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Breastfeeding USA urges the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to divest of its association with formula manufacturer, Mead Johnson.

Thomas McInerny, MD, FAAP
The American Academy of Pediatrics
141 Northwest Point Boulevard
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007-1098

Dear Dr. McInerny,

The Board of Directors and membership of Breastfeeding USA are deeply disappointed in the decision of the American Academy of Pediatrics to allow its prestigious name and reputation to be used in the direct marketing of formula to mothers. Breastfeeding USA is a national organization providing mother-to-mother support and promoting breastfeeding as the biological and cultural norm. Our counselors encourage mothers to work with their pediatricians as they grow in their nursing relationships and resolve challenges they may encounter. Most women place great trust in their pediatricians as they try to make decisions affecting their children’s health, including feeding and nutrition. How can we trust that a physician will truly and fully support a mother’s decision to breastfeed her child when the AAP has chosen to very openly support a formula company and its dishonorable marketing practices?

The AAP has a history of close association with various formula companies. Since last year its logo has appeared on the discharge bag for Mead Johnson and this year its breastfeeding booklet, also a part of the discharge bag, includes the Mead Johnson name. What kind of message does this send to new mothers?

A resolution,” Divesting from Formula Marketing in Pediatric Care,” was presented to and adopted by the AAP’s 2012 Annual Leadership Forum, which clearly states:

“Whereas, the American medical community has been severing its bonds with pharmaceutical companies because of the negative impact pharmaceutical advertising has on human behavior; and Whereas, research has demonstrated that the free distribution of commercial materials such as formula samples, diaper bags, formula coupons, or other gifts via commercial infant formula marketing implicitly endorses formula feeding and creates the impression that clinicians favor formula feeding over breastfeeding, and research demonstrates that this activity decreases exclusivity and duration of breastfeeding, therefore be it RESOLVED, that the academy advise pediatricians not to provide formula company gift bags, coupons, and industry-authored handouts to the parents of newborns and infants in office and clinic settings.”

How does the AAP square this resolution with its endorsement of formula companies and the delivery of their discharge bags at a time when mothers are most vulnerable and in search of information and support? The mixed message that the AAP sends to its members is that breastfeeding is best, but formula is just as good. We feel that physicians and mothers alike continue to be confused by mixed messages from the medical community; we want you to breastfeed, but here is some free formula, endorsed by the AAP.

Breastfeeding USA strongly urges the AAP to reconsider all of its ties to any formula companies and to especially consider the implication of its logo and information being directly associated with Mead Johnson in its discharge bags. There is a rising tide of support for preventative medicine in this country and the road to a life of good health can begin with breastfeeding. It is time for the AAP to prove its support by abandoning the mixed messages and its association with formula companies. Actions always speak much louder than words.

Sincerely,

The Board of Directors of Breastfeeding USA

Patty Jacobs, President
Lisa Wilkins, Vice President
Jennifer Olynyk, Secretary
Carol Delaney, Treasurer
Carol Kelley, Director
Sharon Knorr, Director
Genevieve Colvin, Director
Alison Kulenkamp

Letter to the President of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

Thomas McInerny, MD, FAAP
The American Academy of Pediatrics
141 Northwest Point Boulevard
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007-1098

Dear Dr. McInerny,

The Board of Directors and membership of Breastfeeding USA are deeply disappointed in the decision of the American Academy of Pediatrics to allow its prestigious name and reputation to be used in the direct marketing of formula to mothers. Breastfeeding USA is a national organization providing mother-to-mother support and promoting breastfeeding as the biological and cultural norm. Our counselors encourage mothers to work with their pediatricians as they grow in their nursing relationships and resolve challenges they may encounter. Most women place great trust in their pediatricians as they try to make decisions affecting their children’s health, including feeding and nutrition. How can we trust that a physician will truly and fully support a mother’s decision to breastfeed her child when the AAP has chosen to very openly support a formula company and its dishonorable marketing practices?

The AAP has a history of close association with various formula companies. Since last year its logo has appeared on the discharge bag for Mead Johnson and this year its breastfeeding booklet, also a part of the discharge bag, includes the Mead Johnson name. What kind of message does this send to new mothers?

