I Was Able To Breastfeed My Third Baby Thanks To The Fed Is Best Foundation

During my pregnancy, I began reading the Fed Is Best Foundation’s feeding educational resources and feeding plan pertaining to breastfeeding and combo feeding. I didn’t have  successful breastfeeding experiences with my previous children and wanted to try one more time. I went into labor when I was 37 weeks pregnant. My labor progressed extremely quickly. By the time we got to the hospital almost an hour later, it was already too late to set up an epidural. I struggled for hours with laboring and pushing, and both my daughter and I were profoundly exhausted after delivery.

Before I gave birth, I had studied the HUNGRY educational resource flyer for exclusive breastfeeding. My goal was to prevent inadequate weight gain with this baby. After my daughter was born, she was not interested in nursing, and I was worried because she was tiny. Thanks to Fed is Best feeding plan, I felt confident in letting my husband do the first feed with a bottle. I wanted her father to feed her so she could get some strength to nurse later and so I could rest. I loved watching him feed her as I recovered. About two hours later, I tried to breastfeed her again and she had the energy to stay latched and nursed. I was so happy she was breastfeeding! Continue reading

Update on Fed is Best Request for Video-Recorded Meeting with Lactation Consultant Organizations

As of today, March 13, 2018, the Fed is Best Foundation has not received a response to our request for a web conference with the nearly 100 lactation consultant organizations who wrote to us last year requesting a meeting. We asked for the organizations to meet with us via video-recorded web conference to be posted on the Fed is Best website in order to provide parents maximum transparency. We also invited parents of children who have been harmed by the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative to be present in light of our discovery of a disturbing lecture on brain injury caused by starvation-related jaundice in breastfed newborns given at a prominent California breastfeeding conference given by the  board member of Baby-Friendly USA, Dr. Lawrence Gartner.

Our full response was sent directly to the author of the letter, the Executive Director of 1000 Days, Ms. Lucy Martinez-Sullivan, who was asked to distribute it to all the signed parties. She confirmed via email that she would forward it. However, not a single party has accepted the invitation by contacting us directly or through Ms. Martinez-Sullivan and nothing has been posted on their individual organizational websites acknowledging their receipt of our invitation.  Our invitation remains open indefinitely. We can be reached at contact@fedisbest.org.

Signed,

Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D., Co-Founder

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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Open Letter to Obstetric Care Providers on Counseling Expectant Mothers on the Importance of Safe Infant Feeding

Dear Obstetrician-Gynecologist, Family Practitioner or Midwife,

I am writing to you as a mother and advocate for Fed is Best.

You may have seen the story of Landon Johnson, who was welcomed into the world by his parents in February 2012.  Like most new parents, Landon’s mom and dad were lead to believe that Jillian would produce enough breast milk to meet Landon’s caloric needs.  The hospital where they delivered was “Baby-Friendly” and would only provide formula with a doctor’s prescription.

While in the hospital, Landon cried whenever he was not latched onto his mom’s breast. Jillian described him as inconsolable.  She was told that this was normal.  At less than 3 days of life they were discharged from the hospital after having the appropriate number of wet and dirty diapers.  However, less than 12 hours later, Landon was readmitted to hospital after suffering cardiac arrest due to severe dehydration.  He suffered brain injury and ultimately died in the arms of his parents when life support was terminated.  His is a story that you cannot read without tears in your eyes. Continue reading

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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Dying for Milk: The Pam and Chaz Floyd’s Story

By Pam Floyd, Mother and Fed is Best Advocate

Twenty-five years ago, Chaz, the son of Pam Floyd, was born and developed hypernatremic dehydration from insufficient breast milk intake while exclusively breastfeeding. Chaz developed brain injury from dehydration and now lives disabled with cerebral palsy. Their story was published on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. She was subsequently interviewed on 20/20, which prompted a similar feature on ABC’s Prime Time Live. Pam contacted the Fed is Best Foundation to share her story again to warn mothers of the dangers of insufficient feeding.

