We want to celebrate the tremendous progress that Fed is Best has made in its second year as a non-profit organization. Thanks to the donations of our Fed is Best parents and health professionals as well as the grass-roots efforts of our supporters, we have permanently changed the dialogue around infant feeding to prioritize safe, sufficient and sustainable feeding for every baby, every time, tailored to each mom and baby.
We want to celebrate with you our brief history!
Fed is Best Followers and visitors Grow by Leaps and Bounds
Fedisbest.org since its opening has received 4.6 million visits since it launched July 2016 and 500,000 visits in the last year. In total, Fed is Best and the campaign preceding the establishment of our non-profit has received over 7 million views. Our Facebook following has grown by almost 200,000 in one year and our followers span the globe. We have grown our Fed is Best Parent Support group with the help of our faithful volunteers and admins to create a truly safe space where mothers of every kind, whether they formula-feed, breastfeed, combo-feed or tube-feed, truly support each other without judgment or a feeding agenda. In addition, our health professional organization, including pediatricians, neonatologists, other physicians, nurses and lactation professionals has grown in order to provide support for professionals advocating for safe infant feeding practices in hospitals and hospital policy.
Google Analytics Data from July 11, 2017 to July 19, 2018
Fed is Best Foundation Facebook Followers
Fed is Best Foundation Meets with the Top Officials of the WHO Breastfeeding Guidelines Program
On Sept. 22, 2017, senior members of the Fed is Best Foundation, and guests including a neonatologist from a leading U.S. tertiary care hospital and a pediatric endocrinologist, Dr. Paul Thornton, M.D, from Cook Children’s Hospital Fort Worth, lead author of the Pediatric Endocrine Society’s newborn hypoglycemia guidelines, met via teleconference with top officials of the WHO Breastfeeding Program: Dr. Laurence Grummer-Strawn, Ph.D., Dr. Nigel Rollins, M.D. and Dr. Wilson Were, M.D. to express their concerns about the complications arising from the BFHI Ten Steps and to ask what, if any, monitoring, research, or public outreach the WHO has planned regarding the risks of accidental starvation of exclusively breastfed newborns. The Foundation members who attended were 1) Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, MD, Co-Founder, 2) Jody Segrave-Daly, RN, IBCLC, Co-Founder, 3) Julie Tibbets, JD, Partner at Alston & Bird, LLP, Pro-Bono Attorney for the Foundation, 4) Brian Symon, MD, Senior Advisor, and 5) Hillary Kuzdeba, MPH, former quality improvement program coordinator at a children’s hospital, managing infant feeding projects and Senior Advisor.
A full account of the meeting can be found here. We presented data on the high rates of complications in exclusively breastfed newborns from research conducted at BFHI hospitals and the expected prevalence of brain injury and long-term disability resulting from those complications. The neonatologist in attendance reported on the experiences of neonatologists with the BFHI stating, “we are seeing these cases almost every day every where around the country. The focus [of the BFHI] is only on the number of women who are exclusively breastfeeding at discharge and not at all on safety.” During this meeting we uncovered that the WHO has never studied the complications associated with the WHO Ten Steps and has no program to monitor complications caused by the BFHI. Dr. Rollins informed us that every health professional trained in the Baby-Friendly protocol has been taught to look out for danger signs of an underfed breastfed baby at risk of brain injury which include, “convulsions, lethargy and inability to feed.” Unfortunately, the evidence presented showed that these are signs that brain injury is already present.
Fed is Best Foundation is Featured on the Cover Article of TIME Magazine, “The Goddess Myth”
On October 19. 20187, The Fed is Best Foundation was featured in the cover story of TIME Magazine, an article by Claire Howorth, exploring how modern-day expectations of motherhood are hurting mothers and babies. She explored how social media, popular media and parenting books, which have created a culture that idealizes natural parenting choices, natural birth and exclusive breastfeeding, can result in mothers experiencing anger, shame and guilt when things do not go as planned. The anti-shame backlash against this cultural phenomenon included Fed is Best.
“There is a backlash beyond the bookshelf too. Last year, Dr. Christie Del Castillo-Hegyi, an emergency-room physician in Arkansas, founded Fed Is Best. The organization, run by a group of doctors, nurses and mothers, raises awareness of feeding options. It wants the BFHI to reconsider its stringent rules and to inform mothers on what Del Castillo-Hegyi says are under-recognized risks of exclusive breastfeeding, ranging from jaundice to starvation. She would know. Several years ago, in her quest to exclusively breastfeed, she nearly starved her infant son to death. Some of the mothers who work with Fed Is Best have had similar experiences, in a few cases leading to their babies’ death. They are determined to keep such tragedy from striking others. “If you have leaders telling you this is what’s best, it becomes ideology, policy, identity,” says Del Castillo-Hegyi. “I can’t even think of something more vulnerable than motherhood. And if motherhood means ‘exclusive breastfeeding,’ then a mother will do anything.”
