Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Action Alert: CPS Allies with formula companies

May 26, 2009

Canadian Paediatric Society allies with formula companies

The upcoming CPS annual conference is being sponsored in part by some of the world’s biggest formula companies. Abbot Nutrition, Mead Johnson and Wyeth are listed as sponsors of the event, and all three companies, along with Nestlé, will be exhibitors at the event.

These four companies have been aggressively marketing infant formula for decades, and have actively undermined child health. For a group claiming to be Canada’s foremost child health organization to enter into a relationship with them is highly inappropriate. Clearly this sponsorship compromises the CPS’s ability to promote breastfeeding and advance the health of children.

According to its own Code of Ethics, the CPS desires to “put the needs of children above all else.” It is difficult to see how forming partnerships with formula companies serves the needs of children. On the other hand, the formula companies will benefit from the PR of being allied with paediatricians, and the CPS will receive financial support to stage its conference. It is children that will lose out.

As long as Canada’s health organizations are not fully committed to supporting breastfeeding, infant health in this country will remain far from optimal. Please write to the CPS and ask them to reconsider their relationship with the formula companies. Write your own letter or copy INFACT Canada’s below.

Direct your letters to:

Marie Adèle Davis, Executive Director madavis@cps.ca
Wendy Eligh, Annual Conference Manager wendye@cps.ca

Marie Adèle Davis and Wendy Eligh
Executive Director
Canadian Paediatric Society
2305 St. Laurent Blvd.
Ottawa, ON K1G 4J8

Dear Ms. Davis and Ms. Eligh

It has come to our attention that the upcoming CPS annual conference is accepting sponsorship from Abbot Nutrition, Mead Johnson and Wyeth. Along with Nestlé Nutrition, all three companies are also listed as exhibitors. As an organization that is dedicated to advocating for the health needs of children, I would ask that you reconsider the appropriateness of allowing these companies to promote themselves at your conference.

Abbott, Nestlé, Mead Johnson and Wyeth are four of the biggest companies in the infant formula industry. For years the industry, and these companies specifically, have been marketing their products in violation of international guidelines. Their aggressive promotion of infant formula has undermined breastfeeding rates in Canada and abroad. They have refused to abide by the terms of the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, a measure endorsed by the international community and UNICEF to protect breastfeeding and reduce infant and young child mortality and morbidity.

These companies’ marketing malpractice is ongoing. Nestlé has just launched a formula brand in Canada that the company says can provide infants with the same protection against disease as breastmilk. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim, and yet massive advertising campaigns have been launched to convince Canadian mothers that Nestlé’s formula contains the same vital ingredients as breastmilk.

That the CPS forms partnerships with these companies even while they are actively engaged in undermining breastfeeding does not further the society’s goal of improving child health. Instead, it lends credibility to dishonest companies and presents a blatant conflict of interest to Canadian paediatricians. The CPS cannot accept sponsorship from formula companies on one hand and then expect to effectively promote breastfeeding on the other.

The CPS Code of Ethics says that the society has always worked to “put the needs of children above all else.” Allowing these companies to participate in your conference serves the needs of the infant formula industry, not the needs of children.

We respectfully request that the CPS not form any partnerships with formula companies and suggest that the CPS familiarize itself with its own obligations under the Code, specifically WHA Resolution 49.15 which states “financial support for professionals working in infant and young child health [should] not create conflicts of interest.”

I look forward to your response.
Elisabeth Sterken

National Director


Monday, May 25, 2009

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Poster of toddler breastfeeding doll sparks criticism


New mothers and staff have criticised Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust for putting up the image on the children's ward at Rochdale Infirmary.

The poster shows a child of two or three breastfeeding a doll under the headline 'It's normal' and accompanied by the caption 'Children copy their mothers, teenagers do it! Celebrities do it'.

New Muslim cartoon protests in Pakistan and IranHealth chiefs insist that the poster is designed to promote breastfeeding but critics say that the picture is 'distasteful, inappropriate and crude'.

They also claimed new mums are being made to feel like 'aliens' if they are unable to breastfeed.

Deborah Winter, aged 39, noticed the poster when she was visiting her nine-week-old grandson Scott Bowker and called for the image to be immediately withdrawn.

She said: "The picture is shocking and it isn't normal. Children copy their parents but I don't think any little girls should be breastfeeding their dolls.

"It should be up to new mums to decide whether to breastfeed and I feel that they are being pressurised instead of offered support."

Councillor Jean Ashworth, who works as a healthcare assistant at the Infirmary, said the move was the latest in a string of unpopular measures to promote breastfeeding.

"The picture is highly offensive and everyone is up in arms about it," she said: "We all know breast is best, but they are going overboard and upsetting new mums who can't breastfeed for medical reasons.

"The trust seems to be more interested in chasing awards for promoting breastfeeding rather than supporting new mums to make the best decision for them."

A spokesman for the Trust said the poster was designed for National Breastfeeding Awareness Week.

Val Finigan, the Trust's infant feeding co-ordinator, said: "We have recently launched a competition for children to paint, draw or colour any animal that they think breastfeeds. This poster and the competition is part of a larger campaign to raise awareness among children .