Chaz develop hypernatremic dehydration from insufficient feeding while exclusively breastfeeding

“25 Year Anniversaries Should Be Celebrated Not Served As A Warning”

Twenty-five years ago my son almost died.  He was only six days old. I had chosen to breastfeed, as everyone around me kept reminding me that ‘breast is best.’  So I followed their advice, and I exclusively breastfed. Even though I felt like something wasn’t quite right those first few days, everyone assured me everything was fine.  The nurses in the maternity ward suggested that since I was a new mother, I wasn’t able to appreciate how much he was getting. The home health nurse that visited me, courtesy of my health insurance, the day after I left the hospital, reassured me that as long as he was getting six to seven wet diapers a day, then he was getting enough. And the nurses in my pediatrician’s office told me not to worry, that he was a big baby that he would eat when he got hungry. And my personal favorite, “the great thing about breast milk is that you never have to worry about how much or how little he’s getting. Because he’ll always get what he needs.” Well, that works great, if your milk comes in.  My colostrum wasn’t enough for my son, Chaz. And my body never produced enough milk to keep a 10 lb. 4 oz. baby boy healthy.

Then when my son’s eyes started rapidly zig-zagging back and forth on that sixth day of life and I called the pediatrician’s office to tell them he was having a seizure, they told me that I didn’t know what I was talking about and that sometimes newborn’s eyes do that as they often wander.  Well, the pediatrician finally agreed to see us. We were immediately sent to the emergency room. Then we were transferred to the children’s hospital. There, my son was put into a drug-induced coma until his seizures were under control. His diagnosis was a stroke due to hypernatremic dehydration.  Children’s Hospital had me use their hospital grade breast pumps those first few days. The most I ever pumped was 3 cc’s. About a teaspoon. Usually, I just came back with mist. Or what looked like spit. There was never milk. I never got engorged. I never leaked. There was never any milk.

I got mad about this.  Especially when I found out that it can and does happen regularly.  It didn’t show up in any of my baby books or videos. So I called our local newspaper, The Virginian Pilot, and asked them to write an article about it, they did, it was called, “Mother Knows Best.” That was later revived by a journalist from The Wall Street Journal in an article entitled, “Dying for Milk: Some Mothers, Trying In Vain to Breast-Feed, Starve Their Infants — `Yuppie Syndrome’ Among Well-Meaning Parents Stems From Bad Advice — A Generation of Perfectionists.”  We made the front page with that one. Of course, that set off a media frenzy.

It was then that I understood why Chaz had suffered. It was so he could help save other babies. And he did. I heard from those parents. I received letters and phone calls from people saying that thanks to that article in or on whatever magazine, newspaper, television show, or radio show, they got their child to the doctor in time. Not all stories had happy endings. But my son’s near-death experience was saving others.

He was now destined for a life of pain and obstacles. But some way, somehow, we would find a way to make it through. And make it through we have.

But as I scroll through the internet, I see that the problem is still there. The breastfeeding zealots are still winning. They are still bullying moms. They are not allowing moms to use breast and bottle feeding together in hospitals and newborn babies are suffering because of it.  They are suffering unnecessarily, and that bothers me. Actually, it pisses me off. I’m okay with you breastfeeding and with you recommending it. But I’m not okay with you jamming it down someone’s throat the way some people do religion.  Society has come to terms with the fact that not all women can get pregnant. So why is it so hard for society to understand that not all women can breastfeed? It’s really that simple. You have a woman, that has a baby. She tries to breastfeed. It doesn’t work. She gives a bottle. End of story. No one gets hurt in that story. But if we force this mom to keep putting her aggravated and very unhappy child to her empty breasts, then we are sending mom and baby down a road of no return.  You cannot reverse brain damage. And you cannot undo death. Breastfeeding is not worth the risk. It’s not. It’s just not.

So here we are twenty-five years later, why can’t the breast-feeders and the bottle feeders get along?  Why does it have to be one or the other? Can’t we coexist? For the sake of the hundreds of thousands that are affected by hypernatremic dehydration each year, can’t we just get along?  For the sake of the children at least.


HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT FED IS BEST

There are many ways you can support the mission of the Fed is Best Foundation. Please consider contributing in the following ways:

  1. Join the Fed is Best Volunteer group to help us reach Obstetric Health Providers to advocate for counseling of new mothers on the importance of safe infant feeding.
  2. Make a donation to the Fed is Best Foundation. We are using funds from donations to cover the cost of our website, our social media ads, our printing and mailing costs to reach health providers and hospitals. We do not accept donations from breast- or formula-feeding companies and 100% of your donations go toward these operational costs. All the work of the Foundation is achieved via the pro bono and volunteer work of its supporters.
  3. Share the stories and the message of the Fed is Best Foundation through word-of-mouth, by posting on your social media page and by sending our resources to expectant moms that you know. Share the Fed is Best campaign letter with everyone you know.
  4. Write a letter to your health providers and hospitals about the Fed is Best Foundation. Write them about feeding complications your child may have experienced.
  5. Print out our letter to obstetric providers and mail them to your local obstetricians, midwives, family practitioners who provide obstetric care and hospitals.
  6. Write your local elected officials about what is happening to newborn babies in hospitals and ask for legal protection of newborn babies from underfeeding and of mother’s rights to honest informed consent on the risks of insufficient feeding of breastfed babies.
  7. Send us your stories. Share with us your successes, your struggles and every thing in between. Every story saves another child from experiencing the same and teaches another mom how to safely feed her baby. Every voice contributes to change.
  8. Send us messages of support. We work every single day to make infant feeding safe and supportive of every mother and child.  Your messages of support keep us all going.

Donate to Fed is Best

Thank you so much from the Founders of the Fed is Best Foundation!

I Want To Tell Mothers That Bottle Feeding Is Also Beautiful

 

Kristen Elise Umunna
Kristen joined the Fed Is Best Foundation’s Mental Health Advocacy Team to be a voice for mothers, especially mothers of color who are struggling to breastfeed and are experiencing shame for feeding their babies formula.
‘ I want to be a voice that tells every mother that bottle feeding is also beautiful and formula is the best nutrition for the babies who are being nourished by it.’

My story:

February 12, 2014. I was just 1 day postpartum after delivering my firstborn and I remember bawling my eyes out. The nurses at the time were assuring me that I was doing everything “wrong” in regards to feeding my daughter. They woke me out of my sleep at least 7 times in one night to feed my baby and they assured me she was getting enough to eat. One nurse told me to stop crying about breastfeeding pain as it is going to hurt! “If you want to build your supply, you have to keep going!” Never has I felt like more of a failure.

February 13. 2014. I put her to the breast on demand as I was told in my baby friendly hospital. Yet, she kept crying. And crying. And crying. She was making wet diapers, but something was wrong. I just knew it in my heart. So I did what my amazingly supportive husband suggested and I called the pediatrician and took my baby in for an emergency appointment. When the pediatrician walked in the room, she held my baby and handed me a bottle of formula to feed her. She told us we had to take her to the hospital immediately. When we arrived,the nurses and doctors took my baby girl in immediately. After she was stabilized and taking blood tests, she was diagnosed with jaundice, hypernatremia, hypoglycemia and dehydration. She was critically ill because I was not making any breast milk while nursing her. She spent 3 days in the pediatric intensive care unit and we were devastated. I was STILL rudely encouraged to pump every 2-3 hours while sitting in the PICU with my baby, despite not producing any milk.

I’ve never felt so worthless in my mothering journey. I  was suicidal from depression and failing at breastfeeding. I felt like less of a mother and I cried when I would hear others say ‘breast is best.’ I was terrified that I was ruining my child’s future and I feared making bottles of formula in public.

After my daughter’s stay in the PICU, I was still being told by nearly everyone I encountered that I shouldn’t give up. That I must see a lactation consultant. That I wasn’t trying hard enough. I spent so many hours crying over the shame I received from outsiders, crying over how I would afford the costly lactation consultants, and worrying about why this was happening to me. I was eventually diagnosed with PPD and was advised by my doctor to switch to all formula milk to help me through my depression.  I did so and the heavy depression began to lift.

