Intro

All content of this blog is my own opinion only. It does not represent the views of any organisation or association I may work for, or be associated with. Nothing within this blog should be considered as medical advice and you should always consult your Doctor.

Lock Up ALL Parents Who Formula Feed, Call For Mandatory Breastfeeding!!!

That would be a preposterous suggestion wouldn't it?  Yet I've heard similar comments numerous times in recent weeks during the discussions that have surrounded vaccination. Calls to lock up parents who decline, sue them, ban the children from public spaces and schools, report them to the CPS as paediatrician Mike Ginsberg (who appears to have beat a hasty retreat from Facebook) stated he would, make all vaccinations mandatory.  Not vaccinating is apparently a child endangerment issue.

This isn't a vaccine discussion post, because which side of the debate you sit is irrelevant - what's relevant are the demands to remove parental choice.  Force vaccination by any means necessary - even the suggestion terrifies me, and not for the reasons you might imagine.

I wonder how many of those making these demands either formula feed, or believe it should be the choice of the parents whether to breast or formula feed?

That's not the same though.  Is it?

Prior to any measles vaccination in the UK, with epidemics running into hundreds of thousands of cases, the death rate was 0.02%. Other complications could potentially occur such as deafness, although due to the introduction of antibiotics the risks associated with both measles and scarlet fever had somewhat diminished (more on that later). In short for every 100,000 cases, approximately 20 people would die.

Research published in May by the American Academy of Paediatrics concluded that 27% more deaths occurred when no breastmilk (ever) was provided.  They also found that longer duration of breastfeeding resulted in a further reduction in mortality (or shorter duration resulted in more deaths, depending on how you want to phrase things).  When they compared 3 months of "any breastfeeding" to "no breastfeeding", the result was 56% more infant deaths in the babies those receiving mostly formula. They concluded:
Promoting breastfeeding has the potential to save or delay ~720 postneonatal deaths in the United States each year.
Dr Linda Folden Palmer who has explored decades of research surrounding infant feeding, feels the study is flawed and the true figures are actually much higher.  Researchers didn't include deaths within the first 28 days, which is when a significant number occured.  Furthermore they didn't differentiate between "exclusively breastfed" or "any breastmilk" (which might have been just one feed). We know how significant exclusive breastfeeding is in terms of outcome - yet this wasn't compared

She estimates that the use of infant formula costs the lives of an estimated 9,335 U.S. babies each year, which is more than 4 per 1000 or for every 100,000 infants, approximately 400 would die.

You read that correctly.

So presumably anyone who feels you are playing "roulette" with your child's health by not vaccinating, feels even more strongly this is the case when it comes to feeding?

If we are going to force vaccinations to protect children, the next logical step is to force breastfeeding too - because that "parental choice" costs lives and the state right?

Because that's the other argument for mandatory vaccination isn't it?  That it's a public health issue, and treating the diseases the selfish won't vaccinate against costs tens of thousands.

Ditto artifical feeding.

In fact a UK report this year stated if the percentage of women who breastfed for at least four months increased from 7% to 45%, the NHS would save £11 million per year just in treating conditions like ear infections and gastroenteritis. Similarly, the same increase could result in NHS savings of around £21 million related to breast cancer alone over the course of a first-time mothers' lifetime.  That's without even starting to consider the many other health conditions associated with not breastfeeding.

A US report in 2001 states:
A minimum of $3.6 billion would be saved if breastfeeding were increased from current levels (64 percent in-hospital, 29 percent at 6 months) to those recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General (75 and 50 percent). This figure is likely an underestimation of the total savings because it represents cost savings from the treatment of only three childhood illnesses: otitis media, gastroenteritis, and necrotizing enterocolitis.
Do it to protect the vulnerable - the preemies and immune compromised.

Ditto breastfeeding:

All babies are vulnerable, so those trying to force vaccines like to stress - pointing out they're too young to be vaccinated and thus most at risk.  Premature babies even more so.

First described over a century ago, necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) is the most common and devastating diseases in neonates. It has also been one of the most difficult to eradicate and thus has become a priority for research. 90% of babies who suffer are premature. (here)

Although there is thought to be global variation, one US study found an incidence of. 0.3-2.4 cases per 1,000 live births. The mortality rate is 20-40%

A multicenter trial demonstrated the protective effect of breastmilk for these babies.  The lowest incidence of NEC (1.2%) was in the group given only breastmilk, compared with 7.2% when exclusively formula fed.  Among babies born at more than 30 weeks' gestation confirmed necrotising enterocolitis was rare in those whose diet included breast milk; it was 20 times more common in those fed formula only

With the fall in the use of breast milk in British neonatal units, exclusive formula feeding could account for an estimated 500 extra cases of necrotising enterocolitis each year. About 100 of these infants would die.
Where on earth are all the media reports shouting how selfish those who don't breastfeed or source donated same species milk are.  Where are the demands for each and every hospital to have a human milk bank to prevent babies dying of a disease like NEC? To have qualified lactation support on hand? We care if babies die from measles, but not NEC?

