Breastfeeding in the News Oct 5th – Oct. 11th, 2009

Hello All,

What on earth is going on in Canada?? Last week they wouldn’t let breastfeeding mothers get together for a breastfeeding challenge in Montreal because of concerns about H1N1 but the Calgary challenge went off without a hitch. But get this, due to fear of an H1N1 pandemic in Saskatoon the Canadians have cut back on other services, specifically “breastfeeding support services have been consolidated from two locations to one, and prenatal classes have been temporarily shelved”. No prenatal classes?! Not to mention regular seasonal flu shots have been cancelled. By the way “The CDC says that infants who are not breastfeeding are more vulnerable to infection and hospitalization for severe respiratory illness then infants who are breastfeeding.” Reducing breastfeeding support might be a little counter productive don’t you think?

While we’re talking about the Canadians I found two articles this week that were straight out of the formula company handbook. In “Have a baby feeding backup plan” pediatrician Dr Susan Russell who is expecting her first child advises parents to make sure to have some formula in the house when they bring the baby home because “Otherwise, you could find yourself running to the grocery store in a panic the second night you’re home with a new baby who’s starving and screaming — which is not the best case scenario for choosing a formula.” To make sure that doesn’t happen to her she has decided to stock her cupboards with formula, and not just any formula. “And so, I’m going to, if I need to, definitely start with the (Nestle) Good Start (formula) and see what happens.” Finally I get it! This is why it is so vital to the formula companies that moms leave the hospital with samples of their formula; they don’t want them choosing a competitor’s brand at 2 am.

In “Breast vs. bottle” the formula companies whine that they are “tired of accusatory fingers being pointed at them. They say they actually support breastfeeding and don’t want to compete with mother’s milk. … when breastfeeding advocates talk about the “risks” of formula feeding, it’s not only unfair but does a disservice to women.” And “If women have trouble breastfeeding at home, they might use the sample. “But it doesn’t mean … that you’re going to completely abandon breastfeeding,” she says. “I don’t think a can of formula will completely derail their nursing. “It’s easy to blame us and point the finger.”

There is also worry that mothers are not getting enough prenatal education on how to prepare formula. “She worries that in the push for breastfeeding, educating women who choose formula on how to safely prepare it has been neglected. “That puts a child at risk,” she says.” Hmm, this is the same argument we heard at the Massachusetts State House two weeks ago where they were considering a bill making it a law for hospitals to offer education on preparing formula. The bill also stated that formula samples should be given out (but not to breastfeeding moms of course). Thankfully when I brought this to the attention of my state Rep. Mary Grant she said “But aren’t the instructions right on the can??” Good point Mary, and let’s not forget, unlike formula breastfeeding does not come with instruction. On the other hand an infant feeding course that included the risks of formula might be just the ticket.

This article also specifically mentions Nestle’s Good Start formula pointing out that it is the only formula with probiotics. (For those of you who heard my talk on “Breast Milk: The Original Probiotic” last spring you will remember that I warned you we would be hearing a lot more about pre & probitiocs in formula!) This is all about marketing people. They also make a big deal about the fact that their formula contains whey protein because it is smaller than casein protein. “The smaller the protein, the easier it is to digest. And the smaller a foreign protein you put in your body, the less likely your body is to develop an allergy to it.” How’s that for marketing – you are less likely to develop an allergy from our formula than from our competitors, well isn’t that lovely.

Happily a different Canadian article states that most mothers don’t need to be convinced to breastfeed any more. I particularly liked the quote from a La Leche League Leader who said she “doesn’t offer is any hard, fast rules for breastfeeding. Every mom and baby are unique and every mother is the expert of her own situation.” Well said.

