Breastfeeding in the News Dec. 15th – 25th, 2009

Hello All,

The good people of Nashville Tenn. have decided against putting a new WIC (Women, Infants & Children) office in a downtown mall for fear that it would affect “the safety of those who work and shop in the Antioch area”, that, and they were worried it would undermine property values.  Right, I guess having all those breastfeeding peer counselors running around would be scary; after all they might throw someone up against a wall and threaten to attach them to a breast pump and turn the suction up really high.  Yes, I’m sure that’s what they were worried about, because they couldn’t possibly be worried about the impact of mothers in need getting help for their babies.

If that isn’t enough to get your blood boiling listen to what the food giant Nestle is up to these days.  Having decided that they are the best nutrition experts around, Nestle has taken it upon themselves to start educating doctors on the needs of people requiring enteral nutrition therapy (think premmies & coma patients).  No doubt their year long clinical program will focus primarily on their own products (I can’t imagine them putting in too many plugs for breast milk).   But as we can see from the author of “Parenting Perspective: Figuring out how to feed your baby!” formula is not always the easy answer that everyone thinks it is.  Individual babies react differently to each brand (her baby had constipation with one brand and diarrhea with the next). 

While here in America mothers worry about the consequences of switching brands of formula in some parts of the world, a bigger fear is switching mother’s milk.  In Dubai recently a mother was horrified to find a nurse feeding her pumped milk to someone else’s baby.  “In Quran and Hadith a child who has nursed from a woman becomes not only a blood relation to the nursing woman, but also a milk sibling to others who shared her breast, a relationship that prevents future marriage to a complicated array of “relatives”.”  Such an act is simply “unacceptable” in a Muslim country.  Muslim or not, I think such a major screw up should be unacceptable in any country.

Cultural beliefs play a big part in whether or not a society supports breastfeeding.  The myths covered in this week’s news ranges from gender specific “boys may be introduced to camel milk early as a rite of initiation so they will like the animals they will herd in future,” he said. “The belief is that if the male child is first introduced to his mother’s milk, he will become a useless boy.” (Kenya) to the more common “A mother should not breastfeed if she has cold.” to more localized beliefs, “Squeezing breastmilk in ant’s nest or fire will dry out the mother’s milk.”  to this colloquial gem “Extensive breastfeeding will give the mothers ‘slipper titties’” (Jamaica). 

But let’s keep in mind that some countries that we tend to think of as being less developed are actually far ahead of us.  In the Malaysian Parliament building there is now a room for nursing mothers and more importantly there are at least two legislators who will be using it, while in Indonesia students hit the streets for a peace rally on Mother’s Day (which is in December for them) distributing flowers to every mother and demanding that the government give more support to mothers and babies.   They also “called on the government to set up a space for breastfeeding mothers and a crèche for working mothers.”  How’s that for a mother’s day present?  Young people who care enough to demand more rights for mothers!

Here at home, another California county is attempting to support breastfeeding mothers in the workplace.  It’s good to see local governments taking the lead on this.  Meanwhile Sen. Merkley  

Is taking credit for the addition of an amendment covering lactation support in the workplace (“I led the fight”) but not everyone is happy with the good senator.  “sorry,” comments one blogger, “ the fact that male Senators are supporting the right of women to breastfeed their infants (which is already legal in Oregon) does not make up for government intrusion on women’s right to choose. In fact, that male Senators selectively support women’s rights that benefit their infants more than their rights to control their own bodies is frightening, not reassuring.”

While we are on the subject of “comments” check out some of the reaction to an article (“Breastfeeding in Public?”)about the mother who was caught breastfeeding in the electronics aisle at Target and given a police escort out of the building.  Here’s just one example:  “Couldn’t she go out in the car to do it? This is so Third World.”  Right, didn’t that mother know that real Americans breastfeed in their cars!  And while I’ve got you all riled up you may be interested to learn that one newspaper listed an article about breastfeeding as being one of the top ten articles of the year.  The article?  It was about a poster put up in doctor’s office of a toddler breastfeeding a doll, apparently the story “provoked a passionate debate among readers.”

There was some good news.  Medela gave out some cash awards to five US hospitals, and Julie Wood (one of our Facebook “Breastfeeding in the News” members) was elected to the board of directors to the US Breastfeeding Committee (congratulations Julie!).  Also one of our local Boston area hospital has initiated a return to sanity by introducing a “no visitor” period from 2 -4pm.  The folks at Newton-Wellsley hospital did their homework and when they discovered that “staff and visitors interrupt new moms more than 50 times on average in a 12-hour period.” They decided that enough was enough.  Kudos to the Lactation Consultants at Newton-Wellsley for leading the charge on this fight!

