Baby formula could explain infant weight gain

Laura Donovan Contributor
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There are many contributors to childhood weight gain — diet, inactivity, genes — but a study released on Dec. 27 in Pediatrics identifies another potential cause: certain types of baby formula.

Researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center recruited 56 mothers with new infants to test two types of infant formula. The women, who had already decided to feed their children formula, were split into two groups: For seven months, starting when the babies were two weeks old, 32 of the babies got traditional formula made from cow’s milk — the most popular kind available; 24 received a “hypoallergenic” formula called protein hydrolysate formula (PHF), which contains predigested proteins that are easier on infants’ digestive tracts.

All the infants were regularly weighed and measured, and were also videotaped while feeding. Early on, researchers found that the traditional formula-fed group was gaining more weight more quickly than the PHF group; the babies getting cow’s-milk formula had significantly higher weights per length by 2.5 months. After just 3.5 months, researchers found that the cow’s-milk formula group also weighed significantly more for their age, compared with PHF-fed babies, who weighed on average the same as breast-fed infants.

Full story: Baby getting heavy? Culprit may be in the bottle