Enough about Canada, let’s check out what’s happening here in the US. The CDC has posted the results of a new study about what influences a woman to breastfeed here in the US. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again “Baby Friendly” hospitals and realistic maternity leave should be at the top of our list! Check out these numbers:
• 4 out of 5 mothers want to breastfeed
• Mothers are 8 times more likely to quit if their hospital uses unsupportive practices
• 83% went home with formula/coupons in their “gift” bag
• 57% received free formula samples at home
• only1/3 of mothers were eligible for fully paid maternity leave
• only 1/5 of mothers were eligible for partially paid maternity leave
• on average fully paid maternity leave only lasted 2.2 weeks
• on average partially paid maternity leave only lasted 1.5 weeks

In legal news the mother who was kicked off the Delta flight in Vermont is now suing Delta. Florida is considering a bill to excuse women breastfeeding a child up the age of two from jury duty. And Gov Schwarzenegger in California must decide whether or not to sign a bill requiring state agencies to inform their employees about the rights of breastfeeding mothers. And while we are talking about breastfeeding mothers in the workplace Starbucks the same company that only makes accommodations for mothers who happen to work at their corporate headquarters apologized to a breastfeeding mother in England for asking her to leave by saying, “At Starbucks, not only are we welcoming of all customers in our stores but we’re also committed to making a positive impact on the community beyond our stores.” Are they sure about that?

In other news the comparisons of breast milk to caffeine continue. This week breast milk is described as the “natural equivalent of Latte in the morning and de-caff tea at night.” In Belfast the movement to release moms from the hospital a mere 6 to 12 hours after birth has been decried by a pediatrician insisting it will interfere with breastfeeding. Another story I posted touches on breastfeeding after breast cancer. And last but not least, my favorite story of the week is about Julie Bowen the actress in that new TV show “The Modern Family” (I love this show!) who says that she manages to keep up with the needs of her breast feeding twins by pumping while driving. In fact she does it so routinely that she forgot she was pumping on the day that she stopped and asked a police officer for information. Talk about multitasking! Go to to answer his week’s poll question: Multitasking is great, but is pumping while driving a “do” or a “don’t”?

That’s it for this week. But before I forget I also want to congratulate Robin Snyder-Drummond for passing the IBCLC exam. Good going Robin! And thanks to Angelique & Nancy for sending me some articles – I hope to post them next week.

Once again I always look forward to hearing from you (especially the Canadians!)
Kathy Abbott, IBCLC
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Rachael Price told to stop breastfeeding her four-week-old baby by staff at Starbucks in Coney Street, York (England)
STARBUCKS bosses have apologised to a young mum who says she was asked to stop breastfeeding her four-week-old baby in one of the chain’s York cafés.
Rachael Price, who lives in The Groves, York, said the incident at Starbucks in Coney Street reduced her to tears.
She said a member of staff approached her at the table she was sitting at with a friend and asked her to stop breastfeeding her daughter, Grace, because it would upset other customers.
Rachael, 21, said: “I was told that if I wanted to carry on I would have to leave. I couldn’t believe it.
“It was the first time I had breastfed Grace in public and I was being pretty discreet about it because I was quite self-conscious myself.
“I definitely wasn’t sitting there with anything on show and the lady even had to ask me if I was feeding Grace, because she couldn’t actually tell.”
Rachael, who works as a customer service representative for Aviva, added: “I don’t think there is anything wrong with breastfeeding in public. It’s one of the most natural things in the world.”
A spokeswoman for Starbucks said the company had no issue with women breastfeeding their babies in their coffee shops.
She said: “We’re terribly disappointed that this customer has had this experience in our store, which we believe is an isolated occurrence. “Our partners in our Coney Street coffeehouse, many of whom are working mums themselves, would be grateful for the opportunity to welcome this customer back to their store so that her concerns can be addressed.
“At Starbucks, not only are we welcoming of all customers in our stores but we’re also committed to making a positive impact on the community beyond our stores.”
She said staff in the Coney Street coffee house had recently supported the city’s Just Women Conference and would also be taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s Wear It Pink Day on October 30.

