Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nestlé Co-chairs food security conference at McGill University

August 28, 2009- INFACT Canada

ACTION ALERT - Nestlé Co-chairs food security conference at McGill University

McGill University in Montréal is hosting a conference on global food security this October. The co-chair of the conference is Marilyn Knox, President of Nestlé Nutrition Canada. The idea that Nestlé would co-chair a conference on how to make food sustainable and safe for the global community is ironic to say the least. The company’s aggressive promotion of infant formula, an unsafe, expensive, and unstable source of food for infants and young children has been undermining the food security provided by breastfeeding for decades. Add to this their production of extremely non-nutritive junk foods and their extensive efforts to privatize the world’s water supply, and it’s tough to see how any credible academic institution could take Nestlé’s supposed desire to contribute to food security seriously. Please write to Heather Munroe-Blum, principal of McGill and conference co-chair, and ask her to rescind this partnership with the corporation.

Write your own letter or copy INFACT’s below.

Send your email to:

Principal Heather Munroe-Blum:

Diedre McCabe, Administrative Coordinator:


Dear Principal Munroe-Blum,

As the directors of INFACT (Infant Feeding Action Coalition) Quebec and INFACT Canada, two non-governmental organizations that work to protect infant and young child health as well as maternal well-being through the promotion and support of breastfeeding and optimal infant feeding practices, we are writing to you with respect to the upcoming McGill Conference on Global Food Security being held from October 5-7.

We were very happy to see McGill supporting and involving itself with such an important issue as Global Food Security. What has shocked and disappointed us is to learn that you, as Principal of such an esteemed university, and with a background in the field of epidemiology, would co-chair this event with the President of Nestlé Nutrition Canada. We would like to have a better understanding of why this decision was made as Nestlé has an extensive record of engaging in irresponsible social and environmental practices:

· Unethical marketing of infant formulas and repeated, systematic violations of the UNICEF/WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk substitutes and subsequent resolutions;

· The use of forced child labour in their cocoa supply chain West Africa

· The marketing of unlabelled genetically modified foods;

· Controversial water pricing and the privatization of public water resources;

· Lobbying against vaccination of livestock during the British Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in 2001;

· Environmental destruction in Brazil;

· Intimidation of trade unionists in Colombia;

· Demanding millions in compensation from hunger-stricken Ethiopia;

Because of these actions Nestlé has gained a reputation around the world of putting profits before the wellbeing of the global community, and is the target of the world’s largest consumer boycott. To counter its well-deserved negative reputation, Nestlé makes public shows of support for social causes such as food security; despite the fact that any independent examination of their actions shows that the company actively undermines such causes. Consider the fact that Nestlé is the largest promoter of infant formula in the world, a product which is neither affordable nor safe in many communities and erodes the food security of infants and young children, the most vulnerable members of society.

The mission statement of your University states that

The mission of McGill University is the advancement of learning through teaching, scholarship, and service to society by offering to outstanding undergraduate and graduate students the best education available, by carrying out scholarly activities judged to be excellent when measured against the highest international standards, and by providing service to society in those ways for which we are well suited by virtue of our academic strengths.

Your affiliation with the President of Nestlé Nutrition Canada, as Co-Chair of a conference that addresses global food security, is inconsistent with both the mission and reputation of McGill. Any discussion about food security has built-in bias when the co-chair is affiliated with one of the largest food distributors in the world. Large corporations with a monopoly on food preparation and distribution are detrimental to our food security.

Because of the participation of Nestlé Nutrition Canada, the upcoming conference does not afford participants the freedom to independently analyze the issues. If there is no financial support or engagement between Nestlé and McGill then we question what is the rational behind this decision. Perhaps a representative from the World Health Organisation or another International University would be more appropriate.

We respectfully request that you immediately and publicly disengage yourself and McGill University from this and any other affiliation with Nestlé Canada.

Respectfully yours,

Carole Dobrich RN, IBCLC Elisabeth Sterken Bsc, Msc, Dt

INFACT Quebec President INFACT Canada President

And on behalf of the INFACT board of directors and members.

Breasts in Mourning: How Bottle-Feeding Mimics Child Loss in Mothers' Brains

Breasts in Mourning: How Bottle-Feeding Mimics Child Loss in Mothers' Brains
After a successful birth, opting not to breast-feed may trigger evolved mourning behaviors
By Jesse Bering

Discussions of breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding usually focus on the baby: What’s best in terms of nutrition? Or an infant’s future mental health?

But we’re going to take a different route. Let’s talk about the mother, and more specifically, the changes in her body as it readies itself to nourish a hungry newborn. With her breasts enlarged and hormones flowing, what happens if no newborn appears to suckle? How will her body—and brain—react?

First, a little background. The obvious physical changes in the pregnant human body (including swelling breasts) occur in response to escalating levels of the hormones prolactin, lactogen, estrogen, progesterone, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and growth hormone. Placental birth serves as a sort of trigger event signaling to the mother’s body that it’s time to begin releasing milk. The baby’s physical suckling behavior—that is to say, lips tugging on teats—stimulates the first ejections, but eventually milk flow can start up by simply thinking about the baby, smelling it, or hearing it cry. “Involution,” the physiological process by which women’s breasts revert back to those dormant objects that give so much pleasure to adult human males, coincides with slowly weaning the growing infant away from breast milk and onto regular foods.

