The survey, conducted by Perrigo Nutritionals, revealed that infant formula was the least-researched topic by expecting mothers, but rose to the top topic researched by moms after the baby arrived.
This changing attitude towards infant formula by young moms as a positive and convenient alternative to breast milk is reflected in the 9.3% volume growth between 2015 and 2016, reaching $24.5bn.
Millennial moms lead formula growth
Among younger (34 years old or younger) millennial moms, 68% felt confident with their decision to use infant formula and that it was a safe alternative to breast milk, while 79% of older moms (35 years of age or older) said they felt guilty for using infant formula.
Moms also said they felt pressured to breastfeed, and while 17% said they would wait until their baby was six months old before introducing formula, only 4% made it that long.
Some moms surveyed said (one in seven) they decided against breastfeeding while still pregnant.
“It's important for families to know that all infant formulas meet the same FDA standards and offer complete nutrition,” Rallie McAllister, MD and co-author of The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby's First Year, said.
Convenience drives rise of formula use
Convenience was listed as a top factor for choosing infant formula, with 35% of moms opting for infant formula as a way to share feeding responsibilities for their child with their partner.
"Although doctors agree that breastfeeding is ideal for the baby, it's not always possible,” McAllister said.
The survey showed three-fourths of all moms with two or more children that used infant formula during their baby’s first years said they did so out of convenience, and many would consider breastfeeding if their maternity leave was longer.
According to Euromonitor, infant formula manufacturers have responded to this consumer need for convenience by developing individually-packaged milk formula products, which allows consumers to skip the measuring step during preparation.
For example, Nestlé has developed a single-serve milk formula machine similar to Nespresso with a capsule system.