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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I sent the following letter (sorry - long post) to the AAP, the WHO, LLL, ProMom.org, and a (different) Harvard medical website. Any suggestions on a better way to get this noticed? (I sent the original copy to the Harvard website with the inaccurate breastfeeding info.)<br><br><br><br><span style="color:#000080;">Help! Harvard website has breastfeeding info GROSS MISQUOTE! Potentially harmful to babies' health!<br><br>
Dear Harvard Intelihealth.com, World Health Organization, American Academy of Pediatrics, La Leche League, and Promom.org,<br><br>
Please forward this to the appropriate party within your organization. I am writing this hoping for backup on some terrible misquotes I found on the Harvard Family Medicine website. Please read as my letter as pasted below. I am hoping someone with a little more clout than me as just a 'mom' can help rectify this situation.<br><br>
Thank you for anything you can do!<br><br>
Becky **<br><br>
The letter sent is as follows:</span><br><br><br><span style="color:#0000FF;">Dear Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide<br>
(<a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu" target="_blank">www.health.harvard.edu</a>)<br><br>
RE: GROSS MISQUOTE in article on your site!! Medically inaccurate!<br><br>
I was looking on your site for information on breastfeeding which I had trouble finding (I found it under “infant” but not when I typed in “breastfeeding”). When I pulled up an article I found an inaccurate quote from the AAP. It is located under <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/Darchive/diseases.201.shtml" target="_blank">http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/Da...ases.201.shtml</a><br>
and also <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/fhgupdate/M/M10.shtml#breast" target="_blank">http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/fh...0.shtml#breast</a><br>
in the article on Good News for Breast-Fed Babies.<br><br>
The inaccurate statement is found at the end stating, “<span style="color:#FF0000;">The World Health Organization recommends only breast milk for the first four to six months, and recommends that breast-feeding (in combination with formula) continue until 2 years of age. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast milk alone until 6 months, and breast-feeding plus formula until 12 months old.”</span><br><br>
The actual statement from the WHO reads, “The World Health Organization's infant-feeding recommendation As stated in the Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding (paragraph 10):<br>
“Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. As a global public health recommendation, infants should be exclusively breastfed1 for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health.2 Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Exclusive breastfeeding from birth is possible except for a few medical conditions, and unrestricted exclusive breastfeeding results in ample milk production.”<br><br>
The WHO also states, “no matter how appropriate infant formula may be from a nutritional standpoint, when infants are not breastfed or are breastfed only partially, feeding with formula remains a deviation from the biological norm for virtually all infants. (Source: World Health Organization, Nutrition for Health and Development, Geneva, Switzerland, June 2001. Adapted from the official records of the Forty-seventh World Health Assembly, document WHA47/1994/REC/1/, Annex 1, paragraphs 133–139.)<br><br>
The actual statement from the AAP (<a href="http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;100/6/1035" target="_blank">http://aappolicy.aappublications.org...ics;100/6/1035</a>)<br>
reads,”6. Exclusive breastfeeding is ideal nutrition and sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months after birth.100 Infants weaned before 12 months of age should not receive cow's milk feedings but should receive iron-fortified infant formula.101 Gradual introduction of iron-enriched solid foods in the second half of the first year should complement the breast milk diet.102,103 It is recommended that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mutually desired.104”<br><br><span style="color:#008000;">Neither of these organizations endorse as you have stated, the idea that infant formula is needed in conjunction with breastmilk after 6 months of life. I will be forwarding copies of this to the organizations you misquoted for their reference as well as to several lactation professional organizations.</span><br><br>
Thank you for your time,<br><br>
Becky **<br>
a well read mother<br><br><br>
CC: American Academy of Pediatrics<br>
American Academy of Family Practitioners<br>
Intelihealth.com (Harvard Medical School consumer information page)<br>
World Health Organization<br>
La Leche League<br>
Promom.org</span><br><br>
(I added the color coding to make it easier to read on MDC - I didn't send a rainbow colored letter to the above <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> )<br><br>
What do you all think?? Should I have sent it else where?
 

