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Why America’s Infant Formula is NOT the Safest Option for Babies. Part 1.

By Suzanna Miller

Before deciding on what and how you will feed your baby, it’s very important for parents and caregivers to become well informed about breastfeeding, feeding expressed breast milk from a bottle and formula feeding. Each method may have advantages and drawbacks and depending on your circumstance. If breastfeeding isn’t possible or desired, or when breast milk isn’t available please consider this information when choosing what type of infant formula to feed your baby. I hope that families will find this the information useful if faced with the tough decision to use infant formula.

“What infant formula do you recommend?” I am frequently asked this question working in the field of infant development as a postpartum doula and wellness coach for Positive Postpartum and AlloTribe. I began researching the topic and was alarmed by what ingredients are allowed in America’s infant formula. Parents are buying infant formula from companies in the United Kingdom and Germany because of their stricter and safer laws pertaining to ingredients. I have also found that some parents are making their own healthier versions of infant formula with a few basic ingredients. This article will discuss what I recommend, keeping the safety and health of all babies as my top priorities.

Organic infant formula made in America remains a safer and a far superior alternative to conventional formula because when you buy organic formula you know that the ingredients do not come from cows that were fed genetically modified (GMO) feed, given antibiotic shots, or injected with synthetic growth hormones. Organic formula’s sweeteners and oils cannot be GMO, treated with pesticides, or extracted with neurotoxic solvents. However, with further investigation, I have learned that there are still ingredients in America’s organic infant formula that parents need to be aware of; processed sugars, synthetic nutrients, synthetic preservatives, and ingredients babies don’t even need. Sadly, infant formula made in America is not the safest and healthiest option to give babies. Let’s save the reasons why for another day (part 2) because this article is about what I recommend.

When I am asked “What infant formula do you recommend” I always recommend breastmilk over formula and recommend getting breastmilk from a local milk bank. Human milk sharing is becoming more popular and social media is making it increasingly easy to connect donors and recipients. Two resources to check out are Human Milk 4 Human Babies; an informed milk sharing network and Eats on Feets; a community-based resource for breastmilk sharing.If breastmilk from a local milk bank isn’t available I recommend parents buy organic infant formula from Europe. Three of the best options are Holle from Germany, HiPP organic start or NANNYcare from the United Kingdom. Holle from Germany does not contain any of the unapproved synthetic preservatives and nutrients (Holle still does contain palm oil and maltodextrin). HiPP Organic Infant Milk from the United Kingdom contains important prebiotics and omegas but doesn’t contain any of the questionable additives of the brand names like Enfamil or Similac, and no brown rice syrup like the US Organic formulas. HiPP uses the finest organic ingredients in milk, which means no chemical pesticides and no GM ingredients. NANNYcare specializes in goat milk-based nutrition for babies and young children (also from the UK). NANNYcare provides a real alternative to mainstream infant formula brands which are all based on cow’s milk. In 2016, NANNYcare accepted the prestigious ‘Best Infant Nutrition Provider of the Year’ Award. You can conveiently purchase any of these infant formulas on Amazon.

And lastly, I recommend making your own organic infant formula. I recommend this option depending on the age of the infant and the circumstance of the situation. For recipes on how to make your own infant formula please read the following: Nourishing Joy: Homemade Infant Formula.

Except in rare circumstances, almost all health-care providers recommend breastfeeding because of its health benefits for both babies and mothers. Remember feeding your baby has greater significance than simply providing nourishment. Consistently responding to feeding cues develops baby’s sense of trust, security, and well-being. Cuddling your baby during feeding promotes emotional development and offers an opportunity for baby to express affection to you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me personally if you have any questions or concerns about infant formula or for help overcoming feeding challenges: suzannamiller@positivepostpartum.org. I work with a great network of midwives and lactation specialists ready to serve you!