A recent Pediatrics journal article1 about weight gain in babies fed a protein hydrolysate formula versus cow's milk based formula was picked up by the national media and, as usual, was hyped with statements such as "Cow's milk formulas cause babies to be fat!" Here are some points to consider about protein hydrolysate formulas, cow's milk formulas and trends for obesity in childhood.
Dairy-Based Infant Formula Trend
Cow's milk (also called dairy-based) infant formulas have been available since the early 1900's. Although dairy-based formulas have been around for almost a century, they became widely used in the World War II and post-war years. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, infant formula feeding was almost considered the “norm” and breastfeeding rates plummeted. Concern over this trend and the growing body of scientific evidence revealed the benefits of breast feeding for both baby and mom led to the initiation of many breast feeding promotional campaigns beginning in the 1970’s. Breast feeding rates began to rise in the late 1970’s and many breastfeeding promotional programs started to show results. In 1970, 26.5% of infants were breastfed at birth compared to 70% in 2002.2