’s been so helpful. I had a question about the nucleotides and synthetic nutrients. I am currently feeding my son Happy Baby but recently have been confused. At first I was glad that it didn’t have taurine and all of the other “extras” but lately Ive been reading other sites from doctors that say the nucleotides are better and recommended. Should I change him over to to a formula that contains those? How does Europe handle it? Do European formulas have something else to replace those extras?

    • Hi Gabriela! I’m so glad this post was helpful to you! Regarding nucleotides, can you send me the articles you were looking at (email them to me at Everything I’ve read is that the synthetic nutrients aren’t beneficial and can be harmful in the way they are produced – so I wouldn’t recommend changing him to a formula that has those. The National Organic Standards Board rejected the use of these synthetic nutrients in dairy-based formula: lutein, lycopene, nucleotides, taurine, l-carnitine and l-methionine. None of these nutrients are required in infant formula by the FDA, and all are prohibited in organic formula in the European Union – so they don’t replace it with anything, they just leave those synthetic ingredients out. Oftentimes conventional formula makers will hire doctors to write articles promoting the ingredients in their products, so the source is important when it comes to those types of claims! But if you send them to me I’m more than happy to look into it further 🙂 Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

  4. Hello! Thank you for your comprehensive blog post! I am a little lost with what formula to get for my 4 month old. Please offer advice if you can. My questions:

    1a) DHA/ALA & Omega 6: Do I want all three? I’m interested in Lebenswert Stage 1, but there are no Omegas, so I was going to add Nordic Natural drops. However, the drops only contain omega-3s.

    1b) DHA/ALA & Omega 6: Do you know how the omegas are sourced in the HiPP Stage 1 UK formula?

    2) My baby has severe eczema. Before finding EU brands, she was on Alimentum as we weren’t sure if it was a dairy allergy. Her eczema persisted! Do you have any insight on formula ingredients that could cause eczema, or what EU formulas you know have helped others with eczema? Even if not formula related, if you have any insight on eczema triggers, please let me know – looking for answers.

    3) Is there a concern over protein levels in goat’s milk? I read that somewhere.

    4) Pre/Probiotics: If a formula contains prebiotics, should I add probiotics? I purchased Corganic GutPro Infant power. Or, if a formula contains neither pre or probiotics, should I add both, or just probiotics?


    • Hi Stephanie! No problem at all! I’m glad this post was helpful for you! To your questions:
      1a) So there actually isn’t a way (that I know of) to supplement with ARA. All of the infant DHA supplements only contain DHA, there aren’t any that contain ARA (which is why I rank HiPP over Leb since HiPP has DHA/ARA in it). That being said, there are mixed opinions on whether ARA is necessary – so what I would do is talk to your pediatrician about it and see if they think ARA supplementation is necessary!
      1b) The omegas are sourced from fish and algae!
      2) I’m so sorry your baby has eczema!! That’s so rough! So eczema can be caused by a variety of issues. It sounds like you guys have ruled out a dairy allergy, since nothing changed after the Alimentum. Other potential allergens could be (for a 4 month old, these only apply if she’s getting any breastmilk from you): wheat, nuts, tomatoes, citrus fruits, egg whites, shellfish, and soy. Otherwise it could be hereditary (in which case no dietary changes will help) or environmental (something her skin is coming into contact with is irritating it). If she’s not getting any breastmilk then you can try HiPP HA to see if that helps, and if not then I would try a goat’s milk formula like Kabrita. I’d also recommend using Mustela products to help manage the eczema: put this lotion on after bath and an additional 3 times a day to the affected areas, and use this body wash and this shampoo for every bath. I love Mustela because their products are really effective but still very natural for eczema!
      3) Goat’s milk formula does contain more protein than cow’s milk formula and breastmilk. I haven’t heard of concerns about this and I know many moms who have used goat’s milk formula for their babies with no issues. That being said, if you do decide to try a goat’s milk formula, I’d run it past your pediatrician first!
      4) If a formula only contains prebiotics, you should add probiotics. If a formula contains neither pre or probiotics, I’d just still add probiotics since it’s hard to find a good prebiotic supplement for infants!

      Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions! 🙂

      • Hi Stephanie! One more follow up to this – I spoke with the owners of Kabrita and this is what they said about their Goat Milk formula: “Great question re: protein! Goat milk (fluid, natural) does contain more protein per serving than, say, cow milk or breast milk. This is one of a number of reasons why giving straight goat milk to an infant would not be suitable – their kidney function is not yet fully developed and will have a hard time handling the by-products of protein digestion. However – and this is key – baby formulas are adapted. This means that the nutrients (both macronutrients such as protein and micronutrients such as vitamins & minerals) are delivered in amounts that are safe and suitable. The FDA requires that infant formula in the US deliver between 1.8 – 4.5 g of protein per 100kkcal. Fluid (or straight) goat milk would offer 5.1 g per 100kcal. Kabrita goat milk formula offers 2.7g per kcal – nicely mid-range.” So given this I don’t think there’s any concern with the protein content of their goat milk formula vs. cow’s milk formula! Hope that helps!

  5. Hi! I apologize if I missed this, but should I be ordering the stage that corresponds with my child’s age? I’ve been following your advice to try Hipp stage one and when it’s out go with the Hipp German version PRE. My baby is 7 months old, is there a later stage I should be using of the German or Dutch version of Hipp?

    Thank you SO MUCH for your help!

    • Hi Emily!! Great question! Honestly it’s really child-dependent in terms of switching to the later stages. For kids who are great eaters early on (eating a variety of foods, 3 full meals a day by 9 months old, etc.) – you don’t necessarily need to switch to stage 2 if you don’t want to. The main difference between Stage 1 and 2 is that Stage 2 has more iron – which is necessary after babies turn 6 months because they start to lose their iron stores. Stage 1 still has iron, just less of it. Which is why, if your baby is a great eater – they might be getting enough iron from food and then you don’t have to switch to a later stage formula. Personally, my daughter was a fantastic eater – so I didn’t switch her to stage 2 until I ran out of stage 1, which was when she was about 10 months old. My son, on the other hand, took a LONG time to even show an interest in food, let alone eat 3 real meals a day, so I switched him to Stage 2 as soon as he turned 6 months old. I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  6. I need to supplement my newborn twins. My pediatrician does not recommend any powdered formula before 2 months. What are the best options for liquid or concentrated versions? Thanks!

    • Hi Emily! Is there a reason your peds doesn’t recommend powdered formula before 2 months? Powdered formula has a much cleaner ingredients list than ready to feed versions (since those have to have thickeners/stabilizers/etc. added to them to be shelf stable), and every mom I know who has supplemented with formula before the age of 2 months has used powdered formula. HiPP has a ready to feed version if you do want to go with that but it’ll be more expensive with a less-clean ingredients list than the powdered version! Hope that helps!

      • Thanks for the response! Powdered formula is not recommended for infants under 2 months of age due to it not being sterile. There is debate on preparing it with boiling water to ensure sterility. I was given samples of Similac pro advance which is at least moving in the right direction for big name brands, but is not organic.

      • Hi Emily! I agree about Similac – the ingredients are becoming cleaner but since it’s still not organic and the ingredients aren’t all the way there yet, I don’t recommend it. Regarding powdered formula – I had only heard that rationale used for high risk babies, preemies, or babies with some sort of health issue. I hadn’t heard it applied to all babies! But you should obviously go with what your pediatrician says! Thanks for getting back to me! 🙂

  7. Hi Anjali!
    Your blog is so informative! I’m wondering if you can advise on HiPP. Yesterday, I was told by our pediatrician that I need to start fortifying my breastmilk with formula, as she’s not gaining enough weight. She’s 6 months old, has been drinking breastmilk exclusively since birth (both by breast and bottle). She takes 2-3 bottles a day, and is otherwise breastfed. Our pedi recommended adding formula to her bottles breast milk, and wants me to do so at 24 calories per ounce. She gave us a ‘recipe’ to do this with Enfamil Enfacare (of which she also provide us a can of). The recipe is 1 3/4 teaspoons of formula to every 4oz of breastmilk, or 2.5 teaspoons of formula to every 6oz of breastmilk. The third ingredient on EnfaCare is corn syrup and half the others I cannot pronounce. Giving it to my daughter just doesn’t feel right.

