Talk:Infant formula

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Core information is missing[edit]

This is rather lengthy article, yet the core information is missing: what is in baby formula?

Need an expert in the field to contribute.

Historical development section very vaguely touched on the topic. Nutritional content section jumps directly to substance/element level, but provides no indication from what/which ingredient it is attended. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Okigan (talkcontribs) 04:26, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

Well, I would consider myself more of a lactation researcher, but I too found a lot of basic information missing. Honestly, the Wikipedia article on bread seemed more complete and factual. I would like to think I know a fair amount about infant formula since I often contrast it with my own work, and I would be happy to make a few updates if that is acceptable to all.Seekyetruth (talk) 04:39, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Comment 1[edit]

In saying Nestle is the largest producer of formula in the world, does the article mean "largest company that produces formula" or "company that produces the largest amount of formula"? Mr. Jones 12:35, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Comment 2[edit]

I fulheartedly support breastmilk over formula whenever possible. However, this article written from a biased point of view. I have neutralized some language. 27 Oct 2005. -- IP:

I left your edit about "perceived" unethical marketing, but I deleted your softening of language about the negative health consequences of formula, and inserted references to support the scientific findings. Even when mothers are not able to breastfeed, it's important to be honest about the potential negative consequences of formula. Mamawrites & listens 10:05, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
I am a working scientist. I should note that my daughter gets breast milk. However, you really need to understand that cherry-picker citation of "the scientific findings" as is used in this article is bad citation practice, borders on violating scientific ethics (it would, for example, if used to obtain IRB approval for a new study), and is seriously POV. It's just wrong to cite a single three-author article, and not even one that's heavily cited elsewhere, as evidence that "Many scientists believe _X_" -- no matter how fervently you personally happen to believe _X_. Similarly, pretty much nothing is "well established" if you have to cite a commentary article from a nursing review as your proof that it's true; and elsewhere in this article there are numerous similar problems, for example the use of weasel words like "studies have shown that X is associated with Y" when the abstract for the single article cited highlights that more proof is required to demonstrate a causal relationship between X and Y. Boo hiss. Try to cite the science in a balanced way, or don't cite it at all, and don't make the claims you need it to support. Tls (talk) 05:32, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

"Infant formula is not a breastmilk substitute". What a very, very strange thing to say. Yes, infant formula is a breastmilk substitute. It is marketed for that purpose, it is used for that purpose, and it works for that purpose to the end that I appreciate children fed on formula regularly survive on formula alone until they eat solid food. What on earth is that statement supposed to mean? That infant formula is not the same as breast milk? - 19:00, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

No mention of HIV?[edit]

I'm amazed that this article makes no mention of HIV - one of the most notable reasons for formula feeding (where avoidance of breastfeeding is acceptable, feasible, affordable, sustainable and safe). It's a rather glaring omission. Trezatium 19:50, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

yes. {{sofixit}} dpotter 03:11, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
Anyone interested in correcting this omission could start by reading this WHO report and this from the CDC. Trezatium 13:10, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
I've made a quick change, but I think that much more discussion is needed of all the reasons for not breastfeeding. Any volunteers? Trezatium 14:02, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Many scientists and health organizations other than WHO believe that there is no risk of transmitting HIV/AIDS through breastfeeding. In fact in nations in Africa where AIDS is epidemic, doctors counsel HIV positive mothers to breastfeed there children whenever to strengthen their immune system in case they too contract HIV. And since some of these countries have HIV positive rates of over 50% of their populations, it is a very real concern. Mothering magazine, which is considered to be one of the most diverse and reliable sources of parenting issues and infant health information, has published several articles that call in to question the validity of the WHO's claims about the risks of HIV transfer through breastfeeding.

Seeing double[edit]

Why are there two History sections? Trezatium 15:05, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Reasons for formula feeding[edit]

I've created this new section but it needs a lot more content. Trezatium 15:07, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

I added one obvious thing: about mothers who just choose not to breastfeed. The author of this article obviously don't think that's an option, but it is! I promise!


Posted by Cat:

I'm happy to explain why I made the CHOICE to formula feed as opposed to breast feed.

I conceived and gave birth to twin girls 12 weeks ago. This was my first pregnancy and I was sure that I would be breastfeeding my twins exclusively, that is, until I actually TRIED doing it. My twins were born early and they were not born with the inborn knowledge of how to nurse, nor apparently was I.

They also came at midnight, so I didn't get any sleep the night before, I went an entire day with no sleep on the day they were born, and an entire night with no sleep because they were hungry and crying. As much as I tried to nurse them, they just wouldn't latch on and suck.

By day 2, I hadn't slept in about 44 hours and I was exhausted, in pain, depressed, frustrated, and my babies were STARVING and angry. They hadn't figured out how to nurse and I wasn't giving anything. Not even colostrum, and the colostrum that they did manage to get the day before (from my attempts to pump, which were actually somewhat successful) had to be split between them and that wasn't good at all.  :-(

So, at about 44 hours and my husband, myself, and my two new babies near hysterics, I did the unthinkable.

I asked the nurse for formula.

Ever since then we have supplemented with formula. It allowed my husband and other people to assist me in the feeding of my twins. After 3 weeks I gave up breastfeeding all together. Having to go back to work after 2 weeks (Exempt from FMLA) also made it nearly impossible to keep up enough supply for it to be worth it.

Do I have regrets? Sure... but I am comfortable with the decision to feed formula to my kids.

I used to look down on formula feeders myself, then reality bit me in the rear end.

I suggest that before you judge someone else's life choices, you walk a mile in their shoes! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:06, August 25, 2007 (UTC)

Different scenario and circumstances. My wife gave birth recently this year and it took many hours just to get our son able to adapt into breastfeeding. Yes it was a lot of pain and sacrifices but after 2 days or so he got the hang of it and was fed well. I strongly suggest that if you were unable to breast feed well theres always an alternative, but in cases where a healthy mother that chooses not to breast fed because of little complications is another different story. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:29, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Bless your wife for her faith to believe in your son for those two days or more. I hope others will forgive me if I consider it an act of faith to nurse through hard times.Seekyetruth (talk) 06:34, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Old History Section[edit]

I've removed the older History section, which did not cite any sources, was mostly duplication (and in some respects contradiction) to the newer, larger, well-referenced history section. No personal axe to grind here: I've included the older section below, and we can certainly work the content back in if anyone feels the urge. Some citations would be nice, though.

For centuries, attempts to create a breast milk substitute resulted in high infant mortality. The first formula to significantly lower the artificial feeding death rate was developed by Henri Nestlé in the 1860s in response to the high mortality rate among infants in Switzerland in foundling homes (orphanages). It was a combination of cow's milk and cereals and was called Farine Lactee. Although the mortality and morbidity (illness) rates remained much higher in infants who did not receive breast milk, infant formula became increasingly popular during the 20th century as advertising entered its golden age. The medical community supported the use of infant formula because it was promoted as being more "scientific"--more easily measured and the nutrient content of the milk supposedly ensured. The medical community, as part of the larger culture, was subject to the same influences and trends then popular.
The post World War II "baby boom" provided a market for the expanding infant formula industry. Between the years of 1946 and 1956, the already diminishing incidence of breastfeeding was halved in the United States, leaving only 25% of infants still being breastfed at the time of hospital discharge. During the 1960s, when birth rates tapered off, infant formula companies began marketing campaigns in non-industrialized countries. Unfortunately, poor sanitation led to steeply increased mortality rates among infants fed formula prepared with contaminated (drinking) water. Organized protests, the most famous of which was the Nestlé boycott of 1977, called for an end to unethical marketing. The boycott is ongoing, due to marketing practices which violate the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes, in the U.S. and worldwide.
Since the 1980s, the US and many other governments have made increasing breastfeeding rates a priority in improving the lifelong health of their citizens.

dpotter 21:02, 15 October 2006 (UTC)


Is this article supposed to be about infant formulas or the horrors of bottle feeding? I can't tell! Doesn't take a genius to figure out who edited THIS article. 20:33, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