Thanks to an article by our own Kathy Kendall-Tacket in the International Journal of Breastfeeding, inflammation is now being recognized as a significant cause of depression.   And according to foodconsumer.org:  “In the case of post partum depression, breastfeeding is the most obvious remedy of choice as it naturally eases stress and modulates the inflammatory response. While we’re on the subject of PPD, a new study about the effects of Hurricane Katrina revealed that although the trauma had a negative effect on breastfeeding over all most mothers came through just fine.  In fact, “many women are capable of surviving and thriving in post disaster environments”.

I hope some one tells that to the women in Figi.  After Cyclone Mick left them with no clean water for at least three days Unicef was ready to step in to distribute “Emergency Hands” – communication materials promoting key sanitation and hygiene behaviours, posters promoting hand washing and breastfeeding, collapsible water containers and water purification tablets”.   With that in mind, even though the holidays are officialy over you might want to look into buying someone a “Mercy” breastfeeding kit ($75) the gift that “can make a difference in the lives of others in need around the world.” The money goes towards training a breastfeeding counselor in another country.

That’s it for now.  Next week I’m off to Florida where I’ll be giving a talk at the Healthy Children conference in Orlando (wish me luck!).  Hopefully I’ll be able to find a little down time while I’m there so that I can be a little more up to date with the news.  As always I love to hear from you.  If you want to leave a comment just scroll way down to the very end & you’ll find the comment box. 

Kathy Abbott, IBCLC

www.BusyMomsBreastfeed.com

On Facebook: “Breastfeeding in the News”

My Blog:  http://TheCuriousLactivist.wordpress.com/

Nestle to train doctors about tube-feeding nutrition

For some hospital patients, the nutrients delivered to the body through a tube feeder can make the difference of a speedy recovery.  That is why Nestle Nutrition, part of Nestle U.S.A., which manufactures products ranging from baby formula to chocolate and is considered to be the world’s largest food company, is working to ensure doctors nationwide better understand how to prescribe the right mix of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and other essential nutrients for patients requiring extra help eating, said Sally Steele of Nestle HealthCare Nutrition. “The right food can positively influence a patient’s outcome, heal wounds, nurse a premature baby to health,” Steele said.

Nestle Nutrition, based in Florham Park, is launching an Enteral Nutrition Fellowship Program this year that will offer physicians and surgeons hands-on experience and information about enteral nutrition therapy.

Enteral nutrition is a milkshake-like mixture of necessary nutrients given through a tube in the stomach or small intestine. It differs from parenteral nutrition, another type of nutrition therapy, which is delivered to patients’ bloodstream using a needle.

People requiring enteral nutrition therapy range from premature infants to someone in a coma or those diagnosed with a chronic illness such as advanced dementia.

Research has indicated that the addition of certain nutrients and amino acids to formulas are associated with the reduced risk of infection in surgical patients and those who are immune-system compromised. These nutrients can help decrease antibiotic use, reduce ventilator use and the incidence of pneumonia, and reduce surgical complications.

Nestle’s yearlong program will offer offers fellows the chance to work one-on-one with a mentor and a month in a clinical rotation to learn tube-feeding-related procedures, shining a light on a component of patient recovery typically left for specialized dieticians or certified nutrition support clinicians.

The aim, Steele said, is to create a network of nutrition physician leaders that will return to their hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities to spread the word. Some will go on to further research the benefits and effects of nutrition therapy, thus helping to save more lives, she said.

http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/20100103/BUSINESS/91231017/1003/Nestle-to-train-doctors-about-tube-feeding-nutrition

Women warned about morning sickness remedy

Women who are in the throes of morning sickness are often willing to try almost anything to ease the queasiness and vomiting that accompanies those first months of pregnancy.

Some herbal or traditional remedies work like a charm and are innocuous, but pregnant women in particular need to be sure of what they are ingesting.

The Texas Department of State Health Services issued a warning this week that pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using of a product called “Nzu,” also known as Calabash chalk. The product is a traditional remedy for morning sickness used largely by Nigerian and West African women. It can also be used as a cosmetic.

Laboratory analysis in Texas, mirroring earlier findings in the UK and Canada, show the products contain high levels of lead and arsenic. According to the state’s press release, the product was found by food inspectors at two African specialty stores — one in the Dallas area and one in Houston.

The product generally resembles balls of clay or mud and is also called Calabar stone, Mabele, Argile and La Craie.

The Nzu may be covered in a brown or white dust and is usually sold in small plastic bags with a handwritten label identifying it as “Nzu” or “salted Nzu.”

