Be afraid, Baby Friendly USA, be very, very afraid!

angry, annoyed woman, you talking to me?

The single most important thing every prospective mother needs to know about breastfeeding is this: it has serious risks as well as benefits.

Baby Friendly USA is petrified that women will find out.

Sadly for the babies who have been injured and died and their grieving families, we found out the risks of breastfeeding hard way. The scientific literature is burgeoning with papers* detailing the high rate of insufficient breastmilk especially in the early days after birth (up to 15% of first time mothers) and the brain-threatening, life-threatening consequences. We are experiencing a dramatic increase in neonatal hypernatremic dehydration, hypoglycemia and kernicterus (severe jaundice). Exclusive breastfeeding is associated with tens of thousands of newborn hospital readmissions per year at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Ethical professionals ask, “What can we do to prevent this from happening again?” Baby Friendly USA asks, “What can we do to avoid blame?”

The press is bristling with reports of lawsuits over babies who died IN HOSPITALS. They fell out of or were smothered in their mothers’ beds in the wake of closure of well baby nurseries at the behest of breastfeeding professionals. Though we’ve spent millions on major public health campaigns to alert parents to the dangers of babies sleeping in an adult bed, babies sleeping with soft bedding and babies sleeping with anyone impaired by drugs, the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative effectively ENCOURAGES all three.

Keep in mind that the hospitalizations, brain injuries and deaths are iatrogenic. They happen BECAUSE of aggressive breastfeeding promotion.

When a baby suffers iatrogenic harm, ethical healthcare professionals ask, “What can we do to prevent this from happening again?” Baby Friendly USA asks, “How can we discredit Fed Is Best for pointing it out?”

Their answer is to attack the whistle blower who is bringing the news of deadly harms to others. In this case the whistle blower is the Fed Is Best Foundation, a non-profit formed expressly to ensure that the brain injuries suffered by a founder’s son did not happen to any other babies.

Take a look at Baby Friendly USA’s latest attempt to retaliate against them for exposing injuries and deaths. It’s a 1200 word rant claiming that the Fed Is Best Foundation is misleading people on the issue of jaundice and breastfeeding. As you read it, ask yourself:

Is Baby Friendly USA trying to avoid infant brain injuries and deaths or are they trying to avoid blame and loss of market share?

The Baby Friendly USA rant appears to have lots of points but actually makes only two:

1. How dare the Fed Is Best Foundation show that breastfeeding professionals know that breastfeeding is implicated in 90% of cases of kernicterus in the US?

Pediatrician Lawrence Gartner acknowledged this in a slide used in a lecture to breastfeeding professionals, a slide that had been uploaded to a public website.

What does BF USA propose to do about kernicterus? NOTHING of course except offer blustering nonsense:

The slides from Dr. Gartner’s lecture were posted without his permission, a gross violation of accepted professional protocol.

But you DON’T need permission. Using a small piece of an article or presentation as a vehicle for a broader discussion is “fair use.” If anyone would know about that it’s me as I sued another blogger in Federal Court for accusing me of almost the exact same thing.

2. The Fed Is Best Foundation may have used numbers that overstate the incidence of jaundice and therefore the associated brain injuries.

What does BF USA propose to do about actual cases of jaundice and associated brain injuries? NOTHING beyond quibbling about the size of the increase.

BF USA insists on maintaining the status quo. They suggest doing nothing more, changing nothing, telling member hospitals nothing as if that isn’t what led to these cases of jaundice and kernicterus in the first place.

The Fed Is Best Foundation exists precisely because this has already been an ABJECT FAILURE. The whole point is that babies are suffering iatrogenic injuries as a result of aggressive breastfeeding promotion.
But BF USA fears reform will cut into their bottom line since their source of income IS aggressive breastfeeding promotion.

The rant concludes:

We would rather not spend our time “fact checking” this organization, but we will continue to do so if that’s what is necessary to ensure mothers and families get accurate information. We consider the constant drum-beat of these falsehoods to be reckless and negligent behavior and once again call on this organization to be more responsible in providing the public accurate and scientifically-grounded data.

It would be far more accurate to have acknowledged that they’d much rather spend their time “fact checking” Fed Is Best than protecting babies from harm. BF USA is right to be afraid of the Fed Is Best Foundation. No amount of suppressing the truth or attacking Fed Is Best for exposing it avert reform; it can only delay it at the cost of further infant hospital readmission, brain injuries and deaths.

When a baby suffers iatrogenic harm, ethical healthcare professionals ask, “What can we do to prevent this from happening again?” Baby Friendly USA ask, “What can we do to avoid blame?”

It’s an incredibly ugly look!


*Recent publications:

  • United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines
  • Interventions Intended to Support Breastfeeding: Updated Assessment of Benefits and Harms
  • Unintended Consequences of Current Breastfeeding Initiatives
  • The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and the ten steps for successful breastfeeding. a critical review of the literature
  • Health Care Utilization in the First Month After Birth and Its Relationship to Newborn Weight Loss and Method of Feeding
  • The Effect of Early Limited Formula on Breastfeeding, Readmission, and Intestinal Microbiota: A Randomized Clinical Trial