There's no question that this is a controversial topic with strong opinions on both sides. Contrary to your suggestion above, many authors with many differing viewpoints have edited this article. Please try to contribute constructively by highlighting which statements you have POV concerns with and recommending alternatives. dpotter 16:54, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
This is an extremely well referenced article - sometimes when all the facts are presented in a neutral forum there's an appearance of non-neutrality when traditional avenues (like advertising) are dominated by non-neutral parties. Ciotog 05:35, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

The latest NPOV tag claims that the "resurgence of breast feeding" section isn't needed. I disagree with this claim: it would be improper to omit the prevailing trend of formula usage for the last 30 years from our "History of Formula" section. The article chronicles the rise of formula's popularity to its peak (in the U.S.) in the 1970's, and is correct to relate its decline. dpotter 14:48, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Did another review of the article. Personally, I'm still not very happy with it yet. I think that, in general, the article includes more information than is necessary in an encyclopedia entry - and it does so to acknowledge related (but not necessarily pertinent) concerns by anti-formula or pro-formula zealots. Here are some ideas for discussion:

  • The Reasons for Formula Feeding section should be removed and replaced by a single sentence in another section that acknowledges some of the most common reasons.
  • The Controversy and Science should be reworked to a smaller size that summarizes and powerfully states conclusions developed from modern research. The controversy (political and commercial) over this topic should also be discussed.

dpotter 15:09, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm confused with the statement "common reasons" for formula feeding. A more accurate desription would be "medical reasons" for formula feeding. I believe the common reasons for formula feeding are more along the lines of avoiding the discomfort and inconvience of nursing. Yes, I know there are some that don't consider these valid reasons, but I'm not arguing their validity. I'm arguing that they are common reasons mothers choose to use formula.

I agree that the article is not balanced. Why is there a need to "powerfully state conclusions"? Is the objective to be powerful or balanced? If balance is the objective, it would be wise to include viewpoints that are more skeptical, such as Sydney Spiesel's story on breast feeding vs. infant formula, and how some of the benefits might be overstated ( I also appreciate this from Sydney's closing statement:

"... I am strongly convinced that there are two kinds of nutrition, physical and psychological, and that both are equally important. This conviction persuades me that it's better for a mother to formula-feed her baby pleasurably than to breast-feed and hate it."

I'm not asking everyone agree with these statements, but that we better represent those who do choose to use formula. Speck271 16:39, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

My request to 'powerfully state conclusions' was a poor choice of words. I meant 'clearly state conclusions', although I think that clear from the context of my comment. IN response to your other point, I don't feel that balance of varying opinions should be the objective of this article: accuracy should be the objective. As I mentioned before, where controversy exists, it should be mentioned, but that doesn't mean that unsupported opinions should receive equal coverage as well-researched science. -- dpotter (talk) 22:27, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

I agree this page is an advertisement for LLL. Could we please have a balanced page about infant formula including the uses and advancements of infant formula, not about how breast is best? There are many reputable studies out there about the advances of formula and how formula fed babies of today are equal to breastfed babies. There is no section on the various types of bottles and nipples which is a major part of formula feeding.

"There are many reputable studies out there about the advances of formula and how formula fed babies of today are equal to breastfed babies" Really? Cite them, please. I've read quite a few, and have rarely seen more than a handful with very small samples, much less "many reputable" ones.


Posted by Cat:

I don't need a study to tell me that formula fed babies are "equal" to breastfed babies. The baby boom generation has come up with MORE technological advances than any other generation in history. You can thank Baby Boomers, the formula fed generation, for the very internet we are arguing on. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:14, August 25, 2007 (UTC)

I have no opinion about formula v. breastfeeding and no interest in the debate. I came here to learn about formula and could only find this article about the alleged superiority of breastfeeding. All the controversy should be a separate page. This should be the history and properties of formula only. Migaila (talk) 16:20, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

I don't understand the above point about the baby boom generation. One could just as easily point out that they are incredibly overweight or that they drove the country deeper into debt...but what would that have to do with the article? What DOES matter is that the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization both advocate breastfeeding. This entire page feels like an Evolution debate, where the (admittedly current) empirical-scientific viewpoint is accused of lacking neutrality. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:03, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

Sigh. What to do with a huge list of highly selective citations?[edit]

I note that the problematic edits also inserted a huge list of illnesses that are "risks" of formula feeding. This list includes citations. That is good. The problem with the list, of course, is that it appears to have been carefully constructed by citing one or a few articles that happen to be on a particular side of each question. Indeed, looking at the articles (try it) will reveal that in many cases even the articles' authors are uncertain of the strength of their results, or that there are response or review articles in the same or later issues of the same journals that were (of course) not cited. Fixing this would require considerable effort, and, of course, it *is* the case that there are many illnesses whose risk does appear to be increased by formula feeding; the problem is that the way the list is presented distorts the evidence and enhances its credibility and relevance beyond what is correct and NPOV. For example, "cancer" is in the list, but of course the statistical evidence that cancer risk in general is increased by formula feeding is essentially nonexistent, though the list's author appears to have found a single paper arguing that the risk of one particular type of cancer may be increased.

In essence, the list is a rather cynical attempt to distort the evidence to scare mothers about infant formula. It's kind of like a long list of the health benefits of smoking (yes, there actually are some!) with a citation or two affixed to each one (okay, it is not that pernicious but it's sure along those lines). I think it probably does not belong in the article in its current form but would like feedback from others. Tls (talk) 04:49, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

POV vandalism esp. involving citations[edit]

I'm concerned about the recent series of edits by (all without summaries, of course). This article used to be full of hyperbole from every concievable angle on breast and formula feeding, all, of course, either unsupported by citations or "supported" by citations that didn't actually include the facts they were cited in support of. I and a few others have gradually gone through the article over time inserting citation-needed tags (some of which are of course attached to claims that probably *are* factual and some of which are probably *not* factual) and removing unsupported POV language like "Most scientists", "it is well established that" etc. where there's no supporting citation establishing "most", "well established", etc. I think this has generally been done in a careful and NPOV way and made the article stronger even though it's on a subject many have strong emotional opinions on.

Then comes along some bozo like and in the space of three or four interlocking edits, does the following things: 1) replace a bunch of citation-needed tags with embedded hyperlinks to La Leche League position papers (hint hint, nobody's position paper on anything is suitable as a citation for factual support). 2) Delete a bunch of other citation-needed tags without any explanation. 3) Strengthen a bunch of the POV language around the deleted citation-needed tags so the unsupported claims are even stronger. 4) Insert a long list of references at the end of the article seemingly cut-and-pasted from one of the aforementioned position papers' bibliographies, with no specific citation or indication of relevance.

A great example of how not to "contribute" to Wikipedia from an IP address that hasn't ever "contributed" to any other article. Please, let's try to make this article a good example of how to say something neutral and factually supported about a controversial subject, not a good example of how to abuse Wikipedia's freedoms. Tls (talk) 04:38, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

IQ myth AGAIN!?[edit]

How many times does this ridiculous myth need to be debunked before the pro-BF zealots get it through their skulls that breast milk has NOTHING to do with IQ? (talk) 13:03, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

The BBC isn't a good reference try:

The Association Between Duration of Breastfeeding and Adult Intelligence

Erik Lykke Mortensen, PhD; Kim Fleischer Michaelsen, MD,ScD; Stephanie A. Sanders, PhD; June Machover Reinisch, PhD

JAMA. 2002;287:2365-2371.

The IQ benefit of breastfeeding are fairly well established so it won't be overturned by one or two negative studies. There are studies using expressing that show it is the breast milk not the breastfeeding (or possibly the content of Formula having a negative effect). Another study using sibling comparison also show cognitive gains from breastfeeding, which eliminates maternal IQ, and a host of other possible confounding factors.