Anyone who has been ingesting the product should contact their health care provider. The source of the product in Texas is not yet known, but inspectors are continuing to investigate.

http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/mamadrama/entries/2009/12/24/women_warned_about_morning_sic.html?cxntfid=blogs_mama_drama

An Imperfect Stride Towards Justice – Sen. Jeff Merkley

At 7 am this morning, a short time ago, I voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It passed.

If you are like me, it is hard to respond with uninhibited celebration. It is hard to celebrate when you are mourning. I am mourning the loss of the national public option. I am mourning the infringement on women’s constitutional right to choose.

…One of my favorites–in part, I confess, because I led the fight for it–is the amendment that guarantees every mother returning to work the privacy and flexibility in break time needed to nurse her child or pump breast milk. Breastfeeding is great for the baby’s and the mother’s health, and is a big factor in emotional bonding as well.

Comments:

“Senatpr Merkley, Your “mourning” the restrictions on women’s choice does not make up for the fact that you nevertheless voted for them…..

And sorry, the fact that male Senators are supporting the right of women to breastfeed their infants (which is already legal in Oregon) does not make up for government intrusion on women’s right to choose. In fact, that male Senators selectively support women’s rights that benefit their infants more than their rights to control their own bodies is frightening, not reassuring.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-merkley/an-imperfect-stride-towar_b_402959.html

Council says no to WIC clinic in Metro Nashville

While some say opening a WIC clinic at the Hickory Hollow Mall in Metro Nashville would have meant a boost in sales for local business owners, council members voted “no” to the plan during Tuesday night’s Metro Council meeting. The plan in consideration targeted residents specifically in southeast Nashville (Antioch) to receive the assistance WIC provides. According to the official WIC website, “WIC provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.” Although 43 percent of Davidson County’s WIC participants reside in Antioch justifying the location for the program, other factors swayed the vote.

Protesters concerned about the WIC clinic opening in the Hickory Hollow Mall were relieved with the council’s decision. Property values in the already unstable market remain unaffected as a result of the vote. Patrons and employees directly affected by the decision were pleased when they heard the official ruling that businesses would not be driven out of the mall, and the safety of those who work and shop in the Antioch area continues to be a top priority.

Those in the community targeted councilman, Sam Coleman, for not communicating the plan to open a WIC clinic in the Hickory Hollow Mall to the public. Officials from the health department and Coleman’s supporters insist that bill readings about the plan were advertised appropriately. Coleman stated, “I apologize, but sometimes these federal grants, they come at such a pace and then you have to act upon them. That’s what happened here.”

http://www.examiner.com/x-33945-Nashville-Headlines-Examiner~y2009m12d24-Council-says-no-to-WIC-clinic-in-Metro-Nashville

Milk of Woes for New Mother

DUBAI – A UAE national woman who gave birth to a boy in a Dubai hospital said a nurse fed her milk to another baby and another woman’s milk to her son, adding it is against Islamic beliefs.

The mother, who asked not to be named, said she had been ill after delivery and was not breast feeding. “The nurse pumped the milk from my breast to feed my baby,” she said.

“All of sudden I saw her holding a bottle with my name and the name of my baby written, and feeding another baby.” The mother said she shouted at the nurse and called the doctor, claiming the nurse had not been paying attention to her work.

“The nurse was not aware such a thing is against our religion,” she said. “It was shock for me and I couldn’t do any thing after my baby had someone else’s milk.”

… Al Marzouqi said it was believed that breastfeeding established a biological link that would not have been present otherwise.

“In Quran and Hadith a child who has nursed from a woman becomes not only a blood relation to the nursing woman, but also a milk sibling to others who shared her breast, a relationship that prevents future marriage to a complicated array of “relatives”,” Al Marzouqi said.

“There is some indication in early medical thought that a woman’s milk is a product of her blood, and so by ingesting it, a blood relationship is created.”

Al Marzouqi said the alleged act by the nurse was unacceptable in a Muslim country adding that training and religious programmes should be provided for non-Muslims who work in the health care establishments.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2009/December/theuae_December674.xml&section=theuae&col=

People in the News 

AAFP member Julie Wood, M.D., of Lee’s Summit, Mo., has been elected to the board of directors of the United States Breastfeeding Committee and began serving a two-year term in August. She also serves as the nonprofit organization’s membership committee chair.

The United States Breastfeeding Committee is a coalition of more than 40 organizations — including the AAFP — working to improve the nation’s health by protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding.

Wood recently completed her term as chair of the AAFP Commission on Health of the Public and Science. She is a board member of the Missouri AFP.

http://www.aafp.org/online/en/home/publications/news/news-now/inside-aafp/20091222pplinnews.html

Government Urged to Assist Breastfeeding Mothers  (Jakarta Indonesia)

Mother’s Day in Makassar yesterday was commemorated by students and mothers from various organizations with a peace rally in front of the Mandala Monument
Scores of female students from the South Sulawesi and West Sulawesi Coordination Agency of the Muslim Students Association (Kohati) demonstrated by distributing flowers to mothers on the street.

 
The students, mostly wearing kebaya and South Sulawesi’s traditional bodo dress, called on the government to set up a space for breastfeeding mothers and a crèche for working mothers. There are only two rooms reserved for breastfeeding mothers in Makassar, at the Global Trade Center Mall and the Panakkukang Mall.
They also called on the government to encourage policies that support mother and child’s interest as well as to pay more attention to Mother’s Reproduction Health Program. “Mother and child mortality rates continue to rise,” said Arlina, rally coordinator.
At the same location, youths and mothers from the Indonesian Poor People Union and the National Student League for Democracy also demonstrated to demand that mothers be given bigger roles.

http://www.tempointeractive.com/hg/nasional/2009/12/23/brk,20091223-215353,uk.html

The ten most read stories of 2009

8. ‘Breastfeeding’ tot storm A story on May 20 told how a poster had been put up in Rochdale Infirmary showing a toddler breastfeeding a doll. The article provoked a passionate debate among readers.

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/1186981_the_ten_most_read_stories_of_2009

The Links Between Sugar and Mental Health

Published in the International Breastfeeding Journal, the study entitled “A new paradigm for depression in new mothers: the central role of inflammation and how breastfeeding and anti-inflammatory treatments protect maternal mental health” discovered that inflammation may be more than just another risk factor. It may in fact be THE risk factor that underlies all others.

The researchers’ stated:

“The old paradigm described inflammation as simply one of many risk factors for depression. The new paradigm is based on more recent research that has indicated that physical and psychological stressors increase inflammation. These recent studies constitute an important shift in the depression paradigm: inflammation is not simply a risk factor; it is the risk factor that underlies all the others.

Moreover, inflammation explains why psychosocial, behavioral and physical risk factors increase the risk of depression. This is true for depression in general and for postpartum depression in particular.

Puerperal women are especially vulnerable to these effects because their levels of proinflammatory cytokines significantly increase during the last trimester of pregnancy–a time when they are also at high risk for depression. 

Moreover, common experiences of new motherhood, such as sleep disturbance, postpartum pain, and past or current psychological trauma, act as stressors that cause proinflammatory cytokine levels to rise. “

In the case of post partum depression, breastfeeding is the most obvious remedy of choice as it naturally eases stress and modulates the inflammatory response.

http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Non-food/Miscellaneous/sugar_and_mental_health_2212090659.html

 Hospitals change policy on maternity visiting hours. 


After customer satisfaction concerns led them to transition from specific visitation periods to open-door policies more than a decade ago, some hospitals are now drifting partway back, finding new families have become too busy to rest, bond with their babies and take in lessons on providing care.

“It’s an overwhelming experience in a very positive way,” said Virginia Prout, director of maternal and child health at Newton-Wellesley. “I think families need time to process what has just happened to them.”

Prompted by comment cards from patients and concern from hospital lactation consultants rest periods boost milk production a team of Newton-Wellesley nurses studied the issue, finding national data that staff and visitors interrupt new moms more than 50 times on average in a 12-hour period.

While noise and action on their unit hadn’t hit circus-like proportions, nurses realized there was room for improvement. Patients were seeing a constant flow of birth-certificate preparers, hearing testers, photographers-for-hire, housekeepers, dietitians and other staff, as well as a parade of well-meaning family and friends.

On top of that, hospital maternity stays have been shortened in recent years to two days for vaginal births and four for C-sections.

“That doesn’t really give new families a lot of time to absorb what we want to teach them,” Prout said, with sessions devoted to bathing, breastfeeding, holding and bonding.

So last month, Prout’s unit introduced a new daily “quiet time” from 2 to 4 p.m. While essential medical care is still provided new moms, especially those coming off C-sections, require a lot of monitoring other staff are asked to make way for family rest or lessons from nurses.

http://www.dailynewstribune.com/homepage/x1599182795/Hospitals-change-policy-on-maternity-visiting-hours

Breastfeeding in Public? 

Mother of three Mary Martinez was ousted from a Target store in Michigan earlier this month, after she began breastfeeding her hungry 4-week –old daughter in the electronics section.