    I happened to have been given two cans of HiPP to try by a friend, and I’d like to try fortifying her milk with this instead. My question for you is this: are you familiar or can you recommend a similar recipe using HiPP that would also provide 24 calories/oz? Or can you point me in the direction of possibly finding this info? Thank you!!!

    • Hi Alexa! I’m so glad you found this post helpful! And to your question yes! You can find info for HiPP and all of the European formulas here (just click on the link to whichever HiPP product you’re using – Dutch/UK/Germany Stage 1/2 etc.). Let me know if I can help with anything else!

  8. Hello,
    I started to give my daughter( she is 4 months old) HIPP AR because of her bad reflux but she started to have diarrhea.She was in the HIPP Stage 1 – Dutch ( didn’t help her reflux) before I started to give her the AR version.Do you have any other suggestions of formula for babies with reflux? Do you know if the goat milk like Kabrita is better for babies with reflux? Thank you so much for your time!

    • Hi Karol! You can try HiPP HA which has helped some babies with reflux. Otherwise you can try switching to Kabrita which may or may not help with reflux – it all just depends on your baby. But I’d try HiPP HA first and see how that goes!

  9. I have been using Enfamil Gentlease ready to feed. The powder causes constipation and overall fussiness. I have considered EU formulas for awhile, but can never get my math right. How many 4 oz bottles does one box make?

    • Hi Lauren! I’m so glad you are thinking of switching from Enfamil to one of the EU formulas! As for how many 4oz bottles 1 box of EU formula makes, it honestly depends on the formula you’re buying. If you’re buying HiPP UK, that will make about 40-45 4oz bottles. Lebenswert will make about 25-30 4oz bottles. So it really varies depending on the brand! I hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

  10. I’m struggling to get my daughter to drink formula and was hoping you may have some suggestions? We gave her Lebenswert once a day for about a month when she was 3 months old, but then my supply picked up and we didn’t need to supplement anymore and stopped. Then, around 8 months, she stopped BF entirely (only gets expressed BM from a bottle now) and my supply is decreasing again. I tried everything but no luck, so I need to supplement again. Problem is, she won’t drink it. Refuses, and even went to bed hungry one night instead of drinking the formula. Any ideas? I tried 80/20 BM/formula but she refused that too, and I ended up wasting precious BM… TIA!

    • Hi! So sorry to hear you’re having trouble getting your daughter to accept formula! That is so frustrating – but honestly it’s very common for babies who have been EBF or mostly BF for a long time. There aren’t many quick fixes for this issue – especially if your daughter won’t drink 80% breastmilk, 20% formula. You could try 90-10 but my guess is she’s really sensitive to the change in taste and will probably reject that too. All you can do is just continue to offer formula and make sure she’s super hungry when you do so that she’s more likely to drink it. You just have to keep trying! Always offer formula first when it’s time to eat, and only offer breastmilk 30min-1 hour after trying to get her to drink the formula. The more you offer formula and the less you offer breastmilk — eventually she will get used to the formula. Hope that helps and sorry I don’t have an easier answer for you!

  11. Thank you for the detailed post.After reading your post,I started giving HIPP formula to my 10 mo old baby and she started liking it without no tummy issue as of now.She earlier had stomach issue with US cow milk based formulas,so we were feeding her Soy based.Thanks to you that she can have cow milk based formula!
    We couldn’t find the HiPP Dutch stage 2,so giving her HiPP UK stage 2.I read one of your post regarding Hipp UK contains Soy Lecithin.
    What’s alternative for HiPP Dutch Stage 2 in that case?