Every time infant Formula is reformulated the results may change. Although it is unlikely they'll fix this without knowing the precise cause, possibly it is some sort of fatty acid effect, so modern Formulas may be better. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:22, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Twins mom..[edit]

I really feel that if your children are born to early and unable to survive via natural means, well just as in the animal world, they would pass on. Although medical advancements are wonderful, the body is self aborting these fetuses for a reason.

I too am a mother of twins, it sounds like you chose a poor hospital that failed to supply you with proper information and services. I breastfed my twins for 5.5 months and then gave in to the constant hounding of how easy it is to bottle feed, what a nightmare it is. I have always lived by the rule that I will not feed anything to anyone that I would not eat myself, it is amazing how many mothers I see that say how gross it smells and that they would never try it yet they feed it to a tiny helpless child and assume it is good for them.

The most interesting article I have read recently is

Through the research I have completed, artificial feeding is detrimental to our society. I work with one of those government funded programs and see hundereds of children ever week, the differences between the artifically fed and naturally fed children is astounding. For those that think it is a choice of how you feed your child, go buy it yourself! Also don't expect the Medicaid program to cover the average 286 additional doctors visits you will have in your life.

Fivestring2 (talk) 16:05, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

  • I feel sorry for you and your twisted way of looking at the world. Self-aborting these fetuses? Wow, is all I can say. The research you have completed? Where is it? Because you don't seem to cite anything but your own "animal world" opinion. One more- 286 additional doctors visits? Once again, "figures" without any citations to back it up, typical. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:44, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Off-topic, NPOV, Several sections better suited to separate wiki[edit]

Many of the sections are of only tangential interest to the subject of Infant Formula and are better suited to a separate wiki about "Breastfeeding vs Infant Formula".

The list of references to "potential risks of infant formula fed infants" cites articles that are opinion or off-topic (the articles are not about Infant Formula, but rather, are about Breastfeeding).

As for NPOV, a contentious tone permeates the article ("aggressively marketed") in sections of low encyclopedic interest in an Infant Formula article wiki. (talk) 20:20, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

The cited articles will compare infant formula against a standard, just as many other compounds - in the case of infant nutrition, breastfeeding is the standard to compare alternatives against. That infant formulas are often aggressively marketed is not the fault of wikipedia. Ciotog (talk) 01:12, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Most of the articles do not compare Infant Formula to breastfeeding at all. For instance, the first article about diarrhea (you can read the abstract at pubmed) was a study about babies fed by women with varying levels of a chemical in their breastmilk. Incidentally, the authors, in the abstract, point out that the observed benefits (of breastmilk vs breastmilk) disappear within 6 months of breastfeeding cessation. While such an article might be appropriate to a "Breastfeeding vs Infant Formula" wiki, it does not directly pertain to Infant Formula. A link to a "Breastfeeding vs Infant Formula" would be a more appropriate place to discuss the relative merits (both direct and implicit) of Breastfeeding as compared to Infant Formula.

A discussion of standards on a wiki about Infant Formula should be based on the most widely available formulations of Infant Formula (de facto standard) or a de jure standard (e.g., FDA requirements). Breastmilk is not a type of Infant Formula. The wiki is called "Infant Formula" not "Should you use Infant Formula or Breastmilk?".

With respect to aggressive marketing, this is a claim that is difficult to substantiate. Infant Formula doesn't appear in the top 10 on surveys of mass mailings. I've received far more credit card offers than offers for Infant Formula. I've never seen Infant Formula in lists of sources of Advertising Revenue nor is the Infant Formula a particularly large industry relative to other industries that take advantage of direct mail. (talk) 19:16, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

Advertising for formula is (not surprisingly) targeted at the popualtions who may want to use it (i.e. pregnant and lactating mothers). Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 20:30, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Yes but does this statement have any encyclopedic interest? It's unsubstantiated and would be very difficult to substantiate (marketing for how long? Aggressive compared to what?). Searches of major news publication don't turn up any spike in activity over this issue.
As for the WHO article, it mentions Infant Formula exactly twice, both in the same paragraph. More importantly, the context of both mentions is that certain kinds of Infant Formula are suitable breast-milk substitutes, to quote "It requires a suitable breast-milk substitute, for example an infant formula prepared in accordance with applicable Codex Alimentarius standards". This document does not "strongly advocate breastfeeding over the use of infant formula"; it barely mentions infant formula at all. The document isn't even exclusively about infant nutrition - it's about infant and young child nutrition. (talk) 21:22, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Simply removing everything you don't like is not the way. You'd be better off reaching consensus here and then making changes, or making gradual changes and following the WP:BRD cycle. JFW | T@lk 21:53, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
I am reminded of the arguments of cigarette companies in Thankyou for smoking really. I'll have a look at the language and maybe a few adjectives can go. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 22:05, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
To: As Jfdwolff said, simply removing everything you don't like is not an appropriate way to edit a wiki article. Please try to reach a concensus here before deleting major sections of the article. If I reverted edits in the article in error (because there was a concensus), I apologize, but it didn't appear to me that a concensus had been reached. croll (talk) 22:32, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

After some issues with the 3RR last night, I've had some time to read over the article a bit more closely. Personally, I don't see any issues with POV but maybe I'm missing something. I did see some issues that I think might be better categorized as "clean-up". I'd consider renaming the sub-section "Resurgence of Breastfeeding" to "Declining Use of Formula", and the list about "Reasons for using infant formula" needs to be moved as it doesn't fit under its current subheader. Perhaps what the anony-user was most concerned with was the Controversy and Science section, which did seem rather messy to me with a LOT citations missing since September 2007 (somewhat bothersome for a "science" section). Perhaps that section can be cleaned up and the other portions in the article that compare Infant Formula to breastfeeding could be moved into it. croll (talk) 20:41, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

I see numerous POV problems in the article. And extraneous stuff; eg, bottle feeding, which is related to but not part of the infant formula topic. --Una Smith (talk) 03:30, 22 March 2008 (UTC)
The formula/breastfeeding debate can draw quite emotional responses from both sides. This article has attracted many formula proponents who are unhappy with some of the international findings and proposals. Agree we need to fix cites. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 20:54, 21 March 2008 (UTC)


Una Smith: Specifically, what POV problems do you see in the article? It makes it difficult to address problems unless we all know what is at issue. If you can provide specific examples of what is in violation of the NPOV policy it will be easier to fix. Thanks. (That said, the recent edits look to have made an improvement as far as I'm concerned and did cull some extraneous, tangential stuff.) croll (talk) 21:03, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

This question wasn't directed at me, but I'd like to answer anyway: I was (and am) primarily unhappy with the risks section. The rest is wordy and contains information that belongs to other articles, but the risks section provides no context and very little content. The list read very much like "all the medical-sounding keywords that I found one day related to formula feeding." I checked fewer than ten of the listed sources and found one that said there was no risk at all and two that weren't related to the claimed subject. No effort has been made to reduce duplications (eg, the overlap between "mortality" and "SIDS") or to organize the information sensibly. None of the risks of breast milk were present at that time (thank you, Una Smith).

Finally, the primary remaining issue in that section is context. Some of these risks are significant everywhere (hospitalization for diarrhea), some are relevant only to developing countries or specific situations, and many are really very minor. For example, if every single baby in the world was exclusively breastfed, we'd reduce the worldwide incidence of childhood leukemia by an average of just one-half case per country each year. One of the breast cancer papers (which I just checked) actually concludes the opposite, using unambiguous language like, "We found no evidence." The odds ratio on another one includes 1.0 (no difference at all) in the 95% confidence interval. But a non-technical person could be forgiven for looking at this list and interpreting "Cancer[72][73][74][75][76][77]" as "formula feeding clearly has a substantial effect on babies getting cancer." The average reader doesn't check the references. IMO the article should not be so decontextualized as to make checking every reference necessary.