Have a baby feeding backup plan
Be prepared! Moms and pediatricians agree: Don’t wait until your baby is born to educate yourself about breastfeeding and formula feeding. New parents should do themselves — and their baby — a favour and have a plan before the baby is born.
“So it’s not your second night home from the hospital, and it’s 3 o’clock in the morning, and the baby is screaming, and you can’t get him to latch on. And now what do you do?” cautions Ottawa-based pediatrician Dr. Susan Russell, who is expecting her first child this month. “It’s good to be prepared before you run into that.” Prior to birth, feeding a baby is something soon-to be parents rarely think about, Russell says. But after birth, it’s their biggest concern.
“I see babies their first visit after being discharged from the hospital.
I’ll see them their first week of life. And it’s the No. 1 concern that parents have then,” she points out, adding that feeding challenges often leave new moms in tears.
Melissa Parsons can relate. Before the Calgary mom gave birth to her daughter Maiya three months ago, she took prenatal classes.
But the focus was on labour and delivery issues, not lactation.
“We never really discussed the feeding. It never really crossed my mind,” she admits.
Parsons tried to breastfeed Maiya. But there were problems.
“It was really challenging, really stressful for me — just because it wasn’t working,” she recalls.
When Maiya was about a month old, Parsons was still having problems breastfeeding her.
So she decided to formula feed her instead.
At first, she felt guilty about it, Parsons says.
But not anymore.
“You have to get past that. You have to do the best you can with what you have,” she explains. “And make sure the baby’s happy.
And really, she is happy now, and she’s growing.” “As a pediatrician, I would 100-per-cent promote exclusive breastfeeding,” Russell says.
But that’s not always possible, she’s quick to add. “A lot of moms run into problems.
“Although we think that breastfeeding is natural, it’s not always easy,” she points out.
There are no guarantees that breastfeeding will work for a new mom and baby — even if the new mom happens to be an educated pediatrician, Russell admits.
“In my case, neither I nor my baby has ever breastfed before. We’re both on a steep learning curve,” she explains.
Moms can run into problems. Sometimes their milk doesn’t come in, or they don’t get a large amount. Sometimes they get sore or cracked nipples.
Babies can run into breastfeeding problems, too. Sometimes the baby doesn’t have a good latch.
“So there are lots of things that can come up,” Russell points out.
And if those issues arise, then it’s time to supplement with formula.
Formula also provides a convenient backup, as Shannon Fitzpatrick of Newmarket, Ont. has learned. Fitzpatrick admits she was surprised to discover how time-consuming breastfeeding is. So, about five times a month, she supplements breastfeeding with formula for her 51/2-monthold son Keaton. It allows Fitzpatrick and her husband to go out for an evening, for example, while Grandma cares for Keaton.
Before Keaton was born, Fitzpatrick says she was hoping to breastfeed him exclusively.
“I didn’t really have a backup plan in place,” she says, admitting it’s a decision she regrets.
Fitzpatrick’s breast milk took 51/2 days to come in — during which both mother and baby were extremely upset.
“Those five days were just kind of crazy.
And there was some crying because I didn’t really have a backup plan,” she recalls.
She warns other new parents not to make the same mistake. “Have a backup plan!” she insists.
Have some ready-to-go formula in your cupboard that you can grab quickly if need be, she recommends.
If she had done that, “it would have eased a lot of the stress in the first couple of days,” Fitzpatrick says.
Russell stresses that new moms shouldn’t feel guilty if they can’t breastfeed.
“I think it’s important for people to recognize that formula is a healthy and a really nutritious alternative to breast milk,” Russell emphasizes. “We would always say breast milk is best, but the formulas we have today on the market really are as close to breast milk as you can possibly get. So I have no problem with supplementing with formula if need be.” Make sure you have formula in your house before you come home from the hospital with your new baby, Russell recommends.
Otherwise, you could find yourself running to the grocery store in a panic the second night you’re home with a new baby who’s starving and screaming — which is not the best case scenario for choosing a formula.
“In Canada we’re lucky, because all formulas are regulated by the federal government and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency,” Russell points out.
“We know that the formulas that are out there on the shelf are safe. But they do vary somewhat in their components,” she adds.
All formulas sold in Canada are iron fortified unless otherwise noted. (Low iron formulas should only be used for babies with specific health concerns.) The other things to look for in formulas, Russell recommends, are Omega 3 and Omega 6.
“Those are just fancy names for fat,” she explains. “Basically, they’re fatty acids. And those specific forms of fat we know promote brain and eye and neurological health. So the children that have formula or breast milk that has extra Omega 3 and 6 have improved brain development and neurological development.” The other thing to look for is the type of cow milk protein that’s in the formula. There are two common types: casein and whey.
“What you want to look for is a formula that has a large percentage of whey protein as opposed to the casein, because the whey protein is smaller. The smaller the protein, the easier it is to digest. And the smaller a foreign protein you put in your body, the less likely your body is to develop an allergy to it.
So that’s why we like the whey protein,” Russell explains.
“We do find babies who are fed formula high in whey protein tend to be less fussy and less gassy because it’s just easier to digest,” she says.
The latest development in baby formula is the addition of probiotics, used to improve the immune systems of babies. Nestle Good Start Natural Cultures, for example, is enhanced with a probiotic.
“It’s certainly a good idea to feed your baby a probiotic,” recommends Russell, who did research on probiotics during a fellowship in neonatal intensive care.
“There certainly is some really good scientific evidence out there — some really good medical literature — that does show and does prove the importance of probiotics and how beneficial they can be,” she says.
“And so, I’m going to, if I need to, definitely start with the (Nestle) Good Start (formula) and see what happens.” Irene Seiberling blogs about Anything & Everything on BLOG MORE AT LEADERPOST.COM
© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post

