Hundreds of babies die each year as a result of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative

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What if I told you that hundreds of babies die each year in industrialized countries from a problem that could be easily prevented by better patient and provider education?

You’d jump at the chance to fix the problem, wouldn’t you?

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]In industrialized countries, aggressive breastfeeding promotion kills far more babies than it saves.[/pullquote]

What if I told you that a group of providers has a personal stake in perpetuating the problem and therefore won’t let it be treated?

You’d be horrified, right?

So let me tell you that hundreds of babies die preventable deaths each year as a result of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI). And lactation consultants and lactivists are actively perpetuating the problem by ignoring these deaths.

The problem is so serious and widespread that it it has results in a new diagnosis: sudden unexpected post-neonatal collapse, the unexpected death of an otherwise healthy infant in the first hours or days of life.

Herlenius wrote about the problem in Europe in Sudden Unexpected Postnatal Collapse of Newborn Infants: A Review of Cases, Definitions, Risks, and Preventive Measures, reporting on 400 cases of collapse.

Such incidents are increasingly common in Europe in response to the adoption of so-called “baby friendly” policies:

Our summary of published reports indicates that even if still rare and with varying reported incidences, SUPC might occur more frequently than indicated in recent surveys. Even the lowest incidence numbers, if extrapolated on the 5 million annual births in the European Union, would result in some 500 SUPC cases and 150 newborn unexpected deaths yearly. Most of them are likely preventable.

How can we prevent these deaths? The first step is to acknowledge the role of the BFHI. That’s just what Flaherman and Von Kohorn in Interventions Intended to Support Breastfeeding Updated Assessment of Benefits and Harms and Bass et al. in Unintended Consequences of Current Breastfeeding Initiatives  published in JAMA in October 2016 recommended.

Not surprisingly, professional lactivists reacted to the editorials with a wall of denial embodied in a flurry of Letters to the Editor.

Melissa Bartick complained that studies that show the effectiveness of BFHI were excluded. Flaherman and Von Kohorn easily dismantle her complaint.

When considering the difference between studies included in the systematic review and those excluded, there are 2 important concepts to consider: confounding and generalizability. Confounding is an important
threat to internal validity for observational studies. In this case, confounding can occur when an increase in breastfeeding is attributed to the BFHI intervention when, in reality, it is caused by another factor…

Generalizability refers to the external validity of a study, an assessment of how applicable the results of the study are to patients and populations… Excluding a study such as PROBIT from the USPSTF review does not mean that the findings are not generalizable to some populations, only that they are not generalizable to the United States.

…[T]he good-quality evidence available that is applicable to the United States indicates that the BFHI is not beneficial for the general US population. This fact, along with the growing evidence for possible harm associated with some of the steps of the BFHI and the large number of effective individual-level interventions to promote breastfeeding, leads us to conclude that US institutions should focus on
implementation of the individual-level interventions identified by the USPSTF as effective.

Bass and colleagues address the denial expressed by other Letters in a compelling response.

Gardner et al comment that, under the BFHI Guidelines … mothers are fully informed of the benefits of breastfeeding and supportive practices… However they do not require that mothers also be informed of the important safety risk of late skin-toskin care identified by the AAP guidelines or the established benefit that a pacifier confers to prevent sudden infant death syndrome.

And:

Boyd et al state that they were unable to document any deaths … before 28 days of life in New York City between 2012 and 2014 when they implemented BFHI designation in several facilities. This is not surprising given … that there intervention took place in only 8 birthing facilities in a city that has 50 hospitals with maternity services.

And most devastating of all:

Ferrarello characterizes sudden infant death syndrome in newborns as “exceedingly rare,” a position that other respondents also implied… [N]ational data on sudden unexpected infant death for US infants for 2003-2013 reveal that … there were 1421 [deaths] in the first 6 days of which 666 occurred on the first day of life… These compelling data provide a perspective on the potential magnitude and significance of the problem, which … should encourage government … as well as concerned breastfeeding advocates to focus on alternative effective strategies to promote breastfeeding safely.

If the statistics from the US and Europe are correct, babies continue to die preventable deaths every week as a result of rigid adherence to the BFHI. If this were about science, BFHI proponents would be rushing to modify the tenets of the BFHI.

But it’s not about science; it’s about business. The BFHI is a money maker for its proponents including the organizations that support it and the individuals who are employed as a result. Paraphrasing Upton Sinclair: It is difficult to get a woman to understand something, when her salary depends on her not understanding it.

It’s not just about business; it’s also about magical thinking. Lactivists, suffering from a severe case of white hat bias, insist that breastfeeding must be perfect and that all efforts to promote it must be perfect, too. Neither is true.

Lactivists can’t identify any term infants whose lives are saved by breastfeeding yet pediatricians and neonatologists can point to hundreds of lives lost each year to efforts to promote breastfeeding. It hard to imagine a more scathing indictment of lactivists in general and the Baby Friendly Hospital Iniative in particular than that.

  • Gretta

    This is madness!!! I thought doctors were supposed to be some of the smartest people on the planet. How in the hell do they allow this ridiculousness into their hospitals????

    • Azuran

      Because Doctors are employees in hospital. They don’t own it, and they generally don’t have administrative position. I expect that fighting against the BFHI must be very tiresome and at some point most just give up.
      And of course, there is a very big lack of breastfeeding research. So it’s hard to be evidence based.
      And of course, a good number of them are either idiots or believe the lactivist crap.

  • evidencebasedbreastfeeding

    Baby Friendly communications on sleep safety are starting to concern me.
    UK Baby Friendly has released a “co-sleeping guide for health professionals”
    https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/baby-friendly-resources/leaflets-and-posters/co-sleeping-and-sids/
    which states:
    “Sleeping in close contact helps babies to settle and supports breastfeeding, which in turn protects babies from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)”.
    It gives risk statistics for SIDS and co-sleeping in the context of co-sleeping on a sofa, with a smoker or adult who has consumed alcohol or drugs – but NOT a statistic for bedsharing in the absence of other risk factors.
    Therefore this guide implies that bedsharing in the absence of other risk factors is safe.
    The guide also recommends health professionals point parents to https://www.isisonline.org.uk/. This website, apparently endorsed by NICE, implies that breastfeeding mothers who bedshare “automatically” protect their baby from risks by adopting a protective position. (info sheet 3 at https://www.isisonline.org.uk/pdf_info/). The actual (v small) research study this is based on showed that bedsharing breastfeeding mums actually put their babies to sleep 75% of the time on their SIDES, known to be risky for SIDS and recommended *against* by virtually all health authorities. (And the study didn’t look at SIDS or any safety outcome, so it can’t show that the observed positioning is protective against anything).

    (the isis site says “The mother adopts a protective position in the bed, curled around the baby, with her arm above his head and her knees bent under his feet. This protects the baby from cold, heat, bedding and bed-partners.”

    I’m really worried that Baby Friendly in the UK is using flawed science to communicate the idea that bedsharing by breastfeeding mums is automatically “safe” and avoiding making a clear statement that bedsharing (even in the absence of other risk factors) is actually known to be associated with SIDS. And this perspective is finding its way into health professionals use. Thoughts..??

    • Hannah

      I’ve definitely been seeing an uptick in posts on my BabyCentre forum saying that if done correctly, cosleeping is perfectly safe, that it’s only if you smoke, drink, or do drugs that the dangers come in. Of course, the Lullaby Trust says exactly the opposite, but the sentiment does seem to be growing sadly

      • evidencebasedbreastfeeding

        That’s right – I think in the US there is clearer messaging noting that bedsharing as the only risk factor is still risky – but in the UK this message seems to have been quietly dropped as late. In favour of a more blurry discussion/hypothesising that, oh well if mum is very very tired and trying to avoid bedsharing because she’s been scared out of it, she may fall asleep on the sofa which would be riskier. (and messaging that bedsharing promotes BF which prevents SIDS). But all of which is kind of hypothetical and doesn’t actually have strong data behind it, whereas the link between bedsharing and SIDS is clear and has many many large robust SIDS case-control studies behind it. I got the sense Lullaby is a lot more science based than the Baby Friendly info about sleep safety. (plus they seem to have a proper board of science advisors whereas UK baby friendly doesn’t even seem to have a page on its site about its scientific/medical advisory board). Not that I can find anyway.

        Oh, and it’s dispiriting that the baby friendly UK leaflet on sleep and SIDS doesn’t mention vaccination as protective!!! argggghhhh!!!!!!

    • Roadstergal

      Oh gawd, my UK friend is fully convinced that bedsharing is the only way to do proper BF and AP (which is, of course, the only way to raise a child that won’t leave it horribly damaged, natch), and she’s communicated to me how angry she is that it isn’t the official recommendation for all babies. (Along with DCC, of course.)

      • evidencebasedbreastfeeding

        What is DCC?
        I don’t have a thing against bedsharing. I have a thing about the distortion of scientific evidence in the promulgation of policy (or public claims about health). Clear, balanced explanation of what the known (and most robust) evidence shows first, then people can make whatever decisions they want, after….

        • Roadstergal

          Delayed Cord Clamping. I don’t care one way or the other about either, but the idea that both have one fully risk-free and obviously superior choice and the other choice should not be supported is just such a distortion of informed consent and a pushing of an agenda… it really rubs me the wrong way.

        • maidmarian555

          When I had my son last year, I had to go to a new parents groups for a few weeks, run by the local Health Visiting team. They went through a bunch of different things from sleeping and weaning to ‘appropriate’ toys and TV use. When it came to bedsharing, they just said that it was ‘bad’ and they ‘didn’t recommend it’. That was the extent of that discussion. They wouldn’t talk about it at all or explain *why* bedsharing is not considered best practice. It doesn’t surprise me that parents are looking for information elsewhere if this is how official health professionals approach the subject. And when you consider that some of the other things they also refused to discuss included introducing solids before 6months (which isn’t really supported by any science I’m aware of) it’s no wonder that people come out of those sessions not really feeling any wiser than when they went in. These ‘rules’ should be supported by proper information and discussion otherwise parents will go elsewhere for that, and if they come across some of the pro-bedsharing sites, they won’t necessarily be getting the full picture. Nor will they speak to the HVs about what they’re actually doing at home.

  • kilda

    The fear of supplementing “even one bottle” reminds me more and more of the obsession with female purity in certain cultures. If the concern were just that breast milk is better, they would be more ok with supplementing when the goal is still to establish breastfeeding. Instead, they feel that if even one drop of formula reaches the baby he/she is somehow tainted, impure, will never be the same again. The breastfeeding relationship will be ruined, the gut biome will be forever changed, it must be avoided at all costs.

    It reminds me of fundamentalists who think their daughter is ruined if a man ever touches her body even once when she is not married, even against her will. It’s not about logic, it’s about this state of purity that has to be maintained at all costs.

    • fishcake

      Wow, you are right.

    • Eater of Worlds

      It’s the chewed bubblegum analogy. If you’ve chewed a piece of gum even once, it’s destroyed and no one else can chew it. So your daughter (never your son) is chewed bubblegum in this world.

    • AA

      Some people even use the term “virgin gut” when talking about the digestive system of a baby that has only had breastmilk.

      • NinjaMama

        The LC who ‘looked after’ me in the hospital with my daughter said to me ‘well I guess a little formula doesn’t matter, her gut isn’t virgin anymore sadly’ because she was supplemented as she had low blood sugar after a (gasp! Cesarean!) delivery. I wish I could smack that woman.

  • Mel

    Totally OT: We decided to celebrate Spawn’s EDD by declaring it his “Hatching Day”! My husband snapped this picture when he realized that bibs can also be a cape for our little superhero.
    *He’s 7 pounds 12 oz or ~3500g.
    *He growls and grunts when he’s awake and he hears people talking.
    *He’s taken to “gratuitous sleeping” which is what we call his habit of falling deeply asleep when he hears any OT or PT coming to examine him and remaining asleep despite of any stimulus meant to wake him up.

    It’s been a long road, but my Spawn is totally worth it :-).
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ceaa53fa5ddca2ec707b9acec23adb46d8b17594cb3dd0acaf9157bdca269aea.jpg

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      He’s gorgeous!

    • Kq

      Oh that little face!!!

    • anh

      hooray for Spawn! that’s some awesome growing and general babying!!

    • Mishimoo

      He’s beautiful! Congratulations on his hatching day, he’s doing so well. Yay Spawn!!

    • Lilly de Lure

      Congratulations – he’s utterly adorable!

    • SporkParade

      Yay, Spawn! May you continue to grow and flourish and to overcome any challenge life throws your way.

    • Amazed

      He’s such a sweetie! And with an array of tricks to make one chuckle already. Happy Hatching Day, Spawn! Keep growing!

    • You do know, of course, that the Chinese celebrate a baby’s first birthday when he’s three months after being born, since they calculate from conception? May Spawn celebrate at least 119 more Hatching Days.

    • kilda

      he looks great! happy hatching day Spawn!

    • MI Dawn

      Happy Hatching day (belated) to Spawn. He’s adorable.

    • MaineJen

      Adorable!!

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      And a most adorable Spawn he is! Happy hatching day, little guy!

    • rosewater1

      Happy Hatching Day, Spawn! May you have many, many more.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      Happy hatching day, Spawn! Good for you for teasing the therapists in your special hatchling way.

    • StephanieJR

      What a cutie!

    • Kelly

      I love his spunk. Congrats and he is so dang cute.

    • fishcake

      What a sweetheart! Happy Hatching Day!

    • Amazed

      Oooh! I just noticed that he’s almost bald. My dad would dote on him. Now, if you ask him, THAT’s what a baby should look like (both of his did). I won’t forget the suspicious look he gave Amazing Niece when he first saw her – like, you’re all cute and all and Grandpa adores you but please, can we stop pretending that you’re a baby? Too much hair for this! – any time soon.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Did you get a Hatchimal to mark the occasion?

    • Eater of Worlds

      Sometimes I’m surprised my brother didn’t need any NICU time. Born in the early 70s, 6.5 weeks early, but almost 6 pounds. His father was 12 pounds in war torn Eastern Europe (out of a 4’9″ woman!), his grandfather 58 years earlier was 14 pounds, and my brother’s own son was 11 pounds. Big boy babies in my family.

      • Roadstergal

        Holy crap, your family name should be Birther Of Worlds!

        • Eater of Worlds

          No kidding, it’s the weirdest thing about the males in my father’s side of the family. Really enormous babies. My brother’s kid was 4 feet tall when he was 5, so we expect NBA fortunes 😉

    • Dr Kitty

      Gorgeous boy!

      Hopefully he will be home in your arms very soon, and running after the calves in no time.

      Enjoy him.

    • Karen in SC

      my husband does that gratuitous sleeping too, whenever he thinks I want him to do something!

    • Christy

      Sorry I’m late! Belated happy hatching day to the indomitable Spawn!

  • myrewyn

    OT-ish. I’m pretty sure most pregnant women are using pregnancy apps now to track their weight, appointments, get updates on development etc. I know I’ve got three installed, of various usefulness. One thing you get is a “feed” of articles that changes each day and I’ve been alarmed to see articles along the lines of “weighing the risks of vaccines” and “is homebirth right for you”. Today there was an article about pacifier use and I was pleased to see they said a pacifier may reduce the risk of SIDS — but then they repeated the line about delaying introducing one until the baby is 3-4 weeks old. So, not only are women hearing things that maybe aren’t accurate from their friends and online when they seek it out, it’s being delivered straight to their smart phones each morning. There are just so many sources of bad information right now, it’s unavoidable.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      Yeah, a lot of the baby calendar sites are the same.

    • Mel

      This morning, I looked at a calendar and said, “Hey, Spawn has another set of vaccines coming up soon!”

      His nurse looked at me and said “It’s not for 25 days, yet.”

      I replied “I like being punctual” and grinned.

    • SporkParade

      I was very lucky that my favorite pregnancy app was provided by my Israeli HMO. So it was mostly, “Here’s what’s happening inside you this week,” and, “Here’s what tests are coming up.”

      • Meuchedet? That’s what I used to give women at their first antenatal visit when I worked for them.

        • SporkParade

          Maccabi.

    • fishcake

      Scary thing is these apps/sites use content writers, who have different goals and skills than your traditional writer/journalist.
      Another thing I noticed with one app I’ve used is that they make the fetus seem bigger and more developed than they really should be, in the week-to-week illustrations and measurements. It made me think they had a certain agenda.

      • myrewyn

        I just checked a recent article for its author and all it says is “reviewed by Dr Jamie Lo”. No clue what Dr Lo has their actual degree in or how much oversight he/she has regarding the content. Huh.

        • fishcake

          Hmm, more questions than answers. Always wise to evaluate the source, but how many expecting parents do?

          • myrewyn

            I googled and there is indeed a Dr Jamie Lo who practices obstetrics and gynecology in Portland, Oregon so it could be her, but then why not drop the Dr and add an MD to the credit on her article?

          • Roadstergal

            Portland. Home of NCB/AP/EBF/anti-vax woo.

          • myrewyn

            Tell me about it — I live there.

          • SandyH

            Me too. And the looks I’ve gotten while feeding my daughter a bottle in public…….I don’t think I’m imagining them. And they’re always from other young to middle aged women. Men, kids, and the elderly, just smile at the cute baby, or don’t even notice.

          • fishcake

            Right, if you truly had the backing of a health care professional, why not highlight that?

  • Madtowngirl

    Scary Mommy had a post today about Landon. The comments were disgusting. So much gaslighting. “Don’t blame breastfeeding!”, “This is about medical neglect, not breastfeeding, ” “This story doesn’t add up,” “there must have been an underlying issue,” “If this story is even true….”, “Fed is Best is spreading hazardous blame.” It dawned on me – this parallels much of what we’re seeing when people of color try to speak out about their experiences of racism. The gaslighting, the people dismissing their experiences, telling them that they’re making a bigger deal out of something than it needs to be…Why is it that some people can’t accept that there could be problems with something they didn’t have a bad experience?

    Lactivists, Landon’s mother is telling you what happened. Her story is valid and brings to light the major issues with the BFHI and obsession with breastfeeding. Many of us have stories of how we were hurt or our babies were hurt by the BFHI. Just because you don’t want it to be true, doesn’t mean you can dismiss the glaring issues that the BFHI is causing.

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      Also parallels the response from many men (and some women) when women talk about sexual harassment and assault.

    • Amazed

      And now lactivists are revealed for what they truly are.

      God help their kids because all their mothers can do is shove a boob in their face. They cannot raise decent people. Because it requires decent people to do the raising and those are just a pack of self-conceited bitches thinly disguising their self-entitlement over the fact that their boobs worked (or the fact that they’re still accepted in EBF groups despite formula feeding because they’re just this good at licking lactivists’ asses) behind fake sympathy for the mom.

      If they were decent human beings, they would have acknowledged that the hospital staff screwed up big time because they were lactivists first and professionals second.

      • Bonn

        Wowee just look at that attitude and language, sounds like you were raised by one of those “self-conceited bitches” who “cannot raise decent people”. I think you may be making some pretty crazy generalisations here. I hope that one day you realise your extremely aggressive attitude is misplaced when directing it at women only trying to achieve a biological normalcy. And please let it be known I’m not in support of forced breastfeeding or whatever it is you may be thinking- just worried by your backhanded claim that you are a better mother than these so-called “lactivists”. Scary.

        • Amazed

          Recognized yourself, eh? Why am I not surpised that you’re all for “biological normalcy” while subtly disparaging “artificial milk”? Did you even read what the bitches wrote? Do you realize that a baby died and they’re all for hushing it up?

          Silly me. What are a few other people’s dead babies in the quest for biological normalcy?

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          What’s so great about “biological normalcy.” It’s biologically normal for lots of babies to starve to death.

          • Young CC Prof

            Having 8 kids and burying half of them is the biological norm. Bleeding to death after the last one because you had too many too close together is also the biological norm. Biology is awesome!

          • myrewyn

            Funny how biological normalcy is the rallying cry for those pushing natural childbirth, breastfeeding at all costs, and leaving childhood diseases up to chance rather than vaccinating — all things that had high mortality rates when left to actual biology.

          • kilda

            yes, or miscarry, or die in infancy from cholera, rotavirus, influenza, measles, etc etc etc.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          Biological normalcy is overrated. If it works for you, have a blast, but breastfeeding makes me want to shoot myself. And there have been people who wandered in who tell me some variation of “well, why don’t you.” Awesome. Such kindness is overwhelming, telling someone who’s suicidal that they should do it. .

          My mother bf’d her living children without a problem and even tandemed me and another newborn at the hospital (his mother had her own issues). She still lost as many as she bore live. The woman concieved 2 sets of triplets, but only one live birth each time. Both of the twins survived. Unlike my children’s twins. Normal is irrelevant.
          I’ll support my daughter or as yet imaginary future daughter-in-law in whichever method she chooses, if they choose to have children. I’ll even give tips either way if my kids ask. But I’m not going to make passive-aggressive comments about “normalcy.”

        • Roadstergal

          I spend a lot of my day avoiding biological normalcy. Pooping in a toilet and washing my hands afterwards, riding a bike to get places, seeing things that are far away (my biological norm was nearsightedness), not having kids when I don’t want them, not being dead at my age…

          I don’t know why anyone tries to ‘achieve’ biological normalcy. By definition, it’s the place you start. Stick with it if it works for you, kick it out and do something better if not.

        • Gæst

          Biologically normal for me would have meant dying at age 19. No thanks.

        • Nick Sanders

          Take your tone policing crap elsewhere.

        • MaineJen

          Ah, biological normalcy. Otherwise known as “living to the ripe old age of ‘died in childbirth.'”

    • BeatriceC

      It also parallels the experiences of the women in my FB group with PPD and other mood disorders. Our very first rule is “We believe you”. It’s shocking just how many women say that this was the first place where their experiences were just believed and not questioned and or been blamed for them.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    Lactivists fear that giving women accurate information would discourage women from breastfeeding. But counseling about miscarriage doesn’t discourage women from getting pregnant. Why would counseling women about breastfeeding risks discourage women from breastfeeding. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f7d082709bc30d36876757dede5f81ae383ac5b9e68097a98a6c680230840618.jpg

    • Young CC Prof

      You know what discourages breastfeeding? Realizing that your baby was starving in front of your face. Know what doesn’t discourage breastfeeding?

      “Hey, it looks like your baby needs a little extra food. Not to worry, this happens to a lot of babies, and most of the time, you can still breastfeed. Keep putting him to the breast every 2-3 hours, but offer half an ounce of formula afterward.”

      • myrewyn

        Oh now you’re being way too logical. It will surely never work.

    • SporkParade

      Because they don’t believe that anything other than exclusive breastfeeding counts as real breastfeeding. Just look how widespread “Just one bottle” rhetoric is. And that’s ignoring the people who can seriously claim that breastfeeders are a threatened minority because most women will introduce formula at some point.

      • Eater of Worlds

        “Just one bottle” sounds like “Just one hit” of heroin, like they are comparing it to drugs.

    • Gangle

      My very passionate LC gave me formula samples to feed my newborn. She also promised she would work with me as long as I wanted and would do everything she could to help me successfully breastfeed, and if it came to it she would help me figure out formula feeding. She made me feel so confident and safe that I kept trying until we did go on to breastfeed exclusively once my milk finally came in and I kept on for 2.5 years. The lactivist midwives who were in my maternity ward just made me feel stupid and incompetent. They never mentioned supplement feeding once even though my daughter rapidly lost weight and I was afraid for my baby the whole time. Now I am pregnant again I know that if I need to supplement with formula again I can still go on to breastfeed successfully. If I had not had the advice of that beautiful LC and only listened to those horrid anti formula midwives one of two things would have happened: I would have gone straight to formula feeding and felt awful because I had ‘failed’ OR I would have believed them when they said she was just cluster feeding and my baby would be dead. I love breastfeeding, but you can’t nurse a dead baby.

    • Heidi_storage

      Especially since, unlike most miscarriages, it’s pretty easy to do something about the risks associated with breastfeeding: Have nurseries available for when Mom is exhausted, supplement, and voilà! Reduction in risks.

    • Kelly

      I know a woman who has to supplement every time with her children. Now that she knows that, she breastfeeds as much as she can and supplements afterwards. It has not prevented her from breastfeeding but has allowed her to breastfeed and keep her children fed. To me, that is the best of both worlds.

  • MI Dawn

    This brings back my nightmare – when I worked in the newborn nursery and found a baby dead in his/her crib. Baby was alive at 5 am for a bilirubin test, dead at 5:30 when I went to feed. We tried for several hours to resusitate but weren’t successful. Baby was 3 days old and supposed to be going home that day. 🙁

    I went home from work and hugged my toddler and cried for that mother.

    • Krista

      I can’t imagine :'( Did you ever find out how he died?

      • MI Dawn

        The official diagnosis of the time was SIDS. Given the circumstances, today it probably would fall under the SUPC diagnosis.

    • Mel

      I’m so sorry.

      A little girl who was in the same small-baby unit as Spawn died very unexpectedly; she was stable and had been for weeks when all of a sudden she had a bad brady that she didn’t have the metabolic reserve to recover from and died. I know – deep down know – that if medical science had any chance to save her, she would be alive today because the doctors, nurses, RT’s….they are all amazingly skilled.

      I was heart-broken for her mother and heart-broken for all of her medical staff.

  • Amazed

    Okay, I just saw The Milk Meg occupying a place of honour at Dr Amy’s Facebook page again. Whining how terrible it would be if all mothers supplement “just in case”.

    OK, folks. Enlighten me. Am I wrong to think that babies have a good disposal system for the times they’re overfed? If so, won’t they just dispose of the supplemental formula if they don’t need it? What IS the drama here?

    Silly me. No formula should touch any kid’s lips, ever. Because – and that’s the dirty little secret the milky woman won’t tell you – it might turn out that you ARE starving your baby. Supplementing and finding out that the kid is happier? Why yes, you might decide to keep giving evil formula milk and that is simply not to be borne.

    • Azuran

      I just love how she’s saying that the baby died because ‘very obvious symptoms were ignored and good follow up post natal care was not given to this mother and baby’
      THAT’S OUR POINT!!!!! Babies are being harmed because mothers are not given real information about how to safely breastfeed and obvious symptoms are constantly being dismissed by lactation consultant.
      But of course, she goes on to say that educating women on the issue is fear mongering. How sad, for a second there, she almost had it.

      • Amazed

        I looked at the comments on her page and took myself off pretty much immediately before my head exploded. The “overfed formula babies” was the last piece of garbage I could take.

        Mind you, I had the anecdotal evidence before my eyes. Their sainted righthood was being proven right right in front of me. Little Miss Impatience who tried to escape each time her mom got from bed during her bedrest and finally decided that placenta was an evil thing so it needed to go down and tugged at it, necessitating a very-necessary-cesaerian, was the poster child for overfed formula babies. She was a veritable ball of flesh.

        Then, she started walking.

        She’s still constantly hungry. When her mom serves the coffee, she stands under the table and tilts her head back, lest I shed a crumble of bisquit that she could eat. She’s a scrawny little thing. The reason? Genetics, why? And movement. She’s constantly on the move.

        It disgusts me how a chubby BF baby is a project well done and a chubby FF baby is overfed.

        • BeatriceC

          If you look at baby pictures of my niece, you’d be certain that the child was headed for a life of obesity. I’ve never seen a fatter baby. She was almost as wide as she was tall. The rolls just kept rolling.

          As an adult, she’s 5’6″ and weighs about 95-100 pounds. Oddly, her mother (my sister) was exactly the same way prior to kids, and her grandmother (my mother) weighed 89 pounds prior to getting pregnant. It’s almost like genetics has something to do with it.

          • Amazed

            So very strange.

          • Jules B

            I was a butterball as a baby – so, so chubby. But as a kid and well into my 20’s, I was a rake (by age 15, I reached by adult height of 5’7, and weighed around 110 pounds). Then of course my metabolism slowed in my 30’s, but we won’t talk about that ;-). (I still have a “normal” BMI though).

          • BeatriceC

            My sister has the same “middle age” problem, or at least she did last I talked to her, which has been a few years. She was 30-40 pounds “overweight” for her frame, but still wore a size 6.

            Me, on the other hand, I inherited my father’s NFL linebacker physique. I’m not small. At all.

          • myrewyn

            I was breastfed (in the 70s!) and so was my daughter. I weighed 6 lbs at birth and was always a very slight baby. My daughter weighted 8.5 lbs at birth and was not chubby but a nice, round baby. Now as a young adult she and I are so close to the same size we can swap clothes and people mistake us for each other from behind. I just don’t think infant size or feeding method has much at all to eventual genetics taking over.

        • Krista

          I know a family with 6 kids, all exclusively BF. Each one of their baby pictures looks like the Michelin Man.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            My niece was ebf and weighed 26 lbs at 6 mos. Her sister was 24 lbs at that age.

        • Inmara

          Anecdotally, I know about two dozens of kids around my LO’s age. Only two were really chubby as infants, and both were EBF. At the same time, several EBF babies were un the lower end of weight percentiles.

          • Gæst

            My EBF son (now four) is 1st percentile for weight at the moment. I need to have a chat with his ped about that (he *was* 15th percentile previously). Even while still nursing, he was never a very chubby baby.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Silly me. No formula should touch any kid’s lips, ever. Because – and that’s the dirty little secret the milky woman won’t tell you – it might turn out that you ARE starving your baby.

      Nah, it’s more that you might discover that it makes your life easier. And we certainly can’t have any of that.

      • Gæst

        I wish I hadn’t been made afraid of it. I tandem fed twins, and we got to be pretty good at it, but it meant that both nipples were in constant use and rather sore the entire time (Note to lactivists: no, it wasn’t a latch problem. I saw an apparently world-famous LC to work out some early kinks and their latches were fine). For my own comfort, I gave a “relief bottle” of pumped milk once a day. But had I not been taught how terrible formula was, I could have skipped the pumping and gotten a bit more relief from just that one bottle a day.

    • Sheven

      Gotta say, it’s a brilliant pivot. “Oh shit, we can’t get away with saying that it’s okay for kids to go hungry anymore? Now let’s start scaring people about over-feeding.”

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      My elder child often overfed at the boob and spewed like an exorcist baby. Younger child is ff’d and her spit up was much more lady like

      • Kq

        OT storytime:

        My son was EBF for a few months. When he was a couple weeks old and I had him on the breast, husband jokingly poked me in the boob baby was nursing on. This triggered an extra spurt of milk. And little man…Exploded. I did not know my breast could make that much milk or that his wee tummy could hold that much. He was completely covered in milk-puke (looked like he’d been dipped in white paint) and I had milkmess covering me from neck to navel. After a moment, little man started screaming. I was yelling and laughing all at once.

        Husband was on the floor, laughing.

        After a few, husband collected himself and fetched a towel, and little man and I got cleaned up.

        Six years later, it is every bit as funny as the day it happened.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          LOL!!!
          When first kid was a baby, I honestly didn’t know you needed to burp a kid after feeding.
          I learned quickly, and in a similar manner. I was even evil enough to take a picture of the puke-covered baby before going to give her a bath. And wash the couch. And clean the carpet. And…

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Burping my little demon-spawn was part of the problem!

    • Bonn

      I’m really not up for a fight but just as a small peice of “enlightenment” you’re probably right, yes babies are able to digest a few extra meals if given unnecessary, might make them feel a bit off and cause a bit of tummy upset, but sure they’d probably be fine. The problem primarily lies in the impact it has on a woman’s supply. A breast need to be fed from to continue to make milk as the aim of the breast is to make a supply equivalent to the babies need so in adding extra feeds of formula you will be distorting what your body thinks it needs to make, and that can lead to a lot of stress in women- we all know undersupply is what formula is often used for (and rightly so!) but let’s not jump the gun and allow a great resource like artificial milk to cause the problem by being so flipent with your feeding advice. Tests can be undertaken to check a baby for dehydration easily no need to jump the gun and cause possibly a lot more stress later on.

      • Heidi_storage

        But here’s the thing: The demand-and-supply system doesn’t really kick in until some weeks after birth. Hence engorgement. So worrying about supply issues in the first few days of life is a bit silly.

      • CSN0116

        You lost me at artificial milk…

        • kilda

          yeah. Unless it’s soy based formula or something, I’m pretty sure there is honest to god real made-by-nature milk in there.

      • Amazed

        I am up for a fight. A few “tummy upsets” that are not a sure thing at all but will keep a newborn fed and not losing precious brain cells against protecting a woman’s supply? Your purpose became clear the moment you wrote “artificial milk”. No matter how much you try to wrap it in cutesies of what a great resource it is, it shows.

        FYI: I am not adivising supplementing just in case. Your leader in protecting precious biological normalcy has created this strawman so she can tiptoe around the fact that lactivists let lactivism affect their medical judgment to the extent of letting a baby die. But well, a baby dying because mom makes no milk IS the bioligical norm, right?

      • MaineJen

        You’re right. Why would we want to jump the gun and flippantly feed a baby who’s clearly still hungry after trying to breastfeed? That would just be silly. After all, babies know when to be born, but they don’t have a clue when they’re hungry and when they’re not. And it’s not like they’re born with the ability to alert us to their hunger in any way. /sarc

        • Amazed

          To be fair, she was discussing what she perceived as my proposal that every baby should be supplemented just in case. She just failed – or chose not – to see that it was Meg’s strawman. Then again, she only flew in here to tone troll me. My tone was something to warrant concern. Dead babies like Landon – not so much.

        • kilda

          yep. they also get super easily confused by different kinds of nipples. Give them a bottle once and they will be seduced right away from breast milk and only want formula. Even though they are supposed to have this deep innate wisdom, they can’t tell that breast milk is magical and wondrous and that formula is evil and inferior. they’re kind of dumb, apparently.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            *snort* My son handled switching to the occasional bottle just fine and actually prefered boob. (I do not have a slow flow) My daughter is quite content with the 3 different nipple designs we’ve tried on her and latched just fine to the boob the few times I tried (because engorgment hurts and maybe it wouldn’t have sucked as much as last time. It did.)

      • Young CC Prof

        There are ways to supplement without adversely impacting supply, for example, providing the supplementation at the end of the nursing session rather than skipping a nursing session. If the lactation community really cared about babies or science, you’d know that, and those methods would be in every breastfeeding book and class.

      • Kelly

        It is so easy to regulate how much and how fast a baby eats with a bottle. Change the nipple or let them suck a bit down and take the bottle away in order to have more control. Plus, from what I have read, a supply is not completely established until around 12 weeks so missing a feed here and there is not going to destroy a supply. You are so intent that people subscribe to having to do it perfectly right that you don’t realize that doing it good enough will have the same results. Also, the studies have shown that supplementing helps breastfeeding so… The easiest test to see if a baby is hungry or starting to get dehydrated is to give it a bottle. I do not want to wait for a test to tell me my child is already dehydrated when I can prevent the dehydration by giving a bottle.

      • Roadstergal

        “Tests can be undertaken to check a baby for dehydration easily no need to jump the gun and cause possibly a lot more stress later on.”

        Are you seriously saying that sticking a baby for a blood test is less trouble and stress than offering them a bottle after nursing to see if they’re still hungry/thirsty?

        Do you do that with your older children before giving them a snack or water?

        • Gæst

          It made my heart break to see my infants get the heel stick so frequently in the NICU. They cried so much and seemed so bewildered about why they were experiencing something so awful.

      • Gæst

        Wrong. Early supplementation increases successful breastfeeding once a parent’s milk comes in. When supplementing, the baby always suckles first (so the breast gets stimulation, though that doesn’t control the initial production of milk (as evidenced by all the mothers who didn’t want to breastfeed and never tried, but still had to go through engorgement first). But instead of exhausting a baby with fruitless nursing, the baby is supplemented after nursing to make sure it gets enough calories. The parent’s nipples also get a rest, making severe cracking and chafing less likely. Both of those results increase the likelihood of a productive nursing session next time the baby is hungry. And so on.

    • Gæst

      Most babies just won’t eat the supplemental formula if they don’t want it.

      • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

        Bingo. My formula fed,newborn, full term health 8 lb 15 oz daughter would turn her head or spit the nipple out when she was full. If you persisted she started wailing and thrashing her arms at you. Meanwhile I would have love something to make the engorgement go away faster! Yes binding and ice packs helped but not nearly fast enough!

    • Nick Sanders

      Every time I see something by Milk Meg, I’m reminded of the insanity that was Cow Goddess Hathor. Anyone else notice the similarities?

  • Karen in SC

    I think the nurseries staffed with experienced neonatal nurses played a now forgotten role in helping keep babies safe and healthy the first 24-48 hrs.

    • Emilie Bishop

      Yes. I have acquaintances who swear their first-born would have died during his first day when he stopped breathing if he’d been left in their room. It was the nurse caring for him while mom and dad got much-needed sleep who noticed and responded in time. My own son was turning blue at my breast and I had no idea–I was holding him and staring at him and had no idea he was suffocating. Exhausted much?

    • Young CC Prof

      So much this. Brand-new babies are not like babies even a couple weeks older, there are a lot of things that can go wrong as their bodies adjust to living outside the womb, and the warning signs can be subtle and not at all what someone with limited experience would expect, slight changes in breathing sound, for example.

      Newborn nurses save lives.

    • Mel

      One of my aunts warned about this at least 15 years ago when RNs were being replaced by another, less trained staff type. She had listed three things the last of which was “bathing babies”.

      The rest of the family – mostly teachers and social workers – were like “Um….why do you need an RN to wash a newborn?”

      She said “Well, missing a blue-tinge in a newborn infant means we lose precious minutes to get the kid’s airway and circulation protected before that un-diagnosed congenital heart or lung problem kills them.”

      Reply: “Damn. Yup. You need RNs.”

    • Tina

      An RN in a nursery saved my life when I was 6 hours old. I was born my emergency C-Section and seemed fine. The nurse saw something odd when she was feeding me (Mom was unable to feed me due to the complications that led to that emergency C-Section, Dad was deployed), called a doctor and saved my life. I wish I could remember what it was now, but it was something that someone with no medical training would have missed and I would have died. Nurseries staffed with RNs should be a necessary part of all hospitals.

  • Emilie Bishop

    You know, as I was sobbing in a bed in the pediatric ward on my son’s third day of life when we’d been readmitted for dehydration, 11% weight loss, and inability to take a bottle at first, I looked at him and thought he might die. I was assured by some genuinely kind nurses that he would be fine, and once he learned to swallow formula he was. But what if we’d waited longer to take him in? What if, what if, what if… This story and the one shared by the mom who’s son didn’t make it have made me realize that no, overwrought and exhausted as I was, I might have had a better handle on the severity of the situation. I’m so sick of the gaslighting and other mental gymnastics these people play with the lives of babies and their mothers. How many more have to die or come too close before this insanity ends?

    • Young CC Prof

      Between 1 and 2% of exclusively breastfed newborns need to be readmitted. Death is rare, but serious problems from insufficient milk are really not very rare, and they mean that we are doing a lousy job of identifying and addressing lack of milk in a timely fashion.

      • SporkParade

        I didn’t realize it was that frequent. Can you point me to a source so I can continue my Facebook rampage against Just One Bottle idiocy?

        • Young CC Prof

          Newborn readmissions aren’t really tracked by Medicaid the way adult readmissions are tracked by Medicare. (Yet. This is a major goal.) The best evidence we have is the Utah study: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/5/e1538

          Some indicators suggest that Kaiser out in California (Landon’s health care provider) is particularly bad about this, they’ve seen dramatic increase in treatment for jaundice in recent years.

          What I really want to know is, are there any large hospitals with lots of normal breastfed newborns that are NOT seeing these large numbers of preventable readmissions? What are they doing, what kind of care protocols do they have?

          • Roadstergal

            Kaiser is all over the BFHI, from what I’ve heard. Which goes along with their general philosophy.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            The readmission thing is huge. If a hospital can be dinged for having to readmit an adult patient who shouldn’t have been discharged in the first place, that damn well ought to be the case for infants. A friend had her baby readmitted due to BFHI stupidity; she shouldn’t have had to pay a dime towards that entirely preventable scenario, and neither should her insurance company. (Ped ordered, with mom’s okay, formula for a baby whose older siblings had all had jaundice d/t milk coming in late. Nurse refused to let the parents feed the kid formula. Kid, shockingly enough, was jaundiced at the first ped checkup and had to be readmitted. WTF?!)

          • Young CC Prof

            I hear that some major insurers are starting to classify neonatal admissions for feeding-related issues as preventable readmissions and penalizing the hospitals for them. That’s a major step. If Medicaid gets in on it, then we’ve got all the incentives in the right place to really address the problem.

          • Emilie Bishop

            Really? I’ll have to investigate if mine does. We did pay for the readmission, but I don’t remember if there was any kind of penalty associated with it. We have private insurance through my husband’s employer and they’re great. I may be sending them a letter requesting that they consider such a penalty if they don’t have one in place.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Good for them!! (And how often can *that* be said about insurance companies?)

  • Amy M

    I just finished a class where we had to design/plan some sort of health issue plan. Mine was based on this idea. My objective were to improve neonatal safety on maternity wards (and increase patient satisfaction) and the main strategies I suggested were to reinstate the 24 hour nursery (as an option) and improve HCP and maternal education about safe infant sleep practices. I didn’t have the scope to address the skin-to-skin thing as well, I had to limit the plan. Anyway, when I handed in my proposal to the facilitator, almost every comment I got back was about how the BFHI was so important and how my efforts to undermine it would be difficult to sell. I kept explaining that I wasn’t trying to undermine the BFHI with the nursery, merely add an option that many mothers seemed to want anyway.

    I was able to back up every claim/suggestion I made with peer-reviewed evidence, so the facilitator couldn’t actually prevent me from doing the project on this topic. I was also able to address every concern she had, though she made it clear (on the phone) that she was a lactivist and as such, didn’t seem to think much of my plan. She even tried to tell me that women must room in so they learn their babies’ cues—I had to point out that I HAVE children, they didn’t sleep in my room much (in the hospital or at home) and yet, both my husband and I were able to learn their cues. Yes, that’s an anecdote, but the point being that parents have learned their babies’ cues since time began and several hours apart at any given point isn’t going to prevent that.

    Anyway, I handed in the final paper on Sunday and do not expect more than a B in this class, between several communication mishaps and the facilitator’s bias in favor of BFHI policies. However, I really tried to shed some light on this issue, and I’m sorry I picked the wrong audience.

    • Amazed

      It’s a good thing you tried. Perhaps if she starts facing more challenges to her view, she’ll give her dogma a little thought.

      As to the babies’ cues – oh please! There is no excuse for the stupid women who fall for this. They’re dumb, dumb, dumb. Anyone who has ever seen a baby or heard that such form of life exists knows that parents AND MANY OTHERS learn their babies’ cues. Eventually. FFS, *I* learned Amazing Niece’s cues, up to the “Now I’ll cry my Save Me Cry because I’m boooored and the ceiling is soooo dully white” face. All it took was babysitting her twice.

      Really, how can anyone take this seriously? And besides, it doesn’t take a mental giant to recognize that people might, just might be better at learning if they’re, well, rested…

      • Madtowngirl

        And, in all honesty, it is a GOOD thing for academics to face challenges to their views. It forces them to continue learning. Information doesn’t stop becoming available when we complete our degrees. The primary thing my education gave me was the knowledge to know that I don’t know everything, and I feel that most good teachers can also eat that slice of humble pie.

        • Amazed

          As one of my professors used to say, “Come on! CONVINCE ME!” This isn’t to say that everyone was able to convince him in whatever not but he was very interested to hear an alternative PoV. There was only one condition: it had to be well made and well supported.

      • BeatriceC

        The excuse about learning the cues pisses me off the most. It’s really saying that women are complete idiots without enough brain cells to actually observe their babies. FFS, I can tell you from across the room what moods all of my parrots are in at any given moment. I can figure out that somebody’s about to poop with enough warning to get them to an approved location while I’m potty training them. I can tell you what they need and/or want just buy observing, and they’re not even human, and I’m not exactly special when it comes to parrot owners. If we can do all this, human mothers can certainly “learn their babies’ cues” in spite of a couple of hours away from the babies so they can actually rest and recover from childbirth.

        • Amazed

          But if they learn the babies’ “cues” on their own, the BFHI brigade won’t be able to claim the fame for this great success!

          It’s like a homebirth midwife charging you some additional 1000 bucks to come to the hospital with you AFTER shit, fan and so on. She’s as useless as an open fire in a house with central heating but she pushes herself in there, charges for it and then lays claim on the success. If there is a success, I mean.

        • Gæst

          Ha! I taught my lovebird to poop on command by observing his cues and saying “poop!” every time I saw he was going to go. Eventually I could say “poop” and he’d at least try to do it.

          • BeatriceC

            My vet considers potty training to be part of parrot training basics. With the bigger birds it’s an absolute must. Can you imagine being nailed by an ill timed macaw poop? Ewwwww. The littler birds are a bit trickier since they can’t go as long between poops and can’t hold it for very long at all, but all my birds (except for the brand-new parakeets) can at least hold it long enough to get back to an approved location.

          • Gæst

            I’ve never had anything bigger than a cockatiel, and I’ve never successfully trained mine to do much of anything. I tried following a training guide, but it was based on response to treats, and my bird weren’t motivated that way.

          • BeatriceC

            The smaller the bird, the more difficult it is to train them, for the most part. I’m a housewife and spend lots of time with my birds. I like to keep their little brains busy. I’m working on “birdie basketball” with the senegal and the cockatoo. So far the senegal has figured it out, but the cockatoo wants to steal the ball and eat it. The senegal also does color matching tricks and other small stuff. The cockatoo and the macaw like puzzles more than anything and the amazon is a lazy little turd who doesn’t want to do more than just go to where the target stick is pointed. He’s older though, and MrC never worked with him for his entire 32 years before I started working with him a year ago, so he’s slower to learn than a younger bird.

            But all this does keep them busy and happy, so it’s good for them.

      • Gæst

        As a college professor, I can verify that, indeed, we have research that shows that people learn more effectively when they are well-rested. We keep telling our students not to do late night cram sessions, but the adolescents are not, as a group, very good with planning ahead.

    • fiftyfifty1

      “women must room in so they learn their babies’ cues”
      Such a lie. Lactivists actually encourage women to ignore their babies’ cues: “Oh, that cry doesn’t mean he is hungry. He’s not hungry”

      • Emilie Bishop

        Or Milk Meg: “He’s crying? Gotta get boobin’! Can’t be anything a boob can’t fix!” That’s no better.

        • Amy M

          Seriously. That’s not necessarily responding to baby’s needs, if the assumption is that all a baby needs is a breast in it’s mouth. I thought all that natural mothering was about being responsive to your individual baby, but the lactivists seem to approach it as one size fits all.

        • AnnaPDE

          The RIE people have a nice analogy to that: It’s like reacting to any worry from a grown-up with “Here, have a donut!” and stuffing it in their mouth before they could even finish the sentence.

      • Azuran

        Because we all know that the mother’s brain is only capable of learning in the first 24 hours after birth. After that, it looses all ability to learn feeding cues.

        • Amy M

          I have several friends who adopted children. All the adopted children were placed with [my friends] between 9mos and 2yrs old. Other people were taking care of those children before that, and clearly managed to keep them alive. Then, their adoptive parents took over, and learned to recognize their children’s needs, just like any other parent, only a bit later in the kid’s life.

          It should be pretty easy with a baby, even a toddler, because they aren’t able to be as complex as an older child or adult—their needs are basic. How many needs does a newborn have? To be fed, changed or soothed/held. I did like everyone I know: addressed each of those needs in turn until baby was content, and eventually learned to determine the need more quickly without having to run through all the possibilities. Isn’t that how most people do it?

          • Azuran

            That’s how I feel too. What do they think? That if I don’t clearly recognize a feeding cue I’m not going to check if my crying baby is hungry? Or that I’m just going to let her starve?
            It’s like when they also go on about how important rooming in is because it also helps you recognize your own baby’s cry from other babies. As if other unknown babies are going to be hiding in my house or something. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that any crying baby is going to be mine.

          • Amazed

            Hey, even if there are more crying babies in your house, you won’t just let them cry, right? RIGHT? I mean, you can nurse them or something. LC are so big on extolling the virtues of wet nursing over ebil formula. One might think THEY would have thought about thisand made sure that you don’t recognize your own baby’s cry. More babies breastfed! Ah joy!

          • Azuran

            But I won’t know it’s feeding cue, or it’s diaper changing cue. So obviously, if an unknown baby sneak in my house and start crying, the only possible course of action will be to stare at it and poke it with a stick or something because there is absolutely no way I can possibly figure out what it needs without knowing it’s cues.

          • Mel

            Oh, that’s bullshit, too.

            Spawn’s always been in a room with as many as 5 other crying preemie babies. I’ve been able to pick out his cry from the first time I heard it. Hell, I found him in a new room with four isolettes because he let out his standard “grunt-growl”. Didn’t even check the name plaque before saying “Hi!”

          • Gæst

            I could tell the difference between my twins’ cries the first time I hear them. I couldn’t describe them to anyone with words, but first my son was crying (born first) and then there was the second, totally different voice crying and that was my daughter.

      • Young CC Prof

        First they tell you, oh, feed the baby when he’s rooting, don’t wait until he screams. Then, when the baby is screaming with hunger, they tell you it’s all fine.

        And they wonder why breastfeeding tragedies occur.

      • Michelle W.

        EXACTLY! Thank you fiftyfifty1. Parents figure it out. Infant screaming hunger cues every time they are taken off the breast. They learned them in a class and are exactly right. The nurse isn’t allowed to tell them anything that isn’t scripted or they will be disciplined. Then here come the LCs telling them to ignore their correct instincts. After all, if they are hungry, then maybe their stomachs aren’t as big as marbles. Even if they had marble sized stomachs, it still would still be empty. I can’t imagine the guilt that poor couple and who knows how many others must live with knowing what the baby needed but was talked out of it. I think that it’s about time that those people who are responsible for giving misinformation to parents, causing harm to babies should be held accountable. Then and only then, will anything change.
        I’m an RN and left a Baby Friendly hospital. I couldn’t lie to the parents. When they asked me what I thought, I told them. I educated them and documented everything. When I was concerned about a baby who was going home, I made sure that the pediatrician was aware of my concerns. I didn’t just leave it to a LC. Their job is to send babies home exclusively bf and that’s what theyd do. That’s why I was always butting heads with LCs. Don’t get me wrong. I breastfed my twins for the 8 weeks at home before returning to wk but they were supplemented because they were small and didn’t have a great suck, not to mention low blood sugar and jaundice. It’s so sickening how far this has been taken. Moms, dads and especially babies are my priority!! You’d be amazed how many nurses look the other way, afraid to speak up on behalf of their patients because they don’t want to get in trouble. They memorized the lines we were fed and instructed to tell parents. These are the babies who are affected. The ones no one cares enough about to hold up a discharge by having them seen by a doctor, not just an LC. I’m sorry for the rant. This is a sensitive topic for me. Thank you for reading! I am so sorry that Landon’s parents had to go through this but they should know they could be saving lives by sharing their incredibly sad story. Thank you!!

        • AnnaPDE

          Yes. “I can’t imagine the guilt that poor couple and who knows how many others must live with knowing what the baby needed but was talked out of it.”
          My LO didn’t suffer any lasting damage from my stupid listening to nurses, LCs and others about how he’s not really hungry and just trying to comfort suckle all the time, but I still feel horribly guilty about keeping him hungry for 2 1/2 weeks. So how awful must it be for people whose babies were actually harmed?!

          • SporkParade

            My kid got his first bottle less than 48 hours after birth, and was discharged on time with no problems as a result. And yet, when I was going through PPD, I couldn’t escape the guilt that my first experience as a mother was failing to protect my baby when he needed me to demand formula for him.

    • Jules B

      Gosh, cognitive bias (on their part) is so hard to change! :-/. Also, to the “learning cues” point: if a new parent can barely keep their eyes open due to extreme exhaustion and/or pain meds etc, how much learning are they going to be able to do anyway??

      • Amy M

        Exactly! Another point I didn’t get into with this woman was that my babies were preterm, so they didn’t give any cues for a couple weeks because all they did was sleep. WE had to tell THEM when they were hungry—we had to get them naked so they would be awake enough to eat and not lose too much weight. After a couple weeks, they were less sleepy and started fussing if they were hungry. Had we been relying on the babies’ cues, (as opposed to common sense—newborns need to eat fairly frequently) they would have starved to death because at the beginning, they never gave any indication they were hungry.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          My pre-schooler still rarely gives any indication that he needs a diaper change. Mostly, he doesn’t seem to mind. Yeah, those big boy panties aren’t in use yet. 🙁

        • Young CC Prof

          My son was 37 weeks. After he was readmitted, the neonatologist told us we needed to set alarms to feed him. NO ONE told us this in the hospital where he was born.

          When he hit his due date, he really did just wake up, and get a whole lot piggier.

          • MaineJen

            That’s interesting…my 37 week daughter was kind of the same, I had been feeding her every 3 hours (which is what I did with my son, who ate like a horse when he was a newborn), but I had to be told by the pedi to do every 2 hours instead. She would fall asleep after feeding for barely 5 minutes!

          • guest

            My daughter was 36 weeks and we were told to set alarms to feed her (can’t remember if it was every 2 or 3 hours). She would take almost an hour to feed because she kept falling asleep. It was a huge pain in the butt, but I didn’t care because she was so scrawny all I could think of was fattening her up. I had people telling me I was stupid for listening to the doctors and waking up all night to feed her, that I should just let her sleep. It was really hard not to rage. After a few weeks of setting alarms, she figured it all out and would wake up on her own and suck down her bottle. Those few weeks really make a difference!

        • Lilly de Lure

          My son was a 37 weeker and pretty much the same – he’d sleep, I’d wake him up every 3 hrs with a change, feed him, he’d blink owlishly at me and the rest of the world for about 10 minutes max, then he’d sleep again untill the time for the next feed. He didn’t know how to give any cues to anybody until he was nearly a month old!

        • Gæst

          My daughter was so hard to get to eat the first few weeks. She’d eat enough to make the discomfort abate, but not enough to gain weight, and we had to coax and coax her and try to stimulate her to stay awake just long enough to eat another ounce. It was very frustrating.

    • Mel

      *Howls with rage*

      I’ve never had the luxury of rooming in with my son. Keeping him alive was far more important.

      And guess what? I LEARNED HIS DAMN CUES!

      Weird preemie cues like:
      “An opened hand means I’m stressed and so does hiccuping”
      “Keep my elbow covered or I’ll freak out”
      “Turning my head towards your chest is adorable – and my first step in removing my CPAP mask or nasal cannula…ha ha ha”
      “You can wiggle my tummy three times to play before I get overstimulated.”

      Don’t pretend that “I’m awake 3 hours after my last feeding, gnawing on my hands, sticking my tongue out and smacking my lips. This means I’m hungry” is rocket science.

      Women aren’t stupid.

      • kilda

        >>Keeping him alive was far more important.

        Not to these people. Seriously, that is the problem. They actually think that it’s more important to have him skin to skin and breastfeeding whenever, than to make sure he’s alive.

      • Gæst

        My kids weren’t in the NICU long, but I wasn’t able to spend much time with them while they were there. The result? I got sent home with an infant with ZERO experience in reading his cues. And yet, miraculously, I figured out how to feed him and he’s still alive in the other room.

    • Tina

      I didn’t get to meet my mother for 5 days, and for three weeks I only got to see her an hour a day while my mother and I recovered. My dad I didn’t get to meet until I was 4 months old. Yet both learned my cues quite quickly. Parents are not stupid and babies know how to make themselves understood.

    • Maya

      You’re kidding, right? Does that woman know anything about fostering and adopting? I’m a foster mom. I have taken in a bunch of newborns and babies just a few months old. I have NEVER had an issue figuring out their cues pretty quickly. And every baby is different. What means hungry in one means uncomfortable in another. I’ve had 14 come into my house over the last 5 years and never took me more than a week to figure one out.

  • Heidi_storage

    Breastfeeding worked a lot better when I had rest and less pressure to breastfeed exclusively; in other words, when I supplemented with Da Eebil Formula. I guess that would make me a “failure” because I wasn’t exclusively breastfeeding at discharge, but in the subsequent 10 weeks Baby has had nothing but boob juice, most of it straight from the breast. BFHI is such a crock.

    • Amazed

      BFHI – a great tool to appropriate the “success” of women who most likely would have breastfed anyway.

      I’ve told the story of my mom who returned from the hospital at the tenth day still very weak from an almost lethal PPH, a huge hungry baby, not a freaking drop of milk and no idea where to find formula for him. (A year ago, they almost refused to enroll me in the kindergarten because the kind of white shoes they required was nowhere to be found. We were in lack of EVERYTHING.) So, when the baby came home, he drank powdered milk. The next day he was gulping breastmilk like there is no tomorrow. The milk had come. Somehow.

      Can you imagine what my mom would have thought if a LC had worked her woo on her? She would have absolutely credited her with this miraculous outcome!

  • mostlyclueless
  • Empress of the Iguana People

    Don’t worry, only the unter frauen have this sort of trouble. /sarcasm