Refocusing the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes

Posted 11-14-2013 at 12:48 PM by yoliyoda

I have to applaud the island country of Jamaica. They are in discussion for banning the advertising of infant formula to the general public. Dr. Kenneth Russell of UNICEF says that for the “big picture”, the standing ban on advertising of formula in Jamaica needs to be observed. He says that it’s about producing healthy children.

Jamaica is one of the many countries that took seriously the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Adopted by The World Health Organization, the document says that companies which produce breastfeeding substitutions should not promote their wares to the general public or give free supplies and gifts to mothers and healthcare workers, or prompt themselves in hospitals. Breastfeeding substitutions include both formula and bottles. Companies also have to be careful about the language the actually put on their products. They have to clearly state the dangers of their product and and no use ‘dreamy’ idealized language to describe their it.

In the introduction of the piece, the WHO cited The Twenty-seventh World Health Assembly from 1974, noting “the general decline in breast-feeding in many parts of the world, related to sociocultural and other factors including the promotion of manufactured breast-milk substitutes, and urged ‘Member countries to review sales promotion activities on baby foods to introduce appropriate remedial measures, including advertisement codes and legislation where necessary’ “

Bravo for every country that sticks up for the benefits of breastfeeding! While I have used formula to supplement, I love breastfeeding. My love-bunny (when he grows up don’t tell him that I called him his nickname in public) breastfeeds more than he doesn’t. And while the US does have some regulations on what companies that produce breastfeeding replacements can and can’t do, in perspective I don’t think that they’ve done enough.

Diaper Swapers

A Breastfeeding Bully Hospital?

Posted 10-28-2013 at 08:43 AM by yoliyoda

Is there such a thing as a breastfeeding bully? A recent article in Australia’s paper The Morning Bulletin had my head spinning to realize that not only do they exist–some of them should know better.

In the article the mother of a child in the ICU at the Wakiato Hospital in Australia was not given meals because she did not breastfeed. She was directly told that the reason that she only received toast for breakfast and nothing else was because the hospital only provided extra meals to mothers of children in the ICU that breastfeed. The mother indicated that for her own medical reasons she decided not to breastfeed. She also indicated that she didn’t want to leave her child alone in the ward while she went to the cafeteria to get food. The Southern District’s Health Board said that the long standing policy was put into place to encourage mothers to breastfeed.

Ouch. Can you said “overkill”?

Lactating Grandma Teaches Me A Lesson

Posted 10-2-2013 at 02:45 PM by yoliyoda

Sometimes I think people focus on the negative too much. I know that occasionally I am guilty of that. The first time I was breastfeeding exclusively I was stubborn when issues arose. How could I not be producing enough milk for my son? People were wrong to tell me I was having supply issues. I wasn’t having issues, they were. At least that’s what I thought.

Then one day a very wise advisor told me it wasn’t about me, it was about my son. If he wasn’t getting enough milk and it was affecting his health I basically needed to stop being selfish and supplement while I worked on my supply.

I cried and cried. How could I not be providing enough for my son? I felt like a failure. But I realized my son needed more at the moment than I was producing. So I provided the bottle, put on a strong face, and hoped no one would notice how crushed I felt. And that feeling of being a ‘bad mom’ was a bigger problem than a bottle ever could be.

Recently I read an article about Christie Chisha. She is a 63-year-old grandmother in Zambia who started lactating so she could take care of her grandchildren after her daughter died three days after giving birth. Unable to afford formula for the twins, in an act of desperation she placed the twins to her breast. And while she has begun to lactate, she isn’t providing enough milk. Too poor to buy formula, and without government assistance, the twins are malnourished. She wishes she could produce the amount of milk I could, or even provide the formula supplement I have access too.

Why Aren’t More Mocha Mamas Breastfeeding?

Posted 09-27-2013 at 11:46 AM by yoliyoda

It's Only Natural National Campaign Recent figures released from the US Department of Human and Health Services indicates that only about 55% of African American women attempt to breastfeed their child. It’s actually a figure that is up for the 35% in the 1970s. The specific areas with the lowest numbers come from the South. Unfortunately the figures don’t surprise me.

I am an African American woman living in the Southeast. To be clear, my family background is actually Caribbean, but I was born in the states. The difference may seem slight, but often when it comes to ideology “Caribbean American” doesn’t always equal “African American”. By my own experience, this is often the case in the view of breastfeeding, usually more accepted and prevalent among my Caribbean female friends.

It’s been hard for me to find breastfeeding role models within my own ethnicity. That really isn’t a priority to me, but I do find it troublesome. With the proven benefits of breastfeeding including lower risk of childhood obesity and diabetes, and lowering risks of cancer for the mother–all things that plague the African American community–I’m left wondering why so few of us are taking advantage of the obvious.

Then again, maybe it’s not so obvious. I consider myself an educated woman, yet I didn’t know about all the benefits until I got pregnant. There was no bases of experience, or voices of encouragement, trumpeting the joys of breastfeeding to me. And I understand part of the reason: before the years of La Leche League many women, some of whom were not only in the healthcare profession, but specifically OB-GYN nurses, found the art of breastfeeding mystifying. When the change in mindset came, and help started to emerge for woman who wanted to breastfeed, it didn’t trickle down to the African American community so easily. Let’s be honest: when many had little or subpar health care for themselves, they’d be hard pressed to find someone, anyone, that could help them demystify breastfeeding. My mother was one of women lost in the shroud. She tried and failed, with no support, to breastfeed. She didn’t even know there was support available.