Baby friendly Hospital Initiative Is The Worst Thing I Have Experienced In My 20 Years As A NICU Nurse

Dear Parents,

It’s taken me years to find the courage to contact the Fed is Best Foundation with my experiences of working in a baby-friendly hospital.  “Baby-Friendly” is the worst thing I have experienced in my 20 years as a NICU nurse. My colleagues and I have tried many times to express our concerns with the number of NICU admissions we receive. Eighty percent of our admissions are because of baby un-friendly protocols for hyperbilirubinemia, hypoglycemia, excessive weight loss, and dehydration in our hospital from insufficient breastfeeding. We are a small unit, and we have had around 150 plus admissions last year from insufficient feeding. Sadly, we’ve had bad outcomes.

Many of my colleagues are very frustrated….but others have drank the kool-aid—believing drops of colostrum are all the baby needs—which is blatantly false. The lactation nurses audit charts daily and report nurses for supplementing babies, then they go to moms’ rooms to reeducate them on the “dangers” of formula—another blatant lie. The nurses who are reported must have a counseling session with management for supposedly “overfeeding” and not following “baby-friendly” protocols.

 

 

The research shows that colostrum has fewer calories than mature milk and has only 3 calories in one teaspoon. Clearly, feeding a baby drops of colostrum is NOT enough.

 

FIBF: The promotion of exclusive breastfeeding has taken an irresponsible detour by demonizing formula milk in the hopes of encouraging mothers to exclusively breastfeed when for up to 15% of the population, it is not only impossible, it is unsafe. Formula milk has been depicted as a dangerous form of nutrition for babies, which is absolutely false. The intent is to shame and guilt parents for using it. Such characterization of formula as harmful and substandard puts infant lives at risk as mothers with insufficient milk have and will sometimes unwittingly starved their infants in order to meet the socially expected standard of exclusive breastfeeding, particularly if they are not informed of the harmful consequences like impaired brain development and disability.

It’s very common for hungry babies to be crying out on the postpartum floor. We are supposed to encourage “cluster feeding” (nonstop feeding at the breast) and skin-to-skin contact when they are crying, but if there isn’t enough colostrum they just keep crying.

FIBF: The Academy Of Breastfeeding Medicine defines cluster feeding as “several short feedings close together.”  However, mothers are being told constant and prolonged feeding around the clock is “cluster feeding” and this is where confusion that can result and harm begins. There is a point when cluster feeding becomes a clear sign of insufficient breast milk and/or insufficient transfer of milk and those signs must be taken seriously for the health and safety of the infant. Mothers tell us they receive conflicting information and as a result, they become very frustrated, lose confidence and want to stop breastfeeding. It is important to define what cluster feeding really is as health professionals and evaluate and intervene when an infant is in danger of insufficient feeding complications. 

I encourage all of the postpartum nurses to check blood sugar (glucose) for excessive crying and unsatisfied breastfeeding, but for the most part, they don’t usually do that. Mother–baby nurses are terrified to supplement babies for fear of being audited and disciplined. It’s so sad.

FIBF: A check of their glucose, bilirubin, weight and possibly their electrolytes should be performed by a nurse, physician or nurse practitioner to assess whether a newborn is being sufficiently fed and whether supplementation is needed to protect your newborn. Research tells us that 1 in 5 mothers have delayed onset of full milk production, so we simply cannot ignore the abnormal behavior of a non-stop crying baby, knowing there will be babies who need to be supplemented. 

All babies have standing orders for exclusive breastfeeding unless a mom demands formula (in which case she must be “reeducated”) or the baby has already become sick and symptomatic from insufficient feeding. Even hypoglycemic babies don’t always get supplemented; they get glucose gel and spoon-fed a couple of drops of colostrum on the floor, which just causes spikes and drops [in blood sugar levels] until the babies are finally admitted to the NICU for D10 [dextrose] bolus and PIV [IV insertion, which is painful and carries the risk of tissue damage and infection].

Click here for a video that features Co-Founder Dr. Christie del Castillo-Hegyi narrating a presentation on the effects of underfeeding on the newborn brain:

 

Pacifiers are forbidden in the mother–baby unit, and if parents bring their own, nurses and lactation consultants are to reeducate them of the “so-called dangers.”

There is no research that shows pacifiers cause nipple confusion or are detrimental to breastfeeding. Pacifiers have been shown to reduce the risks of SIDS.

 

This is what I  commonly experience at work:
  • When our supplement numbers go up all nurses get “talked to” at shift change.
  • Charts are audited each shift by the charge nurse, then reaudited regularly by lactation.
  • We are required to fill out multiple forms with the nurse’s name, doctor, the reason for formula, and that reeducation was given to the mother if it is not for a specific medical condition every time we initiate formula. 
  • Every bottle has to be “signed out” with the patient’s name, lot number, expiration date, and reason and is tracked, just like we do with narcotics and medications.
  • Sweet ease [sugar water] is locked up and requires a doctor’s order. 
  • We are also required to dump out anything above the recommended volume of 10 ml of formula before giving mom the bottle to make sure she does not give the baby any extra, even if they are still hungry and crying. 
  • Babies only  get supplemented if their weight loss is >10%, even if they are showing other signs of hunger. Sadly, some health care providers have said to keep exclusively breastfeeding,  despite a weight loss of greater than 10%, because “the scale was probably wrong.”
  • Babies are left alone in the room with the mom, even after a surgical birth or if they are sick, because they don’t care about safety, just breastfeeding and skin-to-skin, so they can meet the insurance reimbursement breastfeeding threshold.

It is very sad that we are required to make babies physically ill before we are allowed to feed them. My advice to all parents is to bring their own ready-to-feed formula and sterile nipples for supplementing, because your baby is just a number, and only parents can protect their babies when they are crying in hunger and supplementing is needed!

-Sincerely, M. R-O. BSN, RNC-NIC


Are you a health care provider who has concerns about the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative? We have a lare private support group to join. Click here

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?

Hospital Drops Baby-Friendly Program After Doctor’s Baby Was Harmed

What is “Cluster Feeding” and Is It Normal?

I Dropped my Baby in a Baby-Friendly Hospital While I was Alone Recovering from a Cesarean Section

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Speaks Out About The Dangerous And Deadly Practices Of The BFHI

NICU Nurse Discloses Newborn Admission Rates From Breastfeeding Complications in BFHI Unit

“Is Baby-Friendly Baby Safe?,” Fetus & Newborn Conference 2018

Pediatrician and Other Physician Views on the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

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

 

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I Dropped my Baby in a Baby-Friendly Hospital While I was Alone Recovering from a Cesarean Section

 

Step 7 of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) policy requires parents to room in with their baby 24 hours a day immediately after delivery.

Mothers are commonly sleep-deprived and profoundly exhausted after labor and delivery, some laboring for > 24 hours, some recovering from major surgery. They are required to nurse and care for a newborn almost immediately after delivery with few exceptions. Maternal exhaustion has lead to tragic and preventable accidental newborn falls from bed and suffocation from falling asleep while breastfeeding in bed. These accidents have resulted in brain injury, severe disability, and rare deaths in previously healthy infants. The elimination of newborn nurseries by hospitals has increased as a result of the Baby-Friendly policy. These tragic events received the attention of pediatricians and the Neonatology Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics who has published their concerns in the medical journals of JAMA and JAMA Pediatrics and Pediatrics.

In this recent article that was published in pediatrics, In-hospital Neonatal Falls: An Unintended Consequence of Efforts to Improve Breastfeeding, falls that occur when caregivers fall asleep is a consistent theme in the reported series. In a review of patient safety data over a 9-year period, Wallace reported that 150 of 272 neonatal falls occurred after a caregiver fell asleep while holding the newborn.7 Several smaller series report that 36% to 66% of in-hospital neonatal falls involved caregivers falling asleep.1,3,4,12 Not surprisingly, these falls transpired most commonly during the night or early morning hours. Similar to our series, Galuska13 described 5 cases at a single center in which all neonates fell from their mothers’ arms in the early morning hours, continuing to implicate fatigue as a factor.

Nicole Writes:

I delivered my baby shortly after midnight via emergency c-section at 36+4 weeks. I was doing lots of skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding with assistance, but his blood sugar was low, and formula milk was needed to stabilize his blood sugar.  It felt like we had to force him to drink it and that concerned me.

