Modern Commentary

Torah & Spirit
Family Life






Baby Formula

Since infant formula is designed to emulate mother's milk, it must contain a source of fat, protein, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, sugar, and other micro nutrients. Many of these ingredients can be obtained from tame’ sources, therefore, it is important to ensure that any formula given to a baby has been thoroughly investigated before giving it to the child. For example, the fatty acids that are used in infant formula may be of animal origin. The vitamins may come from tame’ fish or from animal organs. The Micronutrients can be derived from an array of tame’ sources. "Reading the label" is a very inadequate means of ascertaining the acceptable status of an infant formula, since potentially tame’ ingredients may be listed in a seemingly innocuous manner. For example, beef fat is commonly referred to as "oleo," and "natural vitamins" may be obtained from tame’ fish oil.

Commercial infant formulas in the United States can be divided into two categories - dairy based and soy based. Dairy based products use milk, casein, and/or whey for the protein constituent, and lactose as sugar. Soy based formulas use soy protein and dextrose or sucrose as sweetening agents. All soy based products contain absolutely no milk derivatives whatsoever.

The distinction between milk and soy based products is important because many infants have difficulty in digesting dairy based components, and do much better on soy based versions. In some cases, infants are allergic to milk protein, and non-dairy soy based products are essential. For certain babies, however, none of the standard formulas are appropriate. Many times an infant is incapable of digesting regular formula and requires formula whose protein has been partially or completely hydrolyzed. Complete hydrolysis means that the protein is broken into its component units to make it more digestible. That makes the formula hypo-allergenic. Specialized formulas, such as Nutramigen and Allimentum are hypo-allergenic. Good Start is a partially hydrolyzed formula and is not hypo-allergenic. Unfortunately, none of these products are tahor due to the fact that the enzymes used to hydrolyze the milk proteins are tame’, and they use animal source vitamins and sucrose. If your child must eat formula, and they must have a hypo-allergenic, it is best to consult your physician to determine how make the formula yourself. In general, this is a good idea.