How I Learned That Fed is Best

by Jen Gamarano

I hate to admit it, but before I got pregnant, and even when I was pregnant, I was already a judgmental mom. I started watching documentaries about natural birth and breastfeeding years before I even entertained the idea of having children because it fascinated me. Women’s bodies are amazing. We are capable of growing, birthing, and feeding a brand new life and I was on board for doing all of it naturally because biology is perfect and I was made to do this – or so I thought. I looked at moms who opted for epidurals and thought “If only they knew about natural birth and how amazing it is”, or those who formula fed and thought  “How sad” because breast milk is magical and formula will never be able to measure up. I hate to admit these things, but I have to admit them so you know just how much this journey has changed me.

Our birth plan was simple – deliver at the birth center with our doula and midwife, stay there for four hours, go home, breastfeed forever, be happy. I’m lucky to have had a fairly short labor of nine hours, but afterwards was nothing like I’d imagined. I ended up transferring to the hospital to repair a third degree tear. Lovely, I know.

We started to breastfeed at the hospital, and it hurt like they all said it would. L. had trouble latching but he was still nursing so I just tried to be patient. I had a rough first few days as my body tried to balance out hormones. I was shaky, hot, sweaty, mad, sad, and all-around miserable. I called the midwife who told me this was normal and advised me to stay in bed and “breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed”. So I did. The next day, my son started crying like crazy when I tried to latch him, and refused to nurse for a full 24 hours. The pediatrician told us to supplement with formula and I gave in because I felt sick, tired, and good lord, I wasn’t going to starve my child.

“The next day, my son started crying like crazy when I tried to latch him, and refused to nurse for a full 24 hours.The pediatrician told us to supplement with formula and I gave in because I felt sick, tired, and good lord, I wasn’t going to starve my child.”

When he finally started to latch again, it was clear that I didn’t have enough for him. He would get sleepy after only a few minutes of nursing, sleep for a few minutes, and then wake up crying and wanted to eat again. I spent a couple days feeding him every 15 minutes and didn’t wear a shirt or see anyone during that time. I met with a lactation consultant who listed a whole slew of things that could potentially be wrong with him. I also learned that I had an infection on my nipple and he developed thrush, which made all of this infinitely more complicated and painful. I was still determined to breastfeed, so we saw two lactation specialists, an ENT and Osteopath to evaluate the little guy, and I tried every natural remedy in the book. I took supplements and tinctures, drank dark beer, pumped multiple times in an hour, saw another lactation specialist, ate almonds, stayed hydrated, pumped, nursed, pumped, nursed, until I just couldn’t do it anymore. I got to the point where I just said without emotion “tried it” whenever someone gave me advice to increase my supply. I was exhausted. I woke up to pump every morning and sobbed because I would only get dribbles and my baby just wasn’t getting that ever so magical breast milk despite all my best efforts.

I’ve heard so many different opinions about my son and I on our journey that I don’t think I can definitively say what the root cause of all of this was. The opinion that made me feel the most at ease was from our ENT who flat out said that not every baby is a fit for every breast. Until then, I’d been conditioned to think that since I was a woman, breast feeding would be the most natural thing I’ve ever done. I forgot in all of this that all humans are different and that’s part of the beauty of life. I had to stop blaming my baby, and I had to stop blaming myself for “failing” at this. I had to give up the notion that this was, in fact, a failure, because it wasn’t.

This journey made me bake myself an entire humble pie and eat every last crumb. I started to look at breastfeeding and motherhood from a much different perspective. I came to terms with the fact that feeding my baby formula and the tiny bit of breast milk I did have was infinitely better than having a baby that couldn’t thrive and a sobbing mommy. I became grateful that I live in a time where formula exists to provide nourishment to my child.

“I became grateful that I live in a time where formula exists to provide nourishment to my child.”

Every mom out there is incredible. I’m proud of moms who breastfeed exclusively. I’m proud of moms who use formula. I’m proud of moms who do both. I’m proud of moms who have natural birth. I’m proud of moms who use modern medicine to take away the horrible pain. I’m proud of every mom who chooses to do the best thing for her baby and herself. The sisterhood of motherhood is incredible and I’m grateful to be a part of it and share my story.