I think the sources here need to be systematically verified. I'd love to see the section expanded to show absolute risk reductions. It might even be appropriate to organize the section according to what's generally believed, and what effects are disputed or so tiny as to be unimportant. And yes, IMO, listing unlikely and frightening diseases with zero context and dubious references should be the very definition of WP:POV. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:16, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Source checking[edit]

I think we're going to need to do some serious source checking. Cardiovascular Disease[1] was listed as an adverse outcome for formula feeding. However, the list source says things like the benefits are "small and of little public health importance" and "no substantial long-term protective effect of breastfeeding." WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:31, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

I tried following through some of the sources for the claims in the Risks Increased section. Trying to perform a comprehensive review and reorganization will be challenging to say the least. I've done the following which will hopefully help some:
1. Added PMID references to all cited journal articles (so at least somebody can more easily see if the claim is actually supported by the research or see if the article is relevant to the topic)
2. Added a couple of URLs to journal articles that are available in full for free.
3. Removed "Sepsis" as well as "Haemophilus Influenzae Meningitis" due to duplication with other entries ("meningitis" and "Haemophilus influenzae" respectively).
4. Removed "Pyloric stenosis" since the source authors actually state at the end of their paper that their study outcome was contradicted by other studies so more research is necessary before coming to a more definitive conclusion. Fulara (talk) 15:49, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Do you think we have enough information to split it in to "risks increased" and "risks slightly or possibly increased"? I suspect that the first list would have about four items in it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:06, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Trying to find an acceptable cutoff between slightly and markedly increased would probably cause contention. After viewing about 1/4 of the sources, I can see a few ways to split them, but I think the easiest way to split them would be to divide them based on what systems they affect (digestive, respiratory, etc.) I just tried doing this...hopefully making an improvement and not introducing too many errors. This reorg didn't take into account the validity/invalidity of any of the individual list items or sources though. That should probably come next if the general categorizations are deemed reasonable. Also, some descriptive text about the details of when the particular problem may occur (e.g. exclusive evaporated cow's milk, soy milk, exclusive formula feeding from birth, etc.) would be helpful at some point. Then, in the future, items can be added/removed as discoveries are made. Fulara (talk) 15:06, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Fermented non-human milk[edit]

Does the fermented milk discussed in PMID 12556942 qualify as an infant formula for purposes of this article? --Una Smith (talk) 03:50, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

It looks to me like this might not be formula. I don't think infant formula is usually fermented though the abstract does mention that fermented is similar to unfermented milk save for the breakdown of lactose. One line from the abstract that stood out to me is "The role of fermented milk in complementary feeding and in particular for the prevention of anaemia is an innovative theme, recently focused." - leads me to think that it isn't yet a standard practice... (talk) 01:42, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
Do we have any evidence that anyone uses it as a substitute for breast milk? That's the minimum definition of infant formula. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:18, 24 March 2008 (UTC)


User:Arnshea tagged the article {{unbalanced}}; I have asked the user to explain why here. --Una Smith (talk) 23:46, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Thanks Una, while reading this article I got a strong feeling that infant formula wasn't liked by some of the contributors. I haven't seen many articles with a section full of references Infant_Formula#Risks_Increased and wonder if all of those cites are legitimate.Arnshea (talk) 16:48, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Now there is a section on the opposite, Infant Formula#Risks Decreased, which helps somewhat re balance. One issue not well addressed is that risks are relative. Infant formula may be inferior to breast milk, but superior to other foods. At this point, the article does not clearly define the context in which infant formula is being compared, nor to what it is being compared. Also, there is the matter of use: infant formula as complementary food in addition to breast milk, or as substitute food in place of breast milk. Finally, given that lack of balance that Arnshea notes, the references cited may need to verified. --Una Smith (talk) 19:17, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
The WHO recommendation should be in the lead as it is a pretty improtant consensus of world opinion on formula/breastfeeding wouldn't you think? Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 19:29, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
how so? In another section it states that less than 40% of babies are actually fed breast milk. That sounds very far from a consensus to me. Also there are many studies that show that formula is completely safe and has no long term consequences for the baby, and don't give me that 2 iq points cr&p thanks (talk) 23:36, 17 June 2012 (UTC)


From the lead I have deleted this:

A 2001 report of the World Health Organization strongly advocates breastfeeding over the use of infant formula except in certain unusual circumstances.[2]

The report does not "strongly advocate breastfeeding over the use of infant formula except in certain unusual circumstances." The report encourages exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, and "nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues". Infant formula, properly prepared, is a nutritionally adequate and safe complimentary food. The report refers to an infant formula as a "suitable breast-milk substitute" when "prepared in accordance with applicable Codex Alimentarius standards". This report should be mentioned in the lead, but not as it was. --Una Smith (talk) 19:35, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Done. --Una Smith (talk) 19:42, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Ummmm...I think we forgot the encouraged bit...also the big problem in most countries was that it was difficult for many people to prepare formula to guidelines. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 19:47, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
eg states this:

Conscious that every year as much as 55% of infant deaths from diarrhoeal disease

and acute respiratory infections may be the result of inappropriate feeding practices, that less than 35% of infants worldwide are exclusively breastfed for even the first four months of life, and that complementary feeding practices are frequently ill-timed, inappropriate and unsafe

Page 8 says

10. Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and

development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. To achieve optimal growth, development and health, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life.2 Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Exclusive breastfeeding from birth is possible except for a few medical conditions, and unrestricted exclusive breastfeeding results in ample milk production.

This article is about infant formula, not breast milk nor breastfeeding. Expressed breast milk also has some technical challenges, which is why WHO encourages breastfeeding, not just breast milk. --Una Smith (talk) 19:54, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree. For instance, since vitamin D is not typically transmitted from mother to child through breast milk, some doctors recommend a vitamin D supplement to parents that are exclusively breastfeeding (particularly in northern climates where sunlight exposure is limited).--Arnshea (talk) 18:48, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Nevertheless, the recommendations are the recommendations. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 19:54, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

18. The vast majority of mothers can and should breastfeed, just as the vast majority of infants can

and should be breastfed. Only under exceptional circumstances can a mother’s milk be considered unsuitable for her infant. For those few health situations where infants cannot, or should not, be breastfed, the choice of the best alternative – expressed breast milk from an infant’s own mother, breast milk from a healthy wet-nurse or a human-milk bank, or a breast-milk substitute fed with a cup, which is a safer method than a feeding bottle and teat – depends on individual circumstances. Infants who are not breastfed, for whatever reason, should receive special attention from the health and social welfare system since they constitute a risk group.

Hmmm - geee, 35% do breastfeed and the vast majority should according to the WHO report..this needs to be reflected no matter what article it is in, anything else is a pretty big misinterpretation.Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 19:57, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

No argument there. --Una Smith (talk) 20:13, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Agreed but I think this recommendation should be the lead on a breastfeeding or breast milk wiki, not an infant formula wiki. I'm not sure exactly which section fits it but I don't think the first paragraph is the place.--Arnshea (talk) 18:48, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
How about in the newly created "Choosing to use infant formula" section? Turning the WHO info into the first paragraph of that section would be appropriate, I think. There would even be room to explain why WHO recommends this, from problems with overly diluted formula to benefits of breast milk. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:27, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
People, have a read of Wikipedia:Lead section - this spells it out. The WHO bit needs to stay there as a consensus overview adopted by an international organization on the whole issue. By all means, the lead needs to be expanded to cover other salient points. Have a look at GAs and FAs, this is how its done. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 20:01, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
I was thinking about WP:LEAD, actually, when I left my earlier note. Specifically I was thinking about the principle in that guidelines which recommends that the lead summarize the contents of the article. WHO doesn't seem to be mentioned anywhere in the article except in the lead. This needs to be fixed. I suppose that it could be fixed by killing the WHO recommendation, but I'd rather see the information included -- which means that it needs to be represented in the body of the article, not just the lead. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:03, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Should be pretty easy to whip up a nice para, starting with the material in the lead and embellishing from the report. The above quotations from the report sum it up pretty nicely. Wanna do the honours? Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 06:51, 28 March 2008 (UTC)


The baby feeding from a bottle is cute, but not very relevant here, because the bottle could contain breast milk. Can anyone find a more relevant photo? One that illustrates infant formula, rather than bottle feeding? --Una Smith (talk) 19:54, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Not a bad thought, though there is then the problem of advertising (?) a particular brand maybe...Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 19:58, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
How about a photo of powder and liquid formulas not in the original packaging? Plus the mixing apparatus and the feeding apparatus. The refridgerator, the warmer, the sterilizer, the potable water, etc. Breastfeeding is *so* much simpler than feeding either infant formula or EBM. --Una Smith (talk) 20:38, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Much better idea...musing on advertising, there was a girl handing out promotional bags of S26 at the cinema on the weekend...weird...Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 20:41, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

WP:VER, WP:OR and WP:RS[edit]

Please make sure that this article cites references for all material. At present many unverifiable statements are included. I have tagged the page and will remove unsourced statements in the future. If any editors need to discuss how to follow WP:RS, WP:OR and WP:VER please contact me.

