Frequently Asked Questions

Gerber Good Start Infant Formula FAQ

Gerber® Good Start® milk-based formulas: 100% whey protein, partial hydrolysis and benefits

What are the features and benefits of Gerber® Good Start® Gentle formula?

Gerber® Good Start® Gentle is a routine formula made with high quality whey protein that has been partially hydrolyzed to provide functional digestive and immune benefits. It is easy to digest, promotes soft stools, and provides gastric emptying at a rate similar to breastmilk.  It may also reduce the risk of developing atopic dermatitis, the most common allergic disease in infancy, when fed to infants with a family history of allergy in the first 4 months of life vs. intact cow’s milk protein formulas.  Gerber® Good Start® Gentle formula has prebiotic galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) to support digestive health, and probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis (B.lactis), strain Bb-12, which has been studied and shown to help support the developing immune system in formula fed infants

What are the stool characteristics of an infant fed Gerber® Good Start® milk-based formula?

Infants fed Gerber® Good Start® Gentle formula have been studied and shown to have soft, green-colored stools. The green color, in the absence of disease, is normal.

Are there any differences in gastric emptying time when feeding Gerber® Good Start® formulas compared to casein-containing formulas?

Infants fed Gerber® Good Start® Gentle formula have been studied and shown to have similar gastric emptying to infants fed breastmilk, and significantly faster gastric emptying than infants fed formulas with intact whey and casein proteins.

What are partially hydrolyzed proteins?

Proteins that are partially hydrolyzed have been partially digested, or partially broken down into smaller peptide chains, and have lower molecular weight than intact (whole) proteins.

Is whey protein better than the protein source(s) used in other cow's milk-based formulas? Why?

Two types of protein – whey and casein – are used in cow’s milk-based formulas. All of these formulas, which feature either whey or casein or various combinations of the two, support normal infant growth and development.

Whey protein is a high quality protein source for use in infant formula. Based on reference values for protein, whey protein has a higher biological value (BV), essential amino acid score (EEA), net protein utilization (NPU), and protein efficiency ratio (EP), and the same protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) when compared to casein protein. 

Since breastmilk contains both whey and casein, wouldn’t a formula containing both be closer to breastmilk?

Mammalian milk is specie specific, and it is impossible to copy the chemical composition of human milk.  The whey and casein found in human milk is physiologically different from the whey and casein found in cow’s milk. By providing high quality whey protein that is partially hydrolyzed, Gerber® Good Start® Gentle formula may provide some of the functional digestive and immune benefits of breastmilk.

Who should use Gerber® Good Start® 100% whey protein partially hydrolyzed formula?

Gerber® Good Start® milk-based formula is an ideal routine formula for all healthy term infants. When a mother is unable to, or chooses not to breastfeed, or chooses to supplement breastfeeding with formula by providing some of the functional digestive and immune benefits of breastmilk, GOOD START® milk-based infant formulas provide complete nutrition, promote adequate growth, are easy to digest, have been shown to promote soft stools, and gastric emptying time similar to breastfed infants.  In addition, they may help reduce the risk of Atopic dermatitis (AD), a type of eczema and the most common allergic disease in infancy, when fed to infants with a family history of allergy in the 1st 4 months of life vs. intact protein formulas.  . Gerber® Good Start® Gentle formula has prebiotics in the form of galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), a prebiotic fiber sourced from milk, to support digestive health, and probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis (B.lactis), strain Bb-12, which has been studied and shown to help support the developing immune system in formula fed infants

What are DHA and ARA? Does the enhancement of formulas with DHA and ARA have any positive effect on the infant?

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is an omega-3 long chain fatty acid (LCUPUFA) naturally found in breastmilk. DHA is an important component of all cell membranes and is especially abundant in the central nervous system and retina. ARA (arachidonic acid) is an omega-6 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA), also naturally found in breastmilk. ARA is a precursor of eicosanoids, which affect the regulation of immune, platelet and other vital bodily functions.

DHA and ARA are added to practically all infant formulas in the U.S., including Gerber® Good Start® formulas to support brain and eye development.

Are Gerber® Good Start® 100% whey protein partially hydrolyzed formulas hypoallergenic?

