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Just like every mother before me and around me, I believed that infant formula was an acceptable form of nourishment for my child.  He is mainly breastfed, but I was under the impression (and pressure) that infant formula wouldn’t do him any harm.  However, after being pushed to use formula so hard and so often, I took to the internet to find out more about it.  What I discovered made my toes curl in disgust and I immediately stopped giving it to my son in his porridge every day.  According to UNICEF and WHO, 1.5 million babies die every year from the unnecessary and improper use of infant formula.  That number is probably much, much bigger considering that infant formula is linked to so many diseases and health complications, and a child’s death is linked to its use in many ways, not just because of contamination.  According to La Leche League International, infant formula is linked to circa 70 diseases and health complications, and those are only the ones that we know of so far.

Infant formula use is the largest experiment ever performed by man, on man.  The most common base for infant formula is cows milk, and cows, as we know, are pumped full of hormones and anti-biotics to produce more milk.  Traces of this end up in infant formula.  Then there are the pesticides that cows consume in their feed and the grass that they eat.  Not to mention the fumes cow’s breathe in from tractors and other industrial contaminants.  The water they drink is contaminated with chemicals and poisons and, although these are present in small amounts, some percentage of that ends up in infant formula, no matter how they try and purify it.  All of these things contribute to horrific diseases such as cancer, and in worst case scenarios, lead to death.  Then you have to look at the industrial contaminants that are present from the manufacture of infant formula.  Aluminium, from the containers they are mixed and stored in, phthalates, BPA (Bisphenol-A), cadmium, the list goes on.  All of these contaminants are present in infant formula from the manufacturing and storing processes.  And all of them contribute to the development of diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, meningitis, SIDS (cot death), and more.

Here are some links to articles on the danger of infant formula, and the tricks of infant formula corporations to get you to buy their products.

(The Alpha Parent is a well researched blogger, all references can be found throughout her articles)

Infant soy formula is possibly even worse than cow’s milk formula.  Here is a list of health complications associated with it’s use:

•  Soybeans and soy products contain high levels of phytic acid, which inhibits assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc.

•  Soaking, sprouting, and long, slow cooking do not neutralize phytic acid.

  Diets high in phytic acid have been shown to cause growth problems in children.

•  Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders.

•  Test animals showed stunted growth when fed trypsin inhibitors from soy.

•  The plant estrogens found in soy, called phytoestrogens, disrupt endocrine function, that is, the proper functioning of the glands that produce hormones, and have the potential to cause infertility as well as to promote breast cancer in adult women.

•  Hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer may be caused by soy phytoestrogens.

•  Infant soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.

•  Soy has been found to increase the body's need for vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

•  Fragile soy proteins are exposed to high temperatures during processing in order to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein, making them unsuitable for human digestion.

•  This same process results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines. (Doesn't sound like anything anyone would want to eat, does it?)

•  MSG, (also called free glutamic acid), a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing. Many soy products have extra MSG added as well

•  Soy foods contain elevated levels of toxic aluminum, which negatively effects the nervous system the kidneys and has been implicated in the onset of Alzheimer's.

As you can see, we have all been cunningly convinced that infant formula is a safe, healthy product.  The reality is, babies are being fed this stuff every day and are suffering hugely because of it.  This is probably one of the main contributing factors to the increase in disease in the last century.  Ever since infant formula came along, mothers rejoiced at the chance to get their bodies back and hand their children over to other caregivers, but at what cost?  I was formula fed as a child but ever since I have researched this product, I deeply resent that.  I may be a ‘healthy’ individual now, but what about in 20 years?  Will I even live that long seeing as I didn’t get to benefit from the cancer fighting fatty acids in my mother’s milk?  How a child is fed as an infant, impacts hugely on the rest of their lives.  More and more children are being diagnosed with autism, a condition with links to infant formula use.  Behavioural disorders, conditions with links to infant formula use.  Diseases that affect every part of the body, linked to infant formula use. 

Unfortunately for us, infant formula corporations have infiltrated almost every aspect of society.  Our healthcare providers are trained with information from studies that were funded by infant formula corporations, our midwives are offered incentives on giving out free samples of formula (the winner receiving a lovely voucher for some desirable store), stores give out coupons in coalitions formed with infant formula companies, governments are not likely to curb infant formula use because of the massive amounts of tax that they make off of these corporations, health ministers around the world are sponsored by infant formula corporations.  Mothers and babies everywhere are under attack by these horrific  organizations and their babies are suffering because of it. 

The WHO states that only 2% of women can’t physically breastfeed.  If breastfeeding rates were this bad ten thousand years ago, the human race would not have lasted this long.  Infant formula has provided people with a choice where once there were very limited options.  But even those options were more healthy for babies than what they are forced to consume these days (wet-nurses were widely available, lactating friends and family members were abundant).  WHO places infant formula LAST on the list of feeding options for infants.  Milk from the mother directly, then expressed milk from the mother, then donor milk, and finally infant formula.  Despite all of these facts being publically available, a shocking amount of people are unaware of the risks associated with infant formula.  And as a consequence, babies, children and everyone else fed formula from a young age, are suffering horrifying diseases and health complications.  Babies and children in third world countries suffer massively because of it, whereas in industrialized countries, everything else contaminating our environment is blamed EXCEPT for infant formula.

In light of all this information, we implore Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, amend the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, to include a clause in Article 9: Labeling, stating that: “Manufacturers and distributors of infant formula should ensure that each container has a clear, conspicuous, and easily readable and understandable message printed on it, or on a label which cannot readily become separated from it, in an appropriate language, which includes the following points:  a) The word “Warning” or “Danger” b) A statement alluding to the health risks associated with the use of the product c) Followed by a clear mention of links to cancer, obesity, diabetes, SIDS (cot death), ear infections, respiratory infections, cholera, meningitis, ulcerative colitis d) Ending with the statement in block letters {BREASTFEEDING IS THE HEALTHY WAY TO FEED BABIES}”  We also implore that should infant formula corporations fail to comply with this clause, that they be charged a heavy fine, which will be divided between theU.N, UNICEF and WHO, for every month that they fail to amend their labels with the above health warning.

It is imperative that Dr Chan make this amendment to improve the health all children deserve at birth and for the rest of their lives. By making these amendments to the Code, mothers will be fully informed at point of sale, on what they will be giving their babies if they choose to formula feed.  By making these amendments, it will curb the aggressive advertising of infant formula corporations who claim that their products are ‘closer than ever to breast-milk’, it will curb the use of these products in unnecessary situations.  Infant formula was only ever designed for babies whose mothers had died and where no wet-nurses were available.  In these situations, an alive baby is better than a dead baby, but it will not change that that child has NOT had the best start.  I may not be a doctor, or healthcare provider of any kind, but I AM a mother, and had I not been pushed into researching all of this, my next child would likely have been supplemented with infant formula and I wouldn't have known what I was doing to him/her.  We need to learn from our mistakes and ensure that the next generation has a healthier start than the ones that gave birth to it.

Yours in fellowship and advocacy,







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