The material in the article to date focuses overly much on USA and Europe. The history of infant formula in the 3rd world would be a worthy addition. SmithBlue (talk) 08:06, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Erm...right. I haven't seen you edit the page before and hence am puzzled by the above statement of you having placed tags. Placing specific tags rather than general ones would be best; a WHO paragraph (see two sections above) will go some way to addressing the lack of 3rd world refs. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 08:14, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Apologies - edit didnt go thru for some reason - me or system. Have put tags in now - acknowledge your preference for specific tags but have decided to put in general tags as the more I read the less confident I am that all the article is based on references. [Infant Feeding in the 20th Century: Formula and Beikost] clearly states "Infant feeding in the United States during the last 30 y of the 20th century was marked by increases in breast-feeding and formula feeding and a decrease in feeding of cow’s milk" but somehow is included as a reference for a section titled "Decreasing popularity" when its is in fact saying the opposite. I agree that specific tags are better if its just a case of needing to reference non-controversial material but areas of the lead and section "Decreasing popularity" suggest bigger problems, not all of which have yet been identified individually.

Any suggestion on what we should do with the section "Decreasing popularity"? SmithBlue (talk) 11:01, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Inaccurate claim in section : Risks increased[edit]

Section "Risks increased" reads "In studies, formula-feeding increases a baby's risk of the following conditions:" and then lists health problem and sources.

The problem here is that all the sources do not say that "formula-feeding increases a baby's risk", which would be a causal connection. The first study I read says "If causal, the small reduction in blood pressure associated with breastfeeding could confer important benefits...", the study makes no statement that the correlation found is causal. Nor do the studies show that a specific baby's risk is increased by the use of infant formula - all they show is that the group of formula fed babies is at greater risk than the group of non-formula fed babies.

The quickest solution is to change the line, "In studies, formula-feeding increases a baby's risk of the following conditions:" to something like "The use of infant formula has been linked to increases in the following ailments:". SmithBlue (talk) 11:36, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

What is the purpose in section "Risks decreased" for the sentence "None of these infectious diseases are present in infant formula." It seems to be WP:OR, perhaps attempting to re-assure the naive reader? But then why isnt the same reassurance given for the section: "Risks increased"? Puzzled. SmithBlue (talk) 11:43, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Opening line of lead reads "Infant formula is an artificial substitute for human breast milk." - I suggest that as some/most? infant formula is made from cows milk we need to consider if we can improve on the word artificial and be more accurate and NPOV. "manufactured substitute"? SmithBlue (talk) 12:03, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, all of those need some serious source verification. You can see my complaints about them above. Feel free to delete anything that is unsupported. It would also be nice to organize the items usefully. Two things you'll need to know:
  • We accept statistical changes between groups as indicative risk: we don't have to prove that this individual smoker's lung cancer was caused by cigarettes to know that tobacco smoking can cause lung cancer, after all.
Agreed but we dont say for example "chromium supplementation increases the risk of cancer", even though it may for some groups, because there are other groups where it (hypothetically) decreases cancer. Its not the "Risks" heading that concerns me - its the first sentence in it. SmithBlue (talk) 10:04, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Risk factors are (by definition) strictly correlational, not causal. If infant formula use were significantly related to having a great-great-grandparent with Alzheimer's disease, or voting for George Bush, etc., then we would include it, even though there's no plausible mechanism for connecting the two and no likelihood that making a different choice in food could change the outcome. (Must run for now.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:51, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
I dis-agree that risk factors are never causal - eg - smoking has been shown to cause cancerous changes in cells, alcohol slows reflexes making drink driving more risky. SmithBlue (talk) 10:04, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
The point behind a risk factor is that it's indicative of risk. A behavior can be correlated with an outcome because it causes the outcome. However, the mere fact of something being a risk factor says nothing at all about causality. Risk factor just means "stuff that's correlated with." WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:08, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
I get to dis-agree with you often - hope thats working OK with you cause I find our work interesting. We agree that behaviours are often included in risk factor lists. And that risk factors are not necessarily causally related. And that the first sentence of section is not how risk factors should be presented? SmithBlue (talk) 06:27, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
The article probably needs to mention that, as it is so often misunderstood. There is a lot of socioeconomic correlation between infant feeding practices and other factors affecting health. I have an old USA ethnographic study that found higher economic and educational status of women was correlated with greater use of infant formula; today, judging by baby magazines, the correlation is reversed. --Una Smith (talk) 06:13, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
It would probably be helpful to add either the number needed to harm or number needed to treat statistic as calculated for each of these. This would provide some context and help distinguish miniscule risks from significant ones. Also, what does everyone think of a name change to the sections from "Risks increased"/"Risks decreased" to "Potential Risks"/"Potential Benefits"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Arnshea (talkcontribs) 19:17, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
It simply isn't possible to expect that from the scientific literature, and it would be misleading. For example the cited link on Autoimmune Thyroid disease (something I know a little about) refers only to risks with Soy milk based formula. This is not unexpected, Soy protein is known to affect thyroid function, but even if the study gave a "number needed to harm" it would need to caveat that with "Soy only". Sometimes you just have to read the cited studies to understand the risk, it is a mistake to think everything can be reduced to a single number. Note also that autoimmune thyroid disease has a strong genetic basis, so it is highly likely the increased risk only applies to some of those on Soy milk based formula, but that is speculation on my part. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:43, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
Like the name change idea and am interested in hearing more on how we can (hopefully avoiding OR) quantify the risks. SmithBlue (talk) 10:04, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

"Usage since 1970s" (was "Declining popularity")[edit]

The Fomon refernce was used to support a paragraph implying, ("negative publicity against the formula industry"), that formula use was declining. Actually the article shows in Figure 8 a large sweeping % movement towards using formula for infants aged over 3 months. I have temporaily deleted the unbalanced material - if there is data showing a decrease pls bring that here quickly. Accuracy on the content of references is needed - otherwise this article looks silly and unbelievable. SmithBlue (talk) 11:20, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, the Fomon article was being cited incorrectly: it describes a trend toward increased use in breastfeeding for newborns, and a deferment in the transition to cows milk, with a corresponding increased use of formula between the end of breastfeeding and introduction of cows milk. I will replace some of the removed content with appropriate citations. -- dpotter (talk) 17:14, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, that is definitely an improvement. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:44, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

I do not believe that this section should be in the article on instant formula as it deals with breastfeeding almost exclusively. If one could show clear evidence that the move back to breastfeeding had an impact on infant formula consumption, then it could find its place here.(Quaeitur (talk) 15:00, 31 July 2008 (UTC))


The article really needs a definition of "infant formula", better sooner than later, because it sets the scope for the rest of the article. "Not breastmilk" does not seem adequate. --Una Smith (talk) 06:07, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

Here's a link to the USFDA's definition: It seems to be about the same as what's said in the lede, to me Ciotog (talk) 03:18, 4 April 2008 (UTC)


