Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Natural or Nonsense?
There is a new infant formula on the market. It's advertisement reads: "Give your baby a restful night. ...Is specifically designed to thicken gently in your baby's tummy, and digest slowly. For a natural way to help keep your baby feeling satisfied. So you can both rest better."
To sum it up, the message is that if you feed your baby this formula, it will digest more slowly implying that baby will sleep for longer, allowing the parents to sleep for longer periods of time as well. I know how exhausting sleep deprivation can be. For Aiden's first 2 months he awoke two times a night to nurse and it was very hard to wake up after a long day of caring for him. So I can see why this product may sell so well. For a new mama who's been awake for 24 hours straight, something that will make your baby sleep sure sounds like a sweet deal. And how nice it sounds that it is, "natural and gentle on their tummies." Who's needs are we addressing here though, really? Baby's or mama's? Sounds like mama's to me. Babies are happy to awake in the night to have their needs met, this is not a problem for them.
Babies have a natural need to awake in the night to eat but for other reasons as well. This formula ad implies that the only reason babies awake in the night is due to hunger. They could be cold, lonely, or have a wet diaper. Babies also have different sleep cycles than adults; they need to awaken periodically to ensure they don't fall into too deep a sleep that they can't awake out of. Adults have our own set of night needs that we don't try to remedy with special chemicals or pills. We may sometimes wake up in the middle of the night to pee. Do we ourselves take special pills every night so that we don't have to pee until the morning? No, that would be un-natural and probably not very healthy. So then why is this company deciding that we should start denying the needs of small babies? This is very concerning to me. I question the advertisement's claim that the formula helps babies sleep better. Sleeping better means sleeping safer and this is only accomplished when all of baby's needs are met with a parent close by to tend to them.
Then there's the part about the formula gently thickening in the babies stomach-yuck! This may cause other digestive problems the following day! And which chemical is it causing the formula to thicken in baby's tummy? I'm pretty sure my breastmilk does not thicken in my baby's stomach. My milk is the exact consistency that my baby's immature digestive system can handle. Then, they go on to say that this is a, "Natural way to help your baby feel satisfied..." Did they just say it was natural!!!???