Friday, February 22, 2008
Original Press Release
Breast is best' message flawed
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
Current promotional and educational programs which describe breastfeeding as 'best' are undermining women’s capacity to make informed decisions about infant feeding, according to an article published by a University of Wollongong doctoral student in Maternal and Child Nutrition.
Ms Nina Berry from UOW’s Centre for Health Initiatives was joint author of a report with Karleen Gribble from the University of Western Sydney called “Breast is no longer best: promoting normal infant feeding”. Breastfeeding is not 'best', say the authors, it is simply the normal way to feed human infants.
The article suggested that breastfeeding promotion and education programs should abandon the ‘breast is best’ message because it is misleading and fails to communicate the importance of breastfeeding.
“In fact, these messages may have obscured the importance of breastfeeding to infant and maternal health and the well-established risks associated with early weaning from breastfeeding,” Ms Berry said. "To say that 'breast is best' is to suggest that what breastfeeding offers is a handful of optional bonuses and that formula-fed infants are the normal standard for comparison. In fact, human babies were designed to be fed human milk."
“Research has found that while most people accept that breastfed babies are healthier, they do not understand that this means that formula-fed babies are likely to be sicker. Because formula feeding is viewed as harmless, women are not getting the support they need to continue breastfeeding and to make informed choices about infant feeding. This misunderstanding demonstrates the failure of the ‘breast is best’ message and the need to rethink breastfeeding promotion”, she said.
The paper in Maternal and Child Nutrition also illuminates an important addition to the body of evidence pointing to the significance of using breastfed babies as the control group when conducting research.
The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Multicenter Growth Reference study found that the growth of formula- fed babies deviated from that of breastfed babies and that using growth charts based on formula-fed babies could be contributing to the current obesity epidemic.
The use of formula-fed babies in control groups makes it difficult for readers to see that formula-fed babies are at increased risk of adverse health outcomes, Ms Berry said.
The WHO recommends that children are breastfed for up to two years or more and that they should not be given any food or drink other than breast milk for the first six months of their lives.
“It takes a great deal of support for mothers to reach these goals. However, mothers are not being provided with adequate support because the risks associated with early introduction of foods other than human milk are not well understood by health professionals. Furthermore, many health professionals are reluctant to talk to mothers about risks because they do not want to make mothers feel guilty. This is not about guilt. It is about a mother’s right to have all the information she needs to make an informed choice about how she should feed her baby – it is about ensuring that mothers have the support they need,” Ms Berry said.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) ―
Legislation pending in the state Senate would exempt nursing mothers from jury duty.
Harford County state Senator Nancy Jacobs says she has known of instances in her own district in which breast-feeding mothers were required to serve on juries, even though they argued they couldn't be away from their babies.
Jacobs says she introduced the bill because of a case a few years ago in which an Anne Arundel County mother was cited for contempt of court. A similar bill was introduced in 2004 but died in a legislative committee.
The proposed exemption would be allowed until the nursing child turns two-years-old.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
So as of now hat I have read on the WWW is that there is a nurse in planned for Friday at NYS museum, however this is from the article that is linked above: "The State Museum has checked its employees and says no one with that name and the description Kelly gave was on the museum floor Tuesday. They say the Museum is “family friendly” and they want Kelly and others to know they are welcome to breastfeed wherever they want. They feel it could not have been one of their employees. “We wouldn’t do that, none of our staff would do that…we try to be as welcoming to families as possible, “ says Cliff Siegfried, Director of the State Museum. He says many state workers with state ID badges routinely walk through the Museum during the course of the day and feels the woman who confronted Kelly could have been one of those employees, not a Museum staffer."
I would like to say that as much as I support the Lactivism movement and am a firm believer in it, there is definitely not enough info yet to be calling a nurse-in. Please refer to this blog article, Nurse ins are not the first line of defense written by Jennider Wilcock AKA The Lactivist. Jennifer says here exactly what I think, but is much more eloquent than I could ever be.
My advice, for what its worth, is call of the nurse-in for now. There are not enough facts at this point and the museum can be 100% innocent of any wrong doing and should not have to suffer because a museum visitor made an ignorant statement.
ALBANY -- In New York, the law states you can breastfeed in any public place. But an Albany woman says a State Museum employee must not know that. Kristin Kelly is a young mother of three including a 4 month old she breast feeds.
Tuesday she says she was insulted and humiliated for feeding her baby in public even though she knew she was well within the law.
"I absolutely felt like I was doing something wrong," said Kristin Kelly with tears in her eyes.
Kelly and her three children ages 5, 3 and little four month old Zachary were enjoying an afternoon at the New York State Museum. Near the end of their visit Zachary got hungry and Kristin says she found a bench up against a wall and began to breast feed her baby.
