Becoming a parent comes with so many worries and concerns and is a challenge itself. You have the overwhelming confusion of choosing a brand, and when you have done that the confusion still doesn’t end.
So now you’ve chosen a brand, but you’re wondering if you should be choosing non-GMO formula vs regular baby formula.
We’re going to take a look at the difference between non-GMO vs regular formula and provide the information that you need to make an informed decision for yourself and your baby.
There are a few differences between these formulas that may make the choice easier for you. But whichever you choose, there are no bad choices as it depends on your family circumstances and the needs and preferences of your baby.
Remember each baby is different and what suits your best friend little one may not be suitable for your little one.
Table of Contents
- 1 Difference Between Non-GMO vs Regular Formula
- 2 Best Non-GMO Formulas
- 3 Best Regular Baby Formulas
- 4 FAQs
- 5 The Final Thought
Difference Between Non-GMO vs Regular Formula
Firstly, let’s get clear about what the differences are between non-GMO and regular formula. Many parents believe that if a formula is non-GMO that it’s also organic, now this is not necessarily the reality.
Many organic formulas are non-GMO, but not all non-GMO formulas are certified organic. However, formulas that are non-GMO are made without any genetically modified ingredients.
Now you may be asking yourself what exactly is a genetically modified ingredient? Well, these are ingredients that have had their DNA altered by adding genes from another ingredient species.
These additional genes are often added to improve crop protection, breed faster-growing animals, or increase nutritional value.
There’s a huge amount of animal by-products that are made from animals that have had their DNA altered and no significant difference has been shown between milk that comes from cows treated with rBST and non-rBST treated cows.
But it does come down to personal preference and many parents choose non-GMO formula for their babies. The other side of this debate is that many regular formulas are made with genetically modified ingredients.
In simple terms, this just means that the animals that produce the dairy ingredients for the formula were fed with food that was made with genetically modified ingredients.
This doesn’t mean that the formula has been tampered with or is unsafe for your baby to consume in any way what so ever. The US Food and Drug Administration state that foods with GMOs are safe for consumption.
Best Non-GMO Formulas
Some parents absolutely swear by non-GMO formulas and feed their little ones nothing else. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. There are some great benefits to choosing a non-GMO formula over regular formula.
- The knowledge of knowing exactly what is going into the formula
- The ability to limit the number of chemicals or artificial ingredients that your baby is consuming.
But they also have some bad points that you need to consider too. The biggest one is the price point. The non-GMO formula is often pricier than the regular formula.
This is a fantastic example of a non-GMO formula that isn’t organic. But it still contains all the nutritional ingredients that your baby will require.
This is thanks to its unique blend of proteins DHA and MFGM which were previously only found in breast milk. These proteins help with cognitive development and support brain development.
Enfamil Neuro Pro also contains a protein called Lactoferrin. This is also found in breast milk and helps to support digestive health.
This protein is found in colostrum, the very early breast milk, and provides very important immune support for newborns in their first few weeks of life.
This formula contains many of the nutrients found in breast milk, making it the top choice for parents looking for a formula that is non-GMO and close to breast milk.
It’s reasonably priced, making it an option for most families and is readily available online or in stores.
- Contains almost everything that you would find in breast milk
- It contains immune system support which is very helpful in smaller and younger babies
- It can help babies suffering from acid reflux
- This may not be the best choice if you are going to breastfeed and supplement with formula.
- It has been known to make some babies gassier.
- When mixed the formula may produce more foam and bubbles that liked.
This is just one of Similacs non-GMO options and they do have a few different ones available. The Similac Pro-Sensitive Non-GMO formula is made specifically for sensitive tummies. Plus, the non-GMO ingredients make it even more gentle and easy to digest.
So if your little one is suffering from gassiness and fussiness, you should see a huge improvement using this formula. It contains 2′ -FL HMO prebiotic similar to that found in breast milk and helps to strengthen the immune system.
It also contains an exclusive blend of nutrients called OptiGRO which contains DHA, Lutein, and vitamin E again all these important ingredients are found in breast milk.
They help to support brain development, eye support, and cell development. Lactose is used as its major carbohydrate and this also provides a sweeter taste so there is no need to use artificial versions.
It is also reasonably priced for a non-GMO formula and is readily available online and in stores.
- It has a milder flavor, unlike other similar formulas.
- It is gentle on the stomach and can help ease reflux issues quickly.
