Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Marching to the Beat of the Formula Piper

Ingredient label on a case of Enfamil formula

In our country, we put cows in crowded, dark buildings, standing side by side, buried in their own manure. We feed them genetically modified grain. They can't digest grain/corn, which is why we have e.coli problems, as it grows in their damaged stomachs. They do not go outside in fresh air and sunlight nor do they eat the fresh food they are intended to consume.

So the nutrition stores in the actual cow's body are next to nothing. But wait, there's more. Then these cows are bred. And the offspring are immediately separated at birth and fed a milk substitute from the day of birth.

But wait, there's more. The cows are then given a synthetic growth hormone to keep this assembly line moving even faster. And they are injected with antibiotics so they can continue to stand there and be force-fed grain while producing milk. The hormones, antibiotics and pus from their infections are even present in the milk.

This cycle repeats itself endlessly; generation after generation of cows being raised from a deficient standpoint.

Then, the milk from these nutritionally deficient, diseased cows is pasteurized, allegedly killing everything. But that means anything that might have possibly still been good or nutritious is also destroyed.

It is then shipped to a formula factory where it is broken down and processed into a dry, dead substance that we call powdered formula. Corn syrup, corn solids and various forms of sugar are added to make it taste sweet, along with fake vitamins that aren't as bioavailable as food-sourced vitamins. (And synthetics are also associated with an increase in toxicity resulting in cancers, poor assimilation and other issues.)

During this time, the formula becomes contaminated with whatever happens to be in the factory: cleaning detergents dripping off the machines, aluminum, perchlorate (rocket fuel) and fluoride from the water used in processing, BPA from the can lining, bugs and animals in the factory, etc.

If the formula company uses algae-derived DHA in its product, then hexane might also be present because that is how they separate it out. If the company uses tuna-derived DHA (Nestle/Gerber) then mercury might be present.

Now, according to the most recent stats from the CDC, only about 2/3 of women attempt to nurse their babies at birth. That statistic flips at the 6 month mark, where nearly 2/3 of women are now fully formula feeding their babies.

So, by 6 months, 75% of American infants are living on what I just described.

What's amazing is that you don't see EVERYONE in a mad rush to change this NOW. Instead, whenever the issue of formula vs. nursing comes up, it turns into a long, drawn out game of mental gymnastics where the mother who gave her child this concoction tries to claim she isn't guilty and the other person tries to claim she should feel guilty. All the other people involved, all the other people profiting, all the other people providing sub-par products for a PROFIT, are completely exempt from the conversation.

Meanwhile, an average of a thousand infants (1,000) die from formula use in America and millions die worldwide every year. (Read: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/256519.php) The World Health Organisation lists powdered formula as 6 OUT OF 6 on feeding options. The FDA admits that formula companies are not regulated and currently fall under "Generally Regarded as Safe."

Thousands upon thousands of studies show that babies given a milk substitute suffer in every way possible...lower IQ, increased risk of GI illness, increased risk of cancer, increased risk of diabetes, increased risk of mental illness, etc etc etc. All the women who give their children a milk substitute instead of nursing also suffer increased risk of breast cancer, increased risk of diabetes, increased risk of heart disease, etc etc etc.

And the beat goes on and on...to the tune of $$$$$$$$$$$. Women and children, and in truth, our entire human race, being damaged and cheated in the name of $$$$$$$$ and all we can do online is claim that "there is no right or wrong or guilt."

It would crack me up if it weren't so freakin' depressing.

Below are some resources if you'd like to start looking into this issue:


Page 10 paragraph 18- WHO specifically recommends:

18. The vast majority of mothers can and should breastfeed, just as the
vast majority of infants can and should be breastfed. Only under
exceptional circumstances can a mother’s milk be considered unsuitable
for her infant. For those few health situations where infants
cannot, or should not, be breastfed, the choice of the best
alternative – expressed breast milk from an infant’s own mother,
breast milk from a healthy wet-nurse or a human-milk bank, or a
breast-milk substitute fed with a cup, which is a safer method than
a feeding bottle and teat – depends on individual circumstances.

Traces of the metal in milk were found to be much higher than is legally allowed in water, according to scientists, with one brand containing more than 800 micrograms per litre.

“The fastest growing infants were those who had been fed formula-milk, rather than breast milk, and who were weaned onto solid foods at an early age, before 3 to 4 months old.
Dr Pauline Emmett, the study's senior nutritionist and a dietitian, says "It seems that breastfed infants are better able to regulate their energy intake than formula-fed infants.”

