Watering down formula; follow up to yesterday’s post on formula preparation

Yesterday I posted information on how important it is for families who choose or need to formula feed to have the proper information on preparation.  For infants receiving powdered or concentrated formulas how to reconstitute and add water is a crucial step in formula preparation.  Not only does the water source need to be clean and pure and at the right temperature (when making powdered formula the temperature of the water needs to be at least 70 degrees Celsius), you need to add just the right amount of water.

Some families who are economically challenged may want to add more water to “stretch” the amount of formula they have out.  This practice is extremely harmful to infants and can cause severe medical complications as highlighted in this article, http://www.newswise.com/articles/infants-at-risk-from-formula-stretching

“Two-thirds of the families in the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program – which provides nutrition basics for low-income women with children – reported running out of WIC-supplied formula toward the end of most months. Among food-insecure families, 27 percent reported watering down formula or reducing feedings, a practice that can have serious health consequences for babies’ developing brains, leading to cognitive, behavioral and psychological issues.”

The governmental program, WIC, has been criticized for not supporting breastfeeding and for being the number one purchaser of formulas, but you can see from the outcomes of the recent study highlighted in the article that others can argue this supplemental program does not do enough for those families who choose or need to formula feed.  In an ideal culture where breastfeeding was the norm, where it was promoted, supported and protected by all perhaps we would not have this issue; however, for families who have chosen to use formula maybe because of challenges they face coordinating work schedules and other employment issues perhaps the supplement is not enough.

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