This week we have a guest blogger! While I was in Florida (missing Coraline like crazy), my friend Elle Renaldo stepped up to enlighten us about formula. A sassy, sage-wielding, former English teacher, Elle recently moved to the Hudson Valley with her husband and two toddlers, Gabe and Violet.
The birth of my second child — just 14 months after my first — was an event layered with drama. Four days after delivery I developed a Cesarean infection and was hospitalized for two weeks. During this time, my body was intravenously blasted with antibiotics, and family members cared for my newborn daughter. Out of necessity, she was exclusively bottle-fed. After I was discharged I tried to breast feed, but she refused to latch on and my milk supply disappeared. Because my children would be so close in age, I had predicted my sanity would be stretched tissue paper thin. But I did not anticipate having to formula feed.
Panicked, I turned to the Internet. My mother often recounted how her mother made homemade formula; years ago there was no powdered mix. But once I discovered most modern recipes called for things like raw organic milk from grass-fed cows, yeast flakes, and fermented cod liver oil, I threw my hands up. Living in Queens, the prospect of acquiring such ingredients with two babies to care for seemed dauntingly impossible. Instead, I redirected my research and unearthed a complex heap of conflicting, negative information about the most popular formula brands in the United States.
This shocking information sent me on a mission to find an ethical company that produced quality formula with a naturally derived source of DHA and no genetically modified ingredients. While this seemed like a tall order, I was pleasantly surprised to come across Nature’s One, a private company who produces a formula called Baby’s Only. Their BPA-free formula canisters read Toddler Formula (though they meet the nutritional requirements set by the Infant Formula Act) because they choose to promote breastfeeding and advise formula use only with a pediatrician’s consent.
Nowadays, people will spend weeks researching vacuum cleaners, cars, or toys before buying. So why isn’t formula discussed, researched, or reviewed online as much as the latest kitchen gadget? Are we all just overly trusting and not proactive enough to explore what our babies are really ingesting? Ultimately, without vigilance and a critical lens, our children’s health may suffer.