“Research has shown that infants who are fed formula may be more likely to be obese. This could be a significant factor in the climbing rates of obesity.” 

“Full-term infants who are born small score an average of 11 points higher on IQ tests if they are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life compared to those who are given formula or solids early on, according to findings published in the March Acta Paediatrica. The study was conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.”

Breastfed children attain higher IQ scores than children not fed breast milk, presumably because of the fatty acids unquely available in breast milk.

Infant Formula and the Risk for Enamel Fluorosis

The chemical is bisphenol A, or BPA, a component of the plastic epoxy resins used to line metal food cans. Dozens of laboratory studies show that BPA affects the developing brain and reproductive systems of animals exposed to low doses during pregnancy and early life.
1 of every 16 infants fed the formula would be exposed to the chemical at doses **exceeding** those that caused harm in laboratory studies.

Based on its analysis of existing research on BPA, even a very small amount of the compound may cause a host of problems, from brain and behavioral disorders to cancer, a claim the formula makers and federal regulators adamantly deny.

Bisphenol A (BPA), known as the 'gender bender' chemical, leaches into liquid baby formula from the linings of cans at levels dangerous to infant health

DHA: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are produced in laboratories and extracted from algae and fungus then put into infant formulas, juices and packaged foods. The report below presents disturbing research indicating that the new additives placed in infant formula are seriously endangering the health of some formula-fed newborns and toddlers. Algal-and fungal-based DHA/ARA have been linked to serious side effects such as virulent diarrhoea and vomiting in infants consuming infant formula.


April 15, 2008–The Cornucopia Institute filed a legal complaint with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) today, demanding that the agency enforce the organic regulations prohibiting toxic solvents from being used in the production of organic food.

DHA/ARA that has been extracted from laboratory-grown fermented algae and fungus and processed utilizing a toxic chemical, hexane. 

Here's a link to the full report: http://cornucopia.org/DHA/DHA_FullReport.pdf

In some cases the DHA oils are extracted from non-toxic algae and soil fungus using chemicals such as hexane, acid and bleach.
Hexane is a volatile liquid found in glue and gasoline. When inhaled in high volumes it can cause nausea, euphoria, headaches and nerve damage. You can read more about the hexane process and formula supplementation by downloading a report at the Cornucopia Institute.

(Quick summary of hexane: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexane)


Melamine (us)
Humans and animals that consume toxic doses of melamine develop kidney stones. These hard crystals can block urinary flow and make urination painful. They can also cause kidney failure and death, pediatric kidney specialist Marc B. Lande, MD, MPH, of the University of Rochester, N.Y., tells WebMD.
Hiding the truth about melamine formula The FDA exists for only one purpose: To protect the profits of powerful food and drug companies. Babies be damned.

Cyanuric acid
This white, odorless solid finds use as a precursor or a component of bleaches, disinfectants, and herbicides.
When cyanuric acid is administered together with melamine (which by itself is another low-toxicity substance), they may form extremely insoluble crystals,[10] leading to formation of kidney stones and potentially causing kidney failure and death -- as evidenced in dogs and cats during the 2007 pet food contamination and in children during the 2008 Chinese milk scandal cases.

It is lethal at very high doses by ingestion and considered a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer
Formaldehyde damages DNA, kills cells and causes cell proliferation

Melamine resin is manufactured by mixing urea with formaldehyde under heat and pressure. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-melamine.htm

Formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane in bath products for children. Many products tested for this study contained both formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, including the top-selling Johnson's Baby Shampoo and Sesame Street Bubble Bath.

Powdered infant formula is not sterile which means it may contain bacteria. This is one of the top reasons for formula recalls and top mortality reasons related to formula feeding.

Enterobacter sakazakii is a gram-negative, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacterium within the family Enterobacteriaceae. the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on a fatal case of meningitis in an intensive care nursery in Tennessee. The infecting organism was Enterobacter sakazakii, an unusual but often fatal, invasive pathogen. In the fatal Tennessee case, the infection was traced to contaminated powdered infant formula

The recent expert meeting recommended that caregivers to infants, particularly those at high risk (see
Q 4.), should be regularly alerted to the fact that powdered infant formula is not a sterile product.

