Friday, November 15, 2013

Formula Freakout - Did you pick the right formula?

I don't judge.

You made your own decision based on their own knowledge or were forced to make through adoption or your own health. If you are still pregnant or struggling with breastfeeding, please read everything and don't be shy to ask for help.

You want the best nutrition for your baby because what you feed your baby will affect them and their longterm IQ. What happens if you eat cake for dinner versus a well balanced meal? Babies get their first exposure to taste and nutrition while in the womb. They eat what their mom eats. Their nutritional habits continue to form by your food choices now that the baby is born. Think how you want your child to eat when they are three years old and what steps do you have to make in order to make that happen?

It is overwhelming to stand in the infant formula aisle. How do you know which infant formula to buy? What is the difference between ingredients? Why are there such price differences? Is generic really the same as non-generic? Can you just grab what your friend uses? Don't forget all that marketing about strange things like DHA and Iron all over the packaging. The best place to start is the ingredient label.

Pick formula like you pick food for your family: you start at the ingredients list.

I met an outraged grandma who had noticed that her grandchild's formula had the first ingredient of corn syrup. One minute of research on the internet found that there were many other options with forms of milk as the first ingredient. Better yet, the other options are sweetened with lactose which is the type of sugar naturally occurring in milk. For those who don't know corn syrup is derived from genetically modified corn and has been medically linked to obesity and diabetes. What nutritional path do you want your child on? Drinking corn syrup or milk?
The grandbaby's formula: Parent's Choice - Gentle Milk-Based Canned Powder  Corn Syrup, Nonfat Milk, Palm Olein, Whey Protein Hydrolysate, Coconut Oil, Soy Oil, High Oleic (Safflower Or Sunflower) Oil, And Less Than 2%: Mortierella Alpina Oil*, Crypthecodinium Cohnii Oil**, L-Carnitine, Mixed Tocopherol Concentrate, Monoglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Taurine Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Chloride, Calcium Hydroxide, Cupric Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Magnesium Chloride, Manganese Sulfate, Potassium Bicarbonate, Potassium Hydroxide, Potassium Iodide, Potassium Bicarbonate, Potassium Hydroxide, Potassium Iodide, Potassium Phosphate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Selenite, Zinc Sulfate, Ascorbic Acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Beta-Carotene, Biotin, Calcium Pantothenate, Choline Chloride, Cyanocobalamin, Folic Acid, Inositol, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamin Hydrochloride, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol), Vitamin E (Dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate), Vitamin K (Phytonadione).
An alternative? (not natural or organic ingredients since the family is penny conscious) Gerber Good Start Gentle Formula - Powder Whey Protein Concentrate (from Cow's Milk, Enzymatically Hydrolyzed, Reduced in Minerals), Vegetable Oils (Palm Olein, Soy, Coconut, and High-Oleic Safflower or High-Oleic Sunflower), Corn Maltodextrin, Lactose, Galacto-Oligosaccharides*, and less than 2% of: Potassium Citrate, Potassium Phosphate, Calcium Chloride, Calcium Phosphate, Sodium Citrate, Magnesium Chloride, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenate, M. alpina Oil**, C. cohnii Oil***, Sodium Ascorbate, Inositol, Choline Bitartrate, Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Vitamin A Acetate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Phylloquinone, Biotin, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12, Taurine, Nucleotides (Cytidine 5'-Monophosphate, Disodium Uridine 5'-Monophosphate, Adenosine 5'-Monophosphate, Disodium Guanosine 5'-Monophosphate), Ascorbyl Palmitate, Mixed Tocopherols, L-Carnitine, Soy Lecithin.
Is Generic Okay?

Generic formula has to meet the same standards and guidelines as brand name formula. With generic you are not paying for the research, marketing, or free samples. With the brand name, you get a company name that some people feel they can trust. You are encouraging that company to continue their practices and research. It is a personal decision.

Is there a Benefit to Organic Formula?

Babies are expensive. Formula is expensive. Organic formula is even more expensive. Is it a good investment in their future health? Organic is a huge topic. Some parents (me included) want to limit environmental and food toxins where we can and limit exposure to non-organic practices such as added growth hormones (early puberty!?). When it comes to an infant, the less toxins going in the better. The Food Babe has all the information needed on picking a really great organic formula based on brand. How much is your kid's future health worth?

Soy Formula

Soy formula has been a god-send for babies that have trouble digesting milk proteins. If these were breastfed babies, they would most likely be able to digest breastmilk if their mother was on a conscious diet. I know a mom who breastfed her second baby just in case the baby had the same digestion problem that her first baby had because she regretted giving her first baby soy milk.

The idea behind soy formula is that some babies are able to digest this formula but not a milk based formula (standard formula comes from cows and its protein is in a different shape than human milk protein). Duh, cow milk is for baby cows. Soy formula has only been used since the 1970's and I know of a lot of soy formula mothers having issues linked back to their soy exposure but I am not going to go off on that tangent.

Dr. Sears (who is a great resource for those of you who have not found him) has some great thinking points about soy formula.

Making Formula

Yes, I am a bit holistic. So much so that I know about the recipes for homemade formula. The idea here is that [naturally sterile-clean] raw cow's milk, goat's milk or liver is easier to break down than commercially bought formula for many babies because it contains enzymes that in the stomach will aide in the digestion of the protein. Many adults who cannot digest standard grocery store milk can digest raw milk. There are endless benefits to raw milk (perhaps another blog post). There is a special recipe to mix your own formula with the raw milk. Here is the recipe and a video of how to make it.


Full disclosure: I was asked by a reader about how to pick formula so this is what I have put together. The topic is big and I kept it brief with only the most important topics. I am a 100% breastfeeding mom. I have never bought or used formula.  BUT I am a certified Health Coach and know how to conduct research and I know what ingredients are healthier than others.