Formula feeding was the best decision for me and my mental health. We were both thriving for the first time and it was glorious.

I then formula fed my 4 subsequent babies from birth. However, I still suffered from PPD after my second and third baby because I was still hoping I could breastfeed, but as I came to terms with my biological breastfeeding challenges, it got better with time. I am happy to say that I did formula feed baby 4 and 5 from day 1 and I’ve had no incidence of postpartum depression. I’ve been confident, empowered, and satisfied with formula feeding all of my 5 babies (ages 5 and under). It has been the best thing for us and my mental health. Over time, I did have testing done and I’ve been diagnosed with insufficient glandular tissue, endometriosis, and a pituitary rumor which could all affect hormonal levels and breastfeeding. My breasts do not make breast milk.

 

I am thankful for the wonderful village that I’ve had to get me through it all. Support is crucial as a mother, and no matter how we feed our babies, we can all agree that being a mother is just plain hard. I’m an advocate for mental health awareness because I know what it’s like to struggle with the day to day emotional and mental chaos with PPD and infant feeding challenges. If you want to join us in our judgment frees upport group, please click here: Private Fed Is Best Support Group

In 5 more months , my 5-year straight formula feeding journey, will be ending. I will miss feeding times as they were  very special times for me.  I would bond while feeding them, looking into their precious eyes and smiling at them, with LOVE.

 


Kristen Elise Umunna

joined the Fed Is Best Foundation’s  Mental Health Advocacy Team to be a voice for mothers, especially mothers of color, who cannot breastfeed to know that they are doing what is best for them and their baby, and there is no shame in that. I want to be a voice that tells every mother that bottle feeding is also beautiful and formula is the best nutrition for the babies who are being nourished by it.

Kristen is a very busy mother to 5 children under the age of 5. Her husband is her biggest supporter and together, they have a thriving, happy family. Kristen is also a photographer for children and you can see her fabulous work here.

To reach out and contact Kristen, please send your message to Contact@Fedisbest.org

 

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT FED IS BEST

There are many ways you can support the mission of the Fed is Best Foundation. Please consider contributing in the following ways:

  1. Join the  Fed Is Best Volunteer Group to help us reach Obstetric Health Providers to advocate for counseling of new mothers on the importance of safe infant feeding and a variety of other volunteer projects. There is project that will work for you!
  2. Make a tax-deductible donation to the Fed is Best Foundation. We are using funds from donations to cover the cost of our website, our social media ads, our printing and mailing costs to reach health providers and hospitals. We do not accept donations from breast- or formula-feeding companies and 100% of your donations go toward these operational costs. All the work of the Foundation is achieved via the pro bono and volunteer work of its supporters. We are an all volunteer non-profit.
  3. Shop Amazon Smiles  designating The Fed Is Best Foundation as your charity of choice and Amazon will donate a percentage of your purchase to us.
  4. Share the stories and the message of the Fed is Best Foundation through word-of-mouth, by posting on your social media page and by sending our resources to expectant moms that you know. Share the Fed is Best campaign letter with everyone you know.
  5. Write a letter to your health providers and hospitals about the Fed is Best Foundation. Write them about feeding complications your child may have experienced. If you need help writing your letter, please contact us.
  6. Print out our letter to obstetric providers and hand deliver them to your local obstetricians, midwives, family practitioners,  pediatricians and hospitals.
  7. Write your local elected officials about what is happening to newborn babies in hospitals and ask for legal protection of newborn babies from underfeeding and of mother’s rights to honest informed consent on the risks of insufficient feeding of breastfed babies.
  8. Send us your stories. Share with us your successes, your struggles and every thing in between. Every story saves another child from experiencing the same and teaches another mom how to safely feed her baby. Every voice contributes to change.
  9. Send us messages of support. We work every single day to make infant feeding safe and supportive of every mother and child.  Your messages of support keep us all going.
  10. Shop and Fed is Best Foundation will earn cash back! We hope to develop our online safe infant feeding classes with these funds.
  11. If you need judgement free, infant feeding support, we have a private support group– Join