Though there were few other shoppers in the area, Target security approached Martinez and her husband, Jose, and told them to leave.  “He said, ‘It’s against the law.  Tou have to go,’” Josr Martinez told Fox News.

The police were called, and even after an officer admitted that breastfeeding in public was not, in fact, against the law, the family was escorted out of the store.

Comments:

  1. 8.     I fully support the rights of nursing mothers to feed their babies in public. But this situation creates a scene in my mind of a mother walking around shopping and nursing the baby at the same time.

Even though I nursed both of my babies, and on occasion in public places when necessary, I can see myself (and DEFINITELY my husband) doing a double take at someone breastfeeding alongside me as I browse the Wii games through the glass case in the electronics section at Target. It’s unlikely that either of us would complain about it to store management or security, but we’d definitely shake our heads and laugh over dinner later at how some people just have no sense.

  1. 5.      If the bfeeding is so discreet that I don’t know about it–then I personally don’t care — feed away!
    However, there are bfeeding women who are essentially exhibitionists and they rightfully should be shown the door. I once saw a young woman walking the aisles of a supermarket with a baby attached to her completely exposed breast. Another time a mother was sitting in a waiting room of a post-secondary school with her baby attached about a foot and a half away–her breasts were that enormous– and the one in use was completely exposed. She made a roomful of people very uncomfortable. Oh I know, they were all in the wrong while she alone was in the right.
  2. 6.      Why cause drama? I used to pump, put the goods in a baby’s bottle, and pack the bottle with the rest of baby stuff.
    Fed baby where-ever and when-ever. So simple. sheesh!

Posted by Electra December 18, 09 10:15 PM

  1. 34.   Couldn’t she go out in the car to do it? This is so Third World.
  2. 35.   Could racism also be a factor here?

Posted by Liz Pakula December 19, 09 10:07 PM

  1. 21.   I breastfed my daughter but I think it’s odd to do it in the middle of the electronics aisle. Find a chair someplace! I think some mothers get righteous on this topic–sure, it’s your ‘right’ but be discreet about it.

Posted by anna74 December 19, 09 02:03 PM

30.  I breast fed in public with both of my kids. People should focus on the “feed” but not the “breast” part of breast feeding. Maybe we should call it biological feeding or natural feeding so that people won’t be get nervous with the “breast” part.

http://www.boston.com/community/moms/blogs/child_caring/2009/12/breastfeeding_in_public.html

Malaysian women lawmakers get enclosure to nurse babies

Malaysian women parliamentarians now have a special area in the VIP restroom at the Parliament building to nurse their infants. The move comes as breastfeeding by women lawmakers, and by women at workplaces in general, are issues being debated in many countries. In some places, women have been banned from nursing their infants. In 2003, the Victorian state parliament in Australia ejected a new mother, Kirstie Marshall for breastfeeding her baby in the chamber, according to The Age newspaper. The first Malaysian lawmaker to benefit from this enclosure divided by a curtain is Nurul Izzah Anwar, an opposition lawmaker who uses it to feed her five-month-old baby, The Star newspaper said Saturday.

Deputy Health Minister Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin, who is seven-and-a-half-months pregnant, said she plans to use the facility after her baby is born.  The facility was made available since the opening of the current Parliament session in October. Nurul Izzah, 29, requested for a nursing room when she gave birth to her second child five months ago. Her child was only a few months old when Nurul Izzah won the Lembah Pantai parliamentary seat in the March 8 general election last year.

http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/health/malaysian-women-lawmakers-get-enclosure-to-nurse-babies_100291713.html

What do Pokwang and Cory Aquino have in common?

MANILA, Philippines – Former president Corazon “Cory” Aquino was recently feted a posthumous Lifetime Achievement award by Lifestyle magazine “Working Mom.”

According to a press statement by the magazine, Aquino was awarded at the 2009 Working Mom Balance Awards as “one of the greatest working moms the country has ever known.”

The annual awards event, which started in 2003, recognize women who excelled in their respective careers but still “maintain a healthy balance in facing the demands in their personal lives.”

This is the first time that Working Mom gave a posthumous award.

The magazine also honored 5 women who each won a “Balance Award” for 5 categories: Educator, Entrepreneur, Health and Well-being, Public Service and Corporate

Public Service awardee Anna Lisa Dee, meanwhile, was honored for her breastfeeding advocacy as co-founder of the non profit group Lactation Attachment Training Counseling and Help (L.A.T.C.H.).She works as a breastfeeding counselor, resource speaker and contributing writer to various “mom and baby” publications and web sites. Dee is also a loving wife to her high school sweetheart Dudu and a doting mother to her children.

