Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gone too Far

Those who think that society has “gone too far” in supporting breastfeeding, that mothers who formula feed are demonised and breastfeeding mothers aren’t:

Show me the women who are losing their jobs for formula feeding.

Show me the women who are being kicked out of restaurants, swimming pools, gyms, childcare centres, and airplanes for formula feeding.

Show me the immigrant women whose babies are removed because, among other things, they planned to formula feed.

Show me the women who have been ordered to cease or interrupt formula feeding by family courts.

Show me the women who have been inappropriately ordered to stop formula feeding by doctors and child health care nurses because of concerns that the formula feeding is causing the baby to be too big, too small, too loud, too anything. Show me the Child Protection reports that ensue when mothers are sceptical and non-compliant with this uninformed “advice”.

Show me the people who, on seeing a bottle pulled out in a public place, will wrinkle their nose and say in disgust, “Are you going to do that here?”

Show me the people who won’t allow infant formula in an office fridge because it could be carrying disease.

Show me the people who insist that bottles of infant formula should be covered with a brown paper bag so as not to gross bystanders out.

Show me the people who insist that all bottle feeding should be covered with a blanket, you filthy sluts.

Show me the people who say that women who choose to bottle feed should just stay home until their child is drinking from a cup. They made their bed, so they should lie in it.

Show me the people who say that formula feeding shouldn’t be allowed in public because they don’t have time to explain such adult concepts to their children.

Show me the people who won’t allow formula feeding in an area because the area is designated “family friendly”.

Show me the women who have had a gun pointed at them for not stopping a bottle feed in a public building in which they’re entitled to bottle feed.

Show me the women who have been accused of formula feeding because they’re paedophiles.

Show me the mainstream media forums in which it’s just fine to call women “filthy”, “perverted”, “gross”, and “cow-like” because they formula feed.

Show me the women who have been followed back to their workplace and questioned by police for preparing a bottle of formula in a parenting room designated for that purpose.

Show me the shocked gasps and silences when a woman has a glass of wine, a second latte, or a painkiller while bottle feeding.

Show me the documentaries on “Extreme Formula Feeding”, followed by an outpouring of public outrage about how those kids will be psychologically and sexually fucked up for life.

Show me the explosion in unethical corporate advertising lies promoting non-formula-feeding on an unprecented scale. Show me the massive outpourings of free corporate-supplied breastfeeding support to developing countries and disaster zones. Show me the tens of millions of dollars donated by individuals and companies to urgently get breastfeeding support to women and children in need. Show me the giant hollow breasts used as money collection devices for children in need.

Show me the daycare centres who charge fifty dollars more per week for formula fed babies.

Show me all these things, and then we’ll talk.

This article was written by lauredhel
Lauredhel is a forty-something woman with a disability. She lives in her Western Australian family home where books, Lego, and soapmaking gear constantly compete for space. She blogs about feminism, reproductive justice, freedom from violence, the use and misuse of language, medical science, being disabled, her vegetable garden, and whatever else pops into her head. Lauredhel also blogs at FWD/Forward (feminists with disabilities), scribbles at her personal dreamwidth journal Selective and Arbitrary, and co-moderates Hollaback Australia. She joined Hoyden About Town in 2007.

lauredhel has written 1257 posts for Hoyden About Town. If you liked this post, you might like to subscribe to the feed via RSS or EMAIL to get instantly updated for more posts like this.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

Facebook is still removing breastfeeding photos

I received two simultaneous emails today, stating that one of my breastfeeding pictures has been reported as obscene. Again. And the picture was removed. Again.


You uploaded a photo that violates our Terms of Use, and this photo has been removed. Facebook does not allow photos that attack an individual or group, or that contain nudity, drug use, violence, or other violations of the Terms of Use. These policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children who use the site.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit our FAQ page at

The Facebook Team



Our systems indicate that you've been misusing certain features on the site. This email serves as a warning. Misuse of Facebook's features or violating Facebook's terms of use may result in your account being disabled. Thanks in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

Please refer to for further information.

The Facebook Team

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Things to Do With Your Extra Breastmilk

Recipes, Remedies and Cures
Most mothers who pump milk for their babies keep extra in the freezer just in case of emergency. Breastmilk does not stay good in the freezer forever, however. What do you do with the breastmilk that you do not use? It would be a shame for it to go to waste. Here are some tips and tricks from other mothers on what you can do with your frozen breastmilk leftovers.

Freeze breastmilk in ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop out the breastmilk cubes and store them in a zip-top freezer bag. You can go back to your stash from time to time when you need some and take only one cube of breastmilk at a time rather than heat up an entire bag of milk for one small application.

To treat an insect sting, take a frozen cube of breastmilk and apply it to the sting area. Hold it there until melted.

Breastmilk cures pinkeye (conjunctivitis). Just express a little breastmilk or thaw one of your cubes and rinse your eye with it several times a day.

If your baby is teething, wrap a cube or two of frozen breastmilk in a thin washcloth and secure it tightly with a heavy rubber band. Let baby chew and suck on the cube. It will taste good as it melts and the cold will make baby's gums feel better.

To treat diaper rash or yeast infections, give baby (or yourself) a bath in warm water mixed with lots of breastmilk. The milk is soothing to the skin and will also help to kill the infection. Milk baths will also soften your skin.

Breastmilk can be used to treat acne and soften your skin. Apply to skin in the evenings before bed or mix into a facial mask and apply. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes before rinsing.

Breastmilk can cure an ear infection. Melt one of your frozen cubes and use a medicine dropper to gently squirt it into the ear canal several times a day.

Breastmilk makes a great ingredient for toddlers' popsicles. When you freeze your own popsicles at home, add breastmilk to the recipe instead of water. You can also freeze plain milk popsicles.

Breastmilk can cure all types of infection. Use it to treat cuts, bruises, scrapes, and minor infections. You can apply breastmilk to your baby's cord stump or to a circumcision wound. Breastmilk can also be used on burns and to soothe chicken pox itch.

Breastmilk makes great soap. If you are crafty or if you like soapmaking, use your extra expressed breastmilk to create a soothing soap for your family.

Check your local hospitals to see if they accept donated breastmilk. You will need to fill out some paperwork and your breastmilk will have to still be good. You cannot donate old milk. Many mothers are in need of breastmilk, especially if they have a premature baby and their breastmilk has not yet come in.

If no hospitals in your area accept donated breastmilk, you may still be able to find someone to take it. Poorer mothers may wish to feed their babies breastmilk instead of formula. Check or ask if you can post a notice at the hospital letting other mothers know that you have breastmilk that you are willing to donate for free.

Friday, June 19, 2009

What They Won't Tell You About Baby Formula

The human species has been breastfeeding for nearly half a million years. It’s only in the last 60 years that we have begun to give babies the highly processed convenience food called ‘formula’. The health consequences include five times the risk of gastroenteritis, twice the risk of developing diabetes and up to eight times the risk of developing lymphatic cancer – which are staggering. With UK formula manufacturers spending around £20 (approx $50AUD) per baby promoting artificial milk compared to the paltry 14 pence (approx 35cAUD) per baby the government spends promoting breastfeeding, can we ever hope to reverse the trend?

All mammals produce milk for their young, and the human species has been nurturing its babies at the breast for at least 400,000 years. For centuries, when a woman could not feed her baby herself, another lactating woman, or ‘wet nurse’, took over the job. It is only in the last 60 years or so that we have largely abandoned our mammalian instincts and, instead, embraced a bottlefeeding culture that not only encourages mothers to give their babies highly processed infant formulas from birth, but also to believe that these breastmilk substitutes are as good as, if not better than, the real thing.

Infant formulas were never intended to be consumed on the widespread basis that they are today. They were conceived in the late 1800’s as a means of providing necessary sustenance for foundlings and orphans who would otherwise have starved. In this narrow context – where no other food was available – formula was a lifesaver.

However, as time went on, and the subject of human nutrition in general – and infant nutrition, in particular – became more ‘scientific’, manufactured breastmilk substitutes were sold to the general public as a technological improvement on breastmilk.