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<a href="http://www.geocities.com/mlcaweb/" target="_blank">http://www.geocities.com/mlcaweb/</a><br><br><a href="http://www.massbfc.org/" target="_blank">http://www.massbfc.org/</a><br><br><a href="http://www.bace-nmc.org/NMC.htm" target="_blank">http://www.bace-nmc.org/NMC.htm</a>
 

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Looks good to me.<br><br>
I hope the misquoted organizations hold their feet to the fire until they delete the lies and put truth on their website.<br><br>
Does Harvard have stock in some formula companies that they push the stuff as if all babies need it even when being breastfed?<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch">
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks RubyV, I sent copies to those you listed as well.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
Hope this works. I see lame*ss breastfeeding info all the time on little doctor's office websites, but Harvard, for the love! I expect more from them!
 

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Did you just send this today, or was it awhile ago? They should have a little time to respond, before we assume they are ignoring you, and we try to put more pressure on them to take you seriously.<br>
I agree this is terrible for them to be this inaccurate.<br>
Janice
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I just sent it today so I'll keep you posted on any replies. I've gotten a number of auto-generated responses saying they got my email and would be reading it -from a machine not a person -we'll see what I get!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey I got one response from RubyV's links! Here it is:<br><br><br><span style="color:#800080;">Hi Becky,<br>
Thanks so much for calling this to our attention. Let us know if you<br>
get a response. Meanwhile, I will forward your email to our board, to<br>
decide what to do.<br>
Melissa B**<br>
chair, Mass. Breastfeeding Coalition</span>
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I got another response also from RubyV's links:<br><span><br>
Hi Becky,<br>
I have forwarded your message to the key people in our Nursing Mothers'<br>
Council. Thanks for bringing the issue to our attention.<br>
- Carole K**</span>
 

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If it is not changed, contact your local news sources. It may not be too newsworthy, but someone might report on it, and it may get picked up by bigger sources that find it funny.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Nothing like a big 'customer service' person to offer NO help! Here's what I got when I emailed the other harvard med school website. No offer to forward or anything!:<br><br><span>Thank you for contacting Aetna InteliHealth. It appears the URL you provided has nothing to do with our Web site. Harvard Medical School is an academic partner with Aetna InteliHealth, but the content you are referring to is from Harvard Medical School's site. It also appears to be possibly old content that has been archived. I would contact them directly at <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu" target="_blank">www.health.harvard.edu</a>.<br><br>
If you want to obtain information about breast-feeding, go to <a href="http://www.intelihealth.com" target="_blank">www.intelihealth.com</a> and enter the topic in the Search function.<br><br>
Sincerely,<br>
Kim<br>
Customer Service</span>
 

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Not only do they recommend supplementing with formula, but they say "UNTIL two years of age" and "UNTIL one year of age" instead of "AT LEAST two years" and "AT LEAST one year." The fact that Harvard med school is teaching this to med students provides some insight into all those doctors out there handing out misinformation to mothers.<br><br>
Sounds like the formula companies aren't just paying off the "apples." They're also paying off the "tree."
 

