Please Help Us Protect Babies From Hunger and Thirst

Dear Fed is Best Supporter,

We want to thank you for supporting the Fed is Best Foundation in its mission to support all mothers to feed their babies safely. We want to share with you the progress we have made in the year-and-a-half that we have been in existence.

  • We have nearly 450,000 Facebook followers world-wide and we are growing by 2,000 to 10,000 followers a week
  • The Fed is Best Foundation was recently featured in a cover story of TIME magazine called “The Goddess Myth.” Our stories, our work and the Fed is Best message have been covered by the media globally including ‪Forbes.com‬, the Atlantic, ‪Slate Magazine, People.com‬, BBC News, CBC in Canada, CBS News, the Washington Post, ABC News, CNN News, Romper, the Huffington Post to name a few.
  • Fed is Best Spokesperson Jillian Johnson and Fed is Best Co-Founder Dr. Christie del Castillo-Hegyi were interviewed on the Doctors Show. There Jillian shared the story of her son Landon’s tragic death from insufficient breast milk.
  • Dr. del Castillo-Hegyi presented her research on the Dangers of Insufficient Feeding of Breastfed Newborns at the First Coast Neonatal Symposium held by the University of Florida at Jacksonville.
  • Senior members of the Fed is Best Foundation met with top officials of the World Health Organization breastfeeding guidelines program, Dr. Nigel Rollins, Dr. Laurence Grummer-Strawn and Dr. Wilson Were to discuss our concerns about the high rates of brain- and life-threatening complications associated with the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. The events of this meeting was covered by Forbes.com
  • We have supported thousands of parents to safely feed their babies through breastfeeding, formula-feeding, combination feeding and tube-feeding, helping them prevent the feeding complications of jaundice, dehydration, hypoglycemia and failure to thrive through Facebook.
  • We are actively reaching out to major health organizations, health insurers and elected officials, with the help of our pro-‪bono‬ attorneys at Alston & Bird, to campaign for increased research, monitoring and public health education on infant feeding complications and for the protection of health professionals who provide supplementation and patient education on safe infant feeding practices.

Watch this short video of moms sharing how the Fed is Best Foundation helped them feed their babies safely and confidently.

We have accomplished all these things with a budget of less than $35,000 a year. The Co-Founders and volunteer supporters of the Fed is Best Foundation work tirelessly, every day of the week, day and night, to provide education, advocacy and support for all parents and all safe forms of infant feeding. We do it because we believe that all babies deserve to thrive no matter how they are fed and that all parents deserve safe, evidence-based, shame-free infant feeding support. Imagine what we can achieve with more?

This year we are asking our supporters to think of one thing they buy every month…a Netflix subscription, coffee at Starbucks, cable television, and consider donating this same amount every month to the Fed is Best Foundation. Whether it be $5 or $1000 a month, it will help us help parents to protect their babies from feeding complications that have become too common in today’s “Breast is Best” world. This will also help us advocate for national and global reforms in infant feeding standards to protect every baby from feeding complications.

We hope you will consider sharing this letter on your social media page. We thank you all for your continued support and we hope you have a joyful holiday season with your friends and family.

Sincerely,

Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, MD and Jody Segrave-Daly, RN, IBCLC
The Co-Founders of the Fed is Best Foundation

Donate to Fed is Best

 

Fed is Best Foundation
PO Box 241736, Little Rock, AR 72223

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION REVISED BREASTFEEDING GUIDELINES PUT BABIES AT RISK DESPITE PLEAS FROM EXPERTS—INFORMING THE PUBLIC “NOT A TOP PRIORITY”

By the Senior Advisory Board of the Fed is Best Foundation

A key recommendation of the 1989 World Health Organization Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding which guides the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is: “give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.” This has led to serious complications from accidental starvation of babies, including dehydration, hyperbilirubinemia (jaundice) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) — known causes of infant brain injury and permanent disability. Last week, the WHO issued draft revised breastfeeding guidelines, failing to revise this recommendation. These guidelines define the standard of care for breastfeeding management in all healthcare facilities worldwide. Nearly 500 U.S. hospitals and birthing centers and thousands more worldwide that meet the criteria of the BFHI are certified as Baby-Friendly, adhering to the application of the WHO’s Ten Steps.

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.

Emails confirming meeting between the WHO and the Fed is Best Foundation available here.

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If I Had Given Him Just One Bottle, He Would Still Be Alive.

by Jillian Johnson with commentary from Dr. Christie del Castillo-Hegyi

Landon would be five today if he were still alive. It’s a very hard birthday–five. It’s a milestone birthday. Most kiddos would be starting kindergarten at this age. But not my little guy. I wanted to share for a long time about what happened to Landon, but I always feared what others would say and how I’d be judged. But I want people to know how much deeper the pain gets.

I share his story in hopes that no other family ever experiences the loss that we have.

Jarrod and I wanted what was best for Landon as every parent does for their child. We took all of the classes. Bought and read all of the books. We were ready! Or so we thought….every class and book was geared toward breastfeeding and how it’s so important if you want a healthy child. Landon was born in a “Baby-Friendly” hospital. (What this means is everything is geared toward breastfeeding. Unless you’d had a breast augmentation or cancer or some serious medical reason as to why you couldn’t breastfeed, your baby would not be given formula unless a prescription was written by the pediatrician.)

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I Found Breastfeeding Success In The Fed Is Best Support Group

I have been praised in pro-breastfeeding groups for my tenacity.  For overcoming overwhelming odds.  For persisting when others would have “given up.” Along the way there were people who told me that I should just feed formula, that I should just stop breastfeeding because of the horrible experiences I was having, but I honestly thought those people were just misinformed.  I never thought that formula was bad, horrible, or poison, but I honestly thought that I should keep going.  It wasn’t until I broke down crying in front of my midwife with my second child, my second bout of severe PPD, and my second struggle to breastfeed (26 months into my parenting journey) that a medical professional or breastfeeding support person told me that my mental health was more important for my child than my milk. And I don’t think I will ever forget that moment.

My first pregnancy was textbook.  Very uneventful. I took the classes, read the books, had supplies, had supportive friends, ordered my pump.  I had heard it was very important that I not have any formula in the house because it might be “tempting” and that babies shouldn’t get bottles until 6 weeks, so I had no bottles and no formula.

My baby arrived at 36 weeks, 6 pounds 5 oz and quite healthy for a preemie. I was encouraged to supplement with formula from birth because we were afraid he wouldn’t be able to latch and suckle properly.  I used a nipple shield because of my flat nipples.  I wasn’t even 2 hours postpartum the first time I was hooked up to a pump to get a drop or two of colostrum which got smeared on baby’s lips.  We spent the first week in and out of the NICU and on and off phototherapy for jaundice.  By 3 weeks old, he was diagnosed with severe GERD, and we cut dairy and soy.

I triple fed for 3 months, every feed taking 1.5 hours if my husband could help, 2 hours if I was home alone.  I woke my baby to feed every 3 hours for the first 5 weeks.  I took all the galactogogues.  I took prescription drugs that I really shouldn’t have taken because I have a cardiac condition and aren’t even approved by the FDA. Continue reading

The Benefits That Come From Breastfeeding Doesn’t Automatically Make It Best

My breastfeeding relationship seemed like it was going to be perfect from the start—I had no problem producing colostrum, my milk came in while in the hospital, my daughter latched on easily, and she had a very strong suck. The pediatrician even told me not to tell people how easy it was for us because “other moms would be jealous”. My daughter was back up to birth weight by the end of her first week.

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My newborn daughter.

Although my daughter had wet diapers and was nursing well, she would spit up, quite often and something was stopping her from continuing to gain weight. When I took her to the pediatrician’s office multiple times, none of the doctors were concerned by the amount she spit up. They all said that I couldn’t know how much it truly was. Let me tell you something, though, watching my daughter choke and vomit all of her breast milk, I knew that she was spitting up too much. She was born above the 95th percentile but rapidly dropped her weight. Continue reading

I Found The Fed Is Best Foundation Before The Birth Of My Third Child – Thank God For Them. 

I don’t think I ever thought about infant feeding till I became pregnant. I never looked at a baby and wondered what it was fed. But it seems like everyone nowadays is so concerned; it’s the first question I was asked with each pregnancy. When I imagined myself as a mother, I always saw myself breastfeeding. It’s something I wanted desperately, and yet, I couldn’t produce enough milk for my babies. I have insufficient glandular tissue  (IGT) and I don’t make more than a half ounce to an ounce per feeding.

I thought that I had failed my first two babies because I thought breastfeeding had to be all or nothing. My first almost starved to death on so little milk, and my husband wouldn’t let me repeat that experience with our second, so I fed him only formula. I found the Fed Is Best Foundation before the birth of my third child, and thank God for them.  They empowered me to see it doesn’t have to be all or nothing—combination feeding is just as good for my baby. In fact, it’s the best for my family because I can breastfeed like I want, and my baby received the nutrition from formula that my breastmilk cannot give her enough of.  Without them, I probably would have stopped just like I did with my other two. They gave me encouragement and support to make sure my baby is fed and happy.

And here I am, five months later, still latching her at every feeding. I wouldn’t change a thing.

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I Had Permanent Tear Streaks On My Face – Thank God For The Fed Is Best Foundation

The act of giving doesn’t have to be physical to be meaningful. When I think of giving, I think of one support group that has given me more emotionally than I could ever imagine. It’s hard to describe how much they have given me. This is my story.

During my first pregnancy, I thought I had done everything right. I read all the books, ate the right foods, went to all of my doctor appointments, and exercised.  I had always planned on breastfeeding and never gave a thought to another option. I studied up on the perfect latch, breast shields, nipple pads, and milk production. I was so excited to have that bonding experience that everyone talked about. The day he was born, that dream came crashing down.

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When A Mother Says She Isn’t Making Enough Colostrum, Believe Her The First Time

My son, Jackson, was born healthy and weighed 6lbs 15oz.  As a first-time-mom, I trusted my hospital would help me to exclusively breastfeed my baby.  The nurses and lactation consultants helped me with proper latch and positioning and told me he was doing great.  He wanted to nurse every hour, and I was exhausted. 

AmyPCS2 I began to think something was wrong because he cried and cried and continued to cry even after every breastfeeding session.  I kept asking the nurses if I was making enough colostrum and they said I was, but they never, ever checked to see if I was even producing colostrum.

I had brought my pump to the hospital so I could learn how to use it since I was going back to work. I asked if I could pump my breasts to check and they said no, that my baby would become nipple-confused. I then asked for formula because I just knew he was hungry. They very strongly discouraged me from using formula every time I asked. Continue reading

What Happens When Mothers Are Told Being Fed Is The Bare Minimum?

The Fed Is Best Foundation has a private Facebook support group for mothers who need a safe place to talk about their infant feeding challenges without judgement. Mothers told us how they felt when they fed their babies formula.

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Bulletin Board At A WIC Office

Shannon: I was told my daughter needed formula when she was hospitalized for three days.  I cried for those three days because I felt so guilty. I kept telling her “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for doing this to you, baby girl. Mommy is so, so sorry.” The doctors had to bring me food because I refused to leave my daughter alone. Granted, she was only four months old, but at that time, I just couldn’t leave her. I felt like she had to know I was there for her, that I felt terrible for unknowingly starving her.  My husband at the time came to visit and he held me for hours as I cried saying “It’s my fault. It’s all my fault. I wasn’t enough. I’m not enough for her. They told me I would be enough and I’m not.”   To this day, when I have one of my bad days, it all repeats in my head– the psychological damage is still there.

Amanda: The first time I fed my son a bottle of formula, I felt like an absolute waste of space as a mother. I genuinely felt like the worst, piece-of-garbage, failure-of-a-parent there was. I felt like I had failed him in every single way. Not only had I starved him and been unaware of it—I felt like I should have just known—but I had to use formula from a can to nourish him because my body stubbornly refused to make enough milk. I felt like anybody could just pick up a bottle and completely replace me in his life. It was a terrible feeling.

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The Fed is Best Foundation’s Top Priority is Saving Babies’ Lives

Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D., Co-Founder of the Fed is Best Foundation

In response to a letter written by 1000 Days director, Lucy Martinez-Sullivan and follow-up editorial from Kimberly Seals Allers, we wanted to take an opportunity to set the record straight.The mission of the Fed is Best Foundation is to protect infants from complications and injuries resulting from accidental starvation under currently promoted breastfeeding policies. In order to protect infant safety and ensure the patient and human rights of mothers and babies, we have built a non-profit organization committed to: (1) the study of exclusive breastfeeding complications that can result in brain injury and, in the most severe instances, death; and (2) raising public awareness to signs of infant hunger and the consequences that can result based on peer-reviewed research.

As part of our public health awareness commitment, the Fed is Best Foundation has developed and compiled extensive resources for parents and health professionals to promote safe breastfeeding and safe infant feeding policies based on evidence, including, the science of infant feeding, the caloric and fluid requirements of newborns and the caloric yield of exclusive breastfeeding. These core matters of infant feeding are shockingly absent from current breastfeeding curricula and protocols. Our Foundation is not against breastfeeding; it is for safe breastfeeding and close monitoring to prevent complications and injuries to infants reported in the medical literature, the media and by the thousands of mothers who have sent us their stories, which we receive each and every day. Continue reading

I Contacted Every Patient Safety Organization After My IBCLC Withheld Clinical Information From Me- Causing My Newborn To Starve.

When I struggled to breastfeed my son, I believed I was failing, not just at breastfeeding, but at motherhood. What was supposed to be the “best” way to feed my new baby was painful, anxiety-inducing, and landed my son back in the hospital for dehydration, eleven percent weight loss, and inability to take a bottle.

My hospital’s solution included many appointments with their lactation consultants, fenugreek from their new mother boutique, and a nurse-bottle-pump (triple-feeding) routine that drove me to the brink of despair and did nothing to increase my milk supply.

At no point in my son’s first two months did any of the lactation consultants, nurses, doctors, or any other medical staff offer a concrete explanation for my low milk  supply or my son’s vice-clamp latch. Because no one seemed to know why we couldn’t get the hang of it, I felt I was not trying hard enough.

Sometime after my son’s first birthday (my original “breastfeeding goal”), I came across several online articles that explained insufficient glandular tissue, also called breast hypoplasia. I knew my breasts were an odd shape, but I was taught by the hospital lactation “experts” that breast shape and size didn’t determine breastfeeding ability. Looking at pictures of similar widely-spaced, tube-shaped breasts that produced little or no milk left me feeling a strange cocktail of emotions—validation, disbelief, anger.

I wondered why staff at my hospital, a long-time Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) accredited facility, hadn’t told me that I was at risk of insufficient milk production. 

Yellow with Grayscale Photos Photographer General Media Kit (20)

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Press Release: World Health Organization Revised Breastfeeding Guidelines Puts Babies at Risk Despite Pleas from Experts — Informing the Public “Not a Top Priority”

By the Senior Advisory Board of the Fed is Best Foundation

A key recommendation of the 1989 World Health Organization Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding which guides the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is: “give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.” This has led to serious complications from accidental starvation of babies, including dehydration, hyperbilirubinemia (jaundice) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) — known causes of infant brain injury and permanent disability. Last week, the WHO issued draft revised breastfeeding guidelines, failing to revise this recommendation. These guidelines define the standard of care for breastfeeding management in all healthcare facilities worldwide. Nearly 500 U.S. hospitals and birthing centers and thousands more worldwide that meet the criteria of the BFHI are certified as Baby-Friendly, adhering to the application of the WHO’s Ten Steps.

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 childrens hospital , managing infant feeding projects and Senior Advisor.

Emails confirming meeting between the WHO and the Fed is Best Foundation available here.

Continue reading