Saturday, December 28, 2002


December 14, 2002

By David Crowe

"Breastfeeding by HIV-positive women has been frowned upon for a long time. In fact, in at least one case, it has been declared illegal for an HIV-positive woman. This view is based on inaccurate information, and it seems likely that breastfeeding is the best thing that HIV-positive mothers could possibly do for their babies, just as is the case for all other mothers.

It only took two anecdotal cases for the CDC to warn against HIV-positive mothers breastfeeding, but it was a meta-analysis published by Dunn et al in Lancet in 1992 that was the beginning of the end for choice in feeding practices. This study concluded that breastfeeding posed a 14% excess risk of HIV transmission. Since then, breastfeeding has been difficult for women in poor countries, and a huge amount of effort by WHO, Unicef and others has gone into studying and implementing replacement feeding (i.e. formula) by mothers in poor countries.

Dunn believed that the HIV status of breastfed children was a combination of HIV transmission in the womb (in utero transmission) and through breastmilk. He therefore, searched for data sets that compared the HIV transmission frequency of formula fed and breastfed babies. He found six, from Zaire, Miami, France, Switzerland, Australia as well as a pan-European study. He subtracted the HIV transmission frequency of the formula fed babies (which he believed could only be due to in utero transmission) from the frequency in breastfed babies for each study. His 14% figure was a weighted average of the difference in each study.

This is very clever but, like all meta-analyses (those that use the output of other researchers as their raw material) it is subject to the GIGO principle (Garbage In ? Garbage Out). And, in the case of the studies used by Dunn, there are enough holes to drive trucks full of formula through (and many have been)." [ is well known for its thorough criticism of health care establishment issues, and this essay on breastfeeding and HIV is no exception - JC]

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Nestle makes PR blunder in Ethiopia - Japan's Leading International News Network Japan Today Japan News - News,

Fred Brigland

Tuesday, December 24, 2002 at 09:30 JST
[Nestle's efforts to recover $6.3B from Ethopia are called a major PR blunder in this article, which also adresses Nestle's controversial third-world infant formula marketing practices. - jc]
More mothers take breastfeeding route - Pollard, Health Writer,,
December 24 2002

" seems the message that breast is best is getting through, with rates of breastfeeding on the rise in Australia, helped along by more family-friendly workplaces and improved support services for new mothers.

Mirroring US trends, the number of mothers initiating breastfeeding has moved to around 87-90 per cent, according to Karen Simmer, professor of Newborn Medicine at the University of Western Australia.

That rate drops to 45-50 per cent at six months, presenting a continuing challenge for families and breastfeeding advocates...."
53, and child busy

Lisa Kremer; The News Tribune

Morgan Zantua's magical baby has become a magical toddler.

An outgoing, loving, curious, talkative toddler. Quite a handful for a 53-year-old first-time mom.

Zantua made the news earlier this year when we told the story of her surprise first-time pregnancy at 51....
When we last interviewed Zantua, she had a part-time job and several contract jobs, still was breast-feeding 9-month-old Auriel and took her everywhere she went.

Some things have changed, some haven't. Zantua still breast-feeds, and intends to at least until Auriel's second birthday. She's been swayed by studies showing the innumerable benefits to babies of breast-feeding - and reports that the longer mothers breast-feed, the less their chance of getting breast cancer."

Friday, December 20, 2002

On call to new mothers. Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/14/2002,
By Mia Gerger

"In many ways, Heather Sliwinski is like any other 33-year-old mother of six. She gets the children ready for school, makes lunches, goes to football games, and cooks dinner for eight.

But all the while, she is on call.

She is not a doctor, but a trained breast-feeding counselor whose cell phone rings at all hours.

"People in the supermarket have heard some very interesting conversations with me walking down the aisle," says Sliwinski, coordinator of the Abington-based Nursing Mothers' Advisory Council hotline."

Thursday, December 19, 2002

U.S. baby infected before birth with West Nile - Dec. 19, 2002. 06:54AM
"SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) A month-old baby with the West Nile virus was infected before she was born in the country's first documented intrauterine transmission of the disease, according to a report.

The case surprised health officials who had believed the disease could not be passed from pregnant mothers to their unborn children, the Post-Standard of Syracuse reported today...." [This item goes on to report a case of West Nile in a Michigan infant acquired through breastmilk. In fact, the CDC isolated viral fragments and antibodies in breastmilk and antibodies in the infant, but the infant was not ill with WNV. - JC]

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Gene link to breastfeed crisis BBC NEWS | Health | , Monday, 16 December, 2002, 00:01 GMT

"Women who have problems breastfeeding may have a faulty gene, researchers have suggested.

Tests on mice found a specific gene was needed for them to be able to lactate.

The US researchers said the discovery could offer a genetic basis for breastfeeding problems, which are experienced by around 5% of women.

UK breastfeeding experts say some women experience problems, not because of genetics, but because they are not shown the best way to breastfeed their babies - and so give up." [The problem with this report is the statement that 5 per cent of women have problems breastfeeding - it leads to the conclusion that these are unresolvable problems, and, ahah! now we have a genetic reason. The five per cent figure isn't accurate and doesn't represent the percentage of women who have *unsolvable* breastfeeding problems. - JC]
Baring for a cause:
Nursing mums turn models
Channel NewsAsia,
By Tor Ching Li
"Let's make a clean breast of it: Public breast-feeding isn't common in Singapore, nor have the benefits of breast-feeding been given much exposure - till now.

Determined to bring to bare the benefits of mother's milk, a group of lactating mothers, ranging from housewives to lawyers, have come upfront to model with their breast-fed children for the "MummysMilk 2003 Breastfeeding Calendar".
The first of its kind to be published in Singapore, this calendar features breast-feeding mothers in action, with their infants latched on to them and suckling happily."
Birthday link to digestive disorder BBC NEWS | Health | December 17, 2002 ...
"Writing in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the researchers say: "Children born during the summer, when there is an increased risk for coeliac disease, have been in utero mainly during the winter when there is the greatest risk for infections in the mother.

"Furthermore, children born in the summer are introduced to a dietary gluten and also frequently weaned off the breast during the winter when the likelihood of becoming infected is greatest."

The researchers suggest that the best way to reduce risk is to introduce gluten-containing foods to a child's diet in small amounts while breastfeeding is still taking place...."
Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | 'He's like a little baby from Ethiopia isn't he?'

"Sophie Pierce on her son's 'gross failure to thrive'

Tuesday December 17, 2002
The Guardian

My baby Felix was born after an emergency caesarean section, which followed an induced labour. He was two weeks overdue, and the doctors did not want to wait. In retrospect, perhaps, he wasn't ready to be born, and his subsequent hunger strike was some form of protest."

Friday, December 13, 2002

Breast Milk Banks Offer Help For Premature Babies
Christine Miles, KOIN 6 News
PORTLAND -- More women in the United States are breast feeding.

The number is the highest seen in last 50 years, but not all babies are getting their own mothers' milk.

A unique operation in Texas provides human milk for premature babies around the country.

Ten-month-old Lilli Anne Jackson easily downs her banana and cheerios. But, it wasn't always so easy to feed her.

Born seven weeks premature, Lilly's tiny stomach couldn't tolerate formula. Unable to produce milk herself, Jackson fed Lilli with donated milk that she got from a human milk bank.

One of only five in the nation, the Austin Milk Bank extensively tests and pasteurizes more than 84,000 ounces of human milk each year.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Don’t take my baby away from me! The Manila Times Internet Edition | LIFE & TIMES >
Saturday, December 7, 2002

Don't take my baby away from me!
By Erwin Cabucos

If you tell a Filipino mother to get rid of her baby from her bed and leave the baby in a crib in a separate bedroom, she?ll more likely shake her head at you and tell you to back off.

The practice of co-sleeping is synonymous to bringing up kids in the Philippines. With our population rate, it would no longer be a surprise if someone claims that we are one of the top doers of co-sleeping in the world.

Our forebears had been doing it for thousands of years. Is it because we are scared of halimaw or aswang that if we leave our baby in a separate bedroom, the baby-eating creature will open the window and take our baby away? Is it because we often have big families and we simply run out of bedrooms? Or is it because we strongly believe that by instinct a mother finds it hard to separate herself from her young at such an early age? - Got Milk? Hope You're Not a Working Mom
By Linda M. Blum
Linda M. Blum, author of"At the Breast: Ideologies of Breastfeeding and Motherhood in the Contemporary United States," teaches sociology and women's studies at the University of New Hampshire.

December 11, 2002
A new study showing soaring rates of breast-feeding in the United States is being widely celebrated. The survey of 400,000 new moms in the journal Pediatrics found that 70 percent nursed their newborns before leaving the hospital - the highest percentage in modern history.
This may be good news for American babies, but for American moms there is more to the story. With a scarcity of family-friendly policies, many make infant-feeding choices amid guilt, exhaustion, embarrassment and financial worry.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

The Sacramento Bee -- -- A father's quest

Tom Mooers of Nevada City pauses as he discusses his wife, Sarah Forslund, who died shortly after giving birth to Wesley, now 6 months old.
Sacramento Bee / Lezlie Sterling
A father's quest

After his wife's death, he seeks insurance coverage for breast milk

By Dorsey Griffith -- Bee Medical Writer
Published 2:15 a.m. PST Friday, December 6, 2002
NEVADA CITY -- Wesley Forslund-Mooers is a sturdy 6-month-old with rosy cheeks and lively blue eyes. He scoots. He rolls. He coos. And he offers his toothless smile to anyone who catches his eye.

His robust health, says his dad, is due in large measure to breast milk. He believes the milk not only sustains Wesley, but arms him against any number of maladies he may face down the road.

Monday, December 02, 2002

Malcolm Chisholm emerges the victorThe Herald's annual political awards: "The Free Spirit of the Year award went to Labour's Elaine Smith, MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston, who has shown herself unafraid to champion controversial issues such as legal protection for mothers breastfeeding in public places."