“If anybody were to ask ‘which formula should I use?’ or ‘which is nearest to mother’s milk?’, the answer would be ‘nobody knows’ because there is not one single objective source of that kind of information provided by anybody,” says Mary Smale, a breastfeeding counsellor with the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) for 28 years. “Only the manufacturers know what’s in their stuff, and they aren’t telling. They may advertise special ‘healthy’ ingredients like oligosaccharides, long-chain fatty acids or, a while ago, beta-carotene, but they never actually tell you what the basic product is made from or where the ingredients come from.”

The known constituents of breastmilk were and are used as a general reference for scientists devising infant formulas. But, to this day, there is no actual ‘formula’ for formula. In fact, the process of producing infant formulas has, since its earliest days, been one of trial and error.

Within reason, manufacturers can put anything they like into formula. In fact, the recipe for one product can vary from batch to batch, according to the price and availability of ingredients. While we assume that formula is heavily regulated, no transparency is required of manufacturers: they do not, for example, have to log the specific constituents of any batch or brand with any authority.

Most commercial formulas are based on cow’s milk. But before a baby can drink cow’s milk in the form of infant formula, it needs to be severely modified. The protein and mineral content must be reduced and the carbohydrate content increased, usually by adding sugar. Milk fat, which is not easily absorbed by the human body, particularly one with an immature digestive system, is removed and substituted with vegetable, animal or mineral fats.

Vitamins and trace elements are added, but not always in their most easily digestible form. (This means that the claims that formula is ‘nutritionally complete’ are true, but only in the crudest sense of having had added the full complement of vitamins and minerals to a nutritionally inferior product.)

Many formulas are also highly sweetened. While most infant formulas do not contain sugar in the form of sucrose, they can contain high levels of other types of sugar such as lactose (milk sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), glucose (also known as dextrose, a simple sugar found in plants) and maltodextrose (malt sugar). Because of a loophole in the law, these can still be advertised as ‘sucrose free’. Formula may also contain unintentional contaminants introduced during the manufacturing process. Some may contain traces of genetically engineered soya and corn.

The bacteria Salmonella and aflatoxins – potent toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, immunosuppressive agents produced by species of the fungus Aspergillus – have regularly been detected in commercial formulas, as has Enterobacter sakazakii, a devastating foodborne pathogen that can cause sepsis (overwhelming bacterial infection in the bloodstream), meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain) and necrotising enterocolitis (severe infection and inflammation of the small intestine and colon) in newborn infants.

Soya formulas are of particular concern due to the very high levels of plant-derived oestrogens (phytoestrogens) they contain. In fact, concentrations of phytoestrogens detected in the blood of infants receiving soya formula can be 13,000 to 22,000 times greater than the concentrations of natural oestrogens. Oestrogen in doses above those normally found in the body can cause cancer.

Putting Healthy Babies At Risk?

For years, it was believed that the risks of illness and death from bottlefeeding were largely confined to children in developing countries, where the clean water necessary to make up formula is sometimes scarce and where poverty-stricken mothers may feel obliged to dilute formula to make it stretch further, thus risking waterborne illnesses such as diarrhoea and cholera as well as malnutrition in their babies. But newer data from the West clearly show that babies in otherwise affluent societies are also falling ill and dying due to an early diet of infant convenience food.

Because it is not nutritionally complete, because it does not contain the immune-boosting properties of breastmilk and because it is being consumed by growing babies with vast, ever-changing nutritional needs – and not meeting those needs – the health effects of sucking down formula day after day early in life can be devastating in both the short and long term.


Breastmilk is a ‘live’ food that contains living cells, hormones, active enzymes, antibodies and at least 400 other unique components. It is a dynamic substance, the composition of which changes from the beginning to the end of the feed and according to the age and needs of the baby. Because it also provides active immunity, every time a baby breastfeeds it also receives protection from disease. Compared to this miraculous substance, the artificial milk sold as infant formula is little more than junk food. It is also the only manufactured food that humans are encouraged to consume exclusively for a period of months, even though we know that no human body can be expected to stay healthy and thrive on a steady diet of processed food.


Rich in brain-building omega-3s, namely, DHA and AA.
Automatically adjusts to infant’s needs; levels decline as baby gets older.
Rich in cholesterol; nearly completely absorbed.
Contains the fat-digesting enzyme lipase


Doesn’t adjust to infant’s needs
No cholesterol
Not completely absorbed
No lipase


The most important nutrient in breastmilk; the absence of cholesterol and DHA may predispose a child to adult heart and CNS diseases. Leftover, unabsorbed fat accounts for unpleasant smelling stools in formula-fed babies.


Soft, easily digestible whey
More completely absorbed; higher in the milk of mothers who deliver preterm
Lactoferrin for intestinal health
Lysozyme, an antimicrobial
Rich in brain and bodybuilding protein components
Rich in growth factors
Contains sleep-inducing proteins


Harder-to-digest casein curds
Not completely absorbed, so more waste, harder on kidneys
Little or no lactoferrin
No lysozyme
Deficient or low in some brain and body-building proteins
Deficient in growth factors
Contains fewer sleep-inducing proteins


Infants aren’t allergic to human milk proteins


Rich in oligosaccharides, which promote intestinal health


No lactose in some formulas
Deficient in oligosaccharides


Lactose is important for brain development.


Millions of living white blood cells, in every feeding
Rich in immunoglobulins


No live white blood cells or any other cells.
Has no immune benefit


Breastfeeding provides active and dynamic protection from infections of all kinds Breastmilk can be used to alleviate a range of external health problems such as nappy rash and conjunctivitis.


Better absorbed
Iron is 50-75% absorbed
Contains more selenium (an antioxidant)


Not absorbed as well
Iron is 5-10% absorbed
Contains less selenium (an antioxidant)


Nutrients in formula are poorly absorbed. To compensate, more nutrients are added to formula, making it harder to digest.


Rich in digestive enzymes such as lipase and amylase.
Rich in many hormones such as thyroid, prolactin and oxytocin. Taste varies with mother’s diet, thus helping the child acclimatise to the cultural diet


Processing kills digestive enzymes
Processing kills hormones, which are not human to begin with
Always tastes the same


Digestive enzymes promote intestinal health; hormones contribute to the biochemical balance and wellbeing of the baby.


Around £350/year (approx $875AUD) in extra food for mother IF she was on a very poor diet to begin with


Around £650/ year (approx $1620AUD)
Up to £1300/year for hypoallergenic formulas. (approx $3240AUD)
Cost for bottles and other supplies.


In the UK, the NHS spends £35 million each year (over $87m AUD) just treating gastroenteritis in bottlefed babies. In the US, insurance companies pay out $3.6 billion for treating diseases in bottlefed babies.

Side Effects To Bottle Feeding

Bottlefed babies are twice as likely to die from any cause in the first six weeks of life. In particular, bottlefeeding raises the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) by two to five times. Click here to read an article by Dr. Sears as to the link between breastfeeding and lower SIDS rates. Bottlefed babies are also at a significantly higher risk of ending up in hospital with a range of infections. They are, for instance, five times more likely to be admitted to hospital suffering from gastroenteritis.

Even in developed countries, bottlefed babies have rates of diarrhoea twice as high as breastfed ones. They are twice as likely (20% vs 10%) to suffer from otitis media (inner-ear infection), twice as likely to develop eczema or a wheeze if there is a family history of atopic disease, and five times more likely to develop urinary tract infections. In the first six months of life, bottlefed babies are six to 10 times more likely to develop necrotising enterocolitis – a serious infection of the intestine, with intestinal tissue death – a figure that increases to 30 times the risk after that time.

Even more serious diseases are also linked with bottlefeeding. Compared with infants who are fully breastfed even for only three to four months, a baby drinking artificial milk is twice as likely to develop juvenile-onset insulin-dependent (type 1) diabetes. There is also a five- to eightfold risk of developing lymphomas in children under 15 who were formulafed, or breastfed for less than six months.

