There’s a common misconception that all European infant formulas have certain ingredients that US infant formulas don’t have. While regulations and requirements may vary between US formulas and European formulas, there are some US infant formulas that offer comparable ingredients, vitamins, and minerals as European formulas. All Enfamil Formulas are held to the highest possible standards in terms of ingredients, quality, and their impact on getting your child off to a great nutritional start in life.
Before You Buy European Baby Formulas
It is advisable that all American consumers who are considering acquiring European formulas find brands that are legally available for sale in the United States and are compliant with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.
Even if a European formula has the exact ingredients you’re looking for, it’s important to buy your baby’s formula from a trusted and reputable seller.
Wherever your product comes from, it needs to be compliant with FDA regulations to ensure proper steps were taken to ensure its safety from factory to store shelf.
Feeding Needs and Age Categories
One reason you might hear parents considering European infant formula is due to feeding needs categories, which can help some parents understand the nutritional needs of their infants based on their age. European infant formula makers offer milk in stages: for instance, 0-6 months, 6-12 months, and 12+ months which clearly shows how the milk’s nutrition is tailored to particular age groups. Some American companies do not always categorize their formulas this way, opting instead for a one-size-fits-all formula.
This poses a unique challenge for American parents and caregivers, who might feel like it’s up to them to do more research to understand what they’re buying, but it also gives you the opportunity to make more informed decisions about your child’s health. We will always encourage you to consult with a pediatrician to fine-tune your child’s individual needs–everyone grows differently, everyone ages differently, and Enfamil offers many choices for everyone.
Everyday Nutrition: European vs American Formula
Generally speaking, European and American formulas require most of the same vitamins and minerals↗ in baby formula. (See the FDA requirements for infant formula↗). The most common difference lies in the amounts of iron, which is a major component of hemoglobin in red blood cells and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), which is an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human brain.
Infant formulas in the US usually have more iron than European formulas because the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends↗ higher iron levels to prevent iron deficiency. The European Union requires DHA in formulas in amounts that are higher than a few brands available in the US, and while the FDA does not require DHA, most US infant formulas have it.
The World Health Organization recommended amount of DHA is 0.2%-0.36%↗ of total fatty acids.
Organic Infant Formulas
Organic infant formulas are available in the United States, made by certain companies including Enfamil–in fact we source the milk for our Enfamil Organic formula from grass-fed cows in Germany. The difference between organic and inorganic milk can vary depending on where it’s sourced, but doctors interviewed by the New York Times↗ explained that the alleged benefits of European formulas were not worth the risks and expenses. In other words, you can find an American formula with comparable ingredients to the European formulas that you might have been considering, and rest assured that it was formulated and transported in accordance with FDA guidelines and won’t cost you more than what your local retailer offers.
Infant Formula for Tummy Troubles and Allergies
There are infant formulas for babies with sensitive stomachs that are tailored to help ease feeding issues such as colic, gas, fussiness, spit-up and constipation. Be sure to check with your pediatrician before trying these formulas, as they will be able to best help you understand what might be causing any indicators of tummy troubles.
Hypoallergenic formula is made for babies with cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA). It has proteins found in regular milk that are known to trigger allergic reactions that are extensively hydrolyzed so that they are unlikely to trigger the same sorts of reactions.
There are varying levels of Hypoallergenic formulas available in the US, including
- Extensively hydrolyzed meaning they contain the smallest milk proteins, and others are
- Free amino acid-based or elemental formulas in which the proteins are completely detached from their amino acids.
Note that Partially hydrolyzed formulas, in which the proteins are partially broken down, are not hypoallergenic.
Infant Formula for Premature Babies
Enfamil has formulas that are made for preemie babies, which incorporate a greater quantity of calories, protein, and have vitamins and minerals than formula meant for full-term babies. It’s important to consult your pediatrician about the exact needs of your baby before choosing a formula, and ensure that your little one gets exactly the right amount of nutrition that they need at the right stage of their progression.
Explore Enfamil Formulas With Enfamil Family Beginnings
Exploring infant formula products in the US market can be tricky given the sheer amount of options, but with the knowledge of what to look for in the best quality formulas, you can make informed decisions with the guidance of your pediatrician in order to provide the best for your baby. Join Enfamil Family Beginnings to receive coupons, infant formula samples, and other helpful tips!