Best Vegan Baby Formula for Infants [100% Dairy-free]

Best Vegan Baby Formula Brands for Infants

Bringing up a baby without any animal-derived products in their lifestyle is sometimes difficult because of the lack of knowledge and not knowing which brands to trust. 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, I assure you 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.

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.

Guide to Buying A Non-Dairy Formula

What Should I Look For In A Vegan Baby Formula?

What should I look for in a vegan baby 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.

What does PRE, stage 1, 2, 3 and 4 Baby Formula Mean?

Best Vegan Baby Formula for Infants [100% Dairy-free]

You probably won’t find such segregation of baby formula in the US just as often but there’s clear stratification in the European market. The reason being, baby formula in the US is marketed as one-size-fits-all. Be it regular or plant-based baby formula, the same composition is recommended to all babies from infants to toddlers.

Now if you study closely, the nutritional needs of an infant are very different from that of a toddler. So, a separate composition for different class of growing babies makes more sense. The basic components of a baby formula, namely, carbohydrates, protein, fats, omega-3s and essential vitamins and minerals sure remain the same but their ideal proportions change as your baby grows.

This phenomenon can also be seen reflected in how the composition of your breastmilk changes as your baby grows. This change is suited to the evolving nutritional needs of your baby.

The bottom line is, if you happen to get your hands on some imported European vegan baby formula brand that complies with FDA guidelines (usually don’t), know that PRE formula is advised for prematurely born babies, stage 1 formula is suited for healthy 0–6-month-olds, stage 2 and 3 formula are ideal for 6-12 month old babies and stage 4 formula suits toddlers over a year old.

Top Products Compared

Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Key HIghlights
Else Plant-Based Complete Nutrition for Toddlers offers 20+ vitamins and minerals essential for early development. Ideal for toddlers who have lactose intolerance or have other dietary restrictions.
Clean label, 100% plant-based formula
Contains 20+ vitamins and minerals
Babies may take a little while to get used to the taste
Organic, gluten free, corn syrup free, non-gmo,dairy and soy free
Enfamil ProSobee baby formula powder is completely lactose and dairy free.It also provides complete nutrition and supports cognitive brain development.
Helps reduce baby gas and colic 
Contains adequate DHA and choline (both are influential in early stage brain development)
Uses corn syrup solids as a source of carbohydrates
Dairy and lactose free, No artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners
Stage 1 Gerber Good Start Soy formula helps to avoid fussiness and gas due to milk or lactose intolerance for digestive comfort and also provides complete nutrition.
Made with soy protein which may improve digestion
Fortified with choline, DHA, calcium, Vitamin D and other essential growth nutrients
Contains a lot of lactose
non-gmo, easy to digest

Factors To Consider Before Buying Plant-Based Formula For Infants

1. BPA

BPA exposure to infants is extremely dangerous since it’s known to have negative effects on the brain, prostate gland and acts as an endocrine disruptor. It is particular harmful to babies and toddlers since they’re yet developing their hormonal systems. More recent studies have also linked BPA to increased blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

You can be certain that US based vegan baby formula can is going to be free from BPA. This conforms with FDA regulation. However, the same cannot be said for imported baby formula cans. If you happen to feed your baby a non-FDA-regulated formula, you must make sure that the packing is entirely BPA free.

2. Brown Rice Syrup

Brown rice syrup is added in some baby formulas to account for the carbohydrate content. It also acts as a sweetener therein. But there are certain issues with this particular ingredient. Brown rice syrup has a glycaemic index of 98, which is extremely high and will likely cause a spike in your child’s blood sugar levels.  

Another huge concern with rice derived ingredients in infant formula is the potential Arsenic poisoning. Arsenic is a toxic chemical found in trace amounts in rice derived products, including brown rice syrup. There have been instances where independent testing of infant formula sweetened with rice syrup disclosed arsenic levels as high as 20 times than the ones not sweetened with rice syrup. However, the FDA does not consider this harmful and doesn’t regulate arsenic levels in baby formulas. I would still recommend you all to avoid plant-based baby formulas that contain brown rice syrup.

3. Corn Syrup

Corn syrup solids are another carbohydrate source that baby formula manufacturers tend to like. Two primary reasons being, babies can easily digest corn syrup solids and it’s cheap to produce.

