If you were asked to define the term “best baby formula“, what would you say? In my book, it would be a fresh, pure, and completely non-toxic formulation that mimics human breastmilk from a healthy mother eating a nutrient-rich, whole foods based diet as closely as possible.
With that in mind, I’d like to take a few words to review Bobbie baby formula. Available in Europe for some time but new to the United States, this beyond organic product claims to be a good alternative or supplement for those women who are unable to nurse.
The slogan for Bobbie is “every ingredient matters”.
Sounds good so far…
The company goes further by saying that “[Bobbie] Beyond organic Companion Formula made with grass-fed dairy, and without the nonsense of syrups, soy, and starch.”
Ok, still on the hook…
Claiming that this product is “the formula US parents have been waiting for”, the company claims that Bobbie is “a proven European recipe made with even better ingredients and world class standards”.
I love it! Sign me up!
Let’s dig in and see if any of this is actually true, shall we?
What is a Companion Formula
If you are wondering what a companion formula is, like I was, it is just a fancy way of saying “supplement”.
I assume Bobbie is using this term since the more accurate description “commercial baby formula” has negative connotations. This is the case particularly for parents who might have preferred exclusive breastfeeding but were unable to accomplish this goal for whatever reason.
Parents might choose companion formula to fill in the gap for an inadequate supply of breastmilk or donor milk. It might also complement solid food intake for older babies.
Because regular bottle feeding in any amount is typically the first step to weaning, the reality is that most parents would use it as a primary or even exclusive nutrient source for baby.
The quality of the ingredients is the bottom line for any baby formula, so let’s take a look at the good and the bad in Bobbie.
The ingredients on the Bobbie website are listed as follows under “The Science”. It seemed to me that the black and white, extremely authoritative use of this term seemed synonymous with the phrase “the hand of God”.
Organic Skim Milk, Organic Whey Powder (Partly Demineralized), Organic RSPO Palm Oil, Organic Rapeseed Oil, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Lactose, Organic Skim Milk Powder, Whey Protein, Oil from Mortierella Alpina, Fish Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, L-Tyrosine, Vitamin C, L-Tryptophan, Bifidobacteria Cultures, Ferrous Lactate, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Copper Sulfate, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, Manganese Sulfate, Potassium Iodate, Folic Acid, Vitamin K, Sodium Selenate, Vitamin D, Biotin
The fact that Bobbie formula is not a powdered, mix-up type of product is good. It is delivered in liquid form by subscription to customers that order it for use immediately.
It is also excellent that Bobbie uses lactose as the sweetener, which is also the primary sugar in human breastmilk. Lactose needs to be added as there is significantly more lactose in breastmilk than in cow, goat or even sheep milk.
Other brands of organic formula (all powdered) on the market use brown rice syrup, which is a terrible alternative.
Another good ingredient is bifidobacteria cultures. Adding probiotics to a pasteurized formula is very important. Human breastmilk is RAW and very much alive with probiotics and enzymes.
The (Very) Bad
Unfortunately, Bobbie formula falls flat on its face right out of the gate with the very first ingredient: organic skim milk.
Any woman who has ever breastfed knows that human breastmilk is NOT SKIM.
Not. Even. Close.
In fact, if you express a bottle of breastmilk and put it in the refrigerator, a large beige creamline forms on top. The better a woman’s diet, the thicker the cream on the top, in fact.
Why is this?
Because a baby’s brain grows most rapidly in the first year of life …. and the brain is nearly 60% FAT.
And … stay with me here… the majority of the fat in the brain is SATURATED. (1)
Knowing this fact, how can using skim milk as the base for Bobbie be anything but a politically (in)correct ingredient choice?
Lowfat is not a good choice for babies whose brains are growing at breakneck speed in the first 12 months of life!
Another big problem with this formula is the use of organic rapeseed oil. The other name for this is canola oil, a rapeseed hybrid.
The primary fat in rapeseed oil is monounsaturated, which is necessary to add to the formula, so I get why it’s in there. The question is, why would Bobbie use rapeseed (combined with palm oil … also high in omega-9 fats) instead of extra virgin olive oil? It seems to be purely motivated by profit potential to me. Palm and rapeseed oils are cheap, organic extra virgin olive oil is not.
Maybe the investors insisted on using these cheaper ingredients? I don’t know, but it sure makes the “every ingredient matters” motto ring hollow.
Other Problems with Bobbie
For me, the use of skim milk, skim milk powder and canola are dealbreakers. I wouldn’t even consider the use of this formula for my baby unless it was made with organic, nonhomogenized whole milk.
Just to put the final nail in the coffin, though, let’s look at other issues with this product.
It seems fishy to me that the ingredients don’t list the exact source of the fortifying vitamins. The lack of transparency in this area is ominous.
Maybe the information is listed somewhere on the website, but at the time of this review, I could not find it anywhere.
For example, what is the source of the Vitamin C? Is it synthetic ascorbic acid, or a whole food source like acerola powder?
Is the Vitamin A from beta carotene (which DOES NOT convert to true Vitamin A in babies)? Or, is it the dangerous, synthetic form such as Vitamin A palmitate?
Is the Vitamin D from a natural source or synthetic? In other words, is it Vitamin D2 or Vitamin D3?
Which Vitamin K are they using? Is it Vitamin K1 or Vitamin K2? There is a huge difference between the two!
The addition of folic acid is definitely synthetic and very dangerous for babies with the MTHFR gene mutation. I’m shocked Bobbie isn’t using natural folate in its formula. According to estimates, up to 40% of people have MTHFR genetic variants depending on ethnicity. For example, between 10%-15% of the Caucasian population and more than 25% of the Latino population have variants in both copies of the MTHFR gene. (2, 3)
What are the creators of Bobbie thinking using folic acid? Pure negligence here and definitely not in line with “The Science” (aka, “the Hand of God).
There are quite simply far too many issues with Bobbie formula to risk feeding it to a baby, in my opinion.
This is especially true for infants that are exclusively bottle-fed with no other source of nutrients.
The best alternative to breastmilk and quality, unprocessed donor milk is still the homemade formula devised by nutritionist Dr. Mary Enig over 20 years ago. This recipe uses fresh whole cow, goat or even sheep milk.
Don’t have have a source for clean, grass-fed raw milk in your area? No worries. Simply substitute 24-hour yogurt or whole milk kefir for the milk portion of the recipe.
FDA Advises Against Bobbie Formula
About 10 days after this review was originally published, the FDA came out with a statement advising consumers NOT to buy the milk-based powder companion formula from Bobbie Baby Inc. You can read the text of the entire statement here.
Nikki J Placencia
Is there a formula that you would recommend if your husband was not on board with feeding baby homemade formula? I have a 5 month old who has now fallen to 5th percentile. Her percentile has been slowly following since being born at 23 rd percentile. Pediatrician doesnt think I should supplement unless baby gets to 2nd percentile, but I am tired of worrying everyday since birth about weight.
Sarah, can you make a formula without using animal milk? My first two children are highly allergic to casein protein from cow, goat, & sheep milk. I’m expecting and plan to exclusively breastfeed but have a history of low milk supply. Any alternative to animal sources?
Sarah Pope MGA
You really cannot make formula with a plant based milk because no plant foods have any cholesterol and cholesterol is necessary for building baby’s rapidly growing brain. Hence, breastmilk has a lot of cholesterol!
I am working in Nigeria with foster babies, malnourished and abandoned. I have used the WAP formula here with the ingredients I’ve been able to ship in and with what I could find here. It hasn’t always been perfect but each baby has thrived and survived! I am a doula and believe breastmilk always Is best but I see how formula saves lives here. I breastfed my first 4 kids and made the WAP formula for our adopted son. I am always checking the different brands of commercial formulas For our foster babies but am never satisfied. If I am desperate and have to use one, I am always supplementing it with oils and vitamins… if you live in a western country make the WAP formula for your baby! You won’t mess it up too badly if you are trying and it will be better for your baby’s brain and health!
Hey Sarah! I’m a big fan of yours–thanks for all the amazing research you do and invaluable info you provide! The reason Bobbie is calling their formula “companion” is because it’s not FDA-approved for infants (since it’s made in Europe). So they cannot sell it as an infant formula–this is the same reason you’ll see a lot of brands calling their product “toddler formula.” There is a new line out of Europe using whole milk; it’s called Loulouka, and I reviewed it here: I do think Bobbie is a good option for moms who just aren’t going to make their own formula–it certainly stacks up well against any other American brand.
Sarah Pope MGA
Did you read my review? There are SO MANY problems with this stuff. It is not a good option in any way, shape or form for a baby.
99% of formulas start with skim milk. If whole milk is better why don’t all formulas use it? I wanted to get Bobbie because they have zero soy And no syrup and I can’t find a commercial without both. I’d like to make my own formula but I worry about getting it wrong… what’s the danger and where can I make the biggest mistake ? Appreciate the advice before deciding.
Sarah Pope MGA
As mentioned in the article, it’s politically correct nutrition to use nonfat milk powder in baby formulas. Breastmilk is NOT skim (and ANYONE can verify this easily at home) so these manufacturers are going against reality here … and harming babies’ IQ and overall brain development as a result. Could this be one of the reasons why breastfed babies have a higher IQ than formula fed babies as well as lower incidence of mental health issues overall?
Make your own formula with plain whole milk yogurt or kefir if you don’t have a clean source of raw milk in your area that you trust. https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/video-homemade-milk-based-baby-formula/
Good article! I just wanted to endorse the WAP formula. It was so daunting to me the first time I ever made it. My 11th baby had severe lip and tongue ties that modern dental laser and chiropractic and other therapies didn’t help. So at 3 months we started the formula. He grew so fast and thick and healthy! He is now 3 and 34lbs. We ended up using it for my granddaughter with the same results(she weighs 27lbs at 1 year) She’s such a beautiful bright child! Thank you for keeping this in the public eye.
Hi Sarah, how can I find the baby formula developed by Dr. Mary Enig?
Sarah Pope MGA
There’s a link to the recipe plus video in the article above. Here it is again. https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/video-homemade-milk-based-baby-formula/
Hi. I made homemade formula for my 2 year old
And now I’ve been making it for my 3 month old
But I wanted to know what exactly you mean by 24 hr yogurt in place of raw milk. Does that mean let
The yogurt sit out for 24hrs and use the entire amount? Just
Curious in case I’m ever in a bind and do not have access to raw milk.
Sarah Pope MGA
24 hour yogurt is simply yogurt that is fermented for a full 24 hours once the starter culture is added. There is maybe one brand at the healthfood store that is 24 hour fermented … the others are only fermented for a few hours … 12-16 at the most last I checked. You can take low temp pasteurized nonhomogenized whole organic milk from the store and 24 hour ferment it yourself into yogurt. (Natural by Nature is a good brand).