When it comes to the healthiest nutrition for infants, breastfeeding is undoubtedly the best solution. But breastfeeding is not always possible. That’s when you need a reliable formula that provides your baby with all the nutrients and vitamins they need. Today I’ll be discussing two popular options: Bobbie vs Holle. Let’s find out which one is better!
Defining the best formula is a bit tricky since many babies require an individual approach to their nutrition. While some kids cope perfectly with almost any type of formula, others are more sensitive and won’t tolerate certain types of formulas or ingredients too well.
Bobbie and Holle’s formulas are both focused mostly on these sensitive infants. Their composition is natural, organic, hypoallergenic, and it replicates the unique composition of breastmilk as closely as possible. But even though these products have some things in common, there are also some differences you should know about before choosing one or the other.
This article will explain all the qualities, benefits, and downsides of both formulas so that you can make the best decision for your baby.
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Main Differences between Bobbie vs Holle
The main differences between Bobbie vs Holle are:
- Bobbie is a new American formula, whereas Holle is a well-established German brand.
- Bobbie currently comes as a single infant powder formula only, whereas Holle produces a whole range of different products.
- Bobbie is more expensive, whereas Holle is relatively budget-friendly.
- Bobbie is FDA-approved and sold freely in the US, whereas Holle is not legally sold in America, so it can only be ordered online.
- Bobbie is free from palm oil and maltodextrin, whereas Holle contains both of these controversial ingredients.
If your baby doesn’t have the right nutrition, it can lead to numerous complications ranging from painful bloating, refluxes, and colics to bad sleeping, allergies, or even slower physical and cognitive development. That’s why you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of choosing the right formula.
Bobbie and Holle both look like very good solutions, but how do you choose the one that will be the best for you? Let’s examine them one by one in detail.
Bobbie – In Depth
Have you ever heard of Bobbie before? No? Don’t blame yourself. It’s one of the youngest formula brands on the American market, and many parents have discovered it just recently.
The brand was co-founded by two mothers who were inspired by their very own experiences. Their ultimate goal was to create a formula that would mimic the unique qualities of breastmilk so closely that it would take the shame and regret completely away from bottle-feeding.
All of the components in this formula are declared to be safe, natural, and as sustainable as possible. So let’s analyze the ingredients in detail right away.
It’s no secret that American parents often choose to prefer European formulas (including Holle, I’ll discuss shortly) to those produced in the US. The main reason for this lies in somewhat stricter European rules and requirements when it comes to organic/bio-quality ingredients or the higher levels of DHA in some of these products.
Nevertheless, European formulas are usually not FDA-approved, so they cannot be freely sold in American shops or recommended by American pediatricians. Moreover, according to the official studies, American formulas often perform better than their European counterparts in some other important aspects.
Fortunately, there’s no need to struggle with this dilemma anymore – Bobbie is the first American formula that complies with both FDA and European Commission regulations. That means that you can expect all of its ingredients to be fully organic, naturally sourced, and in some of the highest recommended amounts on the market.
The list of ingredients is dominated by lactose – the main source of carbohydrates that provide the formula with natural sweetness and supply your little one with energy. Then there’s cow’s milk protein derived from organic grass-fed cows free from antibiotics, hormones, or residues of pesticides.
The healthy omega-3 fatty acids are represented by an above-the-average dose of DHA. This helps your baby with the healthy development of eyes, brain, and cognitive functions in general. Note that the DHA used in the Bobbie formula is exclusively naturally-sourced (algae) and derived using non-chemical water-based procedures.
In order to mimic breast milk as closely as possible, Bobbie replicates its whey to casein ratio (60/40). The added whey also helps prevent some common digestive problems like bloating and constipation.
Bobbie is completely free from added sugar, artificial flavors, colorings, gluten, or palm oil. But, on the other hand, it does not provide an alternative for kids suffering from dairy allergies, and it also does not have any added probiotics.
Taste and Smell
Although replicating the composition of breastmilk is now more possible than ever before, making artificial infant milk taste and smell as good as the original is still quite impossible. Nevertheless, Bobbie is definitely one of the formulas that get quite close to this goal.
The formula resolves very well in the liquid (no powdery taste), and its texture feels very smooth – not too thick and not too watery. In addition, it has a nice white color that distinguishes it from some of the yellowish or brownish products from other brands.
The formula is naturally mildly sweet (from lactose), which is something babies usually respond to positively. Although it is quite rich in iron, it lacks the typical metallic aftertaste that repulses many kids (and parents). The smell of this formula is also very mild and pleasant, with no sign of fishiness. All in all, there’s really not much to complain about.
Packaging and Prices
Unlike some of the older and well-established brands (like Holle), the Bobbie formula is still just at the beginning of its journey. Logically, it cannot compete with the wide array of different products offered by the competition.
Currently, there’s just one Bobbie formula available – an organic powder formula for infants from 0 to 12 months. This product is sold in 400 g (14.1 oz.) cans that should last about 3 days (if you’re exclusively bottle-feeding) or one week (if you’re combining the formula with breastmilk or normal food).
