SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Breastfeeding is natural but not always easy. For a number of reasons, medical or logistical, many moms turn to formula.
San Francisco mom Vanessa Welstead decided to use formula exclusively with her son Charlie after respiratory complications and a trip to the ICU made it difficult to breastfeed him regularly.
“I always get emotional talking about it because that’s a very tender time as a mom and baby but, as you can see, he’s just as happy to take a bottle,” Welstead said.
For Sarah Hardy, her breastfeeding schedule unraveled when she returned to work.
“It was really hard, dashing to the mother’s room in between meetings,” said Hardy.
Hardy and Laura Modi, both former Airbnb employees, found themselves disappointed with formula options for their children to supplement breast milk.
“It was shocking, when I went to go buy the formula, I couldn’t believe … how guilty I felt,” Modi said.
That experience prompted Hardy and Modi to create Bobbie, a baby formula created with grass-fed dairy, no artificial ingredients, GMOs, corn syrup or soy. The formula is made in Germany and certified organic by the EU.
“We’ve adapted our eating habits as adults to want more natural, more clean foods and now, as those people are becoming parents, they’re looking at their kids’ food,” said Modi, who is now Bobbie’s CEO.
To avoid products with corn starch, San Francisco mom Maria Huang has been ordering German baby formula from the Netherlands.
“In the parenting classes we had taken through the hospital, everyone talked about how breast is best, no one ever mentioned formula, didn’t come up at all,” she said.
New data from Wakefield Research shows that 83 percent of moms use formula in the first year of their baby’s life and, of those, 70 percent regularly supplement breast milk with formula.
Modi and Hardy say their goal with Bobbie is not to replace breast milk.
“We are looking to shift the conversation from how you feed your child to what you feed them,” said Modi.
Bobbie will first be available to Bay Area parents through its online subscription service. The company plans to offer its product nationwide this fall.