Disasters hit formula-fed babies hard
NATURAL disasters hit formula-fed Queensland babies harder than those that are breastfed.
In an Australian first, a study has looked at the health of babies and toddlers following natural disasters and found formula-fed infants face a much higher risk of sickness.
The research from the University of the Sunshine Coast was based on a survey of mothers impacted when almost three-quarters of the state was hit by severe flooding and category five Cyclone Yasi in the summer of 2010-11.
Researcher and lead author Dr Ruth Newby said children who received formula during these disasters were almost 10 times more likely to visit medical practitioners in the four weeks after the emergency. Mothers struggled to pack up feeding equipment before leaving their homes and reported being unsure if the formula they used was safe.
Breastfeeding had a protective effect against several illnesses.
“Just over half of the mothers sought medical treatment for their children for a range of symptoms from fever and diarrhoea to irritable behaviour, coughs and colds. Eight of the infants were admitted to hospital,” Dr Newby said.