Monday, August 4, 2014

World Breastfeeding Week 2014: Supporting breastfeeding mothers

                            "Women who make choices that optimize their own
                      health and the health of their infants need to be
                      acknowledged and supported by their families, the
                      public, and the medical profession."
                                    --Patricia Stuart-Macadam & Katherine A. Dettwyler,
                                    "Breastfeeding:  Biocultural Perspectives"

There are enormous challenges to breastfeeding in our modern, technological world, where we are overloaded with information and breastfeeding gadgets.  And to add to that challenge a lot of the breastfeeding information out there is contradictoryI remember a home visit I made a few years ago in which the mother broke down and cried.  Why?  Because her own doctor told her one thing, the pediatrician another, the nurse told her something totally different, her friends another, her mother and mother-in-law something else, and now I, the lactation consultant was telling her something different.  She couldn't see her way past the cacophony of voices.  She asked me, "Who should I believe?"   All I could think to say was for her to follow her instincts. Yet that isn't really a good answer because in our current society, most of our instincts are drummed out of us.  So I added, "Who makes sense to you, who explained their reasoning, who is willing to take the time to help you work this out and did their plan to resolve the problem work?  

Mothers are offered a ton of gadgets to resolve breastfeeding problems.  And many times those gadgets get them into deeper trouble.  When I relactated back in 1982, I didn't have easy access to gadgets.  Never saw a nipple shield or breast pump or an SNS.  I did something quite simple.  I slowly decreased my baby's intake of infant formula by 2-3 ounces every 3 days while breastfeeding more frequently.  It took me about 6-8 weeks to get to exclusive breastfeeding.  I didn't like using the infant formula for so long a time but I was steadily decreasing it and I eventually eliminated it.  I think if I had to use a breast pump, a nipple shield and/or an SNS, I would have given up.  There wasn't enough time in my day to fiddle with gadgets, clean them, use them properly.  But then my personality is such that I am always looking for a simple approach to life's challenges.  And if it costs money, requires cleaning, and takes up too much of my time;  my interest in the thing dissolves.  One of the problems with all these devices is that the time for breastfeeding gets short-changed.  And the breastfeeding challenges, like relactation, is that more time with breastfeeding is required not less.   I recognize that everyone is different and that my challenges and resolutions are not necessarily going to fit for some or even many mothers.   Yet if a mom is spending more time pumping and cleaning equipment than breastfeeding (and often mothers are also doing infant formula--with all the added work that entails), then should we be surprised that breastfeeding appears to be not working?  Mothers need time to breastfeed.  Sometimes equipment makes that time next to impossible.

I will never forget the woman who came up to me at a swim meet when I was breastfeeding my youngest.  I was nursing her in the bleachers, next to a man and his wife that I didn't know.  This was back in 1993.  She told me what a pleasure it was to see a mom breastfeeding and what a wonderful job I was doing.  It was good to hear because it is often hard to shake the "evil eye" one gets for breastfeeding in public.  I didn't have time to respond or even thank her because she moved on after her own children.  But I have passed that praise on to other breastfeeding mothers, knowing how much it meant to me.  We call that "paying it back."  What better honor to World Breastfeeding Week, than to give a thumb's up and a big smile or a word or two of praise to a mother who is breastfeeding in public!!!

More patents...yes plenty more...

Patent # 7354896 entitled, "Administration of leptin," invented by Susan M. Kirwin and Vicky L. Funange.  Nemours Foundation owns the patent that was filed in 2002.

"For the newborn infant (both full term and premature), the physical benefits of breast-feeding are multiple and provide such diverse attributes as protection from infections (upper respiratory, intestinal and middle ear), and a decrease in atopic diseases.  Many components of human breast milk have also been show to be necessary for development of the brain, intestinal tract, spinal cord and retina. (Crawford MA et al., A.J. Clin. Nutr. 31:2181-2185, 1978)  In general, the bioavailability of human milk components is remarkably high and is superior compared to cow's milk or formula. (Fuchs, AR:  Pysiology and Endocrinology of Lactation p.549-577.  In Obstetrics:  Normal and Problem Pregnancies, 1986)."

This patent was derived from human milk research-leptin contains milk fat globule.  The owner of this patent is the Nemours Foundation (Du Pont de Nemours is part of the infant formula industry offering their soy protein, called SUPRO, and prebiotics, probiotics to various infant formula companies)

Patent # 6613367 entitled, "Infant formula," is owned by N.V. Nutricia (Netherlands) and filed in 2001.  Inventors are Wells et al.

"It has also been reported that infants that are exclusively fed with these artificial formula suffer from longer episodes of crying compared to those that are fed with human milk.  This suggests a general feeling of discomfort due to perhaps hunger, pain, or even medical problems.  These problems may delay development of the child and produce concerns and practical problems to the parent."

This patent resolves the problem with increased levels of vitamins and changes in protein and carbohydrate content of infant formula.

Patent 8314061 entitled, "Adiponectin for treatment of various disorders," owned by Childrens Hopital Medical Center (Cincinnati, OH) and University of Massachusetts (Boston, MA).  The inventors are Ardythe L. Morrow, Lisa J. Martin, and David S. Newburg and filed in 2007.

"Breast fed children tend to be healthier, with lower incidence of allergy and infectious disease, and tend to be leaner than formula fed children."

Adiponectin is found in human milk.  This patent is to reduce the risk of obesity and certain metabolic disorders in infants and children.  It is to be used in infant formula or as a treatment.  This patent collected human milk samples from donors to the Cincinnati Children's Research Human Milk Bank and from the NICHD-funded grant entitled,"The Role of Human Milk in Infant Nutrition and Mexico City."

The owners of this patent could license this patent out to an infant formula company.  Both Ardythe Morrow and David Newburg have had their research funded by Mead Johnson.  And of interest is the fact that Mead Johnson Pediatric Nutrition Institute collaborates with the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, "a world leader in the study of human milk."  (as described by Mead Johnson on their website)

Copyright 2014 Valerie W. McClain

No comments:

Post a Comment