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Baby formula linked to NEC: Similac, Enfamil. Get legal help.

What Baby Formula Is Linked to NEC? - Necrotizing Enterocolitis, or necrotizing, is a severe condition for infants. In approximately 25 percent of cases, babies die when they receive a diagnosis of NEC. Since 2011, makers and pediatricians have realized that giving cow's milk-based products to premature babies could increase the chance of developing NEC. However, NICUs continue to use the formula, particularly for premature infants that require rapid weight gain.


What baby formulas contain an obvious connection to NEC? According to a study released in Breastfeed Med, babies fed cow’s milk-based formulas and fortifiers are at a greater risk overall chance to develop NEC. This includes popular procedures such as Similac, produced by Abbot Laboratories, and Enfamil, which Mead Johnson manufactures.

Does infant formula cause NEC?

The formula based on cow’s milk does not directly cause NEC. However, the consumption of cow’s milk-based infant formula in contrast to human milk on its own is a significant increase in the chance of having a premature infant being faced with An NEC diagnosis. This also increases the likelihood that they’ll develop the need for surgery for NEC or be afflicted with NEC. Utilizing cow’s milk-based infant formula can pose an unnecessary risk to premature infants, who could be highly susceptible to the bacteria that cause NEC.

What’s the reason Baby Formula is Linked to NEC?

The Secretary of Health, in a statement that was issued back in 2011, said premature infants are at greater risk of developing NEC when they are given formula containing cow’s milk or supplementation rather than human milk on its own. Cow’s milk as a fortifier could increase the chance of developing NEC in the range of 4.2 times, and it increases the likelihood of NEC that requires surgery or even death by 5.1 times.

Human milk, especially donated human milk, could significantly lower the risk. It may also result in better overall outcomes for infants diagnosed with NEC than infants who are given formula or fortifiers.

Although scientists aren’t sure why cow’s milk-based formulas increase the chance of developing NEC, science has many theories as to why breast milk can maintain the health of infants exceptionally well, especially for premature infants.

Underdeveloped Digestive Systems

In general, infants don’t possess the same digestion as adults. Young children may have less developed digestive systems and are therefore more prone in public to the development and growth of harmful bacteria that could result in NEC. The digestive system that isn’t developed may lack the necessary tools to digest cow’s milk-based products properly and increase the chance of developing other problems and NEC.

Reduced Inflammation Protection

Human milk can reduce inflammation in infants’ digestive systems. It can benefit premature babies since any minor inflammation could cause significant anxiety. Although it does not cause inflammation, cow’s milk products might not provide the same protection as human milk.

Human milk is a better option as it provides excellent protection for premature infants. As often as feasible, premature infants should drink human milk instead of formula to meet their nutritional requirements.

Formula Companies Know the risks.

The warning issued by the Surgeon General in 2011 was repeated in 2012 by a notification issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Feeding premature infants with cow’s formulas made of milk and fortifiers could increase the chance of NEC development.

The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that “all babies born prematurely should be fed human milk.” It also states, “If mothers’ milk is inaccessible despite extensive lactation support, then pasteurized donor milk is recommended.” Formula manufacturers are aware of the risks of their products; however, they continue to advertise their products to parents of vulnerable babies.

Many parents are unaware of these dangers until their children get a challenging diagnosis that could affect their lives throughout their lives.

Formula for Preemies

Despite being aware of the potential dangers of formula feeding, large manufacturers of formulas, like Similac and Enfamil, continue to promote their products extensively. The two companies, Similac and Enfamil, both of the biggest brands in manufacturing formulas, have formula lines specifically designed for and targeted at infants and preemies.

These formulas mention:

  • Brain building or nutrition DHA
  • More protein is needed to support growth
  • There are more calories in an ounce of food than in the traditional formula
  • Vitamins and minerals are enriched to improve the immune system and help

The information on these packages could give parents the impression that these formulas could provide more overall support to their premature babies than human milk. Parents might be concerned that with no extra calories from infant formulas, their children won’t gain weight and develop as they would like or fear their babies will eventually slow down.

However, during the critical initial up to 8 weeks of their lives, infants fed formula and breastfed infants generally show no apparent differences in their growth patterns. Additionally, breastfed infants could have less good overall health than their formula-fed counterparts.

Unsafe Marketing Methods

Even though they are aware of the higher risk of NEC related to formula feeding, the formula makers continue to promote their products and even market them to the parents of premature babies.

fear-based breastfeeding and content

Each Similac and Enfamil affirm that they support breastfeeding and informed choices among parents. Their website content primarily focuses on the negatives of breastfeeding and potential issues that may occur.

