Over the last 15 years, Infant Formula has become a popular way of nourishing a new baby – Similac has made it rather easy for people to sign up for FREE formula samples…
Hospitals are generous and give you a free bag, free formula and high value coupons when you discover you are pregnant. Not to mention, formula companies are always sending you free formula checks by mail – months before you have your little one.
In most cases you don’t even have to sign up for these, they come automatically once the hospital releases your name to let these companies know that you are expecting.
I just got formula in the mail this week for my baby (due any time) and I honestly haven’t signed up for anything – this formula in my mail tells me that the doctor sold my information to Similac, who in turn, assumed I’d want free cans. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Understandably, not everyone can breastfeed – there are (in some cases) extreme cases that are usually medical in nature that prevent a mother from breastfeeding.
But we can’t confuse inconvenience or challenging with inability – your diet plays a large role in milk production as a new mother, and when new mammas ultimately say that they were unable to produce milk, diet is always one of the biggest faults.
If you Can’t Breastfeed
If you can’t breastfeed for extreme medical reasons, be very careful in choosing infant formula- most of the formula in store is not close to being the best choice for your new baby. Even organic formulas are less than superior – take for example the Honest Company, they were recently identified as falsely labeling ingredients organic.
Baby Formula is a HUGE industry – and in most cases, they don’t want you to do your own research to determine what is best.
While the best baby food is breast milk from a breastfeeding amma, there are some situations where a substitute is needed – ie. mothers with serious health conditions, adopted or orphaned babies, and babies whose mothers may not be able to produce sufficient supply of milk (which is rare but… in some cases happens).
The formula business equates to HIGH profits in the United States – it’s also just as big in other countries (here’s a great read by Weston Price about that very subject).
Don’t confuse inconvenient or challenging with inability though 😉 Breastfeeding requires you to have a great diet in order to adequately have enough supply – and if you are not able to breastfeed due to inadequate supply .. it’s important to look at what you are eating. Fast Food and processed food is a far cry from an adequate diet – many women are deficient in proper nutrition – it’s not a wonder why so many struggle with milk supply.
What’s Really in your Formula
Commercial Infant Formulas are far from nutritionally beneficial for newborns and even babies – they certainly are not an ideal substitute for breast milk. Here are some things you need to know about infant formula:
It’s loaded with sugar. Infant formula is FULL of calories – and while that might be somewhat beneficial for new babies, it’s actually worse than drinking a can of soda. Infant formula is high in fructose — and although breast milk has sugar, it’s natural sugar… fructose is a far cry from the sugar you find in a mother’s breast milk. (Src)
Take for example this Similac Formula sold HERE on Amazon. The first ingredient is Corn Syrup.
It’s FULL of GMO Ingredients. Formula is primarily made of sugar (normally corn syrup), dried skim milk and refined vegetable oils. Unless it is organic formula (and even in that case… it can still contain harmful ingredients). Carrageenan is the leading cause of digestive disorders in newborns (not lactose intolerance) (Src)
Synthetic Vitamins.. which are not even remotely comparable to the real vitamins that are in breast milk. (Src)
It contains a number of unhealthy additives… to include synthetic folic acid, carrageenan, iron, synthetic omega 3 and 6, and more. (Src)
Soy based formulas can contain high amounts of manganese and phytoestrogens. These estrogens are 13,000 to 20,000 times higher in the blood of newborn soy formula fed babies than natural estrogen concentrations. Scary .. considering many doctors recommend plant-based formulas with Soy for babies who are intolerant to dairy. (Src)
In fact, Soy is dangerous for many people to consume, not just infants. Even organic soy is unsafe. You can read more HERE.
One of the best things about breast milk is that it contains exactly the right nutrients, in the exact amounts, that a new baby needs. That is something that commercial formula cannot replicate.
Not only does the colostrum (the thick, yellow breast milk that is made just before the baby is born) contain nutrients and antibodies, breast milk itself is full of antibodies and enzymes that help your infant develop his/her good gut bacteria, which will in turn prevent against sickness and infections.
Alternatives to Commercial Formula
If you are in a circumstance where you are unable to breastfeed, and you must use formula, one of the best ways to feed your baby is with homemade formula.
Your doctor may laugh… but you also have to keep in mind that in most cases, these doctors don’t realize the harm in using commercial baby formula and assume it’s a great option when in fact it’s not.
Sally Fallon, author of the book Nourishing Traditions, contains homemade infant formula recipes using several methods. One is raw milk based and one is liver based – in addition to several others. You can see her recipes HERE.