What’s the Best Vegetarian or Vegan Baby Formula?

Baby formula is an essential item, but it is often difficult to find when you live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. It also makes more sense to start a baby on a vegan eating pattern when the entire family follows a similar routine. Finding products in local stores often proves difficult.

Most vegan and vegetarian parents also struggle with finding quality baby formulas, interpreting ingredient misinformation, and analyzing nutrient levels. As a baby formula provider who has a child with a wheat allergy, we know all too well the apprehensions that vegan parents have.

We also understand how important having access to a quality baby formula is for parents today! So, what is the best vegan baby formula? First, let’s examine the vegan diet for babies and toddlers.

What Is A Vegan Diet?

A vegan is a person who does not eat meat, fish, milk, or eggs and gets nourishment from plant-based sources. Vegans also avoid any products that are made from animals or inhumane farming practices, which include animal fats, butter, lard, honey, or gelatin.

Vegan parents are often more aware of the vitamin and mineral amounts since supplements are a part of their daily routine. If a baby consumes a vegan formula, pay attention to ensure your child receives the following recommended daily allowances.

Calcium

Calcium is a vital nutrient for babies and toddlers as it helps to build and preserve bones, teeth, and muscles and nerve functioning. While breast milk or baby formulas usually provide enough calcium, vegans must consume calcium-fortified foods or take supplements that meet the daily nutritional value needed for growth. Toddlers one to three need 700 mg of calcium daily or two to three daily servings.

Dietary Fiber

Babies need dietary fiber to prevent diabetes, lower cholesterol, and improve digestion. Breastmilk, baby formula, and cereals will provide dietary fiber. Babies under two need 5 grams of fiber every day while toddlers need 5 to 10 grams.

Iodine

Iodine is critical for metabolism, thyroid functioning, and brain development. If your baby formula does not contain iodine, a small supplement is recommended. Babies need between 110 and 130 mcg daily while toddlers need 90 to 120 mcg.

Iron

Iron is vital for developing babies as it reduces the likelihood of experiencing loss of appetite, anemia, infections, or cognitive debilities. Vegans often eat leafy green vegetables, seeds, dried beans, whole grains, tofu, or iron-fortified cereals. Luckily, babies born full-term tend to have enough iron to last up to six months. Babies seven to 12 months need about 11 mg daily while toddlers need 4 mg.

Protein

A vegan fed baby will need protein sources within the first twelve months to support growth patterns, produce enzymes, and restore body tissues. Babies tend to get protein when breastfeeding, taking infant formula, or eating baby cereals. Babies seven to 12 months need 11 grams while toddlers need around 13 grams.

Riboflavin

Riboflavin, or B2, is vital for the nervous system, metabolism, and brain development. If your baby is vegetarian, B2 can be derived from dairy. If vegan, you want to ensure you use a baby formula that adds it or use a supplement such as a bit of almond milk, non-dairy milk, or a vegan-based milk source. Babies up to six months need 0.3 mg, 7 to 12 need 0.4mg, and one to three need 0.5mg.

Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B12 promotes red blood cell production, energy, and nervous system functioning. If your baby is vegan, it’s important to choose a formula fortified with B12. If your baby is vegetarian, you will receive B12 from dairy sources. Infants seven to 12 months get 0.5mcg while toddlers one to three need 0.9mcg.

Vitamin D

A breastfed infant gets about 400 IU daily. If you use baby formula, you need to ensure it is fortified with vitamin D. If a formula lacks vitamins, D2 and lichen-derived D3 drops are vegan-friendly. Wool-derived D3 is vegetarian-friendly. Babies do not need to take a vitamin D supplement if a baby formula has it. Toddlers, one to four, will need about 10µg of vitamin D supplement each day.

Zinc

Zinc promotes a healthy metabolism, organ functioning, and immune health. It’s important to confirm if your baby formula and plant-based sources contain zinc before using a supplement. For vegan toddlers eating solid food, zinc is in whole grains, nuts, and beans. Vegetarian toddlers can also consume dairy for zinc. Infants up to six months need 2mg while seven to three years need 3mg per day.

Note: the above references are based on USDA Recommended Daily Allowances. Before using supplements, talk to your pediatrician for special recommendations.

