Category Archives: breast milk

Breastfeeding in the News March 1st – 8th, 2010

This week’s news certainly had its share of titillation.  From a chef who serves his patrons a cheese made from his wife’s breast milk, the woman in jail who was charged with assault for squirting her milk at a guard, to the mother who admits to breastfeeding her 14 year old.  And let’s not forget that fashion show that Bravado (makers of nursing bras) held in Las Vegas where the pregnant models were banned from walking the runway.

Mixed in with the odd ball articles two very sad stories also caught my eye.  In the Philippines a 31 year old woman was shot dead while breastfeeding her one year old.  The baby was still suckling her breast when they found her.  And in Uganda authorities say they have no proof that a mother who says her husband forced her to breastfeed puppies is telling the truth.  Apparently the scars on her breast were believed to be the result of her epilepsy, and the testimony from her children (ages 5 & 2) was not to be taken seriously because they after all merely children. 

 There were several stories about breastfeeding and the workplace this week and none of it was very encouraging I’m afraid.  Although donating a handmade quilt to a local health department breastfeeding room was a nice gesture of support it appears that combining breastfeeding and work remains a struggle in many places.  Utah failed to pass a bill requiring workplaces to set aside space for breastfeeding.  In Oklahoma where they have a law allowing mothers to express milk at work (during unpaid time) there was no mandate to set aside space to do so.  Officially encouraging businesses to set aside space hasn’t worked either as only 26 offices now have a designated pumping space.  (I find it ironic that the title of this article was “Workplaces Nurture Nursing Moms”.) 

In “To Pump or Not to Pump?” a mother whose office had a designated pumping room explains the dilemma she found herself in when she found it difficult to accept a travel assignment that would have made it difficult to pump.   In Taipei a survey found that less than 4% of businesses had a breastfeeding room and that lack of space was one of the main reasons cited for not doing so.  They too are considering a bill requiring public offices to create such a space which, unlike Oklahoma the bill, includes a provision to fine those who don’t comply.

Meanwhile according to the Wall Street Journal breastfeeding for six months or longer leads to an overall decrease in a woman’s income because they either work fewer hours or they quit.  “We can’t just look at health outcomes. We must look at economic outcomes as well,” says Mary Noonan, an associate professor at University of Iowa’s sociology department and co-author of the paper. “Money also matters for a child’s health.”  I think she has a valid point.  Why should a mother have to decide between her financial security and her child’s health?  Likewise why should business owners have to redesign their workspaces to accommodate the pumping mother? 

To me the answer is obvious.  Women need a nationally guaranteed long term (I’m thinking one year here!) paid maternity leave.  I’m tired of legislators trying to grapple with this problem from state to state with their pathetic attempts to combine breastfeeding in the workplace.  It also annoys me that these laws are promoted as laws to encourage breastfeeding when in reality they are promoting pumping not breastfeeding.  Did you know that Medela’s sales of the “Pump N Style” have quadrupled in the last five years?  Is it any wonder that we now have mothers who plan to “EP” (exclusively pump)?  To really support breastfeeding we need three things; intensive prenatal breastfeeding education, “Baby Friendly” hospitals, and a national one year paid maternity leave.  Work place legislations are a mere band-aid.  And for those of you who feel that I am ignoring the rights of mothers who want to go back to work, yes there should be legislation to accommodate them in the workplace, but I really feel we should be pushing for maternity leave first.  At the very least we should be making a lot more noise about the issue.

And yes I’m totally in favor of legislation to accommodate breastfeeding in public both as way to bring the issue to the foreground and to ensure that no mother ever feels stuck at home because of her decision to breastfeed.  In the Philippines at Manila’s International airport they recently opened a free mother’s breastfeeding room.  I’m so glad it’s free.  They weren’t really thinking of charging mothers for this were they?  Although depending on the price it might be worth it.  The room includes four cubicles each with a bed, a swivel chair, a window, a drawer and a door that locks!  This is the first breastfeeding room that I’ve heard of that offered a bed!  How cool is that?  (Of course the Philippines also have a law preventing companies from promoting formula.  It’s about the culture people!)

OK, let me get off that soap box for a minute.  In other news we can congratulate actress Angela Kinsey for explaining to the female writers of “The Office” the realities of breastfeeding.  And it is interesting to note that one writer found it to be impossible to believe that there could be male lactation consultants or for that matter baby mix ups in the hospital.  While we’re on the subject I want to give a shout out Tom Johnston who is stationed with the army in New York.   Tom is both a Lactation Consultant and a certified midwife.  Tom’s Facebook profile exclaims “I catch babies for the Army!”  

Speaking of midwives a midwife in the UK has been nominated for a national award for her efforts to help a mother breastfeed following a c-section.  In other news a daycare provider resigned after someone gave a baby in her charge the wrong mother’s breast milk.  In Nigeria due to the fall in breastfeeding rates the government has decided to reach out to religious groups (both Muslim and Christian) in an effort to educate parents.  In health news Breastfeeding has been associated with a lower risk of peptic ulcers (caused by H.Pylori).  And in environmental news it has been suggested that the contamination of breast milk with toxins should be considered a “child’s health issue” rather than a “woman’s issue”.

“Dear Prudence” got an interesting letter from a dad who wasn’t sure what to do about his wife.  It seems that because he was a stay at home dad he was better at noticing their baby’s feeding cues than his wife who was primarily pumping.  Apparently she resented him for it.  “Recently my wife blew up at me and said that her breasts are her body and no other person can tell her what to do with her body. From now on I am not allowed to tell her when I see signs that our daughter is hungry because it then would be controlling my wife’s body.”  “Dear Prudence” replied   “Your wife is in the difficult situation of trying to provide nutrition for your daughter while being at work all day. It doesn’t help that when she’s home you indicate you are more in tune with your baby’s needs than she is.”   And she went on to say; “…It will not harm your daughter to let a few lusty cries for milk, instead of having Dad anticipate her hunger. Just relax and let your wife handle it.”

Do you see now what I mean by pumping taking us down the wrong road?  Do we really want women to be mad at their husbands because their hubbies are more in tune with their babies than they are?  I’m going to say it again people – women need long term, paid maternity leave!

As always I love hearing from you & the links to all the article are below.

Kathy Abbott IBCLC
www.BusyMomsBreastfeed.com 

www.TheCuriousLactivist.Wordpress.com 

On Facebook:” Breastfeeding in the News”           

Mothers Who Opt for Breast Milk, Not Breast-feeding (Catherine Sharick – Time Magazine)

Technology has helped fuel the trend. Medela, the Swiss breast-pump maker and industry leader, introduced its first electric-powered, vacuum-operated at-home breast pump in the U.S. in 1991. Five years later, the company launched the Pump in Style, a portable breast pump that comes in a fashionable bag that looks like a purse. Since then, Medela’s sales of the item — not cheap at around $279 — have quadrupled.

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1971243-1,00.html

 Woman Charged in Breast Milk Assault on Jailer  

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OWENSBORO, Ky. — A woman in jail for public intoxication was accused of assaulting a jailer by squirting breast milk at her. WYMT-TV reported that a 31-year-old woman was arrested Thursday on a misdemeanor charge of public intoxication. But as she was changing into an inmate uniform, she squirted breast milk into the face of a female deputy who was with her. …The woman now faces a felony charge of third degree assault on a police officer. Her bond was set at $10,000.

http://www.bnd.com/2010/03/07/1163728/woman-charged-in-breast-milk-assault.html

Nursing my infant child was a gift — to me

Perhaps the favorite piece of advice from grandmothers and random women on the street is that nursing should come naturally. Just let your baby and your body do what they were made to do, they’ll say.

Well, here’s my advice: Look straight in that woman’s face and say, “Nice try, lady. Nice try.”

The truth is — at least for me and every other mother I know — nursing does not come naturally, and you will spend the first month of your child’s life struggling to figure it out.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700014726/Nursing-my-infant-child-was-a-gift-2-to-me.html

To pump or not to pump?

I was lucky to work for a company that had a designated room for breastfeeding moms, but I couldn’ stick to my routine during my business trip. The courthouse where I was supposed to be covering a story didn’t have a similar room for breastfeeding moms.

I was torn. On one hand, I wanted to tell my boss that I couldn’t go on the trip and that she needed to find someone else. At the same time, I didn’t want to seem incapacitated and incapable of doing my job.

http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/parents/2010/mar/07/pump-or-not-pump/  

Cheers and Jeers: March 8, 2010

CHEERS to the Ladies of the Lake Quilting Club for donating a quilted wall hanging for the Clinton County Health Department employee breastfeeding room. The gift betokens a genuine empathy for motherhood and breastfeeding, certainly both compatible with Health Department goals. Clinton County has taken steps to comply with state legislation to create a space for mothers who are nursing their babies, and the quilt will certainly encourage that activity. For the gesture, the Health Department has presented the club a Community Partnership Award. Through the years, many women and babies will have their experience enhanced by this thoughtful donation.

  http://www.pressrepublican.com/0202_cheers_and_jeers/local_story_066223108.html

Natural Cooking with Human Breast milk Going Too Far

An eco-conscious chef has taken advantage of his wife’s breast, but not in the way my first few words lead you to believe. Instead he is using milk she extracted from her breastfeeding breast and making it into cheese he serves at his restaurant. Shocking? Disgusting? Bizarre? You be the judge.

What if Chef Angerer did not serve human cheese at his restaurant

and instead only served it to his baby? Would that make a difference? Is it less disgusting?

http://inventorspot.com/articles/natural_cooking_human_breast_milk_going_too_far_38543  

WORK PLACES NURTURE NURSING MOMS

BY Paula Burkes – OKLAHOMAN

A 2006 Oklahoma law requires employers to allow nursing mothers the ability to express milk during lunches, breaks and other unpaid times. But there’s no mandate that employers provide breaks or a private room.

In 2008, the state Health Department launched its Breastfeeding Works! initiative to encourage businesses to establish private lactation rooms and policies acknowledging the importance of breastfeeding. But only 26 workplaces, mostly health-care related, have been recognized as breastfeeding-friendly and working moms continue to face difficulties.

http://www.newsok.com/workplaces-nurture-nursing-moms/article/3444530?custom_click=lead_story_title

Nursing: No Free Lunch

“In terms of long-term earnings, women who breastfeed less than six months have similar income trajectories to those who never breastfeed, but those who breastfeed for six months or longer have far steeper declines in income,” mainly due to reduced work hours or quitting, Ms. Rippeyoung says.

Some mothers endure real economic hardship if they miss work hours to pump or breastfeed. “We can’t just look at health outcomes. We must look at economic outcomes as well,” says Mary Noonan, an associate professor at University of Iowa’s sociology department and co-author of the paper. “Money also matters for a child’s health.”

— Ruth Mantell, The Juggle, WSJ.com

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126791010300157469.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Bosses in Taipei not keen on setting up breastfeeding rooms: poll

Only 3.9 percent of the companies in Taipei City installed breastfeeding rooms on their premises in 2009, according to the Taipei city Department of Labor.

…According to the draft bill, government agencies and business premises with floor space of more than 500 square meters, as well as public service facilities with over 1,000 square meters of floor space, must be equipped with clearly marked breastfeeding rooms.

Breastfeeding rooms must be established on the premises of such facilities, which include railway and metro stations and airport terminals, within one year of the promulgation of the regulations, the draft bill states

http://focustaiwan.tw/ShowNews/WebNews_Detail.aspx?Type=aSOC&ID=201003070003

New Life for Mother who was Forced to Breastfeed Puppies

… “He added that a test was carried out in Mbale Hospital but it also found no evidence of breastfeeding puppies. “The hospital results only indicated that Ms Alupo suffers from epilepsy illness,” Mr Madiri said

 

…In a separate interview with Mr Awoloyi, he said that his wife Alupo suffered a brain disorder caused by her epileptic condition which could explain the earlier injuries she had suffered on her body and her breasts.

http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/Insight/-/688338/874504/-/7f7ji2/-/

Top Moments: The Office Baby Blues, The Bachelor’s First Dance, and a Monster’s Balls

1. Best Lactation Joke: In the special one-hour Office baby episode, a tender moment in which Pam finally gets the baby to “latch” for breastfeeding is turned on its ear when she realizes that she’s accidentally picked up her hospital neighbor’s newborn. “Wrong baby, wrong baby,” she repeats to panicky dad Jim, who quickly replaces the sated infant in its bassinet before its mother wakes up.

http://www.seattlepi.com/tvguide/416254_tvgif5.html

‘The Office’ Baby — Jim & Pam Welcome Cecilia Marie!

