Why Many Parents Are Having Second Thoughts on Baby Formula

Baby Formula

Today, parents across the globe have resorted to baby formula as an infant feeding option. It is mostly made of cow’s milk and has been said to be beneficial for babies. 

However, in recent times, parents from different regions have complained that their infants developed NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis) after they were fed with baby formula. Several Enfamil and Similac cow’s milk-based baby formulas have been mentioned in NEC lawsuits.

NEC is a fatal ailment that has the chance to cause severe intestinal damage and even death. According to the lawsuits filed by several parents, baby formula manufacturers like Abbott and Mead Johnson didn’t warn the parents concerning the severe NEC risks.

According to the NEC lawsuit January 2024 update, there were close to 342 active lawsuits still pending under Rebecca R. Pallmeyer, a U.S. District Judge, in Illinois. To date, there haven’t been any global settlements or jury verdicts in MDL number 3026. Based on the discovery completion, the very first NEC bellwether test trials might start in the first half of 2024.

However, parents must know the disadvantages of a baby formula for infants. In this article, we will delve into that so that parents who aren’t aware of the harmful side effects of baby formula know better and arrive at an informed decision.

The Tragic Story of Kelly Knight and Her Son

Kelly Knight was happy to give birth to her son, Ryker. She shares that her son was all perfect, but four weeks after his birth, he started vomiting incessantly. Soon, she noticed that he had a bruise on his leg. A medical assessment confirmed that he was suffering from bacterial meningitis, which made his brain swell way out of proportion.

Ryker was on life support, and 75% of his left brain had to be removed. Doctors finally found out that he was infected with the bacteria Cronobacter sakazakii, which is harmful to infants. According to the doctors, it was likely that he got infected by the bacteria because he was fed with baby formula.

This incident took place in the latter half of July 2021. It was a few months before federal health officials linked four instances of Cronobacter infections, two of which resulted in infant deaths. These infants suffered because they were fed with baby formula manufactured at the Abbott Nutrition plant in Sturgis, Michigan.

However, Kelly and other parents from different parts of the world have filed an NEC baby formula lawsuit to file a complaint against the concerned manufacturers. They are all expecting fair compensation that can cover the pain and suffering both they and their kids had to undergo.

Baby Formula: Health Hazards to Know About

There have been very rare cases of severe side effects from baby formula consumption. There can be occurrences of nutrient deficiency or food allergies that, when left untreated, can result in health issues and can lead to long-term ailments in the baby.

NEC affects every one in 1000 infants who have had a premature birth. This risk tends to be higher in infants who have a weight that is less than two pounds at birth. That aside, there can be other life-threatening symptoms of food allergies, like throat or mouth swelling, vomiting, and hives, that need immediate attention.

All these conditions can occur after a few days or weeks of consuming the baby formula. Eventually, babies can also become allergic to or sensitive to protein formula. Parents must opt for medical treatment when they notice any of these symptoms.

According to the Italian Journal of Pediatrics, baby formula claims to cover all the nutrition requirements that a baby has. However, recent studies indicate that infants who are fed with baby formula often have the scope of developing respiratory infections, obesity, cognitive development issues, SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), and various other health issues compared to breastfeeding infants.

It was in February 2022 that Abbott had to issue a baby formula recall for its Alimentum, EleCare, and Similac formulas after they caused Cronobacter infections in babies leading to infant deaths. In March 2024, the FDA inspectors observed many places that proved positive for the presence of Cronobacter bacteria in the Abbott factory that manufactured this formula.

On the other hand, babies who are less than three months old or have a troubled immune system catch bacterial infections the most. Hence, patients must ensure that the baby formula they select is made in a sanitized and clean area, so that the scope of dangers is lessened.

However, even though formula feeding comprises vitamins, fats, sugars, and proteins, it doesn’t have the antibodies that are available in breast milk. All these antibodies are very effective in ensuring that a baby stays free from all kinds of ailments and infections, such as ulcerative colitis, asthma, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, leukemia, and type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Hence, parents need to be careful when choosing infant nutrition.

Qualifying for an NEC Lawsuit

Caregivers or parents of babies who have suffered from NEC after being fed Enfamil and Similac can file a baby formula lawsuit. Babies might have been given baby formula when they were at the hospital, which resulted in the infection.

TorHoerman Law states that parents of affected babies can seek legal recourse. They can get in touch with a lawyer and submit all the formula packaging, medical receipts, and records as evidence for their case. If you are unsure about it, the lawyer can help you source the information and use it to build a strong case to ensure you receive fair compensation and justice.

Claimants should know about the NEC settlement payouts, and that there is no fixed amount as of now. The amount can vary between $1.5 million and $23 million. However, it all depends on the medical history of the infant and the extent of the infection or severity of the disease.

To sum up, no parent wants their kids to suffer from NEC and eventually die. And the ones who survive, develop other health issues and live a compromised life. Hence, it is best to remain aware and count on breastfeeding to avert the dangers. At all times, it is always best to take the doctor’s advice. If the infant develops NEC, it is necessary to get a medical diagnosis and treatment and seek legal assistance for it.

As a fitness enthusiast herself, Dr. Amabella leads by example, demonstrating the positive impact that a healthy lifestyle can have on one's overall wellbeing. Her enthusiasm for the subject is infectious, and she has a talent for inspiring and motivating others to make positive changes in their own lives.