Baby Formula Study a Marketing Cover, Researchers Say

In that article, Rosin said that after having her third child, she looked at evidence for breast-feeding and did not find it to be as strong as she would have believed. Despite the fact that she herself continues to breast-feed her third child -- "I actually don't hate it," she told ABCNews.com, countering assumptions many reading her article had made -- she has received a backlash of comments criticizing her, including some from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Action Over Substance

Rosin said the mistake breast-feeding proponents made was focusing on the substance, rather than the act.

"The formula companies tend to advertise their formulas by saying as close to breast milk as possible," she said. "Everyone accepts that breast milk is the standard."

Adding DHA would just be the latest attempt to supplement formula by adding a substance from breast milk.

"By turning breast milk into a magic vaccine, the breast milk people made themselves vulnerable to that," said Rosin.

Instead, Rosin said advocates would need to emphasize other parts of breast-feeding, such as spending time and cuddling with the infant, if they want to discourage choosing formula over breast milk.

"The formula companies can never say it's just like breast-feeding," she said.

Formulaic Infant Food

Dr. Miriam Labbok, a professor of public health at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, expressed some skepticism with the findings.

"It might be reasonable from these industry-funded studies to consider that this would be a good additive to formula if you are forced to stop breast-feeding," she said in an e-mail. "However, 1) none of these studies compare to continued breast-feeding, 2) you could also get these [nutrients] from other sources if you stop breast-feeding, and 3) there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other components in human milk that cannot be replaced."

Dr. Ruth Lawrence, a neonatologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the American Academy of Pediatrics pokeswoman on breast-feeding, said that DHA may contribute to better formula, but that won't replace breast milk.

"The important point is not let mothers think it's as good as their milk," she said.

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