Cow-milk Based Formulas for Premature Babies Linked to Necrotizing Enterocolitis

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necrotizing enterocolitis

August 9, 2021 – San Diego, CA.  The March of Dimes estimates that there are more than 380,000 babies born prematurely in the U.S. each year.  Other sources say as many as 11.4% of all pregnancies end in early deliveries.

These premature babies need special nutrient rich formulas, in addition to breast milk, in order to get the nutrients they need for proper growth and it’s a challenge for new mothers to get the information they need to make these nutritional choices.   

A new study provided by Neonatology Today, should shed some light on these cow-milk formulas for mothers of preemies.

The researchers looked at over 450 grossly underweight premature babies in Austria, Canada, and the United States who were fed traditional cow-based milk formulas or human-based formulas.

They looked at the overall health and found that those preemies fed with the cow-based milk products were three times more at risk of developing necrotizing enterocolitis.

What is necrotizing enterocolitis & how is it diagnosed?

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a dangerous gastrointestinal problem that affects premature babies. The condition inflames intestinal tissue, which causes the tissue to die. It’s estimated that nearly all babies (9 out of 10) with NEC are born early.  Some babies with NEC may face long-term health problems.

Necrotizing enterocolitis is diagnosed by your doctor by checking your baby for a swollen belly and other NEC symptoms such as diarrhea, bloody stool, green or yellowish vomit, or the baby not wanting to eat or lack of weight gain. Blood tests and fecal tests may also be preformed.

How can I prevent my baby from getting necrotizing enterocolitis?

It’s been noted by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center, mentions on their website that outside of a corticosteroid injection, mothers should feed their preemie human-breast milk formulas, and stay clear of all brands of cows-milk based formulas.

What are the problems with cow-milk based formulas?

The simplest reason is that cow-milk based formula may lack some of the probiotics (live microorganisms found in the gut flora) needed for proper growth of the preemies. Human breast-milk based products offers a greater level of total nutrition.  

Cow’s milk or a cow-milk protein is altered to resemble breast mild. Some of the known brands are:

  • Best Organic Baby Formula
  • Similac Pro-Advance Baby Formula
  • Enfamil
  • Up&Up Infant Formula
  • HappyBaby Organic

In 2012 the American Academy of Pediatrics clearly stated that all premature babies should be fed human breast mild exclusively.

Doctor Alan Lucas, a professor at University College in London offers this bit of advice.

“The most current evidence suggests that a diet with entirely human milk and enriched feeds manufactured from donated human milk will meet the nutritional needs of the baby without the potential negative health effects that can come with a cow milk fortifier.”  

Similac Lawsuit Case Filed When Newborn Dies from NEC

The parents of a newborn, who tragically died from NEC, have filed a lawsuit against the cow-milk based formula company Similac.  The case was filed last May of this year and alleges that the formula caused the child to develop and die from NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis). 

The lawsuit suggests that NEC has been linked to cow-milk based formulas since at least 1990, and points to a study indicating an increased the risk of the disease by up to a factor of 10, when compared to those given breast milk alone. The premise of the Similac lawsuit is failure to warn consumers of the link to NEC from these cow-milk based formulas.

Council for the parents in the case stated in court:

“Science and research have advanced in recent years confirming the dangers of the defendant’s cow’s milk-based product in causing NEC and death in premature infants, yet the Defendant did nothing to change its product, packaging, guidelines, instructions and warnings.”

“The warnings and instructions are overly broad and vague, and do not ever mention that the product significantly increases the risk of NEC and death, nor provide any detailed instructions or evidence on when and how to feed the infants and how to avoid NEC and death when feeding its products.” 

Did Your Newborn Suffer from Necrotizing Enterocolitis from a Formula?

The defective product attorneys at the Schmidt National Law Group are investigating these Similac and other cow-milk based formula linked to NEC and now accepting cases from any state in the U.S.  

Parents shouldn’t have to worry about what formula to feed their premature babies, and if your baby has been diagnosed with NEC we’re here to help in this difficult time. 

We feel strongly that these cow-milk based products have failed to warn all parents of the link to developing necrotizing enterocolitis, and we will hold the manufacturers accountable.

Act today by filling out the 100% secure intake form on this page, or simply call us directly at 1-800-631-5656 to begin the claims process. 

Sources: (page 3)