INFANT FORMULA CRISIS IN CHINA: A COHORT STUDY IN SICHUAN PROVINCE - The Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, Vol. 33, No. 1, 2015, pp. 117-122
China has the largest consumption of infant formula in the word. This study aimed to investigate the opinion of the Chinese mothers on the use of infant formula. After the melamine scandal, this study that took place in Sichuan province in 2011.
The melamine scandal took place in China in 2008. Due to the lack of food safety, there were milk, infant formulas and other foods that were found to have melamine in it. Melamine is a chemical used out produce plastic. Six infants had died from kidney stones and damages. This problem was also in countered in international products such as Nestle, Cadbury, and Unilever. As an international development studies student, this is study is important as the use of melamine was a wake-up call at an international level, the issue with overpopulation and globalization is evident here where people resort to infant formulas. With a high global demand, it gets harder to maintain standards in developing countries. Thus, it is important to see the perception of mothers using baby formula and to observe if they are aware of the risk that these formulas have on their children.
This study documented 695 mothers who participated in the study. 647 of the participants tried to breastfeed initially, but only 21 of these participates exclusively fed their babies with infant formulas from the starts. 13 of these mothers did not breastfeed due to Hepatitis B as they believed the virus would transfer to the children. The results state that 70% of the newborns had refaced formula as their first feed, and it increased to 88 % within the first month. Many of the feels had mixed feels as to if the infant formula reduced their breast milk production #8% of these women thought that their infants slept longer at night if they were fed baby formula milk as compared to being breastfed. This study concluded that mother’s options influence the use of infant formula in china and that there needs to be education provided on breastfeeding to improve and maintain breastfeeding outcomes in China.
An interesting find was that these women were misinformed in regarding breastfeeding and having hepatitis B. Mothers need to be informed and educated during the antenatal session that breastfeeding is the ideal method for feeding unless their nipples are damaged, and that breastfeeding will not increase the risk of hepatitis B infection to their infant.
Breastfeeding is really important in the initial stage for both the mother and children. A study was done by Stuebe state that for infants in can increase the incidence of infectious morbidity and child obesity, diabetes, leukemia and sudden infant deaths. For mothers, if can increase the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type two diabetes and metabolic syndrome. A mother’s milk is always a better option as compared to processed infant milk.
Stuebe A. The Risks of Not Breastfeeding for Mothers and Infants. Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2009;2(4):222-231.