Saturday, October 9, 2010

New, All-Natural Protein Source in Similac Baby Formula: Beetles And Beetle Larvae

I got a very mysterious padded envelope in yesterday's mail.  Inside, nothing but a letter notifying me about a product recall for Similac infant formula.  Normally I would have thrown this out without even reading it, since there are no babies in our household and we never fed the boys formula, anyway.  But the padded envelope made me curious -- they really wanted to make sure I saw this letter.

Lo and behold, Similac is recalling baby formula because they discovered that powdered formula from one of their plants was tainted with beetle parts and beetle larvae. Excuse me?! EWWW!! I would be freaking out right now if I had fed my babies beetle larvae! Let's get a visual on that, shall we? This is beetle larvae.  Yummy!

I am not making this up.  Apparently, Similac samples that were mass mailed to our address (and thrown out by me) were among the tainted formula products.  If you or anyone you know is formula feeding a baby, please read this article and visit the manufacturer's web site to check the lot numbers of your formula containers and for information on how to get beetle-free Similac or a refund on your tainted formula. 

I wonder what kind of beetle got into the formula?  All they say is that it's a "common small beetle."  So, what -- like the Japanese beetles that attack my crape myrtle trees every summer?

Okay, I know that breast vs. bottle is a personal decision, and I know breastfeeding doesn't work for everyone.  But the only way beetles or beetle larvae could get into breastmilk would be if the mom deliberately ate bugs.  I'm just saying...  I think this is as good a time as any to unveil:

Rebecca's Top Ten Reasons Why Breast Is Best:

10. Breastfeeding mothers burn an extra 600 calories a day just by relaxing and cuddling with their babies.  That's the equivalent of 2 hours of aerobic exercise per day.  There's no easier way to lose that extra pregnancy weight.

9. Breastfeeding mothers never have to go home because they ran out of formula and it's time to feed the baby.

8. Formula feeding a baby for the first year of life costs an estimated $1500-$2000, not including the cost of bottles, nipples, sterilizing equipment, etc.  That means breastfeeding moms get to spend an extra $2000 on cute little baby outfits, decorating the nursery, manicures, or whatever else makes them feel as special as they are.

6. Breastfed babies don't get sick as often as formula fed babies because their mothers' antibodies pass directly into the breastmilk, helping the babies fight off the exact germs they are exposed to in real time. 

5. Breastmilk is always ready to go, at the perfect temperature, and requires no preparation.  No fumbling around a dark kitchen at 3 AM, spilling powdered formula all over the counter, accidentally overheating the formula and burning the baby.

4. Spitup and baby poop from formula fed babies stains those cute little outfits, but breastmilk poop and spitup comes right out in the wash every time.

3. Once you and your baby get the hang of it, breastfeeding is really, really EASY, and you don't need to have your boobs out on public display, either.  You can feed your baby in church or in a crowded concert hall, and if you choose your outfit carefully, no one will even know.  You can practically feed your baby in your sleep.  All the other new parents may be exhausted and bleary-eyed, complaining about how little sleep they are getting, and you will be all bright-eyed and cheerful, wondering what all the fuss is about.

2. Breastfeeding is better for the environment.  Formula feeding all of the babies in the United States for one year requires 86,000 tons of tin to produce 550 million cans, plus the paper for the labels, the energy wasted in production, and the pollution created transporting all of that formula to market.

1. But the number one reason why breast is best has to be that there's NO BEETLE LARVAE IN BREASTMILK!

If you are pregnant now and hoping to breastfeed your baby, I highly recommend that you read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding from the La Leche League before your baby is born.  Most hospital nurses don't know enough about breastfeeding to help you if you have trouble getting the baby latched on correctly in the beginning, and getting off to a good start is really important (nursing a baby isn't supposed to hurt, so if you are experiencing a lot of soreness you should get help from a lactation consultant or from a friend who has been there and done that before).  Get yourself a little support network of moms you know who are breastfeeding successfully or who have breastfed successfully in the past.  If you don't know anyone else who is breastfeeding, you can contact your local La Leche League group to connect with other breastfeeding moms near you.


Janice the Manice said...

