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
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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.
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There are many ways you can support the mission of the Fed is Best Foundation. Please consider contributing in the following ways:
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- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Print out our letter to obstetric providers and mail them to your local obstetricians, midwives, family practitioners who provide obstetric care and hospitals.
- 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.
- 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.
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