Baby-Friendly USA Acknowledges Their Mistakes; Are They Going To Make Real Changes In The New Year Or Are They Providing Lip Service To Mothers?

Dear BFUSA,

Thank you for your long-overdue public acknowledgment endorsing what the Fed Is Best Foundation has been fiercely advocating for over the past 3 years. 

According to your recent blog post you now agree with us that:

1. Delayed onset of copious milk production is common. 

BFUSA: “Delayed lactogenesis is actually increasingly common because the risk factors for it are potentially increasing,” Dr. Rosen-Carole says. “When a baby is born into that situation, the goal is to closely monitor what the baby is doing, instead of giving a bottle right away. “If the baby is hungry and they’re not getting enough milk out of the mother’s breast, then they need to be supplemented,” she says. 

FIBF: We have been passionately educating parents about safe breastfeeding since the beginning of our advocacy over 3 years ago with the current scientific studies that have confirmed over and over again that delayed onset of milk production and low milk supply are common.  We question why it took you so long to acknowledge this deadly and 100% preventable consequence of insufficient breastfeeding? Does this mean you will ban the belly bead stomach models that do not reflect the current science?

Will you please apologize to the thousands of mothers who bravely told their stories of accidental starvation?  You have previously tried to discredit their stories, called them “‘anxiety-provoking,” and characterized our foundation as BFHI detractors— simply because we offer a social media platform for mothers to be heard by you. Have you ever heard a mother break down and scream in horror when she learned her baby was starving to death because she followed your breastfeeding education and protocol?  We have—over and over again, and it is the most haunting sound. It’s what drives us to fiercely advocate for safe breastfeeding because no other health organization is doing so.

BFUSA: Dr. Bobbi Philipp agrees. “If you see signs that the mother’s milk is insufficient, you need to feed the baby,” she says. “And if the mother is really committed to breastfeeding, you’ve got to bridge the gap in a way that you support her, feed the baby, and don’t undermine the breastfeeding. It’s that simple.”

FIBF: Now that you are acknowledging delayed onset of milk is common, something that we have been passionately writing and speaking about for years, we expect that you will stop calling us “fibbers.” Name-calling is what a child having a temper tantrum does, not what a professional organization should do; the appropriate response to being called out and held accountably, is to take responsibility and revise your guidelines based on current research and patient feedback. Continue reading

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Dear Parents, Did You Know Just 2 Teaspoons Of Supplementation Can Protect Your Baby And Your Breastfeeding Journey?*

Written by: The Fed Is Best Foundation IBCLC Team

There have now been six studies showing that in some infants, a little bit of supplementation with two teaspoons (10 mL) of formula or donor breast milk after nursing had no effect on long-term breastfeeding. One study showed it prevented hospital readmissions in all of the supplemented newborns. Another showed it actually helped breastfeeding! 

 Why aren’t medical and lactation professionals recommending this intervention?

Many medical and lactation professionals believe that a tiny amount of formula will contaminate the baby’s gut, causing lifelong health problems. They refuse to admit that formula supplementation can be helpful, and they have baseless concerns that temporary formula supplementation will become routine for all babies.  According to Baby-Friendly USA, “donor [breast] milk takes the fight out of this.” What they mean is that the few babies who are born in a hospital with donor milk can be fully fed, while the vast majority of babies who are born in hospitals without donor milk just have to tolerate hunger and thirst so as to avoid a few teaspoons of formula.  

Did you know two teaspoons of formula or donor milk has seven calories?  

They argue that formula will change the beneficial bacteria in the baby’s gut, but this change is safe and only temporary—and pales in comparison to the risks of potentially life-threatening complications from insufficient colostrum, like jaundice, low blood sugar, and dehydration, which can be caused by acute starvation.   What about sensitizing the infant’s gut to cow’s milk protein?  There is no evidence that early limited formula supplementation has any impact on babies’ future health. If someone has this evidence, please come forward.  In addition, if anyone has is concerned about cow’s milk formula, there are formulas that have those proteins broken down (hydrolyzed) that can also be used. The fact that lactation and medical professionals have not promoted and implemented this life-saving solution shows that the real issue is bias against formula use, pure and simple.  Do they hate formula products so much that they don’t care if your baby suffers from hunger?

The question is, how many randomized, controlled studies support Step 6 of the WHO’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding to avoid supplementation from birth in order to improve breastfeeding outcomes? None. Absolutely none.

In the meantime, parents and health care professionals can be assured that if a baby shows signs of persistent hunger after breastfeeding, just a few teaspoons of formula or donor milk (if available) can satiate the baby’s unrelenting hunger, will not cause breastfeeding problems, and even reduces the risk of re-hospitalization due to the baby not getting enough milk.

As long as the mother’s milk supply is protected by the baby breastfeeding at least eight times a day, or in some cases adding milk expression to the feeding plan, the baby can return to exclusive breastfeeding when the mother’s milk comes in.

Supplementation does not destroy mothers’ confidence in their bodies; it gives them the confidence to know they can care for their babies no matter what happens, and it gives them the knowledge they need to support their milk supply until it increases to meet the baby’s needs.  

Do you want to be successful with breastfeeding while protecting your baby from hunger?  Follow your instinct and your baby’s cues, and don’t be afraid of giving your baby a little extra nutrition until your milk comes in!

The Fed Is Best Foundation IBCLC Team

#JustTwoTeaspoons   #FedIsBest  #SafeBreastfeeding

*Only some infants were supplemented. Babies received 10 mL of formula by syringe after breastfeeding if they met the following criteria: >75th %ile  weight loss for age, irritability such as crying and hungry behavior, and if their mothers requested it. Mothers were instructed to stop supplementing after their milk came in.

Note: if a baby is still showing hunger cues after those 10 mL, you can repeat with another 10 mL until the baby is satisfied. 


Resources

Feed Your Baby—When Supplementing Saves Breastfeeding and Lives

The Newborn Stomach Size Myth: It is NOT 5-7 mL

Fed is Best Feeding Plan – Updated 2018

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

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

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 us in any of the Fed is Best volunteer and advocacy, groups. Click here to join our health care professionals group. We have:  FIBF Advocacy Group, Research Group, Volunteer Group, Editing Group, Social Media Group, Legal Group, Marketing Group, Perinatal Mental Health Advocacy Group, Private Infant Feeding Support Group, Global Advocacy Group, and Fundraising Group.    Please send an email to Jody@fedisbest.org  if you are interested in joining any of our volunteer groups. 
  2. If you need infant feeding support, we have a private support group– Join us here.
  3. If you or your baby were harmed from complications of insufficient breastfeeding please send a message to contact@fedisbest.org 
  4. 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.
  5. Sign our petition!  Help us reach our policymakers, and drive change at a global level. Help us stand up for the lives of millions of infants who deserve a fighting chance.   Sign the Fed is Best Petition at Change.org  today, and share it with others.
  6. 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 FREE infant feeding educational resources to expectant moms that you know. Share the Fed is Best campaign letter with everyone you know.
  7. Write a letter to your health providers and hospitals about the Fed is Best Foundation. Write to them about feeding complications your child may have experienced.
  8. Print out our letter to obstetric providers and mail them to your local obstetricians, midwives, family practitioners who provide obstetric care and hospitals.
  9. Write your local elected officials about what is happening to newborn babies in hospitals and ask for the 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.
  10. Send us your stories. Share with us your successes, your struggles and everything 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.
  11. 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.
  12.  Shop at Amazon Smile and Amazon donates to Fed Is Best Foundation.

Or simply send us a message to find out how you can help make a difference with new ideas!

For any urgent messages or questions about infant feeding, please do not leave a message on this page as it will not get to us immediately. Instead, please email christie@fedisbest.org.

 Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you!

Click here to join us!

 

 

 

 

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Lies, Slander And Lack Of Accountability By Lactation Consultant Serena Meyer

Dear Serena Meyer, RN, IBCLC:

Your post has made unsubstantiated accusations and we would like to respond with the truth. Please start by reading our actual statements and the science we present, which can be found in our FAQs.  [Note: since Ms. Meyers has now edited her original post and deleted over 200 comments, screenshots of the post are included below.]

You (Serena Meyer) wrote:

Have you heard about Fed is Best? It’s an organization that believes that breastfeeding essentially starves babies, there is a lot of vitriol about breastfeeding and brain damage and death. It makes me feel pretty argumentative.

Every statement issued by the Foundation is cited. We rely on scientific evidence, not “belief.” We have never said breastfeeding starves babies; we have provided factual educational information that exclusive breastfeeding with insufficient supply or transfer can lead to acute and/or prolonged starvation. “Starvation” is a medical diagnosis, not “vitriol” or fear-mongering. Continue reading

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Baby-Friendly: Failure and the Art of Misdirection

By Alex Fischer, PhD Candidate, Brooke Orosz, PhD, Jody Segrave-Daly, RN, IBCLC and Christie Del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D.

Any good magician will tell you that the secret to their trade is misdirection—making the audience look one way while doing something the other way. And even knowing this, most of us are still baffled by a magician’s tricks. So it’s no wonder that Baby-Friendly USA (BFUSA) has tried to employ that same tactic in their statement titled “Fact vs FIB: The Impact of Baby-Friendly on Breastfeeding Initiation Rates.”  In this statement written by an anonymous author representing BFUSA, they attempt to dispute the findings of a recent study published in Journal of Pediatrics, “Outcomes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2018 Breastfeeding Report Card: Public Policy Implications” by Bass et al. This study examines the impact of statewide breastfeeding initiation rates as well as the impact of BFHI facilities on continued breastfeeding after hospital discharge (exclusive or combination). The Fed is Best Foundation read this study and agreed: “Baby-Friendly does not work.” These five words are the instigators of the entire statement by BFUSA and its misrepresentation of a very robust scientific study.  Continue reading

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Nurses Quit Because Of Horrific Experiences Working In Baby-Friendly Hospitals

Photo Credit: Victorian Agency for Health Information

We regularly receive messages from nurses, physicians, LCs and other health professionals. They express their concerns while asking for help and patient resources. They tell us their stories and they need support and direction of what to do about unethical and dangerous policies they are forced to practice. We collected their stories and are beginning a blog series of health professionals who are now speaking out about the Baby-Friendly Health Initiative and the WHO Ten Steps of Breastfeeding.

Dianna Talter, Pediatric Emergency Department Nurse

I am a pediatric emergency department nurse traveler and sometimes, I worked on the mother-baby unit. I will never work on a mother-baby unit again because of the terrible conditions that mothers and babies are forced to endure because of the “Baby-Friendly” (BFHI) protocol!

Mothers were expected to assume full responsibility for their babies and themselves while they were recovering from birth. Mothers were profoundly exhausted and would fall asleep in bed holding their babies. I was taken aback at the number of crying breastfeeding babies who were hungry. To meet the metrics of exclusive breastfeeding rates (80%), we could not supplement the babies and our goal was to get them discharged as exclusively breastfeeding.

Now I know why the emergency department admissions have climbed significantly for hyperbilirubinemia, hypernatremia, hypoglycemia, and seizures. I have worked in a pediatric emergency department for 20 years, and I am appalled at the lack of comprehensive breastfeeding education that is provided to mothers. They are not taught about the signs that their baby is not getting enough milk. These parents are GOOD parents and were following their breastfeeding education guidelines. It’s pure insanity! 

I took care of two babies who died needlessly from complications of acute starvation. One baby had a glucose level of 14, sodium level of 160, and was seizing. We did everything we could to save the baby, but it was too late. Her parents were failed by the current breastfeeding education, which is based on the BFHI/WHO Ten Steps. The other baby was stabilized in the ED and was transferred to the PICU [pediatric intensive care unit] only to die the next day.

Continue reading

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U.S. Study Shows Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative Does Not Work

by Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D.

On October 14, 2019, the Journal of Pediatrics published astonishing findings regarding the effects of the Baby-Friendly hospital certification on sustained breastfeeding rates as defined by the 2020 Healthy People Goals of: 

  1. any breastfeeding at 6 and 12 months
  2. exclusive breastfeeding at 3 and 6 months. 

They did so by measuring the relationship between statewide breastfeeding initiation rates data and the above breastfeeding rates. They then measured the contribution of Baby-Friendly hospital designation on these same breastfeeding outcomes.

According to the study authors, the increase in hospital designation in the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) began in 2011 when the U.S. Surgeon General issued a call to action for maternity care practices throughout the U.S. to support breastfeeding. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) became involved in promoting the BFHI policies in hospitals and health facilities, as breastfeeding was thought to be associated with lower rates of childhood obesity. The assumption was that by increasing breastfeeding rates through the BFHI, there would be a concomitant decline in childhood obesity. Upon initiation of this program, the CDC initiated surveillance of state-specific data on breastfeeding outcomes after discharge including BFHI designation rates. This data is made available to the public through the CDC Breastfeeding Report Card, which provides annual reports from 2007 through 2014 and biennial reports from 2014.

As expected, they found that states with higher breastfeeding initiation rates had higher rates of these sustained breastfeeding outcomes. You cannot have high breastfeeding rates unless mothers are given education and successfully initiate breastfeeding. However, when they measured the effects of Baby-Friendly certification, this is what they found.

“Baby-Friendly designation did not demonstrate a significant association with any post-discharge breastfeeding outcome (Figures 1, B and 2, B). There was no association between Baby-Friendly designation and breastfeeding initiation rates.” Continue reading

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FAQs Part 3: Do You Believe Exclusive Breastfeeding is a Good Goal to Promote?

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Our goal is to respond to the many statements that have been made about the Fed is Best Foundation and to answer questions we receive about what the Foundation stands for. Unfortunately, our #FedIsBest phrase has been used incorrectly by others, and it’s important that we clarify what it means and doesn’t mean. Our mission statement has evolved over time and reflects what our parents tell us they need to support them. Click here and here for FAQs part 1 and 2, respectively.

7. Do you believe exclusive breastfeeding is a good goal to promote?

 We do if a mother wants to exclusively breastfeed and they are fully informed about their individualized risk factors for delayed onset and or potential low milk supply. We promote and educate families about safe exclusive breastfeeding because no other health organization informs parents about the risks of insufficient feeding complications and how easy they are to prevent. To be fully informed, parents must be educated about both the benefits and risks of exclusive breastfeeding. Currently, they are only taught about the benefits and not the risks. Continue reading

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Fed is Best Philadephia Billboard Campaign

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

On October 16, 2019, the Fed is Best Foundation billboard went up on I-95 Northbound, 0.3 miles south of Bridge St. in the heart of Philadelphia. This billboard was purchased with donations from private family and health professional supporters of the Fed is Best Foundation. It was a billboard that did not mince words with regard to the risk of newborn brain injury and disability from insufficient feeding complications, namely phototherapy-requiring jaundice. 

Since then, several anti-Fed is Best, lactivist groups have posted about the billboard showing their clear concern about the effects of fully informing the public of these serious risks of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. We are saddened to see them express little concern about the harm caused to babies and their families by a policy that routinely shames families who choose to use formula, normalizes signs of persistent infant hunger and exaggerates the risks of formula while hiding the risk of brain injury from insufficient feeding while exclusively breastfeeding.

Screenshot from a lactation consultant facebook group

From one of the Fed is Best health professional supporters of this billboard:

If you don’t think this is happening, you’re not paying attention. You are probably getting your information from echo chambers where breastfeeding always works, and you’re ignoring any data that challenges that. We are well aware that exclusive breastfeeding often works fine–are you aware that often it does not? Are you aware of what hypoglycemia and excess bilirubin can do to the brain? Have you been listening to mothers, or reading any research outside of lactation journals?  

We get constant emails from families whose babies have suffered levels of hypoglycemia and hyperbilirubinemia known to cause brain injury. Some of these babies are disabled, possibly as a result of those complications. Some of these families have crushing medical debt on top of the anguish of knowing their healthy baby was allowed to starve, and their health care providers did nothing but push continued breastfeeding despite clear signs of inadequate milk intake. These families deserve justice.  

Many people refuse to believe that our Foundation can afford this solely through donations, and that industry money must be behind it. Again, have you been listening to mothers? Have you been reading any research outside of lactation journals? You can close your eyes and ears and believe in conspiracy theories about our funding, or you can start listening to mothers who are here in the comments on every post we put up, sharing their stories. They are out there on blogs, news stories, and other media, sharing their experiences with the same problems we are trying to prevent. We will not stop raising awareness for #safebreastfeeding until no more newborns are harmed from dangerous breastfeeding protocols.

Listen. To. Mothers.

The Fed is Best Foundation has received overwhelming support for this campaign since news of the billboard came out. As a result of several generous donations from the Fed is Best community, we have enough to purchase our next billboard! Thank you to all our generous supporters who have helped up spread the Fed is Best message. Together, we have changed the conversation regarding infant feeding to prioritize respect, inclusion, and most of all, safety for every child, regardless of the way they are fed.

This is going to be the next billboard coming your way!


To help the Fed is Best Foundation put up a billboard in a major city, please consider making a donation of any amount to our organization. Please leave in the comments your vote on what city should be next!

Donate to Fed is Best

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Every Lactation Professional Failed Us

Our daughter Ella was born in May, 2019. She weighed 7lb 15oz. I had plenty of colostrum; I was able to get quite a bit out each time I expressed but her blood sugars were continuously low; her lowest was critically low at 18. My baby was given liquid glucose and I was told to continue breastfeeding. Things were okay, and then I started noticing her skin yellowing.
She stopped nursing as much and became very lethargic.

She was discharged home on a bili blanket. I believe her bilirubin was 18.2 at discharge. I was to just breastfeed and not supplement her. That first night home she slept all night; I couldn’t even wake her to nurse. The following day we went to have her jaundice lab work. Her doctor called and said that we needed to go to the ER immediately due to her dangerously high bili level—22.

There I was, nursing my daughter under the blue lights, watching them poke her over and over again to get an IV started. I remember having to leave the room because I just couldn’t listen to her scream anymore. It broke my heart, and I just couldn’t do it.

After about 30 minutes, a machine to find her veins, and a peds consult, they finally got the IV in. They did another bili test after being under more intensive lights. It was still rising—it was now at 25. They shipped her off to St. Mary’s hospital in MN, and she stayed in the PICU for four days. She went into a little incubator on a stretcher, and I remember crying into the arms of one of the ambulance workers. She was three days old, and she stayed all alone because I have another child at home I had to take care of.  While in the PICU, she received formula and my pumped breastmilk and her jaundice began to clear.

 

The first days home went smoothly. We were supplementing with formula as instructed. But then  I saw a couple of LCs who told me to stop using formula, so I did.  One of the LCs did a weighted feed and said and she took in 2 ounces. (she was 3 weeks old)  I was told that was good but, I didn’t know it was not enough!  I believed all the lies about the amount of breastmilk babies need.

Starving your child because of believing the breastfeeding woo isn’t fair to you or the child. I suffered from PPD and would get so angry at her for crying. “I just fed you! What more do you want?!”

Three weeks or so went by, and she didn’t gain a single ounce in two weeks. The county got involved and started coming to our house for weight checks. At four months of age, she didn’t even weigh 10lb, and she was born almost 8lb.

Looking back, I feel awful. I wish I had a mother’s intuition during this time. They say that PPD can block out a mother’s instincts. It’s true. Only when my PPD was getting better did I realize the truth.  I started supplementing with formula. She’s now almost five months and weighs 13lb.

If only I knew that she was starving.

So thank you, for advocating for me and my child.

Everyone else failed us.

 

 

To learn how to safely breastfeed, please download our FREE infant feeding plan.

The Fed is Best Guide to Safe Infant Feeding: The Educational Packet

Starvation Jaundice: Risk Factors and Prevention

Starvation Jaundice and Brain Injury in Underfed Breastfed Newborns

Legal Consultation on Breastfeeding Complications Resulting in Disability

THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST IN THE FED IS BEST FOUNDATION!

Our mission statement is:

The Fed Is Best Foundation works to identify critical gaps in the current breastfeeding protocols, guidelines, and education programs and provides families and health professionals with the most up-to-date scientific research, education, and resources to practice safe infant feeding, with breast milk, formula or a combination of both.

Above all, we strive to eliminate infant feeding shaming and eliminate preventable hospitalizations for insufficient feeding complications while prioritizing perinatal mental health.

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 us in any of the Fed is Best volunteer and advocacy, groups. Click here to join our health care professionals group. We have:  FIBF Advocacy Group, Research Group, Volunteer Group, Editing Group, Social Media Group, Legal Group, Marketing Group, Perinatal Mental Health Advocacy Group, Private Infant Feeding Support Group, Global Advocacy Group, and Fundraising Group.    Please send an email to Jody@fedisbest.org  if you are interested in joining any of our volunteer groups. 
  2. If you need infant feeding support, we have a private support group– Join us here.
  3. If you or your baby were harmed from complications of insufficient breastfeeding please send a message to contact@fedisbest.org 
  4. 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.
  5. Sign our petition!  Help us reach our policymakers, and drive change at a global level. Help us stand up for the lives of millions of infants who deserve a fighting chance.   Sign the Fed is Best Petition at Change.org  today, and share it with others.
  6. 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 FREE infant feeding educational resources to expectant moms that you know. Share the Fed is Best campaign letter with everyone you know.
  7. Write a letter to your health providers and hospitals about the Fed is Best Foundation. Write to them about feeding complications your child may have experienced.
  8. Print out our letter to obstetric providers and mail them to your local obstetricians, midwives, family practitioners who provide obstetric care and hospitals.
  9. Write your local elected officials about what is happening to newborn babies in hospitals and ask for the 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.
  10. Send us your stories. Share with us your successes, your struggles and everything 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.
  11. 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.
  12.  Shop at Amazon Smile and Amazon donates to Fed Is Best Foundation.

Or simply send us a message to find out how you can help make a difference with new ideas!

For any urgent messages or questions about infant feeding, please do not leave a message on this page as it will not get to us immediately. Instead, please email christie@fedisbest.org.

 Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you!

Click here to join us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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