In later life, studies have shown that bottlefed babies have a greater tendency towards developing conditions such as childhood inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, dental malocclusion, coronary heart disease, diabetes, hyperactivity, autoimmune thyroid disease and coeliac disease.

For all of these reasons, formula cannot be considered even ‘second best’ compared with breastmilk. Officially, the World Health Organization (WHO) designates formula milk as the last choice in infant-feeding: Its first choice is breastmilk from the mother; second choice is the mother’s own milk given via cup or bottle; third choice is breastmilk from a milk bank or wet nurse and, finally, in fourth place, formula milk.

And yet, breastfed babies are becoming an endangered species. In the UK, rates are catastrophically low and have been that way for decades. Current figures suggest that only 62% of women in Britain even attempt to breastfeed (usually while in hospital). At six weeks, just 42% are breastfeeding. By four months, only 29% are still breastfeeding and, by six months, this figure drops to 22%.

These figures could come from almost any developed country in the world and, it should be noted, do not necessarily reflect the ideal of ‘exclusive’ breastfeeding. Instead, many modern mothers practice mixed feeding – combining breastfeeding with artificial baby milks and infant foods. Worldwide, the WHO estimates that only 35% of infants are getting any breastmilk at all by age four months and, although no one can say for sure because research into exclusive breastfeeding is both scarce and incomplete, it is estimated that only 1% are exclusively breastfed at six months.

Younger women in particular are the least likely to breastfeed, with over 40% of mothers under 24 never even trying. The biggest gap, however, is a socio-economic one. Women who live in low-income households or who are poorly educated are many times less likely to breastfeed, even though it can make an enormous difference to a child’s health.

In children from socially disadvantaged families, exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life can go a long way towards cancelling out the health inequalities between being born into poverty and being born into affluence. In essence, breastfeeding takes the infant out of poverty for those first crucial months and gives it a decent start in life.

So Why Aren’t Women Breastfeeding?

Before bottles became the norm, breastfeeding was an activity of daily living based on mimicry, and learning within the family and community. Women became their own experts through the trial and error of the experience itself. But today, what should come more or less naturally has become extraordinarily complicated – the focus of global marketing strategies and politics, lawmaking, lobbying support groups, activists and the interference of a well-intentioned, but occasionally ineffective, cult of experts.

According to Mary Smale, it’s confidence and the expectation of support that make the difference, particularly for socially disadvantaged women. “The concept of ‘self efficacy’ – in other words, whether you think you can do something – is quite important. You can say to a woman that breastfeeding is really a good idea, but she’s got to believe various things in order for it to work. First of all, she has to think it’s a good idea – that it will be good for her and her baby. Second, she has to think: ‘I’m the sort of person who can do that’; third – and maybe the most important thing – is the belief that if she does have problems, she’s the sort of person who, with help, will be able to sort them out.

Studies show, for example, that women on low incomes often believe that breastfeeding hurts, and they also tend to believe that formula is just as good. So from the start, the motivation to breastfeed simply isn’t there. But really, it’s the thought that if there were any problems, you couldn’t do anything about them; that, for instance, if it hurts, it’s just the luck of the draw. This mindset is very different from that of a middleclass mother who is used to asking for help to solve things, who isn’t frightened of picking up the phone, or saying to her midwife or health visitor, ‘I want you to help me with this’.”

Nearly all women – around 99% – can breastfeed successfully and make enough milk for their babies to not simply grow, but to thrive. With encouragement, support and help, almost all women are willing to initiate breastfeeding, but the drop-off rates are alarming: 90% of women who give up in the first six weeks say that they would like to have continued. And it seems likely that long-term exclusive breastfeeding rates could be improved if consistent support were available, and if approval within the family and the wider community for breastfeeding, both at home and in public, were more obvious and widespread.

Clearly, this social support isn’t there, and the bigger picture of breastfeeding vs bottlefeeding suggests that there is, in addition, a confluence of complex factors – medical, socioeconomic, cultural and political – that regularly undermine women’s confidence, while reinforcing the notion that feeding their children artificially is about lifestyle rather than health, and that the modern woman’s body is simply not up to the task of producing enough milk for its offspring.

“Breastfeeding is a natural negotiation between mother and baby and you interfere with it at your peril,” says Professor Mary Renfrew, Director of the Mother and Infant Research Unit, University of York. “But, in the early years of the last century, people were very busy interfering with it. In terms of the ecology of breastfeeding, what you have is a natural habitat that has been disturbed. But it’s not just the presence of one big predator – the invention of artificial milk – that is important. It is the fact that the habitat was already weakened by other forces that made it so vulnerable to disaster.

If you look at medical textbooks from the early part of the 20th century, you’ll find many quotes about making breastfeeding scientific and exact, and it’s out of these that you can see things beginning to fall apart.” This falling apart, says Renfrew, is largely due to the fear and mistrust that science had of the natural process of breastfeeding. In particular, the fact that a mother can put a baby on the breast and do something else while breastfeeding, and have the baby naturally come off the breast when it’s had enough, was seen as disorderly and inexact. The medical/ scientific model replaced this natural situation with precise measurements – for instance, how many millilitres of milk a baby should ideally have at each sitting – which skewed the natural balance between mother and baby, and established bottlefeeding as a biological norm.

Breastfeeding rates also began to decline as a consequence of women’s changed circumstances after World War I, as more women left their children behind to go into the workplace as a consequence of women’s emancipation – and the loss of men in the ‘killing fields’ – and to an even larger extent with the advent of World War II, when even more women entered into employment outside of the home.

“There was also the first wave of feminism,” says Renfrew, “which stamped into everyone’s consciousness in the 60s, and encouraged women get away from their babies and start living their lives. So the one thing that might have helped – women supporting each other – actually created a situation where even the intellectual, engaged, consciously aware women who might have questioned this got lost for a while. As a consequence, we ended up with a widespread and declining confidence in breastfeeding, a declining understanding of its importance and a declining ability of health professionals to support it. And, of course, all this ran along the same timeline as the technological development of artificial milk and the free availability of formula.”

Medicalised Birth and It’s Role

Before World War II, pregnancy and birth – and, by extension, breastfeeding – were part of the continuum of normal life. Women gave birth at home with the assistance and support of trained midwives, who were themselves part of the community, and afterwards they breastfed with the encouragement of family and friends.

Taking birth out of the community and relocating it into hospitals gave rise to the medicalisation of women’s reproductive lives. Life events were transformed into medical problems, and traditional knowledge was replaced with scientific and technological solutions. This medicalisation resulted in a cascade of interventions that deeply undermined women’s confidence in their abilities to conceive and grow a healthy baby, give birth to it and then feed it. The cascade falls something like this: Hospitals are institutions; they are impersonal and, of necessity, must run on schedules and routines. For a hospital to run smoothly, patients must ideally be sedate and immobile. For the woman giving birth, this meant lying on her back in a bed, an unnatural position that made labour slow, unproductive and very much more painful.

To ‘fix’ these iatrogenically dysfunctional labours, doctors developed a range of drugs (usually synthetic hormones such as prostaglandins or syntocinon), technologies (such as forceps and vacuum extraction) and procedures (such as episiotomies) to speed the process up. Speeding up labour artificially made it even more painful and this, in turn, led to the development of an array of pain-relieving drugs. Many of these were so powerful that the mother was often unconscious or deeply sedated at the moment of delivery and, thus, unable to offer her breast to her newborn infant. All pain-relieving drugs cross the placenta, so even if the mother were conscious, her baby may not have been, or may have been so heavily drugged that its natural rooting instincts (which help it find the nipple) and muscle coordination (necessary to latch properly onto the breast) were severely impaired.

While both mother and baby were recovering from the ordeal of a medicalised birth, they were, until the 1970s and 1980s, routinely separated. Often, the baby wasn’t ‘allowed’ to breastfeed until it had a bottle first, in case there was something wrong with its gastrointestinal tract. Breastfeeding, when it took place at all, took place according to strict schedules. These feeding schedules – usually on a three – or four-hourly basis – were totally unnatural for human newborns, who need to feed 12 or more times in any 24-hour period. Babies who were inevitably hungry between feeds were routinely given supplements of water and/or formula.

