A Special Report: The deadly influence of formula in America

Submitted by Courtney on Sat, 01/23/2010 - 21:24

For years caring parents have been lead to believe that formula is a suitable substitute for breast milk. In fact, there was a campaign once upon a time that touted formula as being BETTER than breast milk. A conception that formula fed babies came from wealthy and “well-to-do” families also arose, thus making it a status symbol amongst society. But are any of these claims actually correct?

The fact of the matter is that formula lacks much of what breast milk provides a thriving infant. Many studies have indicated that formula doubles (if not quadruples, in some instances) the chance of infant death in America. Not only is formula not tailored to your baby’s needs, but it lacks one key element that breast milk has: antibodies. When babies are brought into this world, they have an immature, underdeveloped immune system. During natural child birth (and to a far lesser extent during premature births and c-sections) antibodies are passed from the mother, to the placenta and to the baby, providing some protection when he or she is first born. But the bulk of the immune-boosting antibodies that a baby receives are directly from his or her mother’s milk.

Formula Studies

Many studies have resoundingly concluded that for babies under 12 months in age, formula poses increased risks and either contributes or is responsible for the following ailments that American infants suffer:

  • Respiratory Distress, i.e. the flu, pneumonia, collapsed lungs (8.5% of all infant deaths in 1999)
  • Bacterial Sepsis, i.e. infections (2.5% of all infant deaths in 1999)
  • Circulatory System Diseases (2.4% of all infant deaths in 1999)
  • Necrotizing Enterocolitis (1.4% of all infant deaths in 1999)
  • Intestinal Inflammations, i.e. diarrhea (1% of all infant deaths in 1999)
  • Meningitis (0.3% of all infant deaths in 1999)
  • Cancer (0.3% of all infant deaths in 1999)

The results of compiled studies are astounding. For instance, babies that are formula fed have 5 times the chance of dying from SIDS than those babies that were breastfed. German infants were even more at risk, being 7.7 times more likely to die from SIDS when fed formula.

Breastfeeding vs. Formula

Another interesting fact were the results in regards to inadequate oxygenation and apnea, both of which affected only those babies who were formula-fed (for breastfed babies, both issues were found to be virtually non-existent). It is suspected that, due to lack of oxygenation, formula may play a key role in infants developing congenital heart disease.

Necrotizing enterocolitis was another frightening statistic I came upon. Necrotizing enterocolitis is described as a severe inflammation of the intestines which kills up to one-third of low birth-weight infants and one-fifth of full term babies who have the condition. Though it is true that breastfed babies can also suffer from this deadly disorder, formula fed babies are up to ten times more likely to suffer from it.

Thanks to money-hungry corporations and ingenious marketing it has some how become the “norm” for parents to feed their defenseless infants mass-produced formula. It is important for parents to remember that formula was initially created to be used in hospitals for children that could not receive their mother’s breast milk and that it is not to be considered an adequate substitute for most children. Formula is not tailored for your child’s specific needs and requirements, and is no match for your own body’s milk, regardless of what formulations these companies come up with. Your breast milk contains the best protection from the outside environment that your baby needs and offers the greatest first start to your child’s long life.

photo by Chelly Cruz

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