Bacteria in infant formula, is it a real threat?
For many new parents, keeping baby safe is the source of sleepless nights and high anxiety. It’s nerve wracking to suddenly be in charge of a delicate being who is completely reliant on you for safety and support.
So when formula-feeding parents hear reports about bacteria in infant formula it feels like there’s nowhere and nothing safe for their child.
No, it’s not a new Marvel villain. It’s much worse. Cronobacter is the bacteria most commonly behind infant formula bacterial outbreaks. It is actually a common microorganism and we come into contact with it fairly frequently. Generally Cronobacter is no match for our immune systems and in adults it often goes unnoticed or causes only a bad case of can’t-leave-the-toilet.
For infants, however, it can be deadly serious.
How Dangerous Is it?
Cronobacter can be deadly to infants, or can cause very serious infections such as meningitis or sepsis (Infections in the bloodstream).
While this all might sound terribly scary, please keep in mind that the CDC only hears reports of some 4-6 cases per year. Although reporting Cronobacter is not mandated by government and so the rates may in fact be higher.
What Are The Symptoms?
Symptoms of early Cronobacter infection are: Fever, irritability, poor feeding, crying or low energy.
If you notice these symptoms in your child, don’t rush into thinking it’s Cronobacter.
There are many, many infections that cause similar symptoms, but all of them must be appraised by a medical professional.
How Can I Avoid It?
The most important factor in avoiding Cronobacter infection is to follow the guidelines on preparing your infant formula.
Heating up the formula is not just for the benefit of your baby’s tiny taste buds. It’s vital to heat your formula to at least 70 degree Celsius or 160 degrees Fahrenheit in order to reduce bacteria content.
Think of it like baby-formula cooking.
Is Cronobacter dangerous? Of course. Does it kill? Undoubtedly. Should I be worried? Probably not.
Concern for your child’s safety is a great thing, but don’t let yourself get worked up about every odd malady that might befall them.
Being a baby is a dangerous endeavor, but most of us make it through okay, your little one will too.