Harmful Baby Formula Ingredients for Premature Infants and NEC: A Guide

Nothing is as frightening as being worried about your newborn child. When they are a premature infant, the things that can frighten you are multiplied significantly. Recently, the heightened concerns around potentially harmful or negligently-manufactured baby formulas have added another major concern for parents (especially those of premature infants). To help you navigate this difficult time as a parent, here is a useful guide on harmful baby formula ingredients for premature infants, and NEC: 

What Harmful Baby Formula Ingredients Should I Be Aware Of?

Premature infants are born with many specific medical concerns hanging over them. As a parent, your responsibility to feed them properly becomes your most pressing health concern to consider. Because of this, knowing that you’re avoiding dangerous baby formula ingredients is key. When you’re concerned about potentially harmful ingredients in the formula you’re buying, every day becomes trying. 

Currently, science shows that one ingredient should be avoided above all else when you’re building your premature infant’s diet: cow’s milk-derived ingredients. These formulas are being shown more and more to cause serious defects and diseases in premature infants, and have even led to deaths in some severe cases. 

Ideally, you want to feed your premature infant with as much natural human milk as possible (preferably via breastfeeding if possible). However, some formulas use ingredients that are safe for premature infants, if breastfeeding is not a possibility for your infant. Consulting your premature infant’s primary care doctor about the best diet route is highly recommended for all parents. Without confidence that you’re feeding your infant properly, and safely, you’ll have no time for your hobbies and much-needed relaxation. 

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How are NEC and Baby Formula Connected? 

Research that’s been performed throughout the last 30 years has linked the feeding of cow’s milk-derived formula to premature infants, and necrotizing enterocolitis. Premature infants that were diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis were much more likely to have been fed cow’s milk-derived formula, instead of safer alternatives (mainly human breast milk). 

One of the first major warnings from the scientific community came out in 2011 when a Call to Action from the U.S. Surgeon General heavily suggested breastfeeding for premature infants. The Call to Action also specifically cautioned parents of premature infants not to feed their infant any cow’s milk-derived milk formula (emphasizing that it had been proven to increase premature infant’s chances of being diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis). 

In May 2020, another dire warning was issued regarding the connection between NEC and cow’s milk-derived baby formula products. The highly-respected scientific journal, Breastfeeding Medicine, published data that showed premature infants that were fed cow’s milk-derived formula experienced a 4.2-fold increase in their risk of developing necrotizing enterocolitis and a frightening 5.1-fold increase of experiencing NEC-related surgery, or even death. Recalls have been ordered in some cases since these devastating studies were published. 

Since the original findings of these reports, study after study has come out demonstrating more proof of the connection. Even as recently as 2022, studies continue to be published showcasing the certainty of cow’s milk-derived formula’s negative health effects on premature infants, and its connection to necrotizing enterocolitis. Because of this, class-action suits and other legal action has been taken against primary manufacturers of cow’s milk-derived baby formulas, with Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories (the makers of Similac and Enfamil) being the primary targets of the legal action. 

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Possible Legal Solutions for NEC Affliction 

With the mounting evidence that puts the responsibility for many premature infants’ necrotizing enterocolitis diagnoses on both Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories, it’s become more important than ever for parents to be aware of the legal pathways available to them. With the right professional help, you’ll have the ability to gain the restitution your family deserves. This restitution will ensure you have the financial tools needed to get your life back on track after this tragic diagnosis. 

Knowing whether you qualify to join the class-action suit against these two mega manufacturers is the first step. There are several factors that your case must hold for you to qualify, and they are as follows:

-Your infant was born prematurely (defined as being less than 37 full weeks of gestation)

-Your infant was regularly fed cow’s milk-derived formula (especially Enfamil or Similac) before they were diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis

-Your infant was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis and suffered a life-long condition, major medical complication, or death as a result. 

Seek Help Now

If you or a loved one’s premature infant was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis after being fed cow’s milk-derived formula, you must seek out legal help as soon as humanly possible. As the class-action suit against major manufacturers like Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories continues to move forward, the timeframe for easily winning a suit against the people responsible for your infant’s condition is beginning to shorten.