“There was lots of topping up,” says Professor Renfrew. The way this ‘scientific’ breastfeeding happened in hospital was that the baby would be given two minutes on each breast on day one, then four minutes on each breast on day two, seven minutes on each on day three, and so on. This created enormous anxiety since the mother would then be watching the clock instead of the baby. The babies would then get topped-up after every feed, then topped-up again throughout the night rather than brought to their mothers to feed. So you had a situation where the babies were crying in the nursery, and the mothers were crying in the postnatal ward. That’s what we called ‘normal’ all throughout the 60s and 70s.”

Breastmilk is produced on a supply-and-demand basis, and these topping-up routines, which assuaged infant hunger and lessened demand, also reduced the mother’s milk supply. As a result, women at the mercy of institutionalised birth experienced breastfeeding as a frustrating struggle that was often painful and just as often unsuccessful. When, under these impossible circumstances, breastfeeding ‘failed’, formula was offered as a ‘nutritionally complete solution’ that was also more ‘modern’, ‘cleaner’ and more ‘socially acceptable’.

At least two generations of women have been subjected to these kinds of damaging routines and, as a result, many of today’s mothers find the concept of breastfeeding strange and unfamiliar, and very often framed as something that can and frequently does not ‘take’, something they might ‘have a go’ at but, equally, something that they shouldn’t feel too badly about if it doesn’t work out.

Professional Failures

The same young doctors, nurses and midwives who were pioneering this medical model of reproduction are now running today’s health services. So, perhaps not surprisingly, modern hospitals are, at heart, little different from their predecessors. They may have TVs and CD players, and prettier wallpaper, and the drugs may be more sophisticated, but the basic goals and principles of medicalised birth have changed very little in the last 40 years – and the effect on breastfeeding is still as devastating.

In many cases, the healthcare providers’ views on infant-feeding are based on their own, highly personal experiences. Surveys show, for instance, that the most important factor influencing the effectiveness and accuracy of a doctor’s breastfeeding advice is whether the doctor herself, or the doctor’s wife, had breastfed her children. Likewise, a midwife, nurse or health visitor who formula-fed her own children is unlikely to be an effective advocate for breastfeeding.

More worrying, these professionals can end up perpetuating damaging myths about breastfeeding that facilitate its failure. In some hospitals, women are still advised to limit the amount of time, at first, that a baby sucks on each breast, to ‘toughen up’ their nipples. Or they are told their babies get all the milk they ‘need’ in the first 10 minutes and sucking after this time is unnecessary. Some are still told to stick to four-hour feeding schedules. Figures from the UK’s Office of National Statistics show that we are still topping babies up. In 2002, nearly 30% of babies in UK hospitals were given supplemental bottles by hospital staff, and nearly 20% of all babies were separated from their mothers at some point while in hospital.

Continued inappropriate advice from medical professionals is one reason why, in 1991, UNICEF started the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) – a certification system for hospitals meeting certain criteria known to promote successful breastfeeding. These criteria include:

training all healthcare staff on how to facilitate breastfeeding;
helping mothers start breastfeeding within one hour of birth;
giving newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated; and
the hospital not accepting free or heavily discounted formula and supplies.
In principle, it is an important step in the promotion of breastfeeding, and studies show that women who give birth in Baby Friendly hospitals do breastfeed for longer. In Scotland, for example, where around 50% of hospitals are rated Baby Friendly, breastfeeding initiation rates have increased dramatically in recent years. In Cuba, where 49 of the country’s 56 hospitals and maternity facilities are Baby Friendly, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding at four months almost tripled in six years – from 25% in 1990 to 72% in 1996. Similar increases have been found in Bangladesh, Brazil and China.

Unfortunately, interest in obtaining BFHI status is not universal. In the UK, only 43 hospitals (representing just 16% of all UK hospitals) have achieved full accreditation – and none are in London. Out of the approximately 16,000 hospitals worldwide that have qualified for the Baby Friendly designation, only 32 are in the US. What’s more, while Baby Friendly hospitals achieve a high initiation rate, they cannot guarantee continuation of breastfeeding once the woman is back in the community. Even among women who give birth in Baby Friendly hospitals, the number who exclusively breastfeed for six months is unacceptably low.

The Influence of Advertising

Baby Friendly hospitals face a daunting task in combating the laissez-faire and general ignorance of health professionals, mothers and the public at large. They are also fighting a difficult battle with an acquiescent media which, through politically correct editorialising aimed at assuaging mothers’ guilt if they bottle-feed and, more influentially, through advertising, has helped redefine formula as an acceptable choice.

Although there are now stricter limitations on the advertising of infant formula, for years, manufacturers were able, through advertising and promotion, to define the issue of infant-feeding in both the scientific world (for instance, by providing doctors with growth charts that established the growth patterns of bottle-fed babies as the norm) and in its wider social context, reframing perceptions of what is appropriate and what is not.

As a result, in the absence of communities of women talking to each other about pregnancy, birthing and mothering, women’s choices today are more directly influenced by commercial leaflets, booklets and advertising than almost anything else.

Baby-milk manufacturers spend countless millions devising marketing strategies that keep their products at the forefront of public consciousness. In the UK, formula companies spend at least £12 million per year on booklets, leaflets and other promotions, often in the guise of ‘educational materials’. This works out at approximately £20 per baby born. In contrast, the UK government spends about 14 pence per newborn each year to promote breastfeeding.

It’s a pattern of inequity that is repeated throughout the world – and not just in the arena of infant-feeding. The food-industry’s global advertising budget is $40 billion, a figure greater than the gross domestic product (GDP) of 70% of the world’s nations. For every $1 spent by the WHO on preventing the diseases caused by Western diets, more than $500 is spent by the food industry to promote such diets.

Since they can no longer advertise infant formulas directly to women (for instance, in mother and baby magazines or through direct leafleting), or hand out free samples in hospitals or clinics, manufacturers have started to exploit other outlets, such as mother and baby clubs, and Internet sites that purport to help busy mothers get all the information they need about infant-feeding. They also occasionally rely on subterfuge. Manufacturers are allowed to advertise follow-on milks, suitable for babies over six months, to parents. But, sometimes, these ads feature a picture of a much younger baby, implying the product’s suitability for infants.

The impact of these types of promotions should not be underestimated. A 2005 NCT/UNICEF study in the UK determined that one third of British mothers who admitted to seeing formula advertisements in the previous six months believed that infant formula was as good or better than breastmilk. This revelation is all the more surprising since advertising of infant formula to mothers has been banned for many years in several countries, including the UK.

To get around restrictions that prevent direct advertising to parents, manufacturers use a number of psychological strategies that focus on the natural worries that new parents have about the health of their babies. Many of today’s formulas, for instance, are conceived and sold as solutions to the ‘medical’ problems of infants such as lactose intolerance, incomplete digestion and being ‘too hungry’ – even though many of these problems can be caused by inappropriately giving cow’s milk formula in the first place.

The socioeconomic divide among breastfeeding mothers is also exploited by formula manufacturers, as targeting low income women (with advertising as well as through welfare schemes) has proven very profitable.

When presented with the opportunity to provide their children with the best that science has to offer, many low income mothers are naturally tempted by formula. This is especially true if they receive free samples, as is still the case in many developing countries.

But the supply-and-demand nature of breastmilk is such that, once a mother accepts these free samples and starts her baby on formula, her own milk supply will quickly dry up. Sadly, after these mothers run out of formula samples and money-off coupons, they will find themselves unable to produce breastmilk and have no option but to spend large sums of money on continuing to feed their child with formula.

