Do You Actually Know What’s in Your Baby Formula?

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By Insider Envy Staff

Powder milk for baby and blue spoon on light background close-up. Milk powder for baby in measuring spoon on can. Powdered milk with spoon for baby. Baby Milk Formula and Baby Bottles. Baby milk formula on kitchen background

For new parents, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of infant formulas on the market. Rest assured: all infant formulas that meet the FDA’s strict requirements are safe and nutritionally adequate. But for parents who are looking for a close to breastmilk option, ByHeart is the newest player on the scene, and they’re rewriting the infant formula recipe from scratch. 

ByHeart is the only easy-to-digest infant formula without palm oil, corn syrup, soy or maltodextrin, and it’s made from organic, grass-fed whole milk. Parents can feel extra secure knowing that ByHeart is the first Clean Label Project-certified infant formula brand in the U.S. ByHeart has even conducted the largest clinical trial for a new infant formula brand in over 25 years! 

In order to understand just what we think sets ByHeart apart, we’ve broken down some of the main components in breast milk, alongside their corresponding substitutes in baby formula. Keep reading to find out what’s really in your infant formula.

Breast Milk Components

1. Protein


Protein in breast milk does a lot more than help your baby grow. It also helps to protect infants from bacteria and viruses, supports a healthy digestive system, and supports the growth of good bacteria. The primary proteins in breast milk are whey and casein milk proteins, which make up about 60% and 40% of proteins, respectively. Colostrum, the early form of breast milk that’s often referred to as “liquid gold,” is made up of an 80:20 whey to casein ratio.

Common Formula Substitutes:

Infant formulas are divided into a few categories based on their source of protein: cow’s milk, “gentle” milk-based formulas, which contain reduced lactose, soy-based, and hypoallergenic formulas, which are either made of hydrolyzed protein or amino-acid based protein. Regardless of the source, the proteins included in baby formula are the same as those in breast milk: whey and casein. Soy-based infant formula often comes from genetically modified ingredients, so parents looking to avoid GMOs will likely want to opt for cow’s milk formulas. ByHeart uses a patented, whole milk-based protein blend with whey and casein. Like colostrum, ByHeart uses an 80:20 ratio of whey to casein. It’s one of many ways that ByHeart works to make their formula as close to breast milk as possible.

2. Fats


After carbohydrates, fats are the second most abundant ingredient in human breast milk, and the main source of calories for babies. Fat helps your baby develop their brain and nervous systems, alongside good vision. Fats also allow for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K. 

Common Formula Substitutes:

All US infant formulas use plant-based fats, usually vegetable oils. Common substitutes include safflower, soy, coconut, palm, or palm kernel. Often formulas include a blend of these vegetable oils to mimic the fatty acids present in breast milk. For new parents concerned about the environmental impact of their infant formula, it’s worth noting that ByHeart does not contain palm oil, the production of which has environmentally destructive impacts. Instead, they use a blend of organic high oleic sunflower, organic rapeseed, and organic coconut oil, because this blend helps them get closer to breast milk’s fatty acid composition.

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3. Carbohydrates


Carbohydrates such as lactose are naturally present in breast milk. Lactose supports a healthy gut by decreasing harmful bacteria and increasing good bacteria. By doing so, it also aids in the absorption of minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. These minerals help your baby grow strong, healthy bones!

Common Formula Substitutes:

Like breast milk, the main carbohydrate in cow’s milk-based formulas is lactose. This is another way in which ByHeart’s formula, which is the only US formula made with organic, grass-fed whole milk, is the closest available formula to human breast milk! For babies that are sensitive to lactose, there are a number of lactose-reduced and lactose-free formulas on the market. It’s worth noting, however, that while 55% of infant formulas are lactose-reduced, some studies suggest that only around 7.5% babies are actually lactose-intolerant. Lactose-reduced infant formulas often supplement other sugars like sucrose, which some parents may want to avoid. 

4. Vitamins & Minerals


The vitamins passed through breast milk include Vitamins A, D, E, K, C, B6, and B12, as well as folate. These vitamins, alongside minerals like iron,  zinc, calcium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, and selenium, support your healthy baby’s growing bones, skin, and eyes. The vitamins and minerals present in breast milk are also key to helping your baby develop and grow. Some breastfeeding mothers may choose to consult with their doctor to make sure they have the proper levels of vitamins for their baby, and can supplement as needed.

Common Formula Substitutes:

The FDA mandates the inclusion of 29 vitamins and minerals in infant formula. They also set minimums (and, in some cases, maximums) for the inclusion of additional vitamins and minerals in infant formula. This is good news: it means all infant formula is nutritionally adequate. But ByHeart goes above and beyond with its small-batch blend, which takes half the steps to process ingredients. 

5. Bioactive Components


Human breast milk contains over 200 kinds of oligosaccharides, also known as prebiotics. It also contains an array of probiotics. These ingredients are vital to the development of a healthy immune system, as well as forming the basis of a healthy digestive system. 

Common Formula Substitutes:

Added probiotics and prebiotics in formula can help to support good immune and digestive health in your baby. These ingredients try to mimic the pre- and probiotics naturally found in breast milk. Research into the efficacy of added prebiotics and probiotics is ongoing, and has not been proven conclusively.


The infant formula market is vast, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by what seems like an endless amount of options. But the truth is, only four companies produce every infant formula on the market— until now. ByHeart is the infant formula using only the right ingredients.

No matter what formula you choose to feed your baby with, you can rest assured that all FDA-registered infant formulas are safe and nutritionally adequate for your baby’s growth and development. For parents who don’t want to compromise on trading one beneficial ingredient for another, ByHeart is the Clean Label Project-certified, easy-to-digest infant formula made of organic, grass-fed whole milk. There’s no question that breast milk gets the gold medal when it comes to feeding your little one. But in our opinion ByHeart takes the silver.

Interested to Learn More About ByHeart?

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