Study: Lack of breastfeeding costs lives, billions of dollars

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(CNN) — If most new moms would breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life, it would save nearly 1,000 lives and billions of dollars each year, according to a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

“The United States incurs $13 billion in excess costs annually and suffers 911 preventable deaths per year because our breastfeeding rates fall far below medical recommendations,” the report said.

The World Health Organization says infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life “to achieve optimal growth, development and health.” The WHO is not alone in its recommendations.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all agree that breast milk alone is sufficient for newborns and infants until they are 6 months old.

However, a 2009 breastfeeding report card from the CDC found that only 74 percent of women start breastfeeding, only 33 percent were still exclusively breastfeeding at three months and only 14 percent were still exclusively breastfeeding at six months.

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Abbott recalls beetle-tainted Similac baby formula

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By Ransdell Pierson

NEW YORK | Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:49pm EDT

(Reuters) – Abbott Laboratories Inc said it is voluntarily recalling millions of containers of its top-selling Similac powdered infant formulas after beetles were found in the products and in a Michigan plant where they are made.

Abbott said on Wednesday that the recall, which could result in $100 million of lost revenue, comes after reports by two consumers of contamination, and its inspection of an area of the plant in Sturgis, Michigan, where beetles or their larvae were found.

“The decision to recall the products was made in advance of the two consumer reports, which are being investigated,” said Abbott spokeswoman Melissa Brotz.

Brotz said fewer than 5 million units of Similac are being recalled in the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean markets.

“When we identified this, we did extensive testing of every product on the (factory) line, and more than 99.8 percent of the product was negative” for beetle contamination, Brotz said. She noted that liquid forms of Similac have not been affected or recalled.

But all powdered product made on the Michigan factory line is being recalled due to the remote possibility of contamination, said Brotz. She described the pest as a common beetle indigenous to houses, office buildings and grocery stores.

Similac competes with Mead Johnson Nutrition Co’s Enfamil infant formula. While shares of Abbott were little changed in late afternoon trading, Mead Johnson rose 1.7 percent.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has determined that while the formula containing these beetles poses no immediate health risk, there is a possibility that infants who consume formula containing the beetles or their larvae could experience symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort and refusal to eat,” Abbott said.

The recalled products involve powdered Similac in plastic containers, and in 8-ounce, 12.4-ounce and 12.9-ounce cans.

Other Abbott factories will step up production of powdered and liquid forms of Similac to help meet consumer demand for infant formula until the Michigan plant resumes production.

Abbott, which said it has had no major product recalls in recent years, estimated that third-quarter company revenue will be reduced by about $100 million due to sales returns.

Abbott, which has annual sales of about $35 billion, reaffirmed its quarterly and full-year profit forecasts.

The suburban Chicago company is often compared to Johnson & Johnson because they both sell a diverse array of consumer products, prescription drugs and medical devices.

J&J has been hounded by repeated massive recalls in the past year — of its Tylenol and Motrin painkillers and its Benadryl allergy treatment — that have tarnished its reputation and sparked a U.S. congressional probe.


Why Breastfeeding In The First Hour Of Life Is Important

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Today countries around the world start celebrating World Breastfeeding Week, which this year emphasizes the importance of breastfeeding in the first hour of life.

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2007 is encouraging breastfeeding in the first hour of life because research shows that early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding for six months can save lives. This is the reason behind this year’s WBW catchphrase: “Breast Feeding the 1st Hour – Save One Million Babies”.

World Breastfeeding Week is supported by a number of global and national organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), who are keen to promote awareness about the importance of breastfeeding soon after birth because of the lifelong health benefits of receiving a mother’s first milk, colostrum, the “perfect food for every newborn”.

A 2006 study published in the journal Pediatrics suggested that 41 per cent of newborns that die in the first month of life could be saved if breastfed in the first hour of life.

The WHO also says feeding colostrum in the first hour increases the likelihood babies will continue to be breastfed which gives them a head start in the “race against malnutrition“. There are 170 million underweight children in the world and 3 million of them die every year.

Colostrum is a sticky yellow-white substance yielded by the mother’s breast soon after birth. It is rich in antibodies and essential nutrients. Yet, in many cultures, ignorant of its health benefits, the custom is to throw it away. Giving newborns water or other liquids denies them a “good start in life” says the WHO, referring to the WHO Child Growth Standards and how babies fed colostrum within the first hour of being born measure up well against the standards.

Breastfeeding in the first hour or so after birth also confers benefits to the mother, such as improved lactation and less loss of blood.

This year, the theme “Breast Feeding the 1st Hour” is also linked with another phrase: “Welcome Baby Softly”. The idea of this theme is to encourage health professionals to “protect” the first hour after birth and help mother and baby bond in a natural, uniterrupted way and maximise the chance the infant will latch onto the breast and stimulate lactation.

President of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA), Rebecca Mannel said that newborns are programmed to find the breast and will often find it by themselves when placed on the mother’s chest, skin to skin.

“In the early moments after birth, babies are in a quiet, alert state and ready to learn”, said Mannel in a prepared statement.

“Babies use all five senses to explore that world. They use their eyes to memorize their mothers’ faces, their ears to associate her voice with her face, and their sense of smell to guide them in finding the breast”, she added.

Newborns have a heightened sense of taste too, and this is particularly sensitive to the taste of breast milk. Mannel also said that “When mothers hold their babies skin-to-skin immediately after birth, their babies are kept warm, they regulate their heart, respiratory, and oxygen saturation rates, and they do not feel pain as acutely”. Babies who have this experience cry less, and are calmer, she said.

United Nations (UN) agencies and the WHO have recently expressed concern that breastfeeding appears to be declining in the Asia-Pacific regions and this is making it harder for babies and children to survive. They want parents to become more aware of the risks of using breast milk substitutes.

At a conference in Manila in the Phillipines last month, experts told an assembly of doctors that breastfeeding reduces child mortality and they showed figures from Cambodia, where child mortality has decreased dramatically following a vigorous and successful breastfeeding campaign.

Between 2000 and 2005 the proportion of Cambodian mothers who were breastfeeding their babies until they were at least six months old jumped from 10 to 60 per cent, according to a BBC report from their correspondent in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This compares with about 30 to 40 per cent across Asia as a whole, according to the WHO.

Child deaths in Cambodia over the same timescale dropped by over 30 per cent, which the WHO credits to the dramatic increase in breastfeeding. The BBC correspondent said that large posters showing mothers breastfeeding were commonplace and the government had set up breastfeeding friendly sites in towns and villages.

A Unicef spokesperson told the BBC that the average family in the developing world believes bottle feeding is better for the baby than breast milk.

Breastfeeding is particularly protective for those babies born in towns and villages where water quality is unreliable and can make formula feeding unsafe.

Child development experts say that breastfeeding benefits all children, not just those in developing countries. It improves cognitive development and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, for example.

Written by: Catharine Paddock
Copyright: Medical News Today

Breastfeeding Decreases Infant Mortality

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Research Triangle Park, N.C. — Data analyzed by scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences suggest that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of death for infants in their first year of life. Looking at infants between 28 days and one year of age, researchers concluded that promoting breastfeeding can potentially prevent up to 720 postneonatal deaths in the U.S. each year.

Researchers compared CDC records of 1,204 children who died between 28 days and one year of causes other than congenital anomalies or cancer with those of 7,740 children still alive at one year.

Children who were breastfed had 20% lower risk of dying between 28 days and one year than children who weren’t breastfed. Longer breastfeeding was associated with lower risk. The effect was the same in both black and white children.

Breastfed infants in the U.S. have lower rates of morbidity, especially from infectious disease, but there are no contemporary US studies of the effect of breastfeeding on all-cause mortality in the first year of life.

The study appears in the May issue of the scientific journal, Pediatrics, and will be released at the 2004 Academic Pediatrics Societies meeting in San Francisco on May 2.

Aimin Chen, MD, Ph.D. and Walter J Rogan, MD (both in the Epidemiology Branch at NIEHS, one of the National Institutes of Health) are the authors of the study. Dr. Rogan said, “Although we knew that breastfeeding in the developing world was lifesaving, since it prevented diarrhea and pneumonia, we had no nationally representative data from the US on this very basic outcome. These data show that, even in the US, there is a modest decrease in mortality for breastfed children.”


FSA ‘ignoring’ evidence on baby bottle chemical bisphenol-A

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16th November, 2009

Health campaigners say suspected hormone disrupter should be banned in baby bottles food and drink containers

Health campaigners have criticised the Food Standards Agency (FSA) for dismissing evidence about the impact of bisphenol-A (BPA) on human health, particularly younger children.

Bisphenol A (BPA), a plastic additive, is used in the coating applied to the insides of food cans and allows it to be heated to kill off bacteria without the metal in the can contaminating the food contents. It is used on a wide variety of food containers including baby bottles and training cups.

Its safety has again been called into question by a recent report published in the US consumer magazine Consumer Reports, which found the chemical in a wide range of canned food in the US.

The report said current guidelines in the US were outdated and did not reflect the more recent studies on the health risks from small doses of BPA.

Different standards

But the FSA said the same concerns do not apply to the UK or Europe. It said a review of the evidence in 2007 estimated the amount of BPA people consumed through their daily food intake was ‘well below tolerable levels’.

‘The European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) has said it will be looking at bisphenol-A again because of pressure from two European member states – Denmark and Belgium. We don’t know what this will entail – if another review of the evidence then there won’t be much new to consider that has come to light since 2007,’ said an FSA spokeswoman.

Low dose evidence

However, health campaigners say the FSA should look again at the evidence.

‘A significant number of studies on BPA have been published on BPA since 2007 that point to potential adverse health effects from BPA, but the FSA point about a lack of scientific evidence is disingenuous as there is over a decades worth of scientific evidence on the low dosage effects of BPA that they just ignored,’ said Clare Dimmer, the Chair of Trustees at Breast Cancer UK.

Breast Cancer UK is launching a national campaign in December calling for a ban on the use of BPA in babies bottles and for better labeling on other products.

‘We hold the view that while further studies on the impact of BPA on human health are warranted, that the available scientific evidence necessitates the Government to act on this chemical.

‘Significantly only last month, the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency announcing their review stated that, “Every few weeks, we read about new potential threats: bisphenol A (BPA) – a chemical that can affect brain development and has been linked to obesity and cancer – is in baby bottles”,’ said Dimmer.

One in eight teens with fatty liver

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One in eight WA teenagers has signs of fatty liver disease, which Perth researchers say is linked to rising rates of obesity, genetic factors and whether children are breastfed as babies.

Gastroenterologist Oyekoya Ayonrinde, from the University of WA and the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, said yesterday his study was the first of its kind to estimate the prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in Australian children and teenagers.

Due to present his findings at the Australian Gastroenterology Week conference in Sydney today, Dr Ayonrinde said the condition, which was related to insulin resistance and caused fatty inflammation of the liver, affected up to 30 per cent of adults and 13 per cent of children by the age of 17 in WA.

It was considered one of the most rapidly increasing liver problems in the Western world and was closely related to type 2 diabetes and obesity.

His team has linked three variations of the gene called adiponectin specifically to fatty liver disease in male teenagers. Two increased the risk of the condition by three to four times, while the last variation reduced the risk by about a quarter.

“We also discovered that babies who were breastfed for at least six months were about 20 per cent less likely to develop the condition as teenagers, and those with the disease were generally heavier than those without it during early childhood,” Dr Ayonrinde said.

Though breastfeeding protected against the disease, a western diet high in saturated fats and refined sugars and lack of exercise increased the risk.

“Fatty liver disease is not a benign condition and it’s not something that happens over a few weeks or months but something that may have its origins in childhood,” he said.

“This study highlights the need for non-invasive tests to help us to learn who may be at risk early enough so that lifestyle changes can prevent the onset of liver disease.”

Synchronized Breastfeeding Worldwide Goes to an Evacuation Center

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Feature on Synchronized Breastfeeding Worldwide in Time Magazine:
http://www.time. com/time/ world/article/ 0,8599,1927465, 00.html

News Release

Contact: Elvira L. Henares-Esguerra, MD, FPDS, RPh, FABM, IBCLC

Six Filipino mothers and three mothers of different nationalities breastfed simultaneously in the Philippine’s Central Site of Synchronized Breastfeeding Worldwide in an evacuation center amidst the devastation wrought by typhoon Ketsana Philippine Code: Ondoy to lead 17 other countries in other parts of the world.

Elvira L. Henares-Esguerra, Children for Breastfeeding said they pushed through with the event despite another brewing super typhoon because of the importance of breastfeeding especially in the current state of calamity. “We want people to know that formula milk is not sterile. We need to emphasize the hierarchy of priority values with respect to infant and young child feeding.with the first priority being breastfeeding by the child’s own mother, then expressed breastmilk from the child’s own mother, the next is wet-nursing or shared nursing by a person other than the child’s mother. The fourth priority being expressed breastmilk from a person other than the child’s mother and fifth priority being stored breastmilk from a human milk bank. Non-human milk prepared in accordance with applicable codex alimentarius standards is a poor sixth as the last resort.”

Dr. Susann Roth, a public health specialist and 2009 Breastfeeding Queen of the Philippines mobilized members of Mothers and Darlings: Gladys Morales-Guevarra, and Nancy Bailet. She said that they wanted to help those mothers who are stressed and are having difficulty in breastfeeding by breastfeeding the babies themselves.

Nona D. Andaya-Castillo, Nurturers of the Earth and Henares-Esguerra also provided psycho-social assistance to children in the evacuation center by teaching them songs on breastfeeding using popular tunes. “These children need to play and get a break from the anxieties of being evacuees. At the same time, we have educated them how to appreciate and support pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. They also learned the hazards of formula-feeding through the songs,” she explained.

The groups distributed brown rice, beans, nuts and sesame seeds, root crops, dried fish and fruits to evacuees citing the importance of providing fresh local, nutrient-dense foods that have less chances of being contaminated.

The inspiration to stage Synchronized Breastfeeding Worldwide was conceived by Henares-Esguerra and Andaya-Castillo to educate mothers en masse on the benefits of breastfeeding. They also saw the need to create public pressure against milk companies and US officials’ move to suppress advocates and the Philippine health officials, the IBCLCs organized two simultaneous breastfeeding events (in single and multiple sites) in their country that created national and international impact and won two Guinness World Records.

The challenge to hold the global event spanning countries with different time zones evolved into the idea of synchronized breastfeeding by gathering the most number of mother-baby pairs to breastfeed at exactly the same LOCAL TIME in their Time Zone.  Similar to the celebration of New Year, every hour in succession for a 24-hour period, countries in one time zone will breastfeed simultaneously.

The first global event spearheaded by Henares-Esguerra’s organization, Children for Breastfeeding Inc Philippines, in partnership with the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) took place on 8 August 2007 to cap the celebration of World Breastfeeding Week. It mobilized 10,103 mother-child pairs converged in 325 sites in 16 countries with 9,826 pairs successfully latched at exactly 10:00 a.m. at their own local time.

The Breastfeeding Clinic:Your Partner from Pregnancy to Parenting
A joint Project of Children for Breastfeeding, Inc. and Nurturers of the Earth Philippines
Managed by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants:
Nona D. Andaya-Castillo, IBCLC
Elvira L. Henares-Esguerra, MD, FPDS, RPh, IBCLC
PLDT Wireless Landline: (632) 701-4429-30 Mobile: 63-919-839-5555
www.breastfeedingph ilippines. com