A lot of parents today are searching for healthy alternatives to the cow’s milk formulas currently on the market. While these formulas are readily available, they’re not all nutritious, so it’s important to evaluate your options to find the best one for your baby.
Many parents want natural cow’s milk formula that doesn’t contain any antibiotics, hormones, or added sugars. Keeping these toxins out and adding in better ingredients like vitamins help aid in your baby’s growth and development.
The great thing about a wonderful formula system like Holle stages is that it can achieve the specialized nutrition that your baby needs without the use of common allergens like soy, coconut, or almond. You don’t have to substitute non-dairy products to make a formula that’s safe for infants, even those with lactose sensitivity.
In fact, Holle is one of the few formula manufacturers that use goat milk. It’s just as nutritious as cow’s milk and it produces fewer digestive issues in infants.
Jump to a specific section
Why Use Holle Stages
There are many benefits to using a natural formula like Holle. From the way it’s made to the way it nourishes your baby, you’ll find a lot to love.
Holle formula is all-natural and made with quality. There are no genetic modifications in it at all. There are no artificial flavors, colors, chemicals, or preservatives, and they never make an exception.
They produce their formula in accordance with all EU regulations and the brand is known to be one of the best quality formulas in the world. They use 100% organic ingredients and follow humanitarian practices for the animals they use to source ingredients.
They have surveillance in place to monitor their farmers and manufacturers to maintain standards that help ensure the top quality of their products. The guidelines they impose on themselves are even stricter than the Bioland standards they follow.
Many parents trust Holle formula because it’s one of the safest products you can give to your baby.
Tastes Like Breastmilk
Holle makes their formula sweet and creamy so it’s appealing to infants. For mothers who are unable to breastfeed, Holle really is the next best option. Their strict procedures will offer a nutritional level far above other formulas while ensuring that your baby will want to take it.
The ingredients they include help to enrich the taste of the formula while still maintaining adherence to the strict procedures that keep it safe. Everything is pesticide-free so your baby can enjoy it and reap all the benefits.
Some babies have to trouble digestive cow milk derivatives, and that includes formulas that are cow’s milk-based. However, Holle developed a formula using goat milk to be more gentle on your baby’s stomach.
The milk is still sourced from organic farms and is 100% natural. The primary benefit of using goat milk is that it doesn’t contain the same inflammatory effects that cow’s milk does. It’s often safer and more easily digested by adults as well.
The type of lactose in goat’s milk forms smaller curds in the stomach after being swallowed, so it’s processed and eliminated easier and less painfully. Luckily, goat’s milk is still rich in calcium, which aids in bone and joint health.
Amino Acid Tryptophan is also present, which works to support the physical development of muscles and other systems in your baby’s growing body. It’s great for the nervous system and it supports a healthy digestive system.
Goat’s milk is heavily concentrated with nutrients. One bottle contains 35% of your baby’s recommended calcium intake, and it also includes B-12, riboflavin, protein, phosphorus, and potassium.
Major Ingredients of Holle Stages Formula
Whether you’re purchasing the cow’s milk variety or the more easily digested goat’s milk variety, there are some primary ingredients that Holle uses to enhance nutrition and taste.
All Holle formulas include a source of lactose, whether it’s from cow’s milk or goat’s milk. Lactose contains glucose and galactose, so this disaccharide is a great way to make the formula sweeter. In breastmilk, lactose is the principal carbohydrate.
Holle also uses lactose as a source of healthy fat. It is processed from Demeter milk fat, which is high-quality and full of healthy benefits.
There’s been quite a bit of controversy surrounding the use of maltodextrin in baby formula. It’s derived from plants and is used as a sweetener. Some sources say that it’s easy to digest but will argue that it’s a toxic substance for babies.
If you’re in the camp that doesn’t mind a bit of added sweetness to your baby’s formula to make it taste more like breastmilk, then Holle is a good option because its primary function is to make it taste more natural.
