Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Is It Worth It For A "Restfull" Night?

(All images in this post directly from Enfamil's website.)

Isn't that sleeping baby precious? Doesn't your heart just sigh with peace as you gaze at that picture? What are you willing to do to get your baby to sleep so soundly?

My Twitter friends got an earful from me yesterday. I have a feeling Enfamil will regret ever sending me a coupon for their new Enfamil Lipil Restfull formula...

My four month old is exclusively breastfed, just so you know. That does not mean I don't usually appreciate the coupons. I have a good friend who is currently using formula (Enfamil, to be exact) and I'm happy to pass on the savings so she can continue to buy her preferred formula brand. My first child was exclusively formula-fed (Enfamil again) and my second had a tablespoon of specialty formula (sorry, Enfamil, our NICU used Similac) added to expressed breast milk to up the calories. I am NOT anti-formula. I really want to make that clear. While I am thrilled to be nursing my daughter and it is going beautifully smoothly for us, I believe there are many good reasons to turn to formula too. So this is not, in any way, a "bottle feeding slam" post.

What this is is a criticism of this new "Restfull" formulation.

Here are the high points, according to Enfamil's website:

"Specially designed to help babies feel full longer and sleep better."

-Allow me to just pause and point out that this states "help babies FEEL full longer..." not "help babies BE full longer". This formula is not really filling your baby up- just taking longer to digest so she doesn't bother you with her pesky cries for more nutrition...

"Give your baby a RestFull Night.

Your baby needs a proper amount of sleep to keep her healthy and happy. That's why we created new Enfamil RestFull, the formula specially designed to naturally encourage a good night's sleep."

-Babies DO need sleep, no doubt. So do you. But "tricking" a baby's tummy into feeling full isn't the answer, in my opinion.

The website goes on...

  • A natural way to help keep your baby feeling satisfied. (Natural = Rice Starch, just so you know)
  • Thickens gently in baby's tummy and digests slowly. (Translation- this formula is harder for your baby to digest.)

To be fair, the website then lists six tips for a Restfull night, all of which are valid and helpful (well, except perhaps the inevitable formula plug, but you have to expect that). They include:

  • Try to be consistent with your baby's sleep routine.
  • Relax your baby with a warm bath.
  • Dim the lights, and create a calm bedtime environment.
  • Enjoy the special bonding time of feeding your baby Enfamil Restfull.
  • Soothe your baby with a lullaby or a bedtime story.
  • Kiss your baby goodnight.
Those are good suggestions.

But this formula? I don't trust it. I think the idea of creating something to "thicken" in a baby's belly just so she'll sleep longer is simply wrong. It's basically just like the previous generations who put rice cereal in the bottle. Did the babies sleep? Yep. But study after study has since shown that it's not what's best for our babies. So why is a formula company, who presumably has many researchers on staff, marketing it to us?


Because it will sell. Read the comments on the website and you'll see that dozens of parents-even those of newborns- have bought it and tried it. Because they're tired. They're sleep-deprived. They're desperate. And Enfamil, knowing this, lures them in with the promise of more rest. Under the guise that it's also good for their baby. Shameful, if you ask me.

I don't like the idea, period, but I don't have as much issue with marketing it to parents of babies, say 6 months or older. Or even 4 months and older. Babies who are large enough to handle longer stretches of sleep and who may even be eating rice cereal (so the rice starch won't be so new on that little tummy).

I could not find an age guideline anywhere on the website or on the brochure that came with my coupon. The closest you'll see is this disclaimer:

"Ask your baby's doctor if Enfamil Restfull is right for your baby."

That's not enough, in my opinion.

I am cringing at the thought that people are giving this stuff to their 2-week old babies. The way it's labeled, it looks like, if your doctor recommended Enfamil Lipil, then this is the formula you should use at bedtime. I have a feeling very few people are really asking their pediatricians.

I think this is a big fail, Enfamil, and I'm not afraid to tell the world how I feel. You can trust that this coupon will NOT be getting passed on. If you don't want to pull the product (and why would you? I'm sure it sells.), then I urge you to at least use responsible marketing and provide appropriate age recommendations for the consumer.

But what do you all think? I'd love to know! Would you buy this product? Recommend it to a friend? Let me have it!

This post included in Real Life's Your Life Your Blog.


Mamas Little Bears said...


I am right there with you ! why on earth would we pump this stuff in a newborn baby ! Their tummys can't handle it.

I agree most won't talk to their DR, and if they do ...sorry to say many Dr's. will give them the ok.

I have had Dr's. that would tell me at 3 months to start baby food.

Uuumm that is a 12 week old baby !
No thank you.. I will stick with what is best for my baby... ME !

Now I do believe some babys do need formula due to issues (mom doesn't have enough, or health issues) but to give them something that is harder on their tummy to just make them sleep ! NO they have gone to far.

Thats my 2 cents.
Rachelle ( mama of 10 happy kids who sleep on their own ! )

FishMama said...

You go, girl. Like your spunk -- and your logic. Nothing new under the sun, is there?

Anonymous said...

I agree most won't even ask their doc... I use to work for a pedi doc and you would belive what they don't tell you until you actually ask I have a 5 yr old that still doesn't sleep all night every night and a six month old that sleeps all night occasionally so I no how those sleepless nights go and some parents don't care and will try anything to get their babies to sleep all night just suck it up get up with them and feed them it's what their little growing bodies need

Mercedes said...

Sick! I hate formula marketing.


Cheryl@SomewhatCrunchy said...

This is DANGEROUS territory! Newborns-6 months wake more often because they NEED to feed more often. They NEED nutrition every 2-4 hours. I can easily see this leading to many "failure to thrive" babies. IF baby's tummies could tolerate the starch early (and that'a a big if) I could understand giving it for one feeding a night to encourage good sleep patterns, but this could easily be abused.

Kris said...

Enfamil already makes a formula with added rice starch for babies with reflux, Enfamil AR. So what makes this one different? Purple packaging and a new ad campaign?

Another preemie mama here, 2 years nursing and a few months of supplemental Similac Neosure, and even with reflux we didn't resort to adding rice to his bottles.

Kelly @ Wisdom Begun said...

This doesn't surprise me in the least. Food/formula/drink/whatever companies will never care about your child as much as you do, no matter what they say. The bottom line is the bottom line. I agree with your post.

Really, parents need to use discretion in what they put in their children's bodies. Just because a company says something is okay doesn't mean it is. Good judgement is called for here.

Anonymous said...

You are totally right. Disgraceful! - Tiffany

Amy @ Finer Things said...

Great post. I think formula is kinda gross "baby's first junk food" anyway, so this grates on me a bit...

Dawn said...

I totally agree with you! FEEL full? What in the world is THAT? Little babies need nutrition as frequently as every 2 hours, and just because something makes them feel full doesn't mean it is providing them NUTRITION that entire time. And let's not forget that newborns can suffer low blood sugars when they are not fed frequently enough. And do you know a sign that your baby has low blood sugar? They are VERY SLEEPY!!!! I think Enfamil is being just plan irresponsible with this one.

Abbygail said...

Love the post and totally agree. Giving an infant something to help them sleep? why not just give them tylenol pm (said with extreme sarcasm of course!) Luckily my daughter began sleeping through the night at about 3 months, but I already miss the nights of getting up with her at 3 am and she is breastfed, but even if she didn't sleep and was on formula, I would NOT even dream of giving her formula that "thickens". Sounds like the stories you hear about birds at weddings who eat the rice and then their stomachs explode!

Heather Benza said...

I suspect lots of people have no idea how it's different from normal formula and make no effort to find out.

Julie said...

As a mother whose milk dried up with her first two children within the first three months, I also appreciate your stance on formula, and that you understand it has a place. To the mothers on here who find it easy to be slightly, albeit well-meaningly, self-righteous regarding breastfeeding, please understand that some people have a hard time keeping or even producing breastmilk.

I've heard the beliefs represented in the previous comments all before, so I am truly not offended. However, please understand how wounding those comments can be to a mother who truly wants to breastfeed. I have been there and was even shamed by the lactation consultant who was trying to help (to no avail) me for giving up with breastfeeding when all I had produced every day for a week was less than 2 ounces/day. It was an extremely difficult and emotional decision. Please just be gracious in your speech regarding such things, understanding that this gift of nursing hasn't been given to everyone.

Moving on, I think you, Jessieleigh, are absolutely right on pointing out that the formula makes the baby "feel" full. I wonder, too, as one commenter did about what the difference is from Enfamil A.R. other than the packaging and evident marketing scheme.

I also agree with you that there ought to be some age parameters set on the packaging.

I am now successfully (almost 5 months and going strong!) breastfeeding my son except for the last feeding of the night to which I add, gasp, a small amount of rice cereal. My doctor is fine with that, and I don't feel like I'm drowning from lack of sleep. My son continues to thrive.

Sorry for the long comment, but thanks for a very apt and gracious post!

~M said...

This Restfull Night formula is is this chocolate one, in my opinion: