I know that breastfeeding is best for babies and I have been successful at breast feeding my child but I have found in the past few months that there are times it would be very nice if there were some other options to feed her on occasion. I have found I can express milk and it does keep for five months in the freezer. But thinking about it, I wondered what if I couldn’t express milk at all for some reason? Say a fatal car accident for example? What would my family do? Obviously they wouldn’t want to be feeding my kid oils, because there is every chance that because I can’t eat them, my child could have problems with them, too.
Yet every commercial baby formula I have looked at contains industrial seed oils, even the excellent ones containing organic milk that need to be imported from Germany. I was interested to note that it is not just people like me who need to avoid these oils, research shows that specific industrial oils are actually bad for ALL or most babies. A few examples:
Canola (aka Rapeseed oil) was been banned in baby formula for depleting vitamin E from the body. Although more recently the EPA reversed that decision and I noted that quite a few formulas actually list canola (aka rapeseed oil) in their ingredient lists.
Palm olein (usually listed as palm oil) creates soaps in baby intestines by binding with calcium. These soaps cause constipation and hinder bone mineralization. Studies show that infants fed this oil often are slower to develop than children not fed palm olein. I noted that many formulas contain it.
The kind of DHA and ARA added to most brands of infant formula are extracted from factory-produced C. Cohnii and M. Alpina one of which is an algae, the other a fungus. Parents have complained of babies experiencing diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and gastrointestinal distress when they use formulas with these oils, only to have symptoms clear up when using the same formulas without them.
Websites where I found this information:
So after a fruitless search for a commercial formula without oils, I looked up homemade versions and found this article stating why you should never feed your baby a home made formula. I agree with the article that infants in their first year get all of their nutrition from milk and it can be dangerous if they do not get enough nutrition or the wrong kinds of nutrition. Babies can and do die from parents feeding them the wrong things. The article quotes the FDA assistant to the directer and the International Food Information Council, who both say that commercial formula is the only safe thing a parent can feed a baby. I would like to point out that the FDA has a revolving door policy with food manufacturers and many things (including additions to formula) are approved by them that shouldn’t be. I take their promotion of commercial formula for what it is: a financially and politically motivated statement to cover their legal rear ends. As for International Food Information Council, Source Watch states that they are a public relations arm of the food industry and many of their board of trustees include representatives form companies such as Mars Inc., Coca Cola, General Mills, and Kraft Foods, so their claims are also suspect.
Industrially made and sold formulas can be harmful despite what the FDA claims, and homemade formulas can be, if made correctly, almost as nutritionally balanced as commercial formulas. Unfortunately there is always danger when feeding infants any food other than breast milk, both of improper nutrition and the introduction of molds and/or germs. Any parent has to weigh the risks and make the right decision for themselves and their baby.
For me, I feel that its important to have some options available to me that don’t contain oils and the only way to do that is homemade formula. I will not use a homemade formula as my baby’s entire diet unless absolutely necessary.
Despite the fact that most of the people who have switched to homemade formulas talk about how bad industrial oils are for babies, every recipe I found for homemade baby formulas included industrial seed oils of one type or another. I have decided that if I do make any of them I will leave these oils out and substitute other fats for them. One thing to remember is that human milk changes its contents daily and some times hourly. So there won’t be a ‘perfect’ blend that will match it completely.
Here are the recipes that I found for homemade formulas.