Calling all moms; I need some input on infant feeding.


We all know that mother’s milk is best for babies.

But what if you are unable to nurse your newborn for one reason or another, what should you do? In Friday’s post, ‘Thinkin’ about drinkin,’  I had “store-bought” infant formula in 7th place in my list of ten beverages (ranked by health). It was considered to be slightly better than soft drinks, alcohol, and cow’s milk, but not by much.

No doubt you’ve heard about this TIME cover if you haven’t yet seen it. The article is more about ‘attachment parenting’ than nursing, but it does get your attention.

While researching for this post, I found lots of infant formula brands and decided to take a look at the big three: Similac, Enfamil and Gerber. And while all of them offered some non-dairy versions, I decided to choose what appeared to be the most popular for my analysis.

As for breastfeeding, it seems that most people, including me, were turned off by this recent TIME magazine cover. But as they say in business, any PR is good PR—and this cover is getting a lot of PR. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel quipped, “You think that TIME’s Mothers Day cover was bad? Wait ’til you see what they have planned for Fathers Day.”

This post was inspired by my friend Karen, a grandmother of two, including a newborn baby boy. She told me that she read the list of ingredients of the formula that her daughter was feeding her new baby and couldn’t believe her eyes. Now I know what she was talking about:

Infant Formula—Yum, Yum

Be sure to check the ingredient list.

Have you taken a look at the ingredients list lately? It doesn’t matter which brand you’re looking at, they’re all pretty scary. Unable to breast feed your newborn?

Then find an enlightened registered dietitian or MD to help you work out a truly healthy way for you to feed that precious child. Here’s what most babies are getting today—and the collective impact on their future health is unknowable data.

WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE (FROM COW’S MILK, ENZYMATICALLY HYDROLYZED, REDUCED IN MINERALS), VEGETABLE OILS (PALM OLEIN, SOY, COCONUT, AND HIGH-OLEIC SAFFLOWER OR HIGH-OLEIC SUNFLOWER), CORN MALTODEXTRIN, LACTOSE GALACTO-OLIGOSACCHARIDES*, AND LESS THAN 2% OF: POTASSIUM CITRATE, POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, CALCIUM CHLORIDE, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SODIUM CITRATE, MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE, FERROUS SULFATE, ZINC SULFATE, SODIUM CHLORIDE, COPPER SULFATE, POTASSIUM IODIDE, MANGANESE SULFATE, SODIUM SELENATE, M. ALPINA OIL**, C. COHNII OIL***, SODIUM ASCORBATE, INOSITOL, CHOLINE BITARTRATE, ALPHA-TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, NIACINAMIDE, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, RIBOFLAVIN, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, FOLIC ACID, PHYLLOQUINONE, BIOTIN, VITAMIN D3, VITAMIN B12, TAURINE, NUCLEOTIDES (CYTIDINE 5′-MONOPHOSPHATE, DISODIUM URIDINE 5′-MONOPHOSPHATE, ADENOSINE 5′-MONOPHOSPHATE, DISODIUM GUANOSINE 5′-MONOPHOSPHATE), ASCORBYL PALMITATE, MIXED TOCOPHEROLS, L-CARNITINE, SOY LECITHIN.

  • *A prebiotic fiber sourced from milk.
  • **A source of arachidonic acid (ARA).
  • ***A source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

My request for input. Whether soy based or dairy based, that list of ingredients is downright scary. So what should we be feeding our babies if we’re unable to breast-feed? Let me hear from you and I will dedicate a future blog to this important topic. I also welcome input from any medical doctors, registered dietitians or nutritionists. Please provide your feedback in a “comment” below or just send me an email.

If you are not a mom yourself, please forward this request to someone who is. Thank you.

This just in. Before posting this appeal for input, I ran across a posting from a fellow blogger, Jess Parsons, who resides in New Zealand. A vegan herself, she did a great job of responding to the TIME cover story on breast-feeding.

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to jmorrishicks@me.com

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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5 Responses to Calling all moms; I need some input on infant feeding.

  1. jmorrishicks says:

    This comment was e-mailed to me by Sabrina. She led off by saying, “A friend of mine forwarded your post to me and I figured I would respond.”

    The first that always catches my eye is regarding a mom not being able to nurse. There are actually very few reasons a mom truly can not nurse. There are however, many reasons, especially in our society, that moms choose not to nurse. There is a big difference between the two and for the latter, I wish breastfeeding was modeled more in our society as normal, natural and beautiful.

