Cow's Milk Fed to Newborns Prevents Allergy -- But At a Serious Cost

Christie Haskell

Cow's milk and newborns. Is it essential? A study suggesting that a deadly cow's milk protein allergy can be avoided by feeding newborns cow's milk formula once a day in their first two weeks of life seems to think so. 

Cheers and jeers on this revelation. Of course no one wants a child to have a deadly allergy. But are there other options? What could it do to the worthy cause of exclusive breastfeeding? What about the the delicate flora of a newborn's intestinal system?

Plenty of well-known medical powerhouses such as the CDC and the World Health Organization have said that absolutely nothing should be given to babies in their first 6 months of life other than breast milk, and that failure to do so results in more than 900 preventable infant deaths a year. With that in mind, this new suggestion has infant health and breastfeeding advocates baffled.

We're trying figure out how destroying "The Virgin Gut" and risking a multitude of problems, like an increased risk of SIDS and leukemia or supply issues and nipple confusion (which could lead to breastfeeding failure), is worth avoiding one allergy to cow's milk -- a pain in the butt and terrible allergy, sure, but an allergy from something people don't even need.

Cow's milk proteins already pass through breast milk, as anyone who has had to cut out eating and drinking any dairy (including casein and whey) for their lactose-sensitive or intolerant baby knows all too well. Wouldn't it make more sense to have breastfeeding moms drink milk to pass down these proteins instead?

Moms who formula feed in the newborn stage can and should celebrate the results of this study. Having a potential medical benefit to formula-feeding is good news!

For those who don't require formula, though, I wish they'd have mentioned -- if they even acknowledged in their questionable study -- that the incredibly long list of downsides of this method are so much more significant than the single benefit, and people should absolutely not rush out to buy formula for their newborn.

What do you think about this study?


Image via carsonsmommytam/Cafemom

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