So what happens when, for whatever reason, mothers do not breastfeed their healthy infants? According to a new theory being proposed by University of Albany evolutionary psychologist Gordon Gallup and his colleagues, the decision to bottle-feed is tantamount, in the mother’s psyche, to mourning the loss of the child. At least, that’s how a woman’s body seems to respond to the absence of a suckling infant at its breasts in the wake of a successful childbirth. In a soon-to-be-published article in Medical Hypotheses, the authors argue that bottle-feeding simulates the unsettling ancestral condition of an infant’s death:

Opting not to breastfeed precludes and/or brings all of the processes involved in lactation to a halt. For most of human evolution the absence or early cessation of breastfeeding would have been occasioned by miscarriage, loss, or death of a child. We contend, therefore, that at the level of her basic biology a mother’s decision to bottle feed unknowingly simulates child loss.

There is at least correlational evidence to support this evolutionary claim, too. For example, in a paper presented earlier this year at the annual meeting of the Northeastern Evolutionary Psychology Society, Gallup and his colleagues reported their findings that, among a sample of 50 mothers recruited from local pediatric clinics and who had given birth in the previous 4-6 months, those who bottle fed scored significantly higher on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale than breastfeeders did. This effect panned out even after controlling for the mother’s age, education, income and relationship status with her current partner.

Another telling finding to emerge was that the bottle-feeding mothers reported wanting to hold their babies significantly more than the breastfeeders did, which the authors believe:

...parallels findings among nonhuman primates where in response to the death of an infant, mothers of some species have been known to tenaciously hold, cling to, and carry their infants for prolonged periods after they die.

It’s an interesting (if morbid) idea that bottle-feeders are implicitly conceptualizing their babies as corpses, but there are plenty of alternative interpretations. For example, these women may simply want to make up for lost bonding time that would otherwise occur during breastfeeding. In any event, if Gallup’s theory about the “unnaturalness” of bottle-feeding simulating child loss holds up in future studies, it would have obvious, and important, clinical applications. This would also be an excellent example of how evolutionary psychological explanations of human behavior can improve the quality of human life. Of course the reasons for bottle-feeding are complex and many, and not all women have the luxury of a choice in this regard. But for those who do, the present logic may give new meaning to the expression “breast is best”—if not for infants, then at least for their mothers.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Help! I Don't Want to Breastfeed!

The full article with working links can be found here:

Help! I don’t want to breastfeed.

Written by Bettina Forbes, CLC
Brought to you by Best for Babes®

© 2008 by Best for Babes®, All Rights Reserved.

Well, neither did I–you can read my story below. Best for Babes understands how you feel, and we are not going to tell you what to do, or judge you on your decision. How you feed your baby is your choice and we support you to do what works for you. Our goal is simply to provide you with the most accurate and inspiring information so that you can make your decision and feel good about it.

And, we recognize what a difficult decision this can be! Women who don’t want to breastfeed are being put under more pressure with little help or understanding for how they may feel, or what obstacles they may face. We are here to help you. It is no fun being on the fence.

Believe me, I know, because I was a mom who was on that fence! That’s why I’m urging you not to wait until after the baby’s birth–like I did–to make your decision. Do your research now. The fact is, that while breastfeeding comes easily for some moms, for most moms, the hardest time to learn about breastfeeding for the first time, is after the baby is born, when new mothers are exhausted, vulnerable and at the mercy of myths and misinformation. Believe it or not, hospitals, nurses, doctors, families, and friends, while well-meaning and competent, may not be educated on the latest about breastfeeding and frequently have their own barriers to work through (see AAP, Policy statement on Human Milk). Add to that any personal unresolved issues you may have and now you have put yourself at an even greater disadvantage if you do decide to give it a whirl. Breastfeeding is just one of those important life events where you will do better if you are prepared and can hit the ground running. You wouldn’t show up to run a marathon without a strong resolve, some coaching and proper shoes, right? So, the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby is to explore the feeding issue – both your feelings and the facts about it–now, before the baby is born.

To help you make your decision, I’ve put some suggestions below–these are merely suggestions, the ones that I wish someone had mentioned to me before my first baby was born. I hope that they are helpful, and that you will take what you like from them and leave the rest. In any case, I wish you only the best on this amazing journey into motherhood.

If you don’t want to breastfeed:
Find someone you trust to talk to. Choose someone you respect, admire and trust who will listen to you compassionately and help you sort out your feelings without judging you. I was too afraid to admit that I didn’t want to breastfeed to anyone, and kept my feelings bottled-up, which only made things worse. Whether you choose a friend, relative, or professional, the person(s) you talk to should not push their agenda on you. A good sounding board should neither hit you over the head overbearingly with the benefits of breastfeeding nor should they easily let you off the hook from trying breastfeeding at all. He/She should help you understand yourself, what is factoring into your decision and most importantly, should be positive and encouraging! Becoming a parent is a transformation on many levels, and as you explore your feelings, you will grow and mature and be more ready to take on that transformation.
Get to the bottom of what’s bugging you. There are a million reasons why women choose not to breastfeed, and we’ve heard them all. All of them are valid, because any feelings a woman has about breastfeeding are real and important! Unless you get to the bottom of what’s stopping you from embracing breastfeeding, you won’t have the chance to separate fact from fiction. For example, some women fear they won’t be able to make enough milk, perhaps because their mothers didn’t nurse or had difficulties–but we now know that more than 95% of women are physically capable of breastfeeding. Like a lot of women, I was afraid of what breastfeeding would do to my ta-tas, not realizing that pregnancy itself, not nursing, is the culprit. [Rinker, Brian: “Breastfeeding Does Not Create Sagging Breasts; Study Throws Out Old Wives' Tale, Amer. Society of Plastic Surgeons] Others are anxious about nursing in public, or disapproval from in-laws or friends. Some are plain squeamish. Some women have suffered sexual abuse —if this is the case for you, as it is the case for possibly 25% of women, we urge you to get help from a qualified professional, such as Penny Simkin (listen to this Motherwear podcast with her, it’s amazing) and join a support group. You may find and meet other mothers who have been able to work through this difficult barrier and have gone on to nurse successfully or have pumped—for some, it has even become an empowering, positive and healing experience. In any case, you will know you are not alone). Still others fear that their medications won’t allow them to breastfeed. Unless you are in touch with what’s bothering you, you’ll never find out if there is a way to deal with it—plus, once you get it out in the open, you might find out it loses it’s power over you. Regardless of what you decide, chances are you will have a lot more peace and serenity, and be better equipped to handle questions or even nosybodies.
Weigh the risks. While there has been lots said about the benefits of breastfeeding, research has shown that knowing the benefits alone is not impactful enough, just as knowing the benefits of eating broccoli hasn’t kept us away from fast-food joints. What everyone needs to know is that there are very real risks associated with feeding artificial baby milk (ABM)–commonly known as infant formula.
How much does breastfeeding reduce the risk of disease?

