As many of you know by now, I'm an information ferret. My digging for information is not going to end when I have a baby (note I said when, not if!); rather, it is going to intensify.
In my case, I know that unless I get really lucky in my quest for brea.st milk, I will have to start formula feeding from a really early point. My first foray into parenting-related research: finding a decent formula option. Twenty minutes into my research, I was horrified. Everything I was finding had some issue or the other.
- Cow-milk based formulas have the potential to trigger allergy due to the presence of alpha S1-casein, and its nutritional profile makes it much harder for the baby to digest.
- Soy-based formulas are something I would never consider anyway: the nutritional profile of unfermented soy is not ideal, and more importantly, most of the soy available today is genetically modified and has been sprayed that godawful pesticide Roundup
- Wheat-containing formulas have the capacity to trigger gluten allergies. I don't know WHY gluten allergy is so common today, as compared to 50 years ago. Clearly, there is something different with the wheat grown in the world today, or our reaction to it. The why of it will be a post in itself one day.
- Then I considered an elemental formula like Neocate...only to find that instead of lactose, they add corn solids to sweeten the bloody thing.
Not only are the nutritional profiles of all 4 of these formula choices problematic, even if you go organic, they have some insane additives.
The more you read about the food industry and how fake and profit and lobbying-driven it is, especially in the USA, the more depressed you get.
DHA supplementation of baby formulas sounds like a good idea right? Your baby would get this vital fatty acid that it needs for optimal brain development. Except---your baby does not need it. It could make this from other fatty acid precursors. Plus, the DHA in most baby foods is extracted from algae using hexane, a neurotoxic solvent.
Lycopene in tomatoes is great. So if you saw it in your baby's food, you'd be happy. BUT---but the version in organic infant formula is produced synthetically by the chemical manufacturer BASF. A three-stage process is used to produce synthetic lycopene, and involves the solvent dichloromethane and the solvent toluene. Toluene is a neurological toxin derived from benzene.
The source for all this information is this FABULOUS article written by the Director of the Cornucopia Institute, which serves as an organic food industry watchdog.
Basically, even the organic versions of regular formulas for the most part have nutritional profiles that differ from that of human milk, and they could be contaminated with trace quantities of stuff like hexane and toluene, and many contain ridiculous and unnecessary additives like carneegan. This is where you want to grab the food industry people (scientists/executives, etc) and whack them for doing the stuff that they do. Is it all for profit? Do they simply not stop and think? If you read the article above, this woman also talks about the evolution of baby formulas, of how their ingredients could change over time, and this is a key point. The product you see today may not be the one that is there like one year later.
So what is a better, practical alternative? Well I found one, but that deserves a post of its own. Coming soon.