A colleague of mine recently undertook the monumental task of purchasing everything she needed for her new (and first) baby’s nursery.
She recalls standing in a popular baby store, feeling completely overwhelmed by the seemingly endless amount of prams, cots, monitors, car seats, nappy bags, high chairs, bouncers, toys, wipes…and having to pick which one is best for her baby. A baby she hasn’t even met yet.
Fortunately, my colleague is a smart woman, and had done her research about which products have high safety ratings, which products are best-sellers, she had read up on past product recalls. She really had done all her homework.
There seems to be an endless amount of consumer-focused resources for new mothers, enabling them to make informed choices about which products they buy.
But what happens when there is insufficient information to make a choice about a product?
It’s unlikely that you would buy a car seat if there was no way to fully comprehend all of the intricate parts and safety features that differentiate one model or brand from another, and feel confident in your decision. So why is infant formula any different?
Now, I know better than anyone that breast milk, with its unique and unsurpassed benefits, is the best for babies. But I also know, because of the work that I do, that when a baby is not breastfed, the only suitable alternative is a scientifically-developed infant formula product.
But, not all products are the same.
Last year, the Infant Nutrition Council (INC) commissioned research into the behaviours and informational needs of Australian mothers to enable them to make informed choices about the right infant formula for their baby.
The results are concerning. One in three mothers felt as though they received insufficient information from packaging when buying formula for the first time, and almost half of the respondents (43 per cent) did not understand the role of the ingredients in the formula they were buying.