Fear NOT Facts Contained in Baby-Friendly Formula Feeding Waiver Forms

By Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D., Co-Founder of the Fed is Best Foundation

The primary reason why newborns experience starvation-related complications every single day as a result of the Baby-Friendly protocol is because the complications associated with the protocol are hidden from mothers who seek to breastfeed.  The primary objective of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is high exclusive breastfeeding at discharge.  Unfortunately, because the rates of insufficient breast milk and delayed lactogenesis II are high among mothers, the necessary consequences of hospital policies that seek high EBF at discharge rates are higher starvation-related complications like hyperbilirubinemia, hypernatremia, dehydration and hypoglycemia, all of which can cause newborn brain injury and permanent disability.  Below is an example of the way mothers are made to fear formula supplementation while the risks of NOT supplementing are hidden.  This is a waiver form published on the California Department of Public Health Website to provide an example of a model formula waiver form for hospitals.

Here are examples of FEAR not FACTS contained in formula feeding waiver forms that Baby-Friendly hospitals require moms to sign before they allow a newborn to be formula-fed.

1. FEAR: Supplementation CAUSES delayed milk production.

FACT: The known risk factors for delayed milk production include being a first-time mom, cesarean delivery, flat or inverted nipples, higher BMI > 27, prolonged stage II of delivery (when a mom pushes to deliver), having a large baby, excessive blood loss, being an older mom > 30, PCOS, diabetes, hypothyroidism, insufficient glandular tissue, retained placenta to name a few. While supplementation may be ASSOCIATED with delayed milk production, supplementation is in fact a REFLECTION of the need to supplement a baby who is being underfed due to delayed copious milk production.  (Pediatrics 2003, 112 (3 Pt 1): 607-19)

2. FEAR: Not exclusively breastfeeding puts my child at risk of jaundice.

FACT: Exclusive breastfeeding is among the highest risk factors for excessive jaundice requiring phototherapy admissions according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and 10-18% of exclusively breastfed newborns experience starvation jaundice from insufficient milk intake according to the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. Exclusively breastfed newborns are at higher risk of jaundice than supplemented and formula-fed newborns due to the smaller volumes of milk they receive as milk helps the baby pass bilirubin into the stool. In fact one of the ways jaundice is treated and prevented is through supplemental milk feeding.
Pediatrics, July 2004, VOLUME 114 / ISSUE 1, BREASTFEEDING MEDICINE, Volume 5, Number 2, 2010

3. FEAR: Not exclusively breastfeeding will cause my baby to be underfed

FACTS: In the largest studies of supplemented/formula-fed vs. exclusively breastfed healthy, term newborns from a large Baby-Friendly Hospital system, the exclusively breastfed babies lost almost twice as much as the supplemented/formula-fed babies. 10% of vaginally-delivered and 25% of cesarean-delivered EBF newborns lost excessive weight of >10% while NONE of the formula-fed newborns experienced this complication. In fact, exclusive breastfeeding at discharge is associated with an 11-fold higher risk of rehospitalization for dehydration and underfeeding.

Early Weight Loss Nomogram of Formula-Fed Newborns. Hospital Pediatrics May 2015, VOLUME 5 / ISSUE 5

Early Weight Loss Nomogram of Exclusively Breastfed Newborns.  Pediatrics January 2015, VOLUME 135 / ISSUE 1

Rehospitalization for Newborn Dehydration. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002;156:155-161

4: FEAR: Supplementing will CAUSE low blood sugar and colostrum protects my baby from it.

FACT: In a study of newborns fed antenatally expressed colostrum along with direct latch feeding of colostrum when compared to those who did not receive expressed colostrum, the babies fed expressed colostrum in fact had higher rates of hypoglycemia requiring admission.  Lancet 2017, 389: 2204-2213

So NO, colostrum does not protect against hypoglycemia. In fact in the most recent study of EBF newborns, 10% had blood glucose levels low enough to increase risk of lower long-term academic achievement. An even older study on low blood sugar in EBF newborns, 53 out of 200 or 26.5% developed low blood sugar within the first 6 hours of life. What protects against hypoglycemia is providing a child their full caloric requirement, which is 100-120 Cal/kg/day to prevent them from running out of caloric reserve.

Study of Asymptomatic Hypoglycemia in Full Term Exclusively Breastfed Neonates in First 48 Hours of Life Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. 2015 Sep, Vol-9(9): SC07-SC10
Association Between Transient Newborn Hypoglycemia and Fourth-Grade Achievement Test Proficiency: A Population-Based Study JAMA Pediatr. 2015;169(10):913-921.
Nutritional management of newborn infants: Practical Guidelines. World J Gastroenterol 2008 October 28; 14(40): 6133-6139      

5. FEAR: Introduction of cow’s milk will lead to cow milk protein allergy.

FACT: In a study of over 13,000 children, earlier introduction within the first 2 weeks of life of cow’s milk REDUCED their risk of cow milk protein allergy by 19-fold.

Early exposure to cow’s milk protein is protective against IgE-mediated cow’s milk protein allergy.  J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Jul;126(1):77-82.e1.

6. FEAR: Exclusive breastfeeding is the ideal way of feeding every baby and there are no risks associated it, only risks of NOT doing it.

FACT: The most significant risks to a newborn’s life and brain come from the fasting conditions imposed by exclusive breastfeeding before full milk production and these risks are hidden from mothers to gain compliance with exclusive breastfeeding.

A review of 116 cases of breastfeeding-associated hypernatremia in rural area of central Turkey. J Trop Pediatr. 2007 Oct;53(5):347-50. Epub 2007 May 12.

Hypernatremic Dehydration in Breastfed Term Infants: Retrospective Evaluation of 159 Cases. Breastfeed Med. 2017 Jan/Feb;12:5-11.

Long-Term Neurodevelopmental Outcome of Neonates with Hypernatremic Dehydration. Breastfeed Med. 2017 Apr;12:163-168

Of Goldilocks and Neonatal Hypernatremia. Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Blog.

7. FEAR: Just one bottle will ruin my child’s future health.

FACT: Just one bottle can save a child’s life and save them from a lifetime of disability.

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

Letter to doctors and parents about the dangers of insufficient exclusive breastfeeding

#FactsnotFear #FedisBest #BFHIShowMeYourFacts


The Fed is Best Foundation is dedicated to the prevention of newborn and infant starvation from insufficient exclusive breastfeeding. We do so by studying breastfeeding stories sent by mothers and the scientific literature on breastfeeding complications that lead to infant brain injury and death. Since the beginning of our campaign almost two years ago, we have received tens of thousands of newborn and infant starvation stories leading to the complications of hyperbilirubinemia, dehydration, hypernatremia,  hypoglycemia and failure to thrive. These complications occur because the current breastfeeding guidelines have not been studied for safety, operates with little awareness of the caloric and fluid requirements of newborns nor the amount transferred to babies until complications have already occurred. “Just one bottle” can save a child from these tragedies as it is often a mother’s first clue that a child is in fact starving from exclusive breastfeeding.

If your baby is experiencing distress and signs and symptoms of starvation, we encourage you to advocate for your child. We encourage mothers to notify hospital administrators if you are being pressured to avoid supplementation to alleviate your child’s hunger. You have the right to feed your child and your child has the right to be fed. No one but your baby knows how close they are to empty. The only way they can communicate distress is by crying. Listen to your baby and listen to your instincts.

Our message is simple. Feed your baby. Feed them as much as they need to stay safe and satisfied. Only they know what they need.

#FedisBest
Click on the infographic below to print for your reference.

For more information on how to protect your baby from feeding complications due to early exclusive breastfeeding, please read and download the Fed is Best Feeding Plan, a way to communicate your feeding choices to your health care providers.

In addition, please read and download the Fed is Best Weighing Protocol to prevent newborn dehydration and failure to thrive.

Lastly, for more detailed information, please watch our educational videos on Preventing Feeding Complications.

Our full list of parent resources can be found on our Resource Page.

