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?

Why?

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.

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