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Wednesday, May 27th, 2015
Since the late 1950s, hospitals have been sending new mothers home with more than just their adorable newborn. In many hospitals across the country, new moms are gifted with free formula “packs” that include samples, coupons, promotional materials, and other goodies.
A new study by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention found that the number of hospitals providing moms with formula as they leave has fallen, although one-third of hospitals in the United States still do so.
The new research, which was published in Pediatrics, found that fewer than 25 percent of hospitals in 24 states distributed formula packs in 2013, compared to just one—Rhode Island—in 2007. Conversely, in just two states—Iowa and South Dakota—did more than 75 percent of hospitals hand-out formula in 2013, compared to 30 in 2007.
Previous studies have found that mothers who received free formula from hospitals had lower rates of exclusive breastfeeding. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for their first six months of life.)
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn
Image: Newborn with formula via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
In the wake of multiple recalls of infant formula in recent years, the federal government has finalized standards that will require manufacturers to test their products for nutritional content as well as possible exposure to germs and bacteria. Earlier this year the new guidelines were announced; they are based on two years’ worth of research, during which time Gerber voluntarily recalled some formula because of a strange odor, and some brands of organic formula were found to contain high levels of inorganic arsenic.
More from Reuters on the finalization and what it means for formula manufacturers–and parents:
While public health officials generally say breast milk is best for babies, they acknowledge that many infants get some or part of their nutrition through formula. The new rule, FDA said, is aimed at establishing so-called “good manufacturing practices” that many companies have already adopted voluntarily.
It also only applies to formula marketed for “for use by healthy infants without unusual medical or dietary problems,” FDA said in a statement.
Under the regulation, companies must screen formula for salmonella, which can cause diarrhea and fever resulting in particularly severe problems for babies. They must also check for cronobacter, known to live in dry conditions such as powdered formula and cause swelling of the brain known as meningitis in infants.
While the FDA does not approve infant formula products before they can be sold, under the rule companies must also test their products’ nutrient content and show that their formulas can “support normal physical growth,” the agency said.
Image: Baby having a bottle, via Shutterstock
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FDA, food safety, formula, formula guidelines, formula recall, government standards, guidelines, infant feeding, infant formula | Categories:
Child Health, Parenting News, Safety
Tuesday, May 13th, 2014
Chinese researchers are apparently working on developing a synthetic breast milk based on the actual chemical makeup of real human breast milk, as Newser reports:
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China’s government is spending $1.6 million to make its own breast milk. The goal is an artificial version of the milk of Chinese moms—a project that involves studying the real stuff to develop what China Daily calls a “breast milk database.”
Existing baby formula in the country adheres to World Health Organization ingredient standards, but it might not be quite right for China’s infant population, Chinese researchers have said.
China is the world’s biggest baby formula market, with parents spending $15 billion on it last year, Quartz notes. As of last year, only 28% of infants in the country were breastfed, compared to 40% globally, per a Wall Street Journal report. The new effort follows a formula crisis in 2008 that saw thousands of babies poisoned.
Monday, February 10th, 2014
The Food and Drug Administration has announced new guidelines meant to make sure infant formula is both safe and nutritious. The new guidelines are based on two years’ worth of research, during which time Gerber voluntarily recalled some formula because of a strange odor, and some brands of organic formula were found to contain high levels of inorganic arsenic. More on the FDA’s new rules from The Associated Press:
Most formula makers already abide by the practices, but the FDA now will have rules on the books that ensure formula manufacturers test their products for salmonella and other pathogens before distribution. The rules also require formula companies to prove to the FDA that they are including specific nutrients — proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals — in their products.
It is already law that formula must include those nutrients, which help babies stay healthy. But the new rules will help the FDA keep tabs on companies to make sure they are following the law. The rule would require manufacturers to provide data to the FDA proving that their formulas support normal physical growth and that ingredients are of sufficient quality.
“The FDA sets high quality standards for infant formulas because nutritional deficiencies during this critical time of development can have a significant impact on a child’s long-term health and well-being,” Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods, said.
The rules also are aimed at new companies that come into the market. In recent years, grocery store aisles have become even more crowded with new kinds of formula, some capitalizing on natural or organic food trends.
The agency said breastfeeding is strongly recommended for newborns but that 25 percent of infants start out using formula. By three months, two-thirds of infants rely on formula for all or part of their nutrition.
The FDA doesn’t approve formulas before they are marketed but formula manufacturers must register with the agency. The FDA also conducts annual inspections of facilities that manufacture infant formula — far more often than the agency does inspections of other food facilities.
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Image: Infant formula, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, August 8th, 2013
Personality traits, including a proclivity for anxiety or social extroversion, have been found to correlate with a mother’s choice to feed her baby by bottle or breast. LiveScience.com has more on the study, which was published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing:
Dr. Amy Brown, who studies early nutrition at Swansea University in Wales, surveyed 602 mothers of infants ages 6 to 12 months, to see if personality traits were linked to breast-feeding rates. The women in the study ranged in age from 16 to 45 years old, and spanned a spectrum of income, education and professional achievement levels.
Brown found extroverted, conscientious and emotionally stable mothers were more likely to try breast-feeding. But being agreeable or open to new experiences made no difference, according to the findings published Tuesday (Aug. 6) in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.
More than 80 percent of the women in the study tried to breast-feed, but less than half who tried were still breast-feeding six months later. And women who switched from breast to bottle tended to switch quickly. About 73 percent of the women who stopped breast-feeding did so within two weeks after giving birth.
Women who were conscientious — for example, detailed-oriented and punctual — were likely to start, but also likely to stop breast-feeding.
Mothers who kept breast-feeding during the first six months were more extroverted and less anxious than mothers who always bottle-fed or switched to the bottle. The effect was particularly strong within the first six weeks after birth.
Image: Mother bottle-feeding her baby, via Shutterstock
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