Lisa Thornton, M.D., FAAPMR

Board Certified Pediatrician and Mom

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As a practicing pediatrician, I want to speak with you today about infant nutrition, a topic that is very much on the minds of parents we see in our practices.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and other experts agree on the benefits of breastfeeding. AAP and the pediatric medical community also agree that infant formula is a safe, science-supported, nutritious means to nourish babies.

Even though "breast is best" there are many moms who can’t or choose not to breast feed. Others use it as supplemental nutrition to their breast milk. But infant formula is expensive and its high cost can contribute to breaches of ideal infant feeding. Many of us see this in our practices.

Some parents decide to stop formula feeding before their babies reach the age of 12 months. Others start feeding their babies solid foods earlier than recommended which can contribute to obesity. Some parents try to "stretch" their formula by diluting it with extra water.

According to a study published in Clinical Pediatrics, two-thirds of families on WIC run out of WIC-supplied baby formula toward the end of most months. Among these families, 27 percent reported "formula-stretching" or reducing feedings, which can have serious health and developmental consequences for babies.

The study also found that only 24 percent of caregivers would consider buying a Store Brand Infant Formula, which is a high quality, economically viable option. This is because 50 percent of the parents mistakenly believed Store Brand Infant Formulas and name-brand formulas are not nutritionally comparable.

The truth is, however, that store brands such as Walmart's Parents Choice, Target's up & up, Kroger's Comforts, Sam’s Club’s Simply Right, CVS, and Whole Foods formulas, are nutritionally comparable to name brands like Enfamil® and Similac®, yet typically cost half the price. This saves parents up to $600 a year.*

Many moms who can benefit from the cost savings offered by Store Brand Formulas worry about how switching formula brands might affect their baby. New research, however, can put their minds at ease.

A study conducted by pediatric medical researchers at the University of Virginia** looked into baby’s tolerance of switching between different brands of infant formula. The study proved that:

  • Switching baby formula is safe.
  • Infants did not have tolerance issues when switched from one brand of formula to another.
  • Gradual versus immediate switching made no difference in tolerance.

So when I see moms in my practice who are concerned with infant feeding decisions, I of course recommend breastfeeding. The reality, however, is that most moms – more than 80 percent – use formula at some point in time, especially if they are working moms.

I always recommend Store Brand Infant Formulas. Thanks to new research, more evidence demonstrates tolerance and safety among all brands – even store brands.

For more information, visit www.storebrandformula.com.

* Retail prices are from a July 2013 retail price survey of national retail stores. Actual prices and savings may vary by store and location.

**Barber CM, Tusing A, Kisamore L, Lawton B, Steele-Kosowitz M, Stuphen J. The safety of formula switching for infants. Poster presented at: 24th Annual University of Virginia Children’s Hospital Research Symposium; May 2012; Charlottesville; Virginia.

Enfamil® is a registered trademark of Mead Johnson & Co. Similac® is a registered trademark of Abbott Laboratories. Store Brand Infant Formulas are NOT made by or affiliated with Mead Johnson & Co. or Abbott Laboratories. **

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