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Question:

From Wyandotte, Michigan, USA:

My little grandson is almost four months old, born February 16. He is given ONLY Isomile formula. When I would see him about four or five times a week, I would give him rice cereal in his formula and he loved it. When his mother found out in early May, she took the baby away and will not let him come over so I can care for him. I tasted the formula today and was struck with the sweetness of it. I would like to know if having ONLY formula can induce infantile diabetes? The couple of times I have seen the baby (today is the second time since early May and I was NOT allowed to feed the baby) he cried all the time and very, very hard. He appears not to be gaining much weight and I am very concerned about this precious little one.

My friend's granddaughter was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and has a pump. She is only seven years old. Can just having formula for the first four to six months of an infant's life and the sweetness of the formula cause infantile diabetes? This, I think, may explain why so many children are coming down with diabetes. In 1994, the way of feeding infants was changed by the pediatric specialist so that the "new thinking" was to give the baby ONLY formula for four to six months, which my son and his wife are doing.

Answer:

We do not really understand the specific causes of type 1 (juvenile) diabetes. But, there are some theories, since it is an autoimmune disorder, that exposure to cows' milk proteins can increase the risks, while breast feeding can decrease the risks of developing type 1 diabetes.

Most babies do well with exclusive breast feeding for six to 12 months of life and thrive. There is good evidence that this may protect against many allergic problems and perhaps help avoid future obesity as well as some autoimmune disorders such as diabetes. This is probably the ideal situation.

Many babies are also doing fine on baby formula. Exactly when other foods are introduced changes over the years and also must be taken into consideration with individual family preferences, pediatrician recommendations, etc.

I think that you should respect your daughter's wishes and feed the baby the way she so desires. Then, you can have the joys of feeding and cuddling while not getting into any food battles with your daughter as long as your daughter is not doing anything dangerous or harmful, of course. You may also want to request going to the pediatrician with your grandchild and asking such questions directly to the pediatrician so that you can better understand the current advice.

SB

DTQ-20060601014834
Original posting 21 Jun 2006
Posted to Research: Causes and Prevention

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:10:08
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