Without diving into a debate about breastfeeding vs. formula feeding (other posts cover some of my thoughts on this topic: Judgements: Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding and Encouraging Breastfeeding: How Far is Too Far?), suffice it to say that I have always had to supplement. I was very proud that with baby #2 I was able to provide about 75% of his sustenance through breast milk through 9 months; however that means that I was still relying on formula for the remaining 25% and 3 months of the first year.
As such, it has always been critical to me to find the highest quality and most natural formula and supplements that I could. And I was thrilled when after months of trial and error with baby #1, I finally found Nature’s One Baby’s Only Organic LactoRelief formula (try saying that 10 times quickly) paired with their DHA & ARA Fatty Acid supplement. Finally something checked all the boxes: organic, natural (as possible), lactose free for sensitive tummies, and a DHA/ARA supplement that is egg derived via a water process – instead of being derived from algae and fungus and treated with hexane solvent, acid, and bleach (like the DHA/ARA found in all other commercially available infant formulas).
In fact, I was so pleased with the DHA/ARA supplement by Nature’s One that I continued to order it long after my eldest was off the bottle; I continue to give it to him to this day, mixed with his milk or yogurt.
So I was extremely disappointed to find the following message on Nature’s One’s website last night when trying to reorder:
Unfortunately, due to low demand and rising packaging/ingredient costs, Baby’s Only Essentials DHA & ARA Supplement will not be available for purchase going forward. Nature’s One made this difficult decision so that we can continue to focus our efforts on providing the best products possible while maintaining competitive prices.
That means that after our last two boxes, I am out – and will need a replacement as I definitely still want to supplement DHA for both children. Fortunately, it appears that all Nature’s Only infant formulas remain in production; most notably, the Dairy formulation which includes their water-processed DHA/ARA. Unfortunately, their LactoRelief formulation does not, at the moment, offer an option inclusive of DHA/ARA – so that leaves me trying to find an alternative.
After some research, I plan to switch to Nordic Naturals Children’s DHA Liquid. I had always been reluctant to use cod liver oil due to concerns with mercury, so had previously steered away. But in researching Nordic Naturals, I found that they surpass international standards for levels of mercury (< 0.1 ppm). They additionally surpass international standards for other worrisome heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, and cadmium. PCBs are concerning as well – and fortunately this product surpasses international standards (including standards under California’s Prop 65). Most comforting is the fact that these statements are backed by third party – not Nordic Naturals – analysis.
But how are the fish sourced? I was pleasantly surprised here as well. Nordic Naturals maintains that their Arctic cod is wild-caught from Norwegian waters. Furthermore, that their fishing practices align with the Norwegian fisheries management system to prevent overfishing; that they use responsible fishing gear to prevent the unintentional capture of other species; and that they use regulated line and net fishing methods to prevent damage to the seafloor and ecosystem.
I did have one final thought pop into my head that I wasn’t sure would be addressed on their site… And that was if there were ANY fish sourced from areas that may be impacted by the Fukushima nuclear power plant situation. Lo and behold, Nordic Naturals does address this! They indicate that since the initial incident in March 2011, they have been proactively testing their fish oil for any indication of radiation. To date, they have never had a detectable result.
I placed my first order this morning. To be fair, it is definitely not the least expensive option. Today’s discounted price was $37.41 for a 16-oz bottle on Amazon. BUT the responsibility of this company along with their commitment to carefully testing, researching, and analyzing their products gives me the peace of mind necessary to make the purchase worth it.
The final test will be the taste. I plan to hide it in milk, yogurt, or other “mushy” foods… But my two little critics will be the ultimate judge. Will keep this post updated.