"I sat down and made sure I was covered, three blankets over him actually, and I began to nurse, while my other two children sat beside me," she said.
Suddenly, according to Kristin all this was interrupted.
"A lady that said she was an employee of the museum they had another person report me and so I had to go to the bathroom where they had a chair set up where you could nurse or I would have to leave the museum," she said.
Kristin says was speechless when the woman with the museum ID tag came back a second time, stared at her and asked her to move again.
Zachary was finished by then but when Kristin told her husband Shaun he was so outraged he contacted the museum. Shaun says a spokesperson told him the museum allows nursing anywhere but he was not surprised Kristin was told to stop.
When Newschannel 13 contacted the museum, the museum director, Cliff Siegfried said, "the museum has no such policy prohibiting breast feeding anywhere."
As for Kristin she believes there's a lesson here for all breast feeding mothers and those who would stop them.
"I have a right to feed my child where ever I want to feed him," she said.
The museum director also told Newschannel 13 that he was still looking into identifying the museum employee who Kristin says told her to stop breast feeding. He did not however say what action, if any would be taken if the employee is identified.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
DWP users asked to pay breast-feeding bill
By Beth Barrett, Staff Writer
Sidestepping any potential opposition from its commission, the Los Angeles
Department of Water and Power is shopping for a contractor to run pregnancy
and breast-feeding classes for its workers for up to $50,000 a year.
Because the contract for "lactation specialist services" is less than $150,000,
General Manager H. David Nahai can award it without seeking approval from
the DWP board once the proposals are opened March 7.
But board member Nick Patsaouras criticized Nahai on Thursday for not
bringing the controversial contract to commissioners for discussion.
"In general, I respect the general manager has the authority (to award
contracts) under $150,000, but in this case some board members in the past
expressed objections and so it should come before the board," he said.
Patsouras said it's inappropriate to continue the lactation program at a time
when the utility wants to raise electric rates by 9 percent over three years
and water rates by 6 percent over two years.
"It's absurd. At a time when we're asking ratepayers to increase the rates,
we're going for lactation," Patsaouras.
But Nahai said he intends to go forward with the program that's operated
since 1988, calling it a good deal for ratepayers.
"(They) are getting a tremendous return on their investments," Nahai
said. "This program has resulted in an overall 27 percent reduction in
absenteeism, and a 36 percent reduction in health-care claims
by new mothers who use the service.
"Apart from all that, we live in an enlightened age where an entity such as the
DWP has to have a humanitarian outlook."
Nahai said DWP is in step with many other government, private and academic
institutions that provide similar services.
Last year, the same contract cost DWP $37,000. In 2005, the lactation
specialist worked 16 hours per week, fielded nearly 1,000 telephone calls and
conducted 48 classes for expectant parents.
An independent study of the agency's finances nearly two years ago found
more than $16 million in non-core activities in fiscal 2006, including $1.1 million
for various family-care and breast-feeding programs.
At that time, Nahai, who was vice president of the commission, said the DWP's
spending habits as well as whether or not to raise rates, were a bigger issue
than a lactation program.
Patsaouras, then a commissioner, argued against it.
"We're in the business of producing water and electricity, not in the social-
service business," he said at the time
Saturday, February 16, 2008
By SHELLY SLATER / WFAA-TV
BEN TORRES Beatriz Hernandez, a pasteurization assistant at Mother's Milk Bank of North Texas, fills bottles with breast milk to be later pasteruized.
Shelly Slater reports
Taking a breath isn't taken for granted in the Bauer house.
"I was dying. I was literally dying, and I knew it," said Dr. Donn Bauer.
Bauer had a cancerous tumor in his right vocal chord, severe enough to cut off his airway. Surgeons removed it, leaving him with a hole in his neck to talk and breathe.
"So I was bent on getting better. No matter what," he said, wiping his eyes.
But he didn't get better.
Bauer lost 35 pounds in one week, and his diabetes made recovery almost impossible. Then he discovered a new remedy: a mother's breast milk.
"It's just a boost of energy, and it's not like drinking an energy drink or a couple cups of quick coffee, but a slow process of feeling good," he said.
"It's gold. It is incredible liquid," said Amy Vickers with the Mother's Milk Bank of Fort Worth.
The immune-building properties of breast milk can't be copied by formula.
Because of that, the Mother's Milk Bank in Fort Worth struggles to keep up.
In the past three years, the demand has multiplied 300 times.
"I'd be beating a path there, and banging on their door, camping out," said Bauer.
But the milk bank can't help Bauer right now because its supply is too low.
That's due, in part, to Texas' growing teen pregnancy rate.
