Bringing up a baby without any animal-derived products in their lifestyle is difficult and perhaps the most debated topic. Knowing all the cruelty associated with the production of non-vegan foods, many vegan parents stick to their morals when it comes to purchasing baby food as well. If you are eager to know the best vegan baby formula for your infant, this is the one guide you’ll need!
Breastfeeding is without a doubt, the best natural option for a newborn diet; and there is no moral contradiction in breastfeeding even when you are a vegan. However, some mothers just aren’t able to breastfeed properly and it is a real concern for them. Hence, searching for a reliable dairy-free formula is the only way to ensure appropriate nutrition in those babies.
While there are plenty of safe non-milk based formula available today, it is crucial to know that no baby formula on the market would be 100% vegan, by definition. You see, the FDA has laid down several rigid guidelines for manufacturers to follow, one of which requires them to mandatorily add vitamin D3 in their formulations. And synthetic D3 is known to come from a compound that is sourced from sheep’s wool. This implies that a non-dairy formula can’t yet be unambiguously classified as truly vegan.
A dilemma, isn’t it? Well, it shouldn’t be! If the idea of veganism is the sole reason why you’re opting for a dairy free formula for your infant, the below options are the next best thing to a completely vegan baby formula. Based on the industry standards and the available options, this is as far as you can go trying to avoid stuff that includes animal cruelty at any production stage. Besides, formula fed babies need vitamin D in order to avoid developmental hurdles. On the other hand, if your baby’s severe dairy allergies compel you to browse this segment, I believe these non-milk based baby formulas should serve you just right.
Best Vegan Baby Formulas
What is a Baby Formula? – Baby formula is basically a manufactured food developed and sold for feeding babies and infants usually below 12 months of age. Bottle-feeding or cup-feeding the solutions made by mixing the powder or liquid with or without water are the most common ways of consumption. A baby formula is typically milk based and is fortified with all essential nutrients.
However, there are plenty of non-dairy options available when you are searching for a vegan baby formula. These contain minimum animal-derived ingredients and are yet rich in nutrients for the nourishment of your baby. I’ve carefully picked the products mentioned below, which are perhaps the best vegan baby formulas, as per my comprehensive research.
Enfamil’s ProSobee Soy Sensitive formula makes for an excellent plant-based alternative for babies with sensitive tummies. A verified Amazon reviewer calls it “the closest FDA approved formula to Vegan“. If your baby suffers from gas or colic, it could be an indication that the little one doesn’t tolerate milk all that well. Switching to this soy-based formula could help in reducing the fussiness of your child.
The baby formula is tailored keeping in mind the needs of babies of up to 12 months. A noteworthy fact here is that the brand has incorporated the same amount of Omega-3 DHA in their soy-based formula as compared to that of its routine counterpart. DHA and choline being critical nutrients for early childhood brain development, they’ve scored a massive selling point right here.
This milk-free, dairy-free and lactose-free baby formula does not have that typical pungent odor or taste. It has a milder flavor that could help the baby avoid spitting up after feeding. You can get the formula as ready to use 2 fl. oz. bottles, a 12.9 oz. powder can, a 22 oz. powder can or stock it up as a pack of 4 – 22 oz. powder cans.
- Helps reduce baby gas and colic
- Milk, Lactose and dairy-free
- Easy on sensitive tummies
- Contains adequate DHA and choline (both are influential in early stage brain development)
- Mild smell and taste
- Available in various sizes
- Sits on the higher end of the price range
Advised for babies from 9 – 24 months of age, the Gerber Good Start is a non-GMO Vegan Baby Formula and comes as a 24 oz. powder can. The formula is milk and lactose-free, ideal for babies with dairy allergies or indigestion complaints. The protein being sourced from soy, it is naturally easier on your babies sensitive tummy.
Stage 3 Gerber Good Start Soy formula is fortified with essential nutrients including calcium and vitamin D for bone health & Omega-3 DHA and iron for brain development. Further, parents in a fair number of reviews have reported that their babies seem to like this formula better than other soy-based formulas they’ve tried earlier. This could be a huge win if your little one is picky and has a taste already.
The manufacturer markets the product as a soy-based vegan baby formula apt for infant and toddlers. This might create a confusion around its suitability for different age groups. The linked product is a stage 3 formula and is meant for babies above 9 months and under 24 months of age. The Stage-1 Gerber Good Start Plant-based formula is the one for you if you’ve got a 0-9 month old baby.
- Lactose & Dairy free
- 100% Plant Based Protein
- Non-GMO ingredients
- Made with soy protein which may improve digestion
- Fortified with choline, DHA, calcium, Vitamin D and other essential growth nutrients
- Can’t be used for babies under 9 months old.
Earth’s Best is a yet another spectacular brand that you can trust with your baby’s needs. This dairy free baby formula suffices the nutritional requirements of a baby’s first 12 months. It contains high-quality soy protein and easily digestible carbohydrates as macronutrients and a rich blend of vitamins, minerals & essential fatty acids as micronutrients.
The generous concentration of Omega-3 DHA and Omega-6 ARA are particularly noteworthy. Both of these fatty acids are found in breast milk and have a crucial role in early childhood brain and eye development. The powder is further fortified with iron for healthy RBC development.
The lactose-free formula is made from organic soybeans grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. All ingredients in this product are non-GMO, there aren’t any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives added to the formulation either. All in all, a very safe soy-based baby formula for vegan babies or ones with dairy intolerance.
- Non-GMO soy-based formula
- Kosher & USDA Organic certified product
- Omega-3 DHA and Omega-6 ARA
- Fortified with iron
- No artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, GEI used
- Contains organic corn syrup solids
While soy formula seems to work just fine for vegan babies or those with dairy intolerance; in rare cases, parents might be in search of a third option that’s also soy-free. Made in a peculiar fashion, the Neocate’s Infant DHA/ARA solves this very dilemma. It is indeed dairy-free and soy-free! This baby formula is a hypoallergenic blend of amino-acid based baby food.
Such a unique manufacturing process makes it an ideal choice for babies that have severe food allergies. The blend further contains a thoughtful balance of DHA and ARA, both of which are essential fatty acids important for early stage development. This amino acid-based infant formula comes in a powdered form. You need to mix 1 fluid ounce water to 1 scoop powder to prepare a serving.
This dairy free soy free baby formula gives you a versatile option of both enteral nutrition oral and tube feeding process. This 100% dairy-free formula is enriched with ingredients that are certified by suppliers to be derived from non-genetically modified organisms.
- Hypoallergenic product is safe for allergic babies
- Suitable for infants of 0-12 months
- Contains nucleotides and other nutrients
- Can be used for both enteral nutrition oral and tube feeding
- Rather expensive compared to other options on this list
An organic non dairy baby formula sourced from Soy, it makes a great alternative to dairy formulas. This 12.7 oz can product makes approximately 80 fl oz when reconstituted. There is no corn syrup or gluten found in this product and hence, it makes a healthier option for infants.
The product maintains the American Academy of Pediatrics nutritional guidelines and ensures organically purified, no GMO ingredients. The Alpha-Linolenic and Linoleic Fatty Acid work as precursors for DHA & ARA.
- Organic non dairy formula
- Made with non-GMO ingredients
- Contains no corn syrup or gluten
- Ensure continuation of growth and development post breastfeed
- Suited for 1-year of age and older
- Powder form is difficult to mix as compared to other liquid-based products
What Should I Look for in a Non-Dairy Formula?
As a vegan parent, you need to narrow down your search for the best non dairy formula for your baby by looking into these crucial factors. After all, you need to ensure the health and nutrition of your baby, whose only source of food is the formula at this age.
Nutrition is the first aspect you need to look and you can do the same by quickly checking the ingredients. Almost all soy formulas contain soy protein, vegetable oils, corn syrup, sucrose, and iron. You can also look for a baby formula with DHA and ARA omega fatty acids (often sourced from algae) for the brain, nerve, as they promote eye development of the baby.
Secondly, where the formula is made makes another concern. It is important because countries like China often add melamine (a harmful chemical) to the infant formula. Countries like the USA do not allow melamine in any food products and therefore is much safer.
Thirdly, you need to check the form of the formula to see whether it works for you, your family, and your lifestyle. While the most common forms are powder and liquid concentrates, some ready to use baby formulas are also available nowadays. Budget and lifestyle determine which formula works the best for you.
So, Is there a vegan baby formula? – Yes, there are plenty of options and we have suggested some of the best organic non dairy formula above.
Can Formula Make your Baby Sick?
It is common for babies to bring out a little food during or after a feed. It is called possetting and it is not an indication of sickness. However, feeding too quickly or too soon can make your baby sick. It is recommended not to force them to take more food than they require during a feed.
Some babies are allergic to baby formula for the protein it contains. The signs vary from vomiting or diarrhea or both. A persistent cough is another symptom of protein allergy in infants. These are some real concerns and should not be neglected at all.
How Important is DHA?
DHA is docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that is found in breast milk. The body parts including the eyes and brain of the babies develop from the DHA. When it comes to baby formula, synthetic forms of DHA are often artificially added to these foods.
Interestingly, there has been no proof of the synthetic DHA in formula contributing to babies’ health. But, there has been no negative impact as well. Hence, there is no harm in feeding your baby a DHA-fortified formula when you feel it’s necessary.
Is Soy Safe for Babies?
It has been one of the most debated topics and the answer is not simple. Soy is a source of most of the baby formula that avoids dairy. Yet, many vegans are skeptical about soy when it comes to considering it as truly vegan. As a result, your doubt is quite obvious.
No doubt soy is a great source of protein for babies. Studies have shown soy to be completely safe for babies. A few studies that have shown soy unsafe were based on animals and they clearly do not model the human condition. Since there are lesser chances of harm, the choice is yours.
Finding the vegan baby formula for your infant is a tricky task and we hope that this guide will help you narrow down your search. We can conclude with the note that choosing a soy-based formula is perhaps the best option you could choose as a responsible vegan parent. When you know some of the best vegan baby formula mentioned above, find out the most suitable one that caters to your needs and budget.
Also, it is evident that you will hardly find the best non dairy baby formula that is 100% vegan. These products contain Vitamin D in the form of lanolin, which is made from sheep’s wool. While you cannot completely avoid these products, we suggest you choose the most animal-friendly one. Also, following the regulations by the FDA and other government organizations is also recommended. We are sure new vegan baby formulas will launch in the coming days. You can check out the vegan household cleaning products to create a safer home for the baby.