Mom sues Delta Airlines over breastfeeding
A New Mexico woman has sued Delta Airlines over being thrown off a flight in Burlington, Vt., for refusing to cover herself while breastfeeding her baby.
Delta and Freedom Airlines Inc., which operated the Delta Connections commuter flight, are both named as defendants, The Burlington Free Press reported Thursday. Emily Gillette’s lawyer filed the suit this week in U.S. District Court in Burlington.
In court papers, Gillette said flight attendants ordered her off the plane when she refused to cover herself with a blanket while nursing her 22-month-old daughter. She said her breast could not be seen and she did not behave belligerently.
Gillette said the incident, three years ago, made her feel “shamed and humiliated” and she continues to suffer anxiety about breastfeeding her second daughter in public places.
Elizabeth Boepple of Portland, Maine, Gillette’s lawyer, said Vermont law on nursing in public is the strongest in the country.

PAINT THE TOWN PINK: Breast cancer an equal opportunity disease
Six years ago, she noticed a dog scratch on her right breast had refused to heal. She was raising three small children at the time, including a baby.
Her doctor said there was only a 1 percent chance of a malignancy but did a biopsy “because of Helena,” Costa said.
She was told she had Paget’s disease of the nipple – a rare cancer that accounts for less than 5 percent of all breast cancers.
Most patients are over 50.
Ana was 37.
“They told me by the time I found a lump, I would have had six months to live,” Costa said.
The odds are slim – only one in 11,000 – for any woman under 40 to develop breast cancer.

There’s not a lot of data on breastfeeding after cancer but an infant can’t “catch” cancer from breastfeeding, Duggan said.
Many women choose to feed from only the healthy breast. For some women, it just doesn’t feel right.

Questions & Answers: 2009 H1N1 Nasal Spray Vaccine

From the Centers for Disease Control
Are there any contraindications to giving breastfeeding mothers the 2009 H1N1 vaccine?
Breastfeeding is not a contraindication for the nasal spray flu vaccine. Women who are breastfeeding can get the nasal spray vaccine, including 2009 H1N1 vaccine.

Breastfeeding? Milk It For All It’s Worth
Wednesday, October 07, 2009 6:16:11 PM
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TALAHASSEE — Two Florida lawmakers want to let mothers use breastfeeding as an excuse to skip jury duty.
Legislation introduced in the state House and Senate would exempt women from jury duty if they’re breastfeeding a child up to the age of 2.
One of the two lawmakers says he thought of the idea when a woman e-mailed him to say she was berated at court for bringing her child with her.

If approved, Florida would join 12 other states that allow breastfeeding mothers to be exempt from jury duty.

