A. Was the 'inservice' sponsored by or catered by a baby formula company?
In general, all baby and infant formula brands that are sold in the United States must meet the minimum nutritional requirements of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (the 'Infant Formula Act') and FDA regulations.
That doesn't mean that all infant formula brands are the same, but any of the major brands, such as Enfamil, Similac, or Good Start, and store brands from Walmart, Target, or Kroger, etc., should meet your baby's basic nutritional needs.
Infant Formula DifferencesAlthough all infant formula must meet FDA requirements, there are differences among them. For instance, Good Start is made with 100 percent whey protein, while Similac and Enfamil are made with a combination of whey and casein proteins, like breastmilk.
Another difference is that Similac is made without palm olein oil as the predominant source of fat, while Enfamil is made with palm olein oil.
Of course, each brand of formula markets the reasons that their 'recipe' is the best, but there is no official head to head study that shows that one brand is much better for your baby than another. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics has never taken a real stand and made any kind of recommendation about formula feeding, except to say that breastfeeding is preferred over formula and that you shouldn't use a low-iron infant formula.
Formula WarningsThere was a warning about infant formula from the FDA a few years ago, but it was concerning Chinese infant formula called Guan Wei Yuan. The FDA warned consumers not to use this formula 'because the safety and nutritional adequacy of infant formula from China is unknown.' I am not aware of any warning about store brand formula or other infant formulas though.
There was also a recall of powdered infant formula made by Wyeth Nutritionals, Inc., which makes most store brand formula for Albertsons, Safeway, Walgreens, and Parent's Choice. The recall was because of a worry of bacterial contamination, but that was several years ago and there have been no recent warnings about these formulas.
Infant Formula PollsLess expensive baby formula, such as Carnation (Nestle) Good Start and store brand formula are becoming popular with parents. According to our own baby formula poll, about 11 percent of parents give their infants a Nestle formula and 4 percent use a store brand. Still, the majority of parents feed their baby a Mead Johnson (Enfamil) or Ross (Similac) brand formula.