You may have heard about a recent movement called "Fed is Best". This campaign was started by a group of health professionals working with new moms and their babies to reduce hospitalizations caused by feeding complications in exclusively breastfed infants. The research done by this dedicated group of health professionals, along with concerned parents, showed increasing rates of hyperbilirubinemia (jaundice), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and dehydration in infants. All of these conditions can affect the young infant's brain development and also increase the risk of seizure disorders. This led to these health professionals forming the nonprofit organization, the Fed Is Best Foundation.
The Fed is Best campaign is not meant to diminish the message that Breast is Best, but rather to ensure that babies do not experience complications by a facility's breastfeeding protocols or who shame moms for choosing other feeding options. The goal of this campaign as stated on the website is: "provide safe, infant feeding education for breastfeeding, mixed-feeding, formula-feeding, pumped-milk-feeding, and tube-feeding mothers and families to prevent feeding complications to babies that have become too common from the pressure to exclusively breastfeed at all costs." Although not stated on the website, I believe this campaign was initiated when many maternity facilities in the U.S. implemented various aspects of the World Health Organization's Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. This initiative has specific guidelines regarding promotion of breastfeeding and severely limits the use of formula. It was designed to help primarily third world countries where large international formula companies were extensively marketing their infant formulas. Mothers thought this would be better than breastfeeding resulting in babies becoming malnourished, ill, and even died as a result of improper formula feeding.
Breast milk is the ideal source of nutrition for infants but, let's face it, there are medical or personal reasons why a mom can't or chooses not to breastfeed. In these situations, the next best alternative is to feed an infant formula. At Nature's One, we continue to support breastfeeding and also recognize that "Fed is Best" is an important message too.
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