Baby Formulas

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Topic: Baby Formulas – How to Choose the Right One for Your Baby

RC: Hello everyone. This is Liz Harvey coming to you from our studios in New York City where we are dedicated to bringing you cutting edge interviews from many of the leading industry professionals across the US. In today’s episode, we are speaking with Stephanie Heintzeler. Stephanie is a German educated midwife, a U.S. educated doula, an acupuncturist and a certified lactation counselor. She is known as the New York doula.

Stephanie has delivered over 1,200 babies and has experience with twins, triplets, breach babies and water births. She also works with newborn parents in their post-partum stage and holds classes and seminars for moms and dads to be. With a wealth of experience and knowledge in her field, Stephanie Heintzeler is widely considered to be one of the top doulas in the country. She is also a contributing member of our national network of industry professionals.

Today we are going to talk about a very important topic:

Baby Formulas – How to Choose the Right One for Your Baby

RC: Hello Stephanie. How are you today?

Stephanie Heintzeler: I’m very well, thank you. 

RC: Thanks for joining me.

What ingredients and nutrients are in standard formula?

Stephanie Heintzeler: Formulas are manufactured from non-human products, so they are usually based on cow’s milk. They don’t have the immunologic components that breast milk has and therefore, there is no protection. So all the protection that breast milk has from ear infections, pneumonia, bacteria, SIDs and any other diseases, that there is no protection because it is artificially manufactured. The ingredients, they are required by the Food & Drug Administration. So, all formulas need to go to them and usually there is a base protein, for example, cow’s milk, sometimes it is soy. There is fat, there is essentially fatty acids, vitamins like C or D or K. There is copper, iron, magnesium, for example. Depending on what kind of formula it is, the FDA requires that the content of these nutrients, especially vitamins for example, they can’t exceed a certain maximum level that they have established.

What are some special formulas that are available?

Stephanie Heintzeler: The most common formula is cow’s milk formula and that is the formula that babies should get first, unless they have, for example, diabetes in the family. All formulas raise risk for any illnesses, unfortunately. Depending on what formulas babies get, they are three to four times sick more often than when they are being fed with breast milk. So, cow’s milk, usually babies get sick three times more and soy milk, unfortunately six times more. However, if it is necessary to use formula, it is always recommended to start with cow’s milk formula unless there is diabetes in the family.

With diabetes in the family, then the baby should not get cow’s milk formula because the risk of diabetes is much, much higher to get it as a child, diabetes Type 1. Even if the child gets colic, for example, from the cow’s milk formula, it is recommended to wait a few weeks until it is switched or even discussed with the CLC, like a lactation counselor or pediatrician before the formula is being switched.

Some babies react on formula because it is contaminated so there is recalls sometimes or it is not prepared properly. Then we have this counts for all the formula. Besides the cow’s milk formula, we have the hydrolyzed that is, for example, used for families with diabetes. That is the cow’s milk protein broken down even more so it is hydrolyzed.

Then there is soy milk formula which is, for example, when the baby is very, very colicky on cow’s milk and the baby is diagnosed with lactose intolerance. It is very important to not just switch the baby to any other kind of other formula, especially soy. Some parents are just like ah, just taking soy now. But unless the baby has a diagnosis lactose intolerance or galactosemia or the family has some kind of ethical considerations, they are vegans, otherwise it is not recommended anymore because it has higher aluminum metal.

Babies tendency is to get more allergies later in life, they react poorer to vaccinations, so soy, I usually never recommend soy formula. Usually when a baby is not digesting cow’s milk formula that well, we see what the diagnosis is, there is lactose-free formula, which is for babies with colic, diarrhea, or constipation. But lactose-free, unfortunately, also elevates the risk for diabetes Type 1 and also there is no calcium in it so that can be tricky for childhood and later.

In the end, there is all these different ones, lactose-free and soy and hydrolyzed and cow’s milk, so you would discuss with your lactation counselor which formula is best.

I know you just touched on this. How can you tell if your baby should have lactose-free formula or another special formula?

Stephanie Heintzeler: The main thing is really to do a test. What we usually do is we start with cow’s milk formula and if the baby reacts badly every time after every feeding. So, it is not once a day at 6:00 PM the baby has colic, which a lot of babies do have, but it is really related to the feeding. Then usually it is good to switch to hydrolyzed formula. Hydrolyzed is usually digested best. There is no long-term effects, they haven’t done a lot of studies so there is still a little bit of controversy and also the taste of hydrolyzed formula is disgusting apparently.

But it is usually switching to that and then soy or lactose-free, after having spoken to a lactation counselor or a pediatrician. There is a program in the city, the WIC program, which they have a nutritionist who can help so they are a little bit more focused on babies who have issues. But then the key is to see what is an intolerance and what is an allergy. Because it is like the baby has a little bit of whatever, gas or diarrhea, and intolerance is not the same. If the baby, for example, would have an allergy to cow’s milk, then we switch to hydrolyzed formula. But if the baby has an intolerance, then they should switch to soy.

You need to see what is the diagnosis. Is it an allergy, is it an intolerance, is there bowel movement problems, is it colic, what does the baby do in general, does he spit up a lot? So it is really important to get the diagnosis and to also not switch around. I have my moms switch to formula and they stay on that for four weeks once they switched because you don’t ever want to get into this irritable child syndrome, like you keep switching the formula and the baby he gets allergic just because you switched all the formula. So that would be the worst.

You really need to see where do we switch and into which formula did we switch, and what do we do when that doesn’t work, and when do we switch again.

Is it okay to mix powdered formula with tap water? Or should parents use bottled water?

Stephanie Heintzeler: The first months it is recommended to use bottled water. In New York, we have pretty good water so if it is filtered and the baby is healthy and at term, depending on the area of New York usually pediatricians know that or you call 311 in the city. They can give you some more information to know whether your tap water is okay. But it should be filtered.

Lastly, I know you also touched on this, but should parents try to stick with one kind of formula, or is it okay to buy whatever is on sale?

Stephanie Heintzeler: You know, that is an important question because yes, you need to stick but you want to make sure that if your baby is not reacting nicely to the formula then, of course, you need to discuss what other formula to use. The thing with hydrolyzed formula, it is ridiculously expensive. It is three times as much as regular formula. While I like to recommend it if necessary, some can’t afford it, it is really a lot. So then we need to see what is possible or if they can get to a program that gets the formula paid for. Don’t ever buy anything that is on sale or whatever is the cheapest. In the end, it is the key to see which formula works.

Also, where you get it from. Yes, there is FDA but at the same time, there is not a lot of regulations. There is a lot of formulas based on corn syrup, which I would not give to my child. So, it is important as a mother or father to look into the ingredients, even of cow’s milk or hydrolyzed or whatever, and see what other ingredients are in there that are resonating with your values.

RC: Thank you so much, Stephanie. We know you’re extremely busy so I just wanted to thank you for all of your time and help today.

Stephanie Heintzeler: Thanks for having me.

RC: For our listeners across the country, if you are interested in speaking with Stephanie Heintzeler, please visit www.thenewyorkdoula.com and call 917-399-2031 to schedule an appointment.

On behalf of our entire team, we want to thank you for listening and we look forward to bringing you more top quality content from our country’s leading industry professionals.

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