There are many reasons you might be wanting to feed your baby formula and specifically non-dairy formula.
Whether you came to this article out of choice or necessity, there are other options to help you feed your baby the nutrients they need to grow and thrive, such as formula feeding and breastfeeding supplements. And if your baby has a dairy sensitivity or a suspected one, this article will dive deep into the best non-dairy formulas out there; keep reading!
Some of the links below contain affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
* A note about the formula shortage in the United States. As of the publishing of this article, the formula shortage is still going strong.
Although production has resumed at the Abbot Foods, the main factory that produces the majority of formula in the U.S. This shortage has impacted most types of formula and is expected to for several months. The good news is because of this shortage, many formulas sold outside of the United States are being allowed in the country for the first time ever.
Also, soy and alternative milk formulas are becoming more and more popular, and in some areas are more readily available. Whether or not your baby can tolerate these alternatives may require a bit of trial and error.
Before we get into it…Breastfeeding may not be for everyone. While breastfeeding has many benefits, not all mothers can breastfeed their babies – and I’m saying this with absolutely no shame or judgment. If you’re new here, you need to know I tried and couldn’t breastfeed.
There are many reasons, including insufficient milk supply or the inability to nurse on demand because of work obligations. Or maybe your baby has significant struggles with infant acid reflux. You can read more about how breastfeeding can be so difficult here.
Why Should You Consider a Non-Dairy Formula for Your Baby?
One way to reduce your baby’s risk of developing certain allergies, while still getting the nutrients they need, is to choose one of the best non dairy baby formulas on the market today.
A non dairy formula might not have all the benefits that breast milk, but it can be an excellent alternative if you find that breastfeeding isn’t an option for you or your baby.
Exclusivity in Breastfeeding vs Formula Feeding
Many new parents may be shocked by how little support they receive from family and friends when it comes to breastfeeding or formula feeding – you’re damned if you do.
You’re damned if you don’t.
And especially with the (as of the publishing of this post) shortage in formula nation wide, you’re especially damned if you’re a new parent exclusively formula feeding your baby formula.
If you do need to supplement with formula, and can afford to, and have it available to you try to seek out an organic or otherwise high-quality formula; organic infant formulas are available in soy or alternative milk that may be more easily digested by your baby. Be sure to discuss any potential concerns with your pediatrician first as they may be able to test for specific dairy intolerance and put you onto a different formula.
Contacting your pediatrician or local WIC office can also be the best option to provide some additional sources of formula that you may not find readily available at the store.
3 Top Tips When Choosing a Non Dairy Formula For Baby
If you’re struggling with breastfeeding, switching your baby over to formula is a good option. In fact, according to this article in PubMed, breastfed babies are twice as likely as formula-fed babies to develop food allergies later in life.
However, not all formulas are created equal.
Some will provide your little one with essential fatty acids and other health benefits that can lead him or her down a healthier path than others.
While all formulas sold in the United States are regulated with specific FDA requirements it’s possible for some parents to get European formulas or formulas sold in another country that may not be scrutinized under the same parameters (arguably for better or worse!).
Still, some vegan parents may be more interested in the specific ingredients in their baby’s formula that appeal to their vegan diet. As such, it’s important to take some time to evaluate different options before settling on one.
Here are three top tips when choosing a nondairy formula for your baby.
1. Consider safety if you’ve been nursing but have decided to switch to formula, make sure that you find a brand that adheres to regulations set by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This ensures they contain no harmful toxins or chemicals.
It also ensures they meet nutritional requirements set by The National Academy of Sciences (NAS). These recommendations help determine how much protein, calories, vitamins and minerals are needed by your baby.
2. Consider cost switching from breast milk to formula is an expensive endeavor, especially if you don’t qualify for WIC or other programs.
As such, it makes sense to consider cost when choosing a formula. However, it shouldn’t be your only consideration as some brands offer coupons that can lower costs considerably over time.
3. Finally, keep in mind that while all formulas are required to provide essential nutrients, not all do so in equal amounts. Some may provide more nutrients than others at a cheaper price point.
And depending on your budget and preferences, those extra nutrients might be worth paying more for.
Be mindful of food allergies.
While it is believed that many babies develop allergies later in life due to their mother’s diet during pregnancy, some babies will develop food allergies early on due to what they consume while breastfeeding or after switching to formula.
Is Non-Dairy Formula Safe for Baby?
Many parents have questions about whether it’s safe to use non-dairy-based infant formula.
The answer: It can be, but it depends on which formula you choose. In most cases, these types of formulas don’t contain cow’s milk—and they offer some key advantages over dairy-based formulas.
What are the Benefits of Non-Dairy Formula?
A quality non-dairy formula can be beneficial for both baby and mother. For babies, it’s helpful to those who are lactose intolerant and those who cannot tolerate dairy protein due to allergies or sensitivities.
It can also help the mom by allowing her more freedom when it comes to feeding the baby, not requiring her to have a special diet to breastfeed.
Additionally, non-dairy formulas may have higher nutritional value than dairy options.
How can you tell if your baby has a dairy allergy?
There are several symptoms that could indicate your baby is lactose intolerant, and it’s important to know them so you can make sure she isn’t drinking something that will hurt her.
The first thing to do is look at her stool.
If it’s loose or watery or has blood in it, then she may have some sort of problem with dairy.
But if her stools seem normal, try eliminating milk from her diet completely for two weeks and see if there’s any improvement.
If there is, then you know she probably has an allergy to milk products.
While the science is new, it’s worth asking your doctor if you suspect lactose intolerance or a dairy sensitivity in your baby.
The Best Non-Dairy Baby Formula
When searching for the best choice in the non-dairy formula, it’s important to consider several factors, including whether it contains lactose, how many calories it has per serving, and whether your baby has any allergies or other special dietary needs.
The following list of non-dairy formulas will help you make your choice without breaking the bank or making your baby suffer from tummy aches and cramps.
Soy-based Non-Dairy Formulas
One of the best soy-based formula for babies is made by Earth’s Best—it’s certified organic, and it contains no genetically modified ingredients.
Since soy can be a controversial choice for infants, it’s important to note that most doctors believe that soymilk-based formulas are safe for babies after 6 months of age (the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend using soy-based formulas in babies younger than 6 months).
However, some studies have linked early exposure to soy with an increased risk of thyroid disease later in life; others suggest that eating too much soy during childhood could lead to reduced fertility or an increased risk of breast cancer.
There is also some evidence suggesting that children who drink soymilk as infants may develop food allergies at higher rates than those who do not consume soy products during infancy.
Soy infant formula was initially developed as a cheap alternative to cow’s milk formula in developing countries. But now, some countries (including France) have banned its use in hospitals.
What’s wrong with soy for your Baby?
In short, there are concerns about estrogen-like effects on babies when they consume too much phytoestrogen from soy products like soymilk.
Some studies show that babies fed soy-based formula have high levels of phytoestrogens in their blood even higher than those found in babies fed breast milk or cow’s milk formula.
There are also concerns about allergies related to the consumption of soy products by infants.
Parent’s Choice Soy Infant Formula
Parents Choice Soy Infant Formula is a non-GMO, soy formula that contains 80% soy protein. It also has added vitamins and minerals including iron and calcium carbonate to ensure proper growth. With a 2 to 1 calcium-to-phosphorus ratio, it promotes healthy bone development.
For babies who are allergic to dairy or have an intolerance to lactose, Parents Choice Soy Infant Formula is a great choice as it’s available in both powder and ready-to-feed formats.
One of Similac’s best non-dairy baby formulas, Soy Isomil is a soy-based formula that can be used from birth.
It comes in 3 main flavors: vanilla, soy, and almond. In addition to being lactose-free, it is also gluten-free and nutritionally supports your baby’s first year of growth.
If you are looking for a high-quality infant formula without any dairy products or animal by-products, then look no further than Similac Soy Isomil Infant Lactose-Free Formula.
This product has been clinically proven to support your baby’s brain development as well as provide all of their nutritional needs while they are growing. The ingredients used in making this product are 100% natural and made with no artificial colors or preservatives.
Nestlé’s Alfamino is a ready-to-feed non-dairy formula that provides complete nutrition for healthy babies from birth to 12 months.
It is suitable for breastfeeding babies whose mothers are not able to produce enough milk or for those who have cow’s milk protein allergy or intolerance. The balanced formula contains DHA and AA (long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids) from natural sources and vitamin B12 from fermentation yeast.
For Babies with Severe Food Allergies
The Similac Alimentum formula is designed specifically for babies with severe food allergies. This special formula contains extensively hydrolyzed casein, a protein that has been broken down so much that it’s not considered an allergen any longer. You can find an extensive list of ingredients on the product packaging. This formula is also lactose-free and soy-free. It comes in powder form and needs to be mixed with water or breast milk before feeding your baby.
Mama Bear also recently released a hypoallergenic powdered formula that mimics Alimentum and may be a bit more affordable. Be sure to check the ingredients to make sure your baby can tolerate them appropriately.
How to Choose the Right Brand of Non-Dairy Formula for your Baby?
It can be tricky to pick out a non-dairy infant formula that’s best for your baby. Here are some tips to make it easier.
You should look for a brand that contains DHA and ARA, which are omega-3 fatty acids found in breast milk.
These nutrients help support brain and eye development, as well as boost immune function and decrease inflammation. You should also check if your preferred brand is hypoallergenic, meaning it doesn’t contain any common allergens like soy or dairy products.
Lastly, you’ll want to choose a product that has been tested by an independent laboratory for nutrient content.
This will ensure that what you’re feeding your baby is safe and nutritious.
As with any food product, it’s best to consult with your pediatrician before making a decision about what formula is best for your child.
The Benefits of Organic Non-Dairy Formula for Your Baby
You want the best for your baby, and choosing the right formula can be complicated and overwhelming.