There's one vaccine where we can link breastfeeding even more closely than typical, and that's rotavirus.
“Rotavirus vaccine cuts deaths of Mexican babies from diarrhoea by 40%," states a January, 2010, British Medical Journal headline summarizing two studies.(1) Yet, a study of Brazilian children finds that exclusive breastfeeding cuts diarrhea cases in this similarly developing nation by a whopping 90% (1 / 9.41), versus a diet of formula and/or other foods.(2) here
Suggesting at times it may even more risky to not breastfeed than it is to not vaccinate.

What's more, the biggest risk of rotavirus are in those too young to be vaccinated. That's why the push to create a herd isn't it?  Yet a 2010 study published in the European journal of paediatrics  in states:
"Our study adds to the evidence of a protective concurrent effect of breastfeeding against rotavirus infection in infants, particularly in children 6 months and younger. Breastfeeding is important to diminish rotavirus-related gastroenteritis in infants before vaccination can be introduced.
So if you're wandering around insisting everyone gives their child the vaccine, I damn well hope you're breastfeeding and demanding everyone else does too.  Otherwise it's perfectly reasonable for breastfeeding mums to request you keep your "rotavirus incubator" away from their little darling (a comment a pro vaccine poster used online):
"For RV1, live rotavirus shedding in stool occurs in approximately 25% of recipients, with peak excretion occurring around day 7 after dose 1. Transmission of virus has not been evaluated. There have been a few cases of documented transmission to contacts. The rate of transmission is unknown, but no known cases have developed symptoms of rotavirus gastroenteritis" (2009)
Although rotavirus vaccines are known to be shed in stools, transmission of vaccine-derived virus to unvaccinated contacts resulting in symptomatic rotavirus gastroenteritis has not been reported to our knowledge. We document here the occurrence of vaccine-derived rotavirus (RotaTeq [Merck and Co, Whitehouse Station, NJ]) transmission from a vaccinated infant to an older, unvaccinated sibling, resulting in symptomatic rotavirus gastroenteritis that required emergency department care. (2010)
Oh and presumably you will expect to be sued should your non breastfed baby pass rotavirus, (or any of the other numerous health conditions they're more at risk of) to an exclusively breastfed baby too?

Another reason we hear for forcing vaccination is that it's not just about death rates, but other potential associated consequences, like deafness from measles.

Ditto for breastfeeding:

An obstetrics and gynaecology review published states:
"Health outcomes in developed countries differ substantially for mothers and infants who formula feed compared with those who breastfeed. For infants, not being breastfed is associated with an increased incidence of infectious morbidity, as well as elevated risks of childhood obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, leukemia, and sudden infant death syndrome. For mothers, failure to breastfeed is associated with an increased incidence of premenopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer, retained gestational weight gain, type 2 diabetes, myocardial infarction, and the metabolic syndrome
People state breastfeeding is different, because it only affects your own child, not the health of those around them; vaccines are different as they impact on others.

I'm not sure how that logic makes sense in the bigger picture - if you feel not vaccinating is a risk, you surely feel equal concern for the babies of non vaccinating parents, as you do others they might come in contact with?  To state it's OK if their child suffers as long as those babies who can't be vaccinated don't suffer, wouldn't seem to highlight a huge concern for infants generally?   To me it sounds like, "I don't care if the non vaccinated children are OK as long as it doesn't impact on those who have done what I feel is best to prevent it".  But surely no baby gets to choose, the adult does?

The same goes for paediatricians like Mike above, who openly state they will not tolerate anyone not vaccinating within their practice.  They will be removed to prevent them passing diseases to the vulnerable and those who can't be vaccinated; those who are premature, receiving chemo or with complex heart conditions.  Presumably Mike also boots out anyone who refuses to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months from his practice too? Particularly if they have a baby in these extra vulnerable categories;
because the associated risks are huge, and as a paediatrician how can he possibly sit back and condone it? Better call CPS!

Otherwise what he's surely saying is he won't tolerate babies (in his opinion) suffering as a result of one parental choice, but will another?

And it's not just breastfeeding.

