Corn Syrup

My partner is British and we live in the US. My in-laws paid for us to fly over to visit so they can see their grandchild, and so I had the chance to check out UK formula. While I don’t think I’ve seen every single brand or anything, I did see 4 major ones. I only checked the “general” formulas, not the soy/lactose-free/hypoallergenic. And what I found was this:

NONE used corn syrup. Lactose only.

In the US, I have found ONE formula that uses lactose-only (similac advance and most of its generic versions). And I’ve developed an unhealthy obsession with reading formula labels- ones I can’t find in stores, I look up online.  Instead of lactose-only, formulas use sugar, corn syrup, and rice syrup- sometimes in addition to lactose, sometimes completely instead of.

Baby’s Only is so attached to not using lactose in its general formula (they have one for babies with lactose intolerance) that it would rather go through a special process to remove arsenic from the rice syrup.  Why? Now, the rice syrup (at least in theory) is better than corn syrup as it’s less allergenic, so I do understand using rice syrup in the

Lactose is the sugar in breastmilk. Babies are born with an enzyme (lactase) to digest it. While there are babies who can’t handle it, that’s why we have the lactose-free/lactose-sensitivity formulas. We do not put corn syrup in general formula to “save” babies who are perfectly capable of digesting lactose from the sugar they are literally born to digest.

No. The reason they use corn syrup is because it’s dirt cheap. (seriously, I do not get Baby’s Only’s reason) It’s cheaper than sugar. Want to know what else corn syrup is? It’s one of the Big 8 allergens (corn is, and corn syrup is, well, corn). Meaning that not only are babies not meant to be digesting this, but it’s a very common allergen.

This is something that gets under my skin because we spent 5 months in hell thanks to these corn syrup formulas and no one thinking to say “Hey- you realize that formula uses corn syrup and babies can’t always handle it?”. Instead, our pediatrician went on about how no baby ever has problems with lactose, so it was stupid to switch, as if lactose were what our baby were actually getting. 4 months of screaming bloody murder for hours on end because my baby’s food was so damaging. Yes, I’m angry.

There is no goddamn reason for this. It makes my blood boil that if our baby had been born in the UK, with its plethora of lactose-only formulas, that our baby wouldn’t have had to suffer. I’m furious that our baby suffered due to freaking companies padding their pockets and risking infant health to do so.

(and, while this sounds a bit conspiracy theory, I can’t help but wonder if they’re trying to up sales of their horribly expensive hypo-allergenic formulas)

This is something that lactivists often use to attack formula feeders- “Don’t you know you’re feeding your baby corn syrup?”. Yet I never see anyone trying to fix it. No, rather than trying to make formula better for the babies that need it- they’re too busy attacking people who don’t exclusively breastfeed.

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