In a move straight out of a Hollywood movie leaflets denouncing Nestle’s flagrant disregard for the WHO Code dropped through a hole in the ceiling of the Palais recently and floated onto the table in front of the startled Nestle executives below. Nestle indignantly responded by insisting that they abide by the law in all countries and that in fact they had received very few complaints about their marketing of infant formula. “Governments are not making these calls, Nestle abides by the law in every country.” This should serve as a reminder to the rest of us that it is the law of the land that carries the greatest weight. Unfortunately thirty plus years of boycotting hasn’t even made Nestle blink.
The incident reminded me of a meeting of Human Resource executives that I attended a few years ago. I was there pitching a lactation support program for businesses. After enthusiastically touting the benefits of supporting breastfeeding mothers in the workplace (“Companies save $3 for every $1 spent on breastfeeding support.”), one HR woman interrupted me and asked point blank, “Is there a law requiring this?” There was no law, and the discussion was quickly dropped.
Happily today there is a new federal law but as I mentioned before the details still have to be worked out. It is interesting to note that prior to this law the issues of work breaks was covered by state laws only. “Until this amendment, rest break requirements had been the subject of state regulation.” So this is new territory for federal law makers. Luckily state and local laws will still supersede the federal rules which means that Oregon’s $1,000 fine for each missed “breast milk expression session” will still stand, and employees in Monterey will still receive extra training and support.
In science news HAMLET a component of breast milk now believed to kill 40 different types of cancer cells including bladder cancer is being touted as the next big thing in cancer research. HAMLETs which are formed by “combining alpha-lactalbumin in the milk and oleic acid which is found in babies’ stomachs,” are remarkable not just for their ability to kill cancer but also the way they leave all healthy cells intact. In other science news another study noted that babies who were breastfed showed better lung capabilities which were still measurable at 8 years of age. A study showing that obese women who got extra breastfeeding counseling not only breastfed longer they their babies had fewer fevers and upper respiratory infections and were “3.5 times less likely to be hospitalized during their first 3 months of life.” Across the pond the Brits just held their first conference exploring the benefits of breastfeeding for babies with developmental disabilities! I would love to see more of that done here.
In Uganda they noted a suspicious rise in breast cancer in younger women. The same article noted that, “Breastfeeding also changes the make-up of a mother’s breast cells, making them more resistant to cancer.” And that “Breastfeeding will also rid the breast toxins like carcinogens that are likely to cause cancer in the future.” While I’m glad to see them put in a plug for breastfeeding I’m not entirely sure they got this exactly right. Can any of my more knowledgeable readers set me straight on this? And while we’re talking about Uganda I’m happy to report that the issue of breastfeeding mothers in prison has been looked into, and that mothers now receive their own special cells. This is one of those times when the child’s rights supersede the mother’s.
For years we’ve been pushing for more breastfeeding using evidence based studies as our strongest ally, but we tend to ignore any evidence showing that breast milk often contains toxin. One author insists, “Were it regulated like infant formula, the breast milk of many US mothers would not be able to be legally sold on supermarket shelves.” We find ourselves in the delicate position of ignoring the canary in the mine (canaries would die from the poisoned air before the effects on miners could be noticed), and still trying to convince society to accept breastfeeding as normal. As blogger Anna Fahey puts it “The choice is a personal one, but a choice there should be! And it should never be a question of choosing the lesser of two evils. We have a shared responsibility to safeguard the basic human right to grow up untainted by damaging chemicals.”
An interesting study in Australia showed that positive interest in breastfeeding did not mean that mothers would breastfeed longer. And to answer the question, “What do women really want?” the answer was clearly that they wanted more support. In fact, “It is not important what people close to them think about their decision to breastfeed, what is important is the support they receive.” This may sound like a conundrum but I totally get it. My mother constantly questioned me about my decision to breastfeed but at the same time she did everything she could to help make it work. She even vocally defended me against all nay sayers as she would not tolerate any criticisms from others. That was her job! (Speaking of grandmothers I totally applaud a local health department’s decision to host a “Grandmother’s Tea … to educate, influence and encourage Grandmothers’ support of breastfeeding.”)