Corn syrup solids are however equally defended as they are criticised. Paediatricians don’t seem to have anything against it except for the fact that it has a high glycemic index. Furthermore, FDA deems baby formulas with corn syrup solids as safe and well tolerated.  

4. Maltodextrin

Lactose in conventional toddler formulas is replaced by either syrups or maltodextrin in plant-based formulas. Again, there is nothing inherently wrong with maltodextrin and it happens to be one of the most digestible forms of carbohydrates. The FDA recognizes maltodextrin as a food additive and baby formulas with this ingredient are FDA compliant.

Unlike corn syrup solids though, maltodextrin isn’t sweet. Some parents who think of every carbohydrate as a potentially harmful ingredient need to understand that your child needs a balanced nutrient profile. And unlike rice syrup, maltodextrin is a clean source of carbohydrates and doesn’t link to any trace chemicals.

5. GMOs

Unless otherwise specified, vegan baby formulas may sometimes contain GMO soy or corn. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms and growing GMO crops involves intensive use of pesticides like roundup. Despite there being some evidence in support of GMO crops for their safety, it is best that you don’t expose your toddler to them just yet.

Babies who are yet fed formula don’t still have fully developed digestive and immune systems. I advise you to thoroughly read the label when you purchase a plant-based toddler formula the next time and ensure it says ‘non-GMO’.


6. Soy

Soy based baby formulas are the widest available option for vegan families. Be it some dietary intolerance or allergies to dairy your baby has that you move towards plant-based formulas, soy would probably be an ingredient in 8 out 10 formulas you pick.

Now if you choose a soy based formula for your child for purely ethical reasons, you’d be disheartened to know it might still not be 100% vegan. Most soy based baby formulas are fortified with vitamin D3 (FDA requirement) derived from sheep. While vitamin D3 can also be derived ethically from lichen but it is not a traditional practice and costs more. If your reasons are separate, soy based baby formulas are just fine with their nutrient profile and often well tolerated by babies.

Is there a Truly Vegan Baby Formula?

Most plant-based baby formulas perhaps have one thing in common. None of them are 100% vegan. Almost none! I’ll come to this exception in a bit. Firstly, let’s look at why none of these classify as truly vegan.

The FDA requires all baby formulas to be fortified with vitamin D3, a crucial vitamin for calcium absorption and bone development. Now vitamin D3 is conventionally sourced from lanolin, a compound found in sheep’s wool, making it an unethical practice.

The exception though is Else Nutrition’s Vegan Baby formula. They market their product as entirely vegan and source their vitamin D3 through lichen.

Can Formula Make your Baby Sick?

Best Dairy Free Formula

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 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.

Best Vegan Baby Formulas

1. Else Nutrition Vegan Baby Formula for Toddlers

Why I like it and recommend
Else Nutrition’s plant based baby formula is currently my top pick for a couple of reasons. First, this is one of the very few exceptions that is entirely plant-based in the whole ‘vegan baby formula’ sphere.

Nutrient Highlights
Being made from just three well-tolerable whole foods makes it a rather simple composition for toddlers. Over 90% of the baby formula comprises of Almond, Buckwheat and Tapioca extracts with no links to dairy, soy or gluten at all.

Allergen & intolerance info
This one might prove to be a very good option for kids that don’t tolerate both, dairy and soy! Besides, if you happen to be a parent that strives to follow cruelty-free practices, you’d be glad to know that Else nutrition sources their vitamin D3 from lichen instead of lanolin. This implies that their vegan baby formula has no ties to animal derived in ingredients whatsoever.

What do other parents say?
Direct first-hand feedbacks from parents seem to be convincing too. Children that used to be constipated and fussy in general when fed cow milk, tolerated Else’s formula pretty well. Further, the formula has also managed to gather acclamation from doctors and pediatricians.

PROS

  1. Clean label, 100% plant-based formula
  2. Contains 20+ vitamins and minerals
  3. Dairy, Soy and Gluten free
  4. Sources D3 from Lichen instead of animal derived lanolin

CONS

  1. Babies may take a little while to get used to the taste

2. Enfamil ProSobee For Sensitive Tummies

Why I like it and recommend –
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.

Nutrient highlights –
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.

