I am so grateful to have found Holle formula from Europe as I am unable to breastfeed my little fella. I tried for about a month before deciding it was better for both of us if I accepted it was causing too much stress with sadly little results. I continued to pump for three months but I had to supplement with formula from the beginning.
The best US formula I found was Honest Company, but even that had glucose syrup solids (i.e. sugar) and soybean oil. I want to avoid soy completely! Soy has been shown to disrupt thyroid function, irritate the digestive system and block mineral absorption. Soy’s isoflavones have also been shown to have adverse effects on reproductive development. Soy is just not a healthy food!
Baby’s Only Organic was recommended in Sally Fallon Morell’s book as a good option but the first ingredient is rice syrup solids. What?! Why?!
Holle, on the other hand, is 99% organic and the milk used “comes from cows raised on organic biodynamic local farms in caring and appropriate environments”. I wish the milk was full fat instead of skim but I have yet to find a formula that didn’t use skim milk. It has no soy, gluten, sugar, preservatives, color or DHA. DHA is good on its own if it is from a good source (e.g. cod liver oil) but the concern of DHA in formula is that these highly sensitive fats can go rancid easily. So you are better off adding a separate DHA supplement if needed. I started giving Vaughn Green Pasture fermented cod liver oil when he was about four months old. I wish I’d started even earlier. You can read more about giving babies cod liver oil here. The book Super Nutrition for Babies suggests waiting to give cod liver oil until six months for breastfed babies but starting earlier for formula fed babies.
The above book also recommend making homemade formula from raw milk, similar to the Weston A. Price Foundation’s recipe, which you can find here. I wanted to try this but had trouble getting my husband on board. My friend, Lana, had great success making this formula with raw goat’s milk and talks about her experience on her blog.
The Holle formula is made from skimmed milk, which isn’t ideal since babies need fat, and then of course it is all very processed, getting it down to a powder. Formula is just not my best case scenario but I do think Holle is a better product than what else I found. I worry that the milk, whey powder and vegetable oil are too heat sensitive to be processed into a powder and part of the vegetable oil blend is rapeseed oil…. Writing that last line makes me a bit sick to my stomach because I worry I’m not giving my baby the best nutrition possible. Unfortunately, other than making my own formula (or getting it from a milk bank which comes with a host of other concerns), what can I do? I’m such a big fan of raw milk that I really believe in making the homemade formula but alas, it’s hard to find positive support in making this controversial decision.
Holle formula is easy and affordable from Beyond Organic Baby and my friend gets hers from Udderly Organics. It is also easy to prepare with english instructions on the Beyond Organic Baby website. They recommend boiling the water but I talked to the company and they said it is fine to use bottled water and skip this step. I fill a bottle with four ounces of water, add four scoops, shake and then pour it into a como-tomo bottle.
I wanted to share this formula because it is the best one that I know about, though it certainly isn’t perfect. I highly recommend you check out the book Super Nutrition for Babies by Katherine Erlich and Kelly Genzlinger. This book talks about waiting until six months for solids but suggests starting at four months for formula fed infants so that they can get vital nutrients that may be lacking in formula. So far Vaughn (five months old on Friday) loves his egg yolk, liver and bone broth!