Even when manufacturers ‘promote’ breastfeeding, they plant what Mary Smale calls ‘seeds of conditionality’ that can lead to failure. “Several years ago, manufacturers used to produce these amazing leaflets for women, encouraging women to breastfeed and reassuring them that they only need a few extra calories a day. You couldn’t fault them on the words, but the pictures which were of things like Marks & Spencer yoghurt and whole fish with their heads on, and wholemeal bread – but not the sort of wholemeal bread that you buy in the corner shop, the sort of wholemeal bread you buy in specialist shops.

The underlying message was clear: a healthy pregnancy and a good supply of breastmilk are the preserve of the middle classes, and that any women who doesn’t belong to that group will have to rely on other resources to provide for her baby.

A quick skim through any pregnancy magazine or the ‘Bounty’™ pack – the glossy information booklet with free product samples given to new mothers in the UK – shows that these subtle visual messages, which include luxurious photos of whole grains and pulses, artistically arranged bowls of muesli, artisan loaves of bread and wedges of deli-style cheeses, exotic mangoes, grapes and kiwis, and fresh vegetables artistically arranged, are still prevalent.

Funding Research

Manufacturers also ply their influence through contact with health professionals (to whom they can provide free samples for research and ‘educational purposes’) as middlemen. Free gifts, educational trips to exotic locations and funding for research are just some of the ways in which the medical profession becomes ‘educated’ about the benefits of formula.

According to Patti Rundall, OBE, policy director for the UK’s Baby Milk Action group, which has been lobbying for responsible marketing of baby food for over 20 years, “Throughout the last two decades, the baby-feeding companies have tried to establish a strong role for themselves with the medical profession, knowing that health and education services represent a key marketing opportunity. Companies are, for instance, keen to fund the infant-feeding research on which health policies are based, and to pay for midwives, teachers, education materials and community projects.”

They are also keen to fund ‘critical’ NGOs – that is, lay groups whose mandate is to inform and support women. But this sort of funding is not allowed by the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (see below) because it prejudices the ability of these organisations to provide mothers with independent information about infant feeding. Nevertheless, such practices remain prevalent – if somewhat more discreet than in the past – and continue to weaken health professionals’ advocacy for breastfeeding.

Fighting Back

When it became clear that declining breastfeeding rates were affecting infant health and that the advertising of infant formula had a direct effect on a woman’s decision not to breastfeed, the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes was drafted and eventually adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 1981. The vote was near-unanimous, with 118 member nations voting in favour, three abstaining and one – the US – voting against. (In 1994, after years of opposition, the US eventually joined every other developed nation in the world as a signatory to the Code.)

The Code is a unique instrument that promotes safe and adequate nutrition for infants on a global scale by trying to protect breastfeeding and ensuring the appropriate marketing of breastmilk substitutes. It applies to all products marketed as partial or total replacements for breastmilk, including infant formula, follow-on formula, special formulas, cereals, juices, vegetable mixes and baby teas, and also applies to feeding bottles and teats. In addition, it maintains that no infant food may be marketed in ways that undermine breastfeeding. Specifically, the Code:

Bans all advertising or promotion of these products to the general public
Bans samples and gifts to mothers and health workers
Requires information materials to advocate for breastfeeding, to warn against bottlefeeding and to not contain pictures of babies or text that idealises the use of breastmilk substitutes
Bans the use of the healthcare system to promote breastmilk substitutes
Bans free or low-cost supplies of breastmilk substitutes
Allows health professionals to receive samples, but only for research purposes
Demands that product information be factual and scientific
Bans sales incentives for breastmilk substitutes and direct contact with mothers
Requires that labels inform fully on the correct use of infant formula and the risks of misuse
Requires labels not to discourage breastfeeding.
This document probably couldn’t have been created today. Since the founding of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its ‘free trade’ ethos in 1995, the increasing sophistication of corporate power strategies and aggressive lobbying of health organisations has increased to the extent that the Code would have been binned long before it reached the voting stage.

However, in 1981, member states, corporations and NGOs were on a somewhat more equal footing. By preventing industry from advertising infant formula, giving out free samples, promoting their products in healthcare facilities or by way of mother-and-baby ‘goody bags’, and insisting on better labelling, the Code acts to regulate an industry that would otherwise be given a free hand to pedal an inferior food product to babies and infants.


Being a signatory to the Code does not mean that member countries are obliged to adopt its recommendations wholesale. Many countries, the UK included, have adopted only parts of it – for instance, the basic principle that breastfeeding is a good thing – while ignoring the nuts-and-bolts strategies that limit advertising and corporate contact with mothers. So, in the UK, infant formula for ‘healthy babies’ can be advertised to mothers through hospitals and clinics, though not via the media.

What’s more, formula manufacturers for their part continue to argue that the Code is too restrictive and that it stops them from fully exploiting their target markets. Indeed, Helmut Maucher, a powerful corporate lobbyist and honorary chairman of Nestle – the company that claims 40% of the global baby-food market – has gone on record as saying: “Ethical decisions that injure a firm’s ability to compete are actually immoral”.

And make no mistake, these markets are big. The UK baby milk market is worth £150 million per year and the US market around $2 billion. The worldwide market for baby milks and foods is a staggering $17 billion and growing by 12% each year. From formula manufacturers’ point of view, the more women breastfeed, the more profit is lost. It is estimated that, for every child exclusively breastfed for six months, an average of $450 worth of infant food will not be bought. On a global scale, that amounts to billions of dollars in lost profits.

What particularly worries manufacturers is that, if they accept the Code without a fight, it could set a dangerous precedent for other areas of international trade – for instance, the pharmaceutical, tobacco, food and agriculture industries, and oil companies. This is why the focus on infant-feeding has been diverted away from children’s health and instead become a symbolic struggle for a free market.

While most manufacturers publicly agree to adhere to the Code, privately, they deploy enormous resources in constructing ways to reinterpret or get round it. In this endeavour, Nestle has shown a defiance and tenacity that beggars belief.

In India, for example, Nestle lobbied against the Code being entered into law and when, after the law was passed, it faced criminal charges over its labelling, it issued a writ petition against the Indian government rather than accept the charges.

Years of aggressive actions like this, combined with unethical advertising and marketing practices, has led to an ongoing campaign to boycott the company’s products that stretches back to 1977.

The Achilles’ heel of the Code is that it does not provide for a monitoring office. This concept was in the original draft, but was removed from subsequent drafts. Instead, monitoring of the Code has been left to governments acting individually and collectively through the World Health Organization.

But, over the last 25 years, corporate accountability has slipped lower down on the UN agenda, far behind free trade, self-regulation and partnerships. Lack of government monitoring means that small and comparatively poorly funded groups like the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), which has 200 member groups working in over 100 countries, have taken on the job of monitoring Code violations almost by default. But while these watchdog groups can monitor and report Code violations to the health authorities, they cannot stop them. In 2004, IBFAN’s bi-annual report Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules, analysed the promotional practices of 16 international baby-food companies, and 14 bottle and teat companies, between January 2002 and April 2004. The researchers found some 2,000 violations of the Code in 69 countries.

On a global scale, reinterpreting the Code to suit marketing strategies is rife, and Nestle continues to be the leader of the pack. According to IBFAN, Nestle believes that only one of its products ‘infant formula’ comes within the scope of the Code. The company also denies the universality of the Code, insisting that it only applies to developing nations. Where Nestle, and the Infant Food Manufacturers Association that it dominates, leads, other companies have followed, and when companies like Nestle are caught breaking the Code, the strategy is simple, but effective – initiate complex and boring discussions with organizations at WHO or WHA level about how best to interpret the Code in the hopes that these will offset any bad publicity and divert attention from the harm caused by these continual infractions.

According to Patti Rundall, it’s important not to let such distractions divert attention from the bottom line: ‘There can be no food more locally produced, more sustainable or more environmentally friendly than a mother’s breastmilk, the only food required by an infant for the first six months of life. It is a naturally renewable resource, which requires no packaging or transport, results in no wastage and is free. Breastfeeding can also help reduce family poverty, which is a major cause of malnutrition.”