It provides a wealth of details, such as:

  • Supply issues with low levels, for example, how to increase formula instead of addressing the issue of shortages
  • Obstacles that a mother or baby may have to confront while breastfeeding
  • Marketing that suggests that formula-based feed could be more effective than breastfeeding, such as information that encourages mothers to use formula when they need to

The content on breastfeeding based on fear could result in a sense of inadequateness for pregnant and new mothers before they are ready to begin their breastfeeding journeys with their babies. In the end, mothers might not be confident in their breastfeeding abilities, even though many women can successfully breastfeed their children with the proper support.

Easy Access to Formula Coupons and Samples

Formula companies such as Similac and Enfamil are heavily marketing their products to medical professionals and directly to the consumer. They compete for mothers’ attention as they begin the breastfeeding process, offering coupons, free samples of formula, and formula samples in the medical office to encourage women to believe in the company that makes the formula.

Most companies ensure that they have ready-to-go display cases in the baby department of most stores. This helps women think of the formula as regular “baby equipment” instead of focusing on the possible negatives of the procedure.

Access to the formula in a hurry can increase the likelihood that mothers will abandon breastfeeding when they encounter any difficulties in nursing, ranging from an infant who is fussy to problems with the supply. In most cases, mothers who receive the proper assistance can continue breastfeeding effectively. Unfortunately, formula companies allow mothers to skip the support offered and instead reach for a bottle or can that contains the formula.

If mothers decide to use that formula, they might need to keep using it to replenish their diet, eventually allowing the procedure to pump out human milk that could benefit the infants. Breastfeeding relies on a supply and demand system. If a baby needs more milk by spending longer at the breast, the mother’s body will compensate by offering more milk.

However, since demand is reduced when women take formula supplements, their bodies could respond by producing less breastmilk which could disrupt the breastfeeding connection and eventually lead women to switch to formula completely.

Helen Clark, the former Premier of New Zealand, notes, “For many years, the industry that makes formula milk has ignored international marketing guidelines, typically to women who could not afford it. Formula milk marketing has no limitations; it should never be a thing of the past.” However, the companies that market formula milk continue to advertise their products in a way that creates an illusion of security among women.

Not a Necessary Need

Formula makers would like parents to believe their products provide better solutions to their babies than they could get from another source. Baby formula packaging boasts the numerous “benefits” they claim to provide, such as increased minerals and vitamins and more significant support for the brain and ingredients that support overall development and growth. Parents might view these as items they should give their children to help support their overall well-being.

Formula manufacturers could create a need that exists. They can convince people that these items are suitable for living the “good living.” Formula, as the manufacturer, claims that it can ease the burden of parenting and provide better overall health for the baby and mom. Formula companies will then offer parents free samples to get them addicted to the products.

Lack of Labeling

Specific requirements dictate what labels manufacturers have to provide on products for infants. Manufacturers must inform parents of the potential dangers that could arise from using a particular product. Products that pose a risk to infants typically will be recalled when the risk is evident.

However, cow’s milk-based infant formula is still available with adequate warnings about the risks of NEC development.

Formula containers warn against the risk of scalding when microwave-waving infant formula because of “hot spots” which can form in different microwaves. However, they do not give any warnings regarding NEC. This means that parents of premature infants already suffering from much stress might not be aware that the formulas they use could be a risk to their children.

What Do You Have to Do After Your Baby Receives an NEC Diagnose due to cow’s milk-based formulas?

Although the dangers of a formula derived from cow’s milk are evident, many parents of premature babies might not have any information about the potential risks.

If your child was given the cow’s milk-based formula breastmilk fortifiers within the NICU and then went to develop NEC, you may have a few options to seek compensation.

  1. Record your child’s diagnosis as well as any complications. Make a note of your child’s diagnosis and record any medical records related to your child’s treatment. Maintaining these documents is essential in establishing the validity of your child’s diagnosis and the challenges that confront your family members during an NEC fight.
  2. Be aware of medical expenses associated with your child’s diagnosis. Keep track of medical expenses related to the child’s NEC assessment and therapy. The treatment costs for NEC are often prohibitive, ranging from $138,000 to $338,000 and even more. Make sure you pay your medical expenses associated with that treatment, which includes any operations your child might undergo or an extended time in the NICU because of the diagnosis. You could later require those medical bills to prove your family’s rights to compensation, which includes how much you might be entitled to.
  3. Contact the NEC lawyer who can assist you in completing an action. Similac and Enfamil have been the subject of a significant backlash about their marketing practices and the premature infant formula they continue to sell despite the many dangers of using it.

A skilled NEC lawyer can assist you in bringing a lawsuit to aid in recovering some of the financial loss you’ve experienced as a result of your child’s experiences. Although the money won’t help your child recover from their illness or cover the cost of your family’s pain, it could, in many instances, help in paying the medical expenses for the treatment. Consult a lawyer as soon as you can to find out what your legal rights are.

Call for NEC Lawyer Today

Are you unsure about your family’s rights to be compensated after using the infant formula that caused NEC in your child? Don’t attempt to make an individual claim. Instead, contact an NEC lawyer who will assist your family and you as you work through the challenging claim process.

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