You are a new parent. Your infant is gassy, fussy, spitty, and does not sleep much. In other words your infant is a normal baby. You are stressed, and like any good parent, you want to fix what “ails” your infant. As you stroll down the baby aisle at the grocery store, you see labels that tout words like gentle, comfort, and restful. Formula manufacturers are brilliant. They know their clientele and they know how to market to this stressed out audience. There are formulas to stop your baby from spitting up, ones for gas, ones for fussiness, and even one to help your baby sleep. If you have a problem, formula manufacturers are there to help.
This is the point when many parents punch their ticket and climb on the formula carousel. They try formula after formula in hopes that their infant will act less like an infant. Some parents do find formula bliss and their infant becomes “better,” but there is no rhyme or reason to which formula “fixed” their baby. One family swears that switching from formula A to formula B has made all the difference in the world. The next family tells me that switching from formula B to A has been a lifesaver. I think the placebo effect is probably doing more than the nutritional engineering of the formula.
Most families do not find the cure for what ails their baby. Instead they just ride the carousel, switching from formula to formula, until everything seems to get better around 4 to 6 months old.
I have a few ideas about future formulas that would sell like gangbusters. These are niche formulas, but I am confident a market exists for them. In the same vein of existing formula marketing, my formulas will address specific concerns that parents have.
- Sneaky Poop: The perfect blend of nutrients and fiber to keep your infant very regular. By promoting a healthy digestive system, your baby will strategically have a bowel movement when your spouse is holding him. No more poopy diapers for you to change.
- The Contract: Vitamins and minerals specially tailored to promote strong muscles and bones, helping your infant to develop athletic prowess and secure a long term, lucrative contract with a professional team. It is time to get paid.
- Harvard Blend: Specially designed proteins that facilitate brain development and intelligence. Your child will not be attending a state college. Start saving now, the Ivy League is in her future.
- Harvard Blend plus Early Scholarship: Containing all the nutritional prowess of Harvard Blend but with Early Scholarship. Early Scholarship contains specially designed carbohydrates that will aid in your child receiving many scholarships, reducing the need for saving for that Ivy League education.
Of course there are real medical conditions that require a specific formula, but fortunately these conditions are relatively rare. Talk with your pediatrician before you get on the carousel. There is no sense going around in circles if it is not necessary.
(Unfortunately my mother did not feed me The Contract as an infant, so if you are a representative of a formula manufacturer, please contact me for more ideas on future formulas … for a “small” fee of course.)
Michael Gonzalez is a pediatrician who blogs at The Anxious Parent.
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