The episode did raise four burning questions, though:

1.) Do hospitals really employ male lactation consultants? Young, handsome ones who offer hands-on breastfeeding counsel to new moms? While new dads watch? Pam accepted the nature of the clinical situation, totally indifferent to anything but the task at hand (getting Cecilia fed) — but we’re with Jim. That’s just not right.

2.) Mistakenly breastfeeding someone else’s newborn doesn’t happen — does it? It seemed beyond credible that Pam would sleepily bring another mom’s baby to her breast, but when you factor in the mind-numbing exhaustion of birthing a child in the first place, it actually makes you wonder how it doesn’t happen more often!

http://www.ivillage.com/office-baby-jim-pam-0/1-a-121935

Angela Kinsey Pitches Nursing Humor to Office Writers

“I … tried to pitch them some breastfeeding jokes,” she revealed to the Toronto Sun, noting that she returned to the set when her own daughter Isabel Ruby, now 22 months, was just eight weeks old.

“Not to over-share, but I had to pump,” she explains. “That’s a working mom’s life if you want to breastfeed.”

“We had to take pump breaks all day. Our female writers on the show don’t have children, so I pulled them aside. I don’t know what they used or didn’t use, but it’s a fun episode.”

http://celebrity-babies.com/2010/03/02/angela-kinsey-pitches-nursing-humor-to-office-writers/

Bridgwater midwife shortlisted for national award  (UK)

Monique Korrs was nominated for The Infacol Baby Bonding Award by Esther Loh, who felt inadequate as a mother after an emergency caesarean last September

More than 150 health professionals across the country were nominated for the award and Monique is down to the last ten.

http://www.thisisthewestcountry.co.uk/news/5045178.Bridgwater_midwife_shortlisted_for_national_award/

Breastfeeding teen

A US woman still breastfeeds her 14-year-old son to “comfort” him.

Jocelyn Cooper, 36, allows her teenage son Billy to suckle on her breasts for 10-15 minutes each day – because it keeps them close.

http://entertainment.stv.tv/showbiz/161459-breastfeeding-teen/  

Daycare director resigns after breast milk mistake

BREMERTON, Wash. – A Bremerton daycare director has resigned after she allegedly gave a baby the wrong breast milk, then tried to hide the mistake.

http://www.king5.com/home/Daycare-director-covered-up-breastmilk-mistake-86111702.html

Pregnant ladies banned for their own Good

Bravado is a company that sells breastfeeding bras for ladies with breasts that are used for breastfeeding babies. But when Bravado goes out to fashion trade shows to have their pregnant lady models model the breastfeeding bras in their pregnant way, can you guess what happens? Yes, they are banned, for their own pregnant good. From a runway show! In a nightclub! At the Wynn Casino, in Las Vegas, the City of Sin!

http://gawker.com/5484608/pregnant-ladies-banned-for-their-own-good  

Breastfeeding facility set up at airport

Manila: Manila’s international airport in Pasay City has opened a private area for breastfeeding mothers, a senior official said, adding it is part of the government’s effort to promote breastfeeding in the Philippines.

“This facility was set up to give mothers a relaxed and secure area where they can nurse their babies free of charge,” said airport general manager Alfonso Cusi.

The 32-square-metre breastfeeding station is located after the immigration area for departing passengers. It has four cubicles, each with a bed, swivel chair, drawer, a window and a lockable door, said Cusi, adding the facility was opened in time for the celebration of International Women’s Month.

The Philippine Congress recently passed a bill that prevents companies from promoting infant formula.

http://gulfnews.com/news/world/philippines/breastfeeding-facility-set-up-at-airport-1.591070

Moms, babies deserved better from legislators

UNEDITED) Sadly, Utah legislators missed an easy opportunity to make life easier for working families last Friday when they defeated House Bill 252, Workplace Accomodation of Breastfeeding.

This bill would have required employers with more than 15 employees to provide unpaid break time and a private location — other than a toilet stall — where a working mother could express her milk for her baby. This is a simple request and would not be a strain for most employers, if they understood the value of providing this accommodation

http://www.standard.net/topics/opinion/2010/03/01/moms-babies-deserved-better-legislators

Slate’s ‘Dear Prudence’: My European coworkers are calling me a cow, my wife is preparing for the apocalypse, my husband has bad teeth, dad’s breastfeeding dilemmas

Stay at home Dad land: I have a question that I do not think a stay at home mom has faced before. My wife works and is also very intent upon breastfeeding our daughter until she is 1 year old. So she pumps for when she is gone and breastfeeds when she is home. The problem has arisen because I tend to see the signs that my daughter is hungry before she starts to cry. I will then suggest to my wife that she feed our daughter. Recently my wife blew up at me and said that her breasts are her body and no other person can tell her what to do with her body. From now on I am not allowed to tell her when I see signs that our daughter is hungry because it then would be controlling my wife’s body. Feeding a bottle at those times is out because my wife does not want to confuse our daughter by feeding her a bottle while she is present.

How do I be a good stay at home dad without suggesting that my wife use her body to feed our daughter?

Emily Yoffe: Have used a breast pump myself, I do not understand why cows seem so contented, because breastpumping is one of the more unpleasant aspects of modern motherhood. Your wife is in the difficult situation of trying to provide nutrition for your daughter while being at work all day. It doesn’t help that when she’s home you indicate you are more in tune with your baby’s needs than she is. Men constantly complain that women want them to do more of the childcare, then micromanage their every action. That’s what you’re doing with your wife. It will not harm your daughter to let a few lusty cries for milk, instead of having Dad anticipate her hunger. Just relax and let your wife handle it

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2010/02/23/DI2010022303485.html

Mom shot dead while breastfeeding baby

MANILA, Philippines—A 31-year-old mother was shot and killed Tuesday morning while she was breastfeeding her one-year-old child inside her home in Manila.

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/metro/view/20100302-256267/Mom-shot-dead-while-breastfeeding-baby

Breastfeeding and better hygiene may protect against peptic ulcer bacterium infection.

Young children in developing countries are infected at an early age with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which can cause peptic ulcers and stomach cancer. New findings show that childrens´ immune responses help in fighting the bacteria. In addition, breastfeeding and better hygiene appear to protect against infection. The results provide hope for a vaccine, according to research from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

http://www.news-medical.net/news/20100301/Breastfeeding-and-better-hygiene-may-protect-against-peptic-ulcer-bacterium-infection.aspx

Breastfeeding rates drop in Nigeria

The Federal Ministry of Health plans to engage the participation of religious mothers to stress the importance of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life, so as to reduce the current high rate of child mortalityn

The method, which is to begin this year, is following Nigeria’s poor assessment in the most recent National Demographic Health Survey where the rate of exclusive breastfeeding dropped from 17 percent in 2003 to 13 per cent in 2008.

“We are taking the campaign to them through this channel because we believe that by the time Muslim mothers, and Christian mothers talk to their various women groups, they will listen to them and thus more women will comply.”

http://234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/News/5533490-147/breastfeeding_rates_drop_in_nigeria_.csp

Professors spar about potential risks of breastfeeding

“After her presentation, McKenzie said society is hesitant to address the issue of contaminated breast milk related to environmental pollutants “because it’s still seen as a women’s issue. Maybe we should be reframing it as a child health issue rather than a women’s issue.”

http://news.guelphmercury.com/News/article/603719

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Filed under breast milk, breastfeeding, Breastfeeding in the News, lactivist, the curious lactivist

Breastfeeding in the News: Feb. 13th – Feb. 19th, 2010

“Her biggest challenge was the mothers’ lack of knowledge – many pregnant and breastfeeding mothers just eat rice and do not make use of their resourceful yards where many nutritious plants grow.   “Sometimes, they just leave ripe papayas in the yard to rot on the trees and be eaten by birds or simply fall to the ground while their children do not consume any fruits,” she  (17-year-old Maria Bere) said.  “This is what I have been trying to change.”

In an unusual program sponsored by the Australian government, teenagers in Indonesia have been recruited as volunteers to assist local breastfeeding mothers.  Even though they are not yet parents themselves they regularly counsel new mothers on the benefits of both a healthy lifestyle, and the importance of feeding babies exclusively breast milk for the first six months.  18 year old Yohanes Bere is a motorcycle taxi driver who volunteers at a local health clinic where he weighs babies and toddlers while dispensing advice about breastfeeding.  His motivation?  To eliminate malnutrition in his village. “I want to see the babies and toddlers I serve one day grow up into healthy generation,” said Yohanes, who learned to do the job through teaching himself and training from health officials and a medical team.  …  “Now we no longer have malnourished babies or toddlers,” he said proudly.” 

Meanwhile here in the United States we can’t even get our high schools to talk to teenagers about the importance of breastfeeding, never mind recruit them to help new mothers.  Not too surprising really in a country whose Army deploys new mothers back into service (often thousands of miles away from their baby) just 4 months after birth.  It’s no matter that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for at least six months, the Army has their own rules.

Taking a quick look at what else is happening in other countries this week, we are reminded that the Cambodian government requires that every company employing over 100 women have a breastfeeding room on the premises.  The European Parliament is considering new legislation concerning maternity leave specifically because of the effect maternity leave has on breastfeeding.  In Cuba the breastfeeding rate is a low 26% but at least the Cuban article reporting on this had no qualms about including a close up photo of a breastfeeding baby latching on to its mother’s breast.  (Facebook would have deleted this pic quicker than you can say “milk please!”)  And in order to give mother a private retreat from the chaos in Haiti twelve “baby tents” have been set up around Port-Au-Prince providing mothers with a quiet place to breastfeed.     

Meanwhile there was a heartbreaking story from the northern regions of Canada.  Apparently mothers in northern Manitoba have to travel hundreds of miles just to deliver their babies.  They fly alone into Winnipeg shortly before their due date where they wait until their labor begins.  After the birth they climb aboard a bus and begin the eight hour journey home.  Imagine yourself trying to get breastfeeding off to a good start in those conditions.  A few years ago while visiting a Baby Friendly hospital in Norway I remember them telling me about women facing similar conditions.  Any woman from the northern regions of the country with a complicated pregnancy would be sent to a hospital in Oslo to deliver.  But rather than send her right home after the birth they would send her to what they called a “Mother & Baby” hotel.  In all respects it was a normal hotel, except that a nurse would check in with them once a day to check on them until they felt well enough to make the journey home.  I love the idea! Privacy, someone to change your sheets, plus room service and a nurse, I think all mothers could benefit from a little transitional time in a “Mother & Baby” hotel before going home.

The Gates Foundation is seeing some unexpected results from their experiment in providing “Essential New Born Care” training in rural third world areas (the training includes the importance of early breastfeeding).  While there was no change in the number of babies dying in the first week after birth, the number of stillborn births decreased dramatically.   Apparently babies who did not immediately breathe on their own and would have been considered dead before having received the training were now been revived.  The stillbirth rate dropped by an amazing 30%.   We’ll have to wait and see what the long term results of initiating early breastfeeding will be.

In medical news a baby in Brazil has contracted yellow fever vaccine virus after its mother was vaccinated.  This is the first report ever of something like this happening.  The antidepressant drug Paxil has been shown to potentially delay the onset of stage two lactogenesis (mature milk).   There is some good news however; a new study shows that premies who are fed at the breast on demand actually leave the hospital sooner than babies fed a schedule.

Don’t reach for that Kit Kat bar just yet.  Even though Nestle’s has given their Kit kat bar a new “fair trade” stamp of approval, Mike Brady of “Baby Milk Action” insists the candy should remain on our boycott list.   And speaking of marketing spins, Lansinoh has a new breast pump that it claims cuts the time spent pumping in half.  I just want to remind people that while I consider pumps and formula to be necessary in certain situations I find the way they market their products to be quite frightening.  Both formula and pump companies would have us believe that it would be unwise to have a baby without at least one of their products in your home, preferably before the baby even arrives.         