So perhaps we should be further simplifying the debate by asking: Are the companies who promote infant formula as the norm simply clever entrepreneurs doing their jobs or human-rights violators of the worst kind?

Not Good Enough

After more than two decades, it is clear that a half-hearted advocacy of breastfeeding benefits multinational formula manufacturers, not mothers and babies, and that the baby-food industry has no intention of complying with UN recommendations on infant-feeding or with the principles of the International Code for Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes – unless they are forced to do so by law or consumer pressure or, more effectively, both.

Women do not fail to breastfeed. Health professionals, health agencies and governments fail to educate and support women who want to breastfeed. Without support, many women will give up when they encounter even small difficulties. And yet, according to Mary Renfrew, ‘Giving up breastfeeding is not something that women do lightly. They don’t just stop breastfeeding and walk away from it. Many of them fight very hard to continue it and they fight with no support. These women are fighting society – a society that is not just bottle-friendly, but is deeply breastfeeding-unfriendly.”

To reverse this trend, governments all over the world must begin to take seriously the responsibility of ensuring the good health of future generations. To do this requires deep and profound social change. We must stop harassing mothers with simplistic ‘breast is best’ messages and put time, energy and money into re-educating health professionals and society at large.

We must also stop making compromises. Government health policies such as, say, in the UK and US, which aim for 75% of women to be breastfeeding on hospital discharge, are little more than paying lip service to the importance of breastfeeding. Most of these women will stop breastfeeding within a few weeks, and such policies benefit no one except the formula manufacturers, who will start making money the moment breastfeeding stops. To get all mothers breastfeeding, we must be prepared to:

Ban all advertising of formula including follow-on milks
Ban all free samples of formula, even those given for educational or study purposes
Require truthful and prominent health warnings on all tins and cartons of infant formula
Put substantial funding into promoting breastfeeding in every community, especially among the socially disadvantaged, with a view to achieving 100% exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life
Fund advertising and education campaigns that target fathers, mothers-in- law, schoolchildren, doctors, midwives and the general public
Give women who wish to breastfeed in public the necessary encouragement and approval
Make provisions for all women who are in employment to take at least six months paid leave after birth, without fear of losing their jobs.

Such strategies have already proven their worth elsewhere. In 1970, breastfeeding rates in Scandinavia were as low as those in Britain. Then, one by one, the Scandinavian countries banned all advertising of artificial formula milk, offered a year’s maternity leave with 80% of pay and, on the mother’s return to work, an hour’s breastfeeding break every day. Today, 98% of Scandinavian women initiate breastfeeding, and 94% are still breastfeeding at one month, 81% at two months, 69% at four months and 42% at six months.

These rates, albeit still not optimal, are nevertheless the highest in the world, and the result of a concerted, multifaceted approach to promoting breastfeeding. Given all that we know of the benefits of breastfeeding and the dangers of formula milk, it is simply not acceptable that we have allowed breastfeeding rates in the UK and elsewhere in the world to decline so disastrously.

For further breastfeeding advice or support, please seek the services of the Australian Breastfeeding Association or a private Lactation Consultant, ideally with an IBCLC qualification, which is the gold standard in Lactation training.
_There is an online discussion about this topic in the BellyBelly Forums, however please note that it has been posted in the Gentle Parenting section, titled ‘Infant Led Feeding & Weaning.’ If you do post in this section, please read the guidelines first, any abusive or innappropriate posts will be removed – it’s been placed in a section designed for those with an interest in infant-led options only. You can go to the discussion HERE

The Ecologist is the world’s most respected environmental affairs magazine. Each month we examine the connection between a wide range of subjects. Whether it’s food, war, politics, pharmaceuticals, farming, toxic chemicals, corporate fraud, mass media or supermarkets, the ecologist challenges conventional thinking and empowers readers to tackle global issues on a local scale. With thought-provoking, entertaining features by leading experts; topical debates and world-class photojournalism, the ecologist has helped set environmental and political agendas around the world. The ecologist is an indispensable guide for anyone re-thinking their basic assumptions about the world we live in.

Mom donates breastmilk to save father with cancer

Woman donates breast milk to her father in bid to help him beat cancer
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 12:50 PM on 12th June 2009

Comments (32) Add to My Stories

A daughter is giving her own breast milk to her father in the hope it will help him beat cancer.
Georgia Browne, 27, expresses her milk after feeding her own baby son - and delivers it from Bristol to her parents' home in Wiltshire.
Her father Tim Browne, 67, mixes the breast-milk with regular milk and uses it as part of his breakfast in a bid to boost his immune system in his fight against colon and liver cancer.
Milk of human kindness: Georgia Browne is giving her father Tim her breast milk to boost his immune system in the fight against cancer
Now, one month after starting to share the milk of human kindness with his grandson, scans show that Tim's cancer had improved.
Georgia, of Bristol, said: 'We are quite an open family and I don't find it strange at all.
'I'm just glad to help. My mum Carole and siblings are right behind it.
'In fact, the whole family thinks it's quite funny and Dad told all his friends.'
The family decided that breast is best after Georgia saw a TV documentary about the health benefits of breast milk.
She researched the idea on the internet before suggesting it to her ailing father.
Georgia said: 'I watched a show presented by Kate Garraway where an American man with prostate cancer drank breast milk from a milk bank.
'He mixed it with milkshake and swore that drinking it every day had reduced his tumours.
'I thought it was a really mad idea if it was true.
'Finding out I could help was amazing and when we talked about it, Dad agreed it was a worth a go.
'He would literally try anything to get better.'

'Not a big deal'
Tim was diagnosed with cancer in July 2007 after he was rushed to hospital with stomach pains just a week before Georgia's wedding.
He had an emergency operation to remove a tumour and was allowed out in time to walk his daughter down the aisle.
A year of chemotherapy put the disease in remission but it returned when Georgia was pregnant with her first child.
Tim Browne said he feels a special bond with daughter Georgia
Baby Monty was just a month old when Georgia saw the documentary and decided to try it for herself.
Georgia said: 'We are a very close family and we're quite eccentric so it wasn't a big deal.
'My sister is still breast feeding herself but she didn't have enough milk to feed him too.'
Mum-of-one Georgia expresses the milk and delivers it to her parents' home in Wiltshire.
Her mum Carole, 66, pops it in the freezer and then defrosts it for Tim's cereal breakfast.

'Special bond'
Tim, a retired teacher, said: 'The milk is not unpleasant but slightly pungent and oily.
'But once it is mixed with cow's milk, I can't taste it. My first reaction to trying this was, why not?
'If I have a lactating daughter, why not take advantage of her, as long as Monty didn't mind.
'I do feel like I have a special bond with Georgia and Monty.'
U.S. researchers claims that a breast milk can cure cancer in children and Tim's doctors have supported the unconventional treatment.
A scan showed his terminal cancer had improved but it cannot be proved if this was due to the breast boost or his chemotherapy.
Georgia said: 'There's no way of really finding out if it's helping but we'll continue as long as I am breast feeding.
'It feels like I'm doing the most natural thing for the people I love.
'Not many women can say their dad drinks their breast milk.

'But I would do anything to give my dad more time with me, our family and Monty.'

From INFACT Canada----Action Alert

INFACT Canada Action Alert...National nutrition conference sponsored by NestléShare

ACTION ALERT – National nutrition conference sponsored by Nestlé

INFACT Canada has learned that a pediatric nutrition conference slated for September has listed Nestlé Nutrition as a major sponsor. The Alberta Health Services First Annual Canadian Perinatal and Pediatric Nutrition Conference being held in Edmonton on September 25-26 is not only being sponsored by Nestlé, but one of its speakers will be a Nestlé employee.

It is a serious conflict of interest for a public health agency such as Alberta Health Services (AHS) to stage a pediatric nutrition conference in partnership with an infant formula manufacturer like Nestlé. Nestlé is notorious for its aggressive marketing of infant formula and obstinate rejection of the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. The company recently launched a deceptive marketing campaign claiming that probiotics added to its formula will mimic the bifidus factor of human milk. It is no coincidence that one of the conference’s themes will be probiotics in infant nutrition.

