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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

IBFAN: The Business of Malnutrition

The Business of malnutrition: breaking down trade rules to profit from the poor

Guidelines for a new range of products for babies ‘at risk’ of malnutrition was the topic at the annual meeting of Codex, the UN body that sets food standards. In the press release below, learn about how the mass marketing of these products may create the scary new ‘business of malnutrition’ where the developed world makes big profits from the malnutrition and poverty of the developing world.

Press Release

The Business of malnutrition: 
breaking down trade rules to profit from the poor

Codex Nutrition Committee: Bad Soden, Frankfurt, Germany
12-18th November 2011
Health campaigners, led by the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) and representatives from a dozen developing countries attended the Nutrition Meeting of Codex, the UN body that sets international food standards These attendees achieved partial success in the Codex Guidelines by calling for strict controls on the marketing of a loose range of processed fortified products for babies that were never clearly defined. The objective was to provide nutrients which are “either lacking or are present in insufficient quantities,” with the clear aim of targeting all those ‘at risk’ of malnutrition.
The countries, Brazil, Nigeria, Chile, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Gambia, Togo, Cameroon, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, South Africa and Bolivia, fearing that uncontrolled marketing would undermine breastfeeding, increase family poverty and create dependence on products that are expensive and often unnecessary, called for several key World Health Assembly Resolutions to be mentioned in the guidelines. The United States and the European Union initially opposed this move saying that because the Resolutions stand on their own there was no need to refer to them. Australia and Botswana suggested that paragraphs from the relevant WHA texts could be referenced and, after the World Health Organisation (WHO) explained the importance of the Resolutions, the EU and the US agreed to a compromise.
Experts from the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), led by Elisabeth Sterken of INFACT Canada, suggest that as the EU and US economic crisis continues, the new ‘business of malnutrition’ – which has the potential for multi-billion dollar profits from exports to the developing world and is portrayed as a win-win solution for the economy and development – could lead to a marketing bonanza that, instead of improving infant and young child health, could harm it and drain family budgets.
. . . .
Elisabeth Sterken
Director INFACT Canada/IBFAN North America

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sending our toddlers off to school to learn to be good little automatons

Two days ago an article was published that literally left me speechless, and gave me a serious case of Head/Desk.

*Thud*..... thud thud thud..... *repeat

The article entitled "Childhood education starting at age 2 would pay off big, new Canadian report concludes" on states:

Forget about daycare, a new Canadian report recommends every child should start going to school starting at age two.The Early Years Study 3 , released Tuesday, recommends toddlers have access to publicly funded early-childhood education at their local school. The report says an "avalanche of evidence" indicates there's a big payoff for kids if they start learning earlier.
"Education is well-established and a well-valued system within our country, and it's a place we feel it should be attached to, to build on," Margaret Norrie McCain, who co-authored the report with the late Dr. Fraser Mustard and Kerry McCuaig," said in the Toronto Star ......recommendations should be easy to implement in Ontario, which already has a full-day kindergarten for children aged four and five.
"I would come down to three-year-olds, then two-year-olds and one-year-olds," Mustard said. "I'd move right down, and I'd pay (early childhood educators) well, and if you are telling me we don't have the money, I'd make the point that the risk for physical and mental health problems is actually set in early development."

The Early Years "Study" it's self says

"the three Early Years studies argue that if we truly wish to provide our children with an equal opportunity to maximize their potential, it is vital that we do everything we can to enhance their early development. Our survival as a species will depend on our children acquiring the skills they will need to cope with the social and environmental revolutions of the 21st century. Canada’s tomorrow depends on our ability to leverage what we know into policies and practices that support families and benefit children today." 

As I said above, these articles literally left me with a raging headache and an inability to form the cloud of outrage in my head into simple words.  But don't worry, because Jonathan McLeod seems to of taken all the anger and spluttering exasperation in my head and put it all together in a great package of words that echo my thoughts almost exactly.  

*course language warning for those that are sensitive to those things

They’re Dirty Filthy LiarsJonathan McLeodNews agencies have been picking up on a new report on child, err toddler, education. The Early Years Study 3 has made some waves as the researchers propagandists behind it make the claim that children as young as 18 months need to be dumped into schools where they can start learning.The report is garbage.This isn’t some new study that has been released, it’s not even some meta-study, analyzing the results of various other studies. It’s a political manifesto dressed up academic garb. From the very beginning, the authors state an obvious, but insidious, agenda: their “progressive goal” to make society better. ‘Progressive’ is a funny term. It seems so beneficial, and can so easily be dropped in as a synonym for ‘liberal’, but that’s not what’s going on here. The authors have a political cause to push, and they will stop at nothing – nothing – to get disabuse you of any differing views of the functioning of society.The authors are quite clear in their intent and their concern. They aren’t worried about children; they aren’t worried about families. Yes, they dress up all their politics in fuzzy stories about trips to the library and immigrants finding a place in our cold, dark society, but their concern is only for society, not individuals and not families. Personal desires and preferences should never be a primary concern; the will of the individual should be subverted for the benefit of the state.Don’t believe me? The report bemoans the lost economic activity of stay-at-home parents. The parents, we are told, are not being productive or contributing to society. They need to be freed, apparently, from the chains of parenting so that they may serve a greater function. The report worries that if the current trend away from stay-at-home parents were to reverse, it could spell the economic doom of Canada. I’m. Not. Kidding.These people were sly. They’re incredibly dishonest, but they’re not dumb. The report (and there’s too much crap in there for me to fisk the whole thing) begins with discussions about child development, and throws in a nice anecdote about a new Canadian who needed the government to help her care for all her kids. How could you be against child development or new Canadians integrating into society? Early on, though, the fix is in. First off, when the authors begin comparing their preferred model of round-the-clock child care, they tip their hand by comparing the costs to that of other schools in the district (Toronto), but they’re only comparing a public institution to other public institutions. No private schools are ever mentioned. This is a theme throughout the entire report; education is the sole domain of the government.

To read the rest of Jonathan's excellent diatribe please click HERE

If this is the way that our government thinks we should nurture our children and "support families".... it makes me very happy to be a stay at home - homeschooling mom!!!  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Milksharing on Facebook: one year later"

With the whirlwind of starting homeschooling and getting ready for Halloween, I completely forgot about our first anniversary!  October 28th marked the first anniversary of the launch of a global milksharing network on Facebook!!  I can NOT believe that it's already been 12 months- it seems like just weeks ago we were setting up pages and organizing hundreds of volunteers and pulling together press releases..... WOW!

Jodine's World's article  "Milksharing on Facebook: One year later" sums it all up perfectly!!

It's been a whole year since Emma Kwasnica's Facebook milksharing network  was launched. I can't believe it's been that long - seems like 10 minutes ago I was blogging about the six-month anniversary with my post, "A funny thing happened on the way to the milk bank."
Early on there were some bumps for global milksharing - understandable as 300 volunteer admins struggled to set up and run local communities using Facebook. Just as individuals struggle with the love-hate relationship with Facebook, so did the admins managing over a hundred community pages in 50 countries around the globe.
 Then there were some personality clashes - the original Eats on Feets Arizona community page founder parted ways with the global network after asserting her rights to her name. The global group became Human Milk 4 Human Babies (HM4HB) and while moms just kept right on offering up surplus milk and babes continued to receive it, the name change has hampered the growth of this network. There are still some Eats on Feets pages around and families new to milksharing can't always find their active local communities. And these days the Eats on Feets website has been hijacked by someone peddling breast implants and pregnancy diets, creating the potential for confusion for individuals and even reporters looking to do a feature on the one-year anniversary of the movement.
But Human Milk 4 Human Babies hasn't lost any steam and in September it sponsored the first World Milksharing Week with broad worldwide participation from Australia to Arizona.
 And although France joined the US and Canada with official warnings about the dangers of informal or Internet-based milksharing, three well-known academics published a supportive commentary in the International Breastfeeding Journal. "Milk Sharing: from private practice to public pursuit"  has become the most accessed item on the IBJ website this year. Authors James Akre, Karleen Gribble and Maureen Minchin argue the risks of milksharing are manageable and conclude: 


"this made-by-mothers model shows considerable potential for expanding the world's supply of human milk and improving the health of children." Akre, Gribble, Minchin, IBJ 2011

HERE to read the entire article on Jodine's World

So much has happened in the past year.  Human Milk 4 Human Babies has grown bigger and faster and busier than we ever thought possible at this time last year.  Mothers are coming together all over the world to create "communities" to support each other and insure that babies are getting the breastmilk they need to grow and be strong and healthy.  This is the Vision and Mission of HM4HB: to promote the nourishment of babies and children around the world with human milk. We are dedicated to fostering community between local families who have chosen to share breastmilk.

Our Vision

HM4HB is a global milksharing network, a virtual village, comprising thousands of people from over fifty countries. We are mothers, fathers, adoptive families, grandparents, childbirth and breastfeeding professionals, volunteers, supporters, donors, and recipients that have come together to support the simple idea that all babies and children have the right to receive human milk. We use social media as a platform for local families to make real-life connections and come together as sustainable milksharing communities where women graciously share their breastmilk. HM4HB is built on the principle of informed choice: we trust, honour, and value the autonomy of families and we assert they are capable of weighing the benefits and risks of milksharing in order to make choices that are best for them. We hold the space for them and protect their right to do what is normal, healthy, and ecological.

Breastmilk, the biologically normal sustenance for humankind, is a free-flowing resource and mothers of the world are willing to share it. Milksharing is a vital tradition that has been taken from us, and it is crucial that we regain trust in ourselves, our neighbors, and in our fellow women. Feeding any breastmilk substitute is not without risk and we support the families who know there is another option. We are the bridge that connects local families and brings them together again as milksharing communities. Indeed, the future of humanity depends on our return to sharing in a local and tangible way with one another.

We want milksharing and wet-nursing to be commonplace and babies to be fed at women's breasts whenever and wherever they need it. We dream of a world where mothers from previous generations pass on the tradition of breastfeeding and are a wealth of knowledge and support. We can forsee a time when women protect each other and help one another feed their babies so that every mother feels whole and no mother feels broken or that her body is failing her. We imagine a world where family members, friends, lactation consultants, doctors, and midwives do not hesitate to recommend donor milk when it is needed. We envision a future where families come together to raise this generation, and the next, by nourishing human babies everywhere with human milk and unconditional love.

Every person of the world is invited to join HM4HB. Page administrators, members, donors, recipients, and supporters are all important for building local, real-life communities where acquiring donor milk is no different than asking a trusted neighbor for an egg. We hope that one day in the future all babies in the world will thrive and grow on mother's milk, and HM4HB will no longer be needed because wet-nurses and breastmilk are available on every street, village, town, city, and island around the globe.
 For more information about Human Milk 4 Human Babies, please visit the website at:  Visit the global fan page on Facebook: