Formula Feeding Myths That Need to GoMar 22, 2023
If you have been following along, you know that I am a fan of baby formula...
Actually, I am a fan of supporting you in ANY way you want to feed your baby.
Unfortunately, I know there is a lot of stigma against using baby formula, which is why moms feel a lot of guilt when their breastfeeding journeys don't go as planned.
I want to debunk some formula myths that are not serving anyone.
Myth #1: Formula is poison.
You would not believe the number of people who comment or message me on Instagram telling me that formula is poison.
You would think we would know better by now, but apparently, this myth is still out there.
Let’s talk about why baby formula is, in fact, NOT poison.
First, all baby formulas available in the United States have undergone rigorous testing to promote growth and development in babies.
Baby formula has scientifically proven recipes made up of protein, fat, carbs, and 29 regulated vitamins and minerals to mimic the composition of breast milk.
Think about it. Do you know which of your friends were formula fed as a baby? Which were breastfed? No? Neither do I!
Do you know why you can’t tell? Because everyone got the nutrients they needed to grow into functioning toddlers, kids, and eventually adults.
Babies who are exclusively fed formula grow and thrive, just like babies who get mostly breastmilk.
Myth #2: Formula contains lots of sugars and fillers.
Did you know the majority of formulas available have lactose as the main carb source JUST like breastmilk?
Both breast milk and cow milk are slightly sweet and it is because of the lactose. Nearly every standard cow milk formula will have lactose as the carb source, too.
What about the other carb sources like maltodextrin, glucose syrup solids, corn syrup or sugar?
Because some babies are not able to tolerate lactose, they will need a formula that still has a carb source that is fast acting and easily broken down.
That’s where the alternate carb syrups come in.
MOST babies will tolerate a standard cow milk formula just fine, meaning they can have lactose as the main carb source. Alternative fast-acting carbohydrates are more likely to be found in formulas labeled sensitive or hypoallergenic for babies with very sensitive tummies.
Myth #3: Moms who use formula didn’t try hard enough.
We hear it all the time: most moms are able to breastfeed.
Here’s where I am going to punch a hole in this theory: it is estimated that between 10-15% of moms are not able to meet their baby’s intake demands.
Most of these moms want to breastfeed, but may not be able to.
Not only that, but these moms often try everything to have what is thought of as a "successful" feeding journey.
While a majority of moms can breastfeed, there are a wide variety of reasons they may not be able to or simply choose not to breastfeed.
Truly, moms should be able to determine the best way to feed their babies without judgment or pressure.
Myth #4: Your baby will not be as smart as their peers who are breastfed.
There are so many factors that come into play when it comes to intelligence. Breastfed babies are more likely born into families with a higher socioeconomic status. That status can lead to greater opportunities.
The PROBIT study showed a few points difference in IQ. Further studies have proven that there is really no difference in intellect between someone who was fed formula vs. breast milk.
Once again, ask yourself: do you know your IQ? Or your friend’s? Or your doctor’s?
You likely don’t and yet, here we all are, thriving as adults.
Myth #5: Formula fed babies don’t bond with their moms.
To me, saying that breastfeeding is the only way to bond with your baby is absolutely ridiculous. Breastmilk does NOT equal a special bond.
There are also a hundred ways to bond with a baby that does not involve breastfeeding.
You can bond with your baby by looking your baby in the eyes, cuddling, singing, talking, doing skin-to-skin, or baby-wearing. There are SO many different things.
A loving mom will create a bond with their child no matter how they choose to feed.
Myth #6: Women have exclusively breastfed their children for centuries.
Let’s think this one through.
Throughout time, we know there have been a variety of reasons why people have had to feed infants something other than breast milk.
Maternal death, poor latch, prematurity, cleft palate, other health or disability reasons, or a baby being cared for by someone other than the mom, such as an adoptive parent, are all situations that have happened throughout time.
Wet nurses were very common for wealthy parents for ages.
Women also used to feed their babies all sorts of animal milk.
So no, breastmilk wasn't the only way babies were getting nutrients.
Myth #7: It is not safe to combine breast milk with formula.
It is absolutely safe to combo feed! In fact, you can give your baby both breast milk and formula while still maintaining your milk supply.
Mixed feedings do not change the composition of either the breastmilk or formula.
It is a perfectly safe and valid option for your baby throughout its feeding journey.
Just remember: always mix the formula first before adding any breast milk.
Also, remember that mixed breastmilk and formula should be at the same temperature to prevent bacteria growth.
If you have more questions on combination feeding, I have PDF guides to provide support throughout your baby's first year. My Combo Feeding Guides help you worry less about feeding your baby & helps you achieve your feeding goals.
I hope this has been helpful to debunk some of the rumors you hear about formula.
Remember: baby formula is a safe and valid way to feed your baby.
Your baby is going to thrive because they have a parent who loves them.
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