OK, so I read about the tainted formula in the paper sometime last week (or a few weeks ago) and I let out a huge sigh or relief that my own babies have long been off the bottle because this is REALLY gross, we used Similac, and all of your points are valid regarding breast vs. bottle... but I feel I must speak out for those Mommies that either wanted to breastfeed and couldn't or just made the personal choice to go with a bottle. I'm one of those Mommies. Once riddled with guilt over my choice, crying to my ever patient pediatrician as he promised my son would still grow up to be a helathy boy, still forced to justify myself when asked if I breast fed my two children to friends, relatives, strangers. Whatever the reason, It is OKAY not to breastfeed. It doesn't have to be complicated. You can pre-measure the formula into bottles and just add some room temperature, bottled water and shake. Your husband, babysitter, whom ever can feed your baby and enjoy some of the bonding time. You can escape without feeling as if your child is wailing until your return. There is no pumping in the bathroom stall at work while coworkers snicker about "how gross" it sounds. Your child will not wither away. While I don't refute that the mother's immune system can help a breastfed baby stay healthy, keeping them from a daycare setting as long as possible will go a lot further. Find yourself a reliable neighbor or family member to act as care giver for the first year and watch your little one thrive if you need to return to work. Is it healthier to breastfeed a baby, ABSOLUTELY. If you are willing and able I salute you. I just know from personal experience that it's A LOT harder than everyone makes it seem. I sat ill prepared in a hospital room, child crying out in hunger as my husband and I tried to get our son to latch on. Family members were uncomfortable with my boobies hanging out and made me feel like I should have been shrouded under heavy covers. We'd send for a nurse or le leche league representative but no one would be available when we needed them. The nurses at the hospital would take away my baby and give him a bottle while they weighed and checked vitals because he was hungry and I didn't know that I could tell them "no". So, with our second, I banned the le leche nazis (as I called them) from entering my hospital room,forbiding them from making me feel inadequate. While I may not have made the healthiest choice, I don't believe I made a poor choice either. For some people, this is the right decision, and it doesn't mean your child will suffer. Let's stop painting the picture of mother's that bottle feed as irresponsible. It does a disservice to us all.

Rebecca Grace said...

Janice the Manice, you are Super Mom. You rock. You could feed your babies beetle larvae on purpose, and you would still be an awesome mom. Maybe my breastmilk was better than your formula, but now that bottles are a thing of the past your kids are eating fresh vegetables that you taught them to grow in your own garden and I can't get my kids to eat anything except pizza or frozen chicken nuggets.

This is one of the Great Divisive Mommmy War Topics: Natural Childbirth or Epidural, Breast vs. Bottle, Stay Home or Work Outside the Home, Crib or Co-Sleeping, Cry It Out or Pick Them Up... As parents, you have to choose one or the other, and no matter which one you choose, someone else will tell you you're wrong. What's more, when you try to defend your own personal choices, other parents will interpret that as an attack on the different choices THEY have made.

I didn't put my Top Ten list out there so that moms who formula feed would feel bad. I did it to encourage those moms who DO want to breastfeed, and to try to overcome some of the issues that you mention in your comment that make it difficult for moms who do want to breastfeed.

For instance, why should a new mother have to pump milk in a bathroom stall while coworkers "snicker that it sounds gross?" This brings up a good point. Of course it's easy for stay-home moms to breastfeed, but when it comes to working moms who need to pump milk during the workday, it's a lot easier for a female vice president of a big company to shut the door and pump in her private corner office than it is for women in blue collar positions.

Also, it's not that it's HARD to get a baby latched on properly, it's just that it's something you need to learn by watching other people do it or having someone right there to help you and tell you what to try differently if it isn't working. If nursing moms weren't "made to feel like they should be shrouded under heavy covers," then new moms would have a lot more opportunity to learn breastfeeding from watching how other moms do it.

In fact, from reading your comment, and from discussing this with you before, I would say that you did not choose formula feeding at all. You wanted to breastfeed your baby, but like so many other moms out there, it didn't work out for you because you didn't have enough support and help from friends and family members. You needed help getting the baby latched on right after he was born, he was crying, you were crying, and no one was coming to help. I wish I had been there to help you, and I certainly don't judge you for giving him a bottle, especially when you had well-meaning nurses giving him bottles behind your back.

It's important to me that other people know I'm supportive of breastfeeding, especially now that the baby stage is behind me and no one sees me flagrantly breastfeeding in public anymore. I want everyone who knows me to know that I'm someone they can call or email if they or anyone close to them wants to breastfeed and needs help or support. You don't need to be ashamed of formula feeding, but breast milk does have significant advantages over formula -- just as your home grown organic vegetables have significant advantages over the crap we fed our kids for lunch today.

You can't pass a sweeping judgement on anyone's parenting based on just one decision. Moms make hundreds of tough decisions every single day. You have to step back and look at the big picture, and if you care enough about your kids to be obsessing about whether you're a good enough mom, you're probably doing just fine. You're a really good mom; stop feeling guilty!!