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Formula feeding

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

We are about to start fostering and I am looking forward to having babies in our care.  

 

All 4 of my children were breastfed, so formula-feeding is going to be a whole new ballgame for me.  I have worked in the lactation profession as a CLC and educator and am very aware of the inadequacies of formula and it breaks my heart that it is the only option for these babies.  But as it is our only choice, I am looking for the "best" formula out there.  

 

I have checked and have been told that we are not allowed to use any homemade formulas, it must be a store bought brand.  I know we will have WIC available to us and can get whatever they provide us for free, but if there is an organic formula that is better we are willing to purchase it.  

 

Any ideas?  

 

Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 22
I struggled with ff guilt myself, but it ended being a valuable leson in learning that you don't have to be a perfect parent to meet a child's needs. Children who drink formula, regardless of brand, turn out just fine, it's that simple. In all likely hood your FC will have so many other uncertainties that the brand of formula will be a minor question in the bigger drama.
post #3 of 22

I agree with natashaccat. All of the smartest and healthiest people I know were coincidentally formula fed... and that was formula from the 70's and 80's... things could only have improved since then. I know there have been studies to the contrary, but if the difference were that significant, you would at least be able to distinguish formula vs breastfed babies. 

As for which one is best, my hospital used Similac Advance (although they're not allowed to promote it, if it's required, they have a brand on hand and it's Similac). The hospital next door which my friend had her baby in used Enfamil and my family doctor peddles Nestle Goodstart. There are laws (at least in Canada) that formulas have to meet certain requirements, so they're all "just as good" but some add some extra ingredients. 

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies.  True that type of formula is a minor issue in the grand scheme of these children's lives.  But, as I am well aware of formula's shortfalls and have the means to purchase the best options available, I am just looking for the better options and organic for sure.  Our biological children eat the best we can find, I wouldn't expect to do any less for a foster child.    

 

Has anyone used Nature's One brand?  I just checked out their website and it says it is not for children under 1 year.  I am wondering if that is b/c of the company's committment to promoting breastfeeding or if there is something nutritionally different.  Any experiences with this one or any other organic formula?  

post #5 of 22

I would concentrate on HOW you bottlefeed rather than the formula. I guess if you're willing to spend the money on organic formula (that will get VERY expensive) go for it, but you will get formula free from WIC. Depending on your area they will either have Similac product vouchers or Enfamil. Maybe see how the baby does on the formula, if they seem to tolerate it fine i would just do that. Remember if they go back home, they will likely be getting WIC formula.

 

I was planning on adopting my foster baby (no bmom visits) and WIC was a pain to deal with so i ended up (after the first three months of vouchers) just getting a store brand formula that he tolerated. Store brands are half the price of name brands but the same ingredients.

 

What we DID do is bottlenurse. Since i had never really bottlefed a baby, only breastfed, i wasnt sure what i was doing. I almost always held him and held the bottle. We did cosleep (technically, not allowed) and i would lay the bottle on my breast to kind of "prop it up" and found it to be very similar to being able to nurse in bed. My son "weaned" from bottlenursing (although NOT from the bottle or from formula) when he was about 15 months old, and i had a new 11.5 month old foster child placed. She would not allow me to hold her bottle and i guess it had never occurred to my son that HE could hold it until he saw her do it. He continued on with bottles and formula til he was well over two. i cant remember exactly.

post #6 of 22

I think you're right, they're just trying to look like the promote breastfeeding. It says you can use it to "supplement breastfeeding" at any age. 

I'd really question any formula who claims to be organic... I'm no chemist but how do they make organic formula?


Edited by Escaping - 3/18/13 at 2:51pm
post #7 of 22
Many organic formulas contain corn-syrup. I ended up deciding to use WIC brand because it agreed with my son and it used lactose sweetener vs corn syrup or sucrose. I think it was similac.

I probably sounded a little flippant in my first post but it really did hurt me inside to know that my FC didn't get BM. i had to let go of the idea that my son was being deprived of something essential and come to terms with my new self as a FFing mom. It was humbling but in a good way because it helped me put first year nutrition vs lifetime eating habits in perspective.

Like others have said how you feed your baby will likely be so much more important than the brand of formula.
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

I believe they are both important....they are not mutually exclusive.  I'll keep looking for the better options, thanks.   

post #9 of 22
Many organic formulas contain corn-syrup. I ended up deciding to use WIC brand because it agreed with my son and it used lactose sweetener vs corn syrup or sucrose. I think it was similac.

I probably sounded a little flippant in my first post but it really did hurt me inside to know that my FC didn't get BM. i had to let go of the idea that my son was being deprived of something essential and come to terms with my new self as a FFing mom. It was humbling but in a good way because it helped me put first year nutrition vs lifetime eating habits in perspective.

