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/