    For the moms that can not seem to nurse, first a look at their health is hugely important. A lot of issues related to a moms supply is due to diet. Juat as disease is diet related, so is low supply, oversupply and many other issues that cause a mom to stop nursing or it to appear as though she can not produce enough milk.

    To your specific question of well then, what to do? I would vote for getting back to our roots as humans. I am a supporter of milk sharing. As a professional I am not allowed to recomend this to a mom but I do let her know all her options as it is her right to choose how her baby will be fed. The ingredients in formulas, as you pointed out are just too dangerous in my opinion to be considered food and it is forever harmful to the integrity of the newborns gut. Milk sharing has been around since, well, forever! It ensures baby is getting human milk made specifically for babies and not other animal’s milk which is meant for their babies in addition to additives and thickeners.

    Thank you for being curious about such an important topic and asking people to consider their choices. Warmly, Sabrina

  2. jmorrishicks says:

    This post was submitted by my daughter Diana, a young mom who gave birth to her daughter Violet in September of 2009.

    Hi Dad,
    Sorry, we had a very busy weekend, so I didn’t even see this post. As you know, I was unable to breastfeed Violet. One of the first things that comes to mind when you realize you can’t provide for your baby in this way is guilt. So, just keep that in mind when corresponding/posting regarding this topic. Not that you were offensive in any way, just something to keep in mind.

    We used Similac Sensitive with Violet. While the ingredient list is extensive, it’s formulated for function – essential vitamins and minerals essential for growth, brain health and immunity and getting the formula to most resemble breast milk. Remember breast milk is milk. As you’ve seen, Violet is a very bright girl, who rarely gets sick and is a healthy petite size. I don’t regret feeding her this way.

    My recommendations: Even if you can’t breastfeed your baby long term, it is important to at least try during the first few days. Your baby will at least, in most cases, receive colostrum, or “liquid gold” as it’s also known. Colostrum is what is produced before a woman’s milk supply comes in. It’s packed with the mother’s anti-bodies and vital nutrients. Violet did get this from me. Also, I know you can actually buy breast milk. I know this is a very reasonable option for some. And lastly, don’t feel guilty if you can’t breastfeed. Some just don’t have the choice, whether it’s medical or because the baby is adopted. Until a healthier option is THOROUGHLY researched, I wouldn’t mess around with alternative options. Love, Diana

  3. jmorrishicks says:

    This comment was just received in an email this morning and I wanted to share it with everyone.

    Hi J. Morris Hicks, A friend of mine forwarded your post to me and I figured I would respond.

    The first that always catches my eye is regarding a mom not being able to nurse. There are actually very few reasons a mom truly can not nurse. There are however, many reasons, especially in our society, that moms choose not to nurse. There is a big difference between the two and for the latter, I wish breastfeeding was modeled more in our society as normal, natural and beautiful.

    For the moms that con not seem to nurse, first a look at their health is hugely important. A lot of issues related to a moms supply is due to diet. Juat as disease is diet related, so is low supply, oversupply and many other issues that cause a mom to stop nursing or it to appear as though she can not produce enough milk.

    To your specific question of well then, what to do? I would vote for getting back to our roots as humans. I am a supporter of milk sharing. As a professional I am not allowed to recomend this to a mom but I do let her know all her options as it is her right to choose how her baby will be fed. The ingredients in formulas, as you pointed out are just too dangerous in my opinion to be considered food and it is forever harmful to the integrity of the newborns gut. Milk sharing has been around since, well, forever! It ensures baby is getting human milk made specifically for babies and not other animal’s milk which is meant for their babies in addition to additives and thickeners.

    Thank you for being curious about such an important topic and asking people to consider their choices.

    Warmly,
    Sabrina

  4. Jean Myers says:

    If the difficulty is too little milk there are lots of resources to help moms, including La Leche League, but if there is just no way to breastfeed, then there is the possibility of obtaining human milk through a milk bank but that requires a prescription from a doctor and can be very expensive. Another option is locating donor moms through the website http://milkshare.forumotion.com/

  5. Leo S. says:

    Dr. Lustig discusses ingredients of formula at 1:18 in his lecture Sugar: The Bitter Truth. The video shows the steps the body must go through to metabolize substances consumed as food and how it can affect one’s health.

    http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=16717

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