Open Letter to Obstetrician-Gynecologists and Family Practitioners on Counseling Expectant Mothers on the Importance of Safe Infant Feeding

Dear Obstetrician-Gynecologist and Family Practitioner,

I am writing to you as a mother and advocate for Fed is Best.

You may have seen the story of Landon Johnson, who was welcomed into the world by his parents in February 2012.  Like most new parents, Landon’s mom and dad were lead to believe that Jillian would produce enough breast milk to meet Landon’s caloric needs.  The hospital where they delivered was “Baby-Friendly” and would only provide formula with a doctor’s prescription.

While in the hospital, Landon cried whenever he was not latched onto his mom’s breast. Jillian described him as inconsolable.  She was told that this was normal.  At less than 3 days of life they were discharged from hospital after having the appropriate number of wet and dirty diapers.  However, less than 12 hours later, Landon was readmitted to hospital after suffering cardiac arrest due to severe dehydration.  He suffered brain injury and ultimately died in the arms of his parents when life support was terminated.  His is a story that you cannot read without tears in your eyes. Continue reading

Jillian Johnson and The Fed is Best Foundation Interview on the Doctors Show

By The Doctors Staff on 12:00 AM PT, May 9, 2017

Questions to Ask Your Health Providers to See if They Believe that Fed is Best

Mothers have reported feeling unprepared for their birth and postpartum experiences and that their newborns experienced complications from underfeeding due to excessive pressure to exclusively breastfeed.  It is important to know your health providers, their perspectives on infant feeding, supplementation and keeping your baby safe from complications and hospitalization.  These are a list of questions to ask your health provider to see if they and their hospital believe that Fed is Best.


What do I do if my milk does not come in and my child is not getting enough milk?

If they are unwilling to discuss this possibility and are unwilling to tell you how to protect your child from complications, then they are not being honest with you and are violating a basic ethical obligation required of all health providers. They should be able to tell you that supplementation with formula or safe, tested donor breast milk can protect your child from complications if your breast milk is not enough.


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Breastfeeding Before Babies: The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative’s Unwillingness to Change or Accept Responsibility

BY CHRISTIE DEL CASTILLO-HEGYI, M.D., Co-Founder of the FEd is Best Foundation

Every patient-healthcare provider relationship is governed by four central principles of medical ethics, which are the following:

  1. Beneficence – Health care providers have the duty to provide care in a way that benefits a patient, increases their safety, their immediate and long-term health, and their comfort.
  2. Non-maleficence – First, do no harm. This principle requires that health professionals do not intentionally harm or injure a patient either through acts of commission or omission. If an intervention causes more harm to a patient than doing nothing, you do not intervene.
  3. Respect for Patient Autonomy – With any health care decision, the patient has the right to full disclosure of the risks and benefits of any intervention, regardless of how rare, so that they may act in their own or their children’s best interests to get the best outcomes with the least risk involved. Patient autonomy can only be fully realized if they are given honest and complete information on any and all the risks and benefits, whether common or rare, so that they may voluntarily choose, free of coaxing or coercion, in order to optimize their own or their children’s health outcomes.
  4. Respect for Human Rights – In 1948, the United Nations published the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which subsequently charged governments, doctors and health workers to protect the human rights and human dignity of all people. It provides special protection of the physical integrity of those who are unable to consent, which includes children. These human rights include the right to food and water to prevent starvation and the associated injury to the brain and vital organs.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative has violated all four of these core principles of medical ethics through its policies and has reiterated its commitment to defending its dangerous policies over their commitment to patient safety in their recent dismissive response to Landon Johnson’s accidental starvation death caused by the Baby-Friendly policies. Continue reading

From Dr. Brian Symon: Words of Advice on Early Supplemented Breastfeeding Until Full Milk Production