(excerpted from

“A new meta-analysis (study of studies) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services helps answer that question. (This study looked over 9,000 studies on breastfeeding from developed countries, weeded out the ones with poor methodology, and came up with an overall percentage for each one. This is harder than it sounds because “breastfeeding” is defined differently in each study. Nevertheless, here is what they found.)”

Not breastfeeding increases your babies‘ risk of these diseases:
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): 36% greater risk
Type 1 Diabetes: 19-27%
Type 2 Diabetes: 39%
Leukemia (acute lymphocytic) : 19%
Leukemia (acute myelogenous): 15%
Asthma: 27%
Gastrointestinal infections: 64%
Lower respiratory tract diseases: 72%
Atopic dermatitis: 42%
Acute otitis media: 50%

Not breastfeeding increases mothers‘ risk of these diseases by:
Type 2 Diabetes: 4-12% greater risk
Ovarian cancer: 21%
Breast cancer: 28%

This study looked at the relationship between breastfeeding and only some of the diseases that breastfeeding provides some measure of protection against. More research is needed, but the evidence is growing all the time.

Bottom line is, only you and your doctor can weigh any risks from current medications you are taking vs. the risks of feeding your baby formula, and you owe it to yourself to be educated. You should also be aware that the World Health Organization says that screened, donated, pasteurized milk is a more suitable alternative than artificial milk (formula). They state that formula should only be used as a last resort–a message that certainly hasn’t made it into the mainstream! Hopefully, one day human milk banks will be as ubiquitous as blood banks, and all mothers who can’t breastfeed will have better choices.

4. Make your decision.
If You are Leaning Away from Breastfeeding:

You’ve done exhaustive research and have confidence that you have made the best decision for you and your family. Some things you may want to consider:
You can always stop breastfeeding if it is not right for you. If you don’t try, it is a lot harder to start (but not impossible) if you change your mind! Consider that lots of women regret not breastfeeding, but we know of no one who regrets having breastfed.
Pumping. Many women who are uncomfortable with nursing directly for whatever reason have pumped successfully, often for a full year. Kudos to them.
Donated, Screened, Pasteurized Breastmilk. See to see if this is a feasible choice for you, if not, become an advocate so that some day more moms have this much better feeding option.
A friend or relative nursing your baby. This is very controversial due to the risk of any communicable diseases, however we hope that someday through a thorough screening process women who can not breastfeed can be matched with a volunteer who can nurse their baby. Once again, only you can weigh the risks and make the best choice for you and your family.
Organic Infant Formula. If pumping, donated breastmilk or a surrogate breastfeeder are simply not options, then we encourage you to use Organic artificial baby milk (generic is fine) as it will not contain pesticides or milk products from cows treated with antibiotics or growth hormones. Choose one that does not include artificial DHA & ARA as these chemicals are not organic, their efficacy in formula has not been proven and there is more research needed on potential side-effects such as gastric upset in infants.
Have a good answer. Finally, if you choose not to breastfeed, we urge you to have a plan of how to handle well-meaning but overzealous do-gooders. Actress Jennifer Lopez was crucified in the blogosphere for saying that she chose not to breastfeed because her mother didn’t either. Perhaps if she had worked through her feelings she would have either overcome any resistance to breastfeeding, or had a much better explanation regarding her choice, even if simply to say “mind your own business”! Undoubtedly, the press and the public would have been more accepting and respectful of her decision not to breastfeed. So we recommend that you have a “stop them in their tracks” response at the ready. Unfortunately, we have heard a few horror stories of women who have been hassled for giving a bottle, and we are on your side, babe, no one has the right to intrude upon you! Women who judge other women for not breastfeeding make the problem worse.
If you are leaning towards breastfeeding:

Take baby steps. If you are one of those people (like me) for whom adopting healthy lifestyle choices is challenging, treat it like deciding to work out: set small, achievable goals, and give yourself lots of praise and rewards. I am not one of those people who could commit to training for the marathon, but I was able to get myself (kicking and screaming) to sign up for a 5 mile race. Similarly, when I was nursing my son, I kept saying, “okay, I’m going to do this just until Sunday, and then I am going to quit,” and then by the time Monday came around, I postponed weaning for another 7 days. Try committing to the first 6 days, then commit to another week, and so on, and you might find that the first month has gone by before you know it! Add another week at a time, and soon the first 4-6 weeks of the Learning Curve (link to ( will be over and you will have gotten the hang of it. In fact, just like those of us who hated going to the gym at first but came to enjoy the incredible feeling they have after an intense workout, your feelings about nursing may change as time goes on. You may even succumb to its ambrosia-like effects and fall in love with it!

Surround yourself with a cheering squad. It’s really, really important (did we say VERY!) to find people who believe in you, will cheer you on and remind you that you can do it! To lean on the sports analogy again: my husband bought me a membership to the gym and for four years I used it maybe 10 times. He liked to tease me that every time I went it cost him $500. Now I go to the gym at least twice a week. What changed? Two girlfriends roped me into going to an exercise class (the same ones that proceeded to sign me up for that 5 mile race), and what I would have hated doing alone, was actually fun to do with some friends. When my son was born, I thought I would never make it past a week of breastfeeding, let alone six months, and with the encouragement of others, I ended up nursing my son until he was almost a year and a half! If you don’t already have these women in your life, then go find them. You will find a ready-made cheering squad at a great breastfeeding support group. You’ll meet some great moms, learn lots of tips it would take you hours of internet surfing to find, and you’ll probably enjoy the whole transition to motherhood and nursing even more. You may even end up surpassing your expectations!
Here are some tips to find other nursing moms:
“Store front” birth and breastfeeding education centers: These are springing up all over the country, particularly in and around urban centers, and are a fabulous resource for prenatal classes, support groups, doulas (labor coaches and postpartum assistants), and postnatal help from LCs.
Many lactation consultants (LCs) run their own groups or can steer you in the right direction. You can find the LCs in your area at
La Leche League ( This is the largest and oldest resource for free mother-to-mother breastfeeding support groups and help.
Some hospitals offer breastfeeding classes and support groups, but do your homework first: Don’t go to a class at a hospital that has a low breastfeeding success rate! We’ve attended some classes that were dull and a turn-off, and worse, presented incorrect information.
Yoga Studios and Gyms: Many offer prenatal exercise classes — a great place to connect with other moms who are planning on nursing. Some great yoga studios offer post-natal classes that include baby and nursing time!
”Natural” or eco-friendly baby stores and health food stores. Healthy and green living is hip and there are lots of cute and stylish baby stores selling slings, organic baby clothes and bedding and the like, some of them are running support groups during off-hours or can point you to other resources. Many health food stores have seminars for moms, plus they often have seating/eating areas where you can have lunch and nurse on a future shopping trip. Important: if the first group you go to turns you off, keep trying different groups until you find one where you connect. If you don’t want to commit to breastfeeding, try committing to going to a breastfeeding support group at least 4 times during the last two months of your pregnancy. Even if you just listen, you’ll learn a lot, and you’ll feel a lot better about your decision.

Find women you trust, and then take what you like and leave the rest. Just like an athlete would never hire–and would actually fire–a coach who said “give it a try,” didn’t have faith in you, or couldn’t bring out your best and help you succeed, you should take no less from the women (and the professionals) in your life. If you don’t like a particular breastfeeding group, keeping trying different ones until you find one that you do! All too many women get turned off by one person and then throw in the towel. Just remember, one overbearing militant breastfeeder does not speak for the rest of us–there are lots of great groups out there. Even if you only find one other nursing mother you like, at least you won’t be doing it alone! Beware of friends who have unresolved feelings themselves. You want to stick with the winners–women who have succeeded at breastfeeding and women who are self-aware enough not to rationalize. Basically, you want to find women who can cheer you on and bring out your best.

Find out what motivates you and make a list. If you breastfeed, know that you will have days when you feel like super-nursing mom, and days when you’re tired, cranky, rushing around, and not in the mood. For those days, having a handy list that reminds you in your own words why you are doing this will help you get over the hump. When I felt like throwing in the towel, I thought about how my older sister would probably never let me live it down that she had breastfed for a year (granted, she lives in Europe, where it is much easier to breastfeed). I thought about the unpleasant smell of formula and how my initial reaction the first time I smelled it was that I wasn’t sure I wanted to give something artificial to my perfect, new, and clean baby (plus when I supplemented it made him painfully constipated). I thought about how the hormonal surge during let-down helped my post-partum depression, and that bonding with my baby during nursing made me feel good about myself as a mother. I reminded myself that I did not want to deal with washing and sterilizing bottles (I’m very forgetful and dreaded screwing up the mixing or leaving something behind). I think I turned the corner for good the day my mom pointed out how adorably my son quivered with joy every time I unbuttoned my blouse. In short, you may be motivated by breastfeeding’s incredible health benefits or you may not, but the key is to use whatever works for you. Also, try using imagery (See Learning Curve: See Yourself Successful) to help you achieve your goals. Imagery–positive mental imaging of your success–is a terrific tool and is what great athletes, entrepreneurs and leaders do and it works. In the early days and weeks, you may have to take it one feeding at a time, but you can do it!

Know what is truly second best. We understand that for many women, the hurdles to breastfeeding are truly too great. For example, although most medications are perfectly safe to take while breastfeeding, there are a few that are not. There are also some women who have been sexually abused and are too scarred from their experience to breastfeed. Still others face intense family and peer disapproval (another good reason to attend a support group–you’ll get lots of great strategies for dealing with disapproval). But here is the deal: as per the World Health Organization the second best thing to your breastmilk is not formula – it’s donated, pasteurized and screened human milk! So, even if you cannot — or choose not — to breastfeed, consider the second best and safest alternative for your babe. Let’s make donor milk as widely available as donated blood–your baby, and all babies, deserves the best! For more info, contact The Human Milk Bank Association,

Monday, August 17, 2009

Alberta Moms Unformulated

Alberta moms unformulated
Expectant parents lack breastfeeding strategies: data


Last Updated: 17th August 2009, 2:18am

StoryCommentsEmail Story Print Size A A A Report Typo Share with:
Facebook Digg Google Stumble Upon Newsvine Reddit Technorati Feed Me Yahoo Simpy Squidoo Spurl Blogmarks Netvouz Scuttle Sitejot + What are these? CALGARY -- Expectant moms in Alberta are less worried about how to feed their newborns than any other mothers in Canada, according to new numbers released this week.

