Is immunity compromised in babies who are formula fed for their first year compared to babies who are breastfed for the first year? Anastasia J. Jorgensen
LCC Nursing 165
Is immunity compromised in babies who are formula fed for their first year compared to babies who are breastfed for the first year? Many hospitals are now implementing a “Baby Friendly” environment in their delivery and mother-baby units. This initiative promotes breastfeeding as the priority feeding method to new mothers and leaves formula feeding by the wayside. Is formula feeding hurting these children or all of the children who have been formula fed up to this point? One study suggests that there is a high use of laxatives in formula-fed infants (Gitte Zachariassen, 2013). While another sets out to prove that formula containing galactose, galactooligosaccharides (GOS) would help reduce infections and allergic manifestations with a prebiotic effect on intestinal microbiota (Carlos Sierra, 2014).
In Sierra’s et al.’s (2014) article, which reviews the effect of prebiotic’s during the first year of life in formula fed infants, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial is performed to assess the effects of prebiotic supplements on intestinal micro bacteria and the incidence of infections and allergic reactions during the first year of life. In Gitte Zachariassen’s et al.’s (2013) article on preterm infant diet and the high use of laxatives among the formula-fed infants, a study was performed to see what the effects of formula were on the infant gastrointestinal system versus infants who were given breastmilk along with formula and breastmilk alone. This study included the number of meals given, number and amount of regurgitation, number of stools, and amount of laxatives used daily.
Summary of Studies1
Population. The first study, Carlos Sierra et al. (2014), consisted of infants less than 2 months old and healthy term infants from eight Spanish hospitals. These infants ranged in gestational age of 37 to 42 weeks and weighed more than 2500 grams. The infants were then placed into different
groups to monitor the effects of the different food given whether it was formula or breastmilk. In the next study, Gitte Zachariassen et al. (2013), parents of very preterm infants ( regarding breastfeeding is important but I believe that more information should be provided about formula feeding and the problems that can occur.
Specifically, I think parents should be informed that their infant could be more irritable because they are gassy or constipated if they are only formula fed, this may deter some parents from the use of formula or at least encourage them to supplement with breastmilk. I also think that they should be informed that breastfeeding, while it does contribute to passive immunity, is not the only way to keep your infant healthy. Formula, while more convenient to use at times, is not going to make your infant less healthy but it will not increase their immunity eith er.
Carlos Sierra, M.-J. B.-I.-L.-M. (2014). Prebiotic effect during the first year of life in healthy infants fed formula containing GOS as the only prebiotic: a multicentre, randomised, double-blind and placeboi-controlled trial. Springerlink.com, 11. Gitte Zachariassen, J. F.-G. (2013). Preterm dietary study: meal frequency, regurgitation and the surprisingly high use of laxatives among formula-fed infants following discharge. ACTA Paediatrica, 7.