Entries in Baby Formula (5)


NYC Hospitals’ Baby Formula Plan Rankles Mommy Bloggers

Image Source/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Breastfeeding experts are applauding New York City’s “Latch On NYC” initiative, which aims to encourage breastfeeding and curb baby formula use in hospitals, but some mommy bloggers are not happy, and they are taking their grievances online.

One of these bloggers is Katherine Stone, a 42-year-old mother who lives in Atlanta. In her Babble blog post on Monday -- titled “Back Off of the Mamas, Mayor Bloomberg!” -- she criticizes the additional monitoring of formula use in hospitals.

“It’s a thin line,” she said. “I think it’s a little bit scary because it begins to infer that it’s a bad, bad thing to feed your child formula.”

Meredith Carroll is a 39-year-old mother and Babble blogger who lives in Aspen, Colo., and she, too, takes issue with the impending New York City policy.

“This isn’t morphine,” Carroll said. “I’m not a drug addict that needs to be kept away from a drug. I just want to feed my baby.”

Both bloggers said they realized that the initiative would not affect them directly, as they do not live in New York. But the plan will see 27 of New York City’s hospitals implementing its policies on Labor Day, which include keeping formula in locked storage rooms and monitoring its use.

The initiative will also discontinue the practice of hospitals distributing free infant formula at the time of discharge, prohibit the display of formula promotional materials in hospitals, and encourage greater enforcement of existing regulations prohibiting the use of formula for breastfeeding infants unless medically indicated.

It is not the first time the availability of baby formula in hospitals has been put under the spotlight. An August 2011 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lambasted hospitals for not adhering to steps designed to encourage breastfeeding in hospitals spelled out by the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.

The initiative, sponsored by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, suggests that hospitals “[h]ave a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff” and “[g]ive no pacifiers of artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.”

At the time of its report, the CDC noted that only four percent of hospitals had adopted at least nine out of 10 of the steps included in the initiative, and that nine percent of hospitals had adopted two or fewer of the steps.

Breastfeeding experts said that in light of this dismal situation, the New York City plan is sorely needed -- and they say such policies will not restrict mothers’ choices in feeding their infants.

“Locking the formula up and paying for it does NOT mean it won’t be available for mothers who choose to exclusively formula feed or for mothers who want to supplement or for medically necessary formula supplementation,” wrote Dr. Lori Feldman-Winter, a pediatrician at Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper in Camden, N.J. “It simply helps keep track of usage and cuts down on indiscriminate use.”

Feldman-Winter, who is a published researcher on the topic of infant formula use in hospitals, said closer monitoring of formula has been demonstrated to make a difference.

“We have shown that once the formula is kept in a locked cabinet and used only when medically necessary, then the usage is cut in half, resulting in more infants exclusively breastfeeding, an outcome good for the infant, family and our society as a whole,” she said.

Dr. Miriam Labbock, director of the Center for Infant & Young Child Feeding & Care, also agrees with Bloomberg’s move to institute the plan.

“It is amazing to me that so many papers have somehow headlined that this deprives folks in some manner,” said Labbock, who was previously in charge of UNICEF’s efforts to encourage breastfeeding, in an email to ABC News. “All other nutraceuticals and drugs have been controlled under lock and key in all hospitals for ages -- formula had been the only unfortunate exception.”

The point on which everyone seems to agree is that breastfeeding is the ideal approach. Blogger Stone said most of the discussion she has seen online recognizes the fact regardless of position on Bloomberg’s plan.

“People who can have a reasoned discussion about this really do understand the importance of breastfeeding,” Stone said. “It’s important we promote breastfeeding…I support the idea of promoting breastfeeding and increasing the percentage of women who do it. It is crucial thing.”

And according to the Latch On NYC website, there is no requirement for new mothers to breastfeed while in the hospital. “While breastfeeding is healthier for both mothers and babies, staff must respect a mother’s infant feeding choice,” the website states.

But the site does encourage hospital staff to remind mothers of the health benefits of breastfeeding when they request formula. Among the recommendations offered on the website for hospital staff is advice that they can “[a]ssess if breastfeeding is going well and encourage the mother to keep trying” and “[p]rovide education and support to mothers who are experiencing difficulties.”