Data collected by Leger Marketing showed only 20% of Alberta moms think about their breastfeeding strategy and create a formula feeding contingency plan before their babies are born.

"In Alberta, moms are more likely to think about which clothes to buy their babies than how to feed their babies," said Dr. Peter Nieman, a Calgary pediatrician.


"We'd like to change that -- we'd like moms to be proactive and have a plan and clearly they don't.

"If nine out of 10 moms thought about their baby's nutrition, that'd be ideal."

The percentage of mothers in Alberta who said they expected breastfeeding to be difficult was just 7%, the lowest in Canada.

But up to 40% of mothers end up needing a formula for their children, said Nieman, meaning that planning ahead is important so mothers are not caught off-guard should they fall into that category.

"It's best to be prepared and have a Plan B, like having a spare tire in your trunk," he said.

Melissa Parsons is a Calgary mom who gave birth to her first child, Maiya, two months ago and said her main concerns during her pregnancy were her own diet as well as labour preparation, diapering, and buying a crib and changing table.

"It's kind of funny now, looking back, I thought I would just breastfeed and things would be fine," said Parsons, who quickly found out Maiya could not breastfeed and required formula instead.


"It was kind of stressful, I didn't know what to do," said Parsons.

"It's hard to deal with when you're a new mom and you're tired. It's really important to know what could happen -- it's not talked about as much and we need to be honest about it."

Nieman said it's important for moms to breastfeed whenever possible, as it is considered most nutritional for the baby, but said for the women who use a formula, it's important to ensure the mixture is probiotic and includes protein, Omega 3 and iron.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Is Postpartum Due to Not Breastfeeding?

Is postpartum due to not breastfeeding?
Aug 14, 2009
By: Jeff Ryan
Contemporary Pediatrics

Postpartum depression has been linked to choosing bottle feeding over breastfeeding, according to an evolutionary psychologist's research.
The fields of evolutionary study goes beyond how birds got their wings. Evolutionary psychology, one subfield, tries to understand humanity’s instinctual actions based on a long view that goes back to our hunter-gatherer ancestors. And new moms, one new theory goes, may be hard-wired to go into a mourning period if breastfeeding does not follow delivery of a child.

Back then, there would be one main reason why a woman would deliver a baby and then not breastfeed: the baby had died. Untold generations of that, lead researcher Gordon Gallup posits in the August issue of Medical Hypotheses, may have imprinted a biological trigger of grief when that separation happened. It would even kick in when the baby was just fine.

This theory was tested in a small study, researchers noted. A group of about 50 mothers of 4- to 6-week-old infants were examined for postpartum depression. Age, income, relationship statues and education were not contributing factors in who was more likely to be clinically depressed. But breast or bottle was: breastfeeders were less likely to have the baby blues, as it’s sometimes derisively called.

And it’s not just choosing formula over milk that may cause the separation. Hospitals’ policies of keeping newborns in nurseries may instigate a mourning process in new moms as well, reagrdless of how they feed their newborns

Friday, August 14, 2009

Breastmilk component kills cancer cells

Breastmilk component kills cancer cells

A few years ago immunology student, Anders Hakansson1, of Lund University, Sweden, was experimenting by mixing human milk, cancer cells and bacteria. To his surprise the cancer cells were "acting up". Their volume was decreasing and their nuclei shrinking. Hakansson's supervisor, Catharina Svanborg, quickly recognized that the cancer cells were committing suicide. The phenomenon of apoptosis, whereby the body rids itself of old and unnecessary cells was well known, however for this to occur with cancer cells was unknown as their usual pattern is to reproduce in an uncontrolled fashion. Something in the breastmilk caused the cancer cells to self-destruct. Svanborg and her team had already done extensive investigation in the ability of breastmilk to protect the gut lining from invasive bacteria such as pneumococcus that causes the increased rates of upper respiratory tract infections and otitis media in children not breastfed. And so they began to track down the cancer-killing component in breastmilk. Then in 1995 they reported2 that the protein alpha-lactalbumin, or alpha-lac for short, was capable of targeting not only cancer cells but also other immature and rapidly growing cells, leaving stable, mature cells for growth and development. Alpha-lac's amazing capabilities may explain in part why formula fed infants suffer from increased rates of infectious diseases as well as childhood cancers.

1. Discover Magazine, June 30, 1999

2. Hakahsson, A. et al. Apoptosis induced by a human milk protein. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 92:8064-8068, 1995

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's Time for More Moms to Breastfeed!

by Amanda Gardner

THURSDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- With breast-feeding rates still not at the levels health-care providers and policymakers would like, two U.S. health agencies have decided it's time to take action.

Representatives of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Office of Women's Health, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, are spending much of Thursday at CDC headquarters in Atlanta listening to breast-feeding experts tell them what needs to be done to get more women to breast-feed.

Then, by the middle of next year, the agencies say, they plan to issue a "Call to Action" -- a federal document that recommends specific policies and activities to address what they refer to as "an urgent public health priority."

