There are many European Commission-regulated infant formulas on the market today. Most of the formulas are safe, healthy, nutritious, and organic. This may explain the increased preference for such formulas by most parents. One such formula is Holle A2, which is the main focus of our Holle A2 Milk Formula Review.
Our Holle A2 milk formula review seeks to read beyond the organic labels and the nutritional jargon to unpack what each ingredient means for your infant’s health and development. We will also detail why you should or should not buy Holle A2 infant formula and sample a few reviews of what parents who have used the formula have to say about it.
We will also look at some alternative formula options in case Holle A2 fails to check the boxes you have in mind. The review will finally culminate in a brief verdict as to whether the formula is worth the money it retails for and the hype it has so far attracted.
Let’s, start off with a brief intro of Holle A2;
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Holle A2 Infant Formula- In-depth of Ingredients
Holle A2 is an organic baby formula that substitutes the common cheapest A1 milk with A2 milk. The formula is gluten-free and uses only organic ingredients per European standards. The formula is suitable for use from birth or as a supplement to breastmilk.
Unlike proteins in A1, the A2 protein content is similar to the casein and lactose found in breastmilk, making it easier and gentle on the delicate tummy. Below is a quick run-down of its major ingredients;
Carbohydrates form the main energy source for infants. They are necessary for proper growth and development. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics , infants should exclusively breastfeed for the first 6-months. If this is not possible, they should be put on baby formulas.
Holle A2, just like most formulas, uses lactose as its main carbohydrate source. The lactose mimics the lactose that naturally occurs in breastmilk. The lactose is easily digested by the naturally produced lactase enzyme in the digestive tract of the infants. The ratio of the lactose in the formula is that it is adequate for all the infant’s energy needs.
Breastmilk has two main protein complexes; casein and whey. The whey to casein ratio is 60% to 40% to make the milk more digestible. However, cow milk has a casein-to-whey ratio of 80% to 20%. These can be particularly challenging for the delicate infant digestive system. This is why Holle A2 adds whey powder.
This significantly changes the ratio of whey to casein to be equivalent to that in breastmilk. The end result is an easy-to-digest protein necessary for generating new cells as well as provide energy (proteins provide 10% to 15% of the total calories required by infants).
The delicate balancing of the casein and demineralized whey protein makes the formula gentle on your infant’s tummy, as it is easily broken by renin into curd.
L-Tryptophan and L- Tyrosine
L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is essential in proper brain development, optimal functioning of organs, and the metabolism of some other amino acids. The amino acid has to be provided in diet as the body has no mechanism of producing it on its own.
Other than the growth and developmental roles, it is also involved in melatonin production, a sleep hormone that promotes peaceful sleep in infants.
Though non-essential, L-Tyrosine helps the skin produce adequate amounts of melanin. The melanin has a significant role in preventing the body from harmful UV sun rays. Other than this, it is also involved in the production of neurotransmitters that influence moods.
Vegetable Oils and Fats
Vegetable oils provide approximately 15% of the daily caloric requirements of infants. Most of the oils used, including those in Holle A2, are medium-chain triglycerides that can be easily broken down.
Infant formulas use select blends of vegetable oils to match the fatty acid profile of breastmilk. Other than trying to match the breastmilk profile, the oils also increase the absorption of the formula. The common vegetable oils are rapeseed, sunflower, and palm.
Holle A2 (skip to Holle vs Hipp ) adds palm oil, which most formulas avoid. An alternative to palm oil is palmitic oil. The palmitic fatty acid facilitates the absorption of calcium and fat along the digestive system. Palm oil, on the other hand, hinders the absorption of calcium and fat.
In addition to the hindrance, most of the vegetable oils are obtained from indigenous trees whose population has been on a steady decline. This makes this source not sustainable in the long run. A better alternative to the vegetable oils is full cream cow milk commonly used in Kendamil organic.
