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When a baby is born prematurely, the first few months are critical for his or her health and development, particularly if he or she is born prematurely. Although many doctors urge exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant’s life, certain preterm infants may not be able to do so. Instead, they might be given breast milk replacers like infant formula.

The use of formula in place of mom’s milk is linked to both short- and long-term infant health concerns. The use of cow-based formulas rather than breast milk is linked to an increased chance of developing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a deadly gastrointestinal illness, among prematurely born infants. According to a study published in the Journal of Human & Experimental Toxicology in 1996, cow-based formula products and NEC are linked in preterm infants.

Despite the prominent medical evidence linking these goods to NEC in preemies, producers do not make this danger known on product packaging or other materials. In fact, certain producers advertise cow-based infant formula as an equally safe replacement for mother’s milk, even going so far as to claim that their products are essential for a child’s healthy growth and development.

If your child got sick from NEC after consuming cow’s milk formula, you may be able to file a legal claim against the manufacturer. For a free case analysis, contact Texas Personal Injury Lawyers for a free case evaluation.

What Is Necrotizing Enterocolitis?

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a severe gastrointestinal condition that primarily affects premature infants. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 90% of babies who develop NEC are born prematurely. It usually affects babies who are born before 28 weeks of pregnancy and has a rapid onset with no prior symptoms.

NEC is a severe inflammatory condition of intestinal tissue. It can progress to tissue death (necrosis) and, in some circumstances, a hole in the gut (perforation) forms that allows germs to seep into the abdomen or circulation via the tear. Infants with NEC are also in danger of:

  • Longer hospital stays
  • Abdominal infection
  • A narrowed intestine that makes digestion difficult (intestinal stricture)
  • Short bowel (short gut) syndrome, which can make it hard to absorb fluids and nutrients
  • Growth failure, developmental delays, and poor neurodevelopmental outcomes
  • Systemic sepsis
  • Organ failure
  • Death 

What Is The Treatment For Necrotizing Enterocolitis? 


Necrosis of the small intestine can be treated by surgery. Surgery is required in about 20 to 40% of cases for severe forms of NEC, according to a study published in the journal Advances in Nutrition. The cost of medical care for NEC patients is significant. Treating an infant with NEC costs nearly $200,000, according to data. The cost of removing a tumor that has spread to the brain can be as much as $300,000 in some cases. The healthcare expenditures of NEC survivors are around $100,000 greater than babies without a diagnosis of NEC on average.

Does Cow-based Baby Formula Cause Necrotizing Enterocolitis? 


There is a strong relationship between cow-based infant formulas and NEC in premature infants. Researchers writing in the Expert Review of Clinical Immunology conclude, “There is substantial agreement among researchers that breast milk administration is the most effective way to prevent NEC development.” In contrast, formula feeding is linked to an increased incidence of NEC, whether it comes from the infant’s own mother or a donor source.

The first study on this topic was published in The Lancet in 1990, with researchers discovering that formula-fed infants were 6 to 10 times more likely to develop NEC than those fed exclusively on breast milk.

A study published in 2010 found that premature infants fed an exclusive diet of mother’s milk, donor milk, and human milk fortifier were 90 percent less likely to acquire NEC requiring surgery.

The following year, the surgeon general of the United States issued a call to action in support of breastfeeding, releasing a study that stated, “Formula feeding is linked with higher rates of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in vulnerable premature babies.”

On January 29, 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a policy statement calling for all preterm infants to be fed an exclusive diet of human milk due to the potential development of NEC from the cow-based formula.

Do Formula Manufactures Have Any Information On The Dangers Of NEC To Premature Babies?


At the very least, they should be aware of a number of policy statements and research demonstrating that breast milk protects against NEC. Despite this, certain producers have emphasized the importance of cow-based infant formulas and fortifiers in the growth and development of preterm infants, despite the medical evidence indicating that these should not be given to preemies.

In fact, they have not neglected to discuss NEC risks in the product literature, but have gone out of their way to encourage more moms to choose toxic baby formula over breast milk. This aggressive marketing of formula products has resulted in what a study published in The BMJ terms “the cultural normalization of formula feeding.”

According to the BMJ, there is a lack of transparency, selectiveness, and bias in favor of formula in formula trials. They determined that “The formula business is actively engaged in formularies research; findings are almost always reported as favorable, and there is limited openness about the purpose of the study or reporting of results.”

What Formulas May Cause An Infant To Develop Necrotizing Enterocolitis?


Approximately 80% of poisonous baby formulas are cow milk-based, including those produced by the following companies:

  • Baby’s Only
  • Bobbie
  • Earth’s Best
  • Enfamil
  • Gerber
  • Go & Grow
  • Happy Baby
  • Holle
  • Kendamil
  • Lebenswert
  • Louloka
  • Parent’s Choice
  • Similac

Some of these companies provide alternatives that do not include cow’s milk. Although breast milk is considered to be safer for prematurely born babies than formula, if you are unable to give breast milk, consult your doctor about the best formulas for your kid.

Do I Qualify For A Necrotizing Enterocolitis Toxic Baby Formula Lawsuit?

A number of lawsuits have been filed against cow milk-based formula manufacturers Abbott Laboratories, the maker of Similac, and Mead Johnson, the maker of Enfamil.

Parents whose premature children developed or died from NEC after consuming one of these hazardous infant formulas are filing claims against Abbott and Mead Johnson. They allege that Abbott and Mead Johnson were aware of scientific evidence linking their products to NEC in premature infants, but they did not issue product warnings about this hazard. The plaintiffs in these cases are claiming money to pay for infant fatalities and accidents they blame on Abbott and Mead Johnson’s negligence.

Contact Texas Toxic Baby Formula Injury Lawyers

If your premature baby was fed Similac, Enfamil, or another cow milk-based infant formula and subsequently developed NEC, you may be eligible for a similar NEC toxic baby formula lawsuit. Contact Texas Class Action Injury Lawyers and tell us your story for a full explanation of your legal rights and choices.

Call us at (888) 997-2148 now for you free consultation.

We take cases on a contingency fee basis and there are no costs unless we win, and the consultation is completely FREE. Contact us to learn what Texas Personal Injury Lawyers can accomplish for you.