Jody Segrave-Daly, RN, IBCLC and Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D.
On October 16, 2019, the Fed is Best Foundation billboard went up on I-95 Northbound, 0.3 miles south of Bridge St. in the heart of Philadelphia. This billboard was purchased with donations from private family and health professional supporters of the Fed is Best Foundation. It was a billboard that did not mince words with regard to the risk of newborn brain injury and disability from insufficient feeding complications, namely phototherapy-requiring jaundice.
Since then, several anti-Fed is Best, lactivist groups have posted about the billboard showing their clear concern about the effects of fully informing the public of these serious risks of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. We are saddened to see them express little concern about the harm caused to babies and their families by a policy that routinely shames families who choose to use formula, normalizes signs of persistent infant hunger and exaggerates the risks of formula while hiding the risk of brain injury from insufficient feeding while exclusively breastfeeding.
From one of the Fed is Best health professional supporters of this billboard:
If you don’t think this is happening, you’re not paying attention. You are probably getting your information from echo chambers where breastfeeding always works, and you’re ignoring any data that challenges that. We are well aware that exclusive breastfeeding often works fine–are you aware that often it does not? Are you aware of what hypoglycemia and excess bilirubin can do to the brain? Have you been listening to mothers, or reading any research outside of lactation journals?
We get constant emails from families whose babies have suffered levels of hypoglycemia and hyperbilirubinemia known to cause brain injury. Some of these babies are disabled, possibly as a result of those complications. Some of these families have crushing medical debt on top of the anguish of knowing their healthy baby was allowed to starve, and their health care providers did nothing but push continued breastfeeding despite clear signs of inadequate milk intake. These families deserve justice.
Many people refuse to believe that our Foundation can afford this solely through donations, and that industry money must be behind it. Again, have you been listening to mothers? Have you been reading any research outside of lactation journals? You can close your eyes and ears and believe in conspiracy theories about our funding, or you can start listening to mothers who are here in the comments on every post we put up, sharing their stories. They are out there on blogs, news stories, and other media, sharing their experiences with the same problems we are trying to prevent. We will not stop raising awareness for #safebreastfeeding until no more newborns are harmed from dangerous breastfeeding protocols.
Listen. To. Mothers.
The Fed is Best Foundation has received overwhelming support for this campaign since news of the billboard came out. As a result of several generous donations from the Fed is Best community, we have enough to purchase our next billboard! Thank you to all our generous supporters who have helped up spread the Fed is Best message. Together, we have changed the conversation regarding infant feeding to prioritize respect, inclusion, and most of all, safety for every child, regardless of the way they are fed.
This is going to be the next billboard coming your way!
To help the Fed is Best Foundation put up a billboard in a major city, please consider making a donation of any amount to our organization. Please leave in the comments your vote on what city should be next!