"There are a lot of myths still out there about breastfeeding and women still come into the hospital with misunderstandings about feeding."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday, May 3, 2009

'Feeding Up' of Babies to be Curbed


Feeding up’ of babies to be curbed

THOUSANDS of obese and overweight babies, fattened by mothers on medical advice, are to be identified by National Health Service charts.
Health experts say the growth measurements, introduced at the start of this month, should end the “severe cultural problem” of encouraging babies to put on a lot of weight too quickly.
For the first time the tables, drawn up by the World Health Organisation, are based entirely on the rate of growth of breastfed babies, which tend to put on weight more slowly than those given formula milk in their first year.
The figures used until now have been based mainly on formula-fed babies. This has meant breastfeeding mothers have been wrongly told to “feed up” their infants, putting them at risk of obesity. This problem afflicts many bottle-fed babies.

Tim Cole, professor of medical statistics at the Institute of Child Health at University College London, and one of the experts who has adapted the charts for Britain, said: “We have this severe cultural problem, which is that babies are expected to grow fast.
“What this chart is trying to do is to suggest that babies shouldn’t be growing so fast and that they shouldn’t be as big.”
Cole added: “The way breastfed babies grow will now become the norm. With the previous charts a breastfed baby could be growing perfectly normally but would appear to the health visitor not to be growing as fast as the charts recommended, so there might have been pressure to wean early [on to solid foods or formula milk].
“Thin babies will [now] not appear to be so thin and fat babies will appear to be more fat. The fat babies are likely to be formula fed, growing very fast and developing problems with obesity.”
Cole has been advised by paediatricians that some obese babies are twice average weight by their first birthday.
Rapid weight gain in the first nine months of a baby girl’s life could make her more likely to be overweight later in childhood, according to research by Bristol and Cambridge universities.
The Child Growth Foundation, which has been campaigning for the charts, says breastfed babies are, on average, 1lb lighter than those fed solely on formula milk at 12 months. Tam Fry, who chairs the foundation, said: “When babies are being overfed this will become more noticeable.”
Fewer than one in two mothers still breastfeed at six weeks and this falls to 25% at six months. Fewer than 1% of mothers follow official advice to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of an infant’s life.
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “The new charts will not only provide more accurate data but will also help professionals and parents to identify early signs of overweight or obesity and provide support.”

Friday, May 1, 2009


(HealthNewsDigest.com) - Washington, DC -

As the nation monitors the intensifying "swine flu" outbreak, the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) recommends breastfeeding as a critical strategy to prevent infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated guidance today on H1N1 (swine) flu considerations for pregnancy and breastfeeding, stating that: "Infants who are not breastfeeding are particularly vulnerable to infection and hospitalization for severe respiratory illness. Women who deliver should be encouraged to initiate breastfeeding early and feed frequently."

Medical experts agree with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in recommending exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for the first year of life and beyond.

USBC Chair Joan Younger Meek, MD, MS, RD, FAAP, FABM, IBCLC, affirms the importance of breastfeeding in emergency situations: "Research clearly shows that breastfeeding provides a safe, reliable food source, full of disease-fighting cells and antibodies that help protect infants from germs and illnesses.

Mothers exposed to influenza produce specific protection for their infants and transmit this through their breast milk. Infant formula does not provide these specific infection fighting properties. Unnecessary formula supplementation should be eliminated so the infant can receive as much benefit as possible from maternal protective antibodies and other immune protective factors.

"Women can continue to breastfeed while receiving antiviral medications. CDC guidance recommends that if a woman is ill, she should continue breastfeeding and increase feeding frequency. If the mother or infant is too ill to breastfeed directly at the breast, the mother should be encouraged to pump and feed her breast milk to her infant.

In certain situations, infants may be able to use donor human milk from a milk bank certified by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. The CDC reports that although the risk of H1N1 (swine) flu transmission through breast milk is unknown, reports of seasonal flu being transmitted through breast milk are rare. In addition, by the time a mother begins showing symptoms of the flu, her infant has already been exposed. The mother's milk can provide additional protection for the infant from complications of the flu, such as severe respiratory symptoms, diarrhea, other gastrointestinal infections, and dehydration.

In addition to continued breastfeeding, parents and caretakers can help protect their infant from the spread of germs when they:

Wash adults' and infants' hands frequently with soap and water, especially after infants place their hands in their mouths.

Keep infants and mothers as close together as possible and encourage early and frequent skin-to-skin contact between mothers and their infants.

Limit sharing of toys and other items that have been in infants' mouths, and wash thoroughly with soap and water any items that have been in infants' mouths.

Keep pacifiers (including the pacifier ring/handle) and other items out of adults' or other infants' mouths before giving them to the infant.

Cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.

For more information about H1N1 (swine) flu, visit the CDC's H1N1 Flu Web site.
For more information about breastfeeding, visit The National Women's Health Information Center.
Physicians and other health care providers can offer assistance and answer questions about breastfeeding, and knowledgeable breastfeeding support personnel can be located through the International Lactation Consultant Association, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program, and La Leche League International. The USBC is an organization of organizations. Opinions expressed by USBC are not necessarily the position of all member organizations and opinions expressed by USBC member organization representatives are not necessarily the position of USBC. United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC)The United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) is an independent nonprofit coalition of 41 nationally influential professional, educational, and governmental organizations. Representing over half a million concerned professionals and the families they serve, USBC and its member organizations share a common mission to improve the Nation's health by working collaboratively to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.

For more information about USBC, visit www.usbreastfeeding.org.www.HealthNewsDigest.com © Copyright by HealthNewsDigest.com -->