- Gassier babies may also see some improvements after using this formula
- It has a similar nutritional value to breast milk.
- As a non-GMO formula, it can be a little on the pricier side
- Once mixed it can sometimes produce more foam than is normal and it remains the same even after it has settled.
It claims to be the closest formula to breast milk. It’s fortified with iron which helps with the development of red blood cells. It also contains DHA and ARA, two fatty acids that are found in breast milk.
These help to support brain and eye health. The formula also contains lutein another ingredient for eye health and development, and prebiotic fiber for immunity.
Earth’s Best contains lactose which provides the formula its sweet taste. It has the necessary carbohydrates as it does in breast milk. The milk is sourced from cows that are grain and grass-fed.
The formula does contain some ingredients that you may be trying to avoid such as palm oil, synthetic nutrients, and soy. But all ingredients are non-GMO and are kosher too which is difficult to find.
It’s USDA certified as organic and FDA approved as infant formula. One thing that you may want to note is that due to the added iron, the formula can have a slightly metallic smell and taste. It has also been known to cause constipation.
- Contains a great prebiotic level especially for babies with sensitive stomachs.
- Contains lactose
- Proteins are easy to digest
- Ingredients are non-GMO and kosher
- Contains a few ingredients that are worrying
- Unpleasant smell and taste
- Has been known to cause rash and vomiting
This formula was inspired by breast milk as most formulas are these days. It does resemble breast milk in many ways such as the prebiotics it contains.
It also contains DHA and ARA which are the same fatty acids that are present in breast milk. These are especially important for your baby’s eye and brain development.
The Happy Baby formula also contains lactose which is the main carbohydrate found in breast milk and also gives it a sweet taste.
The lactose in this formula is sourced from cows raised on organic farms and means there’s no need for synthetic sweeteners like glucose syrup solids. A unique feature of this formula is that it contains the highest levels of prebiotics on the market.
While the prebiotics area is great for health, they can also have some nasty side effects for those babies with sensitive stomachs such as excessive gas and discomfort.
This formula also has a very thin consistency that may take your little one some time to get used to.
Although it states that it resembles breast milk, this would be referring to the ingredients contained in the formula and not its actual consistency or texture.
- Contains no gluten or corn syrup
- Designed for easy digestion
- Has been known to make some babies very gassy
- The consistency is very thin and not suitable for all babies
Gerber Good Start Soothe Powder is specially engineered to provide comfort and protect your little one’s tiny tummy from any harsh ingredients with small easy to digest comfort proteins.
These smaller particles are much easier for your baby’s digestive system, making them easy to digest and therefore making your baby less fussy and unhappy.
This formula and its ingredients are closely based on being able to match the ingredients of breast milk. Although it’s not a perfect copy (if there ever will be), it’s a very good attempt.
It contains DHA to support healthy brain and eye development. It also contains probiotic L.reuteri and 2′ FL HMO that helps to reduce fussiness and colic in babies while still supporting their developing immune system.
- Affordably and widely available
- The powder mixes smoothly with no bubbles
- Protein is broken down into smaller particles to ease digestion
- No strong odor
- Suitable for infants for the first 12 months of life.
- Occasional constipation
- Can cause gas or fussiness.
Best Regular Baby Formulas
The regular formula has its own benefits. They’re often the easier choice for many parents as the labeling is easier to understand and they do not want the hassle of added research.
The regular formula is usually less expensive and it is often easier to stock up on. But like the non-GMO formula has its bad points so does the regular formula.
Some people argue that formulas with GMOs are more difficult for your baby to digest causing issues such as spit-up, gassiness, and fussiness. Although, there’s no research to back this theory up.
Similac Advance is another formula from the Similac family but this one is not a non-GMO version. Although, it doesn’t have any artificial growth hormone added which gives a little peace of mind to parents.
But like other formulas from Similac, it does contain their unique combination called OptiGRO which contains DHA, Lutein, and vitamin E.
These nutrients are key ingredients found in breastmilk and support brain development, eye health, and cell development. This formula does provide complete nutrition for your baby for the first 12 months of its life.
It’s a little pricey for a formula that isn’t non-GMO but it’s readily available online and in stores.
- The taste is actually enjoyed by most babies so changing to this formula should be quite easy.
- It is a good option for those babies that are both breastfed and formula-fed.