The word artificial has been inserted and removed recently. The edit summary on the last change promised a talk page message. Where is the explanation? WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:07, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Section#Inaccurate claim in section:Risks increased (admittedly not helpfully indexed) "Opening line of lead reads "Infant formula is an artificial substitute for human breast milk." - I suggest that as some/most? infant formula is made from cows milk we need to consider if we can improve on the word artificial and be more accurate and NPOV. "manufactured substitute"? SmithBlue 28 March 2008
Was not aware of recent inclusion of "artificial". SmithBlue (talk) 09:54, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Most recently, Citiog restored it, and promised an explanation here in the edit summary. Artificial can be overinterpreted, especially if you define "infant formula" to include low viscosity homemade food for babies, but it may be the best we can do. The editor who wants to include the word needs to explain his/her thinking, though. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:20, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes, sometimes edits get lost (especially when you have kids). Anyway, the definition of artificial is "not natural" or "manufactured", and it seems rather odd that anyone is questioning how that doesn't apply to infant formula. Everything in the world is derived from natural sources, ultimately. I don't think anyone is including home-made products, so I'm not sure why that was brought up...
"Artificial breast milk" is a relatively common term for infant formula, when you're not just saying "infant formula". It seems to me that those opposed to the word "artificial" need to state their case as to why it's inappropriate in this context. Ciotog (talk) 02:42, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
On looking into it further I guess "artificial baby milk" is more common. Personally I find this phrase mildly disturbing... Ciotog (talk) 03:06, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
"Artificial" has a range of meanings and connotations - when applied to food it has a negative (POV) connotation. And a meaning that the "food" contains little or nothing "natural". We are aiming for a NPOV on this "food" and need to find words that are NPOV in this context. And we need to find words that don't convey incorrect meanings. I am suggesting that, while artificial is not "wrong" here, manufactured is a "better" word given that infant formula does very often contain "natural" foods. "Manufactured", as you say, is one definition of artificial and is more neutral in connotation for food and also allows for ingredients to be both "artificial" and "natural". SmithBlue (talk) 05:36, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Although I don't associate a strong negative connotation to "artificial" when applied toward food, I am perfectly comfortable with "manufactured" as a substitute. By the way: I did some digging through the article's history, and found that the term 'artificial' entered the introduction in April of 2006 [1], coupled with several other changes. From my read the author was doing pure editing without any specific POV focus -- dpotter (talk) 06:09, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

A classic homemade recipe for infant formula is fresh milk, water, and a bit of sugar or starch (molasses and malted flour seem to have been popular options in the US). Some recipes add egg yolk or suggest adding meat broth to the menu for older babies. Do any of those ingredients sound artificial to you? Does the classic recipe sound any more artificial than Cream of Wheat? If someone offered you a cup of beef bouillon or a soft-boiled egg, would you say those were artificial foods? This is the problem I have with labeling infant formula "artificial". A substitute, yes. (And a not very good one, if you use the old recipes.) But the food itself is not always artificial. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:09, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

New source[edit]

This new paper might be interesting -- biggest ever trial, etc, etc -- but I'm not sure whether it really belongs here or in breastfeeding. Here's a magazine review on the study, for those who don't want to read the original source. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:10, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Here's an interesting section:

Indeed, as previously reported, the intervention resulted in significant detectable reductions in gastrointestinal infection and atopic eczema,12 as well as significant differences in growth trajectories,23 during the first year of follow-up; however, because all PROBIT children were initially breastfed, our results cannot be generalized to long-term behavioral outcomes in infants who are breastfed versus those who are formula-fed; neither can they be extrapolated to behavioral outcomes later in childhood or adulthood.

I think this indicates that the study is more appropriately referenced in the breastfeeding article. It's more about the duration of breastfeeding, not breastfeeding vs formula feeding. Ciotog (talk) 02:52, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Controversy and Science Edits[edit]

On a recent edit of the Controversy and Science section, I added a citation for one statement (regarding eczema), and am moving several other claims from the main article to this talk section until someone can cite sources. Please move these back if you find a citation to support them. --dpotter (talk) 05:54, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

The U.S. government has identified breastfeeding as an important measure of infant and maternal health.[citation needed] However, it is also believed that later-life conditions that are associated with formula-fed babies are the result of a multitude of factors.[citation needed] For instance, while it is often noted that formula-fed babies are at greater risk for obesity, it is also true that formula-fed babies who live in households in which proper nutrition and physical activity are emphasized generally fare well.[citation needed]
Recently, infant formula has been recalled in several countries other than the U.S. for nutrient eficiencies leading to infant illness and death.[citation needed] Though infant formula is available without a prescription, it is generally recommended that its use be under the supervision of a medical professional.[citation needed]
Many newer infant formulas containing DHA, ARA and other fatty acids are being aggressively marketed via direct mail, print advertisements and other channels in the United States, Canada and other developed nations. Human breast milk DHA concentrations range from 0.07% to greater than 1.0% of total fatty acids, with a mean of about 0.34%.[citation needed] These formulas often contain lower amounts however the marketing may suggest that studies show formulas provide cognitive and developmental benefits surpassing those of breast milk.[citation needed] Studies by formula companies suggest these results are vague and often lacking in sample size and length.[citation needed] In addition these studies often compare these new formulas to older formulas rather than breast milk alone.[citation needed] This information may be misleading to new mothers receiving samples often only days after the birth of a child. In the United States formula is regulated by the FDA as a food product, not a drug. These efforts may result in more mothers terminating breast feeding earlier than recommend due to the perceived benefits of these new formulas.[citation needed]

External links[edit]

Elenafromny, I removed that link because it has a lot of advertisements (see WP:ELNO #5). Additionally, the description is inappropriate: "high quality" is your personal opinion, not a bare fact.

Can you explain here why you particularly want to include this, and what your connection is to this particular website? WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:11, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Hi Whatamidoing, first i have no connection with this particular site at all, the website cover the subject of infant formula very well,(Bottle Basics, Type of Baby Bottles, how to prepare the infant formula, how to keep things clean, how to get help, how to save on infant formula..), High quality and relevant, it will be very useful to our users, especially to mothers seeking help about the subject. IMHO their content complete this wikipedia article, i saw two ads Blocks and i thought that's acceptable, as for the description, you are right and i respect your point of view, what do you suggest ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Elenafromny (talkcontribs) 11:04, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

When I click on this link, the top two-thirds of the screen are the ads. It would certainly be better if we could find a link that didn't put advertisements "above the scroll".
As for the "usefulness" of the website: Wikipedia isn't a how-to manual, so providing a link to information like that isn't really high on the priority list. What do other people think? WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:51, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
I think providing an external link to a "how-to" type of site can help keep that material out of the article itself, but of course as you say it should be of high quality and unbiased (as in lacking financial motivation). Ciotog (talk) 15:24, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
As for the website in question, I didn't find it terribly original or refreshing Ciotog (talk) 16:26, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree that a "how-to" site can be appropriate placed as an external reference. I felt that this site contained a small amount of fairly interesting content (e.g. packaging options) wrapped in a large amount of in objectionable POV shlock: pay no attention if anyone tries to make you feel guilty about not breastfeeding. This is your baby, your body, and your decision...thank goodness this safe, nutritious choice exists. Embrace it (and your baby) with love, and don’t look back.
My recommendation: Work the relevant portions of the link into the article, include a reference, but delete it from the 'external links' section. -- dpotter (talk) 13:50, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Baby deaths in third world from inappropriate use of infant formulae controversy[edit]

This article at present does not seem to have any material on the deaths of a large number of babies in 3rd world countries due to the mis-match betweeen IF requirements and the circumstances of third world families. Why no info? thanks. SmithBlue (talk) 08:24, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Nestlé boycott is mentioned in the article, as is the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, however the reason that these two things exist is that babies have died. The total or annual number that have died is a necessary part of any article that mentions the dangers/downsides of IF. SmithBlue (talk) 08:45, 17 November 2008 (UTC) "Formula milk 'dangerous' as humanitarian aid" *Prodita Sabarini*, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta - 07/07/2008 "A UNICEF study found rates of diarrhea in Yogyakarta in the aftermath of the 2006 earthquake increased sixfold as the consumption of formula doubled. ... Anne H. Vincent, head of UNICEF Indonesia´s health and nutrition department, said there was a strong correlation between formula consumption and deaths due to diarrhea in the province during this period. .... "Very often the first aid you see arriving locally is formula. These donations are often uncontrolled," Vincent said. ... "There´s no clean water, no sanitation and so forth. Therefore bringing formula in increases and multiplies the rate of diarrhea and the risk of death for young babies," she said." SmithBlue (talk) 09:12, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

May 13, 2008 Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) "new Lancet series on maternal and child undernutrition", "77% (1.06 million) child deaths attributable to suboptimal breastfeeding are due to non-exclusive breastfeeding during 0-6 months of life."
This figure seems to be India alone. Anyone got access to electronic journals? SmithBlue (talk) 09:37, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Tag on article/Accuracy[edit]

I was hoping to remove the tag on the article. I read the following sentence, "Use of infant formula has been decreasing in industrial countries for over forty years[1] as a result of antenatal education, increased understanding of the risks of infant formula, and social activism." And then I read the source cited.

