Dr. Christie del Castillo-Hegyi and Jillian Johnson Speak at the 2020 USDA Dietary Guidelines Meeting

July 17, 2019


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.

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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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Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Speaks Out About The Dangerous And Deadly Practices Of The BFHI

by Christine K.

When the Fed Is Best Foundation launched two years ago, a few nurses sent us messages about their experiences working in a Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) hospital. They shared common concerns about watching exclusively breastfed babies crying out in hunger from not enough colostrum while being refused supplementation just so that high exclusive breastfeeding rates were met. Two years later, we now receive messages from nurses, physicians, lactation consultants, and other health professionals, regularly. They express their concerns while asking for patient educational resources. They tell us their stories and they need support and direction on what to do about unethical and dangerous practices they are forced to take part in. We collected their stories and are beginning a blog series on health professionals who are now speaking out about the Baby-Friendly Health Initiative (BFHI) and the WHO Ten Steps of Breastfeeding.

Christine K. is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner currently working in a BFHI Hospital with 25 years of experience. She has worked in both BFHI and non-BFHI hospitals and talks about her concerns about taking care of newborns in the Baby-Friendly setting.

Regarding Unsafe Skin-To-Skin Practices

In BFHI facilities, skin-to-skin is mandated. The protocol calls for skin-to-skin at birth, for the first hour, then ongoing until discharge. New mothers are constantly told that it is important for bonding, for breastfeeding, for milk production and for temperature regulation of the newborn. Baby baths are delayed for skin-to-skin time and nurses are required to document in detail the skin-to-skin start and end times. There is no education on safety regarding skin-to-skin time, only that it is to be done. I have been responsible for the resuscitation of babies who coded while doing skin-to-skin. One died, and the other baby is severely disabled. Mothers are not informed of the risks of constant and unsupervised skin-to-skin time. Mothers have complained to me that they felt forced to do skin-to-skin to warm up their cold or hypoglycemic infant because they are told skin-to-skin time will help their infant resolve these issues when in fact it doesn’t. There is also no assessment of the mother’s comfort level with constant skin-to-skin. It’s very discouraging to hear staff say things like, “That mother refused to do skin-to-skin,” like it was a crime or an act of child abuse. The judgment is harsh on mothers who fail to follow the protocol. I have noticed that partners are pushed to the side, especially in the first hour of life, not being able to hold their newborn, due to this strict policy. Their involvement has been discounted in the name of the exclusive breastfeeding protocol. Continue reading

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

When the Fed Is Best Foundation launched two years ago, a few nurses sent us messages about their experiences working in a BFHI hospital. Some of the nurses felt comfortable speaking out because they left their jobs or retired early, as they did not want to be part of the restrictive breastfeeding policies that were implemented. They shared common concerns of watching exclusively breastfed babies being refused supplementation, while babies were crying out in hunger from not enough colostrum which resulted in NICU admissions.

Two years later, we now receive messages from nurses, physicians, LC’s and other health professionals, regularly.  They express their concerns while asking for help and for patient resources. They tell us their stories and they need support and direction of what to do about unethical and dangerous practices they are forced to practice. We collected their stories and are beginning a blog series of health professionals who are now speaking out about the Baby-Friendly Health Initiative and the WHO Ten Steps of Breastfeeding. Continue reading

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Just One Bottle Would Have Kept My Baby Off Life Support: The Failure Of Baby-Friendly (BFHI) Care In Canada

My husband and I were the happiest people on earth to have just welcomed our healthy baby boy Ian into the world [born in an Ottawa Baby-Friendly hospital].   We were anxious first time parents. We had taken all the prenatal classes. I read the book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and we felt well-informed to approach this new chapter in our lives.  We made the decision that I would be breastfeeding as that was the “right” thing to do for our baby.  My baby latched on automatically and the nurses were impressed with how he was eating because he fed about every hour and would feed for at least 45 minutes.  I was nervous that I was not doing something right, and I continuously asked each and every nurse that came in to check on us if I was doing it right. I even asked them to just watch us while he fed and see if it was going okay. They all consistently replied, “You are doing great.”

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Ian at 12 hours old.

The next morning came and I participated in a breastfeeding class held in the hospital by a lactation consultant (LC).  The class had about 20 new moms with their babies there and the LC asked us to have our babies latch on  and feed while she teaches and does her presentation.  Again, Ian automatically latched to me and the LC was impressed and commented that I was like a pro already and that he latched perfectly and was doing well.  I brought forward my concern to her as well, saying that he latches on about every hour or so for 45 min or more and she said, “That is great, he is a good eater!”  About 30 min into the 1 hour class,  all the other moms were sitting with their babies resting in their laps as they had all finished their feeding, but Ian was still latched onto me until the end of the class. The LC never brought anything up about the fact that if a baby is feeding for more than 30 minutes that means that they are probably not satisfied.   Furthermore, I asked the LC if I could start pumping and she told me “no,” that I had to wait 6 weeks before pumping and giving him a bottle because otherwise he wouldn’t want to breastfeed anymore and it would disrupt our breastfeeding.  So I kept my pump away as I was told, but this meant I had no idea how much milk I was producing (which later I found out was almost nothing). Continue reading

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Why Was No One Listening To Me Or My Baby At Our Baby-Friendly Hospital? The Signs Were There.

I was so excited to breastfeed my second child last April. I had my first eight years ago, and thought that perhaps back then I just had not tried hard enough. I also thought maybe the first time I did something wrong, and thought that this time would work out perfect. My first baby was sent to the NICU for jaundice on day three, and then was given an IV for dehydration, which was followed by formula. I did my research and was told that you should not supplement because if you did supplement you could lose your supply of breast milk.

#1- Why Fed is Best for Newborn Jaundice.pptx (3)

I started to fret at the hospital when my new baby was struggling to latch. I became frustrated when I could not hand express anything other than the smallest beads of milk. However, I was told that number of diapers was fine and his weight loss was within the acceptable range. I was told to go home and keep bringing him to breast, and to not supplement. So that is what I did. My baby cried endlessly and his throat always sounded dry. His latch was very weak. The milk still had not come in and I never felt engorged. I thought something was wrong and my husband wanted to give him some formula, but I begged him to wait for my milk to come in just liked I was taught.

Fed Is Best HUNGRY

On day five of my baby’s life we took him to his first appointment. He weighed in with a 17% total weight loss, and ran a slight fever when they took his temperature. His doctor told us that we needed to rush him to the hospital because she feared he may have a bacterial infection and that he could only have hours to live. The doctor also told us to immediately start supplementing. We gave him formula in the office and rushed him to the children’s hospital. While we were in the emergency room his temperature dropped to a normal temperature. I felt relieved. We stayed there for a while and they came to check on him a little later. They found that his temperature had dropped below a regular reading and that he was developing symptoms of hypothermia. They told us this was serious and he needed to go through testing to run cultures. I had never been so scared in my life. Continue reading

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