No. In the U.S., the term "hypoallergenic" with respect to infant formulas refers specifically to those formulas – such as extensively hydrolyzed and amino acid-based formulas – that are used for the dietary management of cow’s milk protein allergy. They must meet the strict criteria of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).  According to the AAP, a formula can be considered as “hypoallergenic” if, at a minimum, it has been shown to ensure with 95% confidence that 90% of infants with documented cow’s milk allergy will not react with defined symptoms to the formula under double-blind, placebo-controlled conditions.

Is vitamin D supplementation important for formula-fed infants, breastfed infants, or both? Does Gerber® Good Start® Gentle infant formula contain sufficient vitamin D?

It is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that all infants and children, have a minimum daily intake of 400 IU of vitamin D beginning soon after birth. Stage 1 powdered GERBER GOOD START Gentle and Gentle for Supplementing infant formulas have 75 IU of vitamin D per 100 kcal. (Liquid Gerber® Good Start® Gentle has 60 IU of vitamin D per 100 kcal). Infants that consume 27 fl oz of Stage 1 Gerber® Good Start® Gentle powdered formula per day will receive 400 IU of vitamin D, the daily level recommended by the AAP. (Infants fed liquid Gerber® Good Start® Gentle would receive 400 IU vitamin D in ~ 1 Liter of formula.)

 

What is the difference between Stage 1 and Stage 2 formulas, such as Stage 1 Gerber® Good Start® Gentle and Stage 2 GERBER® Good Start® Gentle formula?

Our staging system is based on the evolving proteins levels in breastmilk (Stages 1 and 2) and different macro/micro nutrient needs at each stage of development. Our staging system is set up in the following way:

  • Stage 1 – 0-12 months (Gerber® Good Start® Gentle formula, Gerber® Good Start® Gentle for Supplementing formula, Gerber® Good Start® Soothe formula, Gerber® Good Start® Soy formula)
  • Stage 2 – 6-12 months (Gerber® Good Start® Gentle formula, Gerber® Good Start®Soothe formula)
  • Stage 3 – 9-24 months (Gerber® Good Start® Soy formula)
  • Stage 3 – 12-24 months (Gerber® Good Start® Grow Toddler Drink)

What are the nutrient differences between Stage 1 of Gerber® Good Start® Gentle powder formula and Stage 2 Gerber® Good Start® Gentle powder formula?

Both provide complete nutrition, however, Gerber® Good Start® Gentle powder Stage 2 has been tailored nutrition for babies 6- 12 months. The differences are: 

 

Ingredient Gerber® Good Start® Gentle Stage 1 Gerber® Good Start® Gentle Stage 2
Nutrient Per 100 kcal Per 100 kcal
Protein 2.2g 1.9g
Choline 24 mg 28 mg
Calcium 67 mg 87 mg
Phosphorus 38 mg 50 mg
Iron 1.5 mg 2 mg

Are Gerber® Good Start® formulas kosher?

The powder forms of Gerber® Good Start® soy-based formulas are certified as kosher pareve by the Orthodox Union; liquid forms are certified as using kosher pareve ingredients manufactured on dairy equipment. GOOD START® soy-based formulas are also Halal.

Gerber ® Good Start® 100% whey protein, partially hydrolyzed milk-based formulas do not meet strict kosher Orthodox Union guidelines due to processing ingredients used to hydrolyze the protein. Because the trypsin enzyme used in the hydrolysis process (to break down the protein to smaller molecules) is derived from a porcine source, these formulas are not classed as kosher. GOOD START® milk-based formulas are not Halal.
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Starting with or switching to a Gerber® Good Start® formula

Which infants would benefit from a Gerber® Good Start® soy-based formula?

Which infants would benefit from a Gerber® Good Start® soy-based formula?
The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the use of soy protein based formulas for infants with hereditary lactase deficiency, those with galactosemia, and those whose parents are vegetarian and wish for their infant’s diet to be vegetarian. All soy formulas in the U.S. are lactose free and are often recommended for infants with apparent lactose intolerance issues or galactosemia. Since some infants who are allergic to cow’s milk protein will develop allergy to soy protein as well, a hypoallergenic formula (such as extensively hydrolyzed protein formulas or amino acid-based formulas) is recommended for infants with documented allergy to cow’s milk.

GOOD START® Soy formula has been certified as kosher pareve by the Orthodox Union, and is also Halal.

How rapidly should an infant transition to Gerber® Good Start® formula from another routine formula?

All formulas differ somewhat in composition and taste so infants may have an easier time switching gradually from another routine formula to Gerber® Good Start® formula over about a week. If there is any increase in fussiness on a particular day, the same number of bottles of current formula and GOOD START® formula can be maintained for another day.

