Like most things, starting a new chapter in life looks completely different from one person to the next, and motherhood is no exception. Every year, 3.7 million new mothers navigate choosing which diaper brand they prefer, whether or not they trust their neighbor to babysit while they take a much-needed nap, and 3.7 million new mothers choose how to feed their baby.
Whether that looks like exclusive breastfeeding, pumping, formula feeding, or combo-feeding, each infant feeding journey is different, and takes trial and error to figure out a personal nutritional routine that works best for both the baby and family.
The differences in experiences don’t stop at the visible level though; breast milk is often viewed as its own form of “personalized nutrition” as it is highly variable in composition from one person to the next. Macro- and micronutrient levels in breast milk change during a feeding session, throughout the day, and throughout lactation. To list a few: colostrum is richer in immune factors compared to mature milk, milk produced at the end of a feeding session (hindmilk) is higher in total fat and calories than milk produced at the beginning of a feed (foremilk), melatonin increases in breast milk at night, and even genetic variations between mothers can drive differences in milk composition (HMOs). The maternal diet also plays a significant role in breast milk variability. For example, studies have shown that a maternal diet can alter the types of fatty acids in milk and certain vitamins and minerals. Even differences in geographic locations have been found to impact milk and infant fecal microbial profiles.
Current infant formula options vary, from hypoallergenic formulas to soy-based, lactose-free, organic, and even goat’s milk formula. Finding a formula that is the best fit for a family can be a challenging journey, though. Soy allergies, lactose intolerances, gastrointestinal sensitivities, or just a baby’s preference can cause a family to sample a variety of options until they, too, find their personalized nutritional routine. As of late, those challenges have only increased in the United States due to accessibility issues.
The infant formula shortage has shown a need for further diversification and increased access to alternative infant feeding options. Infant formula is often chosen out of necessity as breastfeeding issues such as low milk supply (by the way, Binto has vitamins that support prenatal and postnatal needs you should check out), lack of sufficient parental leave or lack of a support system are common issues among families. Finding a nutritional routine that works best for the baby and family should be seamless, but lactation and breast milk research must be expanded to help families get there.
As a whole, women’s health has historically been underfunded and under-researched. Women were not even encouraged to be included in clinical research studies until 1986. With that in mind, there is a lack of attention given to breastfeeding and lactation in the clinical world, as it is only a small sub-sector of the women’s health category. New breast milk components are still being discovered today, and a similar observation can be made with infant formula, which has not had updated regulatory requirements in the US since the 1980s – though that is subject to change due to the recent effects of the infant formula shortage. Luckily, there have recently been efforts to diversify the infant nutrition space. There has been a promising ‘boom’ in innovation as more companies are entering the infant nutrition market with new ideas and technologies.
Expanding options for parents is crucial, but so is creating products that provide babies with the necessary nutrients they need to grow and thrive and also more closely resemble the variability and complexity of human breast milk compared to conventional infant formulas- and that’s exactly what BIOMILQ is creating.
BIOMILQ is a women-owned, science-led, and mother-centered start-up that is creating cell-cultured human milk with much of the nutrition of breast milk and the practicality of formula. Our goal is to increase infant feeding options for new parents by offering human milk produced outside the body as supplemental nutrition. Our ultimate vision is to empower parents through choice, nourish healthier babies, and contribute to a healthier planet. A 100% human and sustainable alternative infant feeding option has never existed, especially one representing that much of breast milk’s bioactive and nutritional benefits. We are disrupting a field that has been lacking in innovation and research for years. Like Binto’s supplement kits, which are tailored specifically to each person, every parent and baby deserves a personalized nutritional infant feeding routine. BIOMILQ is working on expanding options so that every parent can easily find what works best for them and their baby.
If you are interested in learning more about BIOMILQ, sign up for their newsletter at https://www.biomilq.com or follow them on Instagram at @biomilq.
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