    • Hi Mandy! I’m so glad HiPP has been working out better for your little one and that she can drink cow based formula now! You are right that HiPP UK has soy lecithin. For Stage 2, HiPP Germany without Starch Stage 2 is comparable to HiPP Dutch Stage 2. Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Hi my name is Jennifer, I have a 6 week old and I am looking for a soy-based formula. After reading this article I’m am wanting to get him off of similac. Could you please recommend a soy based formula that is a good choice for a 6 week old. THANK YOU!!

      • Hi Jennifer! Is there a reason you’re looking for a soy formula for your infant vs. a goat’s milk or hypoallergenic one? The soy options for infants is unfortunately really limited both in the US and in Europe. Baby’s Only makes a soy formula but it’s marketed for toddlers (although I know infants who use it after checking with their pediatrician – so if your pediatrician is comfortable with Baby’s Only that could be a good option for you). Otherwise the next best option is Earth’s Best Soy Formula for Infants. The ingredients aren’t great – but it’s about as good as you will get for an organic soy formula!

  12. Hi,
    Kabrita has soybean oil as one of their ingredients while Holle Goat milk formula doesn’t have it. Does that still make Kabrita the best goat milk formula on the market? Would love to know your thoughts.


    • Hi Sri! You are right that Kabrita has soy oil, but Holle Goat has maltodextrin and palm oil. Additionally, Holle Goat doesn’t have a whey/casein ratio that’s close to breastmilk, while Kabrita does – so babies generally get more constipated on Holle Goat. I hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

  13. Hi my baby is 9 month old and since 6 month he is on enafamil infant formula. I am concern as he is not gaining as much weight as he should be. He is only 8 kg right now. He is a very happy and active baby otherwise. I am thinking of switching his formula to see if it can make difference in his weight. And JFYI we vegetarian though I give him eggs. Can you please suggest me a good organic formula. TYIA.

    • Hi Arpna! If you’re vegetarian and don’t want fish oil in your formula, then I’d recommend Lebenswert and supplementing with DHA and probiotics. Hope that helps!

  14. Hi there, thanks for the detailed information. I am looking for a back pocket option to supplement breastfeeding if needed while traveling. Do one of these mimic breast milk better? I know digestion is of consideration, and currently my 4 week old has no digestion issues on breast milk. I give him probiotic drops once a day. Thanks in advance for your POV!

    • Hi Nicole! I’d say HiPP mimics breastmilk really well – I’d go with that as a backup option to supplement breastfeeding!

  15. Hey Anjali,

    Thanks for the great post! My sister lives in Germany, she feeds Hipp to her son and also recommended this formula to me.

    I totally agree with Shwetha, it’s really an absolute challenge to find Hipp in the US! My sister just recommended this awesome German website with English language to me:

    I now always buy Hipp Organic Combiotic there for just USD 22.4 a box. I buy 6 boxes to get the free delivery to the US. The parcel arrives normally in 10 – 12 days and I always get little gifts like a sample of baby sunscreen or shampoo. I will definitely continue to buy from vicnic and can really recommend them to you guys.

    • Hi Vicki! Thanks for the rec – that is helpful! I don’t know much about that company but I’m glad you’ve had a good experience ordering from them!

  16. Hello!

    I noticed that on your most updated spread sheet (April 2018), all of the HiPP formulas say “yes” in the column for synthetic DHA and ARA and “no” to the natural DHA/ARA. I have an older version of this chart, given to me by my sister in law. All of the HiPP formulas say “no” in the column for synthetic DHA/ARA on the older chart and “yes” to the natural DHA/ARA.

    Is this an error or is HiPP now using the synthetic DHA/ARA in their formulas?