Holle uses palm oil in its products to provide extra fat that your baby needs to grow. It helps the formula mimic the composition of breastmilk and is an excellent source of palmitic acid and oleic acid.
Prebiotics and probiotics
These good bacterias promote natural gut health. They support your baby’s digestive system and make the formula easier to digest. They are a good source of natural support for the immune system as well.
This complex carbohydrate is a great source of energy. Your baby’s body needs the energy to support growth and development. It may seem like little ones sleep quite often, but this energy is still an important part of your baby’s diet.
Holle formulas for babies 0-6 months do not contain starch because it tends to fill them up faster, so they don’t drink as much as they should. However, all other Holle formulas include this ingredient, which is a great way to help them feel more full and get them to sleep at night, which is another excellent way to support growth.
Holle Stages of Formula
There are 5 stages of the Holle formula, made for infants and toddlers alike. They all contain different ingredients to support the appropriate stage of development, and there are both cow’s milk and goat’s milk varieties among the stages.
In the beginning, Holle offered four stages of infant formula. Stages 1-4 were formulated for newborns all the way up to four years old. When they did introduce their fifth stage, it was called Pre, and it was meant for months 0-6, which is the same age range as Stage 1.
However, there is a difference between the two, so parents are left to figure out what the difference is and which might be better for their baby. That difference is one very simple, but very impactful ingredient.
Holle’s Pre-stage uses lactose as the primary source of carbohydrates rather than maltodextrin. While both ingredients are used as a sweetener and a carbohydrate, it’s an important distinction to make, because there’s a lot of controversy out there surrounding the use of maltodextrin in infant formula.
Without getting too involved in the science behind the difference, we’ll just say that using lactose in children of this age is a much better way to ensure they get all of the carbohydrates they need.
Lactose is the primary carbohydrate in breastmilk, so it’s safest for your baby at this stage. It’s a naturally occurring sugar in all milk that helps to decrease unhealthy bacteria on the stomach and aid in the absorption of magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.
Pre is made with whole cow’s milk and does not come in a goat’s milk variety. It is Demeter, Biodynamic, and Organic certified with less vegetable oil than other stages.
Stage one is also formulated for infants 0-6 months of age, but the primary source of carbohydrates is maltodextrin. It’s a modified starch with a shorter glucose chain than that of the original starch.
All this means is that it’s actually less sweet than lactose. While many parents believe that modifying these sugars makes them unhealthy, the primary benefit of using maltodextrin rather than lactose is that it’s much easier to digest.
For infants whose digestive systems haven’t fully developed yet, maltodextrin can be a much easier way of getting them the nutrients they need, especially if they have an intolerance to lactose.
Another difference between lactose and maltodextrin is that maltodextrin releases its energy slower. Stage 1 uses corn-based organic maltodextrin that will make your baby feel fuller and rest longer.
Stage 1 is a good option for those who want to avoid excessive sweetness in their baby’s formula while still containing everything they need. It uses skim milk and organic whey powder to create a breastmilk substitute. It also has niacin, fish oil, zinc, potassium, manganese, biotin, and the following vitamins:
Stage 1 comes in both cow’s milk and goat’s milk varieties, whereas the Pre-stage does not. If you’re looking for a goat milk base for your infant, you’ll want to choose Stage 1.
A2 Stage 1
This is the newest Holle formula is similar to the Pre-stage because it doesn’t contain any added starch. It uses A1 milk with a histidine amino acid in the 67th position. A2 milk as a proline amino acid.
The primary difference is that the A1 amino acid creates BCM-7 peptide when it’s broken down. Our bodies don’t let BCM-7 into our digestive systems, which means that for babies who are more sensitive to lactose, this A2 milk may be a better option.
This Holle stage is for 6-10 months, although it can be used to 12 months of age rather than switching temporarily to Stage 3. It comes in both cow’s milk and goat’s milk varieties and it’s for children who are ready to start supplementing with solid food.
It tastes good enough to drink with meals, too, once your baby begins to wean from the bottle. It uses organic starch that makes it a versatile option for drinking as a follow-on or for use in baby cereals.