Like others have said how you feed your baby will likely be so much more important than the brand of formula.
post #10 of 22
I'd say there is some value in doing some basic research. I have the feeling that with the current demand formulas have gotten worse and not better. GMO ingredients, synthetic additives, hormones and antibiotics in milk, etc. I'd say that an organic formula may work best an that a goat milk based formula would be healthier than a cow milk formula.
post #11 of 22
But the OP has no idea if a placement will come from home or from the hospital, and how long a baby is going to stay. Many babies can't tolerate having their food changed. My rule of thumb is to start with whichever formula WIC provides.That's what the baby likely had in the hospital/at home and what they'll get if the go home or to a relative. Organic formula will likely be tolerated, but I'd avoid a goat's milk formula for the reasons I just listed. Many babies also do better with a liquid formula versus the powder. Actually, my first foster baby did best with Walmart's liquid formula than any of the big names, powder or liquid.
post #12 of 22

Hi!

 You will want to buy the exact same brand the baby is currently drinking. That's because going into foster care is traumatic enough so it's not a good time to change formula. This is particularly important for premies - use exactly what the doctor tells you to use and don't change it until the doctor says it's OK.

 

I've fostered 4 babies. 3 came straight from the hospital and 1 we picked up at CPS. When you pick them up from the hospital the nurses will give you a bunch of formula. It will last a day or two at least and it gives you time to run out and buy that same brand. For the one we picked up at CPS we were told a brand name but not the specific type so we just guessed. We bought small amounts of a few different kinds to see what he liked best.

 

But we are a vegan family and so we prefered to feed the babies soy formula if possible. So... with doctor's permission we switched two of the babies to soy. The other two weren't in our care long enough to begin the switch. If you plan to use organic formula it would be the same thing - you will be switching them from what they're used to.You can also use that same method to switch them from formula to milk or water when they're old enough for that.

 

The way you do the transition is SLOWLY.

  • FIrst off, don't even try it until you're pretty well bonded and the baby trusts you and you know his or her feeding and pooping behaviors (so you'll notice if the change makes things better or worse).
  • Then, you take the old brand and fill up the bottle 75% and then add 25% of the new formula. You do that for a week.
  • Then you go 50/50 for a week.
  • Then 25/75 for a week.
  • And finally you give the baby 100% new formula.

 

My experience with formula does make me slightly biased towards organic. The WIC brand in my area was recalled while my son (fostered then adopted) was drinking it. I was so angry with myself because I intended to buy the best organic formula possible but I hadn't done that. Instead I compromised and saved money by using the WIC stuff. As soon as the recall happened I switched him to Earth's Best Organic Soy Formula and we were very happy with that, so that's the brand I would suggest if you're looking for an organic baby formula. But note: it is very expensive. BTW, my son is very healthy and happy now. The recall just seemed to make his reflux worse and has had no lasting damages.

 

I agree with what others have said though. Formula is a minor issue in the grand scheme. Even in our case with a freaking RECALL everything turned out fine in the end. And I also agree that how you feed is more important than the brand of formula. I suggest this guide: http://www.attachmentparenting.org/parentingtopics/bottlefeeding.php but most importantly the first two suggestions on the list:

  • Hold the baby when bottle feeding, positioning the bottle alongside the breast
  • Maintain eye contact, talk softly and lovingly

I also recommend Dr Brown's bottles and a Boppy.

post #13 of 22

Just a word of caution about soy formula:

(I get that people use soy for other personal reasons, ie. vegan, but some people are misled into thinking soy formula is healthier which it isn't necessarily).

 

Unless recommended otherwise by your baby's doctor, soy formulas:

Should not be routinely used in infants with a family history of milk allergy in hopes of preventing later allergy.

Should not be as a substitute for cow's milk-based formulas unless baby has been proven to be allergic to cow's milk-based formulas.

Should not be used to prevent or treat "colic" unless advised by your doctor.

Should not be used in preterm or small-for-date babies.

Even though we discourage the use of soy formula as a first-choice artificial baby milk, in some babies it is a necessary alternative to cow's milk-based formulas. Many of the objections to soy formula are perhaps more theoretical than practical (since studies have shown that healthy term babies grow just as well on soy as they do on cow's-milk-based formulas). It's what we do not know about soy that concerns us. The soy bean protein brings along with it a lot of other phytochemicals (plant nutrients), some of which may be healthful, and others we just don't know about. Cow's-milk-based formulas have been around for nearly a century. We don't have that much experience with soy, so be cautious.

 

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/feeding-infants-toddlers/bottle-feeding/soy-formulas

post #14 of 22
Wow, it really seems like you might want to post this in another forum, OP. I wish I knew something about formula so that I might offer experience.

It sounds like you want to know: what is the best formula money can buy. That is what I would want to know in your situation. Not that bottle nursing is better, etc. I am sure you're already planning to bottle nurse as attached as possible.

If it were me, I'd buy it at a health food store. Organic bc it is a milk product, after all and you want it hormone free. And then, I would supplement it with homemade beef bone broth, if you are allowed to do that.

Bless you and your loving, generous family.