Organic options are ideal, but it can be difficult to determine which organic formula offers the best benefits for your baby’s sensitive digestive system and growing body. Fortunately, we’ve done all the research so you don’t have to!
Non-dairy formula offers a good source of nutrition
A nondairy infant formula is generally easier to digest than other kinds of formulas, even in this current shortage.
Some non-dairy formulas can help to prevent upset stomachs and constipation, two common problems that babies can have with standard cow’s milk formulas.
They also tend to taste much better than some other kinds of formulas, so your baby will probably enjoy them more as well.
And because they contain no animal products or byproducts, they are a good option for parents who want to avoid those types of ingredients in their child’s diet. In addition, many parents find that these formulas are a great way to help their children get used to eating solid foods without having issues related to texture or allergies like they might with regular formula.
Introduce Non-Dairy Formula Slowly
If you suspect your baby has a dairy intolerance, it’s important to introduce a new formula slowly. Babies tend to react differently to a different types of formulas.
Dairy-free formula tends to digest better in some babies but if you’re noticing runny or watery poops in your baby’s diaper, or if there is a foul smell it’s possible baby is not tolerating it.
You should consult with your pediatrician for the best ways to introduce this formula.
For new parents who must restrict dairy intake during infancy, many new parents are relieved to find that they can use a non-dairy formula.
You can read more helpful tips to keep your formula-fed baby a happy baby and your life a bit easier in this post about formula-feeding hacks.
Not only is it healthy for your baby, but it’s also healthier for everyone in your family.
Babies need all the nutrition they can get when they’re growing. Breastfeeding gives them some advantages that formula does not, but there are still nutrients that can be made up with food or non-dairy formulas.
The best thing about the non-dairy formula is that it’s easier on babies and their families.
It has less lactose and fewer allergens than regular milk based formulas, so you don’t have to worry about an allergic reaction or tummy aches while your baby adjusts to solid foods. You can even switch back and forth between breast milk and non-dairy formula without worrying about upsetting your child’s stomach.
Tips for Vegan Parents
If you’re vegan or just concerned about your baby’s nutrition, it might make sense to choose a non-dairy formula.
Many parents don’t realize that Health Canada actually recommends non-dairy formulas because they contain many nutrients – such as vitamins D and B12, iron and zinc – that aren’t found in dairy products.
As well, most infant formulas now have probiotics, which may support healthy digestion.
It’s also important to note that you should always consult with your pediatrician before switching formulas or adding new ones. He or she will be able to tell you if your child is suffering from a medical condition related to food allergies, lactose intolerance, etc., and will know what kind of formula would work best for him or her.
As a parent, you want to do everything you can to ensure your child’s health and well-being. If your baby is allergic or lactose intolerant, it can be difficult to find infant formula that works for them.
By using nondairy infant formula, you have a healthy option that won’t affect their development or growth. You will be able to provide them with a wholesome food without sacrificing nutrition.
FAQS about non dairy formula
What are the main types of infant formula?
There are basically four main types of infant formula: cow’s milk, soy, rice and goat’s milk. Cow’s milk and soy-based formulas are probably best known to most people; however, rice-based and goat’s milk alternatives have also been growing in popularity as parents become more conscientious about what they feed their children.
What forms does baby formula come in?
It comes in powder, liquid concentrate and ready-to-feed liquid forms. The powder form is added to water before it’s fed to your baby.
The ready-to-feed formula doesn’t need to be diluted, just poured into a bottle and used immediately. Concentrate versions require you to mix them with water before use and can be stored for about three days in the refrigerator.
What forms does baby formula come in?
Non-dairy baby formula is available in powder or liquid form.
The powder can be mixed with water, but most parents prefer to use ready-to-use non-dairy formulas instead of making their own baby formula at home.
Some non-dairy formulas are better than others, and it’s important to ensure you’re giving your infant only top-quality formula if you opt for powdered over ready-to-use.
What are the main types of infant formula?
There are several different types of infant formula available on the market.
The most popular formula is standard cow’s milk-based formula, which is made up of 50% whey protein and 45% casein protein. Hypoallergenic formulas also do not contain lactose, soy or wheat proteins.
These formulas generally have some prebiotics and probiotics to aid digestion.
How To Tell If My Baby Is Lactose-Intolerant?
The most common early sign of lactose intolerance is chronic diarrhea, which usually begins a few days after birth. If your baby is one month old and has loose stools that he can’t seem to control, it’s possible that he may be lactose intolerant.
He should see his pediatrician right away if he starts experiencing diarrhea more than three times a day on a regular basis.
Other signs of lactose intolerance include bloating, vomiting or weight loss in exclusively breastfed babies. In some cases, babies with severe symptoms will also have blood in their stool or appear very ill.
Lactose intolerance differs from cow’s milk allergy (CMA), so you shouldn’t assume your baby has CMA just because he appears uncomfortable when drinking cow’s milk formula.