 

I Attempted Suicide From The Pressure Of Breast Is Best

When I first wrote this blog post, I was blown away by how many mothers related to my breastfeeding story. So many women reached out to let me know I wasn’t alone, and shared nearly identical stories. Which made me both relieved, and also very sad that this mental health side of breastfeeding isn’t talked about enough. I don’t understand why so many people act like it doesn’t happen and don’t talk about it. We can SAVE lives if we DO talk about it!

I was just as equally shocked to see how many mothers thought that I should have kept breastfeeding anyway, even if it meant resenting my son, and being nothing more than a food source and a shell of a person. My story has been picked apart by many lactivists, from accusing me of being selfish, to thinking I just didn’t have enough support or encouragement. I had more than enough support for breastfeeding, but very little support for switching to formula when I knew it was best for my own mental health, and for my son. I can’t fathom telling a mom she’d better breastfeed or might as well be dead. I’m not against breastfeeding. I successfully breastfed my second baby for almost a year! But I don’t believe in breastfeeding at all costs, especially at the expense of the mother’s health, and that includes her mental health. A mother’s mental and emotional health are just as important as her baby’s health. Not every mom gets that oxytocin-induced happy breastfeeding experience. Sometimes it’s the opposite, and those moms need support and recognition too.

Postpartum depression is the most common complication after birth. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the first year postpartum. We NEED to start taking maternal mental health more seriously. The idea that breastfeeding prevents PPD is a myth. It can happen to any mom, no matter how she feeds her baby, and each mom can experience it very differently.

 I had more than enough support for breastfeeding, but very little support for switching to formula when I knew it was best for my own mental health, and for my son. I can’t fathom telling a mom she’d better breastfeed or might as well be dead. But I was told this and I believed them.

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I Begged for Food for my Baby and I Begged for Nipple Relief at my BFHI Hospital

It was December 13th at 2:30 in the morning. My water broke as I was sleeping. I woke my husband up and the panic set in. My son was a scheduled C-Section due to the fact he was breech and he was going to be a big baby according to all the scans. I was scheduled for the 18th, which was my birthday, but he decided to come early. My husband and I rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma, WA. This hospital was a “Baby-Friendly” hospital, which meant they push things like exclusive breastfeeding, no pacifiers and no nurseries. I didn’t think much of these things at the time, as I was a first-time mom and hadn’t pondered on them much. On paper, this all sounded great, and I was excited to go there. I had a simple birth plan: no circumcision and I wanted my husband in the operating room. That was it really. I trusted the doctors and nurses there to help me out.

The doctors were amazing. I got into the triage area at about 3:00 am and the doctors were awesome about monitoring me and keeping me up-to-date. The anesthesiologist and my OB helped me feel so comfortable. The cesarean went so well, I was in complete shock. After we had our initial bonding as a first-time family, things began to head downhill. By this time, I had been asked about 3 times if I was going to breastfeed, and I was planning to, but I would be doing a lot of pumping since I run around for my job. I was hoping to learn how to use a pump. However, the hour of recovery before being moved to my room was the start of the insanity. I was pushed to try and get my son to breastfeed, even when I was still throwing up from the medicine. I wanted to so badly, but I was vomiting every 15 minutes. I eventually could last for about a half hour before throwing up on myself again.

When I tried to breastfeed for the first time, my breasts were manhandled more than I had ever experienced in my life. I never consented to having so many nurses touch my breasts. I should have been sterner about not having so many people manipulating my breasts in order to breastfeed, but I was still out of it from the surgery.