As always the conversation about breastfeeding continues. From car seat analogies, to letters to tv news producers (by the way ABC news got slammed for using a doctor known for accepting money from formula companies as one of their “expert opinions” on a breastfeeding piece), to books for fathers (“Breastfeeding Facts For Fathers” Platypus Media), to celebrity complaints about breastfeeding police everyone has an opinion. What is most interesting to me is the way the conversation is being portrayed in the movies and on TV. As breastfeeding infants becomes more accepted there has been a trend towards making more jokes about breastfeeding the older child. One piece took this to the farthest extreme with a really funny bit about a mother nursing her 30 year old son (“I Want My Bitty”). And I have to admit I loved Pam’s return to work on the “Office” and the moment when she realized she was feeling engorged. Not being able to find her breast pump (a non-lactating coworker had slipped off to the bathroom to give it a try -“Wow. This is like the Cadillac of breast pumps!”) her coworker Dwight who was brought up on a farm offers to assist her with hand expression, “Three squeezes and I would drain you.”
But if you only have time to read one story today make it “A Unique Challenge to Breastfeeding” by Michael Wuebben a CBS News producer. He tells the loving story of how his own child was born with a rare medical condition that left the baby physically unable to move his facial muscles, and how the child’s mother never gave up on breastfeeding. It is beautifully written and adds a potent counter weight to all those stories we hear from mothers who “had to give up” for reasons x, y, and z.
As always I love hearing from you (remember links to all the stories are below). I hope you all had a Mother’s Day that was as pleasant as mine. My daughter made a poster filled with pictures of the two of us and across the top she wrote “Best Friends”. I couldn’t ask for anything more than that!
Kathy Abbott IBCLC
On Facebook:” Breastfeeding in the News”
The risks of non-compliance with Oregon’s milk expression law
Penalties for noncompliance are similar to those that may be assessed for other wage and hour violations, and may be as high as $1,000 per missed breast milk expression session, possibly as much as $2,000 on an average work day. There is no statute of limitations regarding when an employee may file a complaint.
… But for some women working in places that are slow to change, they fear they would be asking their employer for too much or inconveniencing their colleagues. In addition some women just don’t feel comfortable discussing breast milk expression with their direct supervisor or human resources department. Even with all these progressive reforms the burden is on working women.
Marion Rice is workplace lactation support specialist with the Nursing Mothers Counsel of Oregon.
Almeda County to lower flags in remembrance of Livermore baby (San Jose Mercury News)
Police arrested Jessica Adams last week on suspicion of murder after a yearlong investigation. Police said during that time, they learned she had been continually smoking methamphetamine for four days leading up to Gary’s death. She had not slept at all during that time, and when she finally fell asleep on March 19, Gary was with her on the couch.
Police say Adams told them she had stopped breastfeeding the baby March 12 because she planned on using the drug.
Most Hilarious Breastfeeding video ever!
Sometimes we all need a little laugh though, right? And so, in the interest of easing a little breastfeeding debate tension, check out this clip from the UK comedy Little Britain. The episode is called “Meet the Parents.” But it should be called “I Want My Bitty!”
BBC News: Cultural Barrier to breastfeeding older children
“Once I gave birth to Jonathan and I started breastfeeding, I thought we’ll just get to six months and then I thought we’ll go to a year and then it never stopped.
“And here I am five years on. It became a natural thing.”
“I’m a firm believer that Jonathan should choose his own path in life,” she said.
Ms Hurst said breastfeeding Jonathan would stop when he lost the ability to suckle as his milk teeth fell out
Does breastfeeding protect against asthma? (Reuters)
The extended and exclusive diet of breast milk also resulted in better lung function at age 8, the researchers report in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Ugandan News: Conservative Party calls for special (jail) cells for breastfeeding mothers
The President of CP says the breastfeeding mothers jailed at Luzira prison have told him that they are finding it hard to produce enough milk for their babies because of the poor meals.
Inmates at Luzira and other prisons in Uganda get one meal a day at 2:00pm and a cup of porridge at 8:00am daily. The major food they get is posho and beans.
