Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Baby Formula: Brand Name vs. Store Brand

When my son was born last year, the thought of buying formula after breastfeeding was not a happy one. I wanted to make sure I gave him the best, but just found the price tag hard to swallow. After about 3 months of formula feeding, my sitter mentioned that her daughter who also had a tot my son's age started buying generic baby formula. Her daughter took it to the pediatrician and asked what the difference is. Guess what the answer was - NONE! After that, we were generic all the way!

I have read so many blog posts and articles about the equality of brand name formulas (like Enfamil and Similac) and generic formulas, but with the marketing of these brand names as "better" than generic, it's no surprise that common consumer doesn't think otherwise.

Recently, a landmark federal court jury verdict confirmed that Mead Johnson, the maker of Enfamil LIPIL Infant Formula, has engaged in false advertising by stating that store brand-infant formulas sold at Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens and other retailers, do not provide the same nutritional benefits as Enfamil.

The jury found that Enfamil advertisements were false and misleading, especially since store brand formulas have the same nutrients at the same levels as Enfamil. In the process, they have exposed the truth about infant formula: store-brand infant formulas are nutritionally equivalent to, and confer the same developmental benefits as, the more expensive national brands like Enfamil. Buying a heavily marketed formula from a big pharmaceutical company does not get you any closer to breast milk.

So what does this mean to Moms? It means we could have been saving up to $600 a year by using store brand formulas, which cost half as much as Enfamil LIPIL and other national brands. Luckily I made the switch and assumed the cost savings after just a few months. I felt it was SO important to pass this information along because as a mom on a budget- I know you need that $600 a year!

If you're looking for more back up information check out articles about Brand vs. Store Brand formula on these sites:

Baby Center
PBM Products (manufacturer of store brand formulas)

As an added bonus, Consumer Reports is giving away an excellent source of unbiased recommendations - the Consumer Reports Best Baby Products Book. This trusted manual can help any Mom navigate the world of baby products by recommending necessities that are safe, affordable and suit any lifestyle. This giveaway is all about spreading the word! Here's how to enter:

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Leave a comment here - What's your take on this issue? Does the court ruling change your mind about buying store brand?

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Giveaway ends January 11, 2010 at 7:00 pm EST. Thanks for entering and good luck!

The First Flutters

From the time I found out we were going to have a baby, I wondered when I would start to feel him move. I had been told that the first movement feels so slight that it's easy to miss.

My mom and I went out of town for an overnight stay with my Grandmother the weekend of Memorial Day. I was almost 17 weeks along and was anticipating the first movement to be any day! While we were relaxing on the couch doing a puzzle, I felt this very slight fluttery feeling. It was only a fraction of a second that I could feel it and then it was gone.

Was this the first kick? Was it gas? Was it a weird stomach indigestion thing? No, it was the definitely the first kick. This fluttery thing happening in my body, wasn't my body... it was something else making me feel this way. It was by far one of the coolest moments of my life. It made the pregnancy just a bit more real.

When you're about 4 months along, it seems like we go through this "I'm pregnant, but I just look fat" stage. The stage where none of our clothes fit, it looks like we just have a gut or spare tire, and maternity clothes are still too big. Feeling that first movement during the "fat" stage was actually more of a concrete theres-really-a-baby-in-there moment. I was very fortunate to not have any morning sickness or anything that made me feel like I was pregnant so acepting the fact that I actually was pregnant was kind of weird.

I felt the first kick on May 29, 2008 (yes, I remembered the date!) and then it was gone. I'd try to pay special attention to see if I'd feel another little flutter, but nothing. For at least three weeks, my little guy was still. As the pregnancy progressed, my guy was a kicking machine. Then he'd stop for a couple days, I'd go to the ER and they'd tell me he's just "being quiet," then boom - back to kicking his little heart out.

Then, around week 32, he got the hiccups. I swear they were constant until the day I delivered him. Actually, he still had the hiccups after he was born. Very strange, but they went away. The hiccups felt like a gentle rythmic tap on the inside of my belly. Constantly.

Here's a great place to find more information about fetal movement.