Thankfully, my mom was staying with me to care for me and my baby on the first day. I was medicated with narcotics every few hours for pain from my surgery and I developed body shaking and my skin was itching constantly.  My mom had to leave for a bit, so I was alone; but my mom told the nurses, so they knew I was alone caring for my baby in this condition.

 I hadn’t slept in 36 hours or eaten in 24 hours, and I was profoundly exhausted, emotional, and in pain and was expected to care for my baby anyway.

I hadn’t seen a nurse in a while, so I called my mom to see when she would be back, and she said it would be an hour. I woke up to my mom shaking me and two nurses hovering over my baby. I dropped him from my bed. I was so sleep-deprived and very sedated from being medicated that I didn’t even hear him screaming.  According to my mom, I was completely unresponsive. The nurses took my baby to the NICU to check him out, and I couldn’t even react; I didn’t know how to. I just kept going over everything in my mind. 

What if I killed my baby? What if I hurt him? What if he has a brain injury? Do I even deserve to have this baby? What if he gets taken away? He literally fell a few feet from my arms to the ground. A tiny, not even 24-hour-old preemie.

 Why are new mothers expected to take care of their babies when they are recovering from major surgery? Why isn’t there a nursery to take your baby to when you need one, for safety? Why hadn’t the nurses checked on me?  I hadn’t seen them in at least 1 hour before I fell asleep. Why didn’t they check on us when he was screaming bloody murder? The nurse’s station was right outside my room and my mom heard him all the way down the hall.  Why was I given a dangerous amount of Percocet and expected to take care of myself and my baby?  I WAS ANGRY!

Because I was medicated and profoundly exhausted and alone with my baby, he fell out of my hospital bed easily.

In this recent article that was published in pediatrics, In-hospital Neonatal Falls:An Unintended Consequence of Efforts to Improve Breastfeeding, falls that occur when caregivers fall asleep is a consistent theme in reported series. In a review of patient safety data over a 9-year period, Wallace reported that 150 of 272 neonatal falls occurred after a caregiver fell asleep while holding the newborn.7 Several smaller series report that 36% to 66% of in-hospital neonatal falls involved caregivers falling asleep.1,3,4,12 Not surprisingly, these falls transpired most commonly during night or early morning hours. Similar to our series, Galuska13 described 5 cases at a single center in which all neonates fell from their mothers’ arms in the early morning hours, continuing to implicate fatigue as a factor.

What is more ludicrous is that the 24-hour rooming-in policy has been shown to have no effect on increasing sustained breastfeeding after discharge. The 2017 WHO revised breastfeeding guidelines reviewed all the data regarding this policy and showed no effect of 24-hour rooming-in on breastfeeding rates at 3-4 months. Despite the negative short-term effects of this policy on parental sleep and rare serious effects on the infant in the form of falls and sudden unexpected postnatal collapse (SUPC), neither the WHO nor Baby-Friendly USA has changed this recommendation. In fact, health professionals are scripted to try to discourage parents from sending their infants to the nursery if they express the need for sleep, which ultimately puts infants at risk by perpetuating the unsafe condition of being cared for by an impaired parent. 

Nicole continues:

I don’t know how he wasn’t severely hurt, but I was beyond thankful.  Minus being slightly hypothermic, his exam was normal.  Despite being high risk, 4 weeks early, having low blood sugar, and being dropped, we avoided a NICU stay. I had a super easy recovery at home, having a little trouble gaining weight, we are both doing wonderfully. He is growing, meeting or exceeding all of the milestones, and I couldn’t be more in love with him.


More information and stories about newborn falls:

Breastfeeding Improvement Initiatives May Increase Risk of Newborn Falls

 

“Is Baby-Friendly Baby Safe?,” Fetus & Newborn Conference 2018

My Baby Was Put in a Dangerous Situation By Rooming-In with an Exhausted Mom

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Speaks Out About The Dangerous And Deadly Practices Of The BFHI

 

Breastfeeding initiatives can have unintended consequences

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

 

Nurses Are Speaking Out About The Dangers Of The Baby-Friendly Health Initiative

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

NICU Nurse Discloses Newborn Admission Rates From Breastfeeding Complications in BFHI Unit

Pediatrician and Other Physician Views on the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

Baby-Friendly Protocol Complications in the Media

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The Letter Not Only Protected Me; It Protected The Nurses Too

The Letter was from my psychiatrist. It was our way of beating a system that neither of us agreed with, or believed was good for my mental health. It provided protection for me to make decisions that went against the Baby-Friendly Hospital mandates. 

The amount of stuff a pregnant woman brings to the hospital for delivery gets progressively smaller, the more children she has. With my first child, I brought three bags; I ended up ignoring 90% of the contents and gave my husband fits when he loaded the car for the ride home. By the time I packed the hospital bag for my third child, everything fit neatly into a small duffel. Even then, I felt like I was overpacking. As long as I had a phone charger, some lip balm, and the Letter, I knew I’d be fine. 

The Letter was new; I didn’t have it for my other two birth experiences.  It was the result of a long, painful journey, and it embodied all of the knowledge I’d gained over the past several years. It represented a feeling of hope I carried with me as I walked onto the labor and delivery floor at my hospital. Things would be different this time. 

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Dr. Nicole King Warns About Dangers of Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative at USDA Dietary Guidelines Meeting

On August 11, 2020, Dr. Nicole King, Anesthesiologist, Critical Care Intensivist, Patient Safety Expert and Senior Advisor to the Fed is Best Foundation spoke at the USDA Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee meeting warning of the dangers and patient rights violations of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. Watch her address below.

Good afternoon, my name is Nicole King and I am a mother and a physician.  As an anesthesiologist and intensive care physician, I am faced with life and death circumstances every day.  In no way did I ever consider breastfeeding my child would be as stressful as supporting a COVID patient through their critical illness.  Five years ago, I realized how wrong I was.

As a new mother who had had a breast reduction and a physician, I should have known better, but I did not. I fed into the same propaganda, misinformation and fervor around breastfeeding that has grown over the last 30 years as a result of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and the WHO’s Ten Steps [to Successful Breastfeeding]. I was not informed of its risks and followed the exclusive breastfeeding guidelines, and as a result, my newborn lost excessive weight and was readmitted for dehydration and jaundice.

The current USDA guidelines are filled with the same soft science riddled by confounding factors, that has led to the shaming of women who are unable to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months. The guidelines are an ableist and elitist narrative and read as an invitation to admonish women for failing to produce enough milk for her child. It blatantly ignores research that clearly shows that delayed lactogenesis of mature milk is common, found in up to 40% of first-time mothers and 22% of all mothers, even those who are motivated to exclusively breastfeed.  Never mind the 15% of women who are incapable of sustaining breastfeeding past the first month, even with lactation support.

If you are ill and in the hospital, nutritionists are there to calculate the calories needed to feed you in order for you to thrive and recover. Why then are we so easily fooled into thinking an infant who is building muscle, fat and brain cells can be sustained on far less than their caloric needs, purported by the Baby-Friendly policy? If the “biological norm” is put forth as a reason to exclusively breastfeed, then why are exclusively breastfed infants being admitted daily for dehydration, jaundice, and hypoglycemia? Why do we continue to insist on a policy that increases the risk of harm to infants while vilifying supplementation that prevents serious complications? Every day, I protect my patients with medications, machines and nutritional alternatives to overcome so many failures of the “biological norm.” I do this because I too am human and understand that we care and love for each other regardless of our ability to live up to a standard of perfection. Yet we allow babies to become seriously ill by pressuring mothers to achieve this standard of perfection that millions cannot safely achieve. If judicious and humane supplementation is the difference between a hospitalized and a safely breastfed child, then we have failed all mothers and infants in this country by disparaging its use.

The USDA draft policy continues to ignore these realities and thus fails to protect countless infants.  National guidelines should never encourage a policy that is directly responsible for the leading cause of rehospitalization of healthy term infants. And most importantly, as a national guideline, it should apply to all mothers, regardless of her ability to breastfeed, across all socioeconomic demographics.

As a mother who followed these guidelines and was led to rehospitalize her own infant, I beg you to consider the plight of all mothers and infants in this country. Every infant deserves to be protected from hospitalization and the complications of an exclusive breastfeeding policy.   And their mothers deserve to know that breast milk is but one way to best nourish their children.  The USDA is responsible for every child in the US and their policy should reflect this responsibility.


Dr. Nicole King, M.D. is a patient safety expert and Senior Advisor of the Fed is Best Foundation. She is a board-certified anesthesiologist and critical care intensivist.

Hospital Drops Baby-Friendly Program After Doctor’s Baby Was Harmed

Baby-Friendly: Failure and the Art of Misdirection

Information for Hospitals: Ensuring Safety for Breastfed Newborns

Fed is Best Statement to the USDA Regarding the Harms of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

 

 

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Our Close Call with Our Baby’s Life While Exclusively Breastfeeding Haunts Us

Written By Ansley T.

When my baby was 5 days old, I got a call from the pediatrician we chose before birth. As soon as I answered, she started speaking very fast and explained that Northside Hospital had notified her that one of our son’s Newborn Screening Test results had come back with an abnormal reading;  he needed to be evaluated by a doctor urgently, but in the meantime, I needed to be sure to feed him every two hours. I couldn’t even compute all she said, but I explained that we were already in the NICU at Children’s Hospital because of his low body temperature on the first night home from the hospital.  We found out that day our son has medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCADD).

WHAT IS MEDIUM-CHAIN ACYL-COA DEHYDROGENASE DEFICIENCY (MCADD)?

Medium-Chain Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency, or MCADD, is a rare genetic metabolic condition in which a person has difficulty breaking down fats to use as an energy source while fasting. It is estimated to affect one (1) in every seventeen thousand (17,000) people in the United States. All babies have a newborn screening (NBS) blood test to check for various genetic and metabolic disorders such as MCADD, but it can take five or more days until the results are reported.

Our close call with our baby’s life haunts us, but it propels us to advocate and educate others—about MCADD, yes, but also about the risks of exclusive breastfeeding, before the onset of copious milk production or insufficient colostrum amounts before those crucial Newborn Screening test results are back, which typically takes 5-7 days. We share our story openly and widely, passionately trying to dispel the myths propagated by the “Breast is Best” movement.

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Is My Baby’s Weight Loss Normal Or Excessive?

The Newborn Weight Loss Tool can provide an answer.

Parents are taught that it’s normal for babies to lose 7–10% of their body weight in the first few days after birth, but is this true? Well, that depends. According to the AAP, a baby who loses more than 7% of his body weight may be losing excessive weight and requires a comprehensive lactation evaluation to rule out delayed onset of copious milk production, primary lactation failure, and/or infant oral anomalies that prevent adequate colostrum/milk transfer.

From the American Academy of Pediatrics HealthyChildren.org website. Breastfed newborns should lose no more than 7 percent of birth weight in the first few days after birth before starting to gain weight again. (Accessed July 16, 2020)

Weight loss has typically been assessed using simple percentages, but now there is a much more precise and accurate way to track excessive weight loss in newborns and many hospitals, pediatricians, and lactation consultants are adopting this method for greater accuracy in making clinical recommendations. The Newborn Weight Tool, or NEWT, is an online tool, the first of its kind, to help pediatricians determine whether exclusively breastfed newborns have lost too much weight in the first days of life. The tool was developed at Penn State College of Medicine through research conducted jointly with University of California, San Francisco. It was developed using a research sample of hourly birth weights from more than 100,000 breastfed newborns. For a quick synopsis of this tool from the lead investigator and one of developers of the tool, Dr. Ian Paul, watch the video below.

Source: Penn State Health News

In this video, Dr. Ian Paul, professor of pediatrics and public health sciences at Penn State College of Medicine and pediatrician at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, talks about how NEWT fills an important void.  Determining whether an exclusively breastfed newborn is losing excessive weight is important because higher weight loss almost always reflects suboptimal milk intake. It is also associated with increased risk of medical complications such as low blood sugar, jaundice, and dehydration, which can result in the need for medical interventions and future health and developmental problems. This weight-loss tool shows that how quickly babies lose weight is just as important as how much they lose.

