Infant Formula

What to know about infant formula, what to consider, and how to choose what formula is best for your baby and your pocket book.

It’s not a secret that the ‘breast is best’ for infant feeding. Breastmilk provides the best food for baby and provides a time for bonding. That being said, there are many circumstances that parents choose or need to use formula. It can be overwhelming trying to decide which formula to use. I am not going to tell you what brands to buy, but hopefully I can help clear up questions and concerns about formula.

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Photo: babygooroo.com

Bisphenol A (BPA)

According to Consumer Reports, BPA was banned from infant formula containers in 2013. After contacting Enfamil and Similac, two major infant formula providers, they have claimed that their formula containers do NOT contain BPA. I asked them why they do not state this on their containers and they responded that it is a ‘business decision’. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not require companies to state that their product contains or does not contain BPA. In fact, the FDA has very few regulations on formula because it is considered a food which is considered ‘generally safe’.

If you are concerned about BPA, using powdered formula will minimize the amount of BPA in the container. One way to be sure your infant formula containers do not contain BPA is to look at the bottom of the container for these symbols:

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Products marked 1,2,4, or 5 do not contain BPA.

Cronobacter

Cronobacter is a bacteria that lives in many places-including infant formula containers. Consuming this bacteria can result in an illness called Cronobacter infection which is very rare but very serious. Cronobacter can cause sepsis (infection of the blood) or meningitis (infection of the lining around the brain or spine).

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Photo: cdc.gov

How to Avoid Cronobacter Infection (if breastfeeding is not an option):

  • Clean and sanitize bottles or other feeding supplies
  • Use liquid formula
  • Properly prepare infant formula

Allergies

Some infants have allergies to dairy which limits the types of formula they can consume. Two options for milk allergies are: hypoallergenic infant formula and amino-acid based formula. These are not the only options but they are probably the most frequently used options.

Hypoallergenic formula is created by heating the milk chains to make them easier to digest, but can still trigger allergies in some infants.

Amino acid-based formula is made with individual amino acids which are proteins in the simplest form and least allergenic.

For more information on allergies and infants/children go here.

So what is the best brand of formula?

The best brand of formula is the one you decide is best for your baby. Consider what is important to you-Do you want to give your baby organic formula? Are you looking for an economical brand? Do you want it to be free of chemicals? Do you want the ease of pre-made? Would you rather mix it yourself? Do you want to use cows milk or a substitute?

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Photo: barelysupermommy.com

Consider this blog post just the start of what to consider when choosing the right brand and type of formula for your baby. There is a lot to learn and more factors to consider for sure-but for the sake of keeping it short(ish) I will let you do the rest of the investigating!

Hint: Check your water supply to make sure it is safe for your baby.

Lastly, generic brands of formula typically have the same nutritional value as brand name formula. If you are trying to save a buck, do a quick search to find a generic brand that fits you and your infant’s needs.

Alternatives to Formula

 (for those who cannot breastfeed)

  • Breastmilk from a healthy wet-nurse- Click here for more info

  • Breastmilk from a milk bank- Click here for more info

  • Making your own formula- Click here for more info

 

Resources

http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/micro/PIF_Care_en.pdf

http://www.ewg.org/research/ewgs-guide-infant-formula-and-baby-bottles

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2013/07/bpa-ban-in-infant-formula-packaging/index.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/features/cronobacter/

https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/InfantFormula/default.htm

http://kellymom.com/nutrition/milk/infant-formula/

https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/childrens-health/the-scandal-of-infant-formula/

http://www.safbaby.com/formula-wait-try-this-first/

“Do Your Magic Thing”

Why Hire a Postpartum Doula?

You spend countless hours mentally and physically preparing for labor and birth. You have a vision of the birth of your baby and the care system that surrounds you during that time. But what happens when you go home from the hospital or birth center, or your midwife leaves? This is a huge life transition that can be filled with excitement and discovery but also fear and worry. So who do you call when you’re worried, hungry, exhausted, the house is in shambles, and the babe won’t let you put her down?

Da-da-da-DA! Your oh-so-handy postpartum doula! Postpartum doulas come in to your home- day or night (even the middle of the night!)- to be your support person in whatever ways you and your family need it.

Parent Care

One of the most common remarks I hear from parents is how needed ‘parent care’ is after the birth of a baby. Parents need to be nurtured just as much as newborn babies. Healthy, rested, well-fed parents can focus more energy enjoying time with the new addition to their family.

Postpartum doulas are trained to support parents by:

  • Preparing nutritious meals and snacks for the whole family
  • Caring for the baby or other children while the parents catch a nap or a shower
  • Taking care of light-housekeeping duties in the home (dishes, laundry, etc.)
  • Being a judgement-free listening ear
  • Offering resources as neededpexels-photo-113758

One postpartum client I work with leaves me a note of what to work on while she sleeps, and she never fails to write ‘Do your magic thing’. To me I am just cleaning and organizing- but to her I am conducting magic. She wakes up to a clean house, dishes done, laundry done, and food prepared. A few hours of postpartum care allows her to focus on caring for her baby and herself!

Newborn Care

The questions that can arise regarding newborn care are endless and exhausting. It may feel like everywhere you look there is a different method or suggestion and you aren’t sure which to follow.baby-cloth-clothing-color-41165

Are we breastfeeding right?
How often should I bathe him?
Is her umbilical cord healing well?
Is she eating enough?
Should his poop be yellow?
How long should I let her sleep?
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Postpartum doulas are trained to care for newborns and can help parents answer questions as they arise. They offer options and evidence-based care to help create a newborn plan that is unique to their family!

 

Sibling Care

Adjusting to life with a newborn baby takes almost all the time and attention of parents. Other children in the family may need extra help with this adjustment. Postpartum
doulas care for siblings by giving them individualized attention and care such as:

  • Talking with them about their new baby brother/sister
  • Giving them one-on-one attention (playing a game, playing outside, etc.)
  • Offering fun ways for them to help out around the house or with the baby

Having a postpartum doula care for other children in the family can alleviate stress on the whole family!

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It’s okay to ask for help.

Evidence shows that parents that have a strong support system built around them during the postpartum period are less likely to be affected by postpartum depression. We are
social animals and we are not meant o be alone during difficult times. Ask a neighbor, friend, or loved one for help. Hire a postpartum doula.

 

For more information on Lunula’s postpartum doula services and more, visit my websiteheadshot or email me at lunuladuluth@gmail.com.

Visit the Lake Superior Birth Collective’s website for a list of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum resources and events in the community.

If you are experiencing postpartum depression, seek help immediately. For more information on postpartum depression and other maternal illnesses visit Postpartum Progress, Postpartum Support, or Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota.