Dr. Brian Symon, M.D., MBBS, FRACGP, Infant Sleep and Nutrition Expert
Dr. Symon’s major medical interest is the care of sleep, feeding, and behavioral problems in young children – parents come to his clinic to resolve sleep problems in their babies, as well as pregnant mothers who wish to to learn strategies to avoid future sleep disturbances.
He supports the Fed is Best campaign because he believes that the health and well-being of babies and their mothers are far more important than meeting strict exclusive breastfeeding goals, and making sure babies are well-fed is central to that goal.
He has published both in Australia and internationally in the field of infant sleep. His book “Your Baby Manual” and his website www.thebabysleepdoctor.com.au provide support for families with young children.
Special Skills: Resolving problems of sleep behavior and eating in infants
General Skills: Family medicine
Qualifications: MD, MBBS, FRACGP, BSc.
Ginger Day, RN, NICU Nurse
Ginger Day is a mother of 6, all of whom she breast fed…and supplemented. Ginger has a degree in business management, spent 18 years as a “stay at home mom” (misnomer!) and then returned to school to get her nursing degree. Ginger has worked as a NICU nurse and in Women’s Center couplet care for over 3 years. During this time she has seen many hungry babies, frustrated and exhausted mothers, and nurses who feel pressured to promote exclusive breastfeeding and to discourage formula supplementation. Her goal is to advocate for Fed Is Best in the hospital setting.
Mandy Dukovan, MS, MFT, marriage and family therapist
Mandy Dukovan is a Marriage and Family Therapist who resides in Madison WI with her husband Nick and their son, Brock. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Montana and a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Edgewood College. Mandy became involved with the Fed is Best Foundation after she struggled with breast feeding her son and was searching for support for the guilt and shame she felt from not being able to breast feed and her son’s accidental starvation due to trying to exclusively breast feed. She reached out to the founders and shared a before and after picture of her son, showing how much he was thriving on formula. Mandy hopes to reach out to and support other mothers who are struggling to breast feed their babies and ensure that no other mothers and babies have to go through such a difficult experience. She also strives to provide an environment where mothers can go to feel supported and cared for.
Hillary Kuzdeba, MPH
Hillary holds her Master’s degree in public health from Boston University. Her professional interests include women’s health, pediatrics, public health research, and quality and safety within the hospital setting. Over the years, Hillary has worked with vulnerable populations including women with HIV, active substance users, and resettled refugees in initiatives aimed at providing social support, access to care, and health behavior education and modification. More recently, she served as the program coordinator for a growing clinical research group in a pediatric hospital where she managed a high volume of research and quality improvement projects designed to measure and improve patient outcomes in critically ill children. In this role she implemented projects that focused on monitoring infant feeding protocols and plans, and sat on a standing committee of hospital staff and researchers tasked with facilitating the measurement of quality of care across the organization. Hillary supports the Fed is Best Foundation because she is a mother who experienced breastfeeding difficulties and the emergency readmission of her newborn daughter for hyperbilirubinemia and dehydration. As a professional trained in both health promotion initiatives and quality improvement, she believes that the current exclusive breastfeeding protocols and advice utilized in many hospitals, and promoted by breastfeeding advocacy groups, are directly contributing to the clinical deterioration of a subset of exclusively breastfed infants. Hillary suspects that the Fed is Best approach to breastfeeding, which emphasizes baby’s safety, mother’s well-being, and an inclusive vision of successful breastfeeding, will soon be at the forefront of the ongoing public health conversation on breastfeeding, neonatal health, and postpartum care.
Debra Lanning, BSN, ARNP, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Debra Lanning began working with new mothers and babies at the age of 16 as a nursing tech. She followed her passion for infant care by obtaining her NNP and dedicating herself to Neonatology. After 6 years of working as a neonatal nurse, with 4 of them as a traveling RN, she continued her education in becoming a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. With over 30 years of experience in Level 1 to Level 4 NICU’s she has been active in patient care, staff education, precepting new NNP students, formulating and implementing new protocols, and the training of residents and fellows. Debra is the mother of 3 teenage daughters and the stepmother to 3 now grown stepchildren. She is a proud supporter of the Fed Is Best Foundation and is serving as an adviser to promote safe breastfeeding and improve newborn/maternal education regarding safe feeding practices.
Steph Montgomery, MS, Writer, Public Policy Advocate
Steph Montgomery has over 16 years of nonprofit and public sector leadership. She has spent her career trying to change the world; working with nonprofits and communities to plan projects, advocate for public policies, and raise the funds necessary to make change happen.
Steph became interested in evidence-based infant feeding and empowering other parents to feed their babies safely after her daughter had to be re-admitted to the NICU for weight loss (almost 20% of her birth weight), dehydration, and jaundice. Steph blamed herself and felt tremendous shame about not being able to breastfeed. She was horrified to learn that she had received dangerous advice to “just keep nursing” from health care providers she trusted.
Steph has breastfed, formula-fed and combo-fed her babies. She proudly advocates for the Fed is Best Foundation to help ensure that no more babies are harmed by unsafe breastfeeding. She is married and has three great kids (newborn, 4, and 7) and two great step-kids (6 and 10).
Steph holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Moorhead State University, a Master’s of Science in Political Science and Community Development from Illinois State University, and a diploma in Conflict Resolution and Negotiation from Erasmus University (The Netherlands). She proudly served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, West Africa.
Steph writes extensively about evidence-based parenting, peaceful parenting, science, feminism, and politics for a variety of publications. You can read her work at romper.com and groundedparents.com.
Sarah Norris, Maternity Nurse, author of The baby detective
Sarah Norris has been a maternity nurse and baby care consultant in the U.K. for 25 years and has helped hundreds of families learn to care for their newborn babies in the home setting. She is non-biased, non- judgmental and firmly believes in respecting her client’s parenting decisions, supporting them with breastfeeding, bottle/formula feeding and combination feeding along with other aspects of baby care in whatever parenting method they choose. She also believes strongly that babies are individuals and should be treated as such with their own needs, preferences and character traits being recognized and respected.
Over the years Sarah has become increasingly worried about the unreasonable pressure being placed on all aspects of parenting to be ‘perfect’ or to conform to social expectations to the detriment of both baby and parents. She’s become particularly worried about the intense pressure to breastfeed and the shaming of those women who were unable, or chose not to breastfeed which was causing stress, anxiety, depression, confusion and isolation for the parents, and the risk of accidental starvation for the babies.
This why she has joined forces with the Fed is Best Foundation to try and help raise awareness of the problems and consequences, and to bring about the changes needed to restore a sensible, humane balance.” Sarah has a DipHE in Reception Education, an NNEB in Nursery Nursing, a BSc in Wildlife Conservation, which she found particularly enlightening with regards to human evolutionary biology and anthropology, and has attended career development courses in Post Natal Depression, Reflux and Allergy, Breastfeeding, and Sleep. She is also the Author of a problem solving baby care book called The Baby Detective, with Orion Books, to be released in September 2017, and writes for various parenting magazines and online publications in the UK as well as for her own Baby Detective baby care blog.
Meredith Hamilton Alley, jd
Meredith Hamilton Alley graduated cum laude from Mary Baldwin College with majors in the Spanish language and political science. She was named to the Phi Beta Kappa society. After graduating from college, she interned at the Fulbright Commission in Madrid, and taught English in Seville. She returned to the US to attend law school at the University of Memphis. She was an editor and then Managing Editor for the “Tennessee Journal of Practice and Procedure,” which published her work. After graduation, Meredith met and married her husband, David, and they had their first daughter. Meredith practiced family law in Memphis until her daughter was a year and a half old, and she has dedicated herself to her family and volunteer work since. Meredith served the Tennessee public through Online Tennessee Justice, a vanguard online program for underprivileged Tennesseans to receive free legal help. She was featured in the “Tennessee Bar Journal” for her efforts. Meredith and her family moved to the Chicago area in 2012. She volunteered as a tutor with Reading Power, a program that teaches a love of reading and writing to students in challenged communities north of Chicago. Meredith’s second child was born in 2016. Meredith experienced breastfeeding difficulties with both children, and both times she and David consulted numerous lactation consultants, physicians, and breastfeeding manuals for help. Because these sources offered no real help and some even blamed Meredith for her difficulties, Meredith concluded that she was at fault. She received no practical breastfeeding advice until after the birth of her second child, when she learned of the Fed Is Best Foundation. Co-founder Jody Segrave-Daly spent countless hours giving Meredith judgment free, evidence-based advice to help Meredith continue breastfeeding and to help her baby gain weight. It was then that Meredith realized that she was not at fault, and she was not alone. Meredith advocates for the Fed is Best Foundation because she believes that parents have the right to make informed, shame-free decisions about feeding their babies.