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The Loss Of Our Son Has Devastated Our Family – This Time I Will Be Supplementing With Formula After Every Nursing session

I had a beautiful, healthy pregnancy with Bryson, with the help of Clomid (a fertility drug), like my first pregnancy with my daughter. After about 31 hours of induced labor, Bryson was here. Seven pounds, twelve ounces, and seemingly healthy! He latched like a champ immediately, and we had zero complications of any sort while in the hospital. He had wet and dirty diapers and was breastfeeding well, every 2–3 hours. His discharge weight was 7 lbs, and I had a follow-up appointment scheduled for two days later.

NEWT is the first tool that allows pediatric healthcare providers and parents to see how a newborn’s weight during the first days and weeks following childbirth compares with a large sample of newborns, which can help with early identification of weight loss and weight gain issues. Bryson was discharged with a weight loss of 9.7 percent at 36 hours of age. The NEWT graph indicates his weight loss was excessive.

The first two days at home were easy. He was a sleepier baby than my daughter was, and unless wet or hungry, he was calm. I continued to breastfeed him for 20 minutes every three hours as instructed. I did begin to notice that his newborn onesie seemed quite big on him. His wet diapers did slow down on the third day, and he hadn’t pooped since the third day either. At two in the morning on July 29th, at four days postpartum, I tried to breastfeed again, but he was just too sleepy to nurse, and he would not latch no matter how hard I tried. I tried so many times, different ways, different positions. I thought he would eventually latch but he just wanted to sleep. I thought, well I can’t force-feed him, so I’ll try again after he rests a little more. I tried several times after that, and he was just less and less interested.  He had started to get pale and lethargic. It was also the day of his two-day post discharge checkup at the hospital, so I decided to take him in early, since I was getting concerned. 

During the whole drive there, I felt in my heart that time was of the essence. After the nurse checked him, she said he would have to be admitted, as he didn’t look too good, and his weight had dropped to 6 lbs 9 oz; he had lost over a pound in the four days since his birth. She turned her back, and I noticed he stopped moving. I hesitantly asked, “Is he breathing?” She turned around and yelled, “no!” then fumbled and fumbled to open a plastic bag; I finally screamed at her: “do something!” She picked him up and ran him down the hall. 

Bryson’s weight loss was 22 percent.

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Fed Is Best- And I’m Fed Up!

“Are you breastfeeding or formula feeding?”  I cringed as I overheard a complete stranger asking my husband this question while we were shopping for baby clothes. “Formula,” my husband replied. “I can’t believe she asked you that!” I exclaimed as she walked away. “How is that any of her business?” He shrugged and replied, “maybe she’s pregnant and is trying to figure out if she should breastfeed.” “It’s still none of her business,” I said. “If she had asked me, I would have said we’re breastfeeding.” 

Yes, that’s right, I would have lied to a random woman because I was afraid she would judge me. Despite my anger at this stranger, however, I wasn’t necessarily worried about what she thought of me; it was about what I thought of me. I felt guilty about formula feeding. 

It wasn’t that I didn’t try to breastfeed. It just happened that my nursing journey didn’t exactly work out the way I’d planned, and not a day goes by that I don’t feel bad or like I somehow failed my son for my inability to breastfeed. 

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Hospital Drops Baby-Friendly Program After Doctor’s Baby Was Harmed

Written by an anesthesiologist and Intensivist physician

“The biggest achievement of my life as a physician was stopping my hospital’s Baby-Friendly program after my child was harmed.”

It was September 20th, and we were headed to the hospital for my induction.  I was nervous, as any first-time mother would be. I was worried that I was doing the wrong thing, even though I knew the literature, and my physicians supported my decision for an elective induction at 40 weeks. I was already dilated to 4 cm and my baby had dropped way back at 33 weeks.  We all thought it would take just a hint of Pitocin, but I labored for 24 hours until my son was born. I was later told that he was born with a compound hand (up by his head), causing the prolonged pushing time and his distress with each contraction.

While pregnant, I had decided to attempt breastfeeding, even though I had had a breast reduction in 2003. I tried to read as much as I could, but honestly, I didn’t have any idea how much information one needed to do something that everyone swore was “best” and “natural.”  My baby was born at 4:14 a.m. I thought this would be ideal, because I would have the support and help as I learned how to be a mother, knowing more staff were available during the day.  As the first day melted into the first night, nursing became more and more painful, and he needed to feed almost continuously. When he wasn’t feeding, he was either rooting or screaming.   Continue reading

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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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