In the “this makes me mad” category this week is the article suggesting that the couple who are planning to sue the hospital who mistakenly gave the mother the wrong baby to breastfeed were included in a column called “Worst People in the World”.  And another article that like many started out informing the reader about the benefits of breastfeeding but then included this little tidbit; “It is highly necessary that you follow the advice and information provided by your pediatrician and that any changes in your diet is authorized by him, so as not to cause gastric disorders.”  Excuse me?  You need your pediatrician’s approval to change your own diet?? Did I read this correctly?  All too often I find articles like this, they start out on a positive note and then they say something that makes me cringe.

Okay, time for more good news.  A “Baby Friendly” hospital in Hawaii has been awarded some money as part of a wellness initiative.  Just another good reason to go “Baby Friendly” folks!  And in New Zealand a breastfeeding photo contest was held recently.   Again – Facebook management, please take note, not everyone thinks breastfeeding photos are obscene.

And finally last week we looked at the French attitudes towards breastfeeding, this week “Equality Begins in the Creche” sheds a little more insight into the reasons behind some of those attitudes.  For one thing, in an effort to boost the country’s fertility rates all French mothers are provided with affordable early childcare.  Apparently it is the desire of the French government to increase the native population while keeping women working outside the home.  So much for the idea that you can have it all, you just can’t have it all at the same time.  The French government believes women can. 

As always, I love hearing from you – so post a comment or drop me an email.   (And remember, the links to all articles are listed below.)

Kathy Abbott IBCLC
www.BusyMomsBreastfeed.com

www.TheCuriousLactivist.Wordpress.com

On Facebook:” Breastfeeding in the News”            

Stillbirths Drop Dramatically After Newborn-Care Training in Developing Countries

The rate of stillbirths in rural areas of six developing countries fell more than 30 percent following a basic training program in newborn care for birth attendants, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The study tracked more than 120,000 births.

The study tested the efficacy of a three-day Essential Newborn Care training regimen that covers basic newborn care techniques, the importance of early breastfeeding, how to keep infants warm and dry, and signs of serious health problems.

“The study authors found that the overall rate of infant death during the first 7 days of life did not change among infants who had been administered the essential newborn care regimen. However, the rate of stillbirths dropped sharply — from 23 per 1,000 deliveries to 15.9 per 1,000. The researchers believe these improvements were seen in infants who had not drawn a breath on their own and would have been considered to have been born dead by birth attendants who had not received the early newborn care training.”

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100217171919.htm

Lansinoh promotes new breastfeeding product with Principles

“The consumer press campaign is intended to appeal to busy mums on the go as the new product claims to express milk in half the time.”

http://www.thedrum.co.uk/news/2010/02/18/12821-lansinoh-promotes-new-breastfeeding-product-with-principles

Mum Wins Breastfeeding Photo Competition (New  Zealand)

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK1002/S00282.htm

Teenagers lend a helping hand to fight malnutrition

“Yohanes Bere is an 18-year-old ojek motorcycle taxi driver. But he is often busy assisting mothers who took their babies and toddlers to an integrated health service post in Kekirence village in Belu regency, East Nusa Tenggara.

Without hesitation, he helps weigh the babies and toddlers, and provides breastfeeding mothers with knowledge about healthy lifestyles, including the importance of giving breast milk exclusively to newborn babies until they are at least six months old.”

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/02/19/teenagers-lend-a-helping-hand-fight-malnutrition.html

Breastfeeding Wars

“The thought of lifting my shirt in public was terrifying — especially after years of struggling with eating disorders. And yet I was being told that I should do it anywhere at anytime. (If not, I apparently wasn’t a “real” breastfeeder.)”

http://www.momlogic.com/2010/02/breastfeeding_in_public.php

Equality begins in the creche

The debate over motherhood is missing the point – British mums should be fighting for the French model of childcare

“For some decades now, the French government has pursued, with considerable success, a far-reaching policy aimed at boosting the nation’s fertility rate, and increasing the number of women in the workforce. It did this by ploughing millions into subsidised, readily available, and easily affordable childcare.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/19/france-motherhood-childcare-equality 

’ Baby tents’ offer Haitian mothers a safe place to breastfeed

“PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 18 February 2010—Amidst the collapsed buildings and temporary camps of this battered city stand 12 special tents dedicated to providing mothers and their infant children a safe and calm place to breastfeed.”

http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/haiti_52797.html

EPHA calls on the European Parliament to support breastfeeding in Maternity Leave Directive

A key piece of legislation, relating to maternity leave, has the potential to impact upoin levels of breastfeeding and therefore public health outcomes. EPHA sent a letter to the Members of the European Parliament Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, calling for measures to safeguard and encourage the uptake and continuation of breastfeeding for young infants.

The letter was sent in relation to the work currently being undertaken by the committee on the improvements to the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding.

http://www.epha.org/a/3874

Govt. urged to increase maternity leave, Malaysia lagging in Asean

“He said in Cambodia, it was mandatory for companies with more than 100 women workers to provide breastfeeding rooms and childcare centres. Similar facilities were also provided for mothers in Indonesia.”

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/2/17/nation/20100217142047&sec=nation

Fed When Hungry, Premature Babies Go Home Sooner

““This review very clearly highlights the paucity of truly good feeding studies in which mothers and infants were allowed or encouraged to establish breastfeeding ‘rhythm’ early in life,” said Jay Gordon, M.D., attending pediatrician at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and associate clinical professor of pediatrics at UCLA Medical School.”

http://www.cfah.org/hbns/archives/getDocument.cfm?documentID=22228

Is Fair trade Chocolate Fair Enough?

“Mike Brady, Campaigns and Networking Coordinator at Baby Milk Action, has added Nestlé’s fairtrade Kit Kats to its list of boycotted products in an effort to promote change for people in developing countries. His organization believes that all Nestle’s products should be fair trade – not just chocolate.”

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/02/is-fair-trade-chocolate-fair-enough.php

Sunday’s worst people in the world

“It seems that at 4 a.m. on a January morning two years ago,  an Evanston Hospital employee woke up new mom Jennifer Spiegel to breastfeed her baby. Shortly thereafter, a nurse came into the room and explained there’d been a mistake, that wasn’t her baby.

And while no one was injured or sickened, the Chicago couple says the hospital should be held responsible for the mix-up. They are seeking at least $30,000 in damages

http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2010/02/sundays-worst-people-in-the-world.html

Benefits of Breastfeeding

“After six months, infants commonly begin to prefer more solid foods than breast milk. After one year, the baby will opt more for the same solid food. Remember that the digestion of your baby is in training so no need to hurry in switching to food. Not everyone has the same metabolism and in the case of babies this applies. It is highly necessary that you follow the advice and information provided by your pediatrician and that any changes in your diet is authorized by him, so as not to cause gastric disorders.”

http://www.ozcarguide.com/health/parenting-pregnancy/newborn-baby/677-benefits-of-breastfeeding

Harper lectures the G8, but what about northern Manitoba?

Most mothers-to-be must fly hundreds of miles into Winnipeg to deliver, leaving behind their husbands and kids for weeks on end. They stay in boarding homes waiting to go into labour, often with no immediate family by their side.

Getting home can mean an eight-hour bus ride with a newborn, making breastfeeding tricky and embarrassing

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/The-motherhood-issue-84268037.html

Breastfeeding Benefits Both Mothers and their Children  (Cuba)

“At present, scarcely 26% of women feed their babies exclusively with their milk during the first six months of their lives.”

http://www.cubaheadlines.com/2010/02/14/20144/breastfeeding_benefits_both_mothers_and_their_children.html

Breastfed baby picks up yellow fever virus

“A breastfed baby contracted the yellow fever vaccine virus in Brazil a week after its mother was immunised against the disease, report health officials today in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The case is the first of its kind to be confirmed anywhere in the world.”

http://www.eht-forum.org/news.html?fileId=news100212060907&from=home&id=0

Paxil May Cause Lactation Problems

A new study indicates that new mothers who take Paxil may experience problems lactating. The study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, found that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Paxil could cause a delay in the start of full milk secretion.

http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/13589/interview-paxil-side-effects-lawsuit.html

Hawai‘i awarded $912,713 as part of recovery act community prevention and wellness initiative

DOH was awarded $428,713 to apply sustainable policy and systems changes in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and tobacco. Funded projects include:

Baby Friendly Hawai‘i Project, DOH will work closely with the Breastfeeding Coalition of Hawai‘i to increase support for breastfeeding by changing policies in hospital maternity programs statewide, to increase the likelihood of sustained exclusive breastfeeding after birth, a protective factor from obesity and diabetes.

http://www.hawaii247.org/2010/02/12/hawai%E2%80%98i-awarded-912713-as-part-of-recovery-act-community-prevention-and-wellness-initiative/

How Well Does the Military Treat Single Mothers?

No Wonder the U.S. Is Known for Inadequate Maternity Leave, writes The American Prospect’s Gabriel Arana, when its own military ships women to war before they’re finished breastfeeding. The Army deploys women as little as four months after they give birth, Arana writes, which “isn’t enough of a grace period for deployments–many women are still breastfeeding then. Returning to work after four months might not seem so bad, but it’s a huge burden when work is thousands of miles away.”

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/opinions/view/opinion/How-Well-Does-the-Military-Treat-Single-Mothers-2519

2 Comments

Filed under breast milk, breastfeeding, Breastfeeding in the News, the curious lactivist, Uncategorized

Breastfeeding in the News: Feb. 5th – Feb. 12th, 2010

Boston may be famous for its technologically advanced hospitals, but little Concord, New Hampshire has Boston beat when it comes to offering all of their youngest patients the best possible nutritional start.   Donated breast milk can now be found in the freezers of Concord Hospital making it the first hospital in New England to offer banked human milk as part of their official standard of care.

As a general rule I tend to regret decisions made out of fear but it looks like it was last fall’s anxiety over the H1N1 virus combined with the CDC’s recommendation that all babies receive breast milk that pushed the hospital into opening an on-site repository that would be capable of storing screened breast milk procured from the recently opened “Mother’s Milk Bank of New England”.  Unlike most knee jerk decisions made out of fear this is one decision that should have long lasting positive consequences.

In celebrity news now that Michelle Obama is spearheading an anti-obesity campaign she is being pressured to speak out in favor of breastfeeding.  Reportedly the first lady breastfed both of her girls so many are wondering why she doesn’t speak more openly in favor of breastfeeding especially since there seems to be a fair bit of evidence connecting breastfeeding with lower obesity rates.  (A new study just came out linking the early introduction of solid with later weight gain.)

 In a refreshing change of pace, unlike most celebrities 36 year old mother of four, fashion runway model Heidi Klum isn’t bragging about her ability to lose weight through breastfeeding.   Instead she says it was a choice she made because it was best for her baby. Says Heidi,  “I never looked at breastfeeding in terms of, ‘This is something that helps me.’ Breastfeeding helps my child.” 

Football star Tom Brady’s wife/model Gisele, is also bucking the celebrity trend to put mamma first.  After having her baby at home in a water birth not only did she decide to breastfeed she has also put off hiring a nanny just yet.  Good for you Gisele – enjoy that baby!

Staying home and enjoying one’s baby may be easier for many Australians now that Premier Tony Abbott has surprisingly begun pushing for a national law providing 6 months of paid maternity leave.  Maybe the hope is that mothers will stay home and nurse their babies in private as there seems to be a raging debate going on in Australia at the moment about whether or not it is okay to breastfeed in the handicapped stall in the rest room. 

In France however author Elisabeth Badinter is on the attack against the country’s “green” politicians.  She says that they are pressuring mothers to breastfeed and (gasp!) use cloth diapers.  Badinter sees this as a return to conservative values that will undermine the gains made by the feminist movement.  The woman seems intent on taking the whole “cloth” vs “disposable” argument to a whole new level.

While the French debate breastfeeding implications for feminist the people at UNICEF can take pride in the fact that their efforts to promote breastfeeding worldwide have resulted in a remarkable decrease in the infant mortality rates of countries at war.  Most civilian war time casualties are the result of diseases springing from unsanitary conditions. “Children younger than 5 are twice as likely to die in war than adults…”  Breastfeeding plays a major role in protecting those who are most vulnerable.

Fiji has just introduced a law making it illegal for retailers to offer free give-aways that could undermine breastfeeding. And in Pakistan a country struggling with low breastfeeding rates (only 37% exclusively breastfeed compared with 76% in Sri Lanka) the government has declared they want to make breastfeeding the norm in their country. Meanwhile the Philippine government thanked UNICEF with an award for helping them to achieve more towards the promotion of breastfeeding in 6 months than they had been able to achieve on their own in 20 years.  Maybe we should invite UNICEF to help us here in the US.

A new study out claims women’s brains are no fuzzier during pregnancy and breastfeeding than they were before pregnancy, so we should just stop blaming our hormones for every time we lose our car keys.  ” Researcher Helen Christensen believed baby brain – also known as “placenta brain” and “milk brain” – was related to what women expected to happen to them in pregnancy and motherhood…”   But many mothers disagree; they claim that their ability to concentrate seriously deteriorates during these periods.

In social networking news the WIC (the US Women Infant & Children) program in Michigan has been the first to WIC office to join Facebook.  It will be interesting to see if this will make them more accessible to their target audience.  Speaking of WIC, my 13 year old daughter came rushing out of her bedroom the other night to let me know she had just heard a radio ad telling people that WIC offers help with nutrition and breastfeeding.  She shook her head in disbelief.  “Breastfeeding!?”  I mean really, how is WIC going to help with breastfeeding??”  Deciding she was missing a vital piece of information I asked her if she knew what WIC stood for.  “Yeah, of course I do.” She replied rolling her eyes at me.  “It stands for Wikipedia!  Now how is Wikipedia going to help a mother breastfeed??”  Hmmm, this might be something for the WIC folks to think about, I wonder how many others make the same assumption? 

And last but not least I’ve included a link to trailer for the new documentary by Thomas Balmes.  To be released in April “Babies” will follow a year in the life of four babies from four different parts of the world (the US, Japan, Africa, & Mongolia).  What better way to show that most of what we consider to be good parenting is dictated by our social geography and not our biology.  I can’t wait to see it!

Kathy Abbott, IBCLC

www.BusyMomsBreastfeed.com

on Facebook: “Breastfeeding in the News”

www.TheCuriousLactivist.Wordpress.com  

County WIC first in state on Facebook

“Calhoun County’s Women, Infants and Children, a supplemental aid program for low-income families, reports it is the first in Michigan to use the online social networking tool Facebook.”

http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20100204/NEWS01/302040008/County+WIC+first+in+state+on+Facebook

RP Awards Presidential Citation to UNICEF for Breastfeeding Advocacy

Thursday, 04 February 2010 17:34 MOMAR G. VISAYA | AJPress New York

“The President of the Philippines, through special envoy Dr. Elvira Henares-Esguerra, awarded last week the Presidential Order of the Golden Heart to UNICEFfor its work in supporting the country’s breastfeeding movement over the past decade.”

“”Together, we accomplished in six and a half months what the government could not accomplish in 20 years,” Dr. Henares-Esguerra said.”

“The partnership with the UNICEF through Dr. Alipui began in January 2005 when he referred to a statement of a presidential spokesman who cited that the sale of formula milk is surpassed only by the sale of cell phone services.”

http://www.asianjournal.com/dateline-philippines/headlines/4459-rp-awards-presidential-citation-to-unicef-for-breastfeeding-advocacy.html

Breastfeeding During War Helps Lower Infant Mortality

By Women’s eNews Contributors

The rise of breastfeeding in countries at war has contributed to a marked decline in infant mortality during armed conflict, a recent report says.

Children younger than 5 are twice as likely to die in war than adults, mostly from disease, the The Shrinking Costs of War indicates. The report, released mid-January by Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, also says infants up to 6 months old who are exclusively breastfed are seven times less likely to die from diarrhea and five times less likely from pneumonia than infants not breastfed.”

“Campaigns promoting breastfeeding by the World Health Organization, WHO, and the U.N. Children’s Fund, UNICEF, which work with governments in around 150 countries, have contributed to a stunning 60-year decline in war deaths worldwide. In 1950, the average conflict killed 33,000 people, while in 2007 fewer than 1,000 people died per war, the study says.”

http://www.womensradio.com/articles/Breastfeeding-During-War-Helps-Lower-Infant-Mortality/4423.html

Flying Salmon and the Myth of Baby Brain
SIMON WEBSTER

February 7, 2010

“Pregnant rats actually get better at performing spatial tasks compared to non-pregnant rats and they are also much better at managing their anxiety and their fear levels,” Professor Christensen said.

Asked to comment, a spokesrat for pregnant and breastfeeding rodents bared its teeth and looked cranky.”

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/flying-salmon-and-the-myth-of-baby-brain-20100206-njpv.html

Michelle Obama Urged to Speak Out for Breastfeeding

By Malena Amusa

WeNews correspondent

Monday, February 8, 2010

Michelle Obama breastfed both her daughters and advocates are hoping she will use the platform of her anti-obesity campaign to promote breastfeeding and share her own experiences.

“Obama declined to comment about the role of breastfeeding in her obesity fighting initiative, despite the potential link between breastfeeding and obesity reduction. However, the White House has announced Obama, along with members of the President’s cabinet, mayors and other leaders, will hold a press conference Tuesday to unveil details of her obesity initiative.”

http://www.womensenews.org/story/reproductive-health/100205/michelle-obama-urged-speak-out-breastfeeding

The Babies Are Coming!  (movie trailer)

A year in the life of 4 babies – from California, Mongolia, Japan, & Namibia

http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1810127231/trailer  

Infants take to donations like mother’s milk

By AMY AUGUSTINE

Concord Monitor

“A new Concord Hospital initiative is relying on donor breast milk to meet the nutritional needs of its youngest patients.

The hospital is the first in New England to offer human donor milk as a standard of care for babies whose mothers cannot produce milk themselves. The program, offered to patients free of charge, has been well-received since it launched in October, said Jan Greer-Carney, the hospital’s director of nutrition.”

“Concord Hospital officials had discussed the possibility of opening an on-site repository for several years, Greer-Carney said, but nothing solidified until fears over the H1N1 threat peaked last fall. Until then, the hospital had provided newborns with formula, but when the CDC advised it was preferable for infants to be fed with breast milk, it made the switch.”

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/statenewengland/601705-227/infants-take-to-donations-like-mothers-milk.html

Tony Abbott proposes 6 Month’s Paid Parental Leave (Australia)

 Posted by Amber Robinson at 9:56 AM on February 10, 2010

“It seems that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has come around on the idea of paid parental leave.

Although he last year described the government’s 18-week  paid parental leave scheme as ”Mickey Mouse”, he has now come out with his own plan for six months paid leave.”

http://www.babble.com.au/2010/02/10/tony-abbott-proposes-six-months-paid-parental-leave/

Fiji bans milk giveaways to young mothers

“The Fijian government has passed a new law banning milk retailers from offering free giveaways that could discourage women from breastfeeding their babies.”

http://australianetworknews.com/stories/201002/2815844.htm?desktop

First Look: Gisele & Tom Brady’s Son!

February 9, 2010

”She returned to work just six weeks after giving birth — doing a photo shoot for the Brazilian brand Colcci.

“But little by little I recovered the form,” Gisele told Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo Veja about her post-baby body. “It helps that I have not gained much [weight], have had natural childbirth and [am] breastfeeding.”

http://www.starmagazine.com/benjamin_brady_first_photo/news/16502

Obesity Risks Reduced By Longer Breastfeeding?

Obesity risk in later life appears to be more slim when babies are fed solid food at a later age, according to one study.

“Researchers discovered that among the sample participants, body mass index was lower and healthier among the people who had been breastfed until they were at least four months old. The participants were all in their forties at the time of the study, and yet the researchers were able to determine that the odds of being overweight had been lessened 5 to 10 percent for each month they were not fed solid food.”

http://www.weightlosssurgerychannel.com/breaking-wls-news/obesity-risks-reduced-by-longer-breastfeeding.html/

Heidi Klum Is Breastfeeding for Baby, Not Body

“If you’re living your life, not sitting on the couch … a woman will go back to how she looked before she was pregnant.”

What’s more, the weight loss associated with breastfeeding is something else that Heidi feels people “blow out of proportion.” She adds,

“I never looked at breastfeeding in terms of, ‘This is something that helps me.’ Breastfeeding helps my child. The after effect: yes, you lose your weight in a normal manner.”

http://celebrity-babies.com/2010/02/10/heidi-klum-is-breastfeeding-for-baby-not-body/

Breastfeeding, child nutrition rules launched in Pakistan
Pakistan Times Federal Bureau

“ISLAMABAD: Minister for Health Makhdoom Shahab-u-din has said that the government was making arduous efforts to promote primary health care services in the country with special focus on women and children.

“…He said the ministry intends to address issues relating to mother and child health particularly low rate of exclusive breastfeeding by strengthening its existing health programmes. Launching of rules was a reaffirmation by the government for making breastfeeding a norm, to secure the life of the newborns and infants of the country, he said.”

http://www.pakistantimes.net/pt/detail.php?newsId=8499

Pakistan has lowest breastfeeding,

“Pakistan has the poorest exclusive breastfeeding rate of 37% in the region, as against 76% in Sri Lanka, 53% in Nepal, 46% in India, and 43% in Bangladesh. As if that was less of discomfiture, the country also has the highest bottle-feeding rate of 32% in the region.”

http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=223516

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1250089/Oh-baby-Im-broody–shame-wife-isnt.html

Breastfeeding in a Disabled Loo – Is it Ever OK?

  Posted by Amber Robinson at 1:30 PM on February 12, 2010

“There are two topics guaranteed to start flame wars on parenting boards. Circumcision and breastfeeding.

But combine breastfeeding with disability rights and you’ve got a 350-comment furious debate on your hands.”

“…In the end, the new mum apologised for her mistake and agreed to feed elsewhere from now on, although said she just couldn’t do it at a restaurant table.”

http://www.babble.com.au/2010/02/12/breastfeeding-in-a-disabled-loo-is-it-ever-ok/

French feminist challenges greens

A leading French feminist, Elisabeth Badinter, has accused green politicians of neglecting European women’s needs in a new book

“Attacking the green movement’s support for washable reusable nappies, she told French media the disposable nappy was an aspect of women’s liberation.

Women, she argued, were also being pressured into breastfeeding when for some the practice was hateful.

“We are not baboons, all doing the same thing,” she said.

Detecting a creeping return to conservative values, Mrs Badinter said a lot of European women were not prepared to accept this “regression”.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8510937.stm

1 Comment

Filed under breast milk, breastfeeding, Breastfeeding in the News, the curious lactivist

The Lactivists vs. The Babies of Haiti

“…the lactivists were never thinking about what the infants of Haiti actually needed; they were thinking of themselves and their personal obsession with breastfeeding.” Dr Amy Tuteur. 

A few days ago  I wrote about the donations of American breast milk that were left sitting unused inside the freezer of the USNS Comfort and I wondered had those two Styrofoam coolers  been filled with donated blood would they have been treated so cavalierly.  Now it appears that the very existence of those two coolers is to be considered proof positive that all lactivists are indeed self absorbed “nipple Nazis”.   

 As they say “no good deed goes unpunished.”

Let’s get a few things straight: first of all, there was already a staff member on board the ship who was donating her own pumped milk.  Coast Guard Lt. Teresa Wolf, a physician assistant who was pumping milk for her ten week old baby back in North Carolina when she started donating her extra milk. Secondly yes, the there was an actual request for more donated milk. (This was not the crazy idea of some pump crazed mother a thousand miles away!)  The USNS Comfort placed a small request for 500 ounces of milk which was delivered (still frozen) two days later.  And thirdly, yes once word got out a grass roots cry for more milk spread quickly across the country.   Offers to donate milk came from every corner of the land.

