The Formula Conundrum
The Right Stuff
When and Why to Try Soy continued...
Doctors recommend against using soy for infants recovering from
infant nutrition firm Mead Johnson announced a new baby formula
is about to hit the market. The product features special ingredients: natural
components found in breast milk that the company says have been FDA-recognized
for use in baby formula. Mead Johnson is a WebMD sponsor.
The ingredients -- called DHA and ARA -- are fatty acids that
are important to a baby's developing eyes and brain. Mead Johnson says its
product is the first in the U.S. to include them.
Doctors say a mother's breast milk is still the best nutrition
for your baby. This product is not meant to replace breast milk, but to come
closer to the real thing for women who cannot breastfeed or prefer to feed
their babies from a bottle.
DHA and ARA
Another brand new option is formula containing DHA
(docosahexanoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid). These essential fatty acids,
important for infant brain and eye development, occur naturally in breast milk.
They've been added to European baby formulas for years, and now Mead Johnson's
(a WebMD sponsor) FDA-approved version -- Enfamil LIPIL -- will hit store
shelves here this month.
In a widely-cited recent study, researchers from Dallas' Retina
Foundation of the Southwest, reported that babies fed infant formula enriched
with DHA and ARA were cognitively advanced when compared with babies who
received commercially available formulas without the fatty acids.
"Pediatricians who are educated about [the fatty acids]
have been trying to get it into infant formula for the last decade," says
California pediatrician Bill Sears, MD, who has written more than 30 books on
infant development and parenting.
"The science is overwhelming that it is beneficial in terms
of cognitive development. But even without the science it would be obvious
because nature makes very few mistakes. And there is a large amount of [these
acids] in breast milk."