Please show me how the source supports the above statement. Obviously if accuracy is so low that the lead is misleading then the tag cannot be removed. Yet. SmithBlue (talk) 10:04, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Edit warring and more.[edit]

On a fairly quiet article, tagged as having problems with accuracy, begining at 22:26, 24 November 2008, editor on IP began a series of edits. Maybe the pattern of anonymous edits is familar to the involved editors? If not, the following concerns me.

The new editor was serially reverted by editors Faradayplank, Lazylaces, Bsimmons666 and WhatamIdoing by 06:28, 25 November 2008. No invitation to discuss on the articles discusion page was made by any editor. Three editors only stated that they were reverting and to what - no attempt to engage and build consensus is visible in their edits.

Editors Bsimmons666 and Lazylaces offered misleading and inaccurate interpretations of WP policies accusing editor on IP of vandalism on their talk page. [[2]]

I refer all involved editors to guideline Wikipedia:DBTN "Please do not bite the newcomers". And policy WP:Edit war. And point out that continuing to misrepresent WP policies and guidelines may be seen as WP:Disruptive editing And that continuing to edit in such a manner may form Wikipedia:Ownership of articles.

I request that editors Bsimmons666 and Lazylaces go to [[3]] explain their mistakes and attempt to welcome the anonymous user. SmithBlue (talk) 11:32, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Missing information[edit]

In what forms are infant formulas currently produced? % of market of different current forms? Total value of market; globally, by nation? Total amount of infant formula consumed; globally, by nation? Dangers of product/Excess dilution? Dangers of product/Making up with contaminated water/contaminated vessel/storage without refrigeration? Dangers of product/Excess mortality due to product? Dangers of product/Contamination in manufacture? Consumer groups relevant to product? Others? SmithBlue (talk) 07:33, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Melamine contamination and US bias[edit]

Does anyone have good sources about the melamine scandal in China? Someone added information about (minor) contamination in the US supply, but this is very strange, given that children died in China from this, and no one seems to have been harmed by the US problem. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:41, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

Environmental Contaminant Comparison[edit]

While I have the greatest respect for the original author's viewpoint, I am afraid that I felt it was important to remove a paragraph which explained that both infant formula and breastmilk contain environmental contaminants. While the author's statements were not false, they were also not entirely true and were, based on my reading of the literature, misleading. The amount of environmental contaminants a baby generally receives from breastmilk is virtually always much higher than they potentially could receive from infant formula. Here is one quite good reference to illustrate my point ( Thankfully, the levels of many environmental contaminants have dropped over time in both breastmilk and infant formula, but I would think this trend is more a topic for the good people who edit the breastfeeding articles here.--Seekyetruth (talk) 04:04, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Controversy and Science: Nutritional Value[edit]

I hope the author will forgive me, but I found the text of the author's post on Nutritional Value quite unusual and interesting. Unfortunately, when I sought out the source, it seems that the US CDC webpage had been revised not to include the author's major points. I apologize, but I thought it best to remove an unreferenced item. Seekyetruth (talk) 05:11, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

Touch Up of Nutritional Content Section[edit]

Hello again Friends - I hope the original author will forgive my edits, but my intentions are well meaning. When I read the statements about defects in infant digestion as well as global infant formula production, I must say I was most interested in seeing the references. Such data would be very informative to my work, and I have not seen such.

I also deleted a reference to evaporated milk as it implied superiority to pasteurized milk. My concern was that a mother would not read the caveats and consider evaporated milk her best option if no formula was available. But, the author raises a concern that I share. There are many rogue substitutes promoted on the internet and in home wisdom. In fact, I encountered a display of tinned goat's milk within a shelf of infant formula in the American South. My heart goes out to infants harmed by that display. The promulgation of such substitutes is unacceptable, and I would like to propose a new section discussing unhealthy feeds for infants (yes, I am aware of the humor, but be that as it may).

I welcome comments from the community.Seekyetruth (talk) 05:09, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

I would most humbly repeat my request for references related to defects in infant digestion related to infant formula. I believe there are references to substantiate a somewhat reframed point of view, but I think the original author should have every opportunity to provide references I for one am quite looking forward to reading.Seekyetruth (talk) 02:57, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Distribution of Infant Formula Discharge Packs[edit]

I hope I am not speaking to an empty room, but Hello once again!

If I could make a small suggestion to improve upon the fine work of a previous author, when I read the reference "In surveys, over 70% of large hospitals dispense infant formula to all infants, which is opposed by the AAP and in violation of the code.[73]" I felt I should communicate with the community about a little touch-up that may be in order. The cited survey was conducted in 1990-1, which I assure you makes it quite dated on a topic such as this one. I can appreciate the use of a survey of AAP Fellows as authoritative, but this particular survey (#13 cited as reference 73) may not be the best support of all the instances in the article where it is cited.

I do hope that the original author will consider some more contemporary citations as I believe they make her/his point more strongly. For example, this article [4] surveyed 21 states in the Eastern United States in 2006-7 and found four states with 100% rates of infant formula discharge pack incidence. I am sure many other good people in this community could cite some excellent sources.Seekyetruth (talk) 02:52, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Please include relevant information in your article.[edit]

I usually come to your site for information on medical and health topics because you are less patronizing than the CDC and other government sponsored and health care industry outlets. In this case, I was very disappointed.

On this topic, I wanted only one item of information, which is: "What is typical formula consumption for infants of varying ages?"

I found no useful information on formula feeding in your article. None.

I am quite aware of the breast feeding Taliban. I think it is an overcompensation for the guilt women feel because industrialized society does not permit them (generally) to mother their children as they should. Just my opinion.

The lack of actual information in this article is stunning!

For instance, it is one thing to say that bottle feeding results in lower IQ's. That is a worthless "scare" statement. Tell me how much lower. Even though I was exclusively bottle fed, I'm not stupid. I can process information and make decisions.

In fact, a significant number of (American) women bottle feed, either exclusively, or to supplement for a variety of reasons.

These people could use some information. They have already demonstrated greater than average ego strength in having withstood the assaults of the breast feeding "true believer" zealots.

Hospitals want you to attend classes on breast feeding, but give no information on formula feeding. This is atrociously bad public health policy. In fact, it is possible all of the negative results from formula feeding could be offset or eliminated by properly instructing parents on formula feeding. No one knows...

Please provide something useful for them. They are adults. They have decided to bottle feed, for reasons that are entirely their business.

I expect this sort of patronizing advocacy from the government, but not from your site.