I think Dr. Jack Wolfson, a cardiologist sums it up well:
"Be angry at food companies. Sugar cereals, donuts, cookies, and cupcakes lead to millions of deaths per year. At its worst, chicken pox killed 100 people per year. If those chicken pox people didn’t eat cereal and donuts, they may still be alive. Call up Nabisco and Kellogg’s and complain. Protest their products. Send THEM hate-mail. Be angry at fast food restaurants. Tortured meat burgers, pesticide fries, and hormone milkshakes are the problem."
But people aren't are they?  Angry at all the other causes of suffering and death I mean - not beyond a few diseases, the convenient causes.  The media whips people into a frenzy over a few measles cases, whilst the real causes of mortality and death are in our shopping centres and high streets, right under our noses.

I have a constant battle with my children's school to stop feeding them so much goddam junk, as the NHS partners with confectioner manufactures, and fast food restaurants sponsor sporting events. So if we want to start locking people up, we had better build some bloody big prisons.

Whether you believe in the vaccination schedule or not, mandatory vaccination is a whole different ball game. Where would those who support such a notion draw the line?  Should any public health decision whereby the rest of society deems one action more risky than another should be enforceable? Regardless of the rationale or reasons why a person has made that choice? 

33 comments:

  1. I'm totally with you on this one .. in fact I was totally with you back in 2009 when NICE revised one of their guidelines: http://www.maybediaries.com/2009/07/big-brother-just-got-big-stick.html

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  2. Plain awesome. I want to buy your book.

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  3. I appreciate your views on breastfeeding as an IBCLC. I also understand it us unhelpful to ban people we disagree with rather than trying to understand and persuade them. I am astounded however that you have published such a harmful misinformed piece quoting of all people the ignorant Dr Jack Wolfson. Moreover after you just published a post asking people unqualified to give breastfeeding advice to cease and desist. I am amazed.

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    1. I agreed with his sentiment about junk food killing people, hence the quote - it could easily have been from "my neighbour Sue".

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    2. Lis - just curious about why you call this Dr Wolfson ignorant?

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    3. I'm guessing it's because he's vehemently opposed to vaccination therefore is perhaps not the ideal person to quote from in a post whereby we aren't supposed to be getting into the pro's and cons of vax???
      http://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/05/health/anti-vaccine-doctor-jack-wolfson/

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  4. I could not agree more, as usual. Thank you for such a succinct post

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  5. but who makes money off of promoting breaatfeeding?

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    1. The govt, through the massive amounts of money saved for the health system...

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    2. Again who makes money? Savings when a corporation doesn't make money, means there's no one to promote it.

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  6. Their food delivery was a perfected show of true class and every waiter was in sync with each other. If you are looking for awe inspiring corporate events look no further then this place.

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  7. Think outside your box Armadillo.Human babies need human Breast milk regardless of a mother's ability to lactate.Wet nursing and breast milk banking should be 'normalised' as a primary health care initiative in our society.In regards to vaccination you have conveniently 'forgotten' all the other diseases parents are choosing not to vaccinate for like diphtheria and polio which have huge repercussions not only for their own children but all others in their community.Your argument is incredibly flawed and narrow.

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    1. From the article "Where are the demands for each and every hospital to have a human milk bank to prevent babies dying of a disease like NEC?"

      I haven't forgotten any diseases, nor am I making the argument BF protects MORE than vaccines as you seem to imply. The point is babies are dying from a condition, the rates and risks of which can be dramatically reduced by breastmilk. Yet nobody appears to care.

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  8. Yes I agree with you about no body caring.If we could turn the tide about 'normality' of formula feeding and educate our communities to understand the significance of human breast milk and the life long consequences of deprivation then mandatory facilitation of human breast milk could become a reality.Until recently it was the only choice anyway and we now know that was (with some exceptions) not a negative issue. I realise that you are not in favour of this but in some cases it is just what humans need. Safe drinking water and road rules are two examples I can think of that must be mandatory for communities to flourish. I argue that vaccinations and breast milk for infants should also be mandatory.
    The real problem is not the mandatory law but why we have it and how we go about maintaining vigilant,evidence based,robust monitoring of the process of ensuring safe and effective governance.
    Yet it is done and it is effective which is why many of us drink water from our taps and travel or drive safely to our destinations.
    If society could view access to human breast milk for human babies as a fundamental primary health initiative(realising that would require promoting and supporting breast feeding mothers and wet nurses), and if it also prioritised accessible,safe and cost effective breast milk banks just as drinking water is prioritised then I do not see why giving of breast milk could not be mandated. Of course there will be a minuscule amount of infants who cannot tolerate breast milk and they would need to be catered for.
    The same goes for vaccination. Unfortunately generally speaking 95 - 98 % of population need coverage for effective herd protection.So mandatory vaccination is ideal. However extreme vigilance would need to be assured for cold chain,application and administration. Robust transparent research and exceptions for those unable to vaccinate would also have to be part of the mandate.
    The result like safe drinking water and road rules will be millions of lives saved. It could be done.
    Sometimes people break the road rules,they may 'get away with it' or the 'breaking' of a road rule may be to save their life( like crossing to the other side of the road if an obstruction is in their path ). That doesn't change the need for mandatory road rules but it does require that the decisions made to govern the road rules need to be transparent and robust.

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  9. I was wondering why all the hysteria and galvanising going on over families who choose not to vax. I mean the Disney outbreak seems to have been the trigger, but it was one of the 23 outbreaks in the USA last year, and less than a third of the size of the largest one. And then I found this. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lawrence-solomon/merck-whistleblowers_b_5881914.html
    For some reason the mainstream media either avoided it like the plague (pun intended) or at best framed it as some pathetic windfall for those loons who don't vaccinate. Apparently hundreds of millions of people being dangerously defrauded is not newsworthy. So here we are a few months later being encouraged to tear each other to pieces (by who?). And while we're all busy doing that the big old dent in the of trust in vaccines, their manufacturers and the government department responsible for keeping their citizens safe will slip by unnoticed. I am never interested in conspiracy theories but you couldn't make this stuff up if you tried.

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    1. Regarding the "whistleblower" scandal, you can't take everything you read on the interest at face value.

      http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2014/08/28/a-bad-day-for-antivaccinationists-a-retraction-and-the-cdc-whistleblower-issues-a-statement/

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    2. Exactly. I've never seen such horrendous groupthink as is going on over at that blog you linked. Looks like he's been granted whistleblower immunity and is talking to Congressman Posey. Hang onto your butt, it's going to be an interesting year. http://www.ringoffireradio.com/2015/02/cdc-scientist-still-maintains-agency-forced-researchers-lie-safety-mercury-based-vaccines/

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  10. So by this logic, we should never fix any one thing in society unless we can fix all the problems at once, because focusing on things one at a time or in the "wrong order" by someone's judgement we are all just hypocrites? Makes a logical argument on paper but is nonsensical in real life.

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    1. No not at all Christine, however it's a bit like peeing your pants of the common cold, when cancer is killing far more. We are making no attempt to "fix" the problem, nor even acknowledge it's happening - and I do find it hypocritical yes.

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  11. I'm pro vax mandate and would also support pro bf mandate (bf my 29 month old now)

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    1. You believe the government should be able to enforce decisions that include someone's body? Where do we draw the line heading down that path?

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    4. Human babies need human breast milk. Formula should be a rare exception. Society needs to support endeavours that facilitate this. A mandate could work if it is implemented in a way that does not force a caregiver to lactate but that provides an environment that completely supports lactation and the normalization of wet nursing and breast milk banking

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  12. The only way I would tolerate a vaccination mandate is if those people who are in favor of it would be financially responsible for the family of those children who are harmed by the vaccine. Since, by law, the pharmaceuticals cannot be held responsible, then the responsibility falls on the hands of those who think they have the right to impose their views and fears on others. At least then those that could be harmed by vaccines would be protected.

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    1. So that could be seen as a positive affirmation that those who spread preventable disease and are able to vaccinate could also be held responsible for costs incurred as a result of disease spread. The virus/bacteria cannot be 'sued'.

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  13. I think we should take up the cause of car seats! I want to be able to hold my baby while driving.

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  14. I delayed vax, and my daughter is still nursing at 2 1/2. My choice and I'm glad I have the freedom to make it. However I do think some of the effort to demonize anti-vaxers could be put into education and helping breastfeeding...oh wait similac and nestle won't make money if they do that.

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  15. I don't support mandatory vax or breastfeeding for that matter, & have breastfed 4 babies long term. I do however support the Australian government proposing the introduction of financial benefit withdrawal from those who are conscientious objectors to vax. The choice to breastfeed or not affects that individual child. The choice to vax or not affects herd immunity and is thus treated as a serious impact to the whole community not just the individual. I'd go one step further and whilst they currently mandate exclusions for non-vaxxed kids from child care and public schools if there's an outbreak of a communicable disease, I'd suggest they can't enrol at all. You want "freedom of choice"? Awesome. But with freedom comes responsibility. So that freedom can include home schooling (which is already often the case in Northern NSW anyway) or setting up your own private school system with zero public funding. Now THAT is a choice that doesn't impact on wider society and isn't that a great thing.

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    1. And I don't for a second mean those who can't vax because of chemo/certain illnesses/auto immune diseases etc. Purely conscientious objectors.

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  16. Going against the deep cellular urge to breast feed your precious precious baby is not always a 'choice'. As such the comparisons in this well thought out blog are for me distracting from the bigger issue that is vaccination and herd protection.

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