Infant Nutrition: Let's Talk Milk Supply and Review Some Baby Formulas



As health and wellness experts, we regularly receive questions about infant nutrition, breastfeeding, and formula brands. Parents want the best for their children and want to be informed, as a mother myself I can relate.  


Human milk is the gold standard for the nutrition of infant growth, whose nutritional value is mainly attributed to human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs (1). When it is not possible for an infant to receive breastmilk parents should speak to their pediatrician about formula recommendations. 

According to the CDC infants who are breastfed have a reduced risk of:

  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Severe lower respiratory disease
  • Ear infections
  • Sudden infant death syndrome
  • Gastrointestinal infections

    In addition to the benefits provided to infants, breastfeeding can also lower a mother’s risk of:

    • High blood pressure
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Ovarian cancer
    • Breast cancer (2)

    What are breastmilk creating “superfoods”? According to Cleveland Clinic’s lactation consultants, there is not a magical 1-2 foods that will make breastmilk production skyrocket. It is more about everything you’re eating that will affect your supply. The key is a nutritious, balanced diet. For the body to be able to produce breastmilk the mother’s diet should be rich in fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and protein. As if having a newborn isn’t hectic enough, now you need to ensure the health and wellness of your baby AND yourself. If finding time to make nutritious meals is a challenge, let the chefs at A Perfect Fit help! We are passionate about making delicious, yet nutritious meals. And if you’re reading this and it doesn’t pertain to you, hiring a chef to make meals for a new mother would be an excellent gift idea (a gift I certainly would have welcomed as a new mother).


    Congress passed The Infant Formula Act in 1980. It establishes minimum nutrient requirements, defines adulteration, provides for establishing nutrient and quality control procedures, prescribes recall procedures, and specifies inspection requirements (3). Over the past few decades, standard infant formulas have been improved to resemble breastmilk. The casein ratios have been changed, nucleotides have been added, and even long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids have been incorporated (4). However, even with these improvements the question is raised, “when will The Infant Formula Act be updated?”


    Even with the wide variety of infant formulas in the United States, some parents are choosing to pursue European infant formulas. European infant formula is technically illegal in the United States, but it is still being obtained. Caregivers report choosing European brands due to different formula options (some made from goat’s milk or milk from pasture-raised cows, which is rare or nonexistent in the US due to FDA regulations). Others prefer European formulas because European formula regulations are more strict than the FDA regulations (5). The European Union (EU) bans some added sugars (like corn syrup) and they require DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in much higher amounts than US formulas (DHA is important for visual and cognitive development) (5). 

    The top infant formula brands used by hospitals in the United States are Similac and Enfamil. Let’s look at an ingredient comparison of top brands used in US hospitals vs. alternative formulas we are frequently asked about:

    *Loulouka and Holle available with cow’s milk as well

    Why does the above criteria matter? Goat’s milk has more protein per serving than cow’s milk, and the protein in goat’s milk can be more easily digested. Goat’s milk also has more calories and fat per serving. Some of the above brands include nonfat milk but have added fats to aid brain development and vision. 

    Corn maltodextrin or corn syrup is an added sugar, however, the USDA does not require companies who add corn syrup to their formulas to list it as added sugar on their product. According to a study performed by Dr. Michael Goran, professor of pediatrics and population public health sciences at USC, added sugars can affect a baby’s eating behavior and correlate to more picky eating (6). Corn syrup is also a much higher glycemic index (causing a fast rise in the body’s blood sugar and may contribute to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity) than lactose, the sugar in other formulas. 

    Studies have shown that some infants can pass harder stools when they drink palm oil formula, and constipation may occur. This is because palmitic acid binds with the calcium forming insoluble soaps and undigested particles in the baby’s digestive tract and gets excreted from the baby’s body in a harder stool form (7).

    While soy formula may meet the criteria to be considered a vegan option, it may not be a safe choice for all babies. Soy-based formulas have higher amounts of aluminum than breastmilk or cow’s formulas. High aluminum levels may negatively affect a baby’s brain and bone mass development. Soy-based formulas also are not appropriate for pre-term babies, those babies weigh less than four pounds at birth or those with reduced kidney function (8).

    Breastmilk is known as the gold standard of nutrition for infant growth, however, we understand it may not always be possible. We are committed, as health professionals at A Perfect Fit,  to review topics and answer questions that have been brought to us. We hope this sheds some light on the topic of infant nutrition and understanding ingredients in infant formulas.






    Note: The views expressed in this article belong to the author.


    About A Perfect Fit

    Boutique Nutrition Concierge

    A Perfect Fit is a team of licensed and experienced nutritionists and culinary experts. We specialize in personal chef services, customizable meal planning and individualized nutritional counseling. 

    In today’s fast paced world, it can seem almost impossible to maintain a healthy diet from fresh, whole food sources. The majority of us do not have the time to prepare home-cooked meals every day for our families. This is where A Perfect Fit steps in. Our team of culinary experts plan your meals for the week, design your grocery list, deliver your groceries and prepare your meals. 

    We also understand that nutrition means different things to different people. Nutrition may mean: customized meal plans for weight loss, tailored recommendations for optimized athletic performance, budgeted and prepped meals for the working individual, or well-rounded and balanced meals for a busy family. 

    Whatever your nutrition needs, let us find your perfect fit!

    Interested in our services? Mention the Lactation Lab for FREE grocery

    shopping with your first personal chef experience.

    *Groceries not included in discount



    1. Zhang, S., Li, T., Xie, J., Zhang, D., Pi, C., Zhou, L., & Yang, W. (2021). Gold standard for nutrition: a review of human milk oligosaccharide and its effects on infant gut microbiota. Microbial cell factories, 20(1), 108.

    2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, August 23). Why it matters. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved April 26, 2022, from 

    3. Newberry R. E. (1982). The Infant Formula Act of 1980. Journal - Association of Official Analytical Chemists, 65(6), 1472–1473.

    4. Mason, V. and Schuman, A., 2003. A concise history of infant formula (twists and turns included). [online] Contemporary Pediatrics. Available at: <> [Accessed 27 April 2022].

    5. Szalinski, C., 2021. Why US Parents Are Choosing European Baby Formula. [online] Wirecutter: Reviews for the Real World. Available at: <> [Accessed 27 April 2022].

    6. Married To Health. Refined sugar and your gut health! // dr. Michael Goran author of sugarproof. YouTube. Published April 23, 2022. Accessed May 14, 2022. 

    7. Lasekan JB, Hustead DS, Masor M, Murray R. Impact of palm olein in infant formulas on stool consistency and frequency: A meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Food & nutrition research. Published June 14, 2017. Accessed May 15, 2022. 

    8. Petre, A. (2022). Is Soy Formula Safe for Your Baby?. Retrieved 16 May 2022, from't%20a,function%20(%201%20%2C%202%20).


    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published