A resolution,” Divesting from Formula Marketing in Pediatric Care,” was presented to and adopted by the AAP’s 2012 Annual Leadership Forum, which clearly states:

“Whereas, the American medical community has been severing its bonds with pharmaceutical companies because of the negative impact pharmaceutical advertising has on human behavior; and Whereas, research has demonstrated that the free distribution of commercial materials such as formula samples, diaper bags, formula coupons, or other gifts via commercial infant formula marketing implicitly endorses formula feeding and creates the impression that clinicians favor formula feeding over breastfeeding, and research demonstrates that this activity decreases exclusivity and duration of breastfeeding, therefore be it RESOLVED, that the academy advise pediatricians not to provide formula company gift bags, coupons, and industry-authored handouts to the parents of newborns and infants in office and clinic settings.”

How does the AAP square this resolution with its endorsement of formula companies and the delivery of their discharge bags at a time when mothers are most vulnerable and in search of information and support? The mixed message that the AAP sends to its members is that breastfeeding is best, but formula is just as good. We feel that physicians and mothers alike continue to be confused by mixed messages from the medical community; we want you to breastfeed, but here is some free formula, endorsed by the AAP.

Breastfeeding USA strongly urges the AAP to reconsider all of its ties to any formula companies and to especially consider the implication of its logo and information being directly associated with Mead Johnson in its discharge bags. There is a rising tide of support for preventative medicine in this country and the road to a life of good health can begin with breastfeeding. It is time for the AAP to prove its support by abandoning the mixed messages and its association with formula companies. Actions always speak much louder than words.

Sincerely,

The Board of Directors of Breastfeeding USA

Patty Jacobs, President
Lisa Wilkins, Vice President
Jennifer Olynyk, Secretary
Carol Delaney, Treasurer
Carol Kelley, Director
Sharon Knorr, Director
Genevieve Colvin, Director
Alison Kulenkamp

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Throughout human history, breastfeeding mothers have turned to each other for help. We invite you to join the circle of support. Donate Now. You can count on Breastfeeding USA to be good stewards of your generous donation. View our financial and governance information.

Support Breastfeeding Mothers

Why More Breastfeeding Support Is Needed

Simply put, large numbers of U.S. mothers are failing to meet their breastfeeding goals. Three-quarters of women begin breastfeeding at birth, but by 6 months only about 44% are breastfeeding at all, and only 24% make it to the recommended one year. Research has found that with mother-to-mother support, women breastfeed longer. The support of other mothers even helps prevent postpartum depression.

Why Breastfeeding Matters

Breastfeeding is a key women’s health issue. We all know how important breastfeeding is for babies. Early weaning also puts women at greater risk—even decades later—of breast and ovarian cancers, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease, the number one killer of women. Researchers estimate that if 90% of women breastfed exclusively for 6 months, this would save $13 billion in U.S. health-care costs.

Why We Think Breastfeeding USA Is the Solution

One unique aspect of Breastfeeding USA is its online Centralized Education System, which ensures our Breastfeeding Counselors are well educated in best breastfeeding practices and counseling skills. With this preparation, Breastfeeding Counselors can provide consistent, evidence-based breastfeeding help that respects individual differences.

Incorporated in November 2010, Breastfeeding USA began accrediting Breastfeeding Counselors in 2011. Currently, Breastfeeding Counselors are active in 36 states and 130 Breastfeeding Counselors Candidates are enrolled in our accreditation program. By next year, we hope to have Breastfeeding Counselors active in all 50 states. As we grow, more mothers all across America will find the ongoing breastfeeding help and support they need.

To make mother-to-mother support accessible to more women, Breastfeeding USA Counselors have the freedom to choose many ways of helping and supporting mothers locally. Based on the best fit for their community, they can offer breastfeeding drop-in centers, baby cafes, classes, support meetings, online or phone help, home visits, and more. Breastfeeding USA is active on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Breastfeeding USA is on the forefront of planning the future of mother-to-mother support.

Our slogan, “Empowering you with mother-to-mother support,” means more than just providing the information families need to make breastfeeding more comfortable and to ensure a good milk supply. Sharing current evidence and discussing options leads to informed decision making, which we believe helps families feel more comfortable and confident in their choices.

Donate Now. Help us grow our free nationwide network of mother-to-mother breastfeeding support.

Best for Babes and Breastfeeding USA Present: Team We've Got Your Back Babe!

First nationwide fitness challenge to urge America to back breastfeeding and sweat for the love of moms and babies!

WHY

Every year, millions of Americans donate billions to find cures for diseases and cross the finish line first, while breastfeeding—one of the single most important preventative measures against infections, viruses and life-threatening illnesses for both babies and mothers—remains grossly under-appreciated and lags last in the race for funding. As a result, poor information, overwhelming barriers to breastfeeding, and a persistent lack of infrastructure cause millions of moms to suffer, struggle and prevent them from reaching their personal breastfeeding goals. The toll on our nation’s health, the economy and the planet is staggering. Determined to put prevention first and give every mom and baby the chance to thrive, the Best for Babes® Foundation and Breastfeeding USA are teaming up to ensure that more moms get individualized support, and can recognize and are able to overcome the barriers to breastfeeding and healthy infant feeding. Both organizations believe that Americans are tired of seeing expecting and new moms bombarded by misinformation, receive poor care and advice, be humiliated and harassed, and undermined every step of the way.

WHAT

In honor of National Breastfeeding Month and this year’s World Breastfeeding Week theme—“Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers”—Best for Babes and Breastfeeding USA invite anyone who cares about the health and happiness of moms and babies to join Team We’ve Got Your Back, Babe! (WGYBB), the first nationwide fitness challenge to stand up for moms and babies and raise funds and awareness to fight the Breastfeeding Booby Traps®! Team WGYBB is being backed by Best for Babes Champion for Moms and fitness expert and author Gabby Reece and is a part of Team Best for Babes®, which empowers individuals to reach fitness milestones in the name of the breastfeeding and human milk—the foundation of health. We are putting more sweat on the front end of prevention, so we won’t have to put so much on the back end of the ‘cure’! Whether you breastfed or you didn't, the Mother of All Causes is worth us ALL fighting for! Team WGYBB is sponsored by Leading Lady, a premiere nursing intimate apparel company that is proud to go beyond the bra to support moms to achieve their goals! Check out Leading Lady's breastfeeding blog.

WHEN

Register for Team WGYBB and meet your fitness and fundraising goals anytime before October 31, 2013.

WHERE

This is a nationwide fitness challenge, not a race. Everyone can participate through either one of the locations below or, in areas where there is no team, through the Virtual Team WGYBB. Each of the actual teams and each virtual team member will choose a fun fitness goal—a run/walk, bike ride, swim, stroller-thon, yoga-thon, golf-thon—or even simply a personal challenge that does not involve attending an organized event, i.e., walk 5 miles by summer’s end! Whatever your goal, we want you to get it, and feel good about it, the same way we feel about breastfeeding!

HOW

Join us us as we blaze a fast lane on the “fitness for a cause” highway in the name of breastfeeding and human milk! Register here on the Best for Babes website.
Indianapolis, IN: Indy Team We’ve Got Your Back, Babe!
Northern Colorado: No Co Team WGYBB
New York City NYC Team We've Got Your Back, Babe!
Connecticut Central Connecticut Team WGYBB
North Carolina North Carolina: Lake Norman Team WGYBB
San Francisco Bay Area, CA: Team WGYBB SF Bay Area
California Central Valley Team WGYBB Merced
Sacramento California Team WGYBB Greater Sacramento Area
Los Angeles, CA LA Team: We've Got Your Back, Babe!
New York: Team WGYBB Westchester/Putnam Counties
Ohio: Team WGYBB Cincinnati
New Jersey: Northern NJ Team WGYBB
Washington: Tacoma Team WGYBB
Washington: Spokane Team WGYBB
Washington DC Area: Team WGYBB Montgomery County, MD
and many more!

Email gotyourback@breastfeedingusa.org for help setting up a team or with your questions.

No team in your area? Not the “group” type? Join the Virtual Team WGYBB.

Once you sign up for Team WGYBB, you can create a fundraising page of your own to proclaim your having laid down the gauntlet for the Mother of All Causes and the reasons why you are fighting the good fight with us!

