Breastfeeding is best

My wife is a champ; she breast fed both of our boys exclusively. My wife is a professional dancer so she keeps in great shape but sometimes this can be challenging when you’re raising 2 young kids. I recall this one time I came home from work to find my wife doing push-ups and breastfeeding at the same time-incredible, she is my hero.

The New York Times reports:

Many studies have strongly suggested that the trillions of microorganisms that inhabit the human body influence our current and future health and may account for the rising incidence of several serious medical conditions now plaguing Americans, young and old.
The research indicates that cesarean deliveries and limited breast-feeding can distort the population of microorganisms in a baby’s gut and may explain the unchecked rise of worrisome health problems in children and adults, including asthma, allergies, celiac disease, Type 1 diabetes and obesity. These conditions, among others, are more likely to occur when an infant’s gut has been inadequately populated by health-promoting bacteria.
A growing number of researchers and consumers are now paying more attention to where it all begins, especially how this huge population of microbes in our bodies, called the microbiome, is affected, for good or bad, by how babies are born and nourished.
As this still-evolving information trickles down to prospective mothers, it could — and perhaps should — lead to profound changes in obstetrics, pediatrics and parenting. The two most important would be fewer scheduled cesarean deliveries and more mothers breast-feeding exclusively for six months to enhance the kinds and amounts of bacteria that inhabit an infant’s gut.

These organisms perform important functions that include digesting unused nutrients, producing vitamins, stimulating normal immune development, countering harmful bacteria and fostering maturation of the gut.
A disruption in one or more of these functions can lead to serious, sometimes lifelong, health problems. If, for example, gut maturation is impaired or delayed, some experts believe undigested proteins could leak into the bloodstream and trigger an allergy or gluten intolerance, or an impaired immune system could result in an autoimmune disorder like Type 1 diabetes, juvenile arthritis or multiple sclerosis.
Babies are exposed to some organisms in utero, but the organisms encountered during birth and the first months of life have the greatest influence on those that become permanent residents in their guts. Recent studies have shown that both a vaginal birth and exclusive breast-feeding can significantly affect the kinds and numbers of their gut microbes and the risk of developing various health problems.

The rest of the story can be found here

Human Milk 4 Human Babies: Australian mothers giving breast milk to strangers’ babies through Facebook

Kathryn Powley of the Herald Sun writes that hundreds of Victorian women have donated breast milk so other mums never have to feed their babies artificial formula.

breast.milk.donateBut health officials are warning of potential risks of informal breast milk sharing.

Cranbourne mum Kim Pennell bought a special deep freezer and started stocking it with donated breast milk ahead of the birth four weeks ago of daughter Lucy.

Little Lucy is thriving on other mother’s milk sourced through a 1450-member Victorian Facebook group that is part of an international movement called “Human Milk 4 Human Babies”.

Ms Pennell, 33, said many donors offered blood tests to show they were healthy. But she operated on trust.

“You go to the mum’s house, meet her, have a coffee and a good chat. They meet your baby, you meet their baby. If something doesn’t feel right, there’s no obligation to take the milk.”

The mum of four — Hannah-Kate, Zoe, Holly and Lucy — said she had struggled to breastfeed and believed formula had led to Zoe’s cow’s milk protein intolerance and sleep problems. Ms Pennell was some people found breast milk “icky” but it the natural food to give babies.

“Even though these babies aren’t breastfed, they’re getting human milk,” she said.

About six women had donated Lucy’s 100 litres, including Ballarat’s Natalie McGrath, 37, mum to Jessica, 4, and six-month-old Thomas.

Mrs McGrath said she had too much milk for Thomas and, believing breast milk was best, had provided about eight litres to four women.

She knew of women who had donated an impressive 60 litres.

“It’s mums helping mums. It’s a very supportive community out there,” she said.

She was happy to provide blood tests showing she was free of transmittable diseases.

But Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Tim Vainoras said mums accessing informal human milk donations should be aware of potential health risks.

“The milk can be affected by a range of factors,” he said, “including lifestyle habits, such as drinking alcohol and smoking, personal hygiene, as well as correct storage and transportation.”

