The Truth About Formula
Medical and scientific communities both agree that breast milk is best for babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics even recognizes breast milk as the gold standard in infant nutrition. I am a mom of 3 boys and was very blessed to have the opportunity to breastfeed each one of them. However, not all moms out there are able to experience this. Some babies are not able to latch on correctly, some moms do not produce enough milk, others must work during the day, and some can’t breastfeed due to medications they are taking.
Infant formula is a safe alternative for those women who are unable to breastfeed and they should not feel guilty about doing so. “Many women are unable to breastfeed for the duration of the first twelve months, especially if they are on medication, have multiple births, or must return to work during these difficult economic times,” said Dr. Barbara Levine, Weill Cornell Medical College. “These moms often experience feelings of guilt if they choose not breastfeed, so they purchase expensive formula. But very few really know the truth about infant formula.”
“Buying a heavily marketed, expensive, brand-name infant formula from a big pharmaceutical company does not get your baby any closer to human breast milk than a store brand formula,” added Dr. Levine. “Mothers can choose to supplement their breast milk with any formula because all formulas are regulated by FDA and nutritionally equivalent.”
The store-brand message is set to become even more important for many mothers because of changes in the Women, Infants and Children program. As of October 1, 2009, a new WIC initiative aimed at increasing breastfeeding rates among families reallocates funding for all currently provided foods, including infant formula, baby foods, juices, and fresh fruits and vegetables. This program could mean a reduction of up to 20 percent in infant-formula subsidies; parents who previously had most of their formula paid for by WIC may now have to purchase formula on their own.