As reported in a previous INFACT email, Nestlé’s new formula contains so-called “natural cultures” of bifidus bacteria, which are found in breastmilk. The company is marketing the new brand as equivalent to breastmilk. “There are only two places your baby can get natural cultures,” reads the advertising tagline, “The first is you. The other is from Nestlé Good Start Natural Cultures.” No scientific study is cited as proof that the bacterial cultures in this formula have the same effect on infants as breastmilk.

Nestle intentionally does not warn parents that its powdered infant formulas are not sterile and may be contaminated with the lethal microorganism Enterobacter sakazakii. This bacteria is capable of causing sepsis, meningitis, necrotizing enterocolitis and death in infants. The World Health Organization has produced guidelines for the preparation of powedered formula which state it should be reconsituted at 70ْ C to kill any bacteria present. This temparature would also destroy Nestlé’s so-called “natural cultures” and so the company’s new formula ads tell parents not to heat the water above 40ْ C . Exposing babies to E. sakazakii infection is a significant known risk, while Nestlé’s unfounded health claim is of minimal or no benefit.

It is outrageous that the AHS, an organization funded by Canadian taxpayers, should allow itself to be used by Nestlé to promote a product that poses a danger to Canadian infants. INFACT Canada is asking for your support in a campaign to put a stop to this sponsorship. With the help of our members, we have been successful in the past at ridding conferences of Nestlé’s influence.

Your voice really counts! Please write to Alberta Health Services and ask them to refuse the Nestle sponsorship and act responsibly to protect infant and young child health.

INFACT Canada has written a sample letter. Write your own letter or adapt INFACT’s below.

Send emails to

Mary Anne Yirkuw and Kim Brunet

Conference co-chairs

Did you know breastmilk can cure these?

Breastfeeding has its many benefits for not only the baby, but also the mother. Actually, it can have some great benefits for others in the household as well. Here is a list of a few breastmilk uses that you may not even be aware of.

Eye problems/conjunctivitis - Pumping some breastmilk and then using a dropper, drop a few drops of breastmilk in the affected eye or eyes. I had conjunctivitis once when I was breastfeeding and my doctor did not want to give me the eye drops that he had given the rest of my family to cure it, because of the fact that I was nursing. I was on antibiotics at the time for a sinus infection and he said that eventually, the antibiotic would also take care of the eye problem as well. I didn't want to wait until eventually though so I started putting breastmilk in my eyes right away. I put about six or seven drops in each eye about four times a day the first two days. By the middle of the second day, it didn't look or feel as if I even had an eye infection. I also did this for my kids that had the eye infection and even the ones that didn't. Everyone that had eye infections cleared up almost immediately. The one child and my husband that did not get the infection originally did not get it at all since they were using the breastmilk as a preventative measure.

Skin rashes/diaper rashes - Placing breastmilk on rashes will help to clear it up much quicker than the over the counter remedies. If the baby gets frequent diaper rashes, doing this as a preventative measure can help to prevent the baby from any further discomfort. Using breastmilk on eczema is also very beneficial and can help an outbreak. Just the feel of the breastmilk on the rash is very soothing. You can actually feel it healing.

Nasal congestion - If the baby, or anyone for that matter, has some nasal congestion due to a cold or allergy, breastmilk can help to clear up the problem. Dropping a few drops in each nostril can help to clear the congestion. Breastmilk has immunological properties and can actually kill the cold germ in progress much faster than waiting it out or any over the counter remedy can.

Sore or cracked skin - Breastfeeding moms know that the best remedy for sore and cracked nipples due to breastfeeding is applying some breastmilk right to the problem areas. This is also true for any other area of the body with dry and cracked skin. It moisturizes as well as kills germs. It can help to heal cracked skin in the blink of an eye.

Warts - I have read that using breastmilk can clear up a wart. I have not tried this one myself but I do believe what I have read. It certainly is worth a shot if you have some breastmilk in the house.

So you see, there are many benefits to being a nursing mom or having one in your household. The power of breastmilk is incredible and every day, new uses are being found. Almost any ailment can be cured with a little breastmilk. It does wonders for your baby's health, as well as the mother's health, so why not for the other family members as well?

I stopped nursing my son a few months ago when he was a year and a half. I am dreading winter coming because that is illness season around here. I used breastmilk to help every cold and eye issue last winter and now I am dry. Trust me, it worked so if you have the need, try it, you will like the results that you see.

Breastfeeding May Boost Grades

DENVER< June 15 (UPI) -- Breastfeeding was associated with an increase in high school grade point average and an increase in the odds of attending college, U.S. researchers said.

The study, published in the Journal of Human Capital, looked at the academic achievement of siblings -- one of whom was breast fed as an infant and one of whom was not -- found that an additional month of breastfeeding was associated with an increase in high school GPA of 0.019 points and an increase in the probability of college attendance of 0.014.

American University professor Joseph Sabia and University of Colorado Denver professor Daniel Rees used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. They said more than one-half of the estimated effect on high school grades of being breast fed, and approximately one-fifth of the estimated effect on college attendance, can be linked to improvements in cognitive ability and health.

The researchers examined the breast feeding histories and high school grades of 126 siblings from 59 families.

"The results of our study suggest that the cognitive and health benefits of breast feeding may lead to important long-run educational benefits for children," Sabia said in a statement.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Orange Juice

Written by Jillian Tyrer
Reprinted with permission

Breakfast table, 8 am.......

Dad, reading the paper: "Hey, honey.... have you read this yet?"

Mom: What's that dear?

Dad: Ya, this article on the tainted orange juice...

Mom: What orange juice? Not the orange juice I drink every morning! Steve, tell me it's not the orange juice I drink every morning!

Dad: Uuummmm, lemme see here..... it's called Orange Sunshine concentrated juice. Ya, wow.... it's like, contaminated with e.coli. And even worse, they say that if you have been mixing it up with tap water, it increases the levels of all these bacterias. Man hun, you better throw that out!

Mom: Son of a bitch! I have been buying that juice for years. I love that juice! The company just gave me all these coupons and stuff! I have 6 or 7 cans in the freezer right now. What am I supposed to do with it now?

Dad: Uuuumm, Kate, honey...... you could squeeze fresh oranges and have the real thing.......

Mom: All that work! What do I look like here, Steve? Do you think I'm some sort of superwoman that has all this time on her hands to be able to squeeze oranges all day? Tell ya what, smart mouth.... how about I quit my job and you can pay me a nice fat paycheque to sit around all day squeezing your precious oranges.

Dad: Kate, what do you think people did before frozen, concentrated orange juice came along in those handy little cans?

Mom: Lay off, smartass. I NEED that juice every morning! How else am I supposed to get vitamin C and fibre???

Dad: How about peel an orange? All the vitamins, all the fibre, all the good stuff and none of the bacteria. Oh, ya... and the best part, no chance of dying of e. coli poisoning. You know it's deadly right?

Mom: Ya, okay.... ya, I don't want to get poisoned. But what am I gunna do with all these cans? Oh, I know, I'll give it to the kids.

Dad: Well, it could poison them too..... you're concerned about your health but not their's?

Mom: Steve, I don't think you understand what I'm saying. That is good juice in that freezer. It cost a lot of money, okay. There are a lot of good vitamins and minerals and added stuff in that juice. The DOCTOR even told me to use that juice because it's got, like, stuff to help with eye development or something newfangled like that. Plus, my Mom used that juice when I was a kid and you don't see me with any sort of health problems, do you?

Dad: I am BEGGING you to throw it out, honey.

Mom: Are you trying to make me feel guilty or something, Steve? I sure hope you're not trying that, because if you do, we're going to have a lot of problems in this house. Josh! David! Come get some juice guys! You need the vitamins!

Dad: Sigh................

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Carseat and the Smoker

These were written by Jillian Tyrer
Reprinted with permission

Phone call...

"Ring, ring"....

Jen: Hi Tina, OMG, you'll never ever guess what happened!