So how did all these good intentioned lactivists end up becoming such villains?  As any good lactation consultant will tell you, the number one rule of thumb is “feed the baby.”  At no point should a baby be put at physical risk just because of our “personal obsession with breastfeeding”.  Donated milk may help a few lucky infants in Haiti, but it is not a panacea for a crisis this large.

Unfortunately there is no one size fits all solution for every baby in Haiti.  For some the answer will be to help the mother continue to breastfeed, or even to relactate.  This means counteracting local myths that “stress or lack of proper food will cause a mother to produce bad milk or no milk.”  Which is exactly what the Save the Children folks are doing with through their radio broadcasts.  For others the solution may be to find local women who are willing to wet nurse, but in a country with high rates of HIV this too can be risky.

The risk of using unsterilized bottles will be the same for those using donated breast milk as it will be for those using a can of liquid formula, but with donated milk the immune system will be given a substantial boost. However the risk of infection and diarrhea from powdered formula mixed with unclean water is far, far graver. 

We know all this. We know there is no easy answer. We know that there is not enough electricity to run the refrigerators needed to feed all of Haiti’s babies donated milk.  And unfortunately some babies will have to get formula, even if it is powdered.  Again, the number one rule is “feed the baby”.  But does this mean that it was wrong to send two coolers of breast milk to the USNS Comfort?  Or was the real fault in not using those few ounces of milk once they got there?  Is it wrong to even talk about providing donated milk as a way of helping some infants?  Or should we just close the door on that discussion?  Is it wrong to warn mothers who are still lactating that weaning from breast milk to formula can place their babies at risk? 

So here’s what I think really happened. When Lt. Wolf offered her extra breast milk to feed the newborn on the Comfort someone got the bright idea that a ship board milk bank might be useful and a call went out to states for safely screened banked human milk.  Arrangements were made and milk was immediately sent to the Comfort where the staff was happy to receive it. But as soon as those two coolers arrived the big brass found out and immediately went ballistic about all this icky womanly fluid in their freezer and decided to put a stop to it. After all there was no protocol for this sort of thing; the red tape would be endless.  Excuses were found – not enough electricity on shore, preserving the cold chain, screening, etc. and then to the embarrassment of all those well meaning breastfeeding groups back at home the whole idea was called off.  No more donations would be required thank you very much!

I keep wondering what my dad would have thought about all this.  He worked as a refrigeration mechanic on a hospital ship during World War Two. Everybody on board loved him.  Why? Because he had the keys to the ice cream! Now if a hospital ship in World War Two had room for ice cream then I think that the USNS Comfort definitely had room for two Styrofoam coolers full of breast milk. I really think they just didn’t want to be bothered with the procedural aspects of handling the situation.

Although I can appreciate the confusion and enormity of the chaos in Haiti at the moment, I still believe this was a knee jerk reaction. They had their hands full to be sure, better to stick with what you know (formula) than try to learn the protocols involved with human breast milk. But as I said before if breast milk was held in as high esteem as blood, then chances are those protocols would have already been in place.

By shining a spot light on this situation now I hope that next time disaster strikes instead of being shunned donations of breast milk will be welcomed.   That lactivists will not be considered evil for merely suggesting that human milk may indeed save lives.  And that breastfeeding mothers everywhere will proudly be able to answer the call to give comfort to babies when ever it is needed.

Kathy Abbott, IBCLC

www.BusyMomsBreastfeed.com

www.TheCuriousLactivst.Wordpress.com

On Facebook: “Breastfeeding in the News”

 

Lactivists solve every problem by throwing breast milk at it.

Amy Tuteur MD

 Evidently for lactivists there is no problem so great that it can’t be solved by throwing breast milk at it. Looking at the horrific recent earthquake in Haiti you and I might see death, injury, homelessness and the threat of disease. Lactivists saw a breastfeeding problem. They embarked on not one, but two separate  inane campaigns to promote their favorite cause instead of focusing on the real needs of children in Haiti. It is difficult to imagine how people can be so self absorbed.

Haiti is in desperate need of baby formula, but the lactivists actually mounted a campaign to stop shipment of formula to Haiti. Salon’s Broadsheet ran a piece entitled Formula for disaster; do donations of artificial milk help or hurt Haiti’s babies? As the piece reported “RadicalLactivist” Cassaundra Blyth embarked on a Twitter based campaign:

PLEASE! don’t send formula to Haiti! The women & children shouldn’t be victimised twice! Breastfeeding during emergencies is VITAL to health.

That’s right folks; in the midst of the greatest natural disaster in decades, lactivists are concerned that aid workers will use their precious time and even more precious formula to convince breastfeeding mothers to switch to formula. Are these people insane? Haven’t they heard that 150,000 died and hundreds of thousands more are injured. Hasn’t it occurred to them that among the dead and severely injured there are likely to be thousands if not tens of thousands of breastfeeding mothers? How are those infants to be fed?

Breastfeeding is no longer an option for these babies. The ONLY option is formula feeding. Yes, powdered formula can cause harm if mixed with contaminated water. Yes, it would be safer to give those babies pre-mixed formula. But at the moment babies are starving for lack of milk of any kind. Far more babies can be fed with shipments of powdered formula than with pre-mixed formula. Time is of the essence if starvation is to be avoided, and a group of grown women is trying to stand in the way of feeding these babies.

But the inanity does not end there. Lactivists began calling for donations of breast milk:

When lactation consultant Faith Ploude heard that babies in Haiti might need donated breast milk, she made sure to get the word out to her classes at Mercy Hospital in Miami — and her database of more than 1,000 nursing moms.

The La Leche League and the Human Milk Banking Association of North America made similar pleas.

Let’s leave aside the issue that breast milk donations would be pathetically inadequate; one thousand donations of breast milk would feed one thousand infants only once. Consider that buildings from the meanest shack to the Presidential Palace have crumbled and are uninhabitable. People are living in tents if they are lucky or in the open air if they are not. Where are the refrigerators to store the milk? Obviously there are none, and breast milk will spoil immediately if it is not refrigerated, becoming undrinkable and potential dangerous in a matter of hours.

And how is the breast milk to get to Haiti? It has been a nightmare shipping in even the most basic supplies. Breast milk that must be frozen if it is to survive until it reaches the babies.

Red Cross workers are appalled:

“Tell them not to send it,” said Eric Porterfield, a spokesman for the American Red Cross, “I’m 100 percent sure we didn’t ask for that.”

The international Emergency Nutrition Network has asked one group, the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, to retract a press release this week that issued an “urgent call” for breast milk for orphaned and premature infants in Haiti, saying the donations contradict best practices for babies in emergencies.

Such donations pose problems of transportation, screening, supply and storage and create an “unfeasible and unsafe intervention,” according to a statement from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, or OFDA.

Lactivists embarked on a campaign to interfere with delivery of formula to Haiti and to send breast milk to people who couldn’t possibly use it. Was this well meaning naivite? That certainly played a role, but the lactivists were never thinking about what the infants of Haiti actually needed; they were thinking of themselves and their personal obsession with breastfeeding. They viewed this as another opportunity to self actualize by promoting their pet cause. The human tragedy of the devastation in Haiti was just another venue to showcase their belief that every child must be breastfed. The actual needs of Haitian babies were never considered.

Lactivists need to get a grip. A horrific natural disaster is not an opportunity to highlight the benefits of breastfeeding. It is a tragedy that obligates us to send the people of Haiti what they need, not simply what we’d like to give.

Comments:

“Why would anyone think it’s a good idea to send perishable, unscreened bodily fluids into a disaster zone?”

I suspect that they didn’t do much thinking about what the Haitians needed, how it would get there and how it would be stored. They were thinking about themselves and how they might self actualize by promoting their personal obsession.

AmyTuteurMD

I agree that the lactivists were using their hearts, not their heads, when they decided how to contribute to the relief effort. Expecting anything perishable to survive on that island is silly. But people think about themselves when being charitable all the time, probably without even knowing it.

Ali512

 

“Why are they so threatened by formula?”

I’m not sure if they find formula threatening. They do find that breast feeding enhances their own self esteem and they want you to know how important it is so you will think they are superior (or at least they will think they are superior). I don’t think they gave any consideration to what Haitian infants actually might need.

AmyTuteurMD

http://www.open.salon.com/blog/amytuteurmd/2010/01/31/lactivists_solve_every_problem_by_throwing_breast_milk_at_it

Local Broadcasts in Creole Urge New Mothers to Nourish Infants Through Breast Milk; Cautions Against Baby Formula Made with Dirty Water

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The global humanitarian organization Save the Children is supporting efforts to promote breastfeeding among new mothers in Haiti to ensure the protection of the youngest and most vulnerable survivors of the devastating January 12 earthquake.

The agency has translated internationally recognized public health messages into Creole, which are currently being broadcast on local radio stations.

Critical Awareness Campaign Available to Health-focused Groups in Haiti

Save the Children is making these critical communications available to other health-focused groups that are also working with local communities affected by the disaster. Its health staff in Haiti will translate other public health messages over the coming days and coordinate with partners and communities to spread the word about keeping children healthy in the wake of the quake.

Save the Children also is training midwives, health workers and nutritional educators to reach out to pregnant and new mothers at makeshift camps in Port-au-Prince, Leogane and Jacmel. 

“Newborns and infants are very vulnerable during emergencies, especially from diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. But mothers can take simple steps to protect their baby’s health through exclusive and proper breastfeeding,” said Kathryn Bolles, Save the Children’s emergency health and nutrition director. “Breast milk provides essential nutrients and strengthens a baby’s immunity, protecting the baby from other illnesses.”

Health Risks from Infant Formulas and Other Supplements 

The health messages encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed babies under 6 months of age, and to continue to breastfeed children until age 2.

Mothers are cautioned against giving babies under 6 months of age anything but breast milk — including water, infant formula, powdered milk or solid food — because of the risks from diarrhea, one of the leading killers of children globally, and because of the risk of becoming malnourished, which leaves babies more susceptible to other illnesses. 

“Mothers may not be aware of the threats that infant formula and other supplements pose to their babies. Tainted water used to mix the formula and unsanitary bottles or cups can cause a baby to get sick with diarrhea, which can kill,” said Bolles. “We hope more Haitian mothers will hear our health messages and be encouraged to breastfeed their babies.  We also are suggesting mothers seek out support and counseling from organizations like Save the Children if they are having difficulty breastfeeding their baby.”

The awareness campaign also seeks to dispel the myths that may discourage mothers from breastfeeding, among them stress or lack of proper food will cause a mother to produce bad milk or no milk. Instead, mothers are encouraged to breastfeed more often, which will allow them to produce more milk for their baby. 

Extremely Poor Survival rates for Haitian Children Prior to Earthquake

Even before the earthquake, survival rates for young Haitian children were the worst in the Western Hemisphere, with nearly 1 in 10 children dying before the age of 5 from preventable and treatable causes like diarrhea and pneumonia.  

Save the Children supports the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations that children should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life to ensure their most favorable growth and health. WHO, UNAIDS and UNICEF guidelines only recommend “replacement feeding” (breastmilk substitute) when it is “acceptable, feasible, affordable, sustainable, and safe.” 

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/save-the-children-launches-radio-outreach-program-in-haiti-to-promote-newborn-infant-health-82623797.html

WHO Calls Breastfeeding Best Answer for Newborns in Haiti

Tim King Salem-News.com

Risks of miscarriages and other complications are serious.

 Photo/Video courtesy: UN/MINUSTAH

(PORT-AU-PRINCE/SALEM) – The United Nations reports that about 7,000 women are due to give birth this month in Haiti, as medical teams continue to work around the clock in birthing tents to deliver newborns.

According to UNICEF, there are currently 120,000 pregnant women in Haiti, more than half are in earthquake-affected areas. It is estimated that 15 percent of the 63,000 pregnant women in affected areas are likely to have potentially life-threatening complications.

Post natal-care is also proving to be a challenge in a country where the medical infrastructure has been destroyed leaving only a few hospitals functional and many medical personnel themselves dead or injured.