The timing depends on the number of bottles currently being fed. The following schedule may be used as a guide for transitioning to Gerber® Good Start® formula over a 7 day period, feeding a total of 6 bottles per day:

Transitioning to Good Start<sup>®</sup> Formula
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Probiotics, prebiotics and bifidobacteria:

What is the difference between probiotics and prebiotics?

Probiotics, as defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization (FAO/WHO), are live microorganisms that confer a health benefit to the host when administered in adequate amounts. Probiotics are naturally found in the GI tract, and are also a component of fermented foods, such as yogurt. Adding probiotics to the diet can help influence the ratio of beneficial bacteria to potentially harmful bacteria in the microbiota (microflora). Maintaining this balance can promote good digestion. Probiotics have been shown to modulate immune response throughout the GI tract.

Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria, such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, in the gut. Prebiotic fiber reaches the colon completely intact, where it provides a food source for probiotic bacteria. By supporting the growth and maintenance of a healthy microbiota (also known as microflora), prebiotics potentially help support the immune system. Prebiotics may also contribute to healthy bowel function and promote mineral absorption.

How is a probiotic kept alive in a formula?

Probiotics are lyophilized or freeze dried (dehydrated) in order to remain viable in a powder form. When rehydrated, they become live and active. Live and active cultures (bacteria) have been used for hundreds of years in foods such as yogurt, kefir, and other fermented products. In the can, Bifidobacterium lactis – the probiotic cultures added to GOOD START® Gentle for Supplementing formula – are “inactive.” Only when water is added do the probiotic bacteria become active – capable of reproducing and interacting within the infant’s digestive system to provide protective benefits. While it is always recommended that water not exceed 100°F when mixing with powdered formula, this is especially important with GOOD START® Gentle for Supplementing to ensure that the viability of the probiotic cultures is preserved.

Are bifidobacteria present normally in breastfed infants?

Bifidobacteria have been found in breastmilk. Bifidobacteria make up 80–90% of the intestinal microbiota (also known as microflora) of breastfed infants – and are credited by many as one of the reasons for the general good health of breastfed infants. A bifidobacteria-predominant gut microbiota helps to promote immune system maturation.

Are lactobacilli normally present in breastmilk?

Lactobacilli have been found in breastmilk. Specifically, Lactobacillus reuteri, L. reuteri, was originally isolated from breastmilk.

Why is Bifidobacterium lactis the strain of probiotic bifidobacteria chosen for inclusion in Gerber® Good Start® Gentle and Gentle for Supplementing?

Bifidobacteria have been used in various weaning foods, such as infant yogurts, and have been used in infant formulas worldwide with no documented side effects. Additionally, bifidobacteria have been found in breastmilk and are the primary type of bacteria in the breastfed infant’s microbiota (also known as microflora). The safety of B. lactis strain Bb-12for consumption by infant populations is well documented and there is support from many clinical studies that this particular strain can provide benefits to healthy infants, which is the reason why it has been chosen for inclusion in routine formula. It is Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) for use in infant formulas for 0-12 months of age. Gerber® 100% PHF-W with B.lactis, strain Bb-12 has been studied and shown to promote soft stools, balance the microbiota, and support the developing immune system.

Why is Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 the strain of probiotic lactobacillus chosen for inclusion in Gerber® Good Start® Soothe formula?

It has been clinically shown that infants with colic lack lactobacillus in their GI tract.  Additionally, Lactobacillus reuteri, L. reuteri DSM 17938, has been studied in numerous clinical trials and shown to significantly reduce crying time in colicky breastfed infants.  The safety of L. reuteri for consumption by infant populations is well documented and is Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) for use in infant formulas from 0-12 months.  

Will the benefits of probiotics end if this formula is stopped or another formula is added to the feeding schedule?

The benefits of probiotics are considered transient, meaning that associated benefits continue as long as the probiotic is continuously consumed. In general, the balance of beneficial cultures gained from formulas with probiotics will remain in the digestive tract for several days after the consumption of probiotics stops. All consumed probiotic cultures only temporarily colonize the digestive tract and need to be consumed on a regular basis to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria – along with their related health benefits.

Are there any contraindications for using formulas with probiotics?

All of our formulas with probiotics are in powdered form.  As with any powdered infant formula product, use with immunocompromised infants is not recommended.

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