What do you think? Should breastfeeding mothers be exempt from jury duty?
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Health region cuts services to battle flu
The Saskatoon Health Region confirmed Tuesday it will scale back public health services in order to do mass immunizations for the H1N1 influenza.
Deputy medical health officer Dr. Ross Findlater said details are still being finalized but the services affected will be similar to those announced Tuesday by the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region — child health clinics, prenatal classes, breastfeeding support and immunizations for children.
In Regina, children due for the regular two-, four-, six- and 12-month immunizations will still receive them on schedule, but the 18-month and four-year booster immunizations will happen at a later date. As well, breastfeeding support services have been consolidated from two locations to one, prenatal classes have been temporarily shelved and a travel health clinic will offer reduced services after Oct. 26
Judy Junor, the Opposition NDP’s health critic, said this week she’s concerned the provincial government isn’t doing enough to provide assistance to the health regions around mass vaccinations.
“It’s all going to be done by public health, which is woefully understaffed. And they’re going to deal with potentially a million immunizations? And now I’m seeing that public health is getting direction they’re to cancel a lot of their programs, programs that deal with pregnant women. Well, that’s one of the demographics that are going to be hit. So you should be reaching out to them. You shouldn’t be cancelling your ordinary programs,” she said.
“I think the biggest problem for health regions is we just don’t know, they don’t know, what the uptake of the H1N1 vaccine will be because there’s certainly lots of numbers thrown out there. We’re ready for 75 per cent of the population but there are some numbers saying it may only be 40 per cent, so the (human resources) requirement is a tough one to hit,” he said Tuesday, adding the province is prepared if and when an influenza pandemic hits.
Findlater said recruiting for an unspecified number of temporary public health nurses has taken place in Saskatoon but there aren’t sufficient numbers of retired nurses “to be a big part of any solution here.”
Doctors’ offices, which normally give seasonal flu vaccinations, will also be given the H1N1 vaccine, he said.
The province announced last month that regular seasonal flu vaccinations will not take place, except for people aged 65 and older and those living in long-term care homes, because of the greater threat of H1N1.

Veto pique
Mindless veto threats do not constitute leadership. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s frustration with legislators’ intransigence is understandable. But he should act on pending bills based on their merits, not out of pique.
Schwarzenegger has until the weekend to sign or veto more than 700 pieces of legislation now on his desk. He is threatening a mass veto of those bills if the Legislature does not strike a deal to make improvements in the state’s water system.
Granted, California would hardly collapse into disorder if the governor vetoed such bills as AB 37, which would grant an honorary degree to Japanese Americans interned during World War II. Or SB 257, which would require state agencies to notify their employees about the rights of breastfeeding mothers. Or SB 169, which would authorize police agencies to issue honorary badges to retired peace officers.

Discharging mums hours after birth is dangerous, says GP

Plans to discharge new mothers from a Belfast hospital hours after they give birth will put women and babies at risk, a leading GP has warned.
As part of a swathe of cost-cutting measures currently under consideration by the Belfast Health Trust, women would be sent home from the Royal Victoria Jubilee Maternity Hospital between six and 12 hours after labour.
“Under these plans they would be transferred to general practice which raises workload issues as well. Don’t forget, we are discharging two people, the woman and her baby,” Dr Dunn said.
Nowadays, breastfeeding is recommended as the healthiest option but some women experience difficulties trying to feed their babies in this way.
Dr Dunn said allowing women time in hospital where they can receive help and advice on how to bond with and breastfeed their baby is vital.
“It can be very distressing for mums if they have problems breastfeeding and I think the plans will mean that post natal depression is more likely,” he said.

Breastfeeding stigma breaking down slowly
It brought unnecessary humiliation to a new mother recently at a popular Vancouver attraction, and other moms are constantly embarrassed and discriminated against for doing in public what nature intended.
Breastfeeding is creating a buzz.
Although health professionals recommend it and the number of advocacy groups supporting breastfeeding are thicker than hair on a newborn’s head, there is still a stigma attached to nursing a baby in public.
Health Canada recommends breastfeeding continue for two years and beyond.”
Savjord says that interestingly enough, they don’t often have to convince moms to breastfeed.
“Most moms want to do it, but that wasn’t the case several years ago. Now, people have heard enough that breastfeeding is the best and there’s no comparison. In my mind, it’s a human right to breastfeed anytime, anywhere. It’s a human right to eat and that’s how babies are fed,” she adds.
For Kelly Rutledge, breastfeeding her first-born, Maddy, 12 years ago was painful to the point of tears.
“It’s not as easy as it looks. The advice I’d give to a new mom is take all the help and advice as you can get.”
Kjersten Dunk, the 100 Mile House La Leche League leader, agrees. She has passionately held that position for 13 years after moving to 100 Mile to find there was no local organization.
Dunk travelled back and forth to Williams Lake to attend La Leche League meetings for some time before taking leader’s training and starting the local chapter.
What she offers the two dozen moms she sees each year is a chance to discuss issues common to breastfeeding families, along with a combination of wisdom and experience.
What she doesn’t offer is any hard, fast rules for breastfeeding.
“Every mom and baby are unique and every mother is the expert of her own situation.”

Another reason for pregnant women to get H1N1 vaccine
It turns out children born to women exposed to the 1918 Spanish Flu were at high risk for health issues, later in life.
The Spanish Flu of 1918 killed more than 50 million people worldwide.
“It was a horrible flu, and even the people who survived were incredibly ill,” said Dr. Richard Wallace who is board certified in infectious disease.
But, he says that just because new research finds that unborn fetuses exposed to the Spanish Flu were more likely to develop heart disease, the same is not true for H1N1.
“At the time, we didn’t know what a virus was,” said Wallace. “There were no vaccines.”
Dr. Wallace says it’s important that pregnant women get the shot, especially those in early pregnancy.
“You can have very serious malformation defects, abnormalities, such as seen with congenital rubella,” said Wallace. “So, it is a significant concern, the more developed the fetus, the more protected it is against getting some sort of illness.”
The CDC says pregnant women shouldn’t get the flu-mist because it’s a live-virus. But, outside of an allergic reaction, if you’re with child, get the shot.
The CDC says that infants who are not breastfeeding are more vulnerable to infection and hospitalization for severe respiratory illness then infants who are breastfeeding.

Julie Bowen Confesses to a Breastfeeding Blunder
After expanding her family with husband Scott Phillips by three — sons Oliver McLanahan, 2 ½, and twins John and Gus, 5 months — in a matter of two years, Julie Bowen told the ladies of The View that she’s skilled when it comes to baby business.
“I’m good at making babies.”
While her many talents extend to filming her new series Modern Family while 8 ½ months pregnant with twins — “I’m behind everything, I’m behind people, cakes,” she explains – one of Julie’s greatest feats since welcoming her sons may be her dedication to breastfeeding the boys. “It is tricky,” the actress admits of juggling her working schedule with that of nursing.
Fortunately, Julie seems to have found the answer when it comes to managing her time wisely: she pumps milk while she drives! “You slap it on, turn on the machine and you drive along. I’m so used to doing it that I don’t even think about it anymore,” she laughs.
Case in point? Stopped and forced to make a road detour, Julie — simply wanting to get home to her family — rolled down the window and asked a nearby police officer for help, oblivious to the fact that she was still connected to her pump.
“I said, ‘Officer, what’s going on?’ and he starts walking over to the car. I realize I’ve got an air horn attached to my boob and all of a sudden [I said], ‘Oh, no! No, no, no, stay away, I’m fine, really, please don’t come over to the car,’ because I didn’t want him to think I was drunk or something!”
The act of breastfeeding twins takes time — and patience! — notes Julie, 39, who profusely thanked her baby nurse Sharon for teaching her the ropes of the double football hold. And while many may marvel at a mother’s ability to simultaneously feed two babies, Oliver is far less impressed. “[He] comes up and he gets mad [and says], ‘Mommy, mommy, mommy,’” she shares.
“He just stands there and throws things…looks at me defiantly.”
Modern Family airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

