By Michelle Bailey, M.D.

I encourage breastfeeding when possible, but FED is BEST. If breastfeeding isn’t working out for mom or baby, we have plenty of other options with formulas. There are so many types of formulas that the process of choosing which one is right for your baby may seem overwhelming.

What’s the difference between organic formula and non-organic formula?

Be comforted by the fact that all infant formulas are regulated by the FDA which requires a standard of basic nutritional needs. Both organic and non-organic formulas support the healthy growth and development of infants. The difference is organic formulas must be manufactured from organic milk that is sourced from cows eating an organic feed and have no added hormones or antibiotics, no GMOs, no artificial or synthetic ingredients and ingredients are grown without pesticides. Be aware that some organic formula brands that are only sold online are manufactured in Europe and do not have U.S. FDA approval, including some popular goat milk formulas.

What is the benefit of eating organic food?

There are dozens of scientific papers published on potential benefits of eating organic. In one U.S. study, eating an organic diet compared to a conventional diet showed a decrease in pesticides found in children’s and adults’ urine output but more research is needed to determine the connection between that and positive health outcomes. In another recent study, researchers found higher rates of antibiotic resistant E. coli bacteria in non-organic chicken. And in India, researchers recently determined that soil with organic fertilizer contains more nutrients, more good strains of bacteria and significantly lower concentrations of toxic heavy metals.

Do organic formulas have extra ingredients that make them better?

Many organic formulas advertise added prebiotics, DHA, ARA, lutein, and a variety of other ingredients to make formula as close to breast milk as possible. However, many non-organic formulas have these same added ingredients. Always read the label and ask your pediatrician if you have any questions.

Is there anything in organic formulas that is bad for baby?

A few organic formulas contain sucrose, which can cause excess weight gain and dental cavities.

Who should choose organic formula over non-organic formula?

Choosing organic formula over non-organic formula is a personal choice—not a requirement. If your household is committed to eating organic foods, you have the option to purchase organic formula for your baby. How nice it would be if ALL our food could be organic or fresh from a local farmer’s market, but that’s not how our food supply chain operates. And it’s okay. If cost isn’t a factor, eating organic foods and feeding your baby organic formula would be a nice bonus, so go ahead and purchase it if you’d like. But don’t feel bad by choosing the non-organic and generic formulas, as they have plenty of good nutrition for your growing baby.

Get to know Michelle Bailey, M.D.

I’m a board-certified pediatrician, passionate about ensuring the well-being of patients ranging from newborn through late teens.

I attended medical school at the University of Oklahoma (Boomer!), and completed my pediatric residency in Houston.

Since the completion of residency, I’ve worked in outpatient clinics and enjoy not only caring for my young patients, but becoming a part of every family by building long-lasting, trusting relationships. While I treat common and not-so-common childhood infections and diseases, I especially have a passion for asthma and allergies, nutrition, and ADHD along with other learning disorders.

I’m married and we have a rescue dog named Jack. When not at work, I enjoy attending cultural events and traveling. To make an appointment with Dr. Bailey, click here or call 682-303-1000.