Bobbie is currently sold mostly through the official online store that offers both one-off purchases and advantageous monthly delivery service. However, the formula can also be found on shelves of a few boutique pharmacies around the US.
In comparison with some other similar formulas, it’s a little bit expensive, though. Check the latest price here.
As a relatively new formula, Bobbie lacks the massive customer feedback you might be used to seeing with some other brands. If you search for the reviews online, you’ll mostly see just feedback from professional reviewers, pediatricians, or pharmacists so far.
Nevertheless, the little we already hear about this formula sounds very favorable. Bobbie is, for example, often dubbed ‘the best American alternative to HiPP, another hugely popular German formula known for its organic composition and non-allergic ingredients.
People state that Bobbie smells and tastes very nice, babies seem to be happy with it too, and the subscription-based delivery service is reportedly punctual and reliable too.
- Organic formula complying with both European and American standard
- For infants from 0 to 12 months
- Copies natural composition of breast milk
- Free from GMOs, gluten, corn syrup, palm oil, or added sugar
- Full of vital nutrients, vitamins, and minerals
- Natural cow’s milk lactose as the main source of energy
- Not suitable for kids suffering from lactose intolerance
- Enriched with DHA
- American alternative to popular European formulas
- Organic ingredients only
- Composition closely mimics breast milk
- No gluten, palm oil, corn syrup, or added sugar
- Monthly delivery at a discounted rate is available
- Still quite a new product with limited user feedback
- Only one product is currently available
- Not suitable for babies with lactose intolerance or milk allergy
- Quite expensive
Holle – In Depth
The Holle company proudly bears certifications of CO2 neutrality, organic, and bio quality, and their products are also halal. Let’s explore Holle’s most popular formulas in detail.
Unlike the single universal Bobbie formula, Holle comes with a wide range of products that should suit all the different types of customers and their specific needs. The portfolio contains 5 different stages of standard cow’s milk-based formula, and there are also goat’s milk-based Holle formulas suitable for kids with mild lactose intolerance and problematic digestion.
Regardless of the option you choose, both of these formula ranges use exclusively milk sourced from organic farms – it’s 100% natural, free from antibiotics and residual pesticides, fully complying with the strict European rules.
Lactose (containing glucose and galactose) is the main source of energy and also a natural sweetener in these formulas. Unfortunately, Holle does not stick only to lactose – its formulas also contain maltodextrin, a somewhat controversial sweetener derived from starchy sources such as rice or potatoes.
Although this substance is allegedly safe for infants, many parents try to avoid it as an unnecessary source of added sugar. The same applies to starch, which is added to the later stages of Holle formulas and provides an additional source of energy while also making babies feel fuller. That being said, Holle products also contain palm oil.
On the other hand, unlike Bobbie, Holle contains valuable prebiotics and probiotics that help babies with digestion and boost their immunity. The latest recipe of these formulas also contains high amounts of DHA & ARA (omega 3- and omega-6 fatty acids).
Furthermore, there’s also a wide range of minerals and vitamins in this formula. You should probably know that Holle (among other European brands) has recently been recalled in the US due to its insufficient amounts of iron (non-compliant with FDA guidelines).
Taste and Smell
According to the feedback from thousands of Holle customers, babies usually adapt to this formula very well, thanks to its sweetness (it really is sweeter than most of the other formulas out there). While this certainly makes things easier, beware that once your baby gets used to a sweeter formula, it will be difficult for them to adapt to some less sweet alternative.
Holle has a nice smooth texture since the powder dissolves perfectly in the water. It smells a bit stronger than some other formulas, but it’s not really repulsive, just intensive.
All in all, I would say that Holle is a good solution for picky babies who won’t accept just any formula. Parents, on the other hand, may have some reservations.
Packaging and Prices
Holle formulas come in many different types of packaging. Some are sold in boxes, and others come in cans. There are smaller and larger packages and also some value multipacks for those who like to order in larger bundles. Again, a 400 g (14.1 oz.) pack of this formula should last from 3 to 7 days.
One of the factors contributing to Holle’s popularity is certainly its affordability. Although it’s probably not the absolutely cheapest formula on the market, if you compare it to Bobbie, it will cost you considerably less.
The downside is Holle’s unavailability in the American brick-and-mortar stores. Since the formula is not FDA-approved, you can only order it online. Check out Holle’s latest price here.
Holle is, in general, acclaimed for its modern organic composition, great nutritional values, and popularity among the infants themselves. Parents appreciate the wide range of available products – each of them reflecting the specific needs of a certain age group or developmental stage of the kids.
Customers also rave about the goat-milk alternative, which helps sensitive babies with digestion and provides higher levels of some important nutrients. Of course, most parents also appreciate the formula’s financial affordability.
Interested in more feedback? My colleague has reviewed the Holle formula, too – check out her Holle review here.
