What is the best formula for newborns? Don’t rush to order the first one you see surfing on the internet. The range of baby food is quite wide. But advertising, brand popularity, or website feedback do not guarantee that particular formula will suit your baby. And only a pediatrician can help parents choose suitable baby food based on the infant’s nutritional needs.
Doctors caution against choosing a formula on their own. First of all, the manufacturers do not always provide reliable and complete information about their products. Secondly, the price is not the most critical point.
What is the most critical aspect of a baby’s diet?
The composition of baby food is the building material for all organs and tissues of the baby’s body, so the health condition is determined by food’s quality, digestibility, biological, and energy value. It creates the prerequisites for the proper development of the body and its functioning in the future. A balanced and healthy diet based on optimally selected foods will ensure children’s development, good physical shape, mood, and the formation of good eating habits.
Baby food, in general, is characterized by high nutritional value and good taste, safety, and balanced composition. But the variety of terms on the label, such as “bio,” “organic,” and “farm,” indicating the beneficial properties of the contents, often confuse consumers and, in some cases, are contradictory and lead to misconceptions.
What is the difference between these definitions, and what do they mean? What are the benefits of additional quality criteria, such as the label “organic”?
Natural or organic?
There is now a critical question about what products we buy and eat: where and from what raw materials were they produced? Were fertilizers and pesticides used in the cultivation of crops, and antibiotics and other medicines in animal breeding? The concept of “natural products” has become very valuable.
However, often buyers and producers understand this term very differently. Surely most of us, seeing the word “natural” on the label, imagine a package containing 100% plant or animal ingredients with a complete (or almost complete) absence of any food chemicals – dyes, flavorings, enhancers, etc.
However, dishonest manufacturers may interpret the term “natural product” entirely differently. Therefore the presence of this word combination on the package is not a guarantee that its contents contain no chemical additives. Therefore, picky consumers have found a way out by buying natural or organic products. In contrast to the term “natural product,” the term “organic product” is strictly regulated.
Organic food – what is it?
The main difference between organic products and all other foods is the strict requirements on the quality of their ingredients or production technology and the conditions under which the raw materials were obtained for their manufacture. These include:
- The production of raw materials for organic products must be carried out in natural conditions and environmentally friendly regions – far away from large cities, industrial zones, and traffic arteries.
- Only genetically unmodified varieties and seeds may be used in crop production. In this case, the plants grow naturally, without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, growth stimulators, and protection against diseases. Ultrasound and mechanical traps are used for pest control.
- Animals are kept under natural conditions and receive natural feeds peculiar to the species. The use of concentrated feed, hormones, antibiotics, and growth stimulants is strictly forbidden.
- The absence of any artificial additives – flavorings, dyes, emulsifiers, stabilizers, preservatives, etc. is guaranteed in the finished products.
- Organic food production has a mandatory step-by-step certification and is subject to compulsory quality control.
Therefore, certified organic products are products produced, processed, and packaged in strict compliance with technical specifications or state standards with subsequent certification as “organic.” The definition means that the product is produced with no toxic effects on the environment and does not contain agrochemicals, pesticides, no genetically modified seeds or products, hormones, or chemicals.
Why is it important to choose organic baby food?
The fact is that a child’s body in their first years of life is very susceptible to various toxins and allergens, which are often chemical food additives. Not without reason, scientists link the growth of children’s illnesses in the last century precisely to changes in the diet and the abundant inclusion of chemical components.
Since the building material for all the organs and tissues of the human body is the food we eat, our health depends on its quality. It means that eating this or that food is not only a matter of momentary satiation but also of good health, proper development, and well-being in the long run.
Organic baby formulas also have advantages over regular ones. Due to unique production technologies, they contain more vitamins and minerals, which means that the composition and taste of organic formula are much better and richer.
Organic milk, the basis of the baby formula, comes from cows grazing on open pastures and getting only natural feed – grass, corn, and grain, grown without chemical additives and pesticides. GMOs, growth stimulants, and antibiotics on organic farms are strictly forbidden.
The certificate of independent regulatory authority should confirm organic milk as an ingredient of the organic formula.
Thus, the best organic baby formula is the rare case where “healthy” does not mean “unpalatable” – no wonder many children prefer it. It is also essential that organic baby food gives kids new taste sensations, enriches their diet, and helps develop the right taste preferences, creating the foundation for a future healthy lifestyle.
What should parents look for when choosing a baby formula?
- Shelf life. It is safer to buy formula, which is no more than 25% of its entire shelf life.
- Package integrity. Tin cans without dents, packages inside cardboard boxes without cracks and tears.
- Composition. It is better to double-check advertising statements about the composition made by the manufacturer on the front side in large print.
- Pack size. Don’t aim to buy a large pack because many formulas get spoiled quickly after opening.
- Specific characteristics. If you are concerned about the smell or bitter taste, it may indicate incorrect storage conditions.
One of the best organic baby food stores is Organics Best. The owners themselves check each product that they sell.