Infant Formula Switching
February 26, 2018
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 80% of newborns are initially breastfed. However, the rate falls to less than 50% by age six-months and 27% by their first birthday. Parents find a large number of formula brands including the many store brands sold in various stores.
Store brand infant formulas can save parents money as they may cost up to 50% less than national brands. The savings may be $600 or more per year. But no parent wants to put thier baby’s health and nutrition at risk to save a few dollars and they wonder if the store brand formula is nutritionally equivalent to the more expensive national brand.
The FDA regulates the contents of all infant formulas. Store brands have to meet all requirements of the Infant Nutritional Act, the same requirements the national brands must comply with. The store brands are less expensive because they are not advertised or sampled.
Another concern of parents is the safety of switching from a national brand to store brand and how well their babies will tolerate the store brand formula. A small study of 67 infants evaluated potential problems with a change of formula.
Behaviors evaluated were burping, gas, spit-up, and irritability. The infants were all on a national formula at the beginning of the study. The infants were observed for four days prior to the formula switch, during the three day switch-over process, and then for four days. The babies were divided into three groups: changed to a different national brand, changed to the store brand, or left on the same national brand that was repackaged to hid its brand.
The babies in the first two groups experienced no change in frequency in any of the four factors. Interestingly, the babies in the third group experienced a statistically significant increase in burping, gas, and irritability, but not spit-up.
Although breast feeding provides the best nutrition for babies, but if the parents opt for formula price shouldn’t be a consideration. All formulas meet the same nutritional requirements and provide appropriate nutrition.
Pediatric News, 03/09/16