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!

 

 

In The Name Of Breastfeeding – An Article About How Finnish Newborns Are Starved in Baby-Friendly Hospitals

Kati Pehkonen, YLE Finland 2018

A translated article  from YLE (Finnish national broadcasting network, owned 99% by the Finnish state) has published an article on how Finnish newborns are starved in Finnish hospitals, how midwives are holding back formula and then finding that the baby is hypoglycemic.

Elias was less than 24 hours old when his father noticed the jitters. Already the night before at the Katiloopisto Maternity Hospital. Elias had cried a lot. During the early morning hours he finally settled after he had been syringe fed some donated breast milk. He was given 10 ml of milk, a total of 2 teaspoons.

StomachSizeBlog

During mid-morning Elias had started to cry again angrily. It appeared to his father as if the baby was also having muscle spasms. Continue reading

Consideraciones Durante una Emergencia

(en Inglés ) 

Para familias que practican lactancia artificial, suplementan, hacen lactancia mixta o alimentan a sus bebés con leche maternal extraída.

Durante una emergencia, el perder la electricidad, el agua corriente y los servicios de asistencia de manera repentina, puede hacer imposible conseguir leche de formula o guardar leche maternal o de formula de manera apropiada. También puede pasar que no sea posible calentar agua. Estos son algunos consejos que te ayudarán a estar preparado en caso de desastre: Continue reading

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

Response to Baby-Friendly USA Regarding Rates of Hyperbilirubinemia Among Exclusively Breastfed Newborns

Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D. and Jody Segrave-Daly, RN, IBCLC

We at the Fed Is Best Foundation give mothers across the globe a platform to tell their stories about how their babies suffered needlessly because they were denied information and supplementation for their hungry babies while under the care of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative/WHO Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding protocol. Our Foundation has grown rapidly and demands significantly more time than we currently have because we are a 100% volunteer organization.  We are inundated with messages from mothers, health professionals and media on a daily basis. We try very hard to prioritize what we can do collectively, every single day. Our first priority is to respond to mothers in crisis who contact us needing assistance on how to safely feed their distressed breastfed baby because they were not educated on appropriate supplementation. Baby Friendly USA (BFUSA) found time to critique our interpretation of studies and written materials, so we were forced to take time away from mothers to update written materials and clarify our interpretations. Our goal is to be completely transparent and we have provided our detailed response below with corrections and clarifications given publicly available published data. If there have been errors in interpretation of published information, then we go back to the original published data to provide better data for the public, which we have done below. We believe we have a responsibility to inform parents, the public, medical insurance companies and BFHI hospitals about the risks of exclusive breastfeeding when insufficient. We believe parents deserve to know that the BFHI has an exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) threshold mandate to meet if the hospital wants to remain credentialed. The mandate results in tens of thousands of newborn admissions every year in the U.S. alone, which we chronicle on our page. For the safety of infants across the globe, we will continue to provide education on how to recognize serious complications of exclusive breastfeeding and how every parent can prevent them.