Still shut out on finding any useful information on this topic....JCB PHD (talk) 16:48, 28 October 2010 (UTC)JCB_PHD

This is an encyclopedia article, and isn't intended as health advice. The specific information you are requesting is generally unsuitable for inclusion in an encyclopedia article.
Concerning the I.Q. section, I count three references that can be followed to find out more information about the study results. Providing exact figures would be difficult since there are conflicting results, as indicated in the article text. The one that seems the most relevant to you would be comparing low to high iron formula - there it seems "10 points" is the average effect of using high iron versus low iron formula.
As for your other concerns, feel free to make whatever changes to the article you deem appropriate. Ciotog (talk) 20:43, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Oh, I do understand your concerns JCB_PHD. Please do not disparage others with such inappropriate words like Taliban. Breastfeeding is the very best for babies, but baby milk was scientifically developed to be the second best for non-breastfed babies. The third best tends to be fatal. And scientific research has shown that mothers who do not breastfeed in developed countries, do, for the most part, out of choice. I have done my best to modernize and moderate this Wikipedia entry, but I often feel I am speaking into a vacuum. Like you, I only wish for others to be best informed. ~~ — Preceding unsigned comment added by Seekyetruth (talkcontribs) 07:08, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Neutrality concern[edit]

I see that there is a flag on this page that the neutrality of the article is questionable, yet while I see prior discussions about this, none that dates back to the date that this was flagged (april 2011). So I just wanted to see what issues people are most concerned about so that they can begin to be tackled. What I know about infant formula; however, is that it is extremely difficult to find information on it that is completely non-bias. Either it is propaganda from manufacturers or from breastfeeding supporters. So I see how this is difficult. I have read a book with extremely interesting information about formula, but it admittedly has an extremely pro-breastfeeding bias (The Politics of Breastfeeding by Gabrielle Palmer). I would like to put in some of the information from the book about the history of formula (which appears to be well researched...) but I would also like to adhere to the strive toward neutrality. What should I do? nothing? look through her sources for the original information? post the info on here first to get your viewpoint? just go for it? thanks for your help. Saritamackita (talk) 00:31, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

I agree it is difficult to see where the priority lies for eventually removing the neutrality tag. I found the main challenge to this article was jumpiness and repetition; there were simply too many sections with bits and pieces of information, as mentioned above often difficult to be completely unbiased. I have restructured some sections so at least information on the same topic (e.g. environmental contaminant concerns, of both breastfeeding and formula feeding) are in the same place, so the reader can more easily make an informed decision. I have also made some edits to specific wording, and especially double-checked many references and added more. Guptan99 (talk) 15:58, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
The article has the unmistakable stench of leftism: quasi-criminal corporations hawking their virtually-poisonous products with complete indifference to woman's goddesslike status as lifegiver. (Yeah — that's what I think every time I see some slob of a female swatting her children in a shopping mall: "I hope that goddess breastfed those kids.") John Bonaccorsi, Philadelphia, PA108.36.209.26 (talk) 01:15, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
PS The photograph, too, of the infant lying casually unheld on an adult's crossed legs, is offensive. Is that supposed to be a model of modern, relaxed parenting? ("Everything under control here.") Only a fool would position a baby that way, with a fulcrum beneath the neck; only a bigger fool would perch a baby uncertainly. (talk) 01:38, 11 May 2012 (UTC)


My goodness, this article has become only a shadow of the truth since I last visited. Would you simply call this "cyanide" and end the unfortunate games you are playing and allow good mothers to see your hate? A child at the breast of her own mother is far too precious for these rather queer distortions of the truth. Must you share hate about an act that is purely love in the mother's eyes? If your intent is to hate someone who wants to feed an infant they love, you are doing it wrong. What happened to simple love of one's child? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Seekyetruth (talkcontribs) 07:54, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

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"Laboratorios Syntex SA" is not "Syntex Corporation"[edit]

There was some confusion on the Infant formula page. The part about Neo-Mull-Soy was linked to the Syntex page which currently is about "Laboratorios Syntex SA" not "Syntex Corporation" who actually made Neo-Mull-Soy. The Syntex page should be renamed "Laboratorios Syntex SA" and a disambiguation page should be provided for "Laboratorios Syntex SA" vs. "Syntex Corporation". Breedentials (talk) 16:03, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

starches not recommended for infants 6 months and less?[edit]

Human Milk Biochemistry and Infant Formula Manufacturing Technology, edited by Mingruo Guo, Cambridge, UK: Woodhead Publishing Series in Food Science, Technology and Nutrition, 2014, page 201:

Chapter 7

" . . . Infants under the age of 6 months do not have the enzymatic capacity to digest starches. Therefore, starches should not be permitted for infant formulae promoted for use by infants less than 6 months of age (CAC, 2006). Starches present in infant formula for 0-6 months old are considered to be adulterants. . . "

posted by Cool Nerd (talk) 16:20, 14 May 2016 (UTC)

and/or, breastfeeding assists with starch digestion, plus additional several enzymes and digestive pathways?[edit]

The Science of Mom, Alice Callahan PhD, Nov. 8, 2013.

" . . . It’s true that infants have low levels of pancreatic amylase, the workhorse of starch digestion in adults.
" . . . Ethnographic reports are filled with examples of starchy first foods[4] for young infants around the world: Millet flour at 3 months in Tanzania; corn porridge at 3 months in Zimbabwe; beans and rice at 4 months in Brazil; a little butter and flour at 3 days in Bhutan; rice mash at 3 weeks in Nepal; and prechewed taro root at 2 weeks in the Solomon Islands. If babies were eating starch this young, with no apparent clinical signs of malabsorption, there must be more to the story.
" . . . A 1975 Italian study[5] added starch from different sources (potato, tapioca, corn, wheat, and rice) to 1-3-month-old babies’ formulas and then checked to see what came out at the other end –- in the babies’ poop. It turned out that very little starch ended up in these babies’ diapers.
" . . . Salivary amylase appears to survive[8] the acidic conditions of the stomach reasonably well and is protected by both the presence of starch and breast milk.[9]
" . . . Human breast milk has lots of amylase, 25x that found in raw cow’s milk.[10] Interestingly, it is highest in colostrum,[11] and decreases slowly during infancy, as salivary and pancreatic amylases are increasing.
" . . . Glucoamylase helps out in the small intestine. Glucoamylase is an enzyme made by the cells lining the walls of the small intestine. Like amylase, it breaks the bonds between glucose molecules in starch and shorter glucose chains. But unlike pancreatic amylase, glucoamylase is very active in infants, reaching adult levels as early as 1 month of age.[15],[16]
" . . . Studies have shown that a significant fraction of dietary starch isn’t digested in the small intestine of babies but passes on to the large intestine.[17],[18] . . . Bacteria in the colon ferment (quite a different process from rotting) these undigested carbohydrates as part of the healthy symbiotic relationship between our gut microbes and us humans. . . The end products of microbial fermentation in the colon are short chain fatty acids, which can improve nutrient absorption, enhance gut health, and even be used as a source of energy for both the microbes and the human host.[20] Babies and toddlers may actually have faster colonic fermentation of starch than adults, which might represent an important pathway for them to fully capture the nutrients in their food.[21]
" . . . There seems to be a sweet spot kind of window in mid-infancy – probably between about 5 and 7 months, where introduction to a variety of foods, including grains, decreases baby’s risk of developing chronic disease and allergies later in life. [complex topic, so of course it's controversial. Hard to study all of it at once.] . . . "

posted by Cool Nerd (talk) 17:20, 14 May 2016 (UTC)

trouble with third paragraph of lead[edit]

We begin this paragraph by saying WHO has found formula to be a safe alternative, but a couple of sentences later, it sounds like WHO is recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months (if the broader circumstances allow). Plus, we need a more recent WHO source than 2003. I mean, it's okay to include this source, but it should not be one of the main sources we lean heavily on. Cool Nerd (talk) 18:27, 17 May 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ Rudnicka AR, Owen CG, Strachan DP (2007). "The effect of breastfeeding on cardiorespiratory risk factors in adult life". Pediatrics. 119 (5): e1107–15. doi:10.1542/peds.2006-2149. PMID 17473082. 
  2. ^ Secretariat, World Health Organization (24 November 2001). Infant and Young Child Nutrition: Global strategy for infant and young child feeding (PDF). World Health Organization. WHO Executive Board 109th Session provisional agenda item 3.8 (EB109/12).