"Helping women breast-feed is a no-brainer in the health and well-being of mother and baby," said Dr. Sheela R. Geraghty, medical director of the Center for Breastfeeding Medicine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "It's a completely cost-effective mechanism to improve maternal and infant health in the U.S. And, it's an economic benefit, with less formula costs, less bottles."

"Everybody welcomes this," Geraghty said of the government's efforts. "Basically, they are trying to gather information to identify the need. We know moms in lower socioeconomic categories don't breast-feed as often as other moms and that the workplace environment [can be a hindrance]."

In the decade since the federal government issued a "Blueprint for Action on Breastfeeding," some gains have been made but not nearly enough, say many experts.

According to CDC statistics, about 68 percent of women in 1999 breast-fed in the days right after birth, increasing to about 74 percent in the 2005-2006 period.

By the time their babies were 6 months old, only 32 percent of women were still breast-feeding in 1999, compared with 43 percent in 2005-06. And by the time the babies were 1 year old, the number had declined even further: to 15 percent in 1999 and 22 percent in 2005-06.

"We have come a long way in helping moms start," Geraghty said, but "those are still pathetic numbers."

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend that mothers exclusively breast-feed their infants for the first six months of life and then continue the practice with other nutrition thereafter.

But just 12.3 percent of mothers exclusively breast-fed their babies for the first six months of life in 2005, according to the CDC.

Breast-feeding has been shown to benefit both babies and mothers. Breast-fed babies, for instance, have a lower risk for sudden infant death syndrome, diabetes, obesity and asthma. And by breast-feeding, women can reduce their risk for ovarian and breast cancer along with hip fractures and osteoporosis later in life.

But there are obstacles to getting more women to breast-feed. A big one, according to Geraghty, is the American "culture of maternal-infant separation," which she said is partly driven by women working and going to school. Also, many hospitals separate mothers and babies.

"If you want to be successful with breast-feeding, you need to keep the mother and baby together as much as possible," said Dr. Michael Giuliano, director of neonatology at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. "There are routines in hospitals that do not do that very well."

Most women of childbearing age in the United States now work, and some women return to their jobs as early as six weeks after their baby is born. That can interfere with breast-feeding, Geraghty said, because "it can take a month to six weeks just to establish breast-feeding."

To deal with this, women sometimes "pump" their own breast milk so their babies can be given breast milk while they are at work, but this can be difficult for some.

"Pumps are expensive, and often people don't have a place to pump at work," Geraghty said.

In addition, many women becoming mothers today were not breast-fed as babies, nor did they see their mothers breast-feeding siblings, so they have few role models. "Women are just starting from scratch, and that's very hard," Geraghty said. "You add all of that together, and women are having such a challenging time."

Giuliano seemed to agree. "Lots of moms have difficulties breast-feeding, and most don't have three generations of family members around to help them," he said. "We've found that lots of mothers need support, and that takes lots of time and specialized training. Our institution has just hired another lactation specialist."

The goal, Geraghty said, is for "moms to breast-feed as long as they can and ... to have a good experience."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

You CAN breastfeed an adopted baby!

Check out this amazing blog!
(I apologize, I can't seem to post the direct link)

200 Hospitals Nationwide Will Replace Formula Sample Bags with Breastfeeding Support Bags

This month, 200 hospitals across the country are replacing their formula discharge bags and samples with the country’s first breastfeeding support promotional discharge bag.

The “Healthy Baby Bounty Bag” contains product samples, coupons, and information that support and encourage breastfeeding without a packet of formula and without conflicting and contradictory messages about breastfeeding. Hospitals including UCLA Medical Center, Children’s Hospital in Boston, Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, and Exeter Hospital are among the first to distribute Healthy Baby Bounty Bags to new moms.

The bags are created by Cottonwood Kids, a promotional products company that produces custom gifts for hospitals. The bags are green, made from recycled materials, and are 100 percent lead free. They are designed to serve as a cooler and storage carrier for breastmilk. All items inside are compliant with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (also known as the WHO Code), and are therefore completely focused on the importance of breastfeeding with no nipples or bottles included.

The samples are as follows:

Disposable Nursing Pads
Milk Storage Bags
Latch on Tips card
Mothers Milk Tea
Diaper Wipes
Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment
Boogie Wipes Anti Viral Tissues
Sani Hands- Hand Sanitzer
Sear Portrait Studio Coupon
Free Gift Card for the mother that gifts can be redeemed on-line. Everyone gets a gift. Prizes include a $5,000 savings bond, free breast pumps nursing pillows and more.
Coupon Book that includes coupons from the following companies

Lansinoh – Gel Pads
Lansinoh- Breast Pads
Lansinoh- Pumps
Lansinoh- HPA Lanolin Breast Cream
Lansinoh – Breastmilk Storage Bags
Bravado Designs Breastfeeding Bras
Mother’s Milk Organic Tea to promote lacation
My Brest Friend Nursing Pillows
Bebe Au Lait Nursing Covers
Aquaphor Diaper Cream, Shampoo and Healing Ointment
Sear Portrait Studios Portraits
Seventh Generation Diapers
Seventh Generation Wipes
Seventh Generation Natural Cleaning Products
Seventh Generation Feminine Care Products
Boogie Wipes Anti Viral Tissues
Sani Hands Hand Sanitizer
Ergo Baby: Ergonomically correct baby carriers
Baby Stay Asleep: Infant positioning System to help with reflux
Belly Bar Nutrition Products for Mothers
Milkscreen Human Milk Banking Association of North America
The coupons themselves add up to over $100.00 in savings.