Starvation jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia) of the newborn is defined as abnormally high bilirubin in a newborn who loses >8-10% weight. It is caused by insufficient elimination of bilirubin due to insufficient caloric intake from exclusive breastfeeding in the first week of life. This well-established phenomenon has been discussed by neonatologist Dr. Lawrence Gartner, who is listed as a Director on the Baby-Friendly USA website, in a lecture given to lactation consultants (not just physicians and nurses as stated by BFUSA) at a 2013 California Breastfeeding Conference, previously posted on their website. This public lecture was provided to educate lactation consultants regarding dangerous levels of jaundice that can occur in previously healthy breastfed babies that result from inadequate intake of calories from exclusive breastfeeding. Under Fair Use laws, dissemination of educational material for non-profit educational purposes is protected and we were subsequently asked to post the full lecture by Dr. Gartner via email. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine jaundice protocol acknowledges that exclusively breastfed newborns are at higher risk of hyperbilirubinemia from insufficient milk intake (“suboptimal intake”) and excessive weight loss. The vast majority of newborn hyperbilirubinemia is caused by starvation jaundice. Their protocol also states that 98% of kernicterus, or the most severe form of brain injury from jaundice, occurs in breastfed newborns. Nearly all of starvation jaundice can be prevented with timely and adequate supplementation. Nearly all newborns with starvation jaundice show signs of poor feeding including excessive crying and frequent, unsatisfied nursing or lethargy before they develop levels of hyperbilirubinemia that result in impaired brain development. While BFUSA has not previously denied the increased risk of hyperbilirubinemia in breastfed newborns, they have not routinely disclosed them to parents or subscribing hospitals, which has the unfortunate effect of causing hospitalizations that would have been prevented by supplementing a crying underfed newborn. Unfortunately, many parents and health professionals are taught that the signs of poor feeding including crying and hours of unsatisfied nursing are normal, widely known as the “Second Night Syndrome.” These unfortunately are also the earliest signs of other complications like acute bilirubin encephalopathy, kernicterus, hypernatremic dehydration and hypoglycemia, all known causes of brain injury and permanent disability, which can occur if those signs are overlooked as normal and supplementation is avoided in order to meet the goal of exclusive breastfeeding.

Continue reading

WHO 2017 Revised Guidelines Provide No Evidence to Justify Exclusive Breastfeeding Rule While Evidence Supports Supplemented Breastfeeding

Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D.

The WHO health policy that has been responsible for millions of preventable hospital admissions of newborns for insufficient feeding complications is Step 6 of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding: “Give no additional food or fluid other than breast milk unless medically indicated.” Complications of insufficient feeding from exclusive breastfeeding before copious milk production are now among the leading causes of newborn extended and repeat hospitalization, namely jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia), dehydration and hypoglycemia.

In 2017, the World Health Organization published its guidelines updating its recommendations for “Protecting, Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding in Facilities Providing Maternity and Newborn Services,” which outlines the evidence for the WHO recommendations on breastfeeding support for newborns in health facilities based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. Here is the evidence presented to justify the recommendation to avoid supplementation in breastfed newborns.

The WHO guidelines authors went on to conclude the following:

How did very low quality of evidence turn into moderate quality evidence for exclusive breastfeeding particularly when the evidence showed improvement of breastfeeding rates in supplemented breastfed newborns? Continue reading

My Body, My Breast: Stop Asking Me How I’m Feeding My Baby

by Sarah Cunningham

As a new mom who did not successfully breastfeed, I have so often felt like a lesser mother over the past 9 months, self-conscious whenever someone has asked me, “Are you still breastfeeding?” Or, my favorite follow-up question, “Oh no, what happened!?” I have heard so many references to breastfeeding that at times I have felt as though mothering is breastfeeding– and because I am not doing so, I must certainly be less of a mom.

Like for many others, the “breast is best” mantra-turned-guilt-trip started for me before my daughter was even born. In my last group prenatal meeting, one woman said she planned to feed her baby formula, but felt like the healthcare community would only give her information on breastfeeding.

After a deafening silence, the lactation consultant said, “that’s because we now know that breast milk is better.” And as if that icy tidbit wasn’t enough, she went on to caution, “I will just warn you that this is a very pro-breastfeeding area.” I swallowed hard, internalizing this information as a non-negotiable item, like so many women must do.

Continue reading

Jillian Johnson: My Message To Parents During World Breastfeeding Week

By Jillian Johnson

It took all of the courage I had to put aside the debilitating amount of guilt I carried for five long years to tell Landon’s story—his birth, the first days of his life and how he died. In fact, I still don’t know where I found that courage, but I am convinced Landon gave me the strength. I wasn’t prepared for the intense scrutiny my story received. I was utterly shocked because people came out of nowhere to discredit my story with a vengeance, but I quickly learned how to be gracious in such a vulnerable time.

After all, nothing anyone could say to me could hurt me more than the death of my newborn baby.