Charts on bacteria growth and temperatures (not sure if this is a play it safe one by formula company scientists)

Soy formula
…soybeans act as potent enzyme inhibitors. These "antinutrients" block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion. In test animals, diets high in trypsin inhibitors depress growth and cause enlargement and pathological conditions of the pancreas, including cancer. Soybeans also contain high levels of phytic acid or phytates. This is an organic acid, present in the outer portion of all seeds, which blocks the uptake of essential minerals-calcium, magnesium, iron and especially zinc-in the intestinal tract. A reduced rate of growth is especially serious in the infant as it causes a delay in the accumulation of lipids in the myelin, and hence jeopardizes the development of the brain and nervous system.

Patent info on DHA and its extraction *(assigned by Martek Bioscience corp)
it is an object of the present invention to provide a single-cell edible oil containing DHA. In general, it is an object of the present invention to produce single-cell oil in commercially viable yields (one that doesn’t smell offensive because of the source of the ingredients fish eyes etc). The oil, characterized herein as a "designer" oil, after extraction can be used in infant formulas, baby foods, dietary supplements and pharmaceuticals.

Martek and a look at their finances and ratings in early 2009
Product sales were up 7% versus last years first quarter. (This is campaigning AGAINST breastfeedin btw)
The strength of our core infant formula business, growing consumer awareness of the health benefits of DHA

International Infant morality rates charts and formula

A recent review of evidence has shown that, on a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants. Thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that "Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child... Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother... There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer." (AAP 2005)

The American Academy of Family Physicians says"Breastfeeding beyond the first year offers considerable benefits to both mother and child, and should continue as long as mutually desired." They also note that "If the child is younger than two years of age, the child is at increased risk of illness if weaned." (AAFP 2001)

The World Health Organisation states that “A recent review of evidence has shown that, on a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants. Thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.” (WHO 2008)


  1. dhjkfhasdjklfhjdljdljl

    that's my brain right now...

    as I pump my breastmilk for my 29 weeker....

    don't tell ME that it's not possible for babies to get breastmilk. Both my preemies got it via pumping! :)

  2. What's terrible about all this is that women who want to breastfeed but can't don't have access to the safer alternatives - using donated human milk, etc. They are led to believe that formula is their only option.

  3. Carla, that is absolutely right on the mark and something I am planning to address in my second post on the topic. (If the moon and sun align and my babies take a nap together lol).

  4. Guggie, thank you for this! Finally, all the resources to show all the serious risks of formula feeding - all in one place! I could totally give you a bear hug right now :)

    Isn't it crazy that somehow, formula companies continue to be able to hide these facts from consumers and keep them out of the news for so long . . . it's sickening.

    Can't wait for your post about safer alternatives to formula (i.e. pumped, frozen, or banked milk, etc) - as a WIC counselor, I was really perturbed that there wasn't a way for WIC to get clearance to provide banked milk for a mommy who lost her supply, but they were very ready and willing to provide giant list of artificial (dangerous) substitutes. You're right. It's all about the $$$$$$$$

    I agree with you "It would make me laugh if it wasn't so depressing"

    My Friday post is going to start my section of Breastfeeding posts - I have been writing about Peaceful Discipline for a while, but I've had some inspiration lately to finally blog in detail about breastfeeding and the barriers that we have knowingly and unknowingly set up for our American mommies. And the deregulation of infant formula and the money that is pumped into what I feel is total false advertising regarding it's safety is definitely a large barrier.

  5. I know this, but you make it all the more throat sqeezing. Shared on FB and putting it in next weeks SS

  6. It's been found that High Fructose Corn Syrup is rife with mercury as well. They use HFCS in Formula.

    *pukes in her mouth*

  7. Argghl. My poor baby #1 who got some formula between 6 and 12 months old ! Live and learn ! Not a drop of formula will ever touch the lips of the next babies !
    You just forgot to mention how the trucks and factories needed to make the formula help to poison the air the poor cows are breathing...

  8. Wow, that is really eye opening! I am so glad that I breastfeed my 7 month old with no formula supplements!
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. I have a strong suspicion that the breast vs. formula debate and the feelings of guilt over not being able to breastfeed is actually fostered by the formula companies. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but -- remember the old adage, "divide and conquer"? I think that's what they are doing to us. If we weren't so focused on fighting with each other, we'd be demanding better resources for ourselves and our babies. We'd have lactation consultants paid for by insurance (the real ones, not the pharm-trained ones), we'd have breastpumps paid for by insurance, we'd have pumping and nursing friendly workplaces... And the pharmaceutical companies would be making a lot less money on formula. Next time you engage in a "debate" online (or anywhere, for that matter) on any subject of the Mommy Wars... Remember. Remember how much we could accomplish.

  10. ^ to pantufla13, yes! Like, like, likelikelike!

    Guggie, great post - truly fantastic & spot on.

  11. Thank you Guggie! I have shared this several times already.

  12. I was searching for the ingredients of infant formula when I found your site. I want you to read the #1 ingredient and then read this:

    If the truth (and this might be a bit of a stretch but it is possible) is that infant formula is toxic, then it's time to tell women who feed their infants formula that 1) they and their children are victims and 2) we are all on the same (mama) team. These corporations absolutely MUST come clean with what the ACTUAL risks are with their product. Protecting the bottom line at the expense of the health of a whole generation (more than one, potentially) is not acceptable. We have to stop the piddly arguements about which method of feeding is best and come together and force these corporations to an ethical standard that we hold even our sons and daughters to. Grrrr... I'm going to get my local mother PAC started on this one. We are a force to be reckoned with so don't *F* with us!!!

  13. Very well done, Guggie! I'm going to repost on FB! I kind of get depressed when I see anything recommended by WHO because they are also the organization that has started to recommend RIC for control of STD's, right??

  14. IT may be possible for you and you are lucky it was. However, this research does not take into account that increasingly more and more women in the US are unable to breastfeed. Why? Probably because of all the GMOs, pesticides, fillers, and unhealthy things that are put into our bodies.

    I tried very hard and worked with a number of lactation consultants only to be able to EBF my babies for 3-4 months each ( I have three small children). At that point each time my body was unable to produce milk...nada. So yes it is IMPOSSIBLE for some mothers to produce for their babies.

    I blame the degradation of our food hence why we only eat organic and locally sourced foods now. A little too late unfortunately for my babies.

    On the infant mortality rates...there are a number of factors to consider here. When formula was introduced so was a number VACCINES. C-Sections rates were increasing as well and a plethora of additives were being added to our food along with pesticide use. So what is the culprit? Our good system as a whole and medical community in my opinion.

    1. Tara, you are a GREAT MOM! You sought support and tried hard! Your babies are fortunate to have you as their mama!

  15. Nice artcle. But like carla said, not all women can breastfeed. Some women don't have the mature glands to produce the milk (small boobs). I have three kids.... How much fun was it to have kids sucking on your nipples for 3 hours only to see that they hungry again 15 minutes later? And pumping for 2 hours to get 3 oz of milk? We should bring wet nurses back or have safer alternatives. The longest I breast fed was 3 months with my second one, but that's because she was the most patient. And even then, I still ended up supplementing every other feeding.

  16. I would like to know what the alternatives are. Some mothers can't bf because of medications they must take which would pass into their milk. I'm going with Baby's Only Organic (with non-hexane DHA) but it's still "dead" food. What do you suggest? Can I ferment the formula like yogurt? Can I mix in fresh-pressed juices or broths? Can I use coconut water or milk as a base instead of water? Should I add probiotics or yogurt whey? Should I introduce real food early? I make fish head broth and liquefy the fats (and eyes - thanks for the info on the DHA being in the eyes). Would that make a good substitute for the formula, at least occasionally? Weston A. Price website has a recipe for homemade formula based on RAW LIVER! That's scary. I don't think I can go there. Anyone?

  17. I think the message we are given is that the only safe things for infants under 6 months are 1) human milk or 2) manufactured formula.

    I don't agree with this necessarily, but I don't think it's prudent to discuss other options on here, nor are there adequate studies/medical literature to "prove" that other options can be added to or replace formula.

    If a mama cannot nurse or express milk, my next suggestion is to search for donor milk on sites such as "Eats on Feets" and "Human Milk 4 Human Babies." These sites provide a free area to donate or receive donations of human milk for nursing children.

  18. I also urge mamas to research very carefully when it comes to medications. Doctors seem to be extremely outdated or uninformed when it comes to lactating mothers and drugs. They either don't care enough to research potential options that are compatible, merely telling the mama "this is it" or they are overly cautious, telling her that the drugs are dangerous when in reality they are not.

    This is an up to date, scientific site. Dr. Hale has focused his whole career on determining drug safety and efficacy for lactating women. You can browse the forums, email or call their 1800 hotline: