Increasing breastfeeding could prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths

Just 1 in 5 children in high-income countries are breastfed to 12 months, whilst only 1 in 3 children in low and middle-income countries are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months. As a result, millions of children are failing to receive the full benefits provided by breastfeeding. The findings come from the largest and most detailed analysis to quantify levels, trends, and benefits of breastfeeding around the world…

New estimates…reveal that increasing breastfeeding to near-universal levels for infants and young children could save over 800,000 children’s lives a year worldwide, equivalent to 13% of all deaths in children under two, and prevent an extra 20,000 deaths from breast cancer every year.

Although breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive health measures for children and mothers regardless of where they live, it has been overlooked as a critical need for the health of the population, say the authors.

“There is a widespread misconception that the benefits of breastfeeding only relate to poor countries. Nothing could be further from the truth,” says Series author Professor Cesar Victora from the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil. “Our work for this Series clearly shows that breastfeeding saves lives and money in all countries, rich and poor alike. Therefore, the importance of tackling the issue globally is greater than ever.”

Analysis of data from 28 systematic reviews and meta-analyses, of which 22 were commissioned specifically for the Series, indicate that breastfeeding not only has multiple health benefits for children and mothers, but it also has dramatic effects on life expectancy. For example, in high-income countries breastfeeding reduces the risk of sudden infant deaths by more than a third, while in low-and middle-income countries about half of all diarrhea episodes and a third of respiratory infections could be avoided by breastfeeding. It also increases intelligence, and might protect against obesity and diabetes in later life. For mothers, longer-duration breastfeeding reduces the risks of breast cancer and ovarian cancer…

Yet, worldwide rates of breastfeeding are low, particularly in high-income countries…“Breastfeeding is one of the few positive health behaviours that is more common in poor than richer countries, and within poor countries, is more frequent among poor mothers,” explains Professor Victora. “The stark reality is that in the absence of breastfeeding, the rich-poor gap in child survival would be even wider…”

Powerful political commitment and financial investment is needed to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding at all levels — family, community, workplace, and government, say the authors. Additionally, more needs to be done to regulate the multi-billion dollar breastmilk-substitute industry which undermines breastfeeding as the best feeding practice in early life

Perish the thought that it is reasonable to ask government and educators to intervene on behalf of healthful, natural life practices – which might lessen the profits of a few corporations.

Republican says pregnant women are “hosts,” even if some people “refer to them as mothers”

A pregnant woman is just a “host” for a fetus, according to Virginia state Sen. Steve Martin.

The Republican legislator representing Virginia’s 11th district made the comment in response to a Valentine’s Day card from a reproductive rights group calling on him to protect reproductive health options in the state.

“I don’t expect to be in the room or will I do anything to prevent you from obtaining a contraceptive,” Martin wrote on Facebook. “However, once a child does exist in your womb, I’m not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child’s host (some refer to them as mothers) doesn’t want it.”

Martin went on to call reproductive rights advocates “sick people.”

Martin’s claim that he does not “expect to be in the room” or “do anything to prevent you from obtaining a contraceptive” is, of course, entirely disingenuous. He is a vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act and the Medicaid expansion, which would ensure affordable access to healthcare and contraception for people across Virginia.

It should probably go without saying, too, that Martin does not support abortion rights.

The creep has edited his post since everything blew up and he realized that average folks aren’t as willing to join the Republican war on Women as are his acolytes in the anti-abortion movement. Fortunately, plenty of folks on the Left have screengrabs and are using them to reference what he originally said.

Are you upset over the breast-feeding baby doll?


 
Little girls love mimicking their mommies. They clomp around in high heels, push toy Dyson vacuums and tenderly strap stuffed animals into baby strollers. Big sisters — and brothers — who see their mothers nursing a new baby sibling often pretend to do the same. Lifting their tiny tees, they smush a doll or, in my daughter’s case, a panda to their chest. As parents, we race for the camera and post the adorable pics on Facebook. So why all the brouhaha over the The Breast Milk Baby?

“Yuck” is the general reaction that the sweet-faced Spanish import is receiving in the U.S. It’s apparently a hit in Europe, but more prudish Americans are clamoring to decry the inappropriateness of a doll that lets a young girl pretend to breast-feed. The six models — Cameron, Jeremiah, Lilyang, Jessica, Savannah and Tony — are sold with a flowered halter top for your breast-feeder-in-training to wear. Hold the baby to the strategically placed flower “nipple,” and the doll moves its mouth and makes associated suckling sounds.

Granted, it’s — pardon the pun — pretty over the top. But it’s hardly odder than the anatomically correct boy-doll my mother-in-law bought my son; fill it with water and it obediently wet the plastic potty it came with. Yet while urinating — and defecating — dolls are commonplace, major retailers have shied away from Breast Milk Baby so far, although manufacturer Berjuan Toys intends to tout the doll’s appeal at a mega-trade show later this month in Las Vegas…

Berjuan, meanwhile, is milking its 15 minutes of fame for all it’s worth. On its website, the company trumpets that “God Supports The Breast Milk Baby” and U.S. spokesman Dennis Lewis complains of being labeled “perverts and pedophiles” for promoting breast-feeding. “Churches all over the world are filled with images of Mary nursing baby Jesus, and yet we can’t imagine letting our daughters learn how important breastfeeding is for our society?” he says on the site.

Religious guilt aside, it’s undeniable that the doll is a good match for children, who are naturally curious about biology. The Breast Milk Baby simulates the miraculously complex way a woman’s body can produce all the food her baby needs for many months. It’s one thing to castigate Bratz dolls with their sultry, made-up eyes and Angelina Jolie lips or Barbies with their infinitesimal waists and big boobs; they ooze sexuality and project unattainable body ideals. If anything, The Breast Milk Baby is a refreshing change from the doll-as-tarted-up-playmate paradigm: it’s not about sex; it’s about eating.

Not that there is anything unusual about Americans blurting out their ignorance and archaic fears over sex and/or food. You probably could turn out a joint Christian/Tea Party demonstration against a local retailer offering this doll – ten times faster and easier than, say, the equivalent herd showing up at a public exposition on neutering stray dogs and cats. Though the latter addresses longterm questions our society should deal with and the former – well, the former is a historic footnote on the insecurities of this nation.

Citywide smoking ban = < maternal smoking, pre-term births

New research…takes a look at birth outcomes and maternal smoking, building urgency for more states and cities to join the nationwide smoke-free trend that has accelerated in recent years. According to the new data, strong smoke-free policies can improve fetal outcomes by significantly reducing the prevalence of maternal smoking.

The study…compared maternal smoking prevalence in one Colorado city where a smoking ban has already been implemented to that of a neighboring city where there is no ordinance.

Researchers from the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy collected data from mothers residing in Pueblo, Colo., before and after a citywide smoking ban took effect. Results show a 23 percent decrease in the odds of preterm births and a 37 percent decrease in the odds of maternal smoking in Pueblo following the ban. Birth outcomes in El Paso County, Colo., however, showed no such drop during the same time period. Findings in this first-ever study in United States reflect similar findings as national data from Dublin, Ireland.

The study suggests that smoking bans have a significant and immediate positive impact on the health of infants and mothers. Pre-term babies stand a greater likelihood of experiencing cardiovascular issues later in life.

“This research proves that smoking is an irrefutable risk factor for expectant mothers who are acutely more affected,” said Associate Professor Robert Page, PharmD, MSPH, at the University of Colorado Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine, and lead researcher on the study, who presented the findings. “The good news is that implementing strong tobacco control policy can protect even the most vulnerable from the deadly consequences of smoking.”

There are sufficient self-detructive so-called adults who consider this a libertarian issue. The silly part is they uniformly deny one’s right to legal suicide. But, it’s OK to kill yourself, your family, children and co-workers because of your addiction. One with no redeeming social value whatsoever.

Breastfeeding rooms hidden in health care law

With her 5-week-old daughter crying in a bathroom at Nordstrom, and not knowing how to get the baby to latch on to her breast, Garima Nahar found herself surrounded by other women. Some offered tips, but one woman told the new mother to cover up or turn the other way.

“I had to kind of hide my tears and just be brave in front of her, because, you know what, ‘I have a crying baby and I don’t want to deal with you right now,’ ” said Nahar, a software manager in Chicago, Illinois.

Women across America have felt uncomfortable in public situations when breastfeeding their children. Sarah Hood of Fayetteville, Arkansas, who works in advertising, got stares when breastfeeding her son in the open.

Working mothers like Nahar and Hood have had to carefully tailor their schedules so that they can pump milk in the middle of the day, and avoid stares when they put bottles in the communal refrigerators. Some have to use a bathroom stall to pump milk, as there is no other space available.

Nursing mothers will now get additional support, thanks to page 1239 of the health care bill that President Obama recently signed into law. It requires employers to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.” Only companies with less than 50 employees can claim it’s an undue hardship…

A recent study in the journal Pediatrics showed breastfeeding a child for the first six months of life would save nearly 1,000 lives and billions of dollars each year. That’s because breastfeeding reduces the risk of certain illnesses such as pneumonia, according to the study. Much of the cost comes from excess premature deaths, the study authors said.

Part of the question takes us back to what bloody century does our nation belong to? Not the part that studies and learns, not the part that marches towards health and happiness? It seems to be the loudmouthed crowd that Congress seems to listen to at least as much as the lobbyists paying their country club bar bill.

RTFA. It’s long and useful. It’s amazing that this is a tougher question to deal with in the 21st Century than the centuries which felt women shouldn’t have the right to vote or equal opportunity at a job.

Facebook yanks photos of breastfeeding mom


The photo removed by Facebook admin

Mom Kelli Roman got an unexpected Christmas Eve surprise: Facebook yanked her privileges to use the social networking site not long after she received an e-mail warning for “misusing certain features on the site.” Roman has been at the center of a growing controversy on Facebook that’s been brewing since last summer — that some photos of breastfeeding are obscene.

The group that Roman started after Facebook removed a photo of her breastfeeding, called “Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding is Not Obscene,” now has more than 64,000 members. They’re having a combined virtual and real event to protest Facebook practices.

Facebook suits have issued a candyass disclaimer saying they only act upon “complaints”.

For the virtual event, the organizers are asking its members to post profile photos of a nursing mom of any sort (human, animal or in art) along with a status line of “Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!” There will also be an in-person nurse-in outside Facebook’s Palo Alto offices.

Of course, this doesn’t affect my use of Facebook. I see no reason to socialize with most human beings, anyway. That’s part of my official hermit oath as you all should know, by now.

Abandoned by both mothers, surrogate infant trapped in red tape

A 13-day-old girl may become India’s first surrogacy orphan after the Japanese couple who paid for her to be conceived divorced just weeks before she was born, leaving her in legal limbo.

The baby, who has been named Manji and is being kept in hospital after falling ill, faces an uncertain future after her Indian surrogate mother and the Japanese woman who had planned to adopt her refused to take her.

Her biological father, who wants to keep the baby, has not been allowed to take her out of the country because of laws banning single men from adopting girls.

Lawyers said that the case highlighted the need for legislation to regulate surrogate pregnancies in India amid fears that the rent-a-womb industry in the country is out of control.

Poor little twerp. Hopefully, she’ll get past the legalese and have a chance at something passing for a normal life.