WHAT IS the FED IS BEST Foundation?
The Fed Is Best Foundation is a non-profit, volunteer organization of health professionals and parents who study the scientific literature on infant feeding and real-life infant feeding experiences of mothers through clinical practice and social media connections. We work to identify dangerous gaps in current breastfeeding protocols, guidelines, and education programs, and provide families and health professionals the most up-to-date scientific research, education and resources to practice safe infant feeding with breast milk, formula, or a combination of both. We provide safe, brain-protective infant feeding education for breastfeeding, mixed-feeding, formula-feeding, pumped-milk-feeding and tube-feeding mothers and families to prevent feeding 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 excessive jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia), 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.
Insufficient breast milk is common, especially in the first days of life.
As a result, complications of insufficient feeding among exclusively breastfed newborns are common. The most recent studies show:
- 10% of healthy, term vaginally-delivered and 25% of cesarean-delivered newborns develop excessive weight loss of > 10%, which increase the risk for excessive jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia), hypernatremic dehydration and hypoglycemia, all known causes subtle to severe impaired brain development.
- 10% of all healthy, term EBF newborns and 23% of first-born EBF newborns develop levels of hypoglycemia (<40 mg/dL) severe enough to increase risk of lower academic achievement and developmental delay.[6,7]
- A glucose of less than 46 mg/dL within the first 24 hours of life has been associated with a 3.7-fold increased risk of brain injury on MRI and a 4.8-fold increased odds of lower motor, cognitive and language scores at 1 year of age.
- Cognitive impairment from hypoglycemia can have life-long effects as evidenced by a study of 1395 newborns showing that newborns who develop transient hypoglycemia of less than 40 mg/dL was associated with a 50% reduction in passing the fourth-grade proficiency test in literacy and math. Even a glucose less than 45 mg/dL was associated with a 38% reduction in passing the literacy test.
- 12-35% of well-monitored exclusively breastfed newborns develop hyperbilirubinemia and 5.7% of newborns born in hospitals with high exclusive breastfeeding rates require phototherapy.[9-17] The majority of hyperbilirubinemia is caused by non-hemolytic jaundice from insufficient feeding. In comparison, a recently published study showed freely supplemented breastfed newborns have a hyperbilirubinemia rate of 1.3% and a phototherapy rate of 0.3%.
- A recently published study showed that 36% of healthy, term breastfed newborns develop hypernatremia (>145 mEq/dL), which can occur by 4.8% weight loss, a complication that is a known cause of injury to the brain and vital organs and increases the risk of developmental delay, disability  and rare death in previously healthy newborns.
- Exclusive breastfeeding at discharge has been associated with a 2- to 11-fold higher risk of re-hospitalization for jaundice and dehydration.[24,25]
- A U.S. study has shown that jaundice, feeding problems, and dehydration combined are the primary cause for 37% of all readmissions within the first 30 days of life. 
- Hospital certification in the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative has been shown to result in a doubling of hyperbilirubinemia rates among newborns (10.88% to 23.77%), greater weight loss, higher mean hospital days and higher mean days of phototherapy. 
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. We hope to support mothers feeding choices devoid of external feeding agendas.
Our motto is, above all else, Fed is Best.
Fed is Best Foundation is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a strict policy of not accepting any funds or donations from organizations or companies that obtain revenue from infant feeding products or services, both breast- and formula-feeding. We do this in order to provide parents and health professionals unbiased and safe infant feeding advice. Our organization is funded by the private donations of our supporters, which include health professionals and parents. Our safe infant feeding education resources are provided for free because we believe that safe infant feeding is a human right and should be available to every family.
WHO WE ARE: CO-FOUNDERS
Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D., Board Certified Emergency Physician, Newborn Brain Injury and Breastfeeding Complications Investigator
Dr. del Castillo-Hegyi is an American Board-Certified Emergency Physician and one of the Co-Founders of the Fed is Best Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing complications of insufficient feeding from exclusive breastfeeding that result in infant brain injury and developmental disabilities. Dr. del Castillo-Hegyi has studied the effects of glucose on neonatal ischemic brain injury at Brown University under neonatologist, Dr. Barbara Stonestreet. 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 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 from jaundice, dehydration, hypernatremia and hypoglycemia as it relates to insufficient and delayed breast milk production and insufficient infant feeding. She investigates the real-life breastfeeding stories of mothers through social media on her Facebook page and has a following of over 630,000 representing families and health professionals in nearly every continent. She leads a group of almost 200 physicians, nurses, and lactation consultants who support the Foundation’s work to provide health education and patient safety recommendations to prevent complications of infant insufficient feeding through the Foundation’s website at fedisbest.org. She and her Co-Founder, Jody Segrave-Daly, RN, IBCLC, and her volunteer health professional moderators directly support over a thousand mothers through the Fed is Best Parent Support Group to safely and sufficiently feed their infants to prevent rehospitalization. She has been invited to speak at a national neonatology conference and hospital grand rounds on the Dangers of Insufficient Exclusive Breastfeeding and has advocated for increased laboratory and clinical monitoring of exclusively breastfed newborns to prevent starvation-related complications, brain injury and long-term disability. She has spoken at the the U.S. Task Force for Pregnant and Lactating Women raising awareness of these complications that occur on a daily basis in hospitals across the globe. She, along with Jillian Johnson, the mother of Landon Johnson who died from starvation-related complications of exclusive breastfeeding, appeared on the Doctors Show. She and Co-Founder Jody Segrave-Daly, RN, IBCLC, senior advisors of the Fed is Best Foundation and guest experts in neonatology and neonatal hypoglycemia have met with the top officials of the World Health Organization breastfeeding guidelines program to discuss the safety issues related to the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.
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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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Fed is Best Foundation Bylaws
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