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DHA Fortified Formula Good for Babies

New Study Says Fortified Formulas Make Smart Babies

Formula advocates have new evidence to support their beliefs. A new study in the journal of Child Development finds that infants receiving formula fortified with DHA have higher IQs and vocabulary development later in childhood than those who don't. DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that appears naturally in breast milk, is thought to speed the brain's processing abilities.

The researchers behind the study took more than 200 9-month-old babies who had all been on formula for various amounts of time through a number of exercises involving blankets and rattles. The wee ones who received formula fortified with DHA scored significantly higher than those drinking unfortified versions of the formula. According to the study, those who received the DHA-enhanced formula from birth scored better than those that were weaned off of breast milk at 6-weeks-old.

Doctors and breastfeeding advocates fear that the new study does not address the additional benefits of breast milk and may sway new mamas to forgo nursing in favor of these fortified formulas. Do you believe this latest study and the hype behind it?

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sarahinparis sarahinparis 6 years
The abstract actually states that the babies fed supplemented formula did better than the controls, which means they did better than the babies fed unsupplemented formula AND babies fed breast milk. "supplemented children had more intentional solutions (successful task completions) and higher intention scores (goal-directed behaviors) than controls." I find this very interesting. In my case we had a medical reason to feed our baby formula. We chose the fortified version. I'm not sure if it is the result of the formula, but she is far advanced compared to children in her peer group. So much so I have had many parents ask how old she is. I find this study some what a relief as I have always felt bad that we were not able to choose breastfeeding. I feel like there so many voices passing judgment on those that must or choose to go with formula. I had, on multiple occasions, other mothers tell me that I making the wrong choice. I would then have to grin and bear it or explain the medical history - neither great options.
Danni99 Danni99 6 years
I'm glad that formula is proving out to be a strong substitute for breast milk, but I don't think that this discovery is going to really sway anyone away from the extensive benefits of nursing. It's great that formula fed babies are receiving nutrition that creates the same intellectual benefits as nursing, but there can be no (presently available) formula that can create the individually needed health boost that the mother's milk specially tailors for her child due to the needs of her child in their specific environment. But for those of us who elect (or must) use formula at some point, it's good to receive validation that our kids can be as smart as the kid who suckled at his mother's teat till he was 5.
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