He said viruses and bacteria could be transmitted through unpasteurised breast milk and there was no guarantee that donated product was safe and suitable for consumption.

Mr Vainora said Mercy Health had a breast milk bank that provided pasteurised donor human milk for their hospitalised sick and premature babies.

Nova Scotia health inspectors apologize to breastfeeding farmers’ market vendor

From the no-risk-assessment-in-sight files, the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture has apologized to Tanessa Holt, owner of Food Noise, after citing her for food safety violations for breastfeeding while selling food.

According to media reports and her Facebook page Holt’s risk management strategy wasn’t good enough for the initial inspector.tanessa-holt

Holt writes:

I recently received a call from a food safety representative informing me that I cannot nurse my child at my booth as it is a violation of the food safety regulations.

I explained that there is a handwashing station behind my booth, I have gloves for handling food and that I am always more than covered when nursing. Further, my food is served in closed containers.

Despite this I was informed that I will have to have someone else sit with me the entire day to handle food if I nurse my child even once during the day while at the market.

CTV News reports in a follow-up that Holt received an email from higher-ups apologizing for the misunderstanding.

“I am happy to receive an apology, because I thought it was outrageous to begin with,” she told

Holt has been selling dry food items, including granola and oatmeal, at several markets in the Halifax area since last August.

Holt explained that her food is served in containers, that she uses gloves and a nearby hand washing station, and that she covers up while nursing. Still, she was told that she would have to get another person to handle the food if she is breastfeeding her son.

As that is not a feasible option for her, she had decided to pull out of the farmers’ markets altogether.

In the apology, the department said that the message from the food safety inspector was a “misunderstanding,” and Holt was welcome to breastfeed her son at the market so long as she followed proper hand-washing procedures.


‘I don’t walk around with baby puke on me’: Breastfeeding mom forced to quit selling at Halifax market

Tanessa Holt opened her first business in the fall, selling dry foods at local farmers’ markets. She said she has been forced to stop selling containers of soup mix, homemade protein bars and energy balls, and prepackaged oatmeal and granola.

tanessa-holtHolt was bringing her 7½-month-old son to the markets, since he has never liked taking bottles and is still dependent on breast milk.

But that was a problem, a food safety inspector told Holt on Monday.

“I have no problem with you breastfeeding at the booth, as long as there is another person that is at the booth with you, who can serve food to the customers,” wrote the inspector in an email provided to CBC News.

Holt said she has no other option but to shut down her stall. As a fledgling business owner, she can’t afford to hire someone.

Holt will soon open a store in Dartmouth, but right now farmers’ markets — in Halifax, Dartmouth and Beaver Bank — make up half her business.

In a followup conversation with the inspector, Holt learned breastfeeding even once at the booth disqualifies her from handling food, no matter how clean she stays or what precautions she takes.

“If I set up there in the morning and I nurse him, at say, 10 o’clock in the morning, then for the remainder of the day, someone else has to handle the food,” she said.

Vomit, feces from baby are concerns, says inspector

tanessa-holtIn the email, the inspector wrote: “The food safety concern is contamination of food through possible throw up and/or feces coming from the baby. This would include you burping the baby after nursing or you having to change the infant’s diaper between serving customers.”

Holt has been food safety certified and said this kind of contamination isn’t happening.

There’s a bathroom nearby to change the baby and wash up. Her clothes are covered with a receiving blanket when she nurses, and, like most mothers, she has extra layers to wear in case the blanket doesn’t do the job.

At the market or at home, “I don’t want to walk around with baby puke on me,” she said.

How to safely express and store breast milk while flying to Australia: stay away from flights with norovirus

How do breastfeeding mothers who want to continue breastfeeding their 10-month-old but have to go from the U.S. to
medula.breastfeeding.jul.13Australia for 12 days as part of a graduate course, preserve the milk in a microbiologically safe way?


The woman travelling beside me on the 16-hour flight from Dallas to Brisbane had such a scenario (fortunately, there was a spare seat between us).

She brought a breast pump, ice packs, cooler and these groovy wipes (right and left, the ones that advertise no alcohol or bleach, but contain octyl decyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, dioctyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, and a few others). She said there was no way she was going in the bathroom.

