Wednesday, May 4, 2011
a novel infant formula
"After five months of feeding my son nothing but breastmilk, the time has come to wean him off completely." from epinions.com--a review of Enfamil Lipil With Iron.
Huh? I love deadlines don't you? As we birth our babies, out pops the warranty that says breastmilk is only guaranteed for 5 months. Or I guess in some cases one day, 2 weeks, or maybe 6 months. Ours is not to reason why someone decides that there is a time table on breastfeeding. In fact our society does have a time table. It's why mothers often hide the fact that they nursed far longer than the freakin time table. My mother-in-law used to ask me every week whether I had weaned my first born yet. She asked for over 2 years and then came pregnancy number 2. She quit asking, assuming that I had weaned because who would possibly nurse beyond 2 years? My god, the kid should be out applying for pre-school, not getting milkies from mommy. Yeah, I am one of those mothers, who nursed her babies "forever." So its beyond my comprehension that someone puts a time table on breastfeeding. But a lot of mothers are into the numbers. Like how many minutes should one breastfeed? How many times in a day should one breastfeed? How many times do I have to nurse in the middle of the night? How many ounces should I be able to pump? Numbers, numbers....factory mothering, whistle blows time to nurse, stop, times up. Baby can't be hungry again. I wonder if people have sex like that--timed?? Do we look at our watches when we have conversations with friends? Times up, friendship is over. Hey you have been on this earth for 5 months, get with the program, time for your novel experience of our novel infant formula. Yikes, I want to cry, poor baby, poor mother who has numbers stamped into her head.
The mother on epinions did a review of Enfamil and Similac, a comparison. She writes, "not all formulas are created equal." and "free samples are great." Her review was the only place I could find a list of Enfamil ingredients (no ingredient list at Mead Johnson website). Written in 2006, she states that it does cost alot of money to buy Enfamil ($5.07) a day. Obviously, it is far more costly to buy now than 5 years ago. She writes that "both Enfamil Lipil and Similac Advance will make your child's poop smell like something that crawled into the attic and died about three days ago." And mentions that "breastmilk poop has almost no smell besides a slightly sweet, irony scent."
I did find that Mead Johnson, who makes Enfamil Lipil among other novelty formulas for babies, hit new highs in its sales (up 18% to $899.8 million) this year.
So they are doing well, my friends, doing well. I ran across one of Mead Johnson's infant formula patents filed in 2003 (published in 2011) called, "Compositions and methods of formulations for enteral formulas containing sialic acid," patent # 7867541. What's sialic acid? The patent tells us, "Sialic acid is naturally occurring component of human breast milk, where it is found associated with various oligosaccharides and glycoproteins." and "While human breast milk contains substantial amounts of sialic acid , most infant formulas contain less than 25% of the sialic acid found in colostrum." What is the importance of sialic acid? "Evidence suggests that N-acetyneuraminic acid (NANA or sialic acid) is important in the development and function of the neonatal brain where it is a major component of gangliosides." So because it is a component in human milk, it must be placed in baby milks. The patent will obtain sialic acid-containing protein from either Davisco, New Zealand Milk, or Formost Farms. Presto-change-o, we now have another novel infant formula. Another novel formula because the industry is imitating human milk and creating components (many of which are genetically engineered).
The legal definition of infant formula under 21 U.S.C. 321(z) is, " a food that purports to be or is represented for special dietary use solely as a food for infants by reason of its simulation of human milk or its suitability as a complete or partial substitute for human milk."
from the Food Advisory Committee Meeting on Infant Formula
We can see that in order to simulate human milk, the infant formula industry is bound by law to study human milk and try to recreate it. And with each experiment, they learn a little more. But with each experiment, some little person is the lab rat to an industry.