M. ALPINA OIL and Fish oil 3
Holle A2 is manufactured by standards set by the European Commission. Among the requirements of the EU is the inclusion of ARA. ARA, also known as omega-6 fatty acids, are nutrients required by naturally occurring gut bacteria whose key uses include bolstering the immune system, improving vision, and bettering brain and nerve development.
M. ALPINA oil may cause allergic reactions to some infants, is naturally produced through fermentation from the fungus Morterella Alpina . This oil has a high ARA, exceeds 50% of all known fatty acids, and thus provides much-needed nutrition to the gut bacteria.
To increase the population of gut bacteria, Holle A2 adds fish oil-3 into the infant formula. The fish oil is the equivalent of DHA, commonly known as omega-3 fatty acids. These bacteria occur naturally in the gut and may not necessarily be supplemented in the formula.
Infants require vitamins to have a strong immune system, build strong muscles and bones, keep nerves healthy, protect against cell damage, and help blood clot. These are but some of the many roles vitamins play.
For these reasons, Holle A2 includes a wide array of vitamins that include A, K, B1, C, D, among others. Moreover, the vitamins are added in quantities and forms that match the nutritional needs of the infants. And this can be seen in the fluctuating quantities across the formulas as the infant transitions from one stage to another.
It is important to note that infants cannot produce vitamins other than D, which they synthesize when exposed to the sun. Therefore, the rest of the vitamins, both fat and water-soluble, must be supplemented through formulas (breastfeeding infants get adequate amounts from their mothers).
This is a water-soluble vitamin B complex that can be obtained from either plants or animals. Its inclusion is meant to confer the infant’s body with the ability to synthesize coenzyme A.
The coenzyme is necessary for the breakdown of all foods, including proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
Minerals play a significant role in impulse transmission, enzyme activation, teeth, and bone formation.
To ensure that your growing child gets them in adequate quantities, Holle A2 (skip to Kendamil vs Holle ) includes most of the essential minerals, including calcium that is used in bone and teeth formation, potassium for nerve transmission, and sodium for ion balance. These are just a couple of what Holle A2 contains.
Skimmed A2 Milk
Skimmed milk is added to infant formulas to provide additional protein and energy. The milk is often termed as nonfat or low fat, and it comes in two forms; A1 and A2.
A1 (check out Holle Infant formula review with A1) is the common type of skimmed milk and is found in most formulas sold in the US. However, it is cheaper and is touted as being less safe for infants. A2, on the other hand, is obtained from select cow breeds, often referred to as channel breeds.
This type of skimmed milk is healthier, safer, and more expensive. A2 has all the proteins in A1, only that they are in the original structure, making them almost similar to goat/breastmilk and gentle on the tummy.
The A2 is easy to digest and rarely causes bloating. As an added advantage, the cows from which the A2 milk is obtained are organically and humanely raised.
Similar to other Holle infant formulas, Holle A2 bears the relevant organic certification.
According to the organic certifications, farming should not use any inorganic compounds, including pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. They should also be sustainable and have all animals treated with the highest best practice standards available.
Inositol is a carbohydrate complex that is often wrongly termed as vitamin B8. However, the carbohydrate is so significant in the human body that all formulas across the US and Europe dictate it be included in baby formulas.
The carbohydrate nourishes the brain during the first five years of life, ensuring optimal brain development. It also makes part of baby cells as well as regulating the availability of specific neurotransmitters. In addition to these, it also indirectly influences glucose level as it affects insulin metabolism.
Biotin is a derivative name of an ancient Greece word that means life or sustenance. It is found in trace amounts in breastmilk. However, don’t be deceived by the quantity as the vitamin has an immense influence on respiration and growth, as detailed below.
The vitamin B complex has a significant role in the breakdown of both carbohydrates and specific proteins. Thus, it also has a considerable health impact on various body organs, including the liver, skin, and eye.
Holle A2 Ingredients
- Skimmed A2 milk.
- Partly Demineralised Whey Powder
- Vegetable Oils (Palm Oil2, Sunflower Oil, Rapeseed Oil)
- Calcium Carbonate
- Potassium Chloride
- FISH OIL3
- Magnesium Chloride
- M. ALPINA OIL
- Calcium Chloride
- Calcium Hydroxide
- Sodium Chloride,
- Ferrous Lactate
- Vitamin C
- Zinc Sulphate
- Vitamin E
- Pantothenic Acid
- Copper Sulphate
- Vitamin B1
- Manganese Sulphate
- Vitamin B6
- Potassium Iodate
- Folic Acid
- Sodium Selenate
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin D
Pros and Cons of Holle A2 Infant Formula
Pros of Holle A2
- Uses naturally produced lactose as a sweetener.
- It can be used from birth to weaning.
- It is gentle on the delicate digestive systems of infants.
- Does not cause gassiness, bloat, or diarrhea.
- Has a long shelf life.
Cons of Holle A2
Holle A2 Reviews
Most users note that Holle A2 is highly palatable to infants and that it smells great. They also note that the organic ingredients used as per the stringent European Commission regulation make the formula safe, healthy, and more appealing.
Others are still impressed that the formula doesn’t skimp on quality for cheaper or harmful alternatives such as maltodextrin and corn syrup. Additionally, they note the formula can last for quite some time as it has expiration dates that are further into the future.
Last on the sample of reviews is the ease with which it digests, leaving kids fuller for longer, peaceful, and with neither gassiness nor constipation.
Those who feel short-changed note one has to continually change from one stage to the next as the child grows. They also noted that it takes considerably longer to obtain the formula as it’s only found online and that should your child reject it, you may be left with tons of packs of little to no value.
Alternatives to Holle A2 Infant Formula
Kendamil offers goat-based formula (easier to digest, closer to human breastmilk), with DHA-rich algal oil and prebiotics. Where it stands out from the competition is that it has NO maltodextrin and NO palm oil. Use code 'BabySwag' for 5% off.
Kendamil is a nutritionally balanced formula whose ingredient profile almost mirrors those found in breastmilk. However, unlike Holle A2 that uses skimmed milk, it uses whole milk and has no palm or soy oil.
All its ingredients are GMO-free, plus it has all relevant accreditations and certifications, including those of the stringent European Union. In place of added sugars, it relies on naturally occurring lactose that is found in whole organic milk.
The formula also includes DHA-rich algal oil that is naturally extracted without the use of hexane solvents. This makes it one of the safest infant formulas as most use hexane to extract DHA.
Unlike most formulas, such as Aptamil (proceed to Kendamil vs Aptamil ), which uses skimmed milk, it uses whole milk formulation that contains high levels of MFGM. This has been linked to increased cognitive development in infants.
Breast Milk has about 30% fat. To meet WHO guidelines and match this breastmilk profile, most formulas add skimmed milk and vegetable oils. This, however, greatly reduces overall forest cover. As an alternative to this, Kendamil uses full cream mammal milk that has the same nutritional value as vegetable oils.
Unlike formulas that use Soy, Kendamil uses full cream milk nutrients to boost the protein content in the formula. It also uses naturally occurring lactose as a carbohydrate, making it highly digestible and less unlikely to be rejected by infants.
Similar to the A2 milk used in Holle A2, Kendamil (compare Kendamil vs Hipp ) sources its milk from organically raised Jersey cows that are humanely raised on the lash expansive plains of the English Lake District.
As a testament to their brand quality, Kendamil has found favor with the British Royal family and has been used to feed Prince Louis. Here is where to buy Kendamil Infant Formula (check out our detailed Kendamil review).
Hipp is one of the few infant formulas that has had a colorful history. It first hit the market in early 1899 with one product and has grown over the years to boost over 260 products.
Hipp formula is EU certified.
This means that the formula is free of GMOs, steroids, hormones, antibiotics, and other harmful ingredients that some non-EU-regulated formulas contain. Additionally, the milk used in Hipp formulas (skip to Hipp vs Lebenswert ) is obtained from animals fed on 100% organic feeds, making it natural, healthy, and nutritious.
Other Hipp Anti-reflux that contain maltodextrin, all Hipp formulas contain lactose as the main energy source. The maltodextrin included in the Anti-reflux is meant to ease digestion in infants with sensitive digestive systems.
For proteins, Hipp formulas (see how Baby’s only vs Hipp compare) have a protein profile that resembles that found in breastmilk. That is 40% casein and 60% whey. However, Hipp manufactures two alternatives that pack 100% hydrolyzed proteins to cater to babies with distressed digestive systems.
Unlike Loulouka (proceed to Hipp vs Loulouka ) that uses coconut oil, Hipp formulas use a balanced blend of fats that include rapeseed, sunflower, and palm oil. It also contains DHA and ARA oils that are safely derived from vegetables or fish.
To boost the population of beneficial gut bacteria, the Hipp formula includes prebiotics and probiotics in all its formulas. These improve digestions, reduces lactose intolerance as well as reduces undesirable bowel movements.
On the downside, Hipp can only be bought online and has palm oil that is a huge turn-off for some parents. Here is where to buy Hipp infant Formula (check out our detailed Hipp review).
Our preferred vendor for buying HiPP online in bulk is definitely TheMilkyBox.com. They have generously offered our readers 5% off with code 'BabySwag' at checkout!
Answer: FDA regulations apply only to products produced within the USA. Holle is produced in Germany and is regulated by the European Commission, the body that is tasked with overseeing product manufacture within the European region.
Answer: The most obvious way to tell is if the baby refuses to drink the formula or keep pushing it away. Other signs include allergies that may manifest as rashes, itching, sneezing, among others. Other kids may still suffer from excessive bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation.
Answer: Yes. The fact that Hipp is not FDA approved does not render it unsafe for use by infants. If anything, the regulations that govern its production are much more stringent than those outlined by FDA.
Answer: This is because it uses A2 milk from biodynamic farms, is easily digestible even by distressed digestive systems, is organic, and sources its ingredients more sustainably.
Where to Buy Holle A2 Formula
As this is a new formula AND it’s sourced from Europe, it can be quite difficult to find online and can go in and out of stock.
That said, I’ve found a few reliable trusted sellers online which I’ve listed below:
- via HolleUSA.com: This is the official FDA registered branch of Holle. You deal directly with their customer service and can rest assured you are getting the latest product variation. Prices start at $59.99 for a single 28 oz container, then $56.99 if you buy 2, then $53.99 if you buy 3-5, and finally $50.99 if you buy 6 or more. This bulk pricing is very competitive with the other retailers I’ve tried, but isn’t necessarily the cheapest in every instance, particularly if just ordered 1 or 2 containers at a time.
- via MyOrganicCompany.store: This company has been a great supplier for us, even offering our readers 5% off (entire order, multi use) with code THEBABYSWAG at checkout. Prices start at $55.99 for a single container, then $54.99 for 6-11, and finally $52.99 for 12 or more. Our code applies to ANY ORDER, regardless of size.
- via OrganicBabyShop.com: This is one of the oldest online retailers with a great reputation in the industry. Can go in and out of stock, but they also offer our readers 5% off (only your first order) with code BABYSWAG5 at checkout. Prices currently are just $59.95 per flat container.
Final Thoughts; Is it Worth it?
So is Holle A2 worth trying for your baby? Definitely!
Holle A2 uses A2 milk proteins in their original forms that are easy to digest and are currently available in select cow breeds. In addition, it uses wholesome ingredients, has EU certification, and has variants for different developmental stages, as well as customized options for lactose-intolerant infants.
It is also free of most harmful ingredients that include maltodextrin, soy oil, and artificial sweeteners. Other than these, being organic means that it is gluten and GMO-free, safe, and nutritious to promote optimal growth and development.
The one notable flipside to the formula is it is unavailability in walk-in stores. But, overall, the Holle A2 formula offers value for money