FOR FUN AND MOTIVATION

Not your ordinary fitness challenge, Gabby Reece and other Best for Babes Celebrity and Elite Athlete Champions for Moms will be on hand to cheer on Team WGYBB and share tips, tricks and motivation. We’ll have Motivational and Milestone Awards to help you get it and keep it in gear, like Halfway There and Heaviest Load Hauled during a workout. Upcoming Motivational Awards will be announced every Tuesday at www.facebook.com/teambestforbabes GRAND PRIZE for Most Funds Raised will be a B.O.B. B-Safe Infant Car Seat with Adapter Kit! and B.O.B. Revolution Jogging Stroller AND a Limerick PJ's Comfort Breast Pump with Executive Kit! Thank you B.O.B. and Limerick!

And everyone who meets their fundraising and fitness goal will get the Team WGYBB shirt and a swag bag. As part of their commitment to breastfeeding, and in honor of World Breastfeeding Week 2013, Leading Lady donated 1000 bras to Breastfeeding USA for distribution among their members, and in their communities! In addition, every Team WGYBB member will receive an exclusive discount from LeadingLady.com as a thank you for their support of the breastfeeding cause. Check out the Team Best for Babes Facebook page to get inspired, prepared and empowered to achieve your personal fitness goal!

FOR THE CAUSE

The minimum fundraising commitment for each Team WGYBB member is $200 U.S. dollars and must be met by October 31, 2013. Proceeds will benefit the missions of both Best for Babes and Breastfeeding USA. Thank you to TeamWGYBB participants, your sponsors and your cheerleaders.

Donor Newsletters

What is Breastfeeding USA? Who is Breastfeeding USA? December 2013

New Breastfeeding USA Grads! April 2013

Three Breastfeeding USA Accomplishments Made Possible by Your Support December 2012

Breastfeeding USA Transformation: New Logo and Slogan July 2012
Thank you to the sponsors and donors for the Breastfeeding USA Transformation project.

Growing by Leaps and Bounds: Spring Fundraiser April 2012

First Birthday: the fastest growing national organization providing breastfeeding information and support December 2011

As Breastfeeding USA grows, more mothers all across America will find the ongoing breastfeeding help and support they need.

Please support our mission with your gift to Breastfeeding USA.

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We sincerely appreciate the following individuals for their financial contribution and support of the Breastfeeding USA IndiegogoTransformation Project.

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Supporter $100

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Good Health Begins with Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Protects Babies

Breastmilk is the biologically normal food for human babies. Some of the consequences of not receiving human milk can include:

  • Decreased IQ by up to 8 points and delayed neurobiological development
  • Increased rates of illness, especially gastrointestinal and respiratory
  • For premature infants, increased risk of contracting necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) or sepsis which can result in serious illness or death
  • Increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Increased rates of allergies, especially if given artificial milk during the first four months of life
  • Decreased immunological response to injected vaccines
  • Increased risk of obesity, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and some cancers later in life.

Breastfeeding Protects Mothers

Women who do not breastfeed for any length of time may be at increased risk for:

  • Premenopausal breast cancer
  • Ovarian, uterine and thyroid cancer
  • Osteoporosis
  • Type 2 diabetes (if they had gestational diabetes)
  • High blood pressure
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Post-partum depression.

The list is excerpted from the Breastfeeding USA Statement on Breastfeeding by Sharon Knorr, IBCLC.
Here are some more references:
“Normal” is a very scary word by Diane Wiessinger MS, IBCLC
The Risks of Not Breastfeeding for Mothers and Infants by Alison Stuebe, MD, MSc
Risks of Formula Feeding

Need Breastfeeding Help?

Are you searching for a Breastfeeding Counselor near you? Look over the Find a Breastfeeding Counselor page. Breastfeeding Counselors are now found in 20 states and many more will be accredited in 2013.

Are you considering volunteering as a Breastfeeding Counselor? Read Becoming a Breastfeeding Counselor. Breastfeeding USA welcomes applications and offers a comprehensive course as well as an accelerated course. Find the right fit for you.

Throughout human history, breastfeeding mothers have turned to each other for help. We invite you to join the circle of support and become a member of Breastfeeding USA today. We thank you, and breastfeeding mothers around the country thank you, too!

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