Infant Mortality

Avatar for luv_my_boyz
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Infant Mortality
21
Thu, 05-01-2003 - 6:44pm
I am being challenged big time on an assertion that I made in the "convenience of formula feeding" thread that formula feeding (or lack of breastfeeding if you want to say it that way) is a contributing factor to infant mortality in THIS COUNTRY. No, not just in third world countries from contaminated water. I threw out a number of 4000 (and for the life of me I can't find my reference right now). The only links I could come up with quickly, had numbers closer to 16,000 (which was of course challenged). OK, some of you are right, I cannot prove an exact number in any kind of good conscience. But there ARE deaths on a statistically significant level that can be correlated with ff.

Here is an example from an 8/2001 News Release from the AAP (and the AAP tends to err on the side of being conservative about making any pronouncements): "The study reports that breastfeeding accounts for the race difference in infant mortality in the US, at least as much as low birth weight does. By increasing breastfeeding among African-American women, the racial gap in infant mortality should narrow." The infant mortality rate for african-american women in 2000 was 13.5 per 1000 births (approx. 8100 deaths out of 623,000 births). If the infant mortality rate was reduced to 7 per 1000 births (about the rate of white women), that would be approximately 3900 babies saved. Now consider again the statement "breastfeeding accounts for the race difference in infant mortality in the US, at least as much as low birth weight does".

Do you believe that breastfeeding can reduce infant mortality in this country? Why or why not?

Danielle

BTW Here are my links (and I sure would be interested in seeing your links and references even if they don't agree with mine!) (Honest):

http://www.aap.org/advocacy/archives/augbreast.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/releases/02facts/infantmort.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr50/nvsr50_05.pdf

P.S. to my Canadian friend- These are not from the '80s.

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Avatar for kfira71
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-01-2003 - 7:02pm
I actually do believe that BFing could reduce the infant mortality rate in the US, but I do not think that automatically correlates to formula-feeding being the *cause* of infant deaths. I have never seen any study (and I'm not talking about articles about a study, though I haven't seen one of those either) that can actually assert that it was the proper use of formula that caused a death. I *do* believe that improper use of formula - unclean mixing conditions that introduce bacteria, for example, or not using formula at all and just giving a baby straight cow's milk - can certainly lead to illness and possibly death. But that does not mean the formula itself is harmful in any way. All it means is that there is not enough education on how to safely prepare a bottle of formula for an infant.

So, yes, I do think BFing would reduce the mortality rate, but I also believe that working to ensure proper preparation of formula at home would have an equal impact. Sorry I don't have links to provide, this is just my opinion.




Edited 5/1/2003 7:34:36 PM ET by kfira71

~Kim

"Becoming a parent means agreeing to allow your heart to go walking around outside of your body."

Avatar for cl_sunny_side_up
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 05-01-2003 - 7:57pm
Yes, I do believe that bfing could reduce the infant mortality rate in this country....but not for the reasons you may be thinking. I don't think mortality happens to say the lot of us. I think it happens in places of this country where water may be unsanitary, mother is preparing formula wrong, and where baby is already having a difficult time at life.

I DO believe that the rates of eczema, GI problems, and asthma (to mention a few)would be reduced if more people bf'd. However, in that same breath I believe that there is no way of knowing exactly who would benefit. As we have all read here....there is much anecdotal evidence of the opposite, yet I maintain that as a "whole" infants would only benefit.

I maintain that formula is a safe alternative. Formula is a complete nutrition that babies not only survive on but thrive on.



The articles you referenced are all GUESSING on the numbers because there really is NO way of knowing the exact numbers....and IME, when the truth actually comes out....numbers are actually much lower. I believe that well-meaning scientists are erring on the side of caution and increasing the numbers.



christine


~christine~

Avatar for cl_sunny_side_up
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 05-01-2003 - 8:02pm
Your first link is just a look at numbers......no actual study unless you say, "they studied the numbers from questionaires filled out."

Your second link lists MANY MANY variables regarding infant mortality. Infact, too many to pinpoint which exactly lead to the deaths of the babies. I would gather that everything listed played a part, and because of that I doubt very much that if say breastfeeding were done from the beginning yet all the other variables remained.....would the infant mortality rate numbers be that much different.

Your third link is just a repeat of your second link.



christine


~christine~

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 05-01-2003 - 8:28pm
Thanks for the links they are very interesting, although the second one said nothing about b/f and at least the abstract of the third did not mention b/f at all (sorry, no time to read a 100+ page study). I think you posted them to back up the infant mortality rates? Anyway, in regards to the first statement from the AAP: I went to the abstract of the study and read it. The statement from the AAP is from 2001 but the data used in the study is from 1988 and 1995 (possibly that's all they could get to use, but still it's OLD data). They also said it "should" narrow the the gap but they don't have any real evidence to support that fact, it is just conjecture as far as I can tell based only on the reading of the abstract. I wish I had the money to subscribe to the online journal, because I would really love to read their methodology and the full statistics of the study for a better understanding. Until then I can neither agree or disagree with that particular article and the study it's based on.

