WHAT IS the FED IS BEST Foundation?
The Fed Is Best Foundation is a non-profit, volunteer organization of parents and health professionals who study the scientific literature on infant feeding and real-life infant feeding experiences of mothers through clinical practice and social media connections. We seek to provide information on the safest, most brain-protective methods for breastfeeding, mixed-feeding, formula-feeding, pumped-milk-feeding and tube-feeding mothers and families to prevent complications to babies that have become too common in today’s “Breast is Best” world.
OUR MISSION: WHY “FED IS BEST”
The most recent data shows alarming trends in infant feeding, namely a rise in hospitalizations for feeding complications in exclusively breastfed newborns who don’t receive enough breast milk, including increasing rates of jaundice, hypoglycemia, and dehydration, which can threaten a newborn’s brain. All mothers who wish to breastfeed should be supported in doing so while ensuring their child receives all the nutrition they need to remain healthy and safe. However, through our research, clinical practice experience and the countless stories we’ve received since launching this campaign, we have found that mothers often feel immense pressure by society and by current breastfeeding protocols to only breastfeed their newborns, even when they do not have enough milk to do so. When they do, they often cannot gauge if their infants are getting enough. While mothers and health professionals are taught that it is rare to have insufficient breast milk, insufficient breast milk production affects at least 1 in 5 women in the first days of an infant’s life. Without enough milk, infants can starve, and starvation can cause brain injury leading to preventable cognitive and developmental delays and an increased risk of seizure disorders. The statistics are clear:
- 10% of vaginally-delivered and 25% of cesarean-delivered exclusively breastfed (EBF) babies lose excessive weight in the first days of life.
- 10-18% of babies experience starvation jaundice from insufficient milk intake.
- 10% of EBF babies undergoing current breastfeeding protocols experience levels of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can be associated with developmental complications.
The Fed Is Best Foundation is here to represent and advocate for the millions of families whose babies have experienced complications under current breastfeeding protocols or who have been shamed for choosing any number of clinically approved and safe feeding options for their babies. We hope to educate mothers to be informed about the quantity and quality of milk their infants receive in order to prevent these complications because the brain will not wait for food. We hope to support mothers feeding choices devoid of external feeding agendas.
Our motto above all else is Fed is Best.
WHO WE ARE: CO-FOUNDERS
Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D., Board Certified Emergency Physician, Newborn Brain Injury and Breastfeeding Complications Researcher
Dr. del Castillo-Hegyi is a physician who studied the effects of glucose on neonatal ischemic brain injury at Brown University. She subsequently studied HIV Immunology at the National Institutes of Health where she co-developed a novel therapeutic agent against HIV. She attended medical school at the University of California, San Francisco. She trained in Emergency Medicine at the University of New Mexico. She is a practicing American Board of Emergency Medicine-certified physician. She is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. She studies the scientific literature on newborn brain injury, jaundice, dehydration and hypoglycemia as it relates to insufficient and delayed breast milk production. She investigates the real-life breastfeeding stories of mothers through social media and holds the largest collection of breastfeeding stories in existence on her Facebook page.
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B. Jody Segrave-Daly, Registered Nurse, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Newborn Nursery and Newborn Intensive Care Unit Nurse, founder of The Momivist
Jody’s entire 25-year nursing career has been dedicated to caring for healthy and medically fragile babies in the nursery and NICU. When she began her community based infant feeding practice 6 years ago, she was not prepared to see the significant numbers of babies who were suffering from accidental starvation complications. The stories she heard were the same – distressed mothers were being told to never supplement their crying, sleepy, jaundiced, and dehydrated babies – or risk ruining their breastfeeding relationship and milk supply. She has comforted countless mothers all over the world who believed it was rare to underproduce breast milk and often felt betrayed by their healthcare teams, their own bodies, and the social pressure that insisted “Breast Is Best.” Now a staunch advocate for the Fed Is Best movement, Jody now works to debunk those myths while supporting mothers to breastfeed, mix-feed, pumped-milk-feed, formula-feed and tube-feed their babies. She has her own Facebook page and blog at the Momivist where she uses science and her years of clinical experience to support infant feeding. Read about her journey as a lactation consultant at Why I’m a Momivist.
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