Letter to Doctors and Parents About the Dangers of Insufficient Exclusive Breastfeeding and the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

(En español)

Dear Colleague and Parent:

My name is Christie del Castillo-Hegyi and I am an emergency physician, former NIH scientist, with a background in newborn brain injury research at Brown University, and mother to a 6-year-old child who is neurologically disabled. I am writing you because my child fell victim to newborn jaundice, hypoglycemia and severe dehydration due to insufficient milk intake from exclusive breastfeeding in the first days of life. As an expectant mom, I read all the guidelines on breastfeeding my first-born child. Unfortunately, following the guidelines and our pediatrician’s advice resulted in my child going 4 days with absolutely no milk intake requiring ICU care. He was subsequently diagnosed with multiple neuro-developmental disabilities.  Being a physician and scientist, I sought out peer-reviewed journals to explain why this happened. I found that there is ample evidence showing the links between neonatal jaundice, dehydration, hypoglycemia and developmental disabilities. I wish to explain to you how I believe this could apply to my son and the many children whose care you are entrusted with. 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 medical director 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.

Continue reading

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.)

Continue reading

I Am Not a Formula Feeding Mom

Writing helps me process my emotions. A few weeks ago, I wrote this, and have debated whether or not to share it, because sharing the things I write makes me feel really vulnerable. But, today I needed to reread it to remind myself that I am not a “formula-feeding mom”, I’m just a loving mother. I decided to go ahead and share it with you guys. I’m hoping that this can maybe help someone else who may need a reminder that motherhood is not defined by how we feed our babies!

Somedays I have to remind myself that I am not a failure.

I didn’t fail at breastfeeding. I did not fail at being a mother.

Society and my inner voice may sometimes convince me that I came up short in the infant-feeding part of motherhood, but in the rare moments of clarity, I know that this is not true. I am confident in my decision to exclusively formula-feed my son.

You see, I didn’t start out motherhood with the goal of breastfeeding my son. It wasn’t my plan to exclusively pump. Nor was it my plan to formula-feed my baby. My only plan was to feed him.

I took a breastfeeding class. I bought a nursing cover and nursing pads. I bought a breast pump and breastmilk storage bags. I signed up for formula samples, and sanitized baby bottles.

Before my son’s birth, I prepared to provide nourishment to a healthy thriving baby boy by whatever means necessary, with whatever method worked best for us.

After his birth, there was an overwhelming pressure to breastfeed no matter what. Women from all directions told me that breast milk was the best gift I could give my child, that it would give him the healthiest start to life. They said to me that breastfeeding was how we would bond as mother and son. They chided I needed to stop pumping and try harder to get baby on the breast or my supply would suffer. They warned that I needed to stop supplementing with formula.

They said that they wanted to “support” me on my breastfeeding journey, because “more mothers would succeed at breastfeeding if they just had enough support.”

This pressure continues to weigh on me. This pressure has created a guilt unimaginable to anyone who has never experienced it, who have never cried as they fed their baby a bottle simply because it wasn’t breast milk, who have never sat up at night with knots in their stomach while questioning their worth as a mother, simply because they didn’t breastfeed.

But that pressure and guilt hasn’t changed the fact that formula was and is best for our situation.

FormulaStudy

I made the decision to exclusively feed my son formula in a moment of clarity, where I KNEW that it was absolutely what was best for us, where I was a confident mother and woman making a decision that she felt completely sure was good.

Unfortunately, pressure from society and other mothers can make those moments of clarity less clear and more rare, even nonexistent.

So, in this current moment of clarity, I want to write the following statements that I can look back on when unnecessary guilt becomes too much and so that other mothers may reflect on them and be confident in their decision to feed formula:

  • Not breastfeeding doesn’t make me any less of a mother than those who breastfeed their babies. Not feeding breast milk to my son doesn’t mean I don’t love him as much as other mothers love their babies. Feeding my son formula doesn’t mean that I didn’t try hard enough. It simply means that I am a mother who knows and does what’s best for HER family.
  • Our breastfeeding relationship did not fail. Our bond has not suffered. My baby is healthy, thriving and loved. It is NOT how we FEED our children that defines us as mothers. It is how we LOVE our children that defines us as mothers.
  • And how we support other mothers on their journey, on their MOTHERHOOD journey, on their LIFE journey, rather than just how we support them on their breastfeeding journey that defines us as human beings.
  • Our babies thrive on love, not on breast milk. Just the same, us mothers thrive on love and support, not on breastfeeding.                                                                                                                                       #FEDisbest #LOVEisthebestgift #OurBondIsNOTLost #TheyNeedUsMOREThanOurBreastmilk #BreastfeedingROCKS #ExclusivelyPumpingRULES #FormulaIsAWESOME #AllMothersAreAMAZING #FeedWithoutGuilt #EFFwithoutSHAME #SupportALLTheMamas #NeverthelessFeedYourBabyWithLove”

     

    Thank you guys for reading 💙❤️ 

     


    WAYS 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.
    9. Shop and Fed is Best Foundation will earn cash back! We hope to develop our online safe infant feeding classes with these funds.
    10. If you need support, we have a private support group– Join                                 Donate to Fed is Best 

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

      CoFoundersPic

Moms Thank The Fed Is Best Foundation For Safe Infant Feeding Support

Every day we hear stories from parents who were able to feed their babies safely and confidently with our help.  These stories are the fuel that fills our hearts and motivates our volunteers and advocates to continue our important work to teach parents and healthcare providers about safe infant feeding, and giving babies what they need to thrive and have the best possible start.

#fedisbest #safebreastfeeding #thrivingisbest  #fedismaximum

Read on for their words of thanks and encouragement:

Do you have a #fedisbest story? We’d love to hear from you. Send us your stories.

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
  2. Make a donation to the Fed is Best Foundation.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.
  9. Shop and Fed is Best Foundation will earn cash back! We hope to develop our online safe infant feeding classes with these funds.
  10. If you need support, we have a private support group – Join

We believe all babies deserve to be protected from hunger and thirst every single day of their life and we believe that education on Safe Infant Feeding should be free. If you would like to make a donation to support the Fed is Best Foundation’s mission to teach every parent Safe Infant Feeding, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation to our organization.

I Had All of The Support In The World And Breastfeeding Still Didn’t Work.

They tell you that if you prepare enough, it will work. They tell you that all you need is support, belief that you will be successful, and commitment. If only it were that simple.

I knew I might have issues. I had breast reduction surgery back in 2001, but had been told that using the right technique would preserve my ability to breastfeed. Nonetheless, I set out preparing to ensure I would be successful. Besides doing yoga, pilates, weight training, and exercise, I got into the midwife program and prepped diligently. I did prenatal workshops and tracked down a book on how to successfully be a breast feeding after reduction mom. I hired a private lactation consultant for a session ahead of time. We talked about teas and tinctures, techniques and diet to help my supply be optimal. We talked about how I could use a supplemental nursing system if necessary. I read extensively and was convinced breastfeeding was the only way to feed my son to ensure his well being and I would have no problem breastfeeding because I had SUPPORT.  

After lengthy pre-labour, labour finally started but my son was posterior and we stalled at 5cm dilated for over 10 hours. Finally, 33 hours after labour started, I delivered our son vaginally. I was exhausted after being awake for 3 days straight but determined to breastfeed. We seemed to struggle with latching and when he finally did, the pain took my breath away. I had already gone through 25 hours of labour before finally getting an epidural, but the pain during each feed was excruciating and only ended when he stopped feeding. Within a few hours I was concerned by the pain, and by my misshapen nipples that were already severely cracked and bleeding. I asked each nurse that I saw. All told me the latch was good and waved off my concerns about pain. My reading had told me to keep going but also mentioned it shouldn’t hurt this way. Worse yet, I often worried about how rarely he seemed satisfied with eating or would suckle to sleep. Yet we were released from hospital with instructions to be patient and told that breastfeeding would work out.

When I pressed about the bleeding, one nurse snapped at me: “What did you expect?”

My son barely urinated in the first few days, and by day 4 seemed more and more unsettled, finally crying 5 hours straight in the middle of the night. I was trying to let him feed as much as possible, but the pain persisted. The nipple shields a nurse gave me in the hospital helped my son to latch but the pain persisted with every feed, during the whole feed. My son still seemed always hungry and would stay latched on for over an hour if I left him. I’d try to persist feeding him, exhausted in bed, weeping at the pain and frustration.

CarlyCrying

After crying for 5 hours straight he fell asleep from exhaustion.

Our midwife team came for home visits every day. I dutifully showed our tracking charts of how long/often at each breast, his output and they would weigh him.He was quickly dropping weight so we tried to come up with a strategy. I kept up eating my oatmeal and good food like quinoa, as well as drinking lots of water. We bought a lactating tincture which I took religiously and by day 4 we both went for chiropractic and osteopathic care in case that would help. I got acupuncture. During this time, my wife contacted public health to have another lactation consultant come. I was doing all the right things, but my son was barely urinating and kept dropping weight. The lactation consultant ‘diagnosed’ a posterior tongue tie and lip tie which she believed was the cause of my pain and the state of my still bleeding nipples that would often be blanched white and misshapen after a feed. She thought temporary supplementation would be needed but was insistent no artificial nipples, so we had to tube feed him with SNS or by finger. I was told not to use a soother so he often fussed unless I let him latch onto the shield on my breast. I pleaded to get my son into specialist quickly and the frenectomy was performed at 7 days. Sadly, it did not help my pain. The Dr. who did procedure would tell me after procedure that she didn’t think tie was serious enough to warrant the frenectomy and that the real issue was an anatomically small jaw that would simply have to grow. 

By this point, my midwives were seriously concerned. My son had dropped over 11% of his body weight and still struggled to urinate. The minimal supplementation at breast was not adequate. Based on the recommendation of the LC, I pleaded for domperidone. Surely I had to get to exclusive breastfeeding. Formula was not the answer. My midwife explained I would need an EKG since it puts you at risk for heart arrhythmia. I have a family history of heart disease but I was still interested. (*Please note domperidone is banned in the US.)

At that point, my wife put her foot down. “We both need you alive. He needs you more than your breast milk.”

CarlyBSTS

Enjoying skin-to-skin time desperate to increase my milk supply.

From that point on, we stopped feeding with a tube and went to supplementation with a bottle. Our lactation consultant had cut off contact from me right after the frenectomy. Based on her comments, I was devastated to realize that she didn’t want to work with someone who used a bottle or a soother (something else the midwives insisted upon to give my poor nipples a chance to heal – my son wanted to be latched 24/7). 

All of this took place in the first 10 days of my son’s life. I persisted in trying to combo feed for 19 weeks. Any breastfeeding session still resulted in horrible pain with my nipples blanched white and misshapen. Worse was he hated latching without a shield and as he grew my supply never increased even with continued oatmeal, tincture, water, etc. I was really struggling to bond with him all those weeks later.

Even if I was the proverbial Queen of Sheba with an army of attendants and best medical care we would have still had all the problems. I still had low supply that was compounded by the chronic pain.  I look back and realize that I put us through a lot of heartache for no real benefit.

I finally weaned. My depression and anxiety lifted almost immediately and I bonded with the baby I had worked so hard to give the best start of life. I only wished I had listened to my midwife and not my lactation consultant, when she pleaded with me to understand that my son would thrive on formula. That I had done so much to make it work and it was ok. Sadly, I will never get back the time lost doing all of the unproven suggestions from my lactation consultant. Today, he thrives in daycare and I truly can’t tell which of his friends were breastfed, combo fed or formula fed. He is well adjusted, thriving and bonded to both of us. That is what really matters.

CarlyThriving

My precious son thriving on formula and love. 

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT FED IS BEST ? JOIN US!

FIBparentingSupportGroup2

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.
  9. Shop and Fed is Best Foundation will earn cash back! We hope to develop our online safe infant feeding classes with these funds.
  10. If you need support, we have a private support group – Join

We believe all babies deserve to be protected from hunger and thirst every single day of their life and we believe that education on Safe Infant Feeding should be free. If you would like to make a donation to support the Fed is Best Foundation’s mission to teach every parent Safe Infant Feeding, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation to our organization.

Donate to Fed is Best

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

CoFoundersPic

Breast Is Best Failed Me And It Failed My Starving Son

My son was born at 8:33 am on a Saturday, delivered vaginally at 36 weeks and 3 days gestation. He weighed 6 pounds 3 ounces, and was in the 51st percentile for his gestational age. He latched onto my breast within the first 15 minutes. It was painful for me, but my nurse said his latch was great and that he was eating well. I continued to put him to breast every 3 hours as I had been instructed. We were told that we could see a lactation consultant, but one never came to our room. I was not concerned, since we were told he had a great latch and was feeding well.

On Sunday morning, we found out that he had lost weight and that he was suffering from jaundice and would need phototherapy. The medical staff told us that weight loss was normal and that his bilirubin levels were “borderline,” so the photo-therapy was just a preventative measure. Throughout the day he alternated between lethargy and crying. He only voided a few times, and his urine was very dark. His latch was still very painful, but I kept bringing him to breast to nurse every 3 hours. He never seemed to calm down after nursing.

HUNGRY1111

When he became inconsolable on Sunday night, known as the ‘Second-Night-Syndrome’ a nurse instructed us to continue trying to give him a pacifier and that he would settle eventually. He began screaming at my breast and refused to latch. There were no lactation consultants available at the hospital on Sundays. Another nurse brought in a Lansinoh latch assist, although my nipples were not flat or inverted. She instructed me to use the latch assist to draw out drops of colostrum, which I then swept out of the bulb with my finger and fed to my son. I did this for several hours. There were blood blisters on both of my nipples and I had not slept since the Thursday night before. My son eventually fell asleep in the early hours of the morning.

When he was weighed around 8 am on Monday, he was 5lb 4oz. He had lost 15% of his body weight in 48 hoursNewborn weight loss calculator 

Continue reading

The ‘Second Night Syndrome’ is Abnormal and This is Why

Written by Jody Segrave-Daly, RN, MS, IBCLC

As a NICU/nursery nurse and IBCLC who has worked with newborn babies her entire nursing career, I was mystified when I first heard the phrase “second night syndrome.” When I began to research where the phrase came from, it became clear that this phrase is not based on any scientific research, but rather based on a theory that describes behavior of exclusively breastfed newborns on their second day of life. I think it is a frightening phrase for new parents to hear, as the word “syndrome” is defined as a group of signs and symptoms that occur together and characterize a particular abnormality or condition. 

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The truth is, the “second night syndrome” is a theory that describes abnormal newborn behavior.

Babies can go into a very deep, recovery sleep period after the first 2 hours from birth. This period can range from 8-12 hours after birth and is often a time that babies may not wake up on their own to feed every 2-3 hours. Babies often need gentle encouragement from their parents to wake them up for feeding sessions. Some babies will nurse for 5 minutes or suckle on a bottle for 5 minutes or less and fall back asleep. It’s well known that babies are fasting during this time and if they have enough caloric reserves, they may tolerate this fasting period without complications. Nursery nurses are quite skilled with performing clinical assessments of babies to ensure they are stable. They are looking for signs of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels, jaundice and other abnormal clinical markers.  Ten percent of healthy, full-term exclusively breastfed newborns develop hypoglycemia in the first days of life and may require specialized care until they are stable.  All babies are transitioning from intrauterine to extra-uterine life and need skilled observation from the nurse while they are bonding with their parents in their room.

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Risk factors for delayed onset of full breast milk production

After babies begin to ‘wake-up’ from their deep recovery sleep period on their second day of life, they will begin to exhibit stronger hunger cues to nurse or bottle feed, every 2-3 hours and they become much more alert. This is a new opportunity for parents to bond because their babies become alert again, opening their eyes while gazing at their parent’s adoring faces. Some babies are a bit demanding during this time because they are very hungry. Newborn babies are very easy to console after their feeding by being held and snuggled. Every nursery nurse will tell you if a baby is not content after feeding, something is wrong. I suspect this is where the word “syndrome” came from, which describes abnormal infant behavior. Continue reading

Dr. del Castillo-Hegyi Raises Awareness at the U.S. Task Force for Research Specific to Pregnant and Lactating Women at the NIH

Bethesda, MD—On February 26, 2018, Dr. Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, Co-Founder of the Fed is Best Foundation traveled to the NIH to raise awareness on the gaps in breastfeeding protocols, research and education that is leading to common and serious complications in exclusively breastfed newborns.

Continue reading

I Learned I Was Capable Of Breastfeeding My Baby Thanks To The Fed Is Best Support Group

Asher was born after 46 hours of induced labor at 39 weeks, 4 days. I had sudden onset severe pre-eclampsia. In the “golden hour,” he didn’t latch. He was exhausted and a bit lethargic. After the staff took Asher for his bath, I worked with the RN and he latched really well and nursed on both sides. Towards the end he fell asleep and they had me hand express colostrum and finger feed him. His first two days at the hospital he only lost 3 ounces. I thought he was latching well but the lactation consultant who saw us before discharge said his latch was shallow. She sent us home with a shield, “just in case.” At his first pediatrician appointment at four days old he was down 10 ounces. The doctor gave us ready to feed bottles, encouraged supplementation and sent Asher for lab work because he was slightly jaundiced and lost too much weight. While we were at the hospital, I ended up getting readmitted because my preeclampsia never went away and had gotten much worse. I was put on a magnesium drip for 24 hours which made breastfeeding really challenging. My husband was so supportive and somehow we made it through a three day hospital stay. During that time they checked Asher’s bilirubin levels regularly. His jaundice improved and he had gained four ounces! By then my nipples were raw from his very bad latch. I started using the shield and it was a lifesaver. Asher was back up to birth weight by his two week check up. I was encouraged to wean him from the shield. That ended with many deep cracks and damage to my nipples that led to a six week bout of thrush, a bad clog, and mastitis.

When I had mastitis, we used the ready to feed bottles because my supply decreased. Asher’s weight gain remained steady and after pumping and supplementing for a few weeks we went back to exclusively nursing. In that time, Asher had spinal surgery. He nursed 24/7 after his surgery, which did wonders for my supply. After his first post-op check up he had gained a pound! We weaned from the shield in between his post-op appointments, his weight gain slowed down a lot and I got worried. I saw a new LC, who I loved, and she checked our new and improved latch. She said he was transferring milk well without the shield. I still didn’t feel comfortable with how his weight gain had slowed.

I found the Fed is Best support group through a fellow mom in a birth month group I was in. It was there that I learned about weighted feeds and bought a scale for use at home. I was shocked after the first 24 hour weights because Asher wasn’t transferring that much milk from me. So, we supplemented a lot and I pumped a lot. My husband did random weighted feeds without me knowing and they showed that Asher was transferring milk but I had some major scale anxiety that was affecting my ability to let down and feed Asher. But, the experience helped reinforce in me that I knew my son’s hunger cues and I usually had enough milk to satisfy him.

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We got into a really good swing of things, I nursed, if he seemed hungry I would supplement and pump. I quickly built a freezer stash and we got back to exclusively nursing and solids. His weight has been in the 5-6% pretty much his whole life and then last month he went up to 8%.  With the knowledge I gained from the Fed Is Best Support Group, I am now certain that he wasn’t going hungry, he is just a little guy! Since July, about a month after I learn about Fed is Best, things have been easy and uneventful. Asher nurses whenever he wants; if I am at work he gets breast milk sippy cups and solids. Continue reading

I Am The Mom Who Loved Formula Feeding My Baby And I Have No Regrets

I pretty much knew I was going to be a formula feeding mom, even before I found out I was pregnant. I’d watched the struggle my sister went through to breastfeed, and I just knew that wasn’t something I wanted to put myself or my baby through. When I initially decided to formula-feed, I had NO IDEA of the stigma surrounding it. I always thought it  was pretty straight forward–formula or breast milk, just feed the baby. This was my first baby, so coming into the world of “Mommy” was a whole new experience for me. I joined on-line groups to learn the basics of pregnancy, and that’s when I first started seeing the “mommy wars” I’m now all too familiar with. At that point I didn’t really see how deep those wars went.

I was asked upon admission to the hospital whether I was formula or breastfeeding. I let them know I planned on formula feeding and signed papers stating such. I was in labor for nineteen hours and finally delivered a healthy 7lb 4oz baby boy. I was exhausted as I held my baby.  I looked down at him, and fell instantly in love. I then gave him to the nurse so he could be cleaned up and measured. Once he was bundled up, the nurse came in with a bottle of formula. I asked her to hand my son to my husband because he wanted to feed him. I held my baby inside me, felt him kicking, and fell in love with him for nine months of my pregnancy and it was time for my husband to love him.

As I looked over at my husband feeding our son, at him looking down at that little bundle, I could just tell he was now getting to fall in love with him too.

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My husband feeding our baby.

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