    Thank you for your excellent article! I found it extremely helpful!!

    • Hi Chelsie! Great question! So first, please use the current chart posted on my site. The old chart was based off the information I had at the time – which was that HiPP had natural DHA/ARA. What I found out later was that is only partially true – HiPP uses fish oil for DHA, but gets the ARA from algae which is extracted using hexane (the process of which I outline in detail in the post, and I don’t find to be concerning). So the DHA is naturally extracted, but the ARA is not. That’s why I switched the chart from no to yes under the synthetic column. I hope that helps explain things! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  17. Anjali!
    You have NO IDEA how excited/happy I am to have found this post (and your blog, in general). I’m exclusively pumping for my 6 month old and really feeling the literal drain. I feel selfish for even contemplating weaning when I’ve been able to establish a good supply of breastmilk but I’m starting to feel the mental fatigue of constantly planning my days around pumping and have been searching for a post such as this one so I could decide on the best formula for our son when the time comes. I figured if I could find a formula I felt good about, it would help me make a transition plan and start to look toward life after pumping… a light at the end of the tunnel. This is literally the only post I have found in all my searching comparing the higher quality organic American formulas with the holy grail European ones, side-by-side. I can’t imagine how much work keeping this post updated must be and CAN NOT thank you enough. I look forward to referring to it often as I plan for the next chapter, and I thank you for being honest about your own journey. Fed is best, the shaming of any mother for trying to do whatever they can to keep their baby thriving has got to stop. I’m a firm believer in the “put on your oxygen mask first” philosophy and so grateful to you for assistance with my own mask 🙂

    • Hi Amy!! Omg thank you so much for sharing your experience and for your comment! I’m so glad my post has been helpful to you and I completely understand your pain, having exclusively pumped for my daughter from when she was about 5 months to 9 months, and for my son from when he was about 6 weeks old to 6 months old. By the time my son was 6 months old I was so done that despite having a good supply I had to stop – being chained to the pump while taking care of two little ones was just way too much for me. I felt guilty initially, then realized my quality of life improved dramatically once I stopped pumping, and then felt much better about it. So that’s all to say that I 100% support your decision to wean whenever you feel like it’s the right time. Please don’t feel guilty no matter what you decide! And honestly, the European formulas are so fantastic and mimic breastmilk so closely, that you don’t have to feel bad about giving it to your little one. Life after pumping is absolutely amazing – the freedom is incredible haha! Let me know if you have any questions along your journey, and congrats on making it to 6 months of pumping – that in and of itself is an accomplishment that you should feel great about. You are doing awesome mama!

  18. Hello Anjali.
    Thank you so much for this amazing information. I have been researching for weeks and your site has been the most helpful.
    I was set on purchasing HiPP but then I came across many sites sourcing that it has high amount of aluminum in it. I have read HiPPs reply to the study, but am reluctant to believe it all as they of course want to protect their product. What is your take on this?
    Also, I have read that all food items that are imported are x-rayed as they come through customs. This can have an affect on the food to some degree. What are your thoughts on this?
    I want to go with HiPP so badly but these two issues are preventing me. After reading your research above, I would love your insight.
    Thank you for your time.

    • Hi Kaitlynn! I’m so glad you found my site helpful! To your questions:
      1) The study seems to be flawed for many reasons: it was the only study done in isolation, it happened over 5 years ago with no follow ups, it didn’t look at all baby formulas in Europe, and even in that study, all of the aluminum levels were all within current guideline limits and there was no evidence they were harmful to children, especially since there is aluminum in drinking water/etc. I believe HiPP’s response because even the distributors of HiPP have looked into the issue and haven’t found anything concerning. I have given HiPP to both of my babies and haven’t been concerned about it.
      2) Food being x-rayed in a normal x-ray machine at the airport doesn’t affect the food. That’s similar to, if you were traveling and had to put your baby’s formula through the x-ray machine, how it would be completely safe and unaltered coming through the conveyor belt. You might be thinking about irradiation which is different – and I can vouch for both of the sellers on my site that their products are not irradiated.
      Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Thank you SO much!