- It contains all the necessary nutrients
- It is a good option for those babies who suffer from gassiness or upset stomachs.
- It has been known to cause an upset stomach
- The smell of the formula can be a little off-putting.
This formula from the Enfamil family is not non-GMO but it’s lactose-free which makes it a great option if your little one is showing any signs of lactose sensitivity.
It offers them all the nutrition that they need in that first year without the issues of lactose sensitivity or intolerances. It does contain DHA and Choline both of which help to support brain development.
As it is made of soy, it’s supposed to be gentle on little tummies even if they don’t have a lactose issue. Enfamil ProSobee is reasonably priced and can be found online and in stores easily.
- If you need to transition from breastmilk to formula this is a good option.
- It can reduce reflux quite significantly in most babies
- Milk free so suitable for those with lactose intolerance
- Soy protein makes it naturally gentle on little tummies
- One of the top ingredients is corn syrup
- Unpleasant smell and taste
This generic brand contains similar nutrition to that of the more well known Similac Pro-Advance. It’s also a great price. This is a great option for those parents who want to give their babies fantastic nutrition without paying that premium price.
Love & Care formulas are produced in Vermont and Ohio in the USA. If you’re on a budget, this is a good option and could save you a lot of money in your baby’s first year.
Don’t be fooled that the low price has anything to do with the quality as it certainly does not. This formula contains many of the premium ingredients found in premium baby formulas.
These ingredients include DHA, Lutein, and vitamin E to support healthy brain and eye development. It also contains the prebiotic 2′ FL HMO which is commonly found in breastmilk and supports your baby’s immature immune system.
The only problem that we have found with this formula is that babies tend to reject it more often than its brand name counterparts. While many babies take this formula with no objections, there is a higher rate that rejects it.
Although with parents expecting to save around $300 on their formula bill when using Love & Care over a comparable well-known brand, the risk may well be worth taking.
- Excellent value for money
- Contains many premium ingredients
- Supports physical and mental development
- Babies tend to reject this formula more than other brands.
This is Amazon’s own brand of baby formula and is produced in Vermont and Ohio. It contains DHA, Lutein, and vitamin E which all support brain and eye development.
The formula is similar to the nutrition of Enfamil ProSobee. It’s a complete soy-based formula that is lactose-free making it suitable for those little ones who may have lactose sensitivity or intolerances.
It is also a gluten-free formula and is Kosher certified by the Orthodox Union.
- A soy-based formula so great for lactose sensitivity or intolerances
- Contains DHA, Lutein, and vitamin E
- Reduces fussiness and gas
- Similar nutritional values as the better known Enfamil ProSobee
- Difficult to know as new to the market.
What does non-GMO mean in infant formula?
Non-GMO means that the formula doesn’t include any ingredients that have been genetically modified or engineered. These are any ingredients that have had their DNA altered by adding genes from other ingredient species.
Is organic the same as non-GMO?
No, they aren’t. Just because it states that it’s non-GMO does not automatically mean that it is also organic. Although, all organic foods are always non-GMO. With this in mind, it’s always best to check that they are both non-GMO and organic.
What does ‘contains no artificial growth hormones’ mean? Is it the same as non-GMO?
No artificial growth hormones mean that the cows that the dairy ingredients are sourced from have not received an artificially created synthetic hormone that is used to increase how much milk they can produce.
The process involves taking the natural hormone from a deceased cow and then injecting it into an E. coli bacteria. The E. coli works to multiply the growth hormone, creating more and more of it by replicating its DNA.
The E.coli is then removed leaving just the growth hormone and this is then injected into cows. This isn’t the same as non-GMO which means that they don’t contain any ingredients that have been genetically engineered or modified.
You’ll see many formulas that say ‘contains no artificial growth hormone’ but are not non-GMO.
The Final Thought
There are no nutritional differences between the non-GMO formulas and regular formulas although it’s becoming more and more difficult to find a formula that isn’t non-GMO.
So this in itself does mean that the big brands are listening to their customers. For me, the non-GMO options are a little further ahead of the regular formula.
As parents, we all want the best for our little ones and if that means being able to provide them with a formula that does not contain as many artificial ingredients then I would opt for it.
Non-GMO formulas are a little more costly than their regular counterparts but it could mean the difference between a happy content baby and a fussy, gassy unhappy little one.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the regular formulas. After all, a fed baby is a happy baby, and if it’s the right choice for your individual family.