I can remember a very specific time, when I was sitting in the waiting room of the hospital and Landon was on life support. My dad was there with me and we were talking about Landon’s prognosis and I won’t ever forget him telling me what a special little boy he was and that he would do great things. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around what his words meant because Landon was most likely going to pass away, and my dad was talking about how he’s going to do great things. I never dreamed that his death would change the lives of so many people across the globe. Continue reading

Hypernatremic Dehydration is Common and Occurs to a Third of Healthy Newborns

Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.d.

Newborn hypernatremia is a serious complication of early exclusive breastfeeding of newborns caused by insufficient feeding of milk. It is defined as an elevation of blood sodium levels (≥ 145 mEq/L) in response to insufficient fluid intake and most commonly occurs at day 3-4 of life, typically the point of greatest weight loss of a newborn. It is the most severe complication of dehydration and excessive weight loss and increases the risk of brain injury, developmental delay/disability, seizure disorder, vital organ injury and death. Oddie et al. showed that up to 98% of hypernatremia occurs in exclusively or near-exclusively breastfed newborns and the study group found the diagnosis of hypernatremia was rare.[1] However, since blood sodium levels are not universally-screened, which could result in missed cases of hypernatremia, it has been unclear just how common the condition is among newborns.

Steph Montgomery’s daughter jaundiced, dehydrated and hypernatremic at day 5 with 20% weight loss due to insufficient breast milk intake from low supply

A recently published prospective study of 165 healthy newborns ≥ 35 weeks gestational age looked at rates of hypernatremia (>145 mEq/L) in the first 3 days of life.[2] They examined multiple variables that predict hypernatremia as well as the threshold weight loss values at which increased hypernatremia risk occurs. The results were astounding.

The study found that out of 165 newborns 51 or 30.9% developed hypernatremia.

The majority of cases occurred by 5% weight loss, the lowest percentage weight loss occurring at 4.77% weight loss, especially for male infants delivered by cesarean delivery to a mother with higher education level. Continue reading

My Son Became Severely Jaundiced and Dehydrated in a Baby-Friendly Park Slope, Brooklyn Hospital

By Fed is Best Mom and Advocate, Lilian B.

My son John was born at 42 weeks and one dayat Methodist hospital in Park Slope, Brooklyn, via uneventful vaginal delivery. His APGAR score was 9 or 10. He was strong and beautiful. My labor was quick, and once I got an epidural, it was a breeze. My water broke around 7pm at home. An hour later contractions began in earnest. Once my midwife told me I was ready to push, it only took 20 minutes to get him out. Once the bliss of easy labor wore off, my hospital nightmare began.

See, I was born with tuberous breasts. This is a breast deformity, characterized by severe hypoplasia (lack of tissue), a narrow breast base, and puffy painful nipples that droop downward, due to a lack of any breast base. It’s a poorly understood and studied deformity, but anecdotally, it can make breastfeeding difficult, if not impossible. On top of the deformity, I had two cosmetic surgeries to correct the appearance of my breasts.

Naturally, I had major anxiety about whether I would or wouldn’t be able to breastfeed.

Day One

Shortly after John was born, I tried to get him to latch, but he wouldn’t latch. He sucked various parts of my chest and fell asleep. He slept soundly from 5am to almost 2pm. While he slept, I attended a lactation workshop. When I got back from the lactation workshop, I called one of the lactation consultants to come to my room.

The LC arrived around 2pm. John was a bit lethargic, and he tried to latch to seemingly anything except my breasts. She showed me how to latch him properly, and he suckled, but to me it didn’t look like he was swallowing anything. The LC expressed colostrum from my nipples, which really hurt. I think it was all the colostrum I would ever produce… John ate the colostrum from a spoon and fell asleep again.

Around 4 pm, a nurse came in and checked his skin. To my surprise, she said he was jaundiced and may need therapy. I had never heard of baby jaundice. The resident didn’t even ask if he was eating or doing well.

I kept putting baby John on my breasts throughout the afternoon and early evening, and he would suckle away, but again, it didn’t seem like he was really getting anything. I tried to hand express colostrum like the LC had done, but nothing was coming out. He would fall back asleep after 10 minutes of nursing.

My husband and I dozed off. Suddenly we awoke to three people in our darkened room: two residents and a nurse. They announced that John’s bilirubin levels were now in the high risk zone, and he would be taken away from me and put into a glass box under UV lights. I was so disoriented, I just said OK.

One resident left, and the remaining resident explained to me that I was O Positive and John was A Negative blood type, which resulted in higher levels of bilirubin. I asked if there was anything I could do to help my baby, and the resident explained that the best thing for him was to eat. My heart sank. This is precisely what I can’t do: I explained to the resident my deformity and multiple surgeries, using medical terms. He just replied something about it being possible to breastfeed even after surgery, and left.

After the second resident absconded into the night, only the nurse remained. She explained that they would bring John back to me to breastfeed throughout the night. In desperation, I pleaded with her to feed him formula. I explained my surgeries and deformity again, this time in tears. She told me to take a hot shower or use a warm compress on my breasts to stimulate milk production, and she too disappeared into the night.

I remember lying in the hospital cot, despondent and crying. My husband spooned me and cried with me. I remember saying, “They keep telling me to breastfeed, but my breasts aren’t real. They’re basically prosthetic. There’s nothing coming out of them.”

Hours passed and I kept going into the hallway to try to look at baby John. I could see him in the glass box, with a blindfold on. It hurt my soul to think about how confused and alone he must feel.

Later I checked on him again, but this time I could see he was crying. That was the last straw. I called the nurse and demanded they give him formula. She told me that only the chief resident or pediatrician can authorize formula, and he was tied up in an emergency C-section. Are you kidding me, I thought.

Finally, hours later, a 20-something child shows up in my room in the dark. She tells me that the benefits of breastfeeding include lower rates of diabetes, obesity and heart disease, as well as higher IQ. Was I sure that I wanted formula? I told her yes, because my baby is alone in a glass box and screaming for food, which apparently he needs to survive. She said OK.

Day 2

Eventually the sun came up, and I expected to wake up relieved. The morning nurse came in and shattered my relief. She said that she attempted to give John formula but he wouldn’t latch onto the nipples for the bottles they stocked. The nipples were the long skinny kind, and John had a good natural latch. “This baby knows what’s best: breastfeeding” she declared in seeming triumph.

She then proceeded to explain to me that I really should work on feeding him, because he needed to eat to get rid of the bilirubin. It was only then that she explained that high bilirubin levels can lead to brain damage. But I ought not to worry, because her own children looked like oompa loompas when they were born and now they’re very intelligent. Oh good, thanks, I thought.

My parents, sister and brother-in-law came to Brooklyn that day to visit me. They were shocked to find John in a glass box and me sobbing in my hospital room, since they heard that yesterday’s birth had been super easy. Yes, the nurses eventually wheeled John’s glass box into my hospital room, because his non-stop screaming was disturbing the other babies in the nurse’s station. This gave me relief in a sense. I played music for him and held his hand. But it was awful to watch him cry.

Thankfully, my sister was lactating at the time, and she breastfed John. She told me his latch was deep, perfect and painless, unlike her own son, who had a tongue tie and a shallow latch. I saw him take big gulps, and when he unlatched there was a dribble of milk down his cheek. I wept tears of joy.

The Fed is Best Foundation supports safe, laboratory-tested donor milk supplemental feeding. Had John’s mother been provided formula when requested, she may not have needed to supplement her son through casual donation. 

It was against hospital policy for my sister to feed John, as the morning nurse had told me, when I made the mistake of mentioning it. So literally I guarded the door while my sister fed my child to keep him alive. It was freaking nuts.

A lactation consultant came in after visiting hours and showed me how to use a hospital-grade pump, which she wheeled into my room. I pumped and pumped but literally nothing came out. The LC was able to hand express a few watery drops of milk from my breasts, and she declared that they were so “full and healthy-looking. Surely your milk would come in.” Again, I explained my deformity and surgeries. She asked me what my surgeons had told me, and I said they weren’t sure what my outcome would be, but it was theoretically possible to breast feed.