Allergen & intolerance info –
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 20.9 oz. bottles, a 12.9 oz. powder can, or stock it up as a pack of 4 – 32 oz. powder cans.

what do other parents say? –
Parents at multiple instances note that their kids after having tried all kinds of milks and being able to tolerate nothing, were just fine with the Enfamil prosobee. However, some do point out that it would have been best if there was no inclusion of corn syrup solids in the formula at all.

PROS

  1. Helps reduce baby gas and colic
  2. Milk, Lactose and dairy-free
  3. Easy on sensitive tummies
  4. Contains adequate DHA and choline (both are influential in early stage brain development)
  5. Mild smell and taste
  6. Available in various sizes

CONS

  1. Sits on the higher end of the price range
  2. Uses corn syrup solids as a sources of carbohydrates

3. Gerber Good Start Baby Formula Powder

Why I like it and recommend –
Highly acclaimed by parents to fussy and picky kids, this soy based baby formula appears to be a favorite for a lot of kids. Advised for babies from 0 – 12 months of age, the Gerber Good Start is a non-GMO Vegan Baby Formula and comes as a 27 oz. powder can.

Who is it for? –
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 1 formula and is meant for babies from 0 to 12 months of age.

Nutrient Highlights –
The formula is a combination of B.lactis probiotic which supports your baby’s digestive health and 2’-FL HMO prebiotic which is similar to the one found in breast milk. The protein being sourced from soy, it is naturally easier on your babies sensitive tummy. Stage 1 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.

Allergen & Intolerance Info –
They do not use jargon around their ingredients and come clean with the fact that the formula is soy based. Most toddlers intolerant to lactose and dairy in general happen to tolerate soy just fine. Further, the formula contains no genetically modified ingredients whatsoever.

What do other parents say? –
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.

PROS

  1. Lactose & Dairy free
  2. 100% Plant Based Protein
  3. Non-GMO ingredients
  4. Made with soy protein which may improve digestion
  5. Fortified with choline, DHA, calcium, Vitamin D and other essential growth nutrients

CONS

  1. Contains a lot of lactose

4. Earth’s Best Organic Soy Based Formula

Why I like it and recommend –
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.

Nutrient Highlights –
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.

Allergen & Intolerance Info –
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.

What do other parents say? –
Parents have rated the Earth’s Best Organic Soy formula remarkably. First hand reviews say that their babies adjusted to the switch in no time and further point significant reduction in spitting up and colic symptoms. The one downside being pointed out the most though, is the presence of corn syrup solids again.

PROS

  1. Non-GMO soy-based formula
  2. Kosher & USDA Organic certified product
  3. Omega-3 DHA and Omega-6 ARA
  4. Fortified with iron
  5. No artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, GEI used

CONS

  1. Contains organic corn syrup solids

5. Neocate Infant with DHA and ARA

Why I like it and recommend –
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.

Nutrient Highlights –
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.

Allergen & Intolerance Info –
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.

What do other parents say? –
Parents seem to have mixed opinions about this one. Some noticed that this is the only one formula that their kid can digest without any problems while others had their toddlers spitting up.

PROS

  1. Hypoallergenic product is safe for allergic babies
  2. Suitable for infants of 0-12 months
  3. Contains nucleotides and other nutrients
  4. Can be used for both enteral nutrition oral and tube feeding

CONS

  1. Rather expensive compared to other options on this list

Conclusion

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

The best vegan baby formula should have vitamin D, vitamin B12, calcium, protein, zinc, iron, and omega-3. So that your baby gets enough nutrients for development.

All vegan baby formulas go under clinical tests to ensure all the formulas are safe to consume. However, not all formulas are suitable for every baby. Apart from being safe, it also depends on whether the baby is allergic to any ingredient. Make sure you do your thorough research before feeding the formula to your baby.

Vegan formula is always better than traditional formula especially if your newborn has food aversions or allergies.

Soy formula is absolutely safe for most healthy babies; however it should not be given to babies born prematurely or with low birth weights. Always consult your pediatrician before feeding any formula.

Coconut milk is not advisable to be given to babies younger than 12 months as it may not provide important nutrition from breast milk or formula. It is always suggested to give breast milk or formula until the first birthday.

Oat milk is not advisable to be given to children under 5 years since oat milk is low in fat and protein, which children need for growth and development.

There are various vegan milk options available for babies such as soy, almond, and oat milk. These milk alternatives can be highly nutritious compared to dairy milk as they contain important vitamins and minerals required for bone growth and development.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *