Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inaugural Address: Hope and responsibility

Dear Friends:

It is a pleasure to share with you two of the many possible excerpts from today's Inaugural Address. These two are of particular relevance and we go forward with our goals to enable women and families everywhere to Nurture Our Future:

“It is kindness…selflessness…courage… but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child that finally decides our fate”

"America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity"

Excerpts from the Inaugural Speech of US President Barack Obama, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Consumers Union calls for more testing of commercial infant formula

This is from the link :http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/33080/

With New FDA Infant Formula Test Data, Consumers Union Urges Expanded Testing, Recalls
Sunday, January 11, 2009

"Citing new data about infant formula that was quietly posted by the Food and Drug Administration over the holidays, Consumers Union (CU), publisher of Consumer Reports, urged FDA to move quickly to expand testing of infant formula for melamine and related compounds, and to recall all contaminated products.In a letter to HHS secretary-designate Daschle and current FDA commissioner Von Eschenbach, CU called FDA’s November risk assessment, which allows infant formula containing up to 1 part per million of these chemicals on the market “highly flawed.”Consumers Union noted that FDA posted new test data on infant formula on December 22, which showed that a melamine derivative, cyanuric acid, had been found in two additional samples of formula-- bringing the total to 4 contaminated samples out of 89 tested. “That is almost 5 percent of tested samples contaminated, a relatively high rate,” stated Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Consumers Union. Three of the four positive samples found by the FDA are Enfamil with Iron or Enfamil Lipil with Iron milk-based powder, and the fourth is Nestle Good Start Supreme with Iron milk-based liquid.“The FDA needs to step up and expand melamine testing. The failure to properly inform people about these findings undermines consumer confidence in a fundamental product that millions of parents depend on,” Rangan said.FDA states that the amount of melamine and related compounds found in the formula, which range from .137 to .412 parts per million, are safe. However, Consumers Union called the FDA risk assessment from November 2008, which stated that up to 1 part per million of melamine in formula is safe, “flawed” and said it ignored key scientific data. An FDA risk assessment issued just eight weeks previously in October 2008 had stated that no amount of melamine in formula could be considered safe.“In its October assessment, FDA cited both a cat and a rat study in which a combination of melamine and one of its derivatives, cyanuric acid, caused kidney damage in the test animals at the lowest doses administered. FDA could not identify a ‘no effect’ level for these two compounds in combination, “ stated Michael Hansen, Ph.D., also a Consumers Union senior scientist.“Now FDA has found melamine in one sample of Nestle formula, and cyanuric acid in three samples of Mead Johnson’s Enfamil formula. What if a parent fed both of these formulas to their baby? These two chemicals appear to be far more toxic in combination than either one is separately. Yet FDA has set its safety limit based on exposure to just one of these chemicals alone,” stated Hansen."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

FDA testing - to date - of melamine or cyanuric acid in US manufactured infant foods...

Four out of the 89 US Manufactured Commercial Infant Formulas tested by the FDA were positive for Melamine or Cyanuric Acid with variable amounts. But what amount is "safe"?

3/20 Mead Johnson formulations
1/5 Nestle formulations
0/37 Abbott Labs formulations
0/ 37 PBM formulations (Parents choice and unlabelled)

Three Mead Johnson products: 2 Enfamil Lipil w Iron and 1 Enfamil w Iron, 12.9 oz can milk-based infant formula powder(ENFLIP QGN89 0744 18508 A AND ENFLIP QGN91 0440 18608B AND QGN92/ USE BY 1 NOV 2009) Mead Johnson Nutritionals were Negative for Melamine and Positive for Cyanuric Acid.
One Nestle product: Nestle Good Start Supreme with Iron 250 ml can milk-based liquid infant formula (8267572123 / USE BY 23 DEC 2009) was Positive for Melamine and Negative for Cyanuric Acid.

None of the less expensive , so-called generic, brands were found to contain even trace amounts of either contaminant.

The levels found were considered safe because FDA set the standard based on the assumption that these levels are safe...hmmm.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

New formula advise merits very careful discussion before use

An article published in Letters in Applied Microbiology noted that

--"Cronobacter is a recently defined genus of bacteria and was previously known as Enterobacter sakazakii. " (New name for E sakazakii!!)
--"These bugs will grow at 25°C or 37°C, but less so when the formula is made up using apple or grape juice than when made up using water or milk."

It is startling and amazing that such advise would be offered without careful study of the implications of adding additional fructose to the formula.
It may kill Cronobacter by being acidic, but what will the considerable amount of extra sugars do to the infant? Excess sugars breed other problems and other bacteria in the gut, let alone the nutritional issues....

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

"Selling breastfeeding in the US is a minefield"

I wanted to thank the person who made this comment. Yes it is a minefield. But the questions I think we need to ask are: how does something so positive become an object of explosive response? and how do we create the proper message for the proper audience?

The minefields we encouter are composed of normal human emotions, among them are fear of change, and need for acceptance/lack of self-efficacy.

Fear of Change: We currently live in a bottle feeding culture: breastfeeding is change. We currently still live in a somewhat Victorian culture with body exposure having only one general interpretation - sex. We currently burden new mothers with an unbelievable set of expectations to return to work, etc: breastfeeding is an economic change as well.

Need for Acceptance/Lack of Self-Efficacy: Storms occur when widely different weather fronts come into contact. This is the situation in the US with infant feeding. On one hand, we have the glorious, shiny labels and commercials of the formula industry saying all is well and this is what your friends do. On the other hand, we have breastfeeding advocates who have clear visions of what they and their friends are doing. When these come in contact, we get stormy weather. Everyone seeks acceptance and when there are two "camps" folks tend to join one or the other. If each woman were fully enabled to learn about infant feeding, what it means in daily life, what it means in terms of thier child's health, what it means in terms of their risks of diabetes, breast cancer, etc.

Carolina Breastfeeding Institute, among many others, seeks to enable and empower each individual to come out of the storm and decide for herself based on unbiased information concerning her and her family's health, lifestyle, goals, and rights. My thought is that we need to use all possible information if we wish to be heard by all audiences.

Monday, January 05, 2009

New Studies underscore the need for PAID MATERNITY LEAVE in the US

Studies suggest that, adjusted for socio-demographic and health factors, taking maternity leave before and after the birth of a baby is a good investment in terms of health benefits for both mothers and newborns.

One study found that women who started their leave in the last month of pregnancy were less likely to have cesarean deliveries, while another found that new mothers were more likely to establish breastfeeding the longer they delayed their return to work. The authors also note that the US falls far behind other developed countries on paid maternity leave. In most other cultures women are expected to rest in preparation for this major life event. Only five states - California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island - and the territory of Puerto Rico offer some form of paid pregnancy leave, and none offer full replacement of salary.

Concerning breastfeeding, 82 percent of mothers established breastfeeding within the first month after their babies were born. Women who took less than six weeks of maternity leave had a four-fold greater risk of failure to establish breastfeeding compared with women who were still on maternity leave at the time of the interview. Women who took six to 12 weeks of maternity leave had a two-fold greater risk of failing to establish breastfeeding. Also, having a managerial position or a job with autonomy and a flexible work schedule was linked with longer breastfeeding duration in the study. Overall, the study found that returning to work within 12 weeks of delivery had a greater impact on breastfeeding establishment for women in non-managerial positions, with inflexible jobs or who reported high psychosocial distress, including serious arguments with a spouse or partner and unusual money problems.

Guendelman S, Pearl M, Graham S, Hubbard A, Hosang N, Kharrazi M.Maternity leave in the ninth month of pregnancy and birth outcomes among working women. Womens Health Issues. 2009 Jan-Feb;19(1):30-7.

Guendelman S, Kosa JL, Pearl M, Graham S, Goodman J, Kharrazi M. Juggling work and breastfeeding: effects of maternity leave and occupational characteristics. Pediatrics. 2009 Jan;123(1):e38-46. Summarized and adapted from:

Friday, January 02, 2009

M-J's golden bow - reinforces the need for us to clarify OUR Golden Bow and to rebirth efforts to promote, support AND PROTECT breastfeeding in 2009!

What can be done when our industry "friends" use similar symbols?!?


We must continue to use our own bow, with is symmetrical and present it with the meanings that we apply to it:

1. It is symmetrical both ways, indicating the importance of both the mother and child.

2. The knot is large, as it indicates the support of father, family and society without whose support breastfeeding cannot succeed.

3. One streamer is for continued breastfeeding with age-appropriate complementary feeding

4. The other streamer is for 3-5 yrs. birth spacing to allow this baby to be the baby as long is needed and to allow for maternal health and nutrition recovery.
Breastfeeding needs better protection from wealth and power lobbies. the Code is not legislated in most countries, and even where legislated, rarely fully enforced.
We need a rebirth of effort on all fronts in 2009.

Profits for commercial formula industry will increase this year....

“The price of powdered skim milk, used in infant formula, dairy products and processed foods, has fallen to roughly 80 cents a pound today from about $2.20.”


Commercial formula now costs about $7-12 a pound. The profit was huge, but now will be unbelievable...

This, in all probability will lead to increased profits by formula industry giving them immense amounts to spend on advertising in the near future…stay tuned.