She knew her micro food safety and started asking a bunch of questions I really didn’t know the answers to.

I suggested the primary concerns would be cross-contamination and temperature control. Which seems to be supported by what little research is out there.

Another option would be to continue expressing but ditch the milk.

The next day, 26 passengers who were part of a tour group in Santiago, Chile, spent their 14 hours on their Qantas flight barfing
medula.breastfeeding.2.jul.13violently with symptoms consistent with norovirus.

“The people were sick prior to the flight,” a Qantas spokesman said. “It was a tour group that had food poisoning so it was contained to them.”

Avoid flights with norovirus.

The breastfeeding passenger has a 12-hour stopover in Brisbane on her way back. She said if she couldn’t get an earlier flight, she’ll visit and take advantage of our freezer.

Photoshop isn’t just for people – turkey breasts enhanced for magazine covers

The turkey has done what a supermodel never could: land the cover of dozens of magazines in a single month. The November covers of American food magazines are a turkey delight, with the burnished bird stuffed, garnished and splayed every which way.

Dana Cowin, the editor in chief of Food & Wine, said,

“I know it seems like, hey, what could be simpler than roasting a bird? But the perfect roast bird is a challenge. Turkey, as a model, is very much like a fashion magazine with fashion models. There are plump turkeys, and, I’m not kidding you, there’s skinny turkeys, there are chesty turkeys, breasty turkeys, there are flat-chested turkeys.”

“We have enhanced the breasts of turkeys,” she admitted.

Pollan gets $25,000 to speak with students?

I figure the Chinese–funded U.S. bailout has at least been good for Denis Leary, Howie Long, and the dude who does dirtiest jobs cause they all got gigs selling American cars.

What’s worse is that sustainably-minded Michael Pollan is stiffing students for $25,000 to come and share his menu planner.

As reported in Feedstuffs today, Pollan spoke at the University of Wisconsin-Madison last week, some farmers and aggie types challenged Pollan’s, uh, views of agriculture, and that Pollan was paid  $25,000 to speak.

Pollan has a university gig like me, although I’m not sure how he got it. My cv or resume is on-line and anyone can see it. Today I got two requests to speak: one with the Missouri public health folks, one with some food safety conference in Chicago. In both cases, I said, cover my expenses, cause otherwise I’m taking money away from undergraduate and graduate students, money that I have to raise. But no fees.

Why anyone would waste $25,000 on Pollan is baffling.

You barf, you pay; $50 vomit tax for Chicago cabs?

Chicago cab drivers are demanding that riders who throw up in their cabs get slapped with a $50 fee.

The cabbies said Thursday they want to the city impose the penalty because of the work — and hours lost — that comes with cleaning a passenger’s vomit.

Mayor Richard Daley said his administration will listen to the drivers’ request and review their recommendations.


E. coli O157:H7 and cattle diet – it’s messy

“If only” is often how statements begin by food safety wannabes who are sure they have stumbled upon a vast conspiracy meant to subjugate society.

If only Monsanto didn’t genetically-engineer seeds …

If only products like milk were served raw and natural …

If only cattle were fed grass, there would be no E. coli O157:H7.

When someone makes such proclamations, or says they speak fact, usually with an air of authority, I immediately think that person is full of it. People who say “trust me” are immediately untrustworthy.

Megan Jacob, Todd Callaway, and T.G. Nagaraja of Kansas State University write about the dietary interactions and interventions affecting Escherichia coli O157 colonization and shedding in cattle in an upcoming issue of Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. It’s not a movie, not a blog, not a pulp fiction, so they sorta have to get it right. And they do, when they write:

“The specific mechanisms responsible for increased or decreased E. coli O157 shedding or survival are not known … results of studies are conflicting or not repeatable, which speaks to the complexity of the hindgut ecosystem, variation in animal feed utilization, and variation within feed products.”

The complete abstract is below.

