Top 5 Essential Ingredients In Organic Baby Formula: A Closer Look

Essential Ingredients In Organic Baby Formula

Nature has provided breast milk with all the crucial ingredients that support the proper baby’s development. This is why experts from the World Health Organization recommend exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months. Breast milk, perfectly tailored to the baby’s needs, has been the subject of many years of research by scientists who use it as a model for baby formulas.

When parents decide to use baby formula, they are faced with a complicated choice. They must find a product that will meet the high requirements of the little organism and provide it with the necessary nutrients.

What Is Baby Formula Composed Of?

When the infant is healthy and has no allergies or major digestive problems, they can be fed a regular formula appropriate for their age. The composition of every type of baby formula, particularly the organic one such as goat milk formula from European brand Holle, is regulated by law and strictly supervised.

But why is such milk called modified and what do these modifications consist of? The major ingredient of baby formula is cow’s milk or goat’s milk. Both these kinds of milk differ from human milk in many respects. The content of basic nutrients – fat, protein, and carbohydrates – is different in each of them. Let’s look closer at the main ingredients of organic baby formulas.


Protein is the basic building block of every organism. Protein molecules consist of many amino acids. The human body can produce some of them, but not all of them, so they must be provided with food.

Protein in baby formulas contains all amino acids in appropriate proportions. However, the protein content of human milk is low compared to cow’s milk and the milk of other mammals. It is about 1% or slightly more. However, this small amount of protein is enough because human babies grow relatively slower than those of other mammals.

The proportion of casein to whey proteins is also different than in cow’s milk. Casein is a protein that, under the influence of enzymes and acids, creates the so-called casein curd, i.e. something like cottage cheese. The liquid that separates from the cottage cheese, i.e. whey, contains soluble whey proteins. There is less casein and more whey proteins in human milk than in cow’s milk. Therefore, whey proteins are separated from cow’s milk and more of them are added to the baby formula so that after dissolving the powdered formula in water the total protein content is 1-1.2%.


Even though human and cow’s milk have similar fat content, their compositions differ significantly. For this reason, milk fat is not added to baby formulas or it constitutes only a small part of the total fat content. A specific feature of human milk is the high content of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids from the omega-3 and omega-6 groups. They are essential for the development of the brain, which in human newborns is relatively large and still growing.

To reproduce the composition of fatty acids from human milk as closely as possible, a composition of vegetable oils is used: palm and coconut are sources of saturated fatty acids, while rapeseed and sunflower oils provide unsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6. To ensure the appropriate composition of omega acids, fish oil and oil from Mortierella alpina algae, rich sources of the essential docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are also added to baby formulas.

Lactose and Carbohydrates

The main carbohydrate found in the milk of all mammals is lactose. Human milk contains a lot of lactose compared to the milk of cows and other mammals – about 7%, sometimes more. This much sugar is needed to meet the energy needs of an infant’s large and growing brain.

Some babies have an above-average appetite and don’t feel full when consuming the right portion of formula. Their parents can reach for a formula with a number corresponding to the age group (2, 3, etc.) and the symbol R. It means the addition of carbohydrates in the form of rice starch, which makes the prepared formula thicker and more filling than the regular one.


Oligos in Greek means “several,” so oligosaccharides are molecules consisting of several to several dozen sugar molecules. Those from milk contain primarily galactose (we call them galacto-oligosaccharides), but also other molecules.

Oligosaccharides are not digested by the baby, but they act as soluble dietary fiber, which supports the development of beneficial intestinal bacteria and helps regulate the digestive tract functions. Human milk, especially at the beginning of lactation, contains more oligosaccharides than cow’s milk, so infant formulas are additionally enriched with this ingredient.

Other Nutrients

All baby formulas also contain a set of vitamins, mineral, and trace elements in amounts appropriate for infants. Their content is slightly different in newborn formula than in follow-on formula milk because the needs of the constantly growing body change.

Among the essential ingredients, you will find the following ones:

  • taurine and L-carnitine (amino acids);
  • soy lecithin (emulsifier);
  • complex carbohydrates acting as probiotics (oligosaccharides);
  • calcium carbonate and phosphate (source of calcium);
  • potassium chloride and citrate (sources of potassium);
  • sodium citrate (source of sodium);
  • magnesium chloride (source of magnesium);
  • ferric sulfate (source of iron);
  • zinc sulfate (source of zinc);
  • vegetable oils (source of vitamin E);
  • L-ascorbic acid and sodium L-ascorbate (sources of vitamin C);
  • choline chloride (source of choline, or vitamin B4, an essential component of the cell-building material);
  • vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B11, B12, C, D, E and K.

Final Word

All baby formulas available on the market, whether they are organic or regular, must meet a basic condition – to provide the baby with the ingredients necessary for proper development. It is worth consulting the choice of product with a pediatrician who knows your baby and their needs. The doctor also has specific knowledge that allows them to choose the most suitable formula, especially if the baby has special nutritional needs, e.g. resulting from allergies or digestive ailments, such as colic or regurgitation.


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