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    Good news for formula-feeding moms. On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration finalized new health regulations for baby formula. The regulations, which began in February with a temporary plan, now require manufacturers of infant formula to test for dangerous bacteria, such as salmonella and cronobacter, and prove that their formula contains the proper amount of nutrients babies require for normal growth -- both before their formula hits the shelves and before they expire. (The new rules only apply to formulas that are intended for healthy babies who aren't in need of specific food due to health or dietary issues.)

    Sounds good to me! It's a little surprising that these regulations weren't in effect up until this point, but it's certainly a step in the right direction to helping formula-feeding mamas feel comfortable with what they're giving their babies.

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    The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding for at least the first 6 months of baby's life, but let's be honest, that's not an option for every mom. Bottle-feeding moms can take comfort in the fact that formula is a "nutritious, healthy alternative to breast milk," according to Erin Frank, MD, a pediatrician at University Hospital Rainbow Babies Children's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. And it's a choice they shouldn't feel guilty for making.

    But feeding a baby formula can be confusing for new moms. How do you sterilize the bottles? What brand should you choose? How much should you be feeding your baby? We've got the answers to moms' most common questions about formula.

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    For a great many parents, breastfeeding was or is hard work. We trade hours of sleep and sore and bloody nipples in exchange for the promise that we're providing our babies with the best nutrition they can possibly get. We've read studies, listened to our doctors and friends wax poetic about breast milk, and there's no doubt in our minds that breast is simply best.

    But what if the benefits of breastfeeding have been overstated? What if you found out your child could receive the exact same health benefits from formula? A new study is claiming just that.

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    Would you love to end the breastfeeding judgment wars, once and for all? Sick of hearing about women being shamed for every way they feed their babies, whether it's bottle feeding or nursing in public? Well, one woman is on a mission to end that war. Martine Zoer is a mom who breastfed one baby and formula-fed her other, so she's familiar with both sides. She's created "Baby Loves Milk" cards to offer support and encouragement to moms no matter how they feed their babies.

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    A new study reveals that breastfeeding has yet another benefit: it increases the likelihood that children will eat a more healthful diet filled with fruits and vegetables when they are in preschool. The study followed about 10,000 children in Britain, France, Portugal, and Greece over the course of four to five years and found that the longer moms breastfed their babies, the more good foods they consumed when they reached school-age. Comparing formula-fed babies to those who were breastfed at least three to six months, researchers found that those who were never nursed were 20 percent less likely to eat at least one veggie a day and 20 to 30 percent less likely to eat one fruit per day. 

    Unless you think a mom is nothing more than a set of breasts, I sense something very important is missing from this report -- mom herself. 

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  • Rant

    Formula Restrictions Are Unfair to New Moms

    posted by Ericka Sóuter November 1, 2013 at 2:37 PM in Baby
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    The latest strike in the war against moms who don't want to breastfeed? Infant formula makers are no longer allowed to use pictures of children on packaging in China. The country wants doctors to promote breastfeeding with all newborns unless there is a medical reason that prohibits it. As such, formula cans must also include a message promoting breastfeeding over the powder alternative. Now, I do believe breast is best, but these new rules are far too extreme in my opinion.

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    There is a part of me that reads a study that says formula is as good as breast milk for iodine levels and I only see "formula is as good as breast milk." And that is just wrong. Nothing is going to be as good as mama's milk. This is not a knock on formula feeding moms -- I love all you, mamas. I know you're all doing what you can. But saying that formula is as good as breast milk is disregarding all the hard work a woman puts into breastfeeding, and how good it is. It's like saying the amazing babysitter is just as good as mom. Sure, the babysitter could be really fantastic, but she just isn't mom. No one can be. Just like nothing can be breast milk.

    But then there is a part of me that sees "formula is as good as breast milk" and I feel it's some sort of vindication for formula feeding moms. I know I'm a good mom. I also had to leave my kids with the awesome babysitter if you know what I mean.

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    The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has stopped issuing vouchers for baby formula to families that rely on government assistance. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children has been drastically cut due to the government shutdown.

    About 80 percent of the state’s WIC recipients had already received their vouchers and can redeem them through the end of the month, but moms like Chelsea Combs look to be out of luck. She hadn’t picked up her vouchers yet and now doesn’t know how she’s going to feed her baby past the two cans of formula she has in her cupboard at home.

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    Gee. This one's a real eye opener. New research published in the journal Pediatrics has determined why many new moms stop breastfeeding after just a few weeks -- and the reason makes total sense.

    Of the moms who were interviewed for the study, it turns out that those who worried about breastfeeding from the get-go were more likely to quit. Whether it be anxiety over whether the baby would latch on correctly, whether breastfeeding would hurt, or whether they'd produce enough milk to feed their child -- moms who went into breastfeeding with these fears in their head were much more likely to make the switch to formula early on.

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    When I gave birth to my daughter, I knew being a mom would be hard. But I don't know that I realized where the hardships would be, that day in and day out, some of the toughest parts of motherhood would have nothing to do with my baby girl and everything to do with other moms ... judgmental moms. The kind blogger Blair Koenig of STFU, Parents has termed the "sanctimommies." These are the kinds of moms who tell women who are using formula that they're taking the easy way out just because, well, they're MEAN!

    But it's easy to get caught up in the negative. I'll admit it. I do it. I spend my days begging moms to be nice to each other ... but what better way to really do it than to be positive? Instead of telling each other what NOT to say, I wonder, is it time to tell people what TO say?

    So here it is. If you know a "formula mom," here's what you SHOULD be saying to her:

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