Given new scientific data that exclusively breastfed newborns are in fact at significant risk for brain-threatening hypoglycemia, jaundice and dehydration, mothers are asking how they can supplement in the first days of life without compromising their long-term breastfeeding success. What they don’t realize is that supplemented breastfeeding in the first days of life transitioning into full breastfeeding or combination feeding was in fact the norm before the WHO/UNICEF Baby-Friendly exclusive breastfeeding guidelines. In fact, the historical evidence shows that all native breastfeeding countries, before the Baby-Friendly guidelines, supplemented their newborns with the milk of wet nurses, sugar water and other forms of liquid nutrition, also called “pre-lacteal feeds,” almost universally until a mother’s milk came in. The reasons for supplementation were to prevent newborn hunger, starvation, jaundice, dehydration and hypoglycemia.  Despite widespread mother-led supplementation of newborns in places like Bangladesh, mothers successfully breastfed the vast majority of their babies up to one (98%) to two years (89%) of age.  We used common sense to feed our babies and that is how we protected them in the first days of life and beyond.  Sadly, since the publication of the exclusive breastfeeding guidelines, hospitalizations for jaundice and dehydration have steadily increased and are now the leading causes of newborn hospitalization worldwide.

Here is Dr. Brian Symon talking about supplemented breastfeeding in the early days and how to transition over to full or combination breastfeeding.

By Dr. Brian Symon, General (family) Practitioner, Adelaide, South Australia

My heart goes out to the mothers writing about their struggle to breast feed and in some cases, babies ‘failing to thrive‘.  Landon Johnson’s story is a tragedy.

As a Family Physician my work is largely focused on the care of pregnant women and newborn babies.

My stance is very simple.

1. The ONLY logical reason for having a child is ‘the joy of parenting’.

We don’t do it because it’s easy.

We don’t do it for the “life style”.

We don’t do it for the “money”.

We do it for the deep joy of raising a child and seeing that baby thrive and develop.

If it’s not being joyful for the mothers whom I care for I want to change things so that the pleasure and joy returns. Continue reading

New Moms: You Are Not Alone. Please Don’t Suffer In Silence

On Tuesday, Kim Chen, a grieving father and widower, shared his late wife Florence Leung’s struggles with postpartum depression and breastfeeding on a Facebook page dedicated to her memory. He encouraged new moms to get help and to not succumb to pressures to breastfeed.

Chen wrote,

“For all the new moms experiencing low mood or anxiety, please seek help and talk about your feelings. You are Not alone. You are Not a bad mother. Do not EVER feel bad or guilty about not being able to “exclusively breastfeed”, even though you may feel the pressure to do so based on posters in maternity wards, brochures in prenatal classes, and teachings at breastfeeding classes. Apparently the hospitals are designated “baby-friendly” only if they promote exclusive-breastfeeding.”

Our thoughts are with Mr. Chen, his family, and their son, who now has to grow up without his mother. We’ve reached out to him to offer our support and resources during this impossible time.

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Fed is Best Foundation Charm Fundraiser

We are the Fed Is Best Foundation and we thank you for visiting our page and supporting our work with your donation! Your donation of any size is greatly appreciated – and will help us meet our goals and work to ensure that all babies are fed and nourished with safe, evidence-based practices.

A special bonus for this fundraiser is that gifts of $20 or more get a special thank you! #FedIsBest Advocates donating $20 and up will receive a #FedIsBest charm (only available here!) just in time for the holiday season.

Proudly show your support for all parents and feeding methods and help us reach our goal to ensure all babies are fed and nourished in the ways that are best for them and their families.

You can donate by clicking here for our Indiegogo fundraiser tool:

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Introducing Dr. Brian Symon, Fed is Best Family Medicine Advisor

Dr. Brian Symon, Fed is Best Supporter and Advisor

We are proud to introduce Brian Symon, M.D. as a member of our advisory team here at the Fed Is Best Foundation!

He has been a general practitioner in Australia since 1978, and has spent the last 16 years as a procedural rural General Practitioner. He also spent 4 years in the academic arena at the University of Adelaide prior to returning to private general practice.

His major medical interest is the care of sleep, feeding, and behavioural problems in young children – parents come to his clinic to resolve sleep problems in their babies, as well as pregnant mothers who wish to to learn strategies to avoid future sleep disturbances. Continue reading

Recent Article Discusses WHO Recommendation to Avoid Supplementation in Newborns Involves Risks and Does Not Improve Breastfeeding Rates

Written by Fed is Best Co-Founder, Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D.

In the latest issue of The Journal of the American Medical Assocation (JAMA), pediatricians and public health investigators Dr. Valerie Flaherman, M.D., M.P.H. and Dr. Isabelle Von Kohorn, M.D., Ph.D. co-wrote an editorial on the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF)’s updated recommendations for primary care interventions that support breastfeeding. Continue reading