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Infant Formula Lawsuit – Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Premature Babies can develop Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) from Preterm Infant Formula

 

If your premature baby ate bovine-based infant formula and developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), you may want to consider legal representation to protect your civil rights. New research links preterm infant formula to an increased risk of necrotizing enterocolitis.

Scientific literature is showing that infant formulas designed for preterm babies are linked to significantly higher rates of necrotizing enterocolitis. NEC is a serious gastrointestinal inflammatory disease. It often requires emergency surgeries and has a 25-50% mortality rate in preterm infants. 

Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a condition in which the intestines become highly inflamed, severely injuring the gut wall barrier. The resulting necrosis (tissue death) – or holes in the gut wall barrier – can cause dangerous bacteria to “leak” out of the intestines. Emergency surgery may be the only avenue left to save the child.

While necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) can occur in full-term infants, preterm infants can be five-times more likely to develop NEC.

Bovine milk-based infant formula suspected.

Infant formula based on cow’s milk may be the culprit. Some of the most common bovine milk-based preterm infant formulas include:

  • Special Care
  • Enfamil NueroPro Enfacare
Many premature babies are fed milk formulas because they are unable to breastfeed. Premies often don’t have the energy or the coordination needed to perform the “suck-swallow-breathe” rhythm. Consequently, preterm infants often begin feedings via intravenous delivery or enteral feeds of either the mother’s own human milk, human donor milk, or preterm infant formula.

In addition, premature babies can require supplementation that human milk or standard formula cannot provide.

Sometimes, doctors recommended adding additional supplementation with “fortifiers.”  While human milk fortifiers exist, some doctors use fortifiers made from cow-based (bovine) milk.

Why use Bovine Milk-based Formulas in Preterm Infants?

While human breast milk offers distinct benefits that infant formula can’t match, hospitals often use cow’s milk-based formulas for convenience. Cow’s milk-based infant formulas are easy for hospitals to find and store, and they maintain a stable shelf life. Many human milk-based products require refrigeration and are more difficult to maintain.

Cow’s milk-based infant formula is also much less expensive than human milk or human donor milk products. Human milk can be more than 40x more expensive than cow’s milk-based formula.

Cow’s Milk Problematic for Pre-term Babies

Researchers have found that preterm babies fed bovine-based infant formula are significantly more likely to develop necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) than those fed human milk-based products.

Preterm Baby’s Gastrointestinal System insufficiently developed to Safely Digest Cow-Based Milk Formula

The infant’s gastrointestinal system plays a critical role in the development of immunity and nutrition. The intestines contain an entire microbiota of bacteria that are needed not only to digest beneficial foods and nutrients, but also to protect the baby from harmful foods and pathogens.

Because a premature infant’s gestation period is shorter than normal, its system is not as developed as a full-term baby’s. The same applies to a preterm infant’s gastrointestinal system; the undeveloped stomach and intestines lack many of the beneficial bacteria typically present at full-term.

“Leaky” Gut Barrier Common in Preterm Infants, so Foods must be as Safe as Possible

Leaky gut occurs in preterm infants because the gastrointestinal system has not yet developed. Leaky gut occurs when permeability of the gut lining causes toxins and bacteria to “leak” into the bloodstream. Fully-developed intestinal walls in full-term infants work to shield dangerous or harmful elements from entering the body. In that same vein, many things deemed safe for full-term infants would be considered harmful for pre-term infants.  Bovine milk-based infant formulas appear to be one of those harmful substances.

An Important Prebiotic Found in Human Milk (Oligosaccharides) is completely missing from Bovine-Based Formula

Foods in nature often come bundled with nutrients that serve to aide in digestion, and human breast milk is no different. Many beneficial components in human milk naturally help a preterm infant breakdown and digest the nutrients inside. One of those beneficial components is oligosaccharides, a critically important prebiotic that stimulates the growth of the highly beneficial probiotic, bifidobacteria.

In a word, premature infants do not have the proper prebiotics and “good” bacteria needed to safely digest cow’s milk-based formulas.

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