Love.
post #15 of 22
I disagree, Velveeta. I think this is the perfect forum forum for this conversation. There are many more variables involved when you are looking at feeding a foster child. Most of the time, you know little about the baby. Sometimes nothing. You will likely know nothing about the medical background of the parents or anything about the pregnancy, unless you bring the baby home from the hospital directly. You will probably have no idea about how long the baby will staying. It could be a few days,weeks, months, years or forever. The social workers may think they know but that often turns out not to be true. I was my daughter's second foster parent and I was told she would be going to a relative in about two weeks. She was 9 1/2 months when she was placed here, four when I adopted her, and she turned six last month. Her twin baby brothers were taken home from the hospital by a foster family in another county. They really should have been moved to my home. But, by the time I actually got all the detailed, the babies were a part of their foster family and I didn't want to disrupt that. There is so much trauma for foster kids, it s best to be cautious, procede slowly, and decide things when the time arises.

Organic formula is a wonderful choice for families that need it and can afford it. I actually used it as a supplement when DD wasn't gaining weight on just solid food and cows milk. The doctor had suggested Carnation Instant Breakfast, but I didn't want to go that route. Bit,y first foster baby did best with the creamier liquid formula. With a doctor's note, WIC paid for it. But in the beginning, when you know little about the tiny baby you are caring for, it's best to start with the food you know the baby is likely to have been given. Most babies are given the formula the local WIC office has the contract with. If the baby has been in Early Head Start, they would probably have been to en the same formula.

Everyone here wants the best for their foster and adopted babies. But what's "best" varies a lot depending on each situation.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama2annabelle View Post

Thanks for the replies.  True that type of formula is a minor issue in the grand scheme of these children's lives.  But, as I am well aware of formula's shortfalls and have the means to purchase the best options available, I am just looking for the better options and organic for sure.  Our biological children eat the best we can find, I wouldn't expect to do any less for a foster child.    

 

Has anyone used Nature's One brand?  I just checked out their website and it says it is not for children under 1 year.  I am wondering if that is b/c of the company's committment to promoting breastfeeding or if there is something nutritionally different.  Any experiences with this one or any other organic formula?  

 

 

The Nature's One brand says its formula is only for toddlers because they beleive the breast is best for babies. The formula is perfectly okay for infants and I plan to use it if my child is a toddler or under.

 

Thanks for starting this discussion.

post #17 of 22

They also have a comparison chart on their site which compares their formula to Similac Advance and breastmilk, which are intended to infants. The formula seems comparable to the two so I'd understand that to mean it can be used on infants. 

I'm sure they're just trying to avoid ruffling feathers so they choosing their words carefully which makes it a lot more confusing. 

post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

I disagree, Velveeta. I think this is the perfect forum forum for this conversation. There are many more variables involved when you are looking at feeding a foster child.

Organic formula is a wonderful choice for families that need it and can afford it. I actually used it as a supplement when DD wasn't gaining weight on just solid food and cows milk. The doctor had suggested Carnation Instant Breakfast, but I didn't want to go that route. Bit,y first foster baby did best with the creamier liquid formula. With a doctor's note, WIC paid for it. But in the beginning, when you know little about the tiny baby you are caring for, it's best to start with the food you know the baby is likely to have been given. Most babies are given the formula the local WIC office has the contract with. If the baby has been in Early Head Start, they would probably have been to en the same formula.

Everyone here wants the best for their foster and adopted babies. But what's "best" varies a lot depending on each situation.

Of course, you're quite right. Thanks for taking the time to educate me. You're all doing wonderful work and have lots of great knowledge among you.
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 

Wow, this has turned into a great conversation.  While I do disagree with some points given, I honor the fact that we all are passionate about what is best for babies in our care.  Thank you all for sharing your thoughts.  

post #20 of 22

Another thing to keep in mind is what a baby can tolerate. Just because you would prefer a particular kind of formula doesn't mean the baby will be able to tolerate it :)

 

My now 2yr old dd came home on regular similac and could not tolerate it. We tried multiple formulas (lactose free, partially hydrolized like nestle good start, more broken down/hydrolyzed like nutramagen and alimentum) and ultimately had to keep her on the most expensive stuff out there, neocate, because she could not tolerate milk in any form. My middle dd came home on and started out on one of the major brands (similac, probably) and at about 2 months old was unable to tolerate that anymore, so we switched to a partially hydrolyzed formula, good start. She stayed on that until her 1st birthday. My oldest had similar issues and ended up getting off of formula early because back then (she's 13) there weren't as many choices available. 

 

All this to say that babies needs change sometimes, and the formula they can tolerate changes as well. Most of the time the pediatricians office has sample cans of powdered formula they will send you home with, so that is a good way to try something new if you think the baby is not doing well on the current formula. but I agree with the PP who said that it is important to stay with something WIC will provide since, if that baby goes home, the parents will most likely be using WIC to provide for the babys needs.

 

I also remember reading that the prefered order for formula 1st milk based, 2nd hydrolized milk based, 3rd soy. 

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