Monday, September 28, 2009

Is DHA in Formula necessary?

From NBC: Supplementing infant formula with an essential fatty acid may boost babies'brain power! DHA is found in breast milk, and is thought to play a role in brain development. Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center compared babies given either traditional formula or formula supplemented with a high dose of DHA.

When the babies were 9 months old, they were given a test in which they had to complete a series of tasks to get a rattle. The DHA group was more likely to get the toy.

From ABC: For those mothers who choose to bottle feed their infants, new research shows that supplementing baby formula with omega-3 fatty acids can boost cognitive development for infants in their first year.

pkg: According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than a third of mothers begin feeding their child baby formula in the first week and less than half breastfeed at all after the first 6 weeks. This means that creating a baby formula that mimics the essential nutrients of breast milk is vital for infants' mental and physical development.

A new study finds that infants who are fed baby formula supplemented with DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that occurs naturally in breast milk, perform better on cognitive tasks than those fed on regular baby formula alone. Researchers began feeding infants either regular formula or formula supplemented with DHA soon after birth, after 6 weeks of breastfeeding, or after 6 months of breastfeeding. At nine months of age, they found that those children who had been on the DHA formula after at least 6 weeks of breastfeeding were more likely than those on regular formula to be able to complete a problem-solving task.

In general, infants who display superior performance on this type of cognitive development task tend to have a superior I.Q. and vocabulary later in childhood. Though breast milk naturally contains the essential nutrients and fats needed for cognitive development, these findings suggest that supplementing with DHA is a good way to provide better nutrition for baby's being fed formula.

It makes me sad that less than half of moms breastfeed their kids after the first six weeks. I have a feeling it's because they don't have a good support system. It has always been a wonderful experience for me. I just talked to another mom today who said she tried to breastfeed, but things weren't going well and she didn't know where to turn. I felt so bad for her. I wish everyone had a great breastfeeding support network like I do. I am sure it makes things a lot easier.

It's good to know DHA in formula is helping all the babies who are formula fed. That's a big percentage of kids who need that DHA!

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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