- Popular German formula made of organic ingredients
- Wide range of products, including goat-milk formulas
- Not FDA-approved due to the smaller amounts of iron
- It can be bought only online in the US
- It contains palm oil, maltodextrin, and starch
- It’s enriched with DHA, ARA, and probiotics
- Affordable alternative
- Quality organic formulas from Europe
- Wide range of products for all types of customers
- Great price
- High amounts of many important nutrients
- Goat-milk alternative available
- Babies usually like its sweet taste
- It’s not FDA-approved – must be ordered online
- Lower amounts of iron (below FDA recommendation)
- It contains palm oil, starch, and maltodextrin
Are There Any Alternatives?
Still not sure if Bobbie or Holle are your best options? Here are some alternative formulas you might find interesting:
Lebenswert is a less renowned yet highly acclaimed organic formula from Europe. Due to its natural composition closely resembling breast milk, this formula is ideal for babies currently weaning of mother’s milk.
Lebenswert formulas are free from added sugar (no maltodextrin), do not contain any added coloring or flavors, and also have no synthetically derived or genetically modified ingredients. Compared to some other formulas, Lebenswert has a longer shelf-life too.
For more information, read our full Lebenswert review.
Similac Organic Formula
Similac Organic is one of the top baby formulas on the American market. These products are widely recommended by both nutritionists and pediatricians, and they are also distributed in many hospitals all around the country.
This formula contains a special mixture of ingredients (so-called Opti-Gro) targeting different aspects of an infant’s healthy development. For example, it includes DHA for brain and cognitive development, lutein for healthy eyes, and vitamin E to support cell growth.
This Holle vs. Similac comparison will provide you with more details.
New and improved Similac Organic with A2 Milk is a baby formula modeled after breast milk and made with organic lactose. It is a gentle, easy-to-digest infant formula made with A2 milk and USDA-certified organic ingredients.
Whether you’re exclusively formula-feeding or you’re looking just for some suitable supplement to breastmilk, Mama Bear Organic Baby Formula is a great solution. This USDA-approved American formula focuses on easy digestion, healthy development, and the overall wellbeing of your child.
The formula provides your baby with complete nutrition, including Vitamin E, lutein, DHA, and numerous other vitamins and minerals. It does not contain any GMOs, hormones, or artificial colorants and flavors. It’s certified as organic and also Kosher.
Organic baby formula powder with iron from Mama Bear. Certified USDA organic by Quality Assurance International. Organic milk-based ingredients for complete infant nutrition for the first year.
Question: Why does Holle use maltodextrin?
Answer: Maltodextrin is a natural source of carbohydrates that can be derived from various sources, including rice, potatoes, corn, or wheat. In formulas like Holle, it usually serves three major purposes:
• First, it adds a bit of sweetness to the formula, which makes it more attractive to kids. Secondly, it is also believed to help with the digestion of lactose. Last but not least, it adds thickness and improves the texture of the formula. Nevertheless, parents are often concerned about this ingredient as it is believed to cause (or worsen) hyperactivity, skin rash, or even asthma in some cases.
Question: Do you have to boil water for the Holle formula?
Answer: Boiling your water before mixing it with formula powder is certainly a good idea. Boiling effectively kills germs and bacteria, so it improves the overall safety of your baby’s nutrition. Some parents, however, prefer to use filtered or bottled water for the same purpose. If you’re boiling your water, just make sure that the formula cools down thoroughly before feeding your baby.
Question: Is Bobbie formula safe for newborns?
Answer: Yes, Bobbie formula is specifically designed for the smallest infants as it mimics the qualities and composition of breast milk very closely.
Question: Is Bobbie formula tested for heavy metals?
Answer: Yes. Bobbie hires qualified third-party providers to perform tests for the presence of possible heavy metals in the formula. All Bobbie ingredients suppliers must also meet strict requirements that involve a zero-tolerance policy on heavy metals like mercury, etc.
The Verdict: Bobbie vs Holle – Which One Should You Get?
While Holle and Bobbie are undoubtedly safe, reliable, and good quality formulas, I would choose Bobbie if I had to recommend just one of these products. Although this formula is still very new, its premium composition seems to offer the very best for your little one’s healthy development while avoiding pretty much every controversial ingredient that can be found in some other formulas.
On the other hand, Bobbie is a relatively expensive formula, and it also doesn’t offer any solutions for kids with dairy allergies or intolerances. If you’re dealing with some of these special conditions or you simply need to stay on budget, Holle is still a great option to choose.
Unfortunately, you also have to keep in mind that these European formulas are not legally sold in American stores, which, in my opinion, is another good reason to prefer Bobbie instead.
Whether you came to the same conclusion as me or you prefer Holle to Bobbie instead, I hope this article answers all your questions and helps you make a wise decision for yourself and your family. If you feel like you still need some more information on these formulas, here are some other articles you might want to read:
- Holle Goat vs. Cow Milk Formulas Compared
- NannyCare vs. Holle Formulas Compared
- Loulouka vs Holle Formulas Compared
- Loulouka Formula Review