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Here's what I wrote them:<br><br>
---------------<br><br>
Dear Harvard Medical School,<br><br>
The following information, published on your website at <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/Darchive/diseases.201.shtml" target="_blank">http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/Da...ases.201.shtml</a> , is severely incorrect.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">The World Health Organization recommends only breast milk for the first four to six months, and recommends that breast-feeding (in combination with formula) continue until 2 years of age. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast milk alone until 6 months, and breast-feeding plus formula until 12 months old. This study suggests that breast-feeding exclusively for the first year could provide greater health benefits to the child.<br>
February 2001 Update</td>
</tr></table></div>
The actual recommendations are as follows:<br><br>
The World Health Organization:<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. As a global public health recommendation, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Exclusive breastfeeding from birth is possible except for a few medical conditions, and unrestricted exclusive breastfeeding results in ample milk production.</td>
</tr></table></div>
<a href="http://www.who.int/nut/documents/gs_infant_feeding_text_eng.pdf" target="_blank">http://www.who.int/nut/documents/gs_...g_text_eng.pdf</a><br><br>
Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for a full 6 months by the WHO, not 4 to 6 months. Also, formula is never recommended. After 6 months, "nutritionally adequate and safe complimentary foods" are recommended, but this refers to foods such as solids, not formula. Formula is simply imitation breast milk. There is no reason to add formula to a breastfed baby's diet, as formula is merely redundant, comparably inferior, and can potentially interfere with breastfeeding (for example, by causing a drop in the mother's milk supply from less-frequent nursing).<br>
Furthermore, the WHO recommends breastfeeding until at least two years of age, not only until two years.<br><br><br>
The American Academy of Pediatrics:<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Exclusive breastfeeding is ideal nutrition and sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months after birth. Infants weaned before 12 months of age should not receive cow's milk feedings but should receive iron-fortified infant formula. Gradual introduction of iron-enriched solid foods in the second half of the first year should complement the breast milk diet. It is recommended that breastfeeding continue for at least 12months, and thereafter for as long as mutually desired.</td>
</tr></table></div>
<a href="http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics%3B100/6/1035" target="_blank">http://aappolicy.aappublications.org...s%3b100/6/1035</a><br><br>
Again, adding formula to a breastfed baby's diet is not recommended. Iron-containing foods should be given after 6 months, but not formula. The only mention of formula in the AAP's recommendations is if a baby is weaned prematurely (before one year of age), in which case formula should be given rather than cow's milk. It no where states that formula should be given whilst breastfeeding.<br>
Again, the AAP does not only recommend breastfeeding for the first 12 months, it recommends breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and as long thereafter as is mutually desired.<br><br><br>
Please correct your erroneous information on your web site.<br><br>
Thank you,<br>
Kathleen XXXXX<br><br>
---------------<br><br>
I sent this email on November 2nd. I have received no response.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Milakais</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I sent this email on November 2nd.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
Yeah, time to put pressure on them - they had a chance to fix it
 

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Hey, who was it who put those pro-breastfeeding ads on tv? Was it the "National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign" or something like that? Maybe they should be notified? Do you think they would want to help?<br><br>
You know, I think we should go further than just getting the misinformation on the web site corrected. We should actually get all med schools to emphasize the importance of breastfeeding to all obstetrics and pediatrics students. Convince the med schools that they are ethically compelled to adopt such a policy, and shine a light of shame on them until they do so. I am so sick of the formula companies calling all the shots.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Sustainer</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We should actually get all med schools to emphasize the importance of breastfeeding to all obstetrics and pediatrics students.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
That would be awesome. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think they've removed the articles!!!! Great job everyone & thanks for all the help! I checked the site and they seem to be gone. I also got this email:<br><br><span style="color:#0000FF;">Hi Becky,<br>
One of our Board members, on the faculty of Harvard Med. School, looked on the website and it looks like they took down that info-- I haven't verified it myself.<br><br>
What they did was pretty outrageous. Kudos to you for taking action! It just shows you that every little bit really makes a difference.<br>
Melissa **<br>
chair, Mass. Breastfeeding Coalition<br><br></span>
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/clap.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="clap">
 

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I (and others) should all make a few copies of what they had, and when they took it down.<br><br>
This, too, is part of our history. When people ask why the situation is/was so bad for breastfeeding in North america, what was on the Harvard site is a piece of the puzzle. We need to remember that mis-information, so hopefully one day we can look back and see how far we have come.<br><br>
Janice
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/clap.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="clap"> Whoo! Way to go!!
 
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