Stone said that for women who can’t breastfeed, the policy would represent another hoop through which these new mothers would have to jump -- possibly adding to their guilt at the worst possible time.

“I hear from moms who have all sorts of problems related to breastfeeding, whether it is the inability to produce enough milk, or medical conditions they have, or their baby having problems breastfeeding,” Stone said. “There are a lot of things that lead a mother to not being able to breastfeed."

“Many of them do go through the experience of having people judge them for that. People saying they are selfish, or that they don’t care about the baby.”

Carroll said she knows firsthand the guilt that comes with not being able to breastfeed as a new mother. She writes in her blog that, at the time her older child was a baby, she had tried unsuccessfully to breastfeed her.

“It’s not up to me or Mayor Bloomberg to pass judgment on any mother who makes a choice about how to feed her baby,” Carroll told ABC News. “It’s embarrassing for a new mother to go out of her way to ask for something she may need or may want. Maybe someone who hasn’t been in that situation is not aware.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Officials: No Baby Formula Recall; Cronobacter Not Linked

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News(ATLANTA) -- Public health officials say there is no need for a recall on baby formula after testing various lots of powdered formula and nursery water.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked other health agencies around the country to look into the baby formula manufacturing following recent reports of infant illnesses from cronobacter bacteria.

“Based on test results to date, there is no need for a recall of infant formula and parents may continue to use powdered infant formula, following the manufacturer’s directions on the printed label,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and CDC said in a joint statement Friday.

According to the statement, investigators found no links among the four reported infant infections. Furthermore, tests by the health department in Missouri, where an infant died, found cronobacter bacteria "in an opened container of infant formula, and opened bottle of nursery water and prepared infant formula.  It is unclear how the contamination occurred," officials said.

Investigators tested factory sealed "containers of powdered infant formula and nursery water with the same lot numbers as the opened containers collected from Missouri and no cronobacter were found."

The FDA and CDC both concluded, "There is currently no evidence to conclude that the infant formula or nursery water was contaminated during manufacturing or shipping.”

The investigation into the cause of the cronobacter illness infants is ongoing.  More test results can be expected in the future.

Cronobacter is a rare cause of infections in infants such as sepsis or meningitis.  The bacteria can be found in the environment, as well as in hospitals and homes, the CDC says. Symptoms can often begin with fever, poor feeding, crying or listlessness. The CDC advises that parents or guardians who notice these symptoms in their should seek the care of a physician for that child.

To reduce the risk of cronobacter illnesses, the CDC recommends breastfeeding whenever possible.  When using powdered formula, health officials suggest caregivers prepare new formula for each feeding and discard any leftovers.

More tips for preparing powdered infant formula include:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before preparing the formula.
  • Clean all feeding equipment in hot, soapy water.
  • Prepare only enough formula for one feeding at a time and give it to the baby right away.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions on the printed label.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Tests Find Enfamil Baby Formula Safe

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News(WASHINGTON) -- New tests found Enfamil infant formula safe, after the death of a 10-day-old Missouri infant caused major retailers to remove cans of the formula from their shelves, the manufacturer said Sunday.

The tests were conducted by Mead Johnson Nutrition, which makes Enfamil and performed an original set of tests before the batch of formula was put on shelves.

"These new results reaffirm the testing conducted before the batch was made available to retailers and consumers. Based on both sets of tests, Mead Johnson can say with confidence that Enfamil Premium Newborn formula, like every infant formula the company produces, is safe," read a statement from the company.

The batch of 12.5-ounce cans of Enfamil Premium Newborn formula, lot number ZP1K7G, came under scrutiny after the infant, identified by other media outlets as Avery Cornett of Lebanon, Mo., had allegedly consumed the formula before he became sick.

Preliminary tests found that he developed a rare infection from Cronobacter sakazakii, a bacteria that has previously been found in powdered infant formula. Thus far, health officials have not confirmed that the formula in question was the source of the baby's infection.

The new test results came after major retailers across the country pulled the formula from their shelves. Following Walmart's footsteps, Supervalu Inc., Walgreen Co., Kroger Co. and Safeway decided to clear their shelves last week of the batch in question.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said in a statement samples of the formula were sent to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration for testing.

