In Which I Meet and Talk with the Mom of a Remedia Baby

I was talking with the mother of my daughter’s friend the other day. It turns out that her daughter drank Remedia soy formula from the age of 3 to 6 months in 2003, until she learned that the formula lacked Vitamin B1. In the video I describe how the mother chose that particular formula, and the effect on her daughter.  At the end I add some comments about the Remedia scandal.

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Comments

  1. Nurse Yachne says:

    VERY GOOD! Excellent message. Remedia should be strung up for what they did, and Tipat Chalav should make clear that, although regular infant formula is dairy-based, that for most babies, it is preferable to soy formula.

    It’s true, cow’s milk products are high on the list of potentially allergenic foods, which just goes to show what a poor second any formula runs to breast milk.

    What a tragic story! I remember that our department had been using Remedia for awhile up to that point, but switched to Materna. I got the chills thinking about that for a long time.

    In the hospital, we see a disproportionate number of babies with problems, since we take care of kids with Failure To Thrive (FTT), vomiting and diarrhea issues, malabsorbtion, and the like. We recently had two babies diagnosed with celiac disease after a long period of frustration and fear for their mothers. We try all different types and concentrations of formula to get these kids on track, but there is no question that mother’s milk is the best and most ideally-tailored form of infant nutrition.

    • I’d like to add that formula is NOT second to breast milk, but actually FOURTH:
      1. breast milk (by direct nursing from the biological mother)
      2. pumped breast milk of the biological nmother
      3. pumped breast milk of another woman
      4. formula

  2. Last week there was an item on the radio about a long-term follow up study of “Remedia” babies in Haifa, which uncovered that many of them have developmental problems, such as speech (AFAIR). If your friend hasn’t had her child evaluated, may be she should.

  3. Thank you for posting this. There is nothing as frightening for parents as finding out the people and products you trust are hurting your children. unfortunately in Israel there is a lot of misinformation or under-education about things fed to babies and children. While we do have some of the highest numbers of mothers who breastfeed internationally, we also have some of the fastest return to work rates among mothers and formula is seen as a way of life.

    A Pediatrician from Tipat Chalav tried to bully me into formula after a year of breastfeeding because my child was very small on the charts. The MD declared my child was being malnourished. She threw samples at me and kept saying “materna is the only answer” After emergency calls to all the MDs in my family and many many tears on my part it was determined that I’m small, my husband is small hence our child was small. She wasn’t developing slowly, she was speaking and alert and had a full face, not something a malnourished child usually boasts. It’s hard to take advice from your health-care provider and say, maybe they aren’t right.

    In the end of the day, being a parent means being an advocate for your child round the clock.

    • Sara, formula is irrelevant at age one year. A healthy baby offered a variety of foods will make up for any lack of milk supply by eating more solids. The nurse shouldn’t be offering formula at that age, it’s all marketing.

      • exactly
        It’s criminal how much bad advice is forced on mothers by the nurses. and what makes it even worse is that the “smarter” mothers are suspicious and sometimes don’t trust the tipat chalav nurse, even when they should.

  4. It is upsetting that the mother felt pressure to ween at only 3 months. There should be insentives for health funds and businesses to support (or even pressure) a women to continue nursing, or at least pumping.

    I am writing this as I’m giving my own baby a bottle. Through varous events, nursing was not an option for my baby after about 3 months, and it was a hard decision to put my trust in Materna, even before I knew about the Remedia story. I felt that G-d made my milk with everything my baby needs. Only he knows all the secrets of the world. Doctors and scientists who design formulas do so with the best research they have to guess what my baby needs to be healthy. It may be another century before we fully know the consequences of feeding the population a breast milk substitute instead of the real thing.

    The very fact that my baby gets the exact same mix of nutrients and flavor at every meal, all day, every day, seems counterintuitive. Breast milk changes depending on the diet of the mother, and as the baby grows. I wish we could fine every Tipat Chalav nurse, pediatrician, and well-meaning grandma who pressures a mom to use formula and let her own fountain of nurishment dry up.

    • “There should be insentives for health funds and businesses to support (or even pressure) a women to continue nursing, or at least pumping. ”

      Hm, how would YOU feel is someone tried to pressure you to nurse? Would that really help your situation? I’m a nursing advocate, and I do agree that companies should be pushed, on way or another, to accommodate women who can pump. But putting pressure on mothers is a very bad idea.

  5. Nurse Yachne says:

    “I’d like to add that formula is NOT second to breast milk, but actually FOURTH”–Anima

    Nicely put. I was trying to say something similar, but I couldn’t get it right.

  6. Great move into video. You are one of the bests on your niche and there is a demand out there. Good luck.

  7. Two general comments.

    1. I’m with the mother who decided not to sue. A law suit takes a huge amount of time and resources. Unless you have a good chance of winning something significant, it’s simply not worth it. Keep in mind that the companies have deep pockets. A single law suit by one mother, or even a few, won’t make that much of a dent in this type of case. If Israel has something like the US “class action suit” available, that might make more sense, as it’s less stress on the individual, and is likely to have a larger impact on the company.

    2. I may be wrong, but I recall reading at the time that there was some talk about requiring companies to get permission from the Health Ministry before changing their formulation (that’s what was at the root of the whole remedia story.)

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