Breast vs. bottle
In Canada, 75 per cent of women initiate breastfeeding in hospital. But by six months, just 11 per cent are exclusively breastfeeding.
Why? The reasons are complicated and often depend on whom you ask.
Breastfeeding advocates blame formula companies with big marketing budgets for luring women away from breastfeeding. Others suggest breastfeeding women need better support to get through the first couple of weeks after the baby’s birth — an emotional time when new moms often encounter breastfeeding challenges and formula seems like an easy solution. They also believe society needs to better accept women nursing older babies.
Meanwhile, the formula industry is tired of accusatory fingers being pointed at them. They say they actually support breastfeeding and don’t want to compete with mother’s milk. Formula, they say, is the only safe alternative for non-nursing women. And when breastfeeding advocates talk about the “risks” of formula feeding, it’s not only unfair but does a disservice to women.
By the 1950s and ’60s, formula was the flavour of the day.
Initiation rates for breastfeeding were as low as 20 per cent in some parts of Canada, she says.
In Niagara, Brock University and the Niagara Region public health department teamed up to study breastfeeding. They wanted to understand a woman’s breastfeeding experiences, duration and intentions, says Lynn Rempel, chair of the nursing department at Brock and the study’s lead investigator.
The study recruited 90 breastfeeding moms in 2007 and 140 in 2008. The moms were surveyed at 48 hours, two weeks, two months and six months.
At 48 hours after being discharged from the hospital, 70 per cent of breastfed babies had received some formula
In Niagara, hospitals do many things to encourage breastfeeding right from the moment of birth, says Heather Gallagher, clinical manager of maternal, child and pediatrics at St. Catharines General Hospital.
The first is skin-to-skin contact, as soon as possible after the birth. Once the umbilical cord is cut and clamped, and mom and infant are stable, the baby is placed on the mother’s chest and covered with a blanket. They remain together for about an hour, she says.
When baby shows signs of hunger, nurses can help mom get baby latched on.
If a woman has a C-section, all this happens as soon as possible in the recovery room, she says. And if mom chooses to formula feed, they, too, experience the skin-to-skin contact.
Breast or bottle, all mothers are supported in their choices, says Gallagher.
“We respect their wishes,” she says.
In St. Catharines, a lactation consultant is at the hospital five days a week. At the Welland hospital and at Greater Niagara General Hospital in Niagara Falls, they’re available part time. All nurses are trained to help breastfeeding moms, she says.
If a mom wants to breastfeed, baby is never given formula unless a doctor says it’s necessary, says Gallagher.
That usually happens if baby’s blood sugar is low, or if he or she has lost too much weight, she says. It’s usually a small amount of formula, given only after the mother has already breastfed.
Free formula samples are never sent home with any breastfeeding mom, unless under doctor’s orders, says Gallagher. Mothers who are bottle-feeding are usually given a bottle or two of formula, already mixed.
Do free samples undermine a woman’s desire to breastfeed? No, says Marisa Salcines, manager of communications with the International Formula Council, an association that represents infant formula companies.
Research shows that moms have already decided how they will feed their baby before they get to the hospital, she says.
Yes, formula companies do put together “discharge gift bags.” Typically, they’re filled with items including information on breastfeeding, coupons for diapers and information on how to prepare formula. A small sample of formula is included, usually enough for about two days, Salcines says.
If women have trouble breastfeeding at home, they might use the sample.
“But it doesn’t mean … that you’re going to completely abandon breastfeeding,” she says.
“I don’t think a can of formula will completely derail their nursing.
“It’s easy to blame us and point the finger.”
In fact, there’s too much finger-pointing going on and moms are caught in the middle, Salcines says.
When breastfeeding advocates talk about the “risks” of formula feeding, it’s like telling women who use formula that they’re “bad moms,” she says.
“It’s terrible there are moms who feel guilty” for using formula, she says.
“It’s not something that’s going to poison your child.”
Many times, women choose to do both. She worries that in the push for breastfeeding, educating women who choose formula on how to safely prepare it has been neglected. “That puts a child at risk,” she says.
Formula is used for many reasons, Salcines says. Some women simply choose formula instead of breast milk. Others can’t breastfeed. Even more choose to breastfeed and supplement with formula, or introduce formula if they stop nursing before the baby’s first birthday.
There’s no arguing that breast milk is best. “Infant formula is not in competition with breast milk,” she says.
“Breast milk is the gold standard.”
The formula industry actually supports breastfeeding, Salcines says. One company even has an instructional how-to-breastfeed video on its website.
In fact, breast milk is the model companies use when they’re developing a formula. The idea is to make it “as close as possible to human milk,” she says.
Infant formula keeps up with advancements in the science of infant growth and development, she says. One of the more recent improvements is the addition of DHA and ARA, otherwise known as Omega 3 and 6.
“We use the science of breastfeeding to come up with the next best alternative to breast milk,” says Andrea Papamandjaris, the head of the medical and scientific unit at Nestle Nutrition Canada, based in North York.
She cites its newest formula, Good Start Natural Cultures, as an example. It includes probiotic B. lactis, part of a group called bifidobacteria. It’s the most prevalent culture found in the gut of healthy breastfed babies and contributes to good digestive tract flora, she says.
It’s also made with 100 per cent whey protein, broken down. It’s easier to digest than formulas with whole cow’s milk protein, and babies have stools similar to the soft and watery consistency of breastfed babies, she says.
Bhetasi, the Welland pediatrician, gives this advice to women who choose to formula feed. Make sure it’s iron fortified — all the other innovative claims of new ingredients simply don’t have the backing of independent, scientific research, she says.
And choose a brand name. Others might not have enough iron, she says.
And remember that while breast milk has less iron than formula, it’s more easily absorbed, so you don’t need as much, she says.
Moms gather to promote breastfeeding
Public health officials cancelled a breastfeeding challenge in Montreal over H1N1 flu concerns, but a possible pandemic couldn’t keep Calgary moms from gathering downtown to promote breastfeeding this weekend.
Calgary’s official participant count was 72 mothers breastfeeding 78 babies.
Due to flu concerns, the Quintessence Foundation, which sponsors the event, allowed for concerned mothers to breastfeed at home, said White.
“We have not heard anything from anyone in Calgary who was concerned at all. For me, it was never really an issue. It crossed my mind only when I learned Montreal had cancelled,” White said.