What Do Vegans Give Their Babies Instead Of Milk?

Parents in the United States have only one option for a vegan baby formula when it comes to U.S. manufacturers: soy formulas, which we don’t endorse. When it comes to baby formula, vegans are usually left with choosing a baby formula brand that is closest to a vegan lifestyle and that is animal-friendly, which is hard to find.

The ideal baby formula would be a plant-based baby formula with non-soy ingredients. As babies begin to eat solids, it is easier to find plant-based snacks and cereals. Vegans also receive nutritional value from whole grains, potatoes, rice, nuts, beans, tofu, and fruits or vegetables. Vegans often prefer to take nutritional supplements daily.

Is There A Vegan Baby Formula?

You’ll find that vegan baby formula in the U.S. is rare. When you do find it, they are soy-based, vegetable-based, or use organic products inappropriate for a vegan diet. It is also quite difficult to get your local grocery store to carry the best vegan baby formula.

Doctors rarely recommend soy-based baby formula unless a baby has a dairy allergy or as a last-resort for vegetarian diets. Although soy-based baby formula meets dietary needs, it isn’t a healthy option because it weakens a baby’s bones and reduces renal functioning.

  • Donor breastmilk is an option for vegan mothers who are unable to breastfeed. Disrupted lactation is an issue that affects as many as 15% of the population.
  • Prémiriz is an organic, lactose-free vegan baby formula made in the EU.
    • Prémiriz Stage 1 is ideal for infants zero to six months. It also meets vegan standards as it lacks palm oil and is fortified with calcium, proteins, amino acids, and vitamins B12 and D3, which promotes healthy growth.
    • Prémiriz Stage 2 is for babies six to twelve months. It is 100% plant-based and contains nutrients that are identical to cow and goat’s milk.
    • Prémiriz Stage 3 is for twelve to thirty-six months. It is 100% plant-based. It is ideal for toddlers who are weaning or eating solid food.
  • Else Nutrition is vegan-friendly and perfect for toddlers. While not yet available on the market, it is 92% plant-based and is soy-free. It also has added vitamins and minerals. You can now order a free sample on the Else Nutrition website.

Is Vegan Baby Formula Safe?

Whether you live a vegan lifestyle or your baby has a food disorder, vegan baby formulas provide the same level of nutrients regularly branded baby formulas. You do need to do your due diligence with American brands as they are often labeled as organic.

Is It Safe For Newborns To Have Vegan Baby Formula?

While breastmilk is recommended for newborns, there are times when infant formula is required. If you need a vegan or vegetarian baby formula before twelve months, you need to ensure the brand you buy is fortified for nutrients such as iron, protein, and B12.

Are Vegan Baby Formulas Gluten-Free?

If you are following a gluten-free lifestyle for health reasons, you likely know that vegan and vegetarian products tend to be gluten-free as well. While we recommend checking U.S. based baby formula labels that do not specify it is a vegan brand, we can say that European brands follow strict classification guidelines for vegan and gluten-free labeling.

Does Being Vegan Affect Breastfeeding?

Vegans can breastfeed with no problems at all as long as the mother is eating the right nutrients. If your baby has an allergy to breastmilk or needs a special formula type, transitioning is simple. You’ll also know the number of nutrients your baby is getting.

Is Homemade Vegan Baby Formula Safe?

You’ll find plenty of recipes online for homemade vegan baby formula. What those sites do not tell you is that nutritional experts do not recommend making it at home as it may lack the correct nutritional value or fail to meet FDA standards for formula brands. Homemade vegan baby formulas might lack the same carbs, proteins, and fats as store brands. Along with nutrients, these are critical factors for a baby’s health and wellness. If you choose to make your own, you need to understand getting it to your baby’s exact nutrition needs might be very difficult.
Is A Soy-Based Baby Formula Safe?

Soy formula does not offer much nutritional variety as it is made from soya beans. It is rarely recommended for infants and babies unless there are underlying food disorders or lactose deficiencies. There are also some concerning issues with soya bean compounds.

Soy contains isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens compounds. Scientists have found that these compounds impair thyroid functioning and fertility. They have also been found to support cancer cell growth. Babies on soy formula ingest up to 9 mg of isoflavones.

