If you want to heat up a discussion amongst a group of mothers, bring up the topic of breast versus bottle. Everyone has something to say on the matter and everyone has a different story to tell. We’re told over and over that breast is best. And when you're a sleep-deprived mother, this tends to linger in your mind...
There’s no denying breastfeeding has a multitude of benefits and in an ideal world, we’d tackle breastfeeding as effortlessly as Gisele. We all know the facts: breast milk is the best nutrition you can offer your newborn. And we all know the reality: sometimes breastfeeding just doesn’t work out. End of story. As mothers we know what is best and we should be free to choose what’s best for us and our children (and not feel guilty about it). Formula fed babies can thrive and grow in the same way as breastfed babies. When both my girls arrived prematurely they were put straight on formula. They were too small to be fed and they needed milk. They were fed formula from a tube until my milk came in a few days later. As the weeks passed, I pushed past painful bouts of mastitis and ended up having quite a good experience with nursing. My second daughter was also premature and this time, I knew the drill. Formula at birth and then I breastfed after we got home from hospital. With Lottie, I didn’t even feel guilty when I threw in a bottle of formula from time to time and then at six months, I weaned her and she went onto formula. It’s always easier the second time round and I was too tired to even bother with the whole mother guilt thing. So if you’re going down the formula path, which one do you pick? Wander down the baby aisle in the supermarket and it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed when choosing a formula that’s right for you and your child. Lactose-free formula, thickened formula, goat’s milk formula, follow-on formula… the options are seemingly endless. But what about the tins that read Munchkin Grass Fed Formula? They’re the ones that caught our eye. And the more research we did on this formula, the more impressed we became (and not just because of the premium packaging and baby lifestyle products the brand offers). The story behind Munchkin? After discovering that was no industry standard for producing premium, 100% grass fed milk, Munchkin decided to create its own. Munchkin Grass Fed cows are raised in New Zealand, one of the few places in the world that has a temperate climate where cows can graze on pasture 365 days per year. Each Munchkin dairy cow is milked a maximum of two times every 24 hours and produce milk that is certified to be GMO free, grain free, and rBGH free. They’re proud of the fact that the oldest cow on their grass fed farms is 22 years old (remarkably dairy cows on average only live to 4-5 years). All farmers signed up to Munchkin’s 100% Grass Fed program receive a premium to ensure they deliver top quality milk for little ones. Your child can start on Munchkin Grass Fed Formula as a newborn and the three different formulas take you up to 36 months. Their formulas all contain antioxidants which help support a strong immune system and are naturally occurring in breast milk. Make sure you also check out the brand’s award winning one-of-a-kind LATCH™ bottle. Curious to know more? We called on Sydney-based Mandy Sacher, a leading paediatric nutritionist and Wholesome Child founder, to get her expert opinion on Munchkin Grass Fed Formula and find out more about the benefits of giving your children 100% grass fed milk. Photography: Grace Alyssa Kyo | Go to www.grassfed.com.au | In association with Munchkin | Munchkin Grass Fed Formula is available in Big W nationwide, select pharmacies and grocery stores. For more information, to buy online or to find your local stockist, head over to Munchkin. You can also connect with Munchkin on Facebook and Instagram.
What is grass fed milk?
100% grass fed milk is made from cows that are fed a diet of grass, plants and shrubs exclusively (which many don’t realise is actually a cow’s preferred diet). Modern farming practices today see the feed of most dairy cows supplemented with grain, corn and soy based foods, which can expose cows to GM ingredients and impact the nutritional properties of the milk itself. When cows are fed a 100% grass fed diet, the milk not only offers a fuller richer flavour, but has been proven to combine a range of added nutritional benefits. A good way to think of it is when cows are fed a nutrient rich diet (like grass) they are healthier and will be able to produce a higher grade quality of milk.
Is there a difference between organic and grass fed?
The main difference between organic and grass fed milk is in relation to the way a cow is fed. Certified Organic Milk can come from cows that feed on certified organic grain, whereas only grass fed milk specifies that the milk must come from cows that feed on grass, plants and shrubs exclusively.
How important is the source of the milk to the quality of toddler formulas?
Most parents don’t realise that on average up to 65% of a formula is made up of milk and milk by-products. This makes the quality and source of milk used in any formula of paramount importance. While it can be confusing with so many options available, mums really need to do their research and to first identify whether toddler milk is right for their child and then to make sure the formula they are offering their toddlers is made from a high grade quality milk. Munchkin Grass Fed Toddler is a step in the right direction for the industry and hopefully provides parents with greater choice when it comes to choosing the best formula for their little ones.
What are the key benefits of grass fed as opposed to grain?
As the preferred natural diet of cows, 100% grass fed milk contains multiple nutritional benefits when compared to the milk produced from cows fed a grain based diet. Specifically for toddlers this includes: -Up to five times the naturally occurring conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA is a fat also found in breast milk and has various benefits for toddlers including boosting the immune system, improved bone mass and controlling blood sugar levels. -Higher levels of beta carotene from grazing on natural pastures, assists with immune health, visual health and fat metabolism. -Increased levels of antioxidants such as vitamin E. -Higher levels of minerals and vitamins. A healthier ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids. Further, cows on a 100% grass fed diet do not consume genetically modified ingredients like corn, soy or canola oil, making it naturally GMO free.
Why is it important to choose a formula with probiotics?
One of the main benefits of breast milk is that it is saturated with beneficial bacteria, which influences the state of a baby’s health. A healthy gut (microbiome) is the cornerstone of good health in young children. A formula supplemented with probiotics, or prebiotics can help maintain a healthy microbiome in toddlers.
Is it preferable for a toddler formula to be supplemented with DHA from fish or algae?
DHA is a vital nutrient for growth, development and maintenance of brain tissue, as well as supporting a healthy nervous system and reducing inflammation. Formulas supplement this ingredient through either a fish or algae source. Many studies have shown that a fish source allows these fatty acids to be more readably absorbed. Can you tell us about your experience with formula fed children? Do you have a story you’d like to share?