My Baby Went Through Hell And Suffered Needlessly From Starvation

Jenn T.

My son was born on February 18, 2019. He was 6 lbs 10 oz and had a little trouble regulating his temperature at birth. But after 24 hours, he was okay. I was always told breast was the best way to go. I never breastfed my 9 year old so this was my first experience with it.

My son had latching issues at first and it caused major pain and bleeding. But after latch correction and using nipple shields, the pain dissipated. When we left the hospital, my son weighed 6 lbs (9.3 percent weight loss) and at his checkup the next day, he had gained half an ounce.

At home I was feeding straight from my breasts, every time. My son was content and seemed happy.  He smiled and was great the entire time, so I thought. I didn’t pump to see how much milk I had because the hospital where I delivered told me pumping in the first 6 weeks could cause confusion for the baby with latching.

Now fast forward to when he was 21 days old. He had his three week checkup and he was extra sleepy that morning. When we got to the doctor, and not only did he lose weight, (down to 5.5 lbs), but he also had a temperature of 92 degrees. He was hypothermic! So they sent us urgently to the children’s hospital in Nashville. Continue reading

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Maternal Mental Health Feels Like it Comes Second to Breastfeeding When It Should Be First

This story is for you mommas whose mental health feels like it comes second to breastfeeding, when it should be first.

I have a long history of mental illnesses in my family. I inherited most of them. While they do not define me, they are a part of me. I have Bipolar 1 Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder and a Panic Disorder.

Continue reading

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Please Support Fed is Best on #GivingTueday!

We are making preparations for #GivingTuesday! This year, Facebook and Paypal are joining to match up to $7 million of donations made to non-profit organizations through Facebook. Please consider logging on to our Facebook page at midnight on November 27, 2018 to make your donation to Fed is Best. Put it on your calendar!

Donate to Fed is Best

This year, we are extending our campaign to hospitals and health officials. We have developed our information for hospitals page on the Fed is Best website and are developing our Fed is Best Foundation hospital guidelines for Safe Infant Feeding. We also plan to send our health professional advocates to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness on the safety issues that insufficiently fed newborns face on a daily basis.

Please help us in our mission. For those who would like to donate today or on a monthly basis, please consider going to our new donation page.

Thank you to all our supporters! #FedisBest

Donate to Fed is Best

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How I Learned That Fed is Best

by Jen Gamarano

I hate to admit it, but before I got pregnant, and even when I was pregnant, I was already a judgmental mom. I started watching documentaries about natural birth and breastfeeding years before I even entertained the idea of having children because it fascinated me. Women’s bodies are amazing. We are capable of growing, birthing, and feeding a brand new life and I was on board for doing all of it naturally because biology is perfect and I was made to do this – or so I thought. I looked at moms who opted for epidurals and thought “If only they knew about natural birth and how amazing it is”, or those who formula fed and thought  “How sad” because breast milk is magical and formula will never be able to measure up. I hate to admit these things, but I have to admit them so you know just how much this journey has changed me.

Our birth plan was simple – deliver at the birth center with our doula and midwife, stay there for four hours, go home, breastfeed forever, be happy. I’m lucky to have had a fairly short labor of nine hours, but afterwards was nothing like I’d imagined. I ended up transferring to the hospital to repair a third degree tear. Lovely, I know.

We started to breastfeed at the hospital, and it hurt like they all said it would. L. had trouble latching but he was still nursing so I just tried to be patient. I had a rough first few days as my body tried to balance out hormones. I was shaky, hot, sweaty, mad, sad, and all-around miserable. I called the midwife who told me this was normal and advised me to stay in bed and “breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed”. So I did. The next day, my son started crying like crazy when I tried to latch him, and refused to nurse for a full 24 hours. The pediatrician told us to supplement with formula and I gave in because I felt sick, tired, and good lord, I wasn’t going to starve my child.

