As parents, the first day, week, and month of your child’s life is unprecedented in a multitude of ways. You get to see your baby take its first breath, open its eyes for the first time, or even cry for the first time. While this period is exhilarating, it is also when a baby is most at risk.
Because babies have limited exposure to the environment, their immune systems are still developing. It is therefore imperative that you take extra precautions when it comes to the safety of your baby, and this begins with the food you give them.
Breastfeeding is considered the prime method for feeding a baby even today. However, due to a myriad of reasons, this is not always possible, making baby formula the next best alternative. In the U.S. all baby formulas brought to market must meet federal nutrient requirements, and manufacturers have to inform the FDA before they introduce a new formula.
Despite these regulations, some infections can still take place. In some instances, this happens due to negligence on the part of the parents while preparing the formula. Sometimes however, the manufacture, or other external factors like contaminated water could cause an infection.
Here are the ones parents should be aware of:
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a gastrointestinal disease almost exclusive to babies who are premature. Here, the death of intestinal tissue takes place due to it becoming inflamed. In some cases, it can result in the formation of a hole in the baby’s intestines, allowing for bacteria to make their way into the abdomen.
Studies show that cow-milk-based baby formula has exposed babies to a higher risk of NEC when compared to other types of formula, or breastfeeding. Symptoms of NEC include malnutrition, abdominal issues (including pain), and in some cases, even death. There is also a Similac lawsuit in the works as a result.
Manufacturers of Similac and Enfamil (and others) are facing lawsuits due to the claim that toxic baby formula can result in premature babies developing NEC. The scope of the lawsuit is currently limited to babies that received the offending baby formula either in the NICU, or maternity ward. TorHoerman Law adds that if the hospital gifted baby formula to the parents that caused NEC later on, parents of these children can file a lawsuit as well.
Although the lawsuits are ongoing, settlement amounts are yet to be discussed.
A baby’s skin may develop a blue-ish tint due to the decrease in the amount of oxygen in the hemoglobin. Also known as infant methemoglobinemia, the blue baby syndrome is rare in developed countries. Although, rural areas report cases from time to time. Generally, it happens in places with poor water quality.
Water that has been contaminated by nitrates is often the most common cause of infant methemoglobinemia. Nitrates are converted into nitrites. These nitrites bond with hemoglobin and result in the formation of methemoglobin.
Unlike hemoglobin, methemoglobin is not able to bond with oxygen, and cannot carry it through the body, resulting in blue baby syndrome.
This water can make its way into the baby’s system if it is used in the preparation of baby formula.
Babies who are less than 3 months old face the highest risk of blue baby syndrome.
Cronobacter is a type of germ that exists naturally in the environment. Humans come in contact with the germ because it lives in dry food items like starches, teas, powdered milk, and powdered baby formula. This desiccation-resistant germ can also exist on your countertop or sink.
Generally, the way baby formula gets contaminated with Cronobacter is by improper safety practices. If you place the scoop on the kitchen counter or use water that is contaminated with the germ to mix and prepare the baby formula.
It is also possible for Chronobacter to make it into baby formula during the manufacturing process if the factory uses contaminated materials, or if the powder comes in contact with contaminated surfaces during its production.
Symptoms of Chronobacter include improper feeding habits/low food consumption, crying, a fever, and signs of low energy. In very rare cases, it can also cause seizures. The disease is generally diagnosed via blood and urine tests along with a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) test to check for signs of the germ.
To protect your baby from Cronobacter, breastfeeding is ideal. If you aren’t able to, however, there are other steps you can take.
Make sure you thoroughly clean your kitchen sink, and countertops, and don’t forget to wash your hands. If you are using any other feeding equipment for your baby, clean, sanitize, and store it in a safe environment.
A baby’s immune system has not developed to cope with infections in the real world right after they are born. As parents, it is therefore essential that we keep our eyes open for things that could cause a baby to become ill. Since common illnesses adults face can be lethal for babies, being extra vigilant is the need of the hour.
Singh is an experienced spiritual writer and the resident author at Guruvanee.com. With a deep passion for exploring the mystical aspects of life, Singh delves into various spiritual traditions, philosophies, and practices to inspire readers on their spiritual journeys.