That all being said, of course I think bf could possibly help reduce the infant mortality rates. It is the perfect food and it is best for babies. I don't think anyone here would argue that point. There is a ton of correlative evidence and I am not argueing that. I feel would give a child an extra leg up if they have issues with low birth weight, low socioeconomic status, etc. My whole problem is (and what I was trying to say below) with the bf advocates that throw these numbers out in their literature. These types of arguements only serve as scare tactics (that may not be their intention, but it does come off that way) and are not positive ways to encourage women to bf. The statements would not change my mind if I had decided to ff and someone was trying to convince me otherwise. I respond far better to more gentle approaches.

I do think that breast is best, but I have a problem with statements that those who formula feed are harming their babies...it's not fair and it's not true.

Judi


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Thu, 05-01-2003 - 9:34pm
Interesting, but nothing in the second article even talks about bf....these stood out to me:

"The three leading causes of infant death were congenital malformations (21 percent of all infant deaths), disorders relating to short gestation and low birthweight (16 percent), and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) (9 percent)."

"SIDS rates declined by 7 percent from 1999 to 2000, continuing the rapid decline of the 1990s."

"Infant mortality rates were higher for infants whose mothers had no prenatal care, were teenagers, had less education, were unmarried or smoked during pregnancy."

"The report also documented other significant variations in infant mortality rates. Rates were higher for male infants, multiple births, and infants born preterm or at low birthweight."

eileen

Avatar for luv_my_boyz
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Fri, 05-02-2003 - 2:49pm
The second two links were just for reference on infant mortality.

Danielle

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 05-03-2003 - 10:08am
I agree that raising bf rates will lower infant mortality. I think that it was said in "Milk, Money, and Madness" (a fully-referenced book) by Naomi Baumslag, MD, & Dia L. Michels, that if everyone bfed for a certain number of months (6? not sure...) it would save something like 4-5 MILLION in healthcare fees.

Fio.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 05-03-2003 - 10:16am
I can see some of your point, but...

" I actually do believe that BFing could reduce the infant mortality rate in the US, but I do not think that automatically correlates to formula-feeding being the *cause* of infant deaths."

I do. At least some of the time...but I'll explain more...

"that can actually assert that it was the proper use of formula that caused a death. I *do* believe that improper use of formula - unclean mixing conditions that introduce bacteria, for example, or not using formula at all and just giving a baby straight cow's milk - can certainly lead to illness and possibly death."

What about the cases where contaminated FORMULA from the source (ie in the can) was used? That is not a matter of uneducated parents not knowing how to use their formula, but rather a manufacturing error.

" But that does not mean the formula itself is harmful in any way. All it means is that there is not enough education on how to safely prepare a bottle of formula for an infant."

I've read before that cow milk has proteins and/or hormones in it that attack the human pancreas. Obviously a LOT of human beings in NOrth America drink cow milk on a regular basis and eat bovine milk products too. But despite that, diabetes levels are higher in kids who get cow milk formula rather than being bfed. I'M not sure if they're higher or not in Soy formula-fed kids (than in bf kids), though I know the soy formulae have their own slew of problems. I guess I can't just look beyond this...I see this as "formula has to have CAUSED at least SOME of these diabetes cases, assuming the cow milk attacks the pancreas, b/c it doesn't seem to be the cow milk ingested later in life that is the problem, but rather the difference is amongst those who are getting bovine proteins and hormones from an early age".

Lastly, there is also the baby who gets a bottle of formula and has an anyphlactic reaction and dies. Sure, that's a rarety, but they do happen...and since they do, then that death i caused by formula and might not have happened had he been bfed. Maybe he would have been an highly allergic child/person, but likely not dead.

"So, yes, I do think BFing would reduce the mortality rate, but I also believe that working to ensure proper preparation of formula at home would have an equal impact."

I agree that working to ensure proper preparation of formula would have *an* impact. I highly doubt it would have an EQUAL impact.

Avatar for mommytojoshua
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-07-2003 - 1:53pm
Formula feeding can be fatal to premature babies.

I found this information at: http://www.mmbaustin.org/faq.htm

Research shows unequivocally that human milk is the best food for human babies. Human milk is especially critical for premature and sick infants, who are at 10-fold greater risk for acquiring devastating intestinal infections if they are fed formula instead of human milk.



Neonatologists are most concerned about avoiding necrotizing entercolits (NEC), a disease that attacks the intestinal lining and eventually damages or destroys it, requiring emergency surgery to repair. Emergency surgery on a two-pound infant is both difficult and dangerous in itself. Mother’s milk makes a huge difference in how well these little babies will do after birth because it fights infection while providing nutrition.




Consider:

· 1.5% of premature infants fed mother’s milk acquire NEC.

· 15-30% of premature infants fed formula acquire this disease.

· Of those babies who acquire NEC, up to 62% die from it.



If there is no congenital problem and the baby was merely born too early, doctors will focus on keeping the infant healthy while waiting for the baby to grow big enough to go home. Chances are very good that the child will simply outgrow prematurity and have no lasting adverse health effects.


Avatar for luv_my_boyz
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Wed, 05-07-2003 - 8:05pm
I think this discounts the theory floating in this thread that any deaths in this country due to ff are due only to improper preparation. (Though I do agree that can happen). These preemies are taken care of in a controlled setting by competent professionals. I think we can be pretty certain they are administering the formula properly!

Danielle

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