First UK conference to address benefits of breastfeeding for babies with developmental disabilities
Dr Roja Sooben at the University’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work has organised the conference called, Breastfeeding infants with developmental disabilities – let’s talk about it!, which will take place at the University on 11th May.
The Day WHEN breast isn’t BEST
But as Sandra Steingraber (author, biologist, and breastfeeding advocate who’s written and lectured extensively on the subject) points out, breast milk commonly violates Food and Drug Administration levels for poisonous substances in food. She writes: “Were it regulated like infant formula, the breast milk of many US mothers would not be able to be legally sold on supermarket shelves.”
…The choice is a personal one, but a choice there should be! And it should never be a question of choosing the lesser of two evils. We have a shared responsibility to safeguard the basic human right to grow up untainted by damaging chemicals. Put another way, chemical risks in today’s environment aren’t a matter of choice; they’re an assault on basic rights.
A Unique Challenge to Breastfeeding
Michael Wuebben is a CBSNews.com senior producer overseeing video production and original video programming.
Finally we knew something. He couldn’t suck because he couldn’t move the muscles of his face. He didn’t react because his muscles were weak and he couldn’t blink.
Monterey County Adopts breastfeeding Policy
Existing law provides for unpaid break time and appropriate facilities for lactating employees to express milk for their infant children. The Monterey County policy includes additional provisions for training and support to maximize the benefits of breastfeeding for employees and their children.
New Book: Fathers Critical to Success of Breastfeeding
In fact, the book cites a study showing that when fathers are completely supportive of breastfeeding, mothers working outside the home breastfeed 98% of the time, compared to mothers whose partners were indifferent to breastfeeding, who breastfeed 26.9% of the time. The book also notes that the father is the “first person to show his baby that feeding does not equal love.”
But the 32-year-old is loving her new role as a mum – although she is not a fan of the breastfeeding police. She said: “I didn’t breastfeed. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, it just didn’t work for me.“I did manage to express some milk for Otis for the first few months, though. “The thing about the breastfeeding police is that they bring so much guilt to women that don’t manage to, or aren’t able to breastfeed. “I think that’s a shame. “Breastfeeding is the most healthy thing, but it’s not the end of the world if you can’t do it. “If it doesn’t work for you, don’t cut yourself up about it.“It’s more important for your baby to be with a happy, contented mother – not one who’s distressed because she can’t breastfeed.”
Breastfeeding: Why the Controversy?
If I had a dime for every blog post, news article, or discussion I’ve had regarding breastfeeding over the last eight years, I’d be a rich woman.
My personal advice to mom’s who are concerned about breastfeeding is the following:
- Screw the store clerks. If your baby is hungry, feed him.
- Stop breastfeeding when you want to stop breastfeeding. Guess what, I breastfed my children until they were…. oh wait IT DOESN’T MATTER. My kids are not yours so it doesn’t matter what I did. And guess what? I don’t care how long you breastfeed yours, whether it’s for one year or five.
- If people don’t like the breastfeeding photos you post on your Facebook profile, they don’t have to look at them.
- Call your HR person. That’s right, the laws they are a changin’. This country is attempting to make itself more family friendly and one way they’re doing that is by requiring your company to make it possible for you to breastfeed. If your boss doesn’t like it, tell him to call congress and complain, but leave you to your business. And clarify that it’s YOUR business not his.
When will we finally reach a point in society that says “breast is best, end of story”?
Are today’s young women more at risk?
Kampala Uganda— THE Ministry of Health recently announced that there is an increase in the cases of breast cancer among women less than 40 years of age. Reports show that the age trend of breast cancer has changed from 40-50 years to 30-40 years of age, compared to the Western world, where the diagnosis is still among the old – 50-plus years.
Murokora says breastfeeding helps by reducing the oestrogen levels in the body. Oestrogen increases a person’s risk of developing breast cancer. Breastfeeding also changes the make-up of a mother’s breast cells, making them more resistant to cancer. Breastfeeding will also rid the breast toxins like carcinogens that are likely to cause cancer in the future.
It’s okay to stop breastfeeding.
I feel like the breastfeeding issue is almost as polarizing as the last presidential election in this country.