Escherichia coli O157 is an important foodborne pathogen affecting human health and the beef cattle industry. Contamination of carcasses at slaughter is correlated to the prevalence of E. coli O157 in cattle feces. Many associations have been made between dietary factors and E. coli O157 prevalence in cattle feces. Preharvest interventions, such as diet management, could reduce the fecal prevalence and diminish the impact of this adulterant. Dietary influences, including grain type and processing method, forage quality, and distillers grains have all been associated with E. coli O157 prevalence. In addition, several plant compounds, including phenolic acids and essential oils, have been proposed as in-feed intervention strategies. The specific mechanisms responsible for increased or decreased E. coli O157 shedding or survival are not known but are often attributed to changes in hindgut ecology induced by diet types. Some interventions may have a direct bacterial effect. Frequently, results of studies are conflicting or not repeatable, which speaks to the complexity of the hindgut ecosystem, variation in animal feed utilization, and variation within feed products. Still, understanding specific mechanisms, driven by diet influences, responsible for E. coli O157 shedding will aid in the development and implementation of better and practical preharvest intervention strategies.

Storing breastmilk: Conflicting advice

Doug, Sorenne and I are celebrating Sorenne’s one month birthday today with naps, laundry, and writing in every spare second. Yesterday we had a visit from the Healthy Start program representative which is part of the State of Kansas Health Department. Rachel weighed the baby who, with her clothes on, is now 11 lbs 15 oz. I have no concerns about her getting enough to eat. What does worry me, however, is how to keep track of the bottles of expressed breast milk in the refrigerator and whether temperature abuse is going to be an issue.

Breastfeeding has been tricky on numerous levels. Fortunately, storing breast milk is one of the few areas where I’ve found really conflicting advice. The most helpful book I purchased, The Nursing Mother’s Companion by Kathleen Huggins, only briefly covers milk storage stating in a chart that the limit is 72 hours in the refrigerator (p. 189). She contradicts herself elsewhere saying, “You can keep your milk for 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator or for up to three months in the freezer” (p. 104).

Huggins explains that fresh refrigerated milk is somewhat better than frozen because it retains more antibodies, but if you do freeze milk, it should be labeled with the date. Furthermore, “Milk cannot be refrozen or refrigerated after it has been thawed or warmed; whatever is left over after the feeding must be thrown out” (p. 104).

Huggins and multiple other sources discourage reheating milk in the microwave. While Huggins doesn’t explain, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that microwaves heat unevenly and may create dangerous hot spots that may burn the baby. In addition, Laura Jana and Jennifer Shu in Heading Home with Your Newborn say that the microwave destroys the protective antibodies found in breastmilk (p. 50).

In a section entitled “Focusing on Food Safety” Jana and Shu also encourage thorough handwashing and drying before preparing formula.

“Do not use prepared formula if it has been left unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours. Once you have fed your baby from a bottle, do not refrigerate the bottle in hopes of using it again later; bacteria from your baby’s mouth can multiply, even in the refrigerator. Be sure to discard any formula remaining in the bottle after 1 hour from the start of your baby’s feeding.” (p. 45)

I am unsure what the authors advise for breastmilk.

On the Lansinoh brand Breastmilk Storage Bags there is a chart indicating “How Long To Store Breastmilk”:

Where                                                                    Temperature                  Time

At Room Temperature                                            66-72 F (19-22 C)         10 hours
In a Refrigerator                                                     32-39 F (0-4 C)              8 days
In a Freezer Compartment inside a Refrigerator   Temperature varies        2 weeks
In a Freezer Compartment with a Separate Door  Temperature varies        3-4 Months
In a Separate Deep Freeze                                    0 F (-19 C)                     6 Months or longer

FDA’s advice comes from “Breastfeeding Made Easier at Home and Work” at and is almost identical., however, gives a detailed breakdown of milk storage times at room temperature:

    * At 60 degrees F for 24 hours
    * At 66-72 degrees F for 10 hours
    * At 79 degrees F for 4-6 hours
    * At 86-100 degrees F for 4 hours

FDA also advises to make sure hands are clean and dry before handling milk, to store milk away from the door in the freezer “to avoid changes in temperature that may compromise the milk” and when you need to take the milk with you, “pack it in a cooler filled with ice. Do not leave the milk in a cooler for more than 24 hours.”

Here’s to many more healthy milestones for Sorenne.