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/lifestyle/12/17/09/pokwang-cory-aquino-cited-working-mom-awards

KENYA: The role of culture in child nutrition

MOYALE, 18 December 2009 (IRIN) – Two-year-old Safia Emoi is weak, thin and listless. She has just arrived at the Heillu Health centre with her mother Amima Mohammed, who set off early to make the 4km trek to the clinic in the outskirts of the upper Eastern Province town of Moyale. Safia is enrolled in a programme for severely malnourished children.

“Up until recently, things were a bit better for me and my family,” Amima Mohammed, 35, said. However, a prolonged drought has killed livestock, in turn affecting children’s nutrition and milk consumption.

“We are hungry most of the time. I make some strong tea in the morning and then we have one meal of maize during the day,” said the mother of six.  
 
There are dozens of children enrolled in a supplementary feeding programme run by Concern Worldwide in Moyale; in the past three months, the NGO recorded an average of 70 to 80 admissions per month. “I have seen other children getting better when given ready-to-eat therapeutic food, so I know Safia will too,” said her mother.

According to the Arid Lands Resource Management Project (ALRMP), agro-pastoral and pastoral communities are among the worst affected by food insecurity after four consecutive rainy seasons failed.

Despite ongoing mid-October to December short rains, drought-related stress, such as inadequate food and pasture, remains high in Moyale and other Eastern Province Districts such as Isiolo, Garbatulla, and Marsabit.

The proportion of children classified as “at risk” of malnutrition (mid-upper-arm circumference, MUAC, less than 135mm, in ages 6-59 months) in October remained higher than respective five-year averages in the districts, according to ALRMP surveillance data, stated a Kenya Food Security Update for November.

An MUAC of less than 110mm indicates severe acute malnutrition; between 110mm and 125mm moderate acute malnutrition, while one between 125 and 135mm shows that the child is at risk of acute malnutrition and should be followed up for growth monitoring.

The wrong kind of food

Another nutritional problem in this region is a widespread tendency not to breastfeed babies during their first six months. According to the UN Children’s Fund, exclusive breastfeeding is the perfect way to provide the best food for a baby’s first six months as breastfed infants are much less likely to die from diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections and other diseases.

But Humphrey Mosomi, a nutritionist with World Vision Kenya in Marsabit district, said some 60 percent of mothers gave their babies additional food as well as water within two weeks of birth.

Improving pastoral community awareness of better child-feeding practices was vital, Mosomi told IRIN.  

“For example, boys may be introduced to camel milk early as a rite of initiation so they will like the animals they will herd in future,” he said. “The belief is that if the male child is first introduced to his mother’s milk, he will become a useless boy.

“There is also influence from grandmothers. They say the children are dying of thirst and that they must be given water,” he said. In an effort to improve the situation, traditional birth attendants, who, as older women, enjoy respect in the community, are being educated about the importance of exclusive breastfeeding.

Challenges

Cultural beliefs also fuel poor child health, noted Mosomi. “It takes a long time to convince someone to sell a cow or a goat to buy food. [People refuse] to sell so as not to be viewed as poor or to look cowardly. If, as a leader, you sold off your cows during the drought, people may refuse to vote for you.

“Sometimes, the cows are there, the milk is there, but it is not available to the children. The herders are ‘favoured’ and allocated the bigger share of milk, for instance,” he noted, adding that there was a need for advocacy.

http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=87454 

Medela Announces Virtual Human Milk Collection Campaign

MCHENRY, Ill., Dec. 17 /PRNewswire/ — Medela announced today the award recipients from its November Virtual Human Milk (breastmilk) Collection Campaign in honor of the March of Dimes’ National Prematurity Awareness Month. More than 4,100 participated in the campaign, voting for their preferred Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Each of the following hospitals will receive $5,000 in neonatal human milk support products from Medela:

* Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, Gulfport, MS. * St. John Medical Center, Tulsa, OK. * The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA.* University of New Mexico Hospital, Albuquerque, NM.

“We are very pleased with the participation in our Virtual Human Milk Collection Campaign. The intent was to help raise awareness of the importance of human milk which works like a medicine to help protect premature babies from many serious complications during and after their hospital stay,” says Carolin Archibald, vice president, professional business at Medela Inc. “We’re thrilled to be able to donate products to our award recipients that will support feeding more human milk and improving outcomes for their vulnerable patients.”

