A Chinese doctor in Guangdong province had recommended protein drinks for newborns instead of formula milk. As per a statement released on Saturday, August 8, the authority of Huizhou city, located in the southeast of the province, sacked the doctor—surnamed Chen—from the city's No 2 Maternity and Childcare Hospital due to misconduct.

The doctor was claimed to have recommended an over-the-counter protein drink for 43 babies as an alternative of formula milk as these newborns were allergic to normal milk. But in May, several parents made complaints to the hospital where the 40-year-old doctor, Chen, used to work. Soon after receiving such complaints, the authorities started the investigation.

Babies Consumed Protein Drink

Newborn Baby
Newborn Baby - Representational Picture Reuters

Even though all these 43 infants consumed the protein drink as recommended by the doctor, none of them have so far shown any signs of illness. However, as reported, the hospital promised to offer free health checkups and medical treatment for all affected infants in the future.

A Hubei maternity hospital doctor, Zhang Xiaofeng said that the protein drinks cannot be considered as a suitable substitute for formula milk. Xiaofeng explained that such protein drinks do not give the babies the nutrition, which they require for the brain and body development.

Milk Formula and Breast Feeding

About 12 years ago, six babies died and almost 300,000 infants in China fell ill after drinking a formula laced with melamine—which is a toxic chemical used to make plastics. The Sanlu Group, one of the largest dairy producers in China, was identified as the main culprit of the horrific incident. Later in 2003, 13 babies died and 171 infants in Fuyang, Anhui province required medical treatment after they were given substandard formula.

Almost two months ago the parents of five children contacted Yongxing county's market supervision authority and told them that their babies had developed swollen heads, rickets, and eczema after they were given a milk formula. They also claimed that the babies had suffered dramatic weight loss. However, later it was found that those products were fake. The store that was selling the drink had faced a fine of two million yuan and local officials were also removed.

As per health experts, breast milk is the best nutritional choice for infants. Breastfed babies have fewer infections and hospitalization risks compared to formula-fed infants. Through this process, not only antibodies and other germ-protection factors pass from a mother to the baby, but also strengthen the immune system. But there are some challenges when it comes to formula feeding, such as lack of anti-bodies and not providing a baby with the added protein against infections.