The World Health Organization’s doctors like Dr. Evelyine Ancion Degraff, say that only breastfeeding can boost the baby’s immune system and improve its chances of survival in situations like Haiti.

“Breastfeeding is the most important thing for the newborn in this situation. Newborns have very weak immune systems. It hasn’t yet developed. So newborns have a difficult time defending themselves against pathogens. But breast-milk can provide all the antibodies the baby needs to protect itself from disease.”

But UNICEF has said that some new Haitian mothers who have not felt good both physically and mentally are concerned about breastfeeding their newborns out of fear of passing on their “bad health.”

WHO is also working to vaccinate mothers and newborns against prevalent diseases such as neonatal tetanus. For the 7,000 Haitian women who will give birth in the next month, the risks of miscarriages and other complications appear great. The UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) predicts there will be at least 1,000 miscarriages this month.

The agency started distributing emergency reproductive health kits to pregnant women which contain plastic sheets, sterile blades to cut the umbilical cord and blankets for the newborn.

More advanced kits containing emergency Caesarean section equipment were distributed to birthing tents at field hospitals. Local dads like Sejouste Walkin, say it makes a big difference, at least for now. “Thank god we have this international aid to help us with this birth. For the moment at least, we are still alive, but who knows about tomorrow.”

Unsanitary conditions in these make-shift “tent cities” where the majority of displaced Haitians now live only make the situation worse, says local mom Christianne Raphael.

“It is really starting to stink around here, there are many flies and we get sick. People are going to the bathroom right on the ground. So it is hard for us to even breathe.”

Haitian women were also given “dignity kits” containing sanitary towels, hygiene materials and underwear.

According to UNICEF, Haiti had the highest rates of infant (under 5 years) and maternal mortality rate in the western hemisphere even before the earthquake. The maternal mortality rate stood at 670 deaths every 100,000 pregnant women.

http://www.salem-news.com/articles/february022010/haiti_babiestk.php

You Tube : Haiti Maternity Pkg.

A video of the report above can be seen on this You Tube link.  It includes a first hand look at birthing tents, tent cities, and victims. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTNsjueWOWQ

‘Boro natives’ nonprofit aids Haiti

Medical teams in rural area to help quake recovery

About a week after a major earthquake hit Haiti, a group of medical professionals decided not to focus on the big cities affected by the 7.0-magnitude quake but a rural town south of Port-au-Prince

A team from Aid for Haiti has spent the past week providing medical care to the residents of Petit Goave.

Founded by two Murfreesboro natives, the medical ministry has seen about 300 patients a day, according to Elliott Tenpenny, a physician who helped start the organization.

“There are cities along the southern peninsula of Haiti that are pretty much inaccessible to the larger relief efforts,” he said.

Aid for Haiti’s initial team included two doctors and four others including a nurse and a paramedic. Tenpenny said that team will be returning this weekend, and another team is headed to Petit Goave Thursday.

“There (are) some very dedicated Haitian nurses that lost everything in the quake that are staying there and helping night and day,” Tenpenny said.

Aid for Haiti was started in 2008 by Tenpenny and Caleb Trent, who is also from Murfreesboro. They traveled to Haiti several times helping treat patients with severe iodine deficiency in remote areas.

A team from the nonprofit arrived in Haiti a week after the earthquake struck.

The massive quake shook Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas Jan. 12, killing an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 people. The aftershocks that followed contributed to thousands of injuries.

Tenpenny, who is an emergency medicine physician at the Mayo Clinic, said initial injuries of victims included broken bones, head injuries and skin abrasions. Now, the team is seeing conditions like gangrene, which is a decay of body tissue.

“They have delivered quite a few kids,” he said about the team’s work.

He said many babies “have been born in terrible conditions” and umbilical cords have been cut with unclean objects causing infections. Some mothers’ breast milk has dried up.

“The babies could be newborns and have not had anything to eat for 10 days,” Tenpenny said, thus making it hard for their young immune systems to fight diseases.

He said a Haitian government official told them they were the only medical team in Petit Goave. Operating out of an old abandoned hospital, about 300 to 400 people wait to receive assistance every day starting as early as 6 a.m.

Tenpenny said, “the biggest need is donation of supplies and cash.”

He said the group plans to continue to send mission teams through April.

http://www.tennessean.com/article/D4/20100203/NEWS01/2030332/+Boro+natives++nonprofit+aids+Haiti

COAST GUARD PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT DONATES BREAST MILK TO HELP HAITIAN NEWBORNS

Jan 31st, 2010
by cgnews.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Coast Guard Lt. Teresa Wolf, a physician assistant, is deployed with Port Security Unit 307 in support of relief operations in Haiti. One of the loved ones she left behind was her 10-week old girl Chloe Daniel.

After learning of the severe needs of the hospital ship USNS Comfort, the Goldsborough, NC mother began donating breast milk to the ships Pediatric Ward aboard the USNS Comfort.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Wolf. “Babies get so much more nutrients from breast milk. It’s good for the eyes, brain … everything.”

http://coastguardnews.com/coast-guard-physician-assistant-donates-breast-milk-to-help-haitian-newborns/2010/01/31/

A week into mission, crew of Comfort sees rare cases

About 120 children are on board Navy ship

ABOARD THE USNS COMFORT — When he wants to take a break, Chief Petty Officer Mike Davenport picks up a stethoscope.

The 37-year-old respiratory therapist from Frederick, in charge of about 90 medical personnel on the USNS Comfort hospital ship off Port-au-Prince, has been on board for a week, trying to keep his staff together and make them work effectively as a team. He regularly works 14- and 16-hour days, and for down time, he still wants to help.

“I take advantage of the opportunity to practice respiratory therapy whenever I can,” said Davenport, a father of four children and the husband of another respiratory therapist at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.

Davenport, who is assigned to the Comfort but also works at Frederick Memorial Hospital, compared the first week of the Comfort’s medical mission to “putting a puzzle together.”

On Tuesday afternoon, that puzzle included just over 360 patients on board, down from 375 on Sunday. On Monday, the Comfort took on 62 patients and discharged about 40. Some burn victims were being evacuated to the University of Miami Hospital.

The 62nd patient to come on board late Monday was a baby boy born the day before the Jan. 12 earthquake.

A cluster of doctors bunched around the boy’s bed in the casualty receiving area, while his 22-year-old mother looked on. The baby’s yelps of pain punctuated the somber atmosphere of the pediatrics bay.

The boy’s father died in the earthquake. The baby stayed with his mother in the street. The woman could produce very little milk and her baby was severely dehydrated by the time he was aboard the Comfort.

“I would say within about a day or so, he would have died,” said Kensington’s Capt. Daniel Shmorhun, one of the doctors attending the child.

To help solve the problem, Shmorhun said, lactating members of Comfort’s crew are pumping breast milk that will be stored for the babies on board to drink. A supply of breast milk from the U.S. is also supposed to be brought in soon. “We’re creating a breast milk bank,” Shmorhun said.

About 120 children are on board the ship as of Tuesday morning, according to Shmorhun, roughly a third of the patients on board.

Some of the cases are things medical personnel rarely or never encounter. One small boy suffered a leakage of cerebrospinal fluid out of one ear during the earthquake, and through a combination of heat, time and humidity, fungus crept up to the source of the fluid before he was rescued. The child had mold in his brain.

The medication the doctors would prefer to try to help with his condition was in the United States, said Alayna Schwartz, a perioperative nurse from Germantown. The child also ripped out IV needles.

“I don’t know if we can fix this kid. We can’t fix this kid,” Schwartz said, taking a break to eat a hamburger Monday afternoon.

Medical supplies sometimes ran low to the point where sometimes the staff was “hoarding” them, she said. Supplies come in daily.

One patient was initially going into the OR for an amputation just above his left ankle. Doctors discovered that there was dead tissue and gangrene up to mid-thigh.

“That’s where the maggots come in,” Schwartz said, explaining that larvae had been found in the leg.

Most of the leg was removed.

Schwartz worked the 6:30 p.m. to midnight shift Sunday. She said she was determined not to break down.

It isn’t just patient care that increases stress for medical personnel on the Comfort. Davenport missed his youngest son Jaiden’s third birthday on Thursday. When he talked to Jaiden on the phone, his son asked him: “Daddy, are you fixing boo-boos?”

Since he can’t be at home with his wife and children, the stethoscope and his patients are his “release,” as the hospital continues to settle into its role in helping a shattered nation.

“The flow seems to be smoothing out a little bit,” Davenport said. “I think it’s getting a lot better.”

http://www.gazette.net/stories/01272010/damanew224820_32548.php

4 Comments

Filed under breast milk, breastfeeding, Breastfeeding in the News, lactivist, the curious lactivist, Uncategorized

DOES HAITI NEED OUR MILK?

Tell them not to send it,” was Eric Porterfield, a spokesman for the American Red Cross comment about the shipment of 500 ounces of donated breast milk which had just arrived in Haiti. “I’m 100 percent sure we didn’t ask for that.”  Lt. David Shark from the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance told the press that the idea of distributing human milk was an “unfeasible and unsafe intervention”. 

From Miami, to Ohio, to San Jose breastfeeding mothers across the United States had rallied to help infants in Haiti.  The cry for help went out on Tuesday and almost immediately 1,000 ounces of screened, donated breast milk was ready to ship out.  By Thursday 500 ounces had been packed in dry ice and had already arrived at their final destination, an American Naval ship off the coast of Haiti named the “USNS Comfort”.  The 2 day trip had included a commercial airline flight, transfer to a chartered plane, and finally a helicopter.  The milk remained frozen the entire time. 

According to one report as of Wednesday a few lactating mothers on the crew of the USNS Comfort had already begun donating their breast milk to the 120 babies in need aboard the ship. The 62nd patient to come on board late Monday was a baby boy born the day before the Jan. 12 earthquake. “I would say within about a day or so, he would have died,” said Kensington’s Capt. Daniel Shmorhun, one of the doctors attending the child. To help solve the problem, Shmorhun said, lactating members of Comfort’s crew are pumping breast milk that will be stored for the babies on board to drink. A supply of breast milk from the U.S. is also supposed to be brought in soon. “We’re creating a breast milk bank,” Shmorhun said. Clearly the need was urgent, and was recognized by many on board.

The problem according to Lt. Shark was the “huge logical constraints”.  Specifically he pointed out that there was a “lack of cold chain supply, and no clear guidance on ethical issues, breast milk screening, and continuity of supply.”  Even Dr. Nune Mangasaryan senior advisor on infant nutrition for UNICEF agreed.  “At this point it’s not the recommended way of assisting Haiti. … the systems needed to transport [breast milk] and to deliver it in the country, are not ready at this point. You have to have quite a significant number of freezers, you have to have electricity, and you have to be able to transport it from one part of the country to another. [With the current level of devastation] at this point, donating breast milk isn’t preferable.”

But I have to wonder, if the same helicopter had arrived with a donation of human blood, would the response have been the same?  Blood donations also have to be screened, and protected by a “cold chain”.  Would lack of freezers, electricity, and transport issues been enough reason for them to turn away two coolers of donated blood? Of course not, there is no viable substitute for human blood.  But we live in a culture where infant formula is considered a “safe” alternative to breast milk.

How sad that even the good Dr. Mangasaryan from UNICEF considers infant formula preferable to donated milk. “ At this point what we recommend for them is ready-to-use infant formula, that’s already in a liquid form, meaning no risk of contamination by mixing powdered formula with water, for example. It’s already ready-to-use, and there are certain numbers already available in the country.”  It is safe, and it is already available.  Why use the real thing when we have a more convenient alternative?

But according to a joint statement issued by The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), International Lactation Consultant Association/United States Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA/USLCA), and La Leche League International (LLLI) “Formula feeding is extremely risky in emergency conditions and artificially fed infants are vulnerable to the biggest killers of children in emergencies: diarrhea and pneumonia.”  The statement went on to say that they “…strongly affirm the importance of breastfeeding in emergency situations, and call on relief workers and health care providers serving victims of disasters to protect, promote, and support mothers to breastfeed their babies. During an emergency, breastfeeding mothers provide their infants with safe food and water and disease protection that maximize their chances of survival.”

Right now of the 3 million victims in Haiti an estimated 52,000 are under 6 months of age.  And of the 37,000 estimated pregnant women in the country approximately 10,000 will give birth in the next month.  Meanwhile as we sit back debate the ethics and logistics of human milk donations two Styrofoam coolers of milk remain in the freezers of the US Comfort, bringing comfort to no one. 

Call for breast milk donations in Haiti goes bust

Intentions may be good, but supply isn’t safe or necessary, aid groups say

By JoNel Aleccia

Health writer

msnbc.com

When lactation consultant Faith Ploude heard that babies in Haiti might need donated breast milk, she made sure to get the word out to her classes at Mercy Hospital in Miami — and her database of more than 1,000 nursing moms.

“Everybody is moved because Haiti is so devastated,” she said.

But it turns out that Ploude and a bevy of United States breast-feeding advocates may have unleashed a well-meaning but misguided flood of mothers’ milk to the earthquake-shattered nation, one that aid workers in Haiti say was not requested — and is not needed

“Tell them not to send it,” said Eric Porterfield, a spokesman for the American Red Cross. “I’m 100 percent sure we didn’t ask for that.”

The international Emergency Nutrition Network has asked one group, the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, to retract a press release this week that issued an “urgent call” for breast milk for orphaned and premature infants in Haiti, saying the donations contradict best practices for babies in emergencies.

Such donations pose problems of transportation, screening, supply and storage and create an “unfeasible and unsafe intervention,” according to a statement from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, or OFDA.

Simply trying to fill a need
Pauline Sakamoto, executive director of HMBANA, said the group was simply trying to help fill a need, if not in Haiti, then elsewhere. Donated milk that doesn’t make it to Haitian babies will be diverted for use in the U.S. and Canada, she said.

“We don’t want to waste an ounce of milk. It’s very precious,” she said, adding.

The confusion started earlier this week when the milk bank group and several organizations — including heavy hitters like La Leche League International — urged nursing mothers to donate milk. While representatives for aid agencies such as the American Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and World Vision said there never was a need for donated milk, some agencies said they heard from workers at orphanages in Haiti who indicated that babies were going hungry.

“This was very grass roots,” said Amanda Nickerson, executive director of the International Breast Milk Project.

That group arranged for donation and transport of 500 ounces of breast milk to the U.S. Navy ship Comfort, the hospital ship parked off the coast of Haiti. The ship is equipped with a neonatal intensive care unit and freezer space. That’s enough milk to feed a newborn for a couple of weeks.

Donated milk remains unused
But the staff on the U.S. Navy ship said they haven’t used the milk out of concerns raised by OFDA and other agencies. Mothers aboard the Comfort are urged to nurse their own babies and there’s infant formula available to children whose mothers cannot or will not breast-feed, said Lt. David Shark, a U.S. Navy spokesman.

But that hasn’t stopped the flood of would-be donations in the U.S. Fueled by posts on parenting blogs and e-mail chains, hundreds of women across America began calling local milk bank agencies to ask about donating milk to Haiti babies.

“It’s sort of taken on a life of its own,” said Dr. Joan Younger-Meek, chairwoman of the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee.

Now the challenge is to quell the response of well-meaning mothers while still retaining support and awareness for breast milk donations to feed premature babies in the U.S. or to help those whose mothers can’t nurse.

“Breast-feeding women want to do something to help these babies in Haiti,” Younger-Meek said. “But the relief workers don’t have the infrastructure to support that need right now.”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35134523/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/ 

Will donating breast milk help Haitian infants? (Time/blog) 

This week several organizations, including the International Breast Milk Project, issued a call for human milk donations for infants in Haiti, as the U.S. Navy ship Comfort is equipped with a neonatal intensive care unit that can transport the breast milk. Yet, while nursing mothers have heeded the call, and some 500 ounces of donated breast milk have already been sent to Haiti by joint efforts of the International Breast Milk Project and the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, a joint statement issued by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the United Nations World Food Programme suggests that, at this point, the necessary infrastructure isn’t yet in place for those well-meaning donations to truly make a difference. To learn more about the best way to help babies struggling to survive in the wake of the Haiti disaster, TIME spoke with Dr. Nune Mangasaryan, senior adviser on infant nutrition for UNICEF.

“Human milk donations while safe when processed and pasteurized in a human milk bank also require fully functioning cold chains. Such conditions are not currently met in Haiti and human milk donations cannot be used at present.”

Dr. Mangasaryan: At this point it’s not the recommended way of assisting Haiti. The reason for saying this, is that the systems needed to transport [breast milk] and to deliver it in the country, are not ready at this point. You have to have quite a significant number of freezers, you have to have electricity, and you have to be able to transport it from one part of the country to another. [With the current level of devastation] at this point, donating breast milk isn’t preferable.

TIME: Could that policy change in the future?

Dr. Mangasaryan: This doesn’t mean that in general, donated breast milk isn’t good. In the future, maybe after a few months, we can think about whether the institutions, orphanages, etc, are ready to accept [breast milk donations], but at this point we are doubtful.

TIME: For orphans, or babies separated from their mothers, what is recommended, if not breast milk donations at this point?

Dr. Mangasaryan: At this point what we recommend for them is ready-to-use infant formula, that’s already in a liquid form, meaning no risk of contamination by mixing powdered formula with water, for example. It’s already ready-to-use, and there are certain numbers already available in the country.

TIME: The joint statement deters people from trying to send formula directly to Haiti. From the statement:

In accordance with internationally accepted guidelines, donations of infant formula, bottles and teats and other powdered or liquid milk and milk products should not be made. Experience with past emergencies has shown an excessive quantity of products, which are poorly targeted, endangering infants’ lives. Any procurement of breast milk substitutes should be based on careful needs assessment and in coordination with UNICEF.

What is the best way to contribute to the nutritional needs of children and nursing mothers in Haiti?

Dr. Mangasaryan: Try to provide financial funding and support to agencies that are working on the ground. We have at this point, not only UNICEF, but a nutrition cluster working in Haiti, proactively working on the ground to make sure that all of this support comes to mothers and babies. These agencies are skilled, they know the job, they know what to do. The best is just to help them.

TIME: How will we know when the infrastructure is in place and breast milk donations can get to the infants who need them?

Dr. Mangasaryan: I would just say that this matter has to be revisited sometime later on, and it definitely this has to come from Haiti, from the specialists on the ground. We really need to look at them and see what are the best methods at this point. I know that there are organizations that are trying to help with breast milk in Haiti, and there are mothers who are ready to donate. It’s all done out of goodwill, but we really have to take into consideration current conditions.

Read more: http://wellness.blogs.time.com/2010/01/28/will-donating-breast-milk-help-haitian-infants/#ixzz0e0vsNKkf

http://wellness.blogs.time.com/2010/01/28/will-donating-breast-milk-help-haitian-infants/

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35134523/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/

Thousands of Haiti babies ‘could die from milk donations’  (London Evening Standard)

Thousands of Haitian infants are at risk of illness and death because wellwishers are supplying the wrong food, world health chiefs warned today.

The main threat to infants aged up to six months is powdered baby milk mixed in unclean water, which can cause diarrhoea, dehydration and death.

Bottles and teats which cannot be sterilised are also a risk, and a shipment of frozen milk, which could have spread infection after thawing, had to be turned away.

The volume of potentially life-threatening items being sent into Haiti is so great aid workers were having to waste large amounts of time “preventing harm”.

In a joint statement today with the World Health Organisation and World Food Program, Unicef said it “strongly urges all involved in the emergency response to avoid unnecessary illness and death by promoting breastfeeding and by preventing uncontrolled distribution and use of substitute milk.”

When breastfeeding is not possible, it recommends only tinned substitutes which do not require mixing and can be consumed instantly. Risk of death is “particularly high” to children aged under six months, Unicef added.

Miaj Ververs, nutrition co-ordinator for the United Nations relief effort in Haiti, said inappropriate foods were also being given to older children. She added: “We end up trying to prevent harm rather than providing the emergency relief that we want to.”

Officials estimate that of the three million victims, up to 52,000 aged six months or under are potentially at risk of malnourishment.

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23800003-thousands-of-haiti-infants-at-risk-of-death-from-milk-donations.do

Tiny Bottles of Relief Arrive for Haiti’s Newborns (AOL News)

Jan. 28) — For newborns struggling for life in the aftermath of Haiti’s earthquake, 140 tiny but powerful bottles of relief arrived Thursday afternoon – breast milk donated by American mothers.

The bottles were no bigger than travel toiletries – 3 ounces – but chock full of the nutrients and immunities so vital to babies. Especially babies suffering from injuries and illness or born prematurely in a disaster area.

When a U.S. Navy helicopter carrying the precious cargo touched down on the USNS Comfort hospital ship, which sits off the coast of the devastated country, it was the final leg of a complicated sprint.

Talia Frenkel, American Red Cross / AP

Red Cross volunteer Jean Zacharie delivers first aid to a 1-month-old baby whose mother was killed by the earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
But after surviving a commercial plane flight, a charter ride, a helicopter trip and two days on dry ice, the milk ran headlong into red tape.

Navy spokesman Lt. David Shark, who is aboard the Comfort, said U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, which is part of USAID, complained about the idea of distributing donated breast milk and issued a statement calling it an “unfeasible and unsafe intervention.”

“We acknowledge the generosity of the donor of the breast milk but have concerns based on years of best practices. It is the humanitarian community’s position that supporting donations of donor breast milk is not recommended in emergencies for a number of reasons,” the OFDA statement said.

“These reasons include huge logistical constraints, lack of cold chain supply, and no clear guidance on ethical issues, breast milk screening, and continuity of supply,” it said.

But Shark said the milk may still be used. The important “cold chain” was preserved – meaning the milk stayed frozen during the trip. Doctors from the Comfort, which has more than 200 military medical personnel aboard, will make a presentation to the task force that oversees U.S. efforts in Haiti.

“There a very real possibility we will be using the product soon,” Shark said. Meanwhile, the milk sits in two Styrofoam coolers just inside a large freezer on the Comfort.

The effort to get that milk into the Comfort’s freezer began on Tuesday, as word went out to mothers’ groups around the country that the Haitian babies needed help. The nation’s 10 nonprofit milk banks – which usually get breast milk donations for medically fragile American infants whose mothers cannot provide it – were quickly flooded with hundreds of calls from mothers touched by the images of devastation in Haiti since the 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Jan. 12.

“It shows the best of the best the U.S. can muster,” said Pauline Sakamoto, head of The Human Milk Banking Association of North America, which provided the milk. “It’s just an outpouring of support.”

All those offers of donations will help any future shipments to Haiti if there are any and replenish the already low supplies in U.S. milk banks. The first shipment was culled from supplies on hand and handed off Tuesday morning to Quick International Courier, which donated its services to get the milk to Haiti and handled all the complications involved in keeping the milk frozen.

The frozen milk arrived in the wee hours of Thursday morning in Port-au-Prince and was picked up by a Navy helicopter. By Thursday afternoon the milk was aboard and ready for premature babies and other sick infants, some of them orphaned by the disaster.

Amanda Nickerson, head of the International Breast Milk Project, which led the effort, said 1,000 ounces were ready to ship. But the Comfort didn’t have enough freezer space. Her nonprofit had made a similar shipment to the Philippines last October after a typhoon and regularly sends milk to infants in South Africa, many of them orphaned by AIDS. She hopes to send more milk to Haiti.

Haiti has 37,000 pregnant women in its capital alone, and 10,000 of them are due in the next 30 days, according to Alina Labrada of CARE, a nonprofit that fights poverty and helps women and children around the world. Conditions there are still difficult, said Labrada, whose organization has 30 workers in the country. “The water is so dirty, the sanitation is such a problem, a lot of women don’t have enough to eat and drink themselves and aren’t going to make enough milk.”

Sakamoto said she hopes Americans also will donate to organizations that help Haitian mothers breast-feed amid the chaotic aftermath of the earthquake.

