Study: Poor Families Watering Down Baby Formula

[deleted account] ( 11 moms have responded )

A new study from Cincinnati Children's hospital about baby formula is making national headlines this morning. The study shows families struggling financially are "formula stretching."

This means that families are watering down their babies' formula or skipping feedings all together. The study shows one in three families say they worry about putting food on the table, and among those families, nearly a third admit to cutting back on their baby's formula. The study was recently published in the journal Pediatrics

Researchers say it's a dangerous practice that can lead to poor brain development and serious health problems for children. They found that two-thirds of the families in the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program – which provides nutrition basics for low-income women with children – reported running out of WIC-supplied formula toward the end of most months. The study researchers say that in 2009, WIC decreased the amount of formula provided to infants over the age of six months.

The study, led by Dr. Burkhardt, Dr. Beck, Melissa Klein, MD, and Robert Kahn, MD, was conducted at two urban health centers in Cincinnati: The Pediatric Primary Care Center (PPCC) and the Hopple Street Health Center. The centers see roughly 45,000 patient visits per year from underserved neighborhoods. You can read more about the study by clicking here.

My challange to you where ever you maybe in the world is buy 1 can and donate it to a food bank! Most store brand formula is less then getting your hair cut, getting your nails done, or even eatting fast food for a family of 4. 1 can can feed a baby for about a week depending one the childs age. I know here in the USA a can of Walmart brand formula is roughly $14.00. Thats cheap when it may save a babies life.

Edited to add: thanks Local 12 WKRC for writing this and making this public!


Tara - posted on 01/21/2012




If you use any of the brand-name formulas check out their websites. When our daughters were little I signed up on the Similac and Enfamil sites for parents and received tons of sample cans or even full-size cans as promos, plus I got coupons a lot. I was still getting the occasional coupon up until just before my youngest turned 2, and I still get samples and coupons for their "Toddler" stuff. Might be worth a shot for you. Same with some of the diaper sites - they will send you samples and coupons.

[deleted account]

Sadly not everyone who qualifies for WIC can get food card. WIC has a high gross income limit. A family of 5 can make almost $40,000 a yr where with food card you can only make like $28,000

Katherine - posted on 01/21/2012




Why aren't these people applying for food stamps? They can buy it with that. They could supplement their WIC with food stamps. This makes no sense to me. Are people not aware they can do this?

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Kristen - posted on 08/16/2012




Oh yeah I agree Wic cuts back and it's not cool I don't like the idea of my kids going hungry at all but with 4 people to feed getting food stamps for only three and Wic checks for 3 going on 2 soon is kinda hard to stretch everything

[deleted account]

All of my kids ate peanutbutter before 2. My 3rd child would steal his sister toast in the morning or PBJ's. But for being a place that is up on all the uptodate studies and what is best for children I think it's odd. Yet I had them tell me I need to get my then 12 month old son off the bottle because he was past his 1st bday. I must add I'm not bashing them in anyway because they have been a wonderful help to my family. I just don't get how they think or why they do what they do.

Hollyanne - posted on 01/21/2012




@ Tasha - I never knew that peanut butter wasn't supposed to be eaten until 2. My son is 20 months and has been eating it since he was about 16. We cut it up into small pieces and mush the bread together, so it is small. Also we put jelly on it so it isn't as dry and easier for him to swallow it.

[deleted account]

WIC needs to be changed. I know for a fact that when your child turns 1 they offer you peanutbutter. (They just did this to my son who turned 1 in Dec.) They say to not give your child peanutbutter until the age of 2 yet they are giving it out to them. Lucky for me my girls will eat it so I took it but they offer it to everyone.

User - posted on 01/21/2012




it is on wic and food stamps and NEVER have enough formula to last the month and my the time i run out of formula i also run out of food stamp money, its not enough when you have NO other income coming in, thank God my mom will pic him up cans here and there and also in our town we have what i call the dented can store which sells perfectly fine formula and other items for cheap and my mom and i will pic up cans from there whenever they have his kind. america is def in a hard situation right now

[deleted account]

Totally agree. Some how some way the system needs to change. Problem being people who have never gone without or don't remember what it was like make the rules :(

Sarah - posted on 01/21/2012




Food stamps has been dramatically cut recently. Without the help of my parents, when our daughter was still on formula, we would have had to cut out something essential (example: okay mom only gets lunch 2 days a week) to pay for the extra formula we needed at the end of the month.

WIC says they are a supplement and aren't meant to supply what the baby needs for all month.

What I don't understand is the watering down thing. I would eat as little as possible before depriving my daughter at all.

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