Infant formula : social and health related factors

Mothers are recommended to exclusively breastfeed their infant for the first 6 months. When breastfeeding is not desired or not possible, or when mothers need to find a complement or follow-on, there is a vast array of infant formulas to choose from, in the form of either powdered or liquid milk.

Parents enrolled in the Elfe birth cohort answered questions once a month about their infant’s diet between the ages of 2 and 10 months, indicating which formula was most frequently given, where relevant.

Data analysis revealed that in 2012, more than 50% of bottlefed infants received formula fortified with pre- or probiotics. As recommended, extensively hydrolysed (i.e. hypoallergenic) formulas were more often used when either the parents or siblings had allergic diseases such as asthma or eczema.

The longer-term benefits of these two specific types of formula need to be documented, and the data collected during the follow-up of the Elfe children will provide just such an opportunity.

Thickened formula was more often given to the 12% of infants with regurgitation problems, as well as to boys rather than girls, and when the mother had gone back to work early. By contrast, they were used less for children who were mainly breastfed over a long period. 

More information

More information

de Lauzon-Guillain B., Davisse-Paturet C., Lioret S., Ksiazek E., Bois C., Dufourg M.-N., Bournez M., Nicklaus S., Wagner S., Charles M.-A., “Use of infant formula in the Elfe study: the association with social and health related factors”, Mat Child Nutr 2018; 14 (1) [Link]