Monday, May 19, 2008

Hey, did you hear formula is POISON?

Ah, yes, something else to feel guilty about: Apparently Similac Organic formula is noticeably sweeter than other formulas because it's made with--gasp--sugar!

With the exception of a few weeks worth of Similac Advance at the beginning of her life, and of course four months of half breastmilk, half formula, Similac Organic was the only thing Bat Girl drank for the first year of her life. And seriously? This article alarms me not one little bit. Really, I fail to see the problem here.

I may not be a "professional taster," but in my experience breastmilk is far sweeter than ANY formula, SO included. So the idea that adding sugar to formula instead of lactose or corn syrup is going to make your kid overeat or give them an insatiable taste for sweet things seems bogus to me. One mother is quoted as saying, "[S]ugar is a concern for us--that’s why we started her on vegetables rather than fruits, so she wouldn’t get used to the sweet taste first." Too late--your baby was BORN with a taste for sweet, and the commandment to start on veggies instead of fruits is outdated and not based on real science.

And what about the argument that sucrose causes tooth decay? Well, first of all, a kid needs to have TEETH to have tooth decay. Second, so does lactose or corn syrup or ANY kind of sugar--it's why you're supposed to brush your kid's teeth after they have a cup of milk at bedtime. Is it possible that sucrose is not the healthiest form of sugar available? Sure. I'll even concede that there may be unknown differences in the way sucrose is metabolized versus other sugars that could be deleterious to health. But, you know, once you make the decision to poison your baby with formula, does it really matter? (HA!)

No, seriously though, for me, if this article had come out when Bat Girl was still drinking formula, I would not have switched. Organic is more important to me than what kind of sugar is in the stuff. And SO comes in ready-to-feed form, which other organic formulas do not, and I am really, really lazy. And based on my highly scientific sampling of babies (n=1), SO has not caused any problems. Bat Girl generally had no more than 24 ounces of formula a day when it was her sole source of nutrition. She drank a little more (around 30 ounces/day) when she was nearing 10-11 months, but that was a signal to us that we needed to step up her solids consumption. She has consistently fallen around the 50th percentile for height and around the 25th percentile for weight. She eats all kinds of vegetables, including broccoli, spinach, and peas. She had no problem switching from formula to cow's milk, and when I gave her (sweet!) apple juice for the first time this weekend she spat it out. She is super healthy and active and suffers no apparent ill effects from her year drinking pure evil.

But if you need a good Monday morning dose of rage, check out the comments on the article. There's the usual "breast is best," "down with the evil formula conglomerates," followed by the backlash by women who couldn't breastfeed, followed by the backlash-backlash from people claiming that women who can't breastfeed are RILLY RILLY RARE and everyone else is just a lazy selfish bitch, etc. Awesome! My favorite comment is #56, which I quote in part especially for you, my IF homies: "One thing we forget is that there is much more to breastfeeding than the milk itself. Breastfeeding is to breastmilk as making a baby the usual way is to in vitro fertilization. Feeding a baby breastmilk in a bottle is just not the same thing as breastfeeding." The best/worst part is that that commenter? Jack Newman, whose handouts I used extensively during my own breastfeeding battles. Ain't that just a kick in the pants?

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Blogger Thalia said...

Oh how utterly upsetting that lovely jack newman should say such a thing. People are so horribly ill-informed aren't they?

I utterly agree with your take on the debate. There is nothing new is there, and no one will ever change their mind, until they have to go through a difficult breast feeding experience.

2:36 PM  
Blogger statia said...

I'm more concerned about the process that they use to manufacture the DHA than I am the fact that there's sugar in the formula. The Mini was formula fed and while sure, he likes juice if I give it to him, he'll drink water over anything else. He took to regular milk with no problems, and he eats most veggies.

And just because my kid eats them now, doesn't mean he won't go through a picky stage. Most kids go through a food rebellion. It's a part of toddlerhood.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Aunt Becky said...

You know I've had my share of breastfeeding struggles, felt mighty guilty over "not being able to" and I smell BS.

Why is it that no matter WHAT we choose to do with our children, we're wrong? I've been working on a post about it (not really breastfeeding, but all the stuff I'm doing "wrong") and I'm waiting to fill it with more humor than I can currently muster.


It's always something isn't it?

7:07 PM  
Blogger Eva said...

I can't believe he said that!

7:31 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I don't get it. Both P and K were breastfed, though only P by me, and both of them have incredible sweet tooths (teeth?). You should have seen them chowing down on the pancakes at IHOP yesterday. Breastmilk is way sweeter than formula, and sucrose in formula is a whole lot healthier than corn syrup in formula. I'd rather have sucrose in there than corn syrup any day.

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Breastfeeding is to breastmilk as making a baby the usual way is to in vitro fertilization. Feeding a baby breastmilk in a bottle is just not the same thing as breastfeeding."

Rightio. Well, my 1st kid was formula fed from the age of 2wks and is therefore pure evil.

2nd kid is IVF and therefore "just not the same thing" as a naturally-conceived child.


4:06 AM  
Blogger MoMo said...

This is what upsets me the most about this whole subject-how people can be so judgemental! It is so frustrating. And I agree, the last time I checked, breastmilk is sweeter than formula--but then again..they will probabyly say-what do I know--I technically didn't breastfeed B--he got breast milk in a bottle!

9:07 AM  
Blogger BrooklynGirl said...

Well said. Brian Lehrer did an interesting segment on the article today--all the usual suspects spouting all the usual judgments.


12:14 PM  
Anonymous Muse said...

I have honestly decided that if you wait around long enough, everything is criticized and everything is bad. Of course, there are somethings which are obviously dreadful & things you should avoid IF you can ( I am not a friend of plastic bags, plastic toys, etc...). Almost everything we were raised with as kids is just terrible today - I am surprised we are even alive :)

2:36 PM  

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