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/medela-announces-virtual-human-milk-collection-campaign-award-recipients-in-honor-of-2009-prematurity-awareness-month-79531102.html

Study data from E.W. Harville and colleagues update understanding of depression

“We reviewed the literature on the effects of Hurricane Katrina on perinatal health, and providing data from our own research on pregnant and postpartum women. After Katrina, obstetric, prenatal, and neonatal care was compromised in the short term, but increases in adverse birth outcomes such as preterm birth, low birthweight, and maternal complications were mostly limited to highly exposed women,” investigators in the United States report (see also Depression).

“Both pregnant and postpartum women had rates of post-traumatic stress disorder similar to, or lower than, others exposed  to Katrina, and rates of depression similar to other pregnant and postpartum populations. Health behaviors, such as smoking and breastfeeding, may have been somewhat negatively affected by the disaster, whereas effects on nutrition were likely associated with limited time, money, and food choices, and indicated by both weight gain and loss,” wrote E.W. Harville and colleagues.

The researchers concluded: “With a few specific exceptions, postdisaster concerns and health outcomes for pregnant and postpartum women were similar to those of other people exposed to Hurricane Katrina. In such situations, disaster planners and researchers should focus on providing care and support for the normal concerns of the peripartum period, such as breastfeeding, depression, and smoking cessation. Contraception needs to be available for those who do not want to become pregnant. Although additional physical and mental health care needs to be provided for the most severely exposed women and their babies, many women are capable of surviving and thriving in postdisaster environments.”

Harville and colleagues published their study in Birth – Issues in Perinatal Care (Hurricane Katrina and Perinatal Health. Birth – Issues in Perinatal Care, 2009;36(4):325-331).

http://behavioralhealthcentral.com/index.php/20091216156741/Clinical-News/study-data-from-ew-harville-and-colleagues-update-understanding-of-depression.html

Unicef Ready To Support Flood-Affected Fijians

Friday, 18 December, 2009 – 16:48

UNICEF estimates that at least 17,500 people in the area were affected by severe flooding causing extensive damage in housing areas and to water mains and supplies.

Three days after category 2 Cyclone Mick hit major islands of the Fiji Islands group, the affected population still does not have access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation.

UNICEF stands ready to distribute “Emergency Hands” – communication materials promoting key sanitation and hygiene behaviours, posters promoting hand washing and breastfeeding, collapsible water containers and water purification tablets at the request of the Government.

http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/unicef-ready-support-flood-affected-fijians/5/33810

Monterey County eyes breastfeeding policy for workers

Monterey County is working toward becoming just the third county in the state to have a breastfeeding policy for employees. The policy is currently being test-driven in the county’s Health Department.  “I anticipate that this policy will benefit both the Health Department and the community,” said Dr. Lisa Hernandez, the county’s deputy health officer.

The plan sets aside space other than a restroom for breastfeeding mothers to pump breast milk. It also allows for flexible schedules so women can continue both work and feeding. If it moves forward, Health Department officials will work with leaders in each county department to find appropriate spaces to designate for nursing moms.

http://www.thecalifornian.com/article/20091216/NEWS01/91216024/1002/Monterey+County+eyes+breastfeeding+policy+for+workers

Parenting Perspective: Figuring out how to feed your baby!

December 16, 2009 (WPVI) — One of the surprises for many new mothers is how hard breastfeeding can be. Something that seems so natural often comes with a lot of frustration, anxiety and concern. But if you find yourself struggling with it, there are books, videos and support groups, not to mention a cadre of other women who have negotiated the difficult moments of “latching” and “supplementing.”

So, I thought I’d have it a little easier since our son is bottle fed. I have rheumatoid arthritis, and the drugs I take to combat are toxic and make it impossible for me to breastfeed. (I stopped the drugs while pregnant and resumed them about a month after delivery). Bottles also would mean that I could share feedings with my husband and not have to contemplate cover-ups whenever we wanted to take the baby out for a while.

Not so fast.

For the past three months, we have been taxed trying to find the right formula. The first one made him constipated. The second one gave him explosive gas and diarrhea, even as he spit up ounces. A third mix led to thick chunks on his bib. Another variant turned him off, pushing away from his bottle. Our solution this week is to mix two different brands together. He seems to keep them down without much wear on his system.

There are some other things I’ve been taught to do to try to keep his formula in his system, not spit up on my shoulder: I hold him at a 45-degree angled as he feeds, rather than letting him lay back. He doesn’t always burp, even though I try, but I make sure he at least sits upright for 30 minutes, which half the time means an upright snooze on my shoulder. Another thing you can try: burp after half or even thirds of the bottle.

We’re not sure whether our current solution will be the final call. We ruefully look at the barely used cans of formula – they are not cheap – sitting around our kitchen. But then we try to keep it all in perspective: Before we know it, our little guy will be on to cereal and solids.

