Medical research has linked cow’s milk-based infant formulas, most visibly Similac and Enfamil, to a 7x higher risk of developing NEC, a life-threatening neonatal gastrointestinal disorder. Cow’s milk is heavier with solids than liquids (60 percent solid to 40 percent liquid ratio), opposite of human milk (60 percent liquid to 40 percent solid).

In short, NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis) can quickly strike newborns as they begin processing their own food apart from the umbilical cord. Preterm, low-birthweight babies are most susceptible because their guts are most underdeveloped.

Usually within 2-6 weeks post-birth, without much warning, the fragile intestine overloads with acidic, undigested solids that can burn ulcers through the intestinal wall and spill bacteria into a baby’s tummy before entering the bloodstream.

In the 60 years since the launch of these formulas, none of the labels ever
informed parents or doctors of the risks.

NEC is perilous to newborns, with a 50 percent mortality rate and stunning incidence of emergency surgery required to splice necrotized (dead) tissue, leaving the child with debilitating lifelong weakness to infections and intestinal disorders.

In late 2022, NEC remains one of the leading causes of death among premature infants, according to a recent medical study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

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