Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bottlefeeding vs. Breastfeeding: My Formula for Success

Gabriel Joseph de Froment, Baron de Castille (1747 - 1826) and his wife Princess Hermine Aline Dorothée de Rohan (1785 - 1843) with their family - French School - 19th Century

When it comes to formula feeding vs. breastfeeding, we moms tend to take a very divisive stance on the issue. As someone with IGT and someone who is a lactavist at heart I truly see both sides of this story.
Last month, Mayor Bloomberg went a step farther and said that formula needs to be under lock and key. Formula is not a controlled substance and some moms thought that this step vilified their feeding choice.
My mother had insufficient supply in the 70s and my 2 month old brother was severely malnourished. Three of her sisters have had breast cancer and two of them died from the disease. Something is wrong, genetically, in my family with regards to breastfeeding. My grandmother did not breastfeed due to the strong marketing of formula in the 40s and 50s, plus her native ancestors passed down the knowledge of babies starving because of lack of supply. Then, there was a tribe to meet the needs of those mothers, they shared so the baby did not starve to death. That is how they survived without the formula. Our industrialized society is also partly to blame. There are endocrine disturbing chemicals by the tons that did not exist 200 years ago. Lack of supply is very VERY real.
Although I was determined to beat the odds of my genes, I did not. I have 4 daughters and I had to supplement every one. With each one I gained knowledge and understanding, and milk. I supplemented with a bottle with #1, with a syringe with #2 and an SNS with #3 and #4. With the first I was only able to pump out drops, and even then they barely left my nipple let alone broke enough surface tension to get through the pumpworks and into the storage bottle. The second I became better acquainted with how my body worked and I was able to hand express about 1/4 oz out of each side. By #4 I jumped for joy when I got to the 1 1/2 oz mark!!!
I used formula, but I hated it! I knew it was creating an imbalance in their gut flora and that the stuff curdles within 24 hours. I searched and found a donor mom for #4 and her milk sustained my babe for 5 months, until which time she decided she was staying home with her baby and would no longer pump.
I was beaten down by my pediatrician for choosing donor milk over formula. He handed me a can the company provided to him and with tears in my eyes I took it. Then, probably because I was using the SNS, I got a horrible case of nipple thrush.
I hate formula, but in my case it was needed. Had there been a better network of donors available and a system that my pediatrician would have encouraged instead of degraded, then things would have been different. Change does need to come, and Bloomberg’s is a step in the right direction… and this is coming from a 4 time low supply mama.

I pray that a more supportive network happens and that formula, which really isn't best, is replaced by the real thing. Research, such as this gut study and this milk protein study both point to type 2 diabetes risk of formula feeding and benefit of breastfeeding. And this study links early gluten based solids to type 1 diabetes!
Breastfeeding needs to be the standard. Let's work to this goal instead of wasting time blaming each other for making choices that, at the time, were the best choices we had available. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Nestle BIG GMO Flub!

Recently a Nestle CEO said that Us and Canadian customers were demanding GMOs in their products. Someone on CARE2 took it upon themselves to have a petition signed to make the government label GMOs on our packaging, but I wanted to take a different approach. So I decided to contact the company.

Searching the Nestle site I obediently clicked the "Contact Us" page which is where all good little consumers go to tell companies how they feel. I submitted all my information and pressed "submit" and got this message:

"Sorry this service is temporarily disabled.
Please try later and in the meanwhile, enjoy visiting this website."

Very Nice of you Nestle.

So instead of taking that lying down, I did a little research (cause that's how I roll :) and found out that Dr. Werner J. Bauer is the head of R&D and Nestle :


He is also on the board of Bertelsmann Stiftung:


So instead of contacting him through Nestle, I contacted him here:


I put "Dr. Werner J. Bauer - R&D Proposal.." in the subject line and said:

As a US consumer, I will no longer buy any product that has the Nestle label because of your stance on exporting GMOs to our country. I will research what other brands you own and boycott them as well. Step up and label foods that contain GMOs, or make all your products GMO free for all of your markets.

If you care about GMO labeling, or you care about the health of the future generation, contact Dr. Bauer and educate him on what US consumers want. It certainly ISN'T GMOS!

Bertelsmann Stiftung | Contact
Fundación BertelsmannPg. de Picasso, 16, baixos08003 BarcelonaSpain
Tel.: +34(93)268-7444
Fax: +34(93)268-7173

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Many of today's parents are horrified when they hear stories of mothers taking their children to "pox parties" which are designed to expose their children to chicken pox and gain immunity naturally. Many people are up in arms slinging around words like "child abuse" and "irresponsible." As a child in the 70s, I remember most mothers doing just that when one of the kids got sick with the chicken pox. No one threatened to take their children away. it was just accepted as a way to get the disease over with.

The vaccines for these childhood diseases seemed like such a good idea, especially in the late 80s when moms started to get back in the workforce. It was no longer feasible to keep a kid home with a parent if it meant missing a week of work. Now that no one was home we needed a better way to "deal with the problem" and modern medicine delivered.

Smoke and Mirrors

But what they delivered was not exactly what we bargained for. As the list of convenience vaccines increased, the schedule became overwhelming. Was it really OK to give a child 5 shots at two months of age? To answer this question, big pharma started combining the vaccines. They also increased the amount of chemicals in them so that the body could race to get rid of the chemicals, thus finding the tiny amount of expensive pathogen. This made them cheaper to manufacture, and people got less sticks. Problem solved, Right?

Well, not so much. Chicken pox and MMR both, depending on the manufacturer, have human components, which are injected into your child's body with the pathogen. They also contain preservatives and adjuvants, like aluminum, which is toxic to the brain. It was discovered by the AAP to cause developmental delay in premature infants who were given 500 microrgrams over a 10 day period. The Pediarix brand vaccine contains 800 micrograms in one dose.

An adjuvant is something that stimulates the immune system to say, "hey, get this crap the heck out of here before it gets to the brain!" These adjuvants hyper-stimulate the immune system so that it finds the pathogen. The human components are thought to be inert particles used as a growing medium for the pathogens. Those shouldn't be an issue, right?

Putting It All Together

Wrong again. When I was writing for readytoquit.com, I came across some information about the nicotine vaccine. This vaccine was comprised of a pathogen and nicotine,The vaccine was extremely successful in the first three stages of trials. When injected, the test subjects created antibodies for the nicotine molecule,  When the antibody attached to the nicotine molecule it was too large to pass the blood brain barrier. Consequently, when they smoked they had no "ahhh" feeling anymore and and as a result many stopped smoking.

Reading this literature shocked me. Aside from my questions about what would happen if these people who had been injected with the vaccine would become allergic to the foods that contain nicotine, such as eggplant, peppers and tomatoes, I had other concerns. I was bringing it to my situation where my kiddos were getting injected with egg components and human tissues. To me, it was not a far stretch to assume that my child's body would create antibodies for these egg and human components as well as the pathogens.

We are seeing a dramatic rise in Autism, and if you've read anything about PANDAS you know that antibodies can attack brain tissue, so the question if these things cause autisim is still very much up in the air, at least in my opinion. We are also seeing a dramatic rise in other autoimmune diseases such as alopecia areata, lupus, and MS.

What Time Is It?

The complications of the diseases of Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Chicken Pox are indeed rare. Almost everyone in the 50s and 60s got these diseases and nearly all lived through them. According to the CDC, those most likely to experience those complications are those with compromised immune systems. So why aren't we just vaccinating these groups instead of the whole population?

To me we are doing way more harm than good trying to vaccinate the entire population in effort to eliminate the disease. If we've learned anything from the flu virus it is that viruses mutate. To chase them away by trying to vaccinate for everything is like trying to keep a colander from leaking. If convenience is the main reason we get these shots for our kids, are we counting how many total hours spent on behavioral therapy?

So to get rid of these troublesome, work interrupting, childhood illnesses, we went a step beyond "dangerous" illnesses, like diphtheria, and started vaxing for everything, including diarrhea. It just doesn't make sense to vax for a fairly mild childhood illness when doing so could cause lifelong debilitation. Besides the possible neurological effects, the varicella vaccine is a risk factor for shingles later in life, which is why moms are deciding against the vaccine, and choosing to get their child's immunity naturally.

It's Party Time!

I'm not sure I'll ever have my children attend a pox party, but knowing what I know now about how immunizations work, I am not going to inject my children with human components. To me that is just setting them up for an auto-immune disease later. If my unvaxed child gets to the age where it becomes evident that she hasn't gained immunity, I'll get her titered for varicella and decide what to do then.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Why I (STILL!?!?) Breastfeed My Two-Year-Old

Many people express shock and sometimes even horror when they learn that I still breastfeed my 2 1/2 year old. However there are several important reasons why, despite their discomfort, I will continue until she is ready to wean. Here are just a few:

She's not biologically ready to be weaned.

At the age of two, a child has usually just gotten their 2 year molars and is just starting to be able to chew foods correctly. It can take a year or more for them to master chewing their food well enough to digest it fully. When we use cows milk we are merely using a substitute nutritional source for breast milk.

Dairy products are far from an ideal substitute, especially since large scale dairy farming has limited our access to fresh unpasteurized milk that is full of infection fighting enzymes and antibodies. Johne's disease, which is rampant in most cattle herds, has been correlated with Crohne's disease in humans. "BOTH Johne’s in cattle and Crohn’s in humans are increasing worldwide in all industrialized countries." (http://www.johnes.org/handouts/files/Feedstuffs_9-19-05.pdf) Medical testing for MAP organisms, organisms that are disease causing in cattle that are correlated with Johne's disease, was found in 50% of those with Crohn's disease in one Florida study. "One study, conducted by the Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield, Wis., found viable MAP organisms in samples of pasteurized retail milk in California, Minnesota and Wisconsin." If you add to this the hormones given to the herds to increase milk production, knowing that these same hormones DO end up in the milk, there is plenty of reason to avoid weaning a 12 month old onto cows milk.

The WHO suggests that 7 is a better upper limit than the current 1 year that many American pediatricians push. There are many factors in when this happens, including the temperament of the child, the age in which the adult teeth start to emerge, and whether or not mom's milk supply is able to be sustained. Certainly none of this should be due to societal pressures to quit, but sadly there is a tremendous burden that is placed on moms to stop before their child is ready, especially in the American culture.

The World Health Organization says to.

The World Health Organization has taken a global liking to the breastfeeding movement, not just because they represent less developed cultures, but because they know it is good for babies. The WHO recommends that babies be fed nothing but breast milk til 6 months of age and then continued breastfeeding up to and including 2 years of age, "or beyond." They also assert that breastfeeding is, "the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development." These recommendations are echoed by the AAP and other health organizations as well. 

Both of us enjoy it.

The bonding that happens during the breastfeeding relationship is irreplaceable. The skin to skin contact, the mutual trust, and the mutual respect that are developed during the course of extended breastfeeding encourage social development that must happen in other ways when the breastfeeding relationship is severed pre-maturely.

It also is not what some outsiders, often male, make of the relationship. While breast stimulation during sexual arousal is both pleasurable and erotic, breastfeeding is pleasurable (sometimes) but is not erotic for most people. Think of the time when your toddler said, "I love you" for the first time. That "awww" feeling is the same feeling we moms get when we are meeting the needs of our children in this special way.

It teaches personal boundaries.

Speaking of social development, being this close to your toddler several times a day can teach boundaries of appropriate behavior much more easily and with less casualties. For instance I can teach my toddler not to pinch or bite, and I don't have to apologize to any other moms for my daughter assaulting their child. She is learning physical boundaries with me instead of her playmates fingers. She also learns about others needs. When she's nursing and the phone rings, or one of the other children need something, or I have to go to the bathroom, she learns that sometimes other people have needs too.

It is what my breasts were designed to do.

Anytime you look into breast cancer statistics, you'll find that women who breastfed for a longer period of time are less likely to get breast cancer. I believe this is because once the hormones of pregnancy have stimulated the breast tissue to produce milk, that milk needs to go somewhere. Otherwise the body must reabsorb the fluid and hormone levels drop even more severely postpartum. Not breastfeeding can literally cause postpartum depression.

Also, breastfeeding for extended periods of time are linked with a decreased risk of many types of cancer. Many cancers are linked with estrogen, one female hormone, and estrogen is literally neutralized by the act of breastfeeding. A pool of 47 studies found that breastfeeding for 1 year during a woman's lifetime has a small reduction in breast cancer risk, while breastfeeding for 2 or more years can have up to a 25 percent lower risk. The risk of other cancers, such as ovarian and uterine cancers, are also lowered as well. Extended breastfeeding is linked to lower rates of childhood cancer as well. So both bubs and boobs benefit.

It helps protect her against infection.

The NIH says it like this:

"Breastfeeding is superior to infant formula feeding because in addition to breastmilk's nutritional advantages, it protects against infections through specific and non-specific immune factors and has long-term consequences for metabolism and disease later in life" 

These immune factors are known to increase as the child grows into young toddler hood. This makes sense because that is when the little one is starting to play with other children and explore more of their world. 

As a personal anecdote, when my baby was 13 months old a very nasty strain of the flu went through our house. Everyone of the other family members had high 102 to 104 degree fevers for anywhere from 2 to 3 days. My little one did not get so much as a sniffle. You can say that is just a coincidence until you learn that there are 5 other people in the house, and all were sick at nearly the same time, that is except for my happy nursling. Had I quit when she was 12 months like some people encouraged me to do, she would not have had the rush of antibodies from my milk to keep her from getting sick.

It helps with cognitive development.

The brain building nutrients don't magically stop at the 12 month mark, and brain development doesn't stop then either. So why then are we encouraged to believe the brain building benefits stop then? Massive changes occur in the the brain during the first two years of life. Even though those changes are a bit slower in the second year, doesn't mean they slow to a point where the natural, bio-available DHA and ARA have no effect. Science has yet to discover every benefit breast milk has on cognitive development. Why stop?

It lets her know her needs are important.

The main reason I "still" breastfeed my 2 1/2 year old is it lets her know her needs are important to me. While some may balk at her so called "dependence," the security that comes from knowing that her comfort needs are met enables her to know that the world is a safe place. It lets her know that mommy is there for her, which enables her to take on new situations. She is sure that when she gets hurt, mama will be right there to comfort her, with the boob if necessary.

So I'll keep going until she is ready, no matter what anyone thinks. I already see the tide is slowly turning and we will be done soon. During this trip to the pool she announced, "NO BOOB SNACK AT THE POOL MAMA!" This was totally unprompted. I guess letting them find their own way really does work. :)

Changing the View - Putting the "Eats" Back into Breasts!

Everyone wants to do their best for their baby, but with so much conflicting opinion and social pressure to "get your life back," many moms find it hard to find the time, energy and will power to go the distance as far as breastfeeding is concerned.

Change is Coming

Things are changing. While the formula companies of the 40s and 50s were successful in getting women to think their boobs were not as good as their substitute, we are slowly gaining our lost ground. With breasts on the cover of Time magazine, used in the way that they were intended, you can see how far we've come. Natural does not equal dirty, no cover needed.

Still the battle wages in the pediatrician's office. Instead of a list of donor moms where mothers of slow weight gain babies can go to in case of an emergency, they are handed a can of dried powdered chemically altered cow's milk loaded with additives in an effort to try and match what has been found naturally in mama's milk. The problem is that these additives are in a chemically made form, and are not as good as the bio-available form of the nutrient found in boob milk. The formula manufacturers cannot duplicate what is in mother's milk, and trying to do so may be more dangerous than we think.

Duped AND Degraded

I was one of those mis-lead mamas. Even though the World Health Organization announced that donor milk is preferred over formula, I was chastised by my pediatrician for using donor milk from one trusted source. I left the office with my 5 day old with a sample can of formula and tears streaming down my face. This was only 2 1/2 years ago.

So the battle for thoughts wages on, including battling the opinions that come out of the mouths of our health professional. The facts are clear though, breastfeeding cuts healthcare costs, decreases the likelihood of cancer for both mom and baby, and cuts the rates of infant mortality and illness.

Now we just need to convince the public so moms aren't shamed for doing the best they can for their little ones.

Monday, July 9, 2012

New Reality TV Show About "Extended" Breastfeeding

A recent news story by the New York Post covered a production company's plan to make breastfeeding moms the topic of a new reality television show. Collins Avenue, creators of "Dance Moms" and "American Stuffers," are basing the show on "extended" breastfeeding mothers, or mothers that breastfeed over the 12 month milestone.

This inticed many comments on how long is "best" to breastfeed. Some were perplexed. "Why do I get the feeling that this has something more to do with the mom's needs than the child's? And if it is really the child's desire, then isn't this the same as having a "security blanket"? Do you want to let a 7-yr-old have a pacifier in his mouth? I get the impression that these mothers are "exploiting" the healthy idea of breastfeeding to cover up for some other issue," says P.

Others were defensive. L responded, "Obviously you've never been a nursing mom of a toddler. It's SO not about the moms needs lol. Trust me, most every mom I know nursing toddlers or preschoolers would be thrilled if their kids weaned but they continue because they're smart enough to see that it's natural and healthy and their kids deserve it."

Many agencies, such as WHO and AAP, agree. The WHO recommends babies be breastfed for at least two years, "and beyond." While the upper limit is not defined by these agencies, many sociologists suggest the upper limit of 7 as a biological norm. 

In our western culture this "limit" has been lowered drastically by the use of commercial formulas and factory dairy farms designed to "replace" what our ancestors did for thousands of years. These marketeers were so successful in creating a market for these replacements, many mothers in the 40s and 50s felt their breasts did not make what their child needed. "I bought that good formula when I could afford it," Anne remembers her mother telling her as a child. Anne is in her 60s, and her mother was having children in the 50s, during the height of the formula marketing "boon."

The trend back to what is normal is now called "extended" breastfeeding. Most children do not have their whole set of primary teeth until the age of 3, however many mom's say they feel pressured to quit breastfeeding their infants as young as 4 months. "My mother wanted me to quit," says one mom. "She didn't understand why I was so passionate about providing the best for my kids." Many of today's moms in western culture are faced with this same family backlash when they choose to let their child self wean, which generally happens between the ages of 3 and 7. Sadly, many simply quit because they do not have the support they need to continue.

This reality show may make great strides in "re-normalizing" breastfeeding. Many health officials are eager to get breastfeeding numbers up because of the multitude of scientific findings that say it decreases disease risk in both mother and baby. Creative ways such as this TV show may make a greater impact than organizational messages. It may also help keep funds in service areas rather than used for buying expensive print and television advertising.

Source: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/brooklyn/breast_in_show_UJ99xlSY22H5kBwI7kAZCI

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

She Doesn't Have a Name...

The following text is excerpted from the book Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. This book is about Todd's son Colton and his experiences in Heaven while being operated on a the age of three from a ruptured appendix.

...One evening in October, I was sitting at the kitchen table, working on a sermon. Sonja was around the corner in the living room, working on the business books, processing job tickets, and sorting through payables. Cassie played Barbie dolls at her feet. I heard Colton's footsteps padding up the hallway and caught a glimpse of him circling the couch, where he then planted himself directly in front of Sonja.

"Mommy, I have two sisters," Colton said.

I put down my pen. Sonja didn't. She kept working.

Colton repeated himself. "Mommy, I have two sisters."

Sonja looked up from her paperwork and shook her head slightly. "No, you have a sister, Cassie, and ... do you mean your cousin, Traci?"

"No." Colton clipped off the word adamantly. "I have two sisters. You had a baby in your tummy, didn't you?"

At that moment time stopped at the Burpo household, and Sonja's eyes grew wide. Just a few seconds before, Colton had been unsuccessfully to get his mom to listen to him. Now, even from the kitchen table, I could see that he had her undivided attention.

"Who told you I had a baby die in my tummy?" Sonja said, her tone serious.

"She did, Mommy. She said she died in your tummy."

...I knew what my wife had to be feeling. Losing a baby was the most painful event of her life. We had explained it to Cassie; she was older. But we hadn't told Colton, judging the topic a bit beyond a four-year-old's capacity to understand. From the table, I watched quietly as emotions rioted across Sonja's face.

"It's okay Mommy," he said. "She's okay, God adopted her."

Sonja slid off the couch and knelt down in front of Coltonso that she could look him in the eyes. "Don't you mean Jesus adopted her?" she said.

"No, Mommy. His Dad did!"

Sonja turned and looked at me. In that moment, she later told me, she was trying to stay calm, but she was overwhelmed....

Sonja's eyes lit up and she asked, "What was her name? What was the little girl's name?"

..."She doesn't have a name. You guys didn't name her."

... "You're right, Colton," Sonja said. "We didn't even know she was a she."

Then Colton said something that still rings in my ears: "Yeah, she can't wait for you and Daddy to get to heaven."...


Losing a baby during pregnancy is an event surrounded by emotion and often loved ones do not know the "right" things to say. This illustration does not negate the pain of loss, but it gives an illustration of how my little one is safe, loved and most of all alive. This story gives me hope. As I read the account of this 4 year old little boy meeting his sister, I was able to feel myself holding my own child for the first time. I hope it gives you the same healing moment it did me. :)

If you liked this excerpt, consider getting and reading the rest of Heaven is for Real. (If you'd like to help support this blog with your purchase use the search box below and type "Heaven is for Real") Colton's account of his experience is nothing short of miraculous. It also gives you a glimpse of what heaven looks like, and makes the thought of going to be with lost loved ones an exciting reunion instead of a solemn judgement. It will challenge your beliefs and bring hope for those who know Him.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Abortion - Are We Really Ready to Fight?

While the debate over abortion looms over this election, I stop to consider the effects of modern society on a woman's right to choose, and the responsibility that is to be born by the church.

I stopped into a local convenience store to order some takeout for my family of 6. We were running around and there was some hungry monsters in the back ready to devour seat cushions if I didn't. Plus, hubby was sorely in need of his java...and I do mean sorely.

As I watched the two men behind the counter make our order, a glimpse of a pregnant woman caught the corner of my eye. She was walking in to start her shift, and by the looks of it she didn't get much sleep the night before. She looked as if she could be due any day. This meant battling the swelling while standing on her feet for the next 4 hours at least. I was moved with compassion for her, having had been pregnant with 5 myself. I handed some cash to the guy that gave me my order, pointed to the girl and said, "make sure she gets this." It was a small token, but

We Christians can be extremely self serving, indulging in expensive cars, makeup, big houses and designer clothes. This while we bark the pro-life message to women who, because of societal pressures, feel they have no other choice but to end their child's life. "You played, you paid," rings the condemnation from the megaphone labeled "Christian."

While this mother may have never had this in mind, many in her situation do. Young women in low paying jobs, or those on their way to getting a education with little or no income can find themselves in a situation where they are overwhelmed. Hormones that rage during pregnancy do not help the situation, they can leave the woman feeling helpless and insecure, depressed and alone. Add to that pressure from family, and a woman may feel like abortion is the perfect answer.

Where are the pro-life proponents when she gets to this point? Where is the church? Are we too busy lulled to sleep by popular culture to notice? We can no longer be pro-life patrons without supporting the widows and orphans. A mother who is not wed may be indeed the most bitter widow, since her husband was not taken from her, but left her at his own choosing. The babe she carries will experience rejection, even if the father does not reject him or her. This will be from rejecting the part of the child that is the mother. This deep rejection is debilitating. Rejection from a boss, a spouse, a friend cannot even come close.

This help cannot come from the government. It must come from us... the church. We buy into the world's view and build big playgrounds for ourselves, but we don't feed His lambs. How far are you willing to go to see an end to abortion? Are you willing to adopt an unwed teen mother rejected by her family? Are you willing to give of your time teaching a new mom how to change diapers? Are you willing to give of yourself by being there any time of day and night supporting moms through those first difficult weeks of breastfeeding? Are you willing to give up your jewelry, makeup, hairstyling products, designer clothes and new furniture to give a pregnant girl a highchair, bassinet and car seat?

Let us start now to serve those some would condemn, especially since there is no condemnation if we claim the word "Christian" because there is no condemnation in Christ.