Washington, DC — On July 11, 2019, Dr. Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, Co-Founder of the Fed is Best Foundation and Jillian Johnson, Fed is Best Advocate and mother to Landon Johnson, who died from hypernatremic dehydration while exclusively breastfeeding, traveled to Washington, DC to provide testimonies to the 2020 USDA Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. This is the first year that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) have included pregnancy and birth to 24 months.
It was on December 13th at 2:30 in the morning. My water broke as I was sleeping. I woke my husband up and the panic set in. My son was a scheduled C-Section due to the fact he was breech and he was going to be a big baby according to all the scans. I was scheduled for the 18th, which was my birthday, but he decided to come early. My husband and I rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma, WA. This hospital was a “Baby-Friendly” hospital, which meant they push things like exclusive breastfeeding, no pacifiers, and no nurseries. I didn’t think much of these things at the time, as I was a first-time mom and hadn’t pondered on them much. On paper, this all sounded great, and I was excited to go there. I had a simple birth plan: no circumcision and I wanted my husband in the operating room. That was it really. I trusted the doctors and nurses there to help me out.
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By Jillian Johnson
Dear Sweet Angel Landon,
I am so sorry you were failed by the unethical exclusive breastfeeding protocol of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. Every health care professional that took care of you in the hospital was taught the same universal BFHI breastfeeding education curriculum and they failed you.
I now know the curriculum is outdated, unethical and is harming babies all over the world. I promise you Landon, my sweet angel, I will never stop telling your story so that no other baby will suffer and die needlessly because of a dangerous public health breastfeeding policy. I won’t shrink back and will continue educating new mothers for all of the other babies who have also suffered because their families were silenced.
I still have many, many days of guilt and questions – what if I would’ve just given you a bottle of formula? But I didn’t know. I listened to everyone in the hospital who told me your non-stop crying was normal. I still struggle daily, feeling as though I failed you.
You gave me ten of the most incredible life-changing months. I’ve been humbled and challenged. My relationships have fallen apart; some have come back together. I’ve learned forgiveness, and the true meaning of “life is short.” I love hard – to a fault. But I couldn’t live with myself knowing your death was in vain.
There are many ways you can support the mission of the Fed is Best Foundation. Please consider contributing in the following ways:
Join us in any of the Fed is Best volunteer and advocacy, groups. Click here to join our health care professionals group. We have FIBF Advocacy Group, Research Group, Volunteer Group, Editing Group, Social Media Group, Legal Group, Marketing Group, Perinatal Mental Health Advocacy Group, Private Infant Feeding Support Group, Global Advocacy Group, and Fundraising Group. Please send an email to Jody@fedisbest.org if you are interested in joining any of our volunteer groups.
If you need infant feeding support, we have a private support group– Join us here.
If you or your baby were harmed from complications of insufficient breastfeeding please send a message to email@example.com
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 theFed is Best Petition at Change.org today, and share it with others.
Print out ourletter 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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Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you!