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Monday, January 14, 2008

The great formula conspiracy...

So did you ever notice how the baby growth chart at your doctor's office has a little label on it that usually has the name of a formula company? Did you ever get a free sample of formula in the mail? Did you ever get a free diaper bag in the hospital that just happened to be filled with formula coupons? Welcome to modern medicine, people. The pharmaceutical companies are in bed with the doctors and it is destined to doom us all. Well, that is a little exaggeration, but it does have a smidgen of truth.

Despite the fact that many academic medical centers have "officially" banned pharmaceutical reps from catering to doctors by providing lunches, fancy dinners, pens, etc., it is still very easy to be influenced by them, despite the best of intentions. Many private practictioners continue to keep contact with drug reps for everything from free samples to dinner for the office staff. This becomes suspect when the prescribing practices are influenced at the expense of evidence-based medicine.

One example of the influence is in growth charts for infants. There are two versions of growth charts out there: the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) version and the World Health Organization (WHO) version. The CDC version is actually based on formula fed babies, not breastfed infants. The WHO version is based on BF infants. Despite the goal of Healthy People 2010 of having 50% of mothers BFing at 6 months and 25% BFing at 1 year, we continue to use the formula based charts for infants in almost all peds clinics.

"studies have suggested that exclusively breastfed infants may have different patterns in weight gain when compared with formula-fed infants. In general, in the first 2 to 3 months of life, breastfed infants tend to gain weight more rapidly than formula-fed infants. From 6 to 12 months, breastfed infants tend to weigh less than formula-fed infants. Health care providers should be aware of these potential differences in growth between breastfed and formula-fed infants" (from this AAP article)

I don't think that it is anything to get up in arms about, but it is good for parents of BF infants to know that their kids tend to be leaner in those post-newborn years. Here is another entry from breastfeeding123 that addresses this issue in detail.

FWIW, while I will maintain that breast milk is the best thing for your kid, formula feeding is the option that works best for some families. To each her own.


Kacie said...

Oh my word. I never would have thought about this if I didn't see your blog.

This will be a great thing to keep in mind when I have kids!

Jenn said...

Wow, interesting Tobi! I would have never known this! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.


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