The primary difference between Stage 2 and Stage 1 is the number of ingredients used. At this age, babies need more of certain nutrients to help them grow, so Stage 2 adjusts these amounts to make it healthier for your baby. Stage 2 also includes maltodextrin as the primary carbohydrate.
A2 Stage 2
Much like the A2 Stage 1, this A2 Stage 2 contains the A2 protein structure to make it easier on your child’s stomach if they have trouble with the regular Stage 2. It still includes the increased ingredient amounts they need, but it’s designed for easier digestion.
Stage 3 targets a very specific age, from 10-12 months, when your baby is in desperate need of a nutritional boost. Children approaching a year old need higher amounts of vitamins and minerals. These added vitamins and minerals help your child to feel more full and satisfied while helping them to adjust to a bigger appetite. They also support your child’s physical and emotional health.
At this stage, your child is approaching some difficult growth milestones, like learning to walk and talk, so these added nutrients will help them achieve these easier because of the increased support for all of their body’s systems. This stage also comes in both cow’s milk and goat’s milk varieties.
Stage 4 is for children older than 12 months. It only comes in a cow’s milk variety, because at this stage, your child’s digestive system should have developed fully and they’re no longer in need of an alternative.
If you find that your child still needs additional alternatives, keep them on Stage 3 for another month or two and then try switching again.
Stage 4 is a follow-on formula meant for toddlers who can now eat solid foods and drink from a sippy cup. It contains extra nutrients to help with cognitive and developmental milestones. It can aid in developing speech as well as physical strength, because it contains key nutrients that help to support these systems and give them the energy they need to process these changes.
If you’re looking for the right formula for your baby, it can be tough to weed through all of the choices to find the right one. These alternatives will give you a better idea of how Holle stacks up against the competition.
Hipp formulas are also organic and follow EU standards, so it’s a better brand than anything you’ll find in the US. They offer high-quality formula options that include a whey/casein ratio that better mimics breast milk than any other formula on the market.
They also use vegetable oils as a source of fat, they contain prebiotics and probiotics, and they include essential DHA/ARA ingredients. HiPP is also free of GMO ingredients and doesn’t have any added soy, starch, or sugars.
The primary difference between HiPP and Holle is that HiPP very rarely uses maltodextrin, so if you’re looking to stay away from this added ingredient, HiPP is the best option for you. They still have plenty of stages and varieties to choose from so you can find the right one for your baby’s special dietary needs.
Kendamil is also made in the UK and they use whole milk instead of skimmed milk. It also eliminates soy and palm oils, which aren’t as good for your baby and other sources of fat. This is the best option for parents who want a whole milk formula that has DHA, ARA, and prebiotics.
Kendamil doesn’t add sugars, starch, preservatives, or GMO ingredients. However, it does contain L-carnitine, taurine, nucleotides, and HMOs. These are all meant to help aid in your baby’s development and none of these ingredients are extracted using chemical solvents.
Bobbie is the first European-style organic formula made in the US. It meets FDA requirements and it’s mom-founded and mom-led. They modeled their recipe after breastmilk and designed it to meet the strict EU standards for ingredients like iron and DHA.
They don’t use palm oil, maltodextrin, cane sugar, corn syrup, GMOs, or artificial colors or flavors. It’s USDA organic, and they source their milk from Organic Valley pasture-raised cows.
Holle Stages – Final Thoughts
Holle is one of the most trusted formula brands in the world, thanks to their strict rules and regulations. They manufacture quality infant formulas of all kinds, using cow’s milk and the more easily digestible goat’s milk.
They cater to the growing needs of your child as they age, and Holle provides five stages specifically designed to support your baby. The only downside to some parents is that they do use a small amount of maltodextrin in their formulas, but it is formulated to be healthy for your baby.
Holle is one of the best formula brands to try if you’re looking for a goat’s milk variety. They include all of the vitamins and minerals your baby needs, and it’s an excellent alternative, especially if you’re unable to breastfeed.