If you wish to help parents learn how to protect their newborns from accidental starvation, please share this story and sign our petition to demand that the CDC, the AAP, the U.S. Surgeon General and the WHO/UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative warn parents about the dangers of newborn and infant starvation from insufficient exclusive breastfeeding. Go to https://fedisbest.org/sign-our-petition/.

 

 

 

The Fed is Best Foundation’s Progress and Our One-Year Anniversary

From Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D., Co-Founder of the Fed is Best Foundation

The Fed is Best Foundation is reaching its one-year anniversary July 11, 2017. One year ago, we became incorporated as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and have made tremendous strides in educating mothers and health professionals on safe infant feeding practices, particularly in the first days of life.  We want to celebrate by sharing with you the progress we have made in our first year.

Our Facebook Following

In one year, we increased our Facebook audience by over 258,000 and we are growing by 2000 to 10,000 followers every week.

The FedisBest.org Website

The FedisBest.org has been viewed over 4 million times over the past year since its creation.

 

The Fed is Best Foundation Advocates, Volunteers, health Professionals and Patient Advocates Grows

We have grown as an organization and currently have Fed is Best advocates, volunteers, nurses, physicians, other health professionals and attorneys that make up the core of the Fed is Best Foundation advocacy efforts.  Fed is Best Foundation Advisors and Volunteers keep the foundation running with on-going advocacy, parent support, literature review, outreach to health organizations and production of educational material for parents and health professionals. Meet the Founders of the Fed is Best Foundation and our core advisors!


The Fed is Best Parent Support Groups on Facebook

We have expanded our parent support network by opening up the Fed is Best Foundation Parent Support Group on Facebook and have added sister Fed is Best groups including Fed is Best U.K. and Fed is Best Canada with more groups on the way.

Raising Awareness on Failure to thrive in Breastfed Babies

We raised awareness of the dangers of failure to thrive and reached an international audience with the following post from one of our advisors and advocates. “Accidentally starving my baby broke my heart, but made me want to help other moms.” 

Fed is Best Gains International Media Attention

The Fed is Best Foundation and the #FedisBest movement has been covered by 86 different news articles across the globe including Forbes.com, the Washington Post, the BBC, CBS News, Slate Magazine, People.com, CNN, CBC News in Canada, Marie Claire, Grounded Parents, Romper, the New York Post and Huffington Post. We have been covered by Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Bosnian, Dutch, Indonesian and Polish news outlets. All these articles have been posted on the Fed is Best In the Media page.

The Fed is Best Message Reaches Moms All over the World

We have published our key campaign letters and stories in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Our campaign has reached millions, particularly in the Spanish speaking world.

Fed is Best and the Johnson Family Raise Awareness on the Dangers of Accidental Infant STarvation and REach millions Across the Globe

We reached millions of mothers and health professionals by making them aware of the dangers of the accidental starvation of newborns by sharing a blog written by Jillian Johnson, about the accidental death of her son Landon who was born in a Baby-Friendly hospital.

Jillian Johnson and Dr. Christie del Castillo-Hegyi are Interviewed on the Doctors Show

Jillian Johnson and Dr. Christie del Castillo-Hegyi were invited to an interview on the Doctors Show where we were able to tell our personal stories and send out a message to millions of viewers about the importance of knowing the signs of infant starvation and of timely supplementation to prevent newborn injury and death.

Dr. Christie del Castillo-Hegyi Presents Her REsearch on Accidental Infant Starvation at the First Coast Neonatal Symposium in Jacksonville, Florida on April 24, 2017

Dr. Christie del Castillo-Hegyi was invited to speak at the First Coast Neonatal Symposium for the University of Florida in Jacksonville where she spoke about the “Danger of Insufficient Breastfeeding” to a conference on neonatal health professionals .

Speaking at the First Coast Neonatal Symposium for the University of Florida, Jacksonville, April 24, 2017

The Fed is Best Parent Resource Page

We have expanded our Parent Resource Page by leaps and bounds making it a comprehensive parent and clinician guide for honest, evidence-based safe infant feeding education and support. It includes the Fed is Best Feeding Plan, a guide to preventing feeding complications in breastfed newborns, the Fed is Best weighing protocol, links to instructional videos on achieving a good breastfeeding latch, manual expression of breast milk, guides to knowing when a breastfed infant needs immediate evaluation, guides to supplementing breastfed newborns, formula feeding, power pumping and many more. If you have not visited it lately, please come and check out all the new resources we have added.

Fed is Best Continues to Share Stories from Mothers

We have received thousands of accidental starvation stories and continue to post these stories on our FedisBest.org blog.

The Fed is Best Obstetric health Provider Writing Campaign

We have launched a letter writing campaign to reach all obstetric-gynecologists, family practitioners, midwives and other obstetric care providers to ask them to counsel their mothers on the importance prioritizing the health and safety of their newborn babies over exclusivity in breastfeeding.

Advocating for National Policy Changes in Infant feeding

We gained the amazing addition of Julie Tibbets, Attorney and Partner at Alston & Bird in Washington, DC who is helping us reach out to prominent health organizations to change the infant feeding guidelines and make them safe for every newborn and infant. Together, we will make national change in infant feeding so that no child should ever be injured by accidental starvation and that no mother be uninformed of the risks of insufficient feeding to her child.

Informing Hospitals of the Risks of Accidental Infant Starvation and the Dangers of Strict Breastfeeding Policies

We have launched our effort to reach hospital CEOs and health organizations to make them aware of safe-infant feeding and the dangers of accidental infant starvation from strict breastfeeding-only protocols.

Jody Segrave-Daly’s Daily Support of Mothers and Babies

I want to take this opportunity to highlight the tireless commitment of my Co-Founder, Jody Segrave-Daly, who lives the mission of the Fed is Best Foundation in her daily work as an Infant Feeding Specialist and Lactation Consultant. She uses her 30+ years of experience as a newborn nursery/NICU nurse and IBCLC and cares for moms and babies, especially those who have experienced feeding complications and accidental starvation on a weekly basis. Not only does she witness the suffering of the mothers and babies who experience these breastfeeding tragedies in her clinical work, but she also supports mothers through social media, email and our parent support group. I could not do this without her.

 

Finally, Our Biggest accomplishment are the babies Our Outreach has saved from Feeding Complications

While we can’t estimate the number of babies whom we have saved from feeding complications  by teaching their mothers the signs of hunger/feeding complications and by supporting their mothers to proudly and confidently supplement to protect their life and brain, we have gotten many messages from appreciative mothers who have thanked us for helping them keep their babies safely-fed, happy and thriving. We have received messages of gratitude for saving their babies’ lives and for saving them from needless suffering and hospitalization. Here are some of a few…

Alison’s baby was supplemented when she began to cry and show signs of hunger in the first days of life. She is currently exclusively breastfed.

 

“If I had not found the Fed Is Best Foundation’s information and private support group, I may not be holding my sweet baby today.” — From a Fed is Best Mom and Supporter

 

From Bethany: The Fed is Best Foundation Support Group saved my sanity and more importantly my daughter. I felt the pressure to breastfeed from the beginning and it did start out nicely and she was over her birth weight by the first week! But that was where it stopped. I had to go to the hospital with my little one and was so distraught over the idea of needing formula because it wasn’t “best!” The foundation support group helped me realize that what is best for each baby is what works for each child individually! In just over a month you can clearly see a difference 🙂

 

From Liz: I’m really grateful that Fed is Best supported my decision to formula feed my baby because that was what was best for us. I’m also glad for all the resources because I was able to help my friend, who had her baby 8 weeks after mine was born, to feel confident in her decision to combo-feed. Parenting is hard enough, it just makes sense to support parents rather than judge them.

From Jessica Hickey, MS, OTR/L: The light at the end of the tunnel was being referred to your website by my husband’s aunt. With tears streaming down my face I sat and watched one of your presentations on infant feeding on YouTube and finally found the information I had been seeking. There was nothing wrong with me, I just didn’t have enough milk for my baby like the 20-40% of other first time mothers. I was completely normal! I cried again when I read about what could have happened to my son had I chosen not to supplement so early on, or if I had waited, blindly believing all the incorrect information that I had read that all mothers have enough milk for their babies.