The dirty water in Haiti also means that formula can be dangerous for babies in displaced families who don’t have clean water to mix with it.

The International Lactation Consultant Association on Thursday warned people not to send formula to Haiti. After the Asian tsunamis, formula donations caused a tripling of diarrheal disease, according to the association.

U.S. milk banks regularly take donations from mothers after putting the donors through a screening test similar to what’s done for blood donations. The women also must take a blood test and get approval from their doctors. The milk comes from mothers who are pumping milk for their own children and end up with extra. The milk is pasteurized and frozen.

In 2008 – the most recent year for which figures are available – Sakamoto’s organization shipped 1.4 million ounces of milk out to neonatal intensive care units and other doctors to dispense.

Dane Nutty, outreach director of the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank, said he hopes to find a way to help Haitian infants who aren’t on the Comfort. The logistics are daunting.

“If you have a country without power, how are you going to store the milk?” Nutty asked. “We are building up our supplies so that when we do work out the logistics on land, we will have a supply ready.”

Meanwhile, the new donors could help shore up supplies for U.S. babies.

“This is a phenomenal response,” Sakamoto said. “But there are kids in this country in the same situation that need this milk. They may not be in a major earthquake, but they can’t tolerate other food sources and they have high-risk medical [conditions].”

http://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/tiny-bottles-of-breast-milk-arrive-for-haitis-newborns/19336660

 UPDATED STATEMENT: January 28, 2010

BREASTFEEDING IS THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE IN A DISASTER

The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), International Lactation Consultant Association/United States Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA/USLCA), and La Leche League International (LLLI) strongly affirm the importance of breastfeeding in emergency situations, and call on relief workers and health care providers serving victims of disasters to protect, promote, and support mothers to breastfeed their babies. During an emergency, breastfeeding mothers provide their infants with safe food and water and disease protection that maximize their chances of survival.

This week, the International Milk Bank Project and Quick International Courier coordinated a shipment of milk from the HMBANA member banks to supplement a mother’s own milk for the premature, medically fragile, and orphaned infants aboard the U.S. Navy ship Comfort stationed off the coast of Haiti. This milk will help this small group of infants. In this highly unusual circumstance the infrastructure associated with the Comfort’s resources allows U.S. sourced donor milk to help fragile Haitian babies.

Donor milk, however, is not a solution for the large number of infants and young children affected by the earthquake in Haiti. Members of the public who wish to promote the survival of mothers and babies in Haiti can donate money to the following organizations: UNICEF, Save the Children Alliance, World Vision, and Action Against Hunger. These organizations are using best practice to aid both breastfed and non-breastfed infants. Members of the public can be confident that donations to these organizations will support breastfeeding and help save the lives of babies.

Interventions to protect infants include supporting mothers to initiate and continue exclusive breastfeeding, relactation for mothers who have ceased breastfeeding, and finding wet nurses for motherless or separated babies. Every effort should be made to minimize the number of infants and young children who do not have access to breastfeeding. Artificially fed infants require intensive support from aid organizations including infant formula, clean water, soap, a stove, fuel, education, and medical support. This is not an easy endeavor. Formula feeding is extremely risky in emergency conditions and artificially fed infants are vulnerable to the biggest killers of children in emergencies: diarrhea and pneumonia.

As stated by UNICEF and WHO, no donations of infant formula or powdered milk should be sent to the Haiti emergency. Such donations are difficult to manage logistically, actively detract from the aid effort, and put infant’s lives at risk. Distribution of infant formula should only occur in a strictly controlled manner. Stress does not prevent women from making milk for their babies, and breastfeeding women should not be given any infant formula or powdered milk.

There are ongoing needs in the U.S. for human milk for premature and other extremely ill infants because of the protection it provides from diseases and infections. If a mother is unable to provide her own milk to her premature or sick infant, donor human milk is often requested from a human milk bank. American mothers can help their compatriots who find themselves in need of breast milk for their sick baby by donating to a milk bank that is a member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America.

For more information about donating milk to a milk bank, contact HMBANA at http://www.hmbana.org. Additional information for relief workers and health care professionals can be provided from the United States Breastfeeding Committee at http://www.usbreastfeeding.org, ILCA/USLCA at http://www.ilca.org or http://www.uslca.org, or La Leche League International at http://www.llli.org. A list of regional milk banks is available on the HMBANA Web site at http://www.hmbana.org/index/locations.

Sincerely, Angela Smith, President

ILCA Board of Directors

http://www.ilca.org/files/in_the_news/press_room/Update_Haiti_press_release%20pdf.pdf 

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To help solve the problem, Shmorhun said, lactating members of Comfort’s crew are pumping breast milk that will be stored for the babies on board to drink. A supply of breast milk from the U.S. is also supposed to be brought in soon. “We’re creating a breast milk bank,” Shmorhun said.

http://www.gazette.net/stories/01272010/damanew224820_32548.php 

 

Infant Victims of Haiti’s Earthquake Need Breast Milk

January 28, 2010 |  6:55 am

OK, you’ve opened your hearts to the hundreds of thousands of bereft and destitute victims of the Haitian earthquake. Hopefully, you’ve opened your wallets and maybe even scoured your closets for things to send.

But — and here, I address myself to lactating moms — have you opened your shirt yet?

Several groups promoting breast milk and breastfeeding are putting out an “urgent call” for human milk donations, saying the infrastructure is “now in place” for aid groups to receive and distribute breast milk to premature and orphaned infants affected by the earthquake in Haiti.

In fact, human milk donations right now can only be delivered safely aboard the U.S. Navy ship Comfort, which has a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and is caring for some Haitian babies born prematurely. But Gina Ciagne, a certified lactation counselor* and director of breastfeeding and consumer relations at Lansinoh Labs, said it’s important for women willing to pump their milk for donation to identify themselves to the closest chapter of the Human Milk Banking Assn. of North America. They’ll need to get their blood tested and certify that they don’t take most medications or herbal supplements, don’t smoke or take illegal drugs, and are willing to donate at least 100 ounces of milk.

The Human Milk Banking Assn. of North America is one of the groups making the appeal for donations. Joining the group are: LaLeche League International, the U.S. and International Lactation Consultants Associations and the United States Breastfeeding Committee.

Milk donations must be processed and pasteurized in a human milk bank before shipping and then kept in a steady state of refrigeration until they reach recipients — a tall order in the ruined country, where electricity is virtually nonexistent and relief deliveries remain spotty in many places. Late last week, UNICEF put out a statement saying “conditions are not currently met in Haiti” for human milk donations.

At the same time, UNICEF underscored the importance of nourishing and protecting babies in disaster sitiations by encouraging the continuation — and resumption, where possible — of breastfeeding. The U.N. office called exclusive breastfeeding of babies under 6 months old “a lifeline” in this emergency situation, where water treatment infrastructure is damaged or nonexistent and communicable diseases are on the rise.

UNICEF also repeated “internationally accepted guidelines” that strongly discourage the donation of breast-milk substitutes such as infant formula or powdered milk or milk products. Because those may require the use of water that is not sufficiently clean and because milk replacements can prompt some traumatized nursing mothers to cease or reduce their breastfeeding, denying their babies some of breastmilk’s protective benefits.

That was a problem after the Asian tsunami of 2004. According to the Emergency Nutrition Network, some 72% of families with infants received donated baby formula. The result was a dramatic decline in breastfeeding and a tripling of diarrheal diseases among babies, the British group concluded. “People are really well-meaning, and it’s a very difficult concept for people to grasp,” said lactation consultant Gina Ciagne. “But breastfeeding is going to be so much better.”

— Melissa Healy

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_shots/2010/01/haitian-earthquake-victims-iso-mothers-milk.html

January 27, 2010, 8:00 pm

Sending Breast Milk to Haiti  (New York Times /blog)

By LISA BELKIN

What to do for Haiti? Many of us are sending money. And some of us are sending breast milk.

The International Breast Milk Project and the Human Milk Banking Association of North America are coordinating an effort to get donations of human breast milk packed in dry ice, onto airplanes, ships and helicopters, through bureaucratic red tape and into orphanages for infants who are premature, orphaned and ill.

These groups regularly send donor milk for use in hospitals in the United States and Canada, as well as to AIDS babies in Africa and during emergency situations like the one now in Port-au-Prince. To donate, mothers must undergo a medical screening, and in addition to being in good health, the H.M.B.A.N.A. Web site says, they must be nonsmokers and may not regularly consume any medication, including megavitamins. Around the time of donation, they may not drink alcohol nor take a specified list of “excluded medications.”

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/sending-breast-milk-to-haiti/

Breast Milk to Orphaned and Sick Babies in Haiti  (PR Newswire United Business Media)

Quick International Courier donates its services for fast delivery

NEW YORK, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, International Breast Milk Project (IBMP) and Quick International Courier delivered close to 500 ounces of donor breast milk for premature, sick and orphaned infants aboard the USNS Comfort’s Medical Treatment Center stationed outside Haiti.

The ship is equipped with a neonatal intensive care unit and medical staff to provide emergency care to the youngest victims of the earthquake. They are uniquely positioned to handle a donation of breast milk because they maintain cold chain requirements and ensure proper handling and security of the donation.

Emphasizing the importance of human milk, Jay N. Gordon, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the UCLA Medical School, said, “Nothing protects at-risk, premature or sick infants like mother’s milk does.  Breast milk’s natural antibodies prevent illnesses, treat illnesses and will save lives.”

The earthquake that devastated Haiti has left countless infants without their mothers and without breast milk. Amanda Nickerson, Executive Director, for International Breast Milk Project told MediaGlobal, “Unfortunately, without proper infrastructure in place, frozen donor milk is not going to be a viable option for so many infants in need, but we are happy to make a difference in the lives of the infants aboard the USNS Comfort.”

Quick International Courier, a global medical logistics specialist, donated their services to provide packaging, dry ice and the fastest and most secure cold chain transport services to Haiti.

“It is so rewarding to be able to help make a difference in the lives of orphaned and critically ill babies.  As a mother and a person concerned about the world and health, this project really speaks to my heart,” said Dominique Bischoff-Brown, COO of Quick International Courier.

This humanitarian project has been made possible with the active cooperation of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, who provided the donor milk, Toby and Maggie Moffett, of the Moffett Group in Washington, D.C., and the offices of Congressman Courtney, Congresswomen Betty McCollum, and Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro and the dedicated staff of the USNS Comfort.

IBMP is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding solutions to ensure that infants worldwide have access to donor milk when they need it. Since its inception, IBMP has provided over 65,000 bottles (262,682 ounces, 7,768 liters or 2,052 gallons) of donor breast milk to infants around the world.

For more information, please contact Amanda Nickerson, Executive Director. Cell: 786.837.3082. Email: amanda@breastmilkproject.org.

Visit www.breastmilkproject.org for additional details.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/international-breast-milk-project-delivers-donor-breast-milk-to-orphaned-and-sick-babies-in-haiti-82973372.html  

Ohio moms donate breast milk to Haiti babies

Haitian infants lack the breast milk. Mother’s Milk Bank of Ohio, which is located in Victorian Village in Columbus, donated about 500 ounces of breast milk in 140 bottles.

http://www.examiner.com/x-34433-Columbus-Headlines-Examiner~y2010m1d28-Ohio-moms-donate-breast-milk-to-Haiti-babies

San Jose Mother’s Milk Bank Helps Haiti

San Jose Mother’s Milk Bank is the only one of its kind in the Western U.S.  Now  the bank has sent about 500 ounces of donated breast milk to Haiti.   “Just this past week we got an emergency call from Navy pediatricians that they desperately need breast milk sent to Haiti,” Pauline Sakamoto said. 

The Milk Bank is also receiving about 100 calls a day from women who are offering to donate to help babies in Haiti. But those women must first be screened for certain diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C before they can be accepted as donor

http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local-beat/San-Jose-Mothers-Milk-Bank-Helps-Babies-in-China-82848767.html

Miami Moms Donate Their Breast Milk to Haiti

Most babies aren’t up for sharing, but Miami moms think their infants will make an exception for this cause.

http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local-beat/Breast-Milk-Donations-Needed-82839927.html

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