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Gentle by nature

Formula Education Helps Mothers and Babies

Smiling mother bottle feeding her baby

Information for Health Professionals

Breast milk is the first choice when it comes to infant nutrition. At Kabrita USA, we encourage healthcare practitioners to become familiar with breastfeeding resources and to encourage families to seek out these services.

However, only 25% of American babies are exclusively breastfed by 6 months of age – this means that over two million infants each year use formula. Two recently published research articles look into the availability of formula advice for mothers who need it, as well as how that knowledge can influence maternal feelings. Currently, there is a lack of education about formula for both parents and healthcare practitioners. We believe that formula education can help mothers and their babies.

Availability of Feeding Advice

For example, in Australia, it was found that 20% of mothers who formula feed do not receive advice about formula feeding from professional sources. This is five times higher than breastfeeding mothers not receiving advice about breastfeeding from professional sources. Additionally, the majority of mothers found the formula advice from professionals only somewhat helpful, or not helpful at all. The authors indicate that parents who formula feed “are underserviced by health professionals and rely on non‐professional sources of advice…”. They also note that improvements in formula feeding advice by health professionals may positively impact an infant’s current and long-term health.

Impact on Mothers

It’s also been noted that mothers experience a range of feelings associated with their feeding choices. Breastfeeding Medicine researched mothers’ feelings when unable to breastfeed. They found that these women experience stigma and believe that others perceive them as failures. Sadly, the authors state that public attitudes around formula feeding result in “negative feelings of self-worth and dysfunctional maternal behaviors”. However, they also found that when mothers have knowledge of formula the result is “less stigma and more warmth for the infant”.

Importance of Education

These studies show that we can empower all mothers with education, and this may be especially significant for mothers who formula feed their infant. Formula education may have a positive impact on babies’ health and the mental health of mothers.

However, in order to provide appropriate and current formula education to patients, healthcare providers must feel confident with their own knowledge and the available options. Since transparency and being accessible are two of Kabrita USA’s core values, we are proud to offer a range of formula-related educational opportunities to help practitioners support all mothers. These resources include webinars, our Nourish Blog (with extensive educational blogs), as well as a Formula 101 E-book (for healthcare professionals), and Best For Babies E-book (for parents).