 

“Thanks to the Fed is Best Foundation, I had the support to pump for my preemie twins the moment they were born, for seven weeks, which was one week longer than my goal. They are now exclusively formula fed and thriving.” — A Fed is Best Mom

 

From Mandy Dukovan (I may be crying): It’s incredibly hard to put into words all the things this foundation has done for me over the last 10 months. When I happened to stumble upon FIB, I was a first time mom, who was struggling with so many different feelings and wasn’t sure who or where to turn. My son was 2 months at the time, and was just beginning to thrive, thanks to supplementing with formula. While I was so happy to see my baby finally gaining weight and thriving, I had so many other emotions I was struggling to sort out. I had immense feelings of guilt that I didn’t see the signs that my baby was hungry, constantly. I was embarrassed that I could look at his 1 month picture and now see that he was obviously malnourished, but how on earth did I miss this at the time? I was angry that I didn’t follow my instincts that something was wrong with him and why did I buy into all the terrible things I was told would happen if I gave him formula. I had this image in my head of all the horrible things that would happen to him, such as him being obese, if I gave him formula, at the same time missing the fact that he was underweight and not getting the nourishment and nutrients that he so desperately needed. And I worried that we would not have the kind of bond that babies who were EBF experienced with their mothers. I now know that our bond is so much stronger because we bottle fed him and no longer experienced the immense stress that came each time I tried to breast feed my baby. I got to a point where I dreaded even trying to breast feed him, but I was told that was the best thing I could do for my baby, so I kept going, at the expense of my baby’s health and my well-being. This foundation provided a place I could go and not feel alone and feel accepted. I honestly believed I was the only mother who had experienced what we went through because I only heard the stories about how amazing breast feeding was.

 

We Want to Thank you…

We want to thank you, our supporters, for all the messages, the stories, the love and encouragement you have given us. We promise to give you safe, honest, evidence-based infant feeding support that prioritizes the health and safety of your child. We want to change the standards of infant feeding so that they truly protect the future potential of every single child.

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.

Thank you so much from the Founders of the Fed is Best Foundation!

Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D.

Jody Segrave-Daly, RN, IBCLC

 

 

Just One Bottle Would Have Prevented My Baby’s Permanent Brain Damage From Hypoglycemia

Written by Holly Lake

I wish I had known about the Fed Is Best Foundation before my 1st son was born. I felt enormous pressure to exclusively breastfeed at my hospital. My son was born at 37 weeks, weighing 5 pounds,13 ounces and he struggled to latch-on and breastfeed at each feeding. When I told the midwife, she came back with a leaflet which described how to hand express. She told me to express 1 mL of colostrum into a syringe and feed that to my baby whenever he struggled to latch.  I asked her if 1 mL was enough and she said it was because his tummy was very small and this amount would be fine until my milk came in. Note: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml.

Stomachsize1.pptx

StomachSize

I was discharged hours later not feeling confident my baby was getting enough colostrum.  A midwife came out to see me at home on day 3 because I said I was worried about his feeding. He became extremely yellow (jaundiced), not very responsive (lethargic) and would let out random high pitch screams and would sleep all of the time and never wanted to feed by this time.  He also would have random body spasms which doctors shrugged off as normal baby reflexes (later we found out different).  The midwife said I could wait and see how he did overnight or go to hospital.  I chose to take him to hospital. When arriving, we found that he had lost 12% of his body weight and his blood sugars levels dropped dangerously low to 0.2 mmol/L (4 mg/dL) and was he was jaundiced. Continue reading

My Daughter Starved Because of My Determination to Exclusively Breastfeed and Lack of Knowledge on How to Supplement

By Jamie Nguyen

As new parents, my husband and I relied on professionals: doctors, nurses, lactation consultants to guide us in providing the best care for our newborn. But what happens if most of these professional have bought into a dangerous lie? The lie that all moms, except in very rare cases, are able to produce enough milk for a newborn baby.

