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Overdiagnosis and industry influence: how cow’s milk protein allergy is extending the reach of infant formula manufacturers

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k5056 (Published 05 December 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k5056

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Re: Overdiagnosis and industry influence: how cow’s milk protein allergy is extending the reach of infant formula manufacturers

Speaking as a mum and a GP with a cows milk intolerant baby I was shocked to find the vast majority of information on cows milk protein intolerence on the web is industry sponsored . That also has a lot to do with financial with Influences over optimisation on a google search .

I would have loved to breastfeed but had to bottle feed . I found it was difficult to convince a gp to give me extensively hydrolysed formula for my 8 week old baby who had colic and such frequent stools he was taking double the normal amount of formula to maintain his growth . I stood my ground as he was starting to get flushing and facial swelling at feed time. Within 48 hrs he was a happy thriving colic free baby taking 5 bottles a day instead of 10 . As a bonus his very mild eczema vanished , his mild reflux stopped and his cot sheets were no longer drenched in the morning.

In the community there is still cynicism that mums only want 'free milk’. Only someone who has not used EHF would say that . Normal formula instructions are inconvenient , EHF Smells bad and does not come ready made , mums that are not convinced of benefit will rarely persist . Those whose babies respond rapidly to a trial of EHF will refuse to re-try normal formula . Prescriptions have gone up as it is easier to prescribe , they needed to to some degree .

What is most sad is the number of mums who have given up breastfeeding to bottle feed by the 6 weeks check through lack of practical support for breastfeeding in the early weeks or never started for social reasons .

Competing interests: No competing interests

08 December 2018
Elizabeth Howard
Gp
London