Tina: What??

Jen: Okay, you know my friend Pat? She was driving to the store this morning and got in an accident and her baby's carseat malfunctioned and that poor little baby is in the hospital now! That disgusting carseat company has been knowingly leaving out this important clip thingy that anchors the carseat because it's too expensive to produce or something ridiculous like that. Isn't that awful?

Tina: Are you serious?

Jen: Yup. He's not in such good shape. And the worst part is that I have the exact same carseat. I am sooooo getting a new one today! And you know what, I am seriously calling all my friends to tell them what happened and to tell them the name of that carseat so it won't happen to them. Oh ya, and I'm also calling the tv station so they can broadcast the name of that carseat.

Tina: Why? Why would you do that? You CAN'T do that!

Jen: Huh? Why not???

Tina: Well, you're just going to make all those people who use that carseat feel guilty.

Jen: Are you serious Tina? People NEED to know this information. Those carseats are DANGEROUS! That little boy could die! What's more important? Some hurt feelings or kids' lives????

Tina: You are such a bitch! Don't you have any feelings? You don't know any of those people's situations! What if they HAVE to use that carseat? What if they don't have a choice, huh? Ya, smart girl, what about that? What if they can't afford another carseat and then you go and tell them the only carseat they have could kill their kid. What then? Man, you are such a bitch.

Jen: Are you for real? They could borrow a carseat or call the manufacturer or use the bus. There are options you know.

Tina: Options, shmoptions. Not everyone lives in this perfect fantasy world with all these fancy options like you, Jen. You must feel so smug with all your IN-FOR-MA-TION and all your lovely OP-TIONS. Now, all these poor mothers are going to feel like such shit if they choose to keep using this carseat. Now, they're going to feel like you're saying they're killing their babies if they keep the carseat! Seriously Jen, I can't even talk to you anymore.

Jen: Am I on Candid Camera here? Are you serious Tina? We're talking about babies! Babies and death! Babies and their safety!

Tina: How many babies do you personally know who have died from using a carseat? How many, huh? C'mon, how many??? Listen, if the carseat was dangerous, don't you think the company would have said something, you know, like a press release? See, I watch the news every single day and I read the newspaper and I've never heard of anything about this carseat, okay? So, there!

Jen: Whew! Wow! I seriously am starting to loose it here with you Tina! The proof is that my friend's kid is in the hospital! What do you want to happen? Do you want something bad to happen to your kid so you will finally believe it?

Tina: Proof huh? Really? Right, okay Jen...... whatever...... you seriously are so mean and I can't even believe that you are considering making this information public......

Jen: banging head against wall.....................

And so it continues....................

Telephone call....

Ring, ring........

Nancy: Good Morning, this is the American Cancer Society, Nancy speaking, how may I help you?

Barbara: Uuum, ya... Hi.... Listen, I was just at my doctor's office and I picked up one of your information pamphlets about reducing the risk of cancer and it says that smoking increases the risk of cancer.

N: Yes Madam....

B: Well, I'm a smoker and I just want to tell that I am a very offended by what this pamphlet says.

N: Excuse me?

B: Ya, how dare you make me feel guilty for smoking. I mean, I have feelings too, ya know. I've been smoking for 32 years and I'm just fine and I really take offence to you implying that smoking causes cancer.

N: Madam, smoking does cause cancer.

B: How do you KNOW that Nancy? If smoking was that dangerous, why do they sell cigarettes then huh? Answer that!

N: Madam, this is not our opinion. Studies have been carried out for 60 years on millions of people and it is a proven fact that smoking directly causes cancer. It also causes a host of other medical conditions that affect the quality of life of the smoker. Smoking also can cause cancer in non smokers, it affects the quality of air, leads to increased pollution and places an increased burden on the health system due to the increased medical problems associated with smoking.

B: Listen bitch, are you calling me a burden? How dare you!!! I don't know one single person who has died from cancer you know! Not one single person! All my family smokes and we're all fine.

N: Okay, listen. Perhaps YOU personally have not met anyone who has died from cancer or emphysema but that doesn't erase the fact that others have. I'm not sure where you are going with this, but I'm starting to get frustrated here. Smoking DOES cause cancer and I'm not too sure why we are even having this conversation.

B: Why the fuck are you attacking me??? Why are you judging me??? I had no choice! I had to smoke! You don't know me at all! Both my parents smoked so I grew up in the house with it all around me! I was addicted by the time I was a little kid! What do you expect? Stop judging me!

N: Excuse me, but each time you light a cigarette, you are making a decision to smoke. You are making a decision to do something that has been proven to be harmful. I cannot help it if knowing that information makes you feel bad.

B: Stupid bitch! Who the hell do you think you are? I didn't have a choice! Aren't you listening to me?

N: Madam, please. This information is important and people deserve the right to know it. Smoking is harmful and deadly. It is a proven fact. The American Cancer Society is dedicated to dispelling the myths about smoking and promoting awareness. It is not about assuaging people's guilt about why they chose to smoke. If this information bothers you, perhaps you might want to consider quitting.

B: How dare you! Smoking is MY CHOICE! I have the right to smoke!!!

N: I thought you said you didn't have a choice!

B: Listen bitch! Why are you making me feel guilty? Your information makes me feel like shit and I don't think it's fair.

N: Well, perhaps it makes you feel guilty and you don't like hearing it, but maybe other people do want to hear it so they can pass on the information to a loved one who may be considering smoking and who doesn't know the risks. I suggest you not read the pamphlet then if you are unwilling to accept the information.

B: Wait a sec! Smoking is a choice. People should be allowed to smoke. It's their body and they should be allowed to do with it what they want How dare you make them feel guilty about that!

N: Listen Madam. I really don't have the patience for this. If you don't want to accept the truth, that's fine. But please don't prevent others from hearing the message because of your hurt feelings.

B: Bitch! What did you just say?

and on and on and on and on and on ......................................................................................................................

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Breastfeeding May Lower Risk of MS Relapse

Breastfeeding may lower risk of MS relapse
Updated Mon. Jun. 8 2009 4:19 PM ET News Staff

Women who have multiple sclerosis may be less likely to have a relapse of the disease within a year after their baby's birth if they breastfeed exclusively for at least two months, report researchers on the website of the Archives of Neurology.

It is well known that women with MS have fewer relapses during pregnancy, the study authors wrote in background information in the article. But these mothers also have a high risk of relapse in the postpartum period.

Dr. Annette Langer-Gould, then of Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif., decided to investigate and led a small study that looked at 32 pregnant women with MS and 29 pregnant women of similar ages without MS.

The women were interviewed about their MS symptoms during each trimester of their pregnancies and then about their breastfeeding and menstruation history every few months in the 12 months after they gave birth.

The women with MS were more likely not to breastfeed and to begin supplemental formula feeding during their baby's first two months of life compared to the healthy women, the researchers found.

Of the 52 per cent of women with MS who did not breastfeed or who began regular supplemental feedings, 87 per cent had a relapse within a year of their babies' births. That compared to just 36 per cent of the women with MS who breastfed exclusively for at least two months.

The researchers note that the mothers who breastfed exclusively had significantly prolonged "lactational amenorrhea" (absence of a period), which seemed to be linked to a decreased risk of relapse in MS.

When the researchers asked the mothers with MS why some chose not to breastfeed exclusively, the women reported that their primary reason was so that they could begin taking their MS medications again. The medications, including interferon beta and natalizumab, work by modifying the immune system and are not recommended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

The results of this study suggest that women with MS should be encouraged to breastfeed exclusively for at least the first two months instead of resuming medications, the authors conclude.

"Our findings call into question the benefit of foregoing breastfeeding to start MS therapies," they write, adding that larger studies are needed to confirm the findings.

The researchers say they aren't sure why breastfeeding might be beneficial to women with autoimmune diseases such as MS.

"Studies of immunity and breastfeeding, while plentiful, are predominantly focused on breast milk content and health benefits to the infant. Little is known about maternal immunity during breastfeeding."