        Organic Start is currently sold out of HiPP Stage 1 (Dutch). Any other sites you recommend ordering from? I live in Canada so would need something that ships here.

        Thanks again!


      • Hi Kaitlynn! Unfortunately HiPP Dutch is basically sold out everywhere right now (except for places that only distribute to the Netherlands). I think HiPP can’t keep up with the demand for HiPP Dutch and so I don’t know of any other sites that have it! Instead, I’d recommend ordering HiPP Germany PRE – which has literally the same ingredients as HiPP Dutch so it’s a good replacement. Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

  19. Hi Anjali!
    Your blog has been an absolute lifesaver especially for first time mothers trying to navigate through the complex world of baby formulas. I’ve been supplementing my little one with Hipp UK for the past 5 months. I’m planning to wean at 6 months and get her on Hipp Dutch Stage 2 but it’s been near impossible to find it online these days. I’m curious about Kabrita because she sometimes suffers from mild to moderate eczema and it’s more readily available in the US. Looks like Hipp PRE is available on Organic Start. What would you recommend between the two? Would I have to supplement additional iron in her diet if choosing Hipp PRE? Thanks again for sharing all your research!!

    • Hi Jenny! Thanks so much for reaching out! I’m so glad my blog has been helpful to you!! So honestly, either one would be great. If you suspect your daughter has a cow’s milk allergy then I’d recommend trying Kabrita. But if you think the eczema is unrelated then I’d go with HiPP PRE since the ingredients are virtually identical to HiPP Dutch! Depending on how your little one is doing with solids, you might have to supplement with iron (but I’d talk to your pediatrician before doing that). HiPP PRE has half the amount of iron that HiPP Dutch Stage 2 has per serving (to give you a sense of how much iron you might be missing if you did HiPP PRE). So short answer – both Kabrita and HiPP PRE are great options. I’d do Kabrita if you think your baby has a cow’s milk allergy, and I’d do HiPP PRE if you’re ok with possibly supplementing with iron after talking to your pediatrician first! Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Thanks for the quick and detailed reply. I’ve browsed through the Kabrita website and found this statement re Kabrita: “Not suitable for children with confirmed cow milk protein allergy”

        So are they saying Kabrita might be a good solution for suspected tummy troubles with cow milk but not if the baby has a real allergy? This statement seems to be conflicting and vague. What are your thoughts?

      • Hi Jenny! Actually that’s exactly right. For babies who have just a cow’s milk sensitivity, or a milk protein sensitivity, goat’s milk is a good alternative for that because it’s much easier to digest and it’s a different form of milk protein. But if the baby is actually allergic to either all dairy in general, or lactose specifically, then no type of milk (goat or cow) will work for them. The difference is between a sensitivity (which can cause reflux or gas or discomfort) and an actual allergy (which causes inflammation and a reaction like a rash, trouble breathing, etc.). Let me know if that makes sense and if you have any other questions!

  20. Hi
    Thanks for all the information. I noticed on your chart you mention Lebenswert formula doesn’t containt Maltodextrin but several other sources say it does. The stage 1 formula doesn’t, as its sweetened with Lactose, but it appears Stage 2 does. Can you verify this information please.
    Wondering how that may change your ranking compar d to Holle. Thanks

    • Hi Stephanie! So yes, Leb Stage 1 has no maltodextrin, but Leb Stage 2 does. Holle Stage 1 and Stage 2 both have maltodextrin, which is why I rank Leb higher. But if you’re comparing Leb Stage 2 vs. Holle Stage 2 they are virtually identical – so I’d rank their stage 2 formulas the same. I wouldn’t recommend Leb or Holle for Stage 2, instead the best Stage 2 formula is HiPP Dutch Stage 2, followed by HiPP UK Stage 2. Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

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