“Mother’s milk is a symbol of human affection and compassion.”
“But not all mothers can breastfeed, you know!”
Our society’s echoes are true, especially in cases where either the newborn or the mother has justifiable medical reasons.
For instance – a rare infant disease called Galactosemia makes it difficult for the baby to process the galactose present in breast milk. Such babies require a galactose-free formula. Similarly, the mother may face complications like sepsis that interferes with milk production.
Thankfully, breast milk alternatives or baby formulas are easily available. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises against using homemade baby formula. This is because homemade formulas often lack vital nutrients. They are also susceptible to contamination.
On the other hand, commercial baby formula manufacturers adhere to strict FDA standards that meet a newborn’s nutritional needs. Every discerning parent asks the legitimate question of how safe (or toxic) commercial formulas are for a newborn. Let’s explore this in detail.
The Case for Commercial Infant Formulas
Let’s begin by understanding the stance of those in favor of commercial baby formula:
- Most people consider commercial baby formula to be largely safe, especially when prepared well. These formulas are different from cow, soy, and goat milk as they’re designed exclusively to meet a human baby’s nutritional needs.
- Each infant is unique and, sometimes, may take time to adapt to a particular brand’s baby formula. Once they adapt, parents are advised against changing brands frequently.
- Baby formula is generally available in three types – powdered, concentrated liquid, and ready-to-serve. The powdered form carries a high risk of contamination. However, the other two are sterile at the time of purchase and considered to be safe.
- One amazing fact about human breast milk is that its formula changes, sometimes throughout the day, to accommodate the baby’s needs. The baby’s saliva sends the message needed to prepare a custom formula. Similarly, special commercial formulas are available for premature infants with intolerances, digestive disorders, and allergies.
- The bottled baby formula offers other family members the opportunity to bond with the infant.
Questionable Ingredients: Exposing the Exploitative Marketing Ploy
As mentioned earlier, baby formulas can be a suitable alternative to human breast milk only when prepared properly. Sadly, this does not seem to be the case.
A medical journal called ‘The Lancet’ revealed shocking “predatory tactics” used to prey upon a parent’s genuine concerns. The journal also demanded a complete paid maternity leave for breastfeeding purposes.
One of the researchers for the journal, Dr. Nigel Rollins (who is also a scientist with the WHO), voiced his concerns over industry influence, which keeps mothers from making informed choices. What is even more alarming is that some formula manufacturers use questionable ingredients such as corn syrup, no-fat milk, and vegetable oils in their baby formula.
Perhaps this explains the several baby formula lawsuits against companies like Enfamil and Similac. Both claim to offer a tailored baby formula that helps tiny tots to become strong toddlers. However, the NEC lawsuit payout and settlement amounts tell a different story.
The Spotlight on Toxicity
Numerous parents and caregivers have filed an infant formula lawsuit for Necrotizing Enterocolitis or NEC injury against the likes of these companies. NEC is a severe medical condition affecting newborns, especially babies with low birth weight.
However, this condition is predominantly seen in premature babies fed with the said companies’ commercial formulas. Law firms such as Tor Hoerman Law firms like TorHoerman Law have been helping families win NEC lawsuit payout and settlement amounts against injuries like NEC and gastrointestinal damage. They enable NEC formula lawsuit filing under three categories – product liability, medical malpractice, and wrongful death.
The law firm has helped its clients secure over $4 million in settlement for harm caused at no personal fault.
A baby formula study conducted by a non-profit called The Clean Label Project (on 530 different products) disclosed shocking numbers. Out of the products, nearly 65% tested positive for arsenic. And guess who was among the worst offenders? Enfamil and Similac, along with Gerber and Sprout!
Is it, therefore, surprising that infant life expectancy has declined at a distressing rate?
Rising Need of the Hour
In light of the recent US baby formula shortage, there is a pressing need to protect the most vulnerable population. The Clean Label Project demanded that the FDA enforce its baby formula standards, not just outline them.
If needed, rigorous quality control steps must be established to monitor the presence of toxic substances. Victims of commercial baby formula must speak out against the malpractice. Only then can babies enjoy a safe infancy and a risk-free transition to toddlerhood.