Visit for all the details.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

in some places, babies come first

By Um Yaqoob
Issue 106, May/June 2001

It was 9 p.m. when the nurse wheeled me to my bed, one of six in the Omani hospital ward. After a full day of labor, I thought I would finally settle down with my sleeping newborn and get some rest.

The first few cries from the baby in the adjoining bed didn't bother me. The mother responded quickly, and I was able to doze off. When he howled for the second, third, fourth, fifth, and then I-don't-know-what-number time, the mother let out an audible "tsk" before she went to pick him up. Her nerves were beginning to fray. By 3 a.m., so were mine and those of the other four women on the ward. The later it got, the longer it took the woman to pick up her son. The nurse came to talk to her. "He wants to nurse," she said.

"I keep feeding him. There is no milk." The woman raised her voice, a heavy accent coloring her English. She was near to tears.

"There doesn't need to be any milk. He just needs you."

"I'm tired! I can't keep getting up to nurse him! Please, can you give him a bottle?"

"No." The answer was very firm. "Breastfeeding is not just about milk, Mother. Your breast is all that baby knows. He needs the colostrum that is there now. Even if you don't feel it, it's there."

The mother moaned and fell back onto the bed. "I can't stand any more of this."

I felt sorry for her. I felt sorry for all of us. Her baby was keeping all the mothers, and our newborns, from getting our rest. Yet I imagined her nipples were sore by then, and her fatigue was aggravating her impatience with her baby's need to suck.

The doctor came. "What's wrong, Mother? Your baby won't nurse?"

"He nurses! That's the problem! That's all he wants to do. He won't sleep because he's not getting any milk. Please, doctor, tell the nurse I need to give him a bottle."

The doctor shook his head. "I cannot do that. Your baby is sick. He has a fever. That is why he won't sleep. He needs what is coming from your breast now. It is the only medicine we have for him."

She started to cry.

"You are a mother of five now. You know all of this. Please. You must feed your baby." He picked up the whimpering baby and gave him to his mother. "Feed your baby, Mother."

Finally, after several more wakings, the baby became quiet. He was quiet for so long, in fact, that I could not sleep in the sudden silence. Looking over to see what had calmed him, I saw that the woman had fallen asleep with the baby at her breast. Her arm was around him. If he awoke, what he needed was right in front of him.

Morning came just two hours later. Before the nurses had even come to change the beds, the occupants of bed number one had a visitor. A tall woman stood sternly over the mother and sick baby. The woman began to speak in excited Arabic.

"What is this the nurse is telling me? You were asking for a bottle for the baby?"

"He couldn't sleep. He was hungry."

The visitor shook her head. "Yes, he was hungry--hungry for his mother! Do you want to stay here for a month with a sick baby? Your other children are crying for you, and you are just lying here in the bed!"

"I cannot feed him anymore! I'm tired."

"Give him to me, then. I have milk. I'll nurse him." The tall woman lifted the baby from his bassinet and sat down.
By now all of the other mothers, including me, were sitting up to watch the scene. The tall woman had the baby in position, ready to latch on, when the mother said, "Give him to me."

"Why? You said he needs milk. Here is milk." She drew the baby close again.

The mother reached for her child. "I'll feed him."

Slowly, her eyes set straight on the mother, the woman handed the baby over. "Feed him, then. No more talk about bottles. No nephew of mine will have a bottle before he has even left the hospital!" After a few minutes, satisfied the new mother would indeed devote herself to breastfeeding, the visitor left.

The mother scarcely put the baby down the rest of the day. He sucked at her breast even as she sat dozing in her chair, even as she ate her food. Except for an occasional fuss from the other babies, the ward was quiet.

Evening came, and with it arrived the doctor. "Well, Mother, I see your medicine worked. The fever is down, and if it stays down you can go home tomorrow."

Relief flooded the woman's face. "Alhamdu lillah [thanks be to God]!" she proclaimed. After the doctor left, I heard the woman sniffling. She was crying, kissing the baby, saying "Alhamdu lillah" over and over.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"Press Twisted My Words", says academic in breastmilk row

Press twisted my words, says academic in breast-milk row

Mothers who do not breastfeed thought they had a new ally. But he was misinterpreted, he says

By Susie Mesure

Sunday, 2 August 2009
In World Breastfeeding Week, mothers are urged to persevere, for the sake of their baby's health.

Few topics are more emotive than breastfeeding, that rite of passage into motherhood. Witness the furore that erupted over a story purporting to rubbish claims that breast milk provided newborns with a protective shield against an array of illnesses or allergies.

Mums everywhere entrenched their positions on either side of the breast-milk divide when they leapt on the alleged assertion made by a leading professor of paediatrics and breastfeeding adviser to the World Health Organisation and Unicef. Michael Kramer was reported as saying that much of the evidence used to persuade mothers to breastfeed was either wrong or out of date.

Those in the anti camp were particularly ecstatic. "It was all I could do not to dance around the room whooping with joy.... Thanks for vindicating all the mums who dared to challenge the sanctimonious breastfeeding orthodoxy in 'discussion' forums," wrote TheJasMonster on Mumsnet after reading the article in The Times. Conversely, those pro-breastfeeding, from new mums trying to do the right thing to anti-formula campaigners such as Baby Milk Action, were left devastated that someone as respected as Kramer, who has studied evidence on breastfeeding since 1978, could perform such a massive U-turn. Especially on the eve of World Breastfeeding Week, which kicked off yesterday.

Or did he? Not a bit of it, says the professor, who is renowned for a groundbreaking study that found an IQ advantage to breastfeeding even after you'd stripped out the natural advantages that being the sort of mum who breastfeeds would give her child. Rather, he is spitting tacks at how his comments had been so "grossly misrepresented" for the second time in almost as many months. (The first was in the respected American magazine, The Atlantic, in an article entitled "The case against breastfeeding", which ignited the original media storm on the subject.)

"Journalists certainly have the right to express their own opinions, but not to misquote experts they choose to interview in order to support those opinions. That sort of sensationalist journalist would not surprise me from the tabloids, but I had expected better from The Atlantic and The Times," Kramer said last night.

The Times quoted Kramer, who is based at McGill University, Montreal, as saying there was "very little evidence" breastfeeding reduces the risk of a range of diseases from leukaemia to heart disease. Yet, what he actually said was: "The existing evidence suggests that breastfeeding may protect against the risk of leukaemia, lymphoma, inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes, heart disease and blood pressure." All he did concede was that we need "more and better studies to pursue these links", a common cry from academics lacking in funding.

As for the article merely casting him "in the camp that believes that breastfeeding will turn out to have a slight effect on brain development", well, that hardly squared with his life's work, he said yesterday. "There is an IQ advantage to breastfeeding by as much as three or four points. It's not the difference between Einstein and a mental retard at an individual level, but it means having a smarter population on average, fewer children with school difficulties, and more gifted children."

He added: "There really isn't any controversy about which mode of feeding is more beneficial for the baby and the mother, but when you read the article in The Times it sounds like there is." Furthermore, he points out: "I'm not aware of any studies that have observed any health benefits of formula feeding. That's important, and any mother weighing the benefits of breastfeeding vs formula feeding needs to know that."

His only note of caution, which was flipped on its head by both publications, was that breastfeeding advocates don't need "to overstate their case for issues that are more controversial", such as the link between breastfeeding and protection against obesity, allergies and asthma. "Public health bodies don't have to exaggerate the benefits in order to be very comfortable about supporting breastfeeding," he added.

Some solace for campaigners such as the WHO, keen to use World Breastfeeding Week to increase global breastfeeding rates and save up to 1.3 million children's lives a year. Worldwide, fewer than 40 per cent of mums breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of their baby's life, as recommended: in the UK only 3 per cent are still breastfeeding exclusively at five months.

Breastfeeding Most Preventative Health Measure

Interview: Breastfeeding, most preventive health measure 2009-08-01 12:13:24

WASHINGTON, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Breastfeeding is not only cost effective but also a preventive health measure, a U.S. expert said ahead of the World Breastfeeding Week 2009 from Aug.1 to Aug. 7.

The whole society should do more to promote breastfeeding, Dr. Joan Younger Meek, Chair of the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), told Xinhua in an written interview.

Meek, who is also clinical associate professor in Florida State University, said both mothers and infants can benefit greatly from breastfeeding, so women should breastfeed their children as possible as they can.

"Formula fed infants have higher risks of infection, such as diarrhea, ear infections, and respiratory infections, chronic disease, such as diabetes, obesity, sudden infant death syndrome, and even risk of death, compared to breastfed infants," said Dr. Meek.

"Mothers who breastfeed have lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer, less risk of heart disease and diabetes."

"During times of emergency, and especially in times of natural disaster, breast milk is the safe, affordable, and always available source of feeding for a baby," Meek said.

He said that the USBC will hold a series activities to celebrate the World Breastfeeding Week, whose theme is "Breastfeeding: A Vital Emergency Response."

The USBC, formed in 1998, is an independent nonprofit coalition of more than 40 organizations that support its mission to improve the Nation's health by working collaboratively to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.

"Formula feeding costs much more than breastfeeding and is not environmentally friendly," said Meek.

"We all need to help educate women and families about the importance of breastfeeding," he added.

Talking about what measures the government, communities and society should take to promote breastfeeding, Meek said that hospital and health care workers need to actively support breastfeeding. Babies should be kept with their mothers after delivery and placed skin-to-skin.

According to the U.S. National Immunization Survey, the most recent national statistics show that 74 percent of babies born in the U.S. begin breastfeeding, but only 43 percent are breastfeeding at 6 months, and 21 percent at 12 months. Only 32 percent are exclusively breastfeeding at 3 months.

U.S. rates are higher than some countries, but are lower than other countries, such as Sweden, where more than 95 percent of babies are breastfed.

Recommendations are that babies should be breastfed exclusively for 6 months, and continue being breastfed with appropriate introduction of complementary solid for 1-2 years of life.

"We need to work to make breastfeeding the cultural norm and eliminate routine use of infant formula," Meek said, "We need to support women's rights to breastfeed in public and to continue to breastfeed if they return to work."

On June 11, 2009, U.S. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney and Senator Jeff Merkley introduced the Breastfeeding Promotion Act in both houses of Congress, to provide a unified national policy to keep mothers, their children, and their communities healthy.

The act will protect breastfeeding mothers from discrimination in the workplace, require large employers to provide the time and private space moms need to express milk, and provides for tax incentives for employers that establish private lactation areas in the workplace.

Meek said the act is a starting point and provides strong language of support. "Though the act is not all inclusive, it is an important step

in helping women achieve their breastfeeding goals."

Breastfeeding Could Save Millions of Lives

Breastfeeding could save millions of lives

Canwest News ServiceAugust 1, 2009

Teaching new mothers how to breastfeed could save 1.3 million children's lives every year, but many women get no help and give up trying, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

Less than 40 per cent of mothers worldwide breastfeed their infants exclusively in the first six months, as recommended by the WHO.

But many abandon it because they suffer pain and discomfort.

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