Peer counseling, support can improve breastfeeding success in obese women
++++Conn. 154 puerta rican –
predominantly Puerto Rican, low-income, and had less than a high-school education For instance, women in the ‘intervention’ group were visited three times in their homes during late pregnancy and 11 more times in the first few months after birth. Whereas 16% and 46% of the women in the ‘control’ group had stopped breastfeeding by 2 and 8 weeks postpartum, respectively, only 7% and 33% of the women in the ‘intervention’ group had stopped++++++
And to add even more bang for the buck, babies of mothers who received the extra counseling were 3.5 times less likely to be hospitalized during their first 3 months of life. This was mostly due to lower rates of respiratory infections and fever.
Khloe Kardashian wants to start breastfeeding someone after seeing the weight drop off her sister Kourtney
“If that’s all it takes, breastfeeding? Then someone breastfeed off of me! I don’t care,” joked Khloe in an interview with Us magazine.
Nursing can be a challenge for working moms
Companies save $3 for every $1 spent on breastfeeding support.
The Back Up Plan (Movie Review) – Pregnant with Problems
The biggest laughs come from the ingloriousness of being pregnant and giving birth, but their overworked bits — like home birth and a toddler breastfeeding — are all gags we’ve seen and heard before
United States: FLSA Amended to Require Breaks and Space to Express Breast Milk for Nursing Mothers
Until this amendment, rest break requirements had been the subject of state regulation. The FLSA does not require employers to provide breaks or meal periods to workers. Unless rest breaks are required by state law, when and how they are provided has traditionally been a matter of agreement between the employer and employee.
Keeping the Breastfeeding Conversation Going
We got a lot of great response from our recent video segment “The Challenges of Breastfeeding.”
Again, we love the “100 letters” challenge. Please leave comments below on this blog post and let us know what you thought of the piece. And also share your ideas for future Health and Wellness segments.
|Mums need more support|
|Friday, 23 April 2010|
|Queensland University of TechnologyJoy Parkinson“Ms Parkinson said if governments wanted to increase breastfeeding rates they needed to increase loyalty to the act of breastfeeding and this would be best achieved by encouraging support from family and friends.”
“There needs to be a more mother-centred approach as opposed to a baby-centred approach,” she said.
“One of the most surprising things that came out of this study was that positive attitudes towards breastfeeding didn’t equate to larger numbers of women breastfeeding for longer.”
Health Department to hold Grandmother’s Tea (IL)
Michele Beckstrom, RN of the Health Department notes, “This Grandmother’s Tea is being held to educate, influence and encourage Grandmothers’ support of breastfeeding.”
The Office Review: “Secretary’s Day”
It’s the third week now. Dwight prepping to help Pa , Meredith using her apparatus in the bathroom … how long can the writers milk (har har) the breastfeeding jokes?
Dwight: Three squeezes and I would drain you.
Meredith: This is like the Cadillac of breast pumps
Breastfeed for the Health of the Nation?
Not nursing has major societal and health consequences — but even so, mothers deserve our support and understanding, not our judgment.
Ellen Painter Dollar, guest blogger
While 43 percent of American mothers do some breastfeeding, only 12 percent breastfeed exclusively for the first six months as recommended. Advocates argue that breastfeeding’s life-saving qualities should convince mothers to do it, and everyone else to support them, without all the drama about choices and guilt. The blogger Feminist Breeder, for example, had this to say: “You know what else saves lives? Car seats. So, why aren’t people spitting mad at the [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] for saying that? Why aren’t they leaving thousands of comments on car seat articles saying, ‘But I just couldn’t afford a car seat, why are you trying to make me feel guilty?!’ Well, maybe it’s because our society will admit that car seats save lives, and we’re willing to give them out free at fire stations and hospitals if we have to because it is that important.”
…This latest study makes clear that nursing is much more than a personal lifestyle choice the rest of us have no obligation to support. New mothers need hospital policies that give priority to breastfeeding; low-cost or insurance-covered lactation assistance; paid maternity leave; flexible workplace policies; and husbands, relatives, friends and neighbors who help care for other children and manage the household during an infant’s first months.