To give some background at this point: My son was conceived using fertility treatments after many unsuccessful tries and he was born two weeks early. I was only an hour in recovery after a major surgery and I had a swarm of nurses touching my breasts to top it all off.  After trying for several more hours, my nipples became so cracked, they started to bleed. I had about 10 different nurses trying to get him to feed and they all commented on his good latch. Okay! Great! Good latch means he’s getting food, right? No. Unfortunately, I was so dry nothing was there for him and I had to wipe blood off of his lips.

Fast forward to about 36 hours post-birth and my husband and I had no sleep at this time because our son was crying so much from being hungry. This hospital had no nursery and I was supposed to take care of him while recovering from major surgery. My husband helped as much as possible, but he obviously couldn’t help much with breastfeeding. I was at a critical point where the lack of sleep, pain from surgery and pain from cracked nipples was so bad, I broke down.

I begged for something for him, I begged for food because I knew he was so hungry and not getting anything from me. I begged for nipple relief. I am not sure why, but I still hadn’t had a proper lactation consultant stop by.

Hungry and unsettled after nursing.

My nurse finally put in a request for a lactation consultant to see me. It was rather late at this time, and I begged the nurse to please help my baby and get him some formula. She looked at me as if I had committed the biggest sin. She kept making me try before finally (after two hours of begging) she had donor milk on hand. GREAT! Finally, he can get some food. This was now into the late night and my husband and I were so tired from him crying all night that we were done. He passed out. The nurse finally took pity on us and took him to the nurse’s station for about 2 hours. She was the silver lining, even after giving me such a hard time before.

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Can Stem Cells From Breast Milk Be Found In The Brain Of Babies?

 

BY ALEXANDRIA FISCHER, PHD CANDIDATE AT THE RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE, STUDYING SYNTHETIC MICROBIAL COMMUNITIES

The long list of things that we are told breastmilk can do seems to be never ending. The newest addition to the list is that stem cells in breast milk can travel from the gut to the brain of a breastfeeding infant. The linked news article says stem cells in breast milk have been seen in the brains of babies. They go on to say that breastfed babies are known to have higher IQs than formula fed babies, a fact that is decidedly false when studies control for socioeconomic factors. There is then an implication of some sort of mechanism between stem cells in the brain and an increased intelligence.

But upon closer examination of the evidence, stem cells haven’t been seen in the brains of human babies, but rather the brains of mice pups.

I have examined this study and described the methods as well as the strengths and weaknesses of it below. This study sought to track cells in breast milk from a mouse to pups that she is nursing. To do this they used mice that have and have not been tagged with a protein called GFP. GFP is a protein originally found in jelly fish, that glows green under certain conditions. In this study tagged mice fed untagged mice, allowing the researchers to look for glowing in the brains of the baby mice, to see if cells from breastmilk travelled from the guts to the brains. First the researchers looked at fluorescence or glowing in breastmilk of tagged and untagged mice. They did show that only the tagged milk glowed, however, they did not determine cell types in the milk, meaning we cannot make the determination that it is stem cells that they are tracking. The researchers then claim to have found the stem cells from breastmilk in the brains via glowing in brain tissue samples from mice pups fed from GFP tagged mice. However, this study lacked a control group where fluorescence was measured in untagged pups fed by untagged mother mice, meaning we have no baseline “glow” to compare results too. However, without a negative control (brain samples from an untagged pup fed by an untagged mother) we cannot make a determination about this data being artifacts of auto-fluorescence (background noise). This lack of a control is very concerning in light of the STAP cell fiasco, when major claims were made based on auto-fluorescence of stressed cells, rather than fluorescence due to changes applied by the researchers.
This paper is highly technical, but deeply flawed in the methods. They have failed to show adequate proof that a delicate stem cell can survive the acidic environment of the stomach and travel to the brain. However, even if we accept these unproven claims of breastmilk stem cells in the brain, long term data shows that the point is moot, as cognitive outcomes are equivalent in breastfed and formula fed infants.

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How Do I tell the Hospital I Don’t Want A Lactation Consultant Visit When I Deliver My Next Baby?

Dear Fed Is Best Foundation,

Thank you for everything that you do! Your organization has made me feel so much better about my situation and personal needs. I did have a question for you though, although I should probably explain my situation first. My daughter is now 14 months old. When I was pregnant with her, I had preeclampsia from about 28 weeks onward. I had to take maternity leave eleven weeks sooner than planned because my job as a full-time middle school substitute teacher was too stressful on my blood pressure. I went to the hospital at 37 weeks with blood pressure of 177/100, and they decided to induce me. After 45+ hrs of labor, followed by an emergency c-section, Clara was born three weeks early.

My plan was to try to breastfeed, at least for the first 6 months. We had skin to skin immediately after birth, and I tried breastfeeding right away. She didn’t latch at first, so we thought we’d try again a little later. Once we got back to my room, we attempted again, but she still wouldn’t latch. She had absolutely no interest. She would turn her head away every time I would push her toward the breast, and she would cry as loud as if we were hurting her.

I asked for a bottle of formula. I was advised of nipple confusion, but I didn’t care. They only let me give her 2 mL, so I could try to breastfeed again later.

Then the bleeding and shaking began. I got back to my room and was only able to hold my daughter for about an hour, when I started to gush blood. The doctors and nurses couldn’t contain it on just the pads that they put underneath you. There was so much blood, they were weighing the pads to see how much I’ve lost. I started getting uncontrollable chills and going in and out of consciousness. From what I remember, they said that I was not clotting. They had to take me down to the OR for a D&C. So the first almost five hours of my daughter’s life, I didn’t get to hold her. My very stressed and scared husband did.

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My Baby Went Through Hell And Suffered Needlessly From Starvation

Jenn T.

My son was born on February 18, 2019. He was 6 lbs 10 oz and had a little trouble regulating his temperature at birth. But after 24 hours, he was okay. I was always told breast was the best way to go. I never breastfed my 9 year old so this was my first experience with it.

My son had latching issues at first and it caused major pain and bleeding. But after latch correction and using nipple shields, the pain dissipated. When we left the hospital, my son weighed 6 lbs (9.3 percent weight loss) and at his checkup the next day, he had gained half an ounce.

At home I was feeding straight from my breasts, every time. My son was content and seemed happy.  He smiled and was great the entire time, so I thought. I didn’t pump to see how much milk I had because the hospital where I delivered told me pumping in the first 6 weeks could cause confusion for the baby with latching.

Now fast forward to when he was 21 days old. He had his three week checkup and he was extra sleepy that morning. When we got to the doctor, and not only did he lose weight, (down to 5.5 lbs), but he also had a temperature of 92 degrees. He was hypothermic! So they sent us urgently to the children’s hospital in Nashville. Continue reading

An Evaluation Of The Real Benefits And Risks Of Exclusive Breastfeeding.

by Alexandria Fischer, PhD candidate at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, studying synthetic microbial communities

It’s a mantra we have all heard, on repeat. “Breast is best.” But what does that really mean? Moms are bombarded by messages about the benefits of breastfeeding, such as increased intelligence, less illnesses, and a decreased risk of cancer. But what mothers are not told, is the quantifiable proof of these benefits.

The paper “Is the “breast is best” mantra an oversimplification?“, published in the Journal of Family Practice in July 2018, sought to critically evaluate claims of breastfeeding benefits in an effort to truly understand them. These authors note that the same data has produced a wide range of conclusions about the reported benefits of breastfeeding. They sought to tease apart what variables were truly impacted, and which were not. In this review the authors determined the number needed to treat (NNT) for a myriad of health issues that are often claimed to be reduced by breastfeeding. The NNT simply means how many babies need to be breastfed in order for one baby to benefit. We need to use caution when examining NNTs because they cannot make a causal determination, meaning they cannot be used to say “breastfeeding prevented this infection” they are simply used to determine a correlative relationship.

“The NNT (numbers needed to treat) simply means how many babies need to be breastfed in order for one baby to benefit.”

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Maternal Mental Health Feels Like it Comes Second to Breastfeeding When It Should Be First

This story is for you mommas whose mental health feels like it comes second to breastfeeding, when it should be first.

I have a long history of mental illnesses in my family. I inherited most of them. While they do not define me, they are a part of me. I have Bipolar 1 Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder and a Panic Disorder.

I tried to get pregnant in 2016, but through no fault of my own, was diagnosed with PCOS and had to go back on hormones to re-regulate my cycles. Luckily, I was able to score an appointment with my amazing fertility specialist in Jan 2017 and I soon became pregnant in February. I saw my psychiatrist shortly after and I couldn’t decide if I should bring up how depressed I felt. This pregnancy was very much wanted but I wondered if I risked my stability and my mental health. My husband and I quickly decided pregnancy was not the time to start playing with my medication and I was just going to have to “push” through my depression unless I had thoughts of self-harm.

In this study, researchers found that 1 in 4 women had mental health problems: 15% had anxiety, 11% had depression, 2% had an eating disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder, and 1% had post-traumatic stress disorder. The research also found low prevalence’s of bipolar disorder and other disorders.

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Fed is Best Foundations Statement to USDA Healthy People Goals 2030

Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D.

From December 2018 to January 2019, the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030 published the proposed Healthy People 2030 Objectives for public comment. Of note, the proposed Healthy People 2030 objectives saw a marked change from the 2020 objectives, namely a reduction of the breastfeeding objectives from 8 goals to one, namely, “Increase the proportion of infants who are breastfed exclusively through 6 months” (MICH-2030-15 ). Among the objectives that were dropped from the list were:

  1. MICH-23 – Reduce the proportion of breastfed newborns who receive formula supplementation within the first 2 days of life.
  2. MICH-24 – Increase the proportion of live births that occur in facilities that provide recommended care (i.e. Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative-certified hospitals) for lactating mothers and their babies.
Healthy People 2020 ObjectivesBaseline (%)Target (%)
Increase the proportion of infants who are breastfed (MICH 21)
Ever74.081.9
At 6 months43.560.6
At 1 year22.734.1
Exclusively through 3 months33.646.2
Exclusively through 6 months14.125.5
Increase the proportion of employers that have worksite lactation support programs (MICH 22)2538
Reduce the proportion of breastfed newborns who receive formula supplementation within the first 2 days of life (MICH 23)24.214.2
Increase the proportion of live births that occur in facilities that provide recommended care for lactating mothers and their babies (MICH 24)2.98.1
We applaud the removal of the last two objectives as patient safety issues have emerged from those two objectives, namely increased rates of neonatal jaundice, weight loss, hypoglycemia and dehydration readmissions. We have submitted the following statement regarding the Healthy People Goals for 2030 requesting for a revision of the current proposed objective and the addition of two new objectives.

Exclusive breastfeeding at discharge is a major risk factor for severe jaundice and dehydration. Both conditions can require in-hospital treatment and can result in permanently impaired brain development. Photo Credit: Cerebral Palsy Law

 

Revision of MICH-2030-15 calling for “Increase in the proportion of infants who are exclusively breastfed from birth to 6 months” to the following:

Increase the proportion of infants who are primarily breastfed through 4-6 months who have received sufficient nutrition to ensure optimal growth and brain development and to prevent feeding complications (e.g. hyperbilirubinemia, hypernatremia, dehydration, excessive weight loss, hypoglycemia and failure-to-thrive).

We have requested the following additions to the 2030 Healthy People Goals:

New Proposed Objective #1: Reduce the proportion of infants who require treatment and/or extended or repeat hospital admission for insufficient feeding-related hyperbilirubinemia, hypernatremia, dehydration, excessive weight loss, hypoglycemia and failure-to-thrive.

New Proposed Objective #2: Increase the proportion of parents who have made the informed choice to partially- or exclusively-feed formula to provide safe and sufficient nutrition to their infants to prevent feeding complications (e.g. hyperbilirubinemia, hypernatremia, dehydration, excessive weight loss, hypoglycemia and failure-to-thrive) and optimize growth and brain development.