Breastfeeding varies between Latte and tea for babies
Babies who are breast-fed receive a different milk throughout the day. Scientists say it’s the natural equivalent of Latte in the morning and de-caff tea at night.
Mothers who express milk for feeding from a bottle should make sure it is given to baby at the same time it came from the breast or potentially disrupt sleeping patterns.
CDC Features

New Data Reveal Insight into Moms’ Complex Infant Feeding Decisions
CDC’s data from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II illustrate several factors that influence pregnant women and new moms when they make decisions about feeding their babies. These factors, such as policies and environments within hospitals, businesses, and communities can all support—or limit—mothers’ choices.
More than 4 out of 5 pregnant women wanted to breastfeed. However, obstacles (i.e., hospital maternity care practices and limitations on maternity leave) made it much harder for them to start and maintain breastfeeding long enough to provide the health protection and benefits babies derive from breastfeeding.
• Moms who gave birth in hospitals whose policies and environment were unsupportive of breastfeeding were 8 times more likely to stop breastfeeding early compared to moms who gave birth in hospitals whose policies and environment do support breastfeeding.
83% of new mothers received infant formula or coupons for infant formula in a gift or diaper bag from the maternity hospital or birth center, and 57% of new mothers received free samples of infant formula sent by mail directly to their home
• Only about one-third of women were eligible for fully paid maternity leave.
• Partially paid leave was an option for only about 1 of 5 women.
• On average, fully paid leave was only 2.2 weeks long, and partially paid was only 1.5 weeks
As moms became more experienced with breastfeeding, they grew more comfortable doing so around other people. By the time their baby was 7 months old almost all (80%) of breastfeeding moms felt comfortable breastfeeding among close women friends, more than half (56%) felt this way among friends that are men and women, and more than one-third (34%) felt comfortable breastfeeding among men and women who were not close friends.

1 Comment

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One response to “Breastfeeding in the News Oct 5th – Oct. 11th, 2009

  1. Thanks, Kathy!

    Interesting how the Ottawa-based pediatrician, Dr. Susan Russell, who’s expecting her first child stated “it’s important for people to recognize that formula is a healthy and a really nutritious alternative to breast milk,” and then praised “the latest development in baby formula being the addition of probiotics.”

    Well, was formula a healthy and really nutritious alternative to breast milk before Nestle added the probiotics? How can formula be a healthy alternative to something (breast milk) we don’t fully understand the composition of to begin with? And, if so, how can they come close to duplicating it?

    Keep up the good work …

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