The government says about one in every 1,000 13-year-olds in Texas is getting pregnant. Of those, about 70 percent of don't get proper prenatal care which leads to more premature births.
Adian was born eight weeks premature and weighed only two pounds.
He and other preemies are the milk bank's priority patients.
"I don't think he would have made it this far if he wasn't on donor milk," said mother, Beatriz Hernandez.
Hernandez couldn't make enough milk for Adian. His body rejected formula.
"I'm very happy for everybody who has a heart to [donate breast milk]," she said.
Right now, Bauer can't get breast milk. Instead, he takes pills in an attempt to duplicate the benefits of the real thing.
Dr. June Meymand runs a cancer center and says breast milk protects her patients' healthy cells, while killing the cancer at same time.
"What actually causes the damage to the body will be carried out through the intestine and will not become active," she said.
It worked for Bauer. He's now cancer-free.
"If I end up going I end up going, but I came into this world screaming and fighting and that's exactly how I'm going out," Bauer said.
He believes his miracle is thanks to a mother's milk.
Rep. Caroline Maloney is making an effort once again to move the Breastfeeding Act of 2007 forward. Last weekend there was a meeting of the State Breastfeeding Coalitions and they learned that the 23 cosponsors that she has obtained are not enough, and that they need at least 200 sponsors. So please urge your Congressional Representatives to cosponsor this bill along with the Senators to introduce the bill in the Senate. And please use your networks to get the word out. This bill is important for all mothers who work or who may work in the future and would help to eliminate one important barrier to more optimal breastfeeding in the US.Last weekend, at the US Breastfeeding Committee's National Conference of State/Territory Breastfeeding Coalitions, we learned that we need much more action on US Representative Carolyn Maloney's bill in the US House, the Breastfeeding Promotion Act, to get it moving forward.We need your action NOW on this bill, HR 2236. The bill currently has only 23 cosponsors,and needs about 200 cosponsors to move forward. If you are a US citizen/legal resident, please contact your Rep now and urge him/her to cosponsor this bill.This bill makes breastpumps tax deductible, provides for safety standards for them,and gives incentives to employers to help moms pump. To read the text of the bill, and see a list of cosponsors, go to: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-2236
To contact your Representative about this bill, you can either go through MomsRising at:
http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/momsrising/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=13731 or the Children's Hospital (Boston) advocacy page at: http://capwiz.com/childadvocacy/home/
Pass this on!Melissa Bartick, MDChair, Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition
Breast milk contains stem cells
The Perth scientist who made the world-first discovery that human breast milk contains stem cells is confident that within five years scientists will be harvesting them to research treatment for conditions as far-reaching as spinal injuries, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. But what Dr Mark Cregan is excited about right now is the promise that his discovery could be the start of many more exciting revelations about the potency of breast milk. He believes that it not only meets all the nutritional needs of a growing infant but contains key markers that guide his or her development into adulthood. “We already know how breast milk provides for the baby’s nutritional needs, but we are only just beginning to understand that it probably performs many other functions,” says Dr Cregan, a molecular biologist at The University of Western Australia. He says that, in essence, a new mother’s mammary glands take over from the placenta to provide the development guidance to ensure a baby’s genetic destiny is fulfilled. “It is setting the baby up for the perfect development,” he says. “We already know that babies who are breast fed have an IQ advantage and that there’s a raft of other health benefits. Researchers also believe that the protective effects of being breast fed continue well into adult life. “The point is that many mothers see milks as identical – formula milk and breast milk look the same so they must be the same. But we know now that they are quite different and a lot of the effects of breast milk versus formula don’t become apparent for decades. Formula companies have focussed on matching breast milk’s nutritional qualities but formula can never provide the developmental guidance.” It was Dr Cregan’s interest in infant health that led him to investigate the complex cellular components of human milk. “I was looking at this vast complexity of cells and I thought, ‘No one knows anything about them’.” His hunch was that if breast milk contains all these cells, surely it has their precursors, too? His team cultured cells from human breast milk and found a population that tested positive for the stem cell marker, nestin. Further analysis showed that a side population of the stem cells were of multiple lineages with the potential to differentiate into multiple cell types. This means the cells could potentially be “reprogrammed” to form many types of human tissue. He presented his research at the end of January to 200 of the world’s leading experts in the field at the International Conference of the Society for Research on Human Milk and Lactation in Perth. “We have shown these cells have all the physical characteristics of stem cells. What we will do next is to see if they behave like stem cells,” he says. If so, they promise to provide researchers with an entirely ethical means of harvesting stem cells for research without the debate that has dogged the harvesting of cells from embryos. Further research on immune cells, which have also been found in breast milk and have already been shown to survive the baby’s digestive process, could provide a pathway to developing targets to beat certain viruses or bacteria.