My sister had hand pumped another 2 oz or so and left it in the hospital room for us before she went home. Later that evening, when my baby woke up hungry, I pipette fed him the breast milk. Unsurprisingly, his bilirubin levels dropped significantly since he had finally eaten, and they told me that I would likely be released the next day. I only had 2 oz of breast milk for the night. Once it was gone, I had no plan.

Day 3

The next morning, the nurse announced that John’s bilirubin levels had inched up again, but since he was a day older, he was technically out of the danger zone. She encouraged me to keep breastfeeding, and told me we would be OK. Throughout that day, I kept pumping and getting nothing. The LC kept telling me, “Pumps don’t work for some moms. The best pump in the world is a baby!”

I kept putting him at my breast, and I could tell that he was suckling but not gulping, as he had done at my sister’s breast. I pipette fed him formula while he suckled. He still refused to latch onto the formula bottle nipple. I left the hospital feeling as if I was stepping into a void, where nobody would hear me cry.

The third night was restless. John kept waking up crying. I didn’t have formula at home, so I was just putting him on my breasts. He would suckle and fall asleep after 10 minutes. An hour later the same thing would happen.

Day 4

In the morning, I was overjoyed to see the pee strip on his diaper had changed colors! He must have gotten some milk and peed! But when my husband and I removed the diaper, we saw that the urine looked like it was slightly bloody. My husband googled it, and found “brick dust” indicates severe dehydration.

I panicked. I told my husband to go out and buy formula. ANY formula. ANY bottle. Because of the jaundice, we had our first pediatrician appointment that morning. When his pediatrician came into our exam room, she found me frantically squirting formula into John’s mouth, since he wouldn’t latch onto that nipple. He was sort of gagging on it, swallowing some, and the rest was spilling all over him but I didn’t care.

Thankfully, my pediatrician just seemed grateful that we would be switching to formula. She told us to research anatomical bottles, that John might have better luck with a different type of nipple. Until then, I had no idea that baby bottles came in different nipple formats. I’d always thought of them as universal.

He latched right on, guzzled formula as heartily as he could, and then unlatched. He burped like a trucker, with a stream of milk dribbling down his chin. He looked happy, like he had when my sister fed him. He went right to sleep and stayed asleep for hours.  The jaundice faded in a day and a half. John had lost 10% of his weight, but he put it right back on in the first week. He was super cute, alert, and clearly thriving.

Phototherapy-requiring jaundice as well as infant hunger and dehydration are improved with ad-lib supplementation.

Still, I wouldn’t let the guilt leave me. I spent weeks taking supplements, and pumping. The most I ever got was one ounce A DAY, which I dutifully fed him. I paid for a consultation with a lactation doctor, who helped me buy domperidone. As soon as I started to take the domperidone, I got a horrible headache and much of my visual field became watery and blurry. By then my husband was back at work, and it was just really scary not to be able to see, so I gave up on it immediately. I returned the hospital grade pump I rented. And I never looked back.

Since giving up on breastfeeding, I started to look at some of the studies that supposedly validate the benefits of breastfeeding. I was shocked by how few studies had any adequate controls for class and socioeconomic status.  I am upper middle class and privileged, as are many of my friends. Some of them are downright rich. Their mothers all formula fed in the 80’s, and yet, none of my friends are obese, dull, or have diabetes. I began to seriously doubt the data that is out there.

As a philosophy major, I am accustomed to analyzing magical thinking, that is, thinking that is not supported by the evidence. The vain hope behind much of the magical thinking that I see is a desire to return to nature. Nature is best. Nature is right. Nature is true. And if we stop being artificial, we as humans will be better off. Biological systems work, BUT they are not necessarily efficient or good.

If your baby is hungry, feed her. And if other moms guilt you, remember that they are scared and alone too.

#FedisBest

— Lilian B.

Here’s John now!


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.

Donate to Fed is Best