…Because breastfeeding involves unpredictable, limited human bodies, it is not directly comparable to life-saving technologies. Using an infant car seat, for example, does not require a mother to wake up every 90 minutes throughout the night, grit her teeth as her baby latches onto sore nipples, and lock herself in a bathroom stall at work to attach a mechanical contraption to sensitive body parts (although the recent health-care overhaul, which requires large employers to provide a private, non-bathroom space for women to pump breast milk, should make this task less unpleasant for some).
Why this Earth mother hates Earth Day
“I see Earth Day as the new Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day, a Hallmark holiday for us to give lip service to the environment. There are contrary forces, good in the mix – but then there are good things in the mix of Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or Valentines as well. But the reality of Mother’s Day doesn’t seem to be that it inspires us to be more respectful of the needs of mothers – what comes out of Mother’s Day isn’t more calls for breastfeeding stations and child friendly policies, but a “we told you we loved you last Sunday…aren’t we done yet?” The same is true of Valentines Day – there’s no compelling reason to believe that once a year special chocolates and sex really do all that much to lower the national divorce rate.”
Breastfeeding Advocates Red-Flag ABC News Story
(April 21) — An international breastfeeding advocacy group is accusing ABC News of failing to reveal that a pediatrician it quoted in a report critical of a breastfeeding study is a formula industry spokeswoman.
ABC News did not respond to several e-mails sent by AOL News to its media relations department for comment. Beard said she was called by an ABC News reporter for comment and was not asked about her industry ties, which she noted are “open information,” or available online.
She said she does not believe her work for Nestle “had any relevance to this comment” she made in the ABC News report.
Breast Milk Kills Cancer Claim Scientists
Mothers should breastfeed their babies because a substance in their milk kills cancer, researchers claim.
By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
Published: 6:00PM BST 20 Apr 2010
The same compound, Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumour cells or HAMLET, could be a common cancer treatment for adults within five years.
Human trials have shown HAMLET can kill bladder cancer and laboratory tests have found it kills 40 different types of cancer. But crucially, the chemical does not kill healthy cells which means it does not cause the nasty side effects of current chemotherapy treatments. “HAMLET is produced by combining alpha-lactalbumin in the milk and oleic acid which is found in babies’ stomachs,” he said.
Nestle Challeneged on baby milk health claims
By Lorraine Heller, 21-Apr-2010
Greenpeace activists cut through the ceiling of the Palais in Lausanne, dropping flyers and absailing above the audience, while shareholders were also addressed by a baby milk activist who claimed the firm is still not abiding by marketing standards adopted by the World Health Assembly.
Patti Rundall, OBE, policy director at Baby Milk Action, said the health claims Nestle was using on its infant formula were misleading and putting the health of babies at risk. She called on Nestle shareholders to “try and find a way to bring an end to this interminable problem that is causing so much harm to children.”
Nestle this morning reiterated to NutraIngredients that it abides by the law in every country where it sells its products.
‘Protect’ is misleading
Rundall, who was able to speak at the shareholder meeting as she owns 200 Nestle shares, said she represented “thousands of citizens and IBFAN (International Baby Food Action Network) groups around the world who monitor the marketing of baby foods”.
Rundall specifically took issue with the health claims being made on the firm’s infant formula and called for the company to remove the ‘Protect’ logo from the product labels. She also said the labels should carry the correct warning language, which alerts parents to potential intrinsic bacterial contamination of the product.
Abiding by laws
Nestle said its ‘Protect’ range of products and its infant formulas are sold in over 100 countries around the world. “To date, other than via Baby Milk Action, no other complaint about the logo’s potential to mislead mothers has been received,” said the company.
It added that the action group was the only one to be calling for the firm to stop making nutrition and health claims. “Governments are not making these calls, Nestle abides by the law in every country.”
Nestle told NutraIngredients that “there has been very little pressure (on its infant formula marketing practices) for a number of years” and that calls to stop making health claims on its infant formula are unique to Baby Milk Action.
Rundall responded that 23 health professionals and mother support groups in the UK alone are calling for the removal of health claims, which, she claims, is in line with Codex regulations.