Brooke orosz, ph.d., professor of Mathematics and statistics
Brooke Orosz, PhD is a professor of mathematics and the mother of a child who had to be hospitalized for dehydration due to insufficient breast milk intake. After her son’s crisis, she was stunned to learn that readmissions for nursing problems are commonplace, and that they are not tracked or penalized by health authorities. Since then, she has used her knowledge of statistics to study the problem and to advocate for evidence-based feeding protocols that put the baby’s safety and comfort first.
Julie K. Tibbets, JD, Partner, Alston & Bird LLP
Julie Tibbets is a partner in the health care practice of Alston & Bird LLP where she practices food and drug law and advises developers, manufacturers and marketers of FDA-regulated products on how to most effectively interact with the agency and minimize their regulatory risks. She provides strategic counsel on product development plans and regulatory submissions and works closely with her clients’ in-house teams to build efficiencies and streamline regulatory processes. Her product reach spans biologics, drugs, medical devices, in vitro diagnostics (IVDs), foods, dietary supplements and cosmetics. Julie’s core experience includes advising clients on product development pathways, investor and corporate communications, product labeling, advertising, employee training and interactions with health care professionals. She also counsels clients on adverse event reporting, recalls, product formulations, software and mobile app regulation, Sunshine Act reporting and inspection observation remediation. In 2012, Julie worked with the March of Dimes Foundation, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Spina Bifida Association, the National Council of La Raza, and Gruma Corporation on a petition to FDA requesting that folic acid be added to corn masa flour to reduce incidence of neural tube defects and spina bifida in Hispanic-born babies and FDA ultimately amended its regulations to permit the addition of folic acid to corn masa flour. Since 2013, Julie has appeared on the Washington, D.C., Super Lawyers list of “Rising Stars” in the FDA area and was selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2016 and 2017 for FDA law.
Flo Schade, MSc, fed is best volunteer and outreach coordinator
Flo Schade has had a diverse history of academia, activism, and hospitality work while indulging her insatiable wanderlust and natural curiosity. In a pleasantly unexpected turn of events she got married and has returned to her hometown to raise two babies, where she uses her free time to support the Fed Is Best Foundation through her organizational & writing skills. She is a proud supporter of Fed Is Best after personal experience with moms dealing with postpartum depression, anxiety, insufficient milk supply, and jaundiced babies because of the pressure to breastfeed. She strongly believes that health authorities are ethically obligated to augment institutional rhetoric and policy implementation to protect vulnerable new families from the preventable tragedies of postpartum depression/suicide and accidental infant starvation due to exclusive breastfeeding pressures.
Fed is Best Foundation Advocates
Meredith Hamilton Alley
Laura Aune, RN
Rachel Barton, PNP, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Lindsay Bloch, Msc
Elizabeth Brown BSN, RN
Sara Burns MALS
Ginger Day RN, BS
Charlotte Davies, MA
Alysha Diana, J.D.
Mandy Dukovan MS, MFT
Alexia Ter Hark Emerson, BSN, RNC-Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse
Holly Hima RN
Beth Kao Msc Genetics
Victoria Lamb EMT-B
Debra Lanning BSN, ARNP
Ashley Martin, Founder of Home Birth Loss and Trauma Support
Stephanie Price, J.D.
Florencia Schade, MSc
Alexis Victoria Whiting, RVT
Julia Willhite LMSW
Steph Montgomery MS
Melissa Winters, MSN, RN, Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Bianca Phillips LLB, Bcomm, Grad Dip LP, LLM
Stacy Gohman Ph.D.
Holly Hojna, BSN, RN, NICU Nurse
Amy Tuteur, M.D., Obstetrician-Gynecologist
Sarah Casey, Bsc Podiatry, PhD Candidate
Natasha Kocher, Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE)
Annie Lichtinger, BA
María Cecilia Miy, Nutritionist
Adrienne Pendleton, BA, MCE, State Registered Nurse Aide
Dana Richardson Certified Business Analysis Professional, AKA CBAP
Jacquelyn Stanfield, RN
Danielle M. West-Brooks, BSN, RN
Leah Wiseman, BA, English
Dana Wittenberger, specialized B.A. – Translation, M.A. – French Language and Literature, legal translator, Montreal city hall