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36 year old Laura Modi is cofounder and CEO of Bobbie organic infant formula, the only formula in the US market founded and led by moms that meets not only FDA requirements but also many European Union (EU) standards, in addition to being free from certain ingredients today’s discerning parents hope to avoid like corn syrup, palm oil and maltodextrin.
But let’s step back: Why build a better infant formula when, as RDs are usually taught, “breast is best”?
While exclusive breast-feeding is a noble goal, it doesn’t match the reality of most parents’ lives. There are many reasons for this, ranging from physically not being able to, to simply not wanting to, to not having the support from work, family, or a partner. Breast-feeding requires, on average, at least 30 hours per week, and most parents must return to work several weeks or months after giving birth, making it no surprise that 83% of US parents will eventually reach for formula during the baby’s first year of life.
Despite this vast majority, stigma abounds toward parents who use formula, and, apart from FDA safety standards, little attention has traditionally been paid to the nutritional quality of formulas on the market. Seeking products that meet the nutritional standards of the European Union, some parents (roughly 20%) who use formula have turned to illegally imported EU formulas. This trend is a major concern among health care practitioners, who point to a lack of quality control, language barriers, labeling differences, and lack of recall information, all of which are common with these “black market” formulas.
Enter Bobbie with its goals of not just meeting consumer demand for European-crafted formulas but also ending the stigma against formula use—helping parents focus on “confidence, not comparison” about their feeding choices. Today’s Dietitian (TD) sat down with Modi to learn about Bobbie and how RDs can make a meaningful difference on the frontlines of changing the conversation on how we feed our babies.