After a long unmedicated labor that lasted over 36 hours, my daughter Noemie was born on November 2nd 2016. She was perfectly healthy and weighed 7 lbs 3.5 ozs. My goal was to exclusively breastfeed and the staff at the Baby-Friendly hospital were very supportive. Noemie lost 4% of her weight in the first 24 hours and we were told that it wouldn’t be anything to worry about until it got to more than 7%. However, she had become very fussy and inconsolable, but as we were new parents we just assumed that this was normal baby behavior. Having taken a breastfeeding class, I simply trusted that my body would make enough milk for her. I had been told that not being able to make enough milk was very rare. I asked to see a lactation consultant as I had previously had breast surgery to remove a benign lump from my right breast. The lactation consultant told me that I should have no problem breastfeeding from just my left side. She reassured me that my milk would “come in” sometime over the weekend at day 4 – 5. We were told to get a weight check at the pediatrician’s office on day 4.

Born healthy at 7lbs 3.5 ozs.

Continue reading

What Should Be The Norm For All: I Was Supported in Supplementing My Twins With Formula

by Kimberly Cartwright

My story is unremarkable but important to tell, because we are often led to believe that it should be remarkably rare.

In 2013 I had my first child, a son.  I researched and knew I wanted to breastfeed him, as breast milk is the recommended food for babies.  There are so many benefits to baby and mother if you nurse, so of course I wanted to try it out.   I have to admit that was a big push to learn all about it and make it work; and we did make breastfeeding work for fourteen months.  Then in 2016 I had my second and third children, my twin daughters.  I knew I wanted to breastfeed again.  The cost benefit for me personally was huge, especially for two babies.  But nursing two babies at once–that’s a lot!  There are a lot of reasons breastfeeding doesn’t work, and you double those when there are two babies.  I was determined to do my best though.

My girls were born at 36 and a half weeks.  Early by the forty week schedule, but basically on time for twins.  (Full term for twins is considered 37 weeks.)  They were right on target for identicals.  I was worried they wouldn’t be able to latch or just wouldn’t nurse well.  Imagine my relief when shortly after both girls were born, they both latched right on and were nursing away.  They knew what to do and we didn’t have any problems.  The only issue was with their blood sugar.  They were still a bit early and of course small.  As per the protocol of the hospital I was at, the girls had to have their blood sugar checked with every feed.  They did pretty well, but their numbers weren’t as high as the doctors and nurses would have liked.  The nurses offered me a simple solution–after I nursed we were to give the girls supplemental formula.  It can take a few days for a mother’s milk to come in.  Yes, my girls were getting colostrum, but we were concerned that I wasn’t able to provide enough in terms of volume for two babies. For the two days we were in the hospital we offered enough formula after each nursing session to keep their blood sugar levels normal and safe.  Once we got the girls home my milk came in. Fast forward thirteen months later and we are still nursing. Continue reading

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

Letter to doctors and parents about the dangers of insufficient exclusive breastfeeding

(For Spanish version click here)

Dear Colleague and Parent:

My name is Christie del Castillo-Hegyi and I am an emergency physician, former NIH scientist, with a background in newborn brain injury research at Brown University, and mother to a 6-year-old child who is neurologically disabled. I am writing you because my child fell victim to newborn jaundice, hypoglycemia and severe dehydration due to insufficient milk intake from exclusive breastfeeding in the first days of life. As an expectant mom, I read all the guidelines on breastfeeding my first-born child. Unfortunately, following the guidelines and our pediatrician’s advice resulted in my child going 4 days with absolutely no milk intake requiring ICU care. He was subsequently diagnosed with multiple neuro-developmental disabilities.  Being a physician and scientist, I sought out peer-reviewed journals to explain why this happened. I found that there is ample evidence showing the links between neonatal jaundice, dehydration, hypoglycemia and developmental disabilities. I wish to explain to you how I believe this could apply to my son and the many children whose care you are entrusted with. Continue reading