As a vegan parent, it is important to analyze the ingredients in soy formulas. Some babies are more prone to health issues because of the aluminum levels in soy formulas. Soy has also been linked to heavy menstruations and endometriosis when babies reach adulthood. There are plenty of soy articles out there to help you do your own research for peace of mind when it comes to this topic and your baby.

What Is A Vegetarian Diet?

Vegetarians, for the most part, follow a plant-based diet. Lacto-ovo-vegetarians avoid meat but drink milk and eggs, so there are more options for formula. A wonderful organic formula option for vegetarians isKendamil. If your baby is sensitive to cow’s milk, a vegetarian may substitute cow-based formula with organic Holle Goat Milk.

Vegetarian Baby Formulas

Seven of the top ten baby formulas for sale in the United States are made by Abbott Nutrition and Mead Johnson. A quick Google search of these companies shows they have a history of price-fixing schemes and making false claims about the health benefits of their baby formulas.

When you also include the issues with water contaminants and poor manufacturing standards, it makes more sense to purchase baby formulas made in the E.U. because of farming practices. Here are the best vegetarian-friendly baby formulas we recommend at My Organic Company.

Kendamil

Kendamil is a premium UK organic baby formula that is highly recommended by parents because of its natural ingredient usage on cruelty-free farms. Kendamilisorganically-certified whole milk from grass-fed cows that live vegetarian-friendly lifestyles. As their recipe includes whole milk, they are drastically different from any of the formulas in America that only use skim milk – giving babies a much more satisfying feeding, plus the important MFGM (Milk Fat Globule Membrane) naturally through the whole milk, not added through manufacturing.

Furthermore, unlike U.S. cows that are exposed to hormones and pesticides, U.K. cows live stress-free. Kendamil is also palm-oil free and has DHA and ARA fats.

  • Kendamil Stage 1 is for babies up to six months. It’s similar to breastmilk.
  • Kendamil Stage 2 is a follow-on baby formula for babies 6 to 12 months.
  • Kendamil Stage 3 is ideal for toddlers who still need critical daily nutrients.

The makers of Kendamil pride themselves on creating a vegetarian-friendly recipe so more moms have healthy options. Their formula is also free of corn starch, soya, GMOs, glucose syrups, and maltodextrin. Instead of fish and palm oils, the company uses plant-based Omega 3. It’s also vitamin and mineral-fortified, so your baby will get well-balanced nourishment.

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Holle

Holle is a leading E.U. baby formula and has been for years. As it ismanufactured in Germany, it meets high manufacturing standards. The milk comes fromanimal-friendly farms where the cows and goats graze on peaceful and natural farms and do not experience any maltreatment (such as dehorning).

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Goat-Based Formulas Ideal For Vegetarians

Cow and goat milk both produce similar levels of fats. Vegetarian families who have milk allergies often turn to Holle Goat Milk as it is gentler on a baby’s stomach. HolleGoat is the perfect substitute for babies who do not take well to cow’s milk and need a different option. It’s also free of gluten, soy, nuts, and wheat, so it’s a healthier alternative.

Holle GoatStage

Holle Goat milk formula is vegetarian friendly, as their DHA also comes from Algae just like Kendamil. Unfortunately, their cow versions of formula use DHA from fish oil, which is why we prefer Kendamil if you choose cow’s milk.

  • Holle GoatStage 1 is goat milk and lactose-based, making it ideal for vegetarians zero to six months.
  • HolleGoat Stage 2 is nutrient-fortified for babies six months old to 10 months.
  • HolleGoat Stage 3 is for babies over ten months who eat solids but need those extra nutrients as they grow into toddlers.
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All the links in this article go to My Organic Company. We don’t have an affiliate relationship and nor is this post sponsored. They are actually the only online shop we found when we were on the hunt for vegetarian formula for our eldest daughter. They seem to be the leading EU baby formula provider in the United States. They are run by parents who say, “We experienced a trying time finding the best gluten-free baby formula after our daughter was diagnosed with a wheat allergy. It has motivated us to help vegan and vegetarian parents discover the baby formula brands that followed the same healthy lifestyle standards that we have.”

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