The Importance of Paying Attention to What We Feed Our Kids, Especially Babies

By Dr Olivia Naturals Support • May 30, 2024

In today’s fast-paced world, convenience often trumps nutrition when it comes to feeding our children. However, it's time to slow down and pay closer attention to what we are feeding our kids, particularly our babies. A critical area of concern is infant formula, which, despite its convenience, often contains ingredients that are far from ideal for a developing child.

The Hidden Dangers in Baby Formula

It’s an alarming reality that virtually every infant formula on the market contains high fructose corn syrup or corn syrup solids. The intention behind these ingredients is to "grow and fatten babies," mimicking the nutritional density of breast milk. However, achieving this goal with these ingredients can have unintended negative consequences on a baby’s health.

Understanding High Fructose Corn Syrup and Corn Syrup Solids

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and corn syrup solids are sweeteners derived from corn starch. HFCS is commonly used in processed foods and beverages, while corn syrup solids are often found in powdered products, including baby formula. These ingredients are favored by manufacturers because they are inexpensive and help to bulk up the formula, making it more calorie-dense.

However, these sweeteners come with a host of potential health issues. HFCS has been linked to obesity, insulin resistance, and fatty liver disease. While the long-term effects of these ingredients on infants are not yet fully understood, the potential risks warrant a closer examination.

The Challenge of Replicating Breast Milk

Breast milk is widely acknowledged as the optimal source of nutrition for infants, providing the perfect balance of nutrients, antibodies, and beneficial bacteria. It also adapts to the changing needs of a growing baby. Replicating this complex, dynamic food source in a formula is a significant challenge.

Formula manufacturers aim to mimic the nutritional profile of breast milk, but it is a difficult task. Breast milk contains a unique combination of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals that are precisely balanced to support infant growth and development. In an attempt to match the calorie content and sweetness of breast milk, manufacturers often resort to adding HFCS or corn syrup solids.

The Case for Banning HFCS and Corn Syrup Solids in Formula

Given the potential health risks associated with high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup solids, there is a strong case for banning these ingredients from infant formulas. Parents and caregivers need to be aware of what they are feeding their babies and should push for better options in the market.

While the ideal scenario would be for all babies to be breastfed, this is not always possible. Various factors such as maternal health issues, lactation difficulties, and work commitments can make breastfeeding challenging or unfeasible. In such cases, parents should have access to formulas that are as close to breast milk as possible without compromising on safety.

Organic Formulas: Not Always the Solution

Many parents turn to organic formulas hoping they are healthier alternatives. However, even organic formulas often contain corn syrup solids. The term "organic" refers to the sourcing and processing of the ingredients but does not necessarily mean the absence of these sweeteners. This can be misleading for parents who believe they are making a healthier choice.

Alternative Ingredients and Formulas

Some manufacturers are beginning to respond to the growing demand for healthier baby formulas by exploring alternative ingredients. Lactose, which is the natural sugar found in breast milk, is one such alternative. It is more expensive to produce but does not carry the same health risks as HFCS or corn syrup solids.

Other potential ingredients include organic whole milk, whey protein, and prebiotics and probiotics, which can help to support a baby’s digestive health and immune system. Parents should look for formulas that prioritize these types of ingredients over cheap, high-calorie fillers.

The Role of Policy and Regulation

Policy changes and stricter regulations are needed to ensure that infant formulas are safe and nutritious. Government agencies and health organizations must work together to set higher standards for baby formula ingredients. This includes banning or limiting the use of high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup solids in formulas.

Educating Parents and Caregivers

Education plays a crucial role in this issue. Parents and caregivers need to be informed about the potential risks associated with certain formula ingredients and should be empowered to make better choices. Pediatricians, dietitians, and other healthcare professionals can help by providing guidance on selecting healthier formulas and supporting breastfeeding efforts whenever possible.

Practical Steps for Parents

  1. Read Labels Carefully: Always check the ingredient list on baby formula packaging. Look for formulas that do not contain high fructose corn syrup or corn syrup solids.

  2. Consult with Healthcare Providers: Discuss your baby’s nutritional needs with a pediatrician or a dietitian. They can recommend formulas that are better aligned with breast milk’s nutritional profile.

  3. Consider Donor Milk: If breastfeeding is not an option, consider using donor breast milk from a reputable milk bank. This can be a more natural alternative to formula.

  4. Advocate for Change: Join parenting groups and advocacy organizations that are pushing for stricter regulations on infant formula ingredients. Your voice can help bring about change.


Feeding our babies is one of the most important responsibilities we have as parents and caregivers. It’s crucial to pay attention to the ingredients in baby formula and advocate for safer, healthier options. High fructose corn syrup and corn syrup solids have no place in a baby’s diet, and it’s time for manufacturers and regulators to take action.

By making informed choices and pushing for policy changes, we can ensure that our children get the best possible start in life. Let’s work together to create a future where all babies have access to the nutrition they need to grow and thrive.