“The next day, my son started crying like crazy when I tried to latch him, and refused to nurse for a full 24 hours.The pediatrician told us to supplement with formula and I gave in because I felt sick, tired, and good lord, I wasn’t going to starve my child.”

When he finally started to latch again, it was clear that I didn’t have enough for him. He would get sleepy after only a few minutes of nursing, sleep for a few minutes, and then wake up crying and wanted to eat again. I spent a couple days feeding him every 15 minutes and didn’t wear a shirt or see anyone during that time. I met with a lactation consultant who listed a whole slew of things that could potentially be wrong with him. I also learned that I had an infection on my nipple and he developed thrush, which made all of this infinitely more complicated and painful. I was still determined to breastfeed, so we saw two lactation specialists, an ENT and Osteopath to evaluate the little guy, and I tried every natural remedy in the book. I took supplements and tinctures, drank dark beer, pumped multiple times in an hour, saw another lactation specialist, ate almonds, stayed hydrated, pumped, nursed, pumped, nursed, until I just couldn’t do it anymore. I got to the point where I just said without emotion “tried it” whenever someone gave me advice to increase my supply. I was exhausted. I woke up to pump every morning and sobbed because I would only get dribbles and my baby just wasn’t getting that ever so magical breast milk despite all my best efforts.

I’ve heard so many different opinions about my son and I on our journey that I don’t think I can definitively say what the root cause of all of this was. The opinion that made me feel the most at ease was from our ENT who flat out said that not every baby is a fit for every breast. Until then, I’d been conditioned to think that since I was a woman, breast feeding would be the most natural thing I’ve ever done. I forgot in all of this that all humans are different and that’s part of the beauty of life. I had to stop blaming my baby, and I had to stop blaming myself for “failing” at this. I had to give up the notion that this was, in fact, a failure, because it wasn’t.

This journey made me bake myself an entire humble pie and eat every last crumb. I started to look at breastfeeding and motherhood from a much different perspective. I came to terms with the fact that feeding my baby formula and the tiny bit of breast milk I did have was infinitely better than having a baby that couldn’t thrive and a sobbing mommy. I became grateful that I live in a time where formula exists to provide nourishment to my child.

“I became grateful that I live in a time where formula exists to provide nourishment to my child.”

Every mom out there is incredible. I’m proud of moms who breastfeed exclusively. I’m proud of moms who use formula. I’m proud of moms who do both. I’m proud of moms who have natural birth. I’m proud of moms who use modern medicine to take away the horrible pain. I’m proud of every mom who chooses to do the best thing for her baby and herself. The sisterhood of motherhood is incredible and I’m grateful to be a part of it and share my story.


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.

Donate to Fed is Best

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

My Baby Went Through Hell And Suffered Needlessly From Starvation

 

My Baby Suffered And Almost Died–Why Are The Risks Of Exclusive Breastfeeding Not Taught To Mothers?

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

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Moms Thank The Fed Is Best Foundation For Safe Infant Feeding Support

Every day we hear stories from parents who were able to feed their babies safely and confidently with our help.  These stories are the fuel that fills our hearts and motivates our volunteers and advocates to continue our important work to teach parents and healthcare providers about safe infant feeding, and giving babies what they need to thrive and have the best possible start.

#fedisbest #safebreastfeeding #thrivingisbest  #fedismaximum

Read on for their words of thanks and encouragement:

Do you have a #fedisbest story? We’d love to hear from you. Send us your stories.

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
  2. Make a donation to the Fed is Best Foundation.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.
  9. Shop and Fed is Best Foundation will earn cash back! We hope to develop our online safe infant feeding classes with these funds.
  10. If you need support, we have a private support group – Join

We believe all babies deserve to be protected from hunger and thirst every single day of their life and we believe that education on Safe Infant Feeding should be free. If you would like to make a donation to support the Fed is Best Foundation’s mission to teach every parent Safe Infant Feeding, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation to our organization.

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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

 

 

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