Here’s to Mother Nature and hopes our little guy fares better with strained sweet potatoes, peas and pears!

http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/parenting&id=7174378

Pregnant and breastfeeding women exposed to workplace hazards  (Spain)

A new study shows the employment and sociodemographic characteristics involved in the exposure of pregnant women to workplace hazards. Of these, 56% say they often work standing up or have to lift heavy objects, 63% are exposed to workplace stress and 62% say they are frequently exposed to some physical risk in their place of work.

“Pregnant and breastfeeding women are especially sensitive to exposure to workplace hazards”, Mª Carmen González, lead author of the study and a researcher at the Higher Centre for Public Health Research in Valencia, tells SINC. “Certain workplace pollutants and working conditions can have negative impacts on pregnancy and the development of the foetus”, she says.

… Almost one-quarter of the women (22%) said they were exposed to some chemical agent, particularly cleaning products, and 6% to biological risk factors, such as in jobs involving the care of others.

The conclusions show that it is the youngest, least-educated and non-Spanish women, who are self-employed or working on temporary contracts, who are most likely to report being frequently exposed to workplace risks.


“Although Spanish legislation regulates the protection of pregnant or breastfeeding women in their places of work (Law 31/1995 and Organic Law 3/2007), the conclusions of this study indicate that this legislation is insufficiently implemented in Spain”, concludes the Valencian researcher.

http://www.news-medical.net/news/20091217/Pregnant-and-breastfeeding-women-exposed-to-workplace-hazards.aspx

What to Give to the Person Who Has Everything

When confronted by malls full of frantic holiday shoppers and barraged with advertisements promising the perfect gifts, we’re sometimes overwhelmed. We realize we’re very fortunate to be living somewhere that has so much available, while many others have very little. That’s why Mercy Kits — symbolic humanitarian gifts that support the health and education programs of Mercy Corps — are perfect for the person who has everything.

Since 1979, Mercy Corps has been helping individuals, families and communities hurt by economic crisis, armed conflict and natural disasters around the globe, from the United States to Kyrgyzstan. The organization, based in Portland, OR, started offering the tax-deductible Mercy Kits in 2003. “With Mercy Kits, gift-givers can make a difference in the lives of others in need around the world,” says spokeswoman Joy Portella. Proceeds from most of the kits go to where Mercy Corps determines it is most needed, though the following support specific projects: Breastfeeding Kit ($75), Climate Change Kit ($150), Fuel-Efficient Stove Kit ($45), Send an Orphan to School Kit ($100), Plant a Tree Kit ($55) and Play to Heal Kit ($75).

http://mercycorps.org/inthenews/17036

Push for exclusive breastfeeding

MOST Jamaican mothers are not practising exclusive breastfeeding as it goes against their belief that babies require water or tea. So says Dr Pauline Samuda, a nutritionist, who is calling for greater education on exclusive breastfeeding and its benefits.

“[But] it’s very difficult in a hot country, when a mother is hot to tell her that her baby is not hot, although you’re trying to say to them, ‘look at what you have eaten versus what the baby has eaten, you have eaten pure solids while the baby has had only liquid, so you’re thirsty, the baby is not’,” Dr Samuda said. “It’s very difficult but it is something we have to work on.”

In addition to the mother’s misperception of what the child requires during his or her first six months, Dr Samuda said that a large number of public health care workers were also making the task difficult as they themselves were not aware of the correct definition of the term ‘exclusive breastfeeding’ and at times misinform the mothers about the baby’s diet and the appropriate time to introduce additional food.

Dr Samuda was speaking against the background of a recent study she conducted in St Catherine and Clarendon, where she found that over 90 per cent of the mothers in the survey had never heard the term ‘exclusive breastfeeding’, while 80 per cent were introducing supplemental food such as tea, formula, porridge and irish potato between one to three months after the baby’s birth.

Popular myths surrounding breastfeeding

• Infants needs bush tea to clear their stomach in the mornings.

• Babies need water to quench their thirst.

• Expressed milk is not good for the baby.

• Squeezing breastmilk in ant’s nest or fire will dry out the mother’s milk.

• Feeding young babies tomato leaves will help with gripe.

• Mothers do not produce enough milk, hence the reason for additional food.

• Extensive breastfeeding will give the mothers ‘slipper titties’.

• A mother should not breastfeed if she has cold.

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/push-for-exclusive-breastfeeding

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1 Comment

Filed under breastfeeding, Breastfeeding in the News, lactivist

One response to “Breastfeeding in the News Dec. 15th – 25th, 2009

  1. Pingback: Breastfeeding in the News Dec. 15th - 25th, 2009 | Breakings New

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