Fed is Best Raises Awareness at the NIH Task Force on Research for Pregnant and Lactating Women
On February 26, 2018, Dr. Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, Co-Founder of the Fed is Best Foundation traveled to the NIH to raise awareness on the gaps in breastfeeding protocols, research and education that is leading to common and serious complications in exclusively breastfed newborns. She directed her address to the Task Force as well as U.S. Health Secretary, Alex Azar. She submitted the Fed is Best petition including comments from thousands of families and health professionals who have witnessed infants harmed by the WHO breastfeeding guidelines.
Fed is Best Co-Founder Gives Grand Rounds Lecture at CHRISTUS St. Vincent in Santa Fe, NM Launching the first Q.A. Project to Optimize Newborn Breastfeeding Support
On May 2-3, 2018, Dr. Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, Co-Founder of the Fed is Best Foundation had the honor of giving the following presentation to the largest hospital in Santa Fe, NM, CHRISTUS St. Vincent whose safety and quality improvement program is leading the way toward optimizing newborn breastfeeding support. The Grand Rounds conference was held over two days and were attended by approximately 80 physicians, nurses, lactation consultants and other health professionals who contributed to a very positive discussion of safe breastfeeding support in the newborn period.
The Royal College of Midwives Announce that All Midwives are to Support Mothers Regardless of their Feeding Choice
On June 12, 2018, The Royal College of Midwives confirmed that ‘the decision of whether or not to breastfeed is a woman’s choice and must be respected’, in a new position statement on infant feeding. The statement recommends that balanced and relevant information be given to parents choosing to formula feed their babies, whether exclusively or partially, to enable them to do so safely and with support to encourage good bonding. The RCM advises that breastfeeding mothers and their partners should be given information and support to help manage the physical, mental, emotional and societal challenges of breastfeeding.
Gill added that the RCM believes that women should be at the centre of their own care and as with other areas of maternity care midwives and MSWs should promote informed choice. ‘If, after being given appropriate information, advice and support on breastfeeding, a woman chooses not to do so, or to give formula as well as breastfeeding, her choice must be respected. We recognize that some women cannot or do not wish to breastfeed and rely on formula milk. They must be given all the advice and support they need on safe preparation of bottles and responsive feeding to develop a close and loving bond with their baby.’
We are thrilled to see such a statement made to protect a woman’s infant feeding choice, recognizing that not all mothers can or want to breastfeed, and that all mother’s need support to feed her baby safely and sufficiently so that they may thrive and reach their full potential.
The Fed is Best Foundation Story is Featured on CNN.com and New York Times
On the day of our second anniversary, July 11, 2018, we were honored with the publication of a CNN.com article documenting our work as a fledgling organization, “The ‘breast is best’ policy backlash,” by Elissa Strauss.
“In 2016, del Castillo-Hegyi paired up with Jody Segrave-Daly, a newborn nursery and newborn intensive care unit nurse and certified lactation consultant, to form Fed is Best. The nonprofit is aimed at helping fill in the gap in breastfeeding education by teaching parents the signs of hypoglycemia, jaundice and dehydration and encouraging them to supplement with formula whenever necessary.”
Soon thereafter, we were recognized as the most recent addition to infant feeding history by New York Times reporter, Christina Caron in the article, “Breast-Feeding or Formula? For Americans, It’s Complicated.”
The ‘Fed is Best’ movement emerges
“But now a new movement called Fed is Best has arisen because of the pressure placed on women to exclusively breast-feed, sometimes to the detriment of their infants. The movement seeks to educate families about all of the safe feeding options available to them, and the complications that can arise when exclusively breast-fed newborns don’t receive enough breast milk.”
Our Most Important Achievements are the Babies we Help and the moms We Support
There are many ways you can support the mission of the Fed is Best Foundation. Please consider contributing in the following ways:
- Join the Fed is Best Volunteer group to help us reach Obstetric Health Providers
- Make a donation to the Fed is Best Foundation.We do not accept donations from breast- or formula-feeding companies and 100% of your donations go toward these operational costs. All the work of the Foundation is achieved via the pro bono and volunteer work of its supporters.
- Share the stories and the message of the Fed is Best Foundation through word-of-mouth, by posting on your social media page and by sending our resources to expectant moms that you know. Share the Fed is Best campaign letter with everyone you know.
- Write a letter to your health providers and hospitals about the Fed is Best Foundation. Write them about feeding complications your child may have experienced.
- Print out our letter to obstetric providers and mail them to your local obstetricians, midwives, family practitioners who provide obstetric care and hospitals.
- Write your local elected officials about what is happening to newborn babies in hospitals and ask for legal protection of newborn babies from underfeeding and of mother’s rights to honest informed consent on the risks of insufficient feeding of breastfed babies.
- Send us your stories. Share with us your successes, your struggles and every thing in between. Every story saves another child from experiencing the same and teaches another mom how to safely feed her baby. Every voice contributes to change.
- Send us messages of support. We work every single day to make infant feeding safe and supportive of every mother and child. Your messages of support keep us all going.
- Shop and Fed is Best Foundation will earn cash back! We hope to develop our online safe infant feeding classes with these funds.
- If you need support, we have a private support group – Join
We believe all babies deserve to be protected from hunger and thirst every single day of their life and we believe that education on Safe Infant Feeding should be free. If you would like to make a donation to support the Fed is Best Foundation’s mission to teach every parent Safe Infant Feeding, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation to our organization.