The FDA said so far, they "don't have anything that indicates this is linked to Enfamil." However, the agency is testing samples from the open packet of formula fed to the infant, an unopened packet of the formula and the water used to mix the formula. They expect results by the middle of next week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Walmart Pulls Formula following Baby's Death

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News(WASHINGTON) -- The death of a 10-day-old Missouri infant from what early tests indicate was a bacterial infection has prompted Walmart to pull cans of infant formula from 3,000 of its stores nationwide.

The company pulled 12.5 ounce cans of Enfamil Premium Newborn formula, lot number ZP1K7G, after it learned that infant Avery Cornett had consumed the formula before he became sick. Preliminary tests show he developed a rare infection from Cronobacter sakazakii, a bacteria that has previously been found in powdered infant formula.

"This is not a formal government recall. We just did this out of an abundance of caution, and we're currently holding the product until the investigation is complete. The product could possibly be returned to shelves at a later date," a Walmart spokesperson told ABC News Radio.

Customers who purchased the formula should discard it or return it to the store.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said in a statement samples of the formula were sent to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration for testing.

The FDA said so far, they "don't have anything that indicates this is linked to Enfamil." However, the agency is testing samples from the open packet of formula fed to the infant, an unopened packet of the formula and the water used to mix the formula. They expect results by the middle of next week.

Avery is the second infant to develop a Cronobacter sakazakii-related infection in a Missouri hospital in the past month, the department said on its web site. The second infant recovered.

A spokesman for Mead Johnson Nutrition, the manufacturer of Enfamil formulas, said the company routinely tests its formula for Cronobacter.

The spokesman also said officials investigating the infant's death would also be testing other sources to determine where the bacteria came from, including the water used to prepare the formula.

Cronobacter sakazakii, once known as Enterobacter sakazakii, is a bacteria found in powdered infant formula as well as in plant material and the environment, according to the CDC.

The World Health Organization says there have been about 120 documented cases of Cronobacter sakazakii infection worldwide. In 50 to 80 percent of cases, powdered infant formula is the source of Cronobacter illness. There have been several outbreaks of disease in neonatal intensive care units around the world.

Newborns are at highest risk for serious illness from the bacteria, which can cause meningitis and bloodstream infections. The fatality rate in infants is very high.

"It's introduced somehow during the manufacturing process, but they haven't quite figured out how that happens," said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "Infant formula has all kinds of nutrients, so it's a particularly appropriate environment for these bugs to grow [in]."

According to WHO, the bacteria could be introduced in three ways: through the raw ingredients before production, through contamination after pasteurization and through contamination during preparation of the formula by caregivers.

Referring to published case studies, Schaffner said many of the infants became ill because the formula wasn't prepared properly. Powdered infant formula is not sterile and must be handled carefully to avoid contamination.

"Caregivers sometimes haven't followed the instructions very meticulously," he said.

He said in order to minimize the risk of infection, caregivers should take careful precautions.

"Sterilize bottles, spoons and nipples in boiling water. Infant formula should be freely prepared for each feeding, and remaining milk should be discarded. Water should be boiled and allowed to cool before preparing the formula," Schaffner explained.

In addition to meningitis and bloodstream infections, Cronobacter sakazakii can cause necrotizing enterocolitis, a condition in which the intestinal lining dies off.

Symptoms of necrotizing enterocolitis include bloody stool, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy and intolerance to feeding.

Symptoms of meningitis in infants include high fever, neck and body stiffness, constant crying and seizures.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Starting Solid Foods Too Early My Lead to Obesity in Children

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BOSTON) -- A new study by Children’s Hospital Boston suggests childhood obesity can be triggered by when kids start solid foods. 

Study authors followed 847 infants from before birth until three years of age and surveyed the mothers about how they fed their children, particularly when they started feeding the infants solid foods. 

For the 67 percent of breastfed infants, there was no association between the timing of solid food introduction and obesity at three years of age.  For the 32 percent of formula-fed infants, however, those who were introduced to solid foods before four months of age were six times more likely to be obese at three years of age. 

The authors suggest that better adherence to the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines regarding the timing of solid food introduction may reduce the risk of childhood obesity. The AAP recommends that parents wait until infants are between four and six months of age before they introduce solid foods into their diet.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio