Friday, June 5, 2015

Why I Do Not Recommend 'The Vaccine Book' (and it's not why you think!) [Ch. I]

6/5/15: This was written over a year and a half ago, and my computer crashed along with the links I had saved for this blog. I will update when I can recover most of them, although some are hyperlinked in the blog already.

Ever since I began researching and beginning my family's path for wellness care, I heard The Vaccine Book thrown around like the paragon of information on vaccines and why you should forgo them. While we did come to the decision to forgo vaccinations for our family after long months of research (that we very obviously continue to do!), I have always been very skeptical of The Vaccine Book's status as the 'best' resource for beginners in vaccine research. Firstly, the first sentence of the Preface is "I am a pro-vaccine doctor." That already states that he has a biased view on the matter, and isn't neutral, as many claim the book reads. The fact of the matter is, the information may appear completely neutral, but not all of it is. While I'm sure Dr. Sears honestly had no ill intent when writing the book, it still indeed is meant to make you feel safe about vaccinating your child in the face of many risks. You need to be aware of the actual risks whether or not you choose to vaccinate your child - not the sugar-coated version or a pretty painted version to convince you of safety.

I will illustrate some points as I go through each chapter thoroughly for you. Some may be my own musings, which may or may not lead to offshoots of questions or further research. The main point is just to remember I'm illustrating errors, fallacies, mis-truths, or questions left unanswered, etc.

We have to remember that as a rule, vaccination relies on Antibody Theory - the theory that raised antibody levels help the body remember diseases so that should it come into contact with the theory, it already has "practiced" fighting it off. Such a theory has no basis and has been disproved many times over. So already that is a strike against the pro-vaccine information contained in the book. However, let's ignore this for a few moments and pretend that Antibody Theory actually works for the simplicity of explaining away some of the notions that come in the next step of vaccinology.

Chapter One - HIB

Already in Chapter One the book has several contradictions and mis-truths. I may pose my own questions that I would like answered, that you may or may not pay attention to.

  • Already on (Pages 5, 13-14), Dr. Sears asserts that the reason the disease is no longer as common or as dangerous because of vaccination but asserted that on (page 3) that HIB is very often misdiagnosed as something else entirely. This is a common - but wild assertion (that vaccines prevent/have prevented these diseases) by those in the medical community that remains unsubstantiated. There is significant evidence that the decline of disease was well on its way before vaccines existed (and even as they were introduced) due to advancements in understanding of disease, transmission and prevention, cleaner water and sanitation improvement, as well as medical
    From the World Health Organization
    advancement and availability. I will talk about Herd Immunity later.
  • As the individual vaccines are described, Dr. Sears claims that both the Tetanus Toxoid (TT) and Neisseria help the body recognize HIB (page 7), and that is why they are used. Doesn't seem to be logical when it makes the body more likely not to recognize HIB, but rather the TT or Neisseria themselves as this is bonded to the HIB sugars. 
    • [[Dr. Sears attempts to be sly with his words here, saying that the TT is not the actual Tetanus bacterium implying that it's safe, however does not include the fact that the Tetanus bacterium is not the dangerous part of Tetanus, but rather that the Toxoid that it excretes, that is. (Page 7)]]. The Tetanus Toxoid is considered one of the two worst exotoxins (Virulence Factor, see two dots below) known to man. Not knowing this initially upon reading this chapter, it is quite unnerving to know that Dr. Sears doesn't even mention this.
    • A quick google search on Neisseria bacterium reveals that there are eleven species, two being pathogens (N. meningitidis and N. gonorrhoeae aka gonococcus and meningococcus; or Gonorrhea and Meningitis). The vaccine insert indicates that the species used is N. meningitidis. Considering Dr. Sears states that one of the biggest concerns is the secondary infection (complication) of meningitis after contracting HIB, why this species of Neisseria? One of the theories pro-vaccinators use is "Cross Immunity" or the idea that if a pathogen is similar enough a body will be able to fight it adequately. It seems highly counterproductive to me, to risk this being introduced with the vaccine when it is one of the biggest concerns of the disease itself, when substitutes are available (although some are linked with diseases as well). In addition, it is well known that N. meningitidis is becoming more and more antibiotic-resistant, causing concern. Why not use a substitute?
    • Yet another very huge concern about the use of N. meningitidis is the fact that its capsule, which is what is used for the vaccine - is a virulence factor. A virulence factor is expressed/secreted by a pathogen to achieve several objectives. One such objective is to glean nutrition from its host, another is to aid it to get into and out of cells in its host, to colonize its host, to evade immune response from the host (immunoevasion)(this is the main role of capsules), and lastly; immunosupression, to suppress the host's immune responses. Virulence Factors are considered the most responsible for causing disease because of the intrinsic property of changing harmless bacteria into dangerous infective pathogens. If the capsule of the N. meningitidis' main role is immunoevasion, how is that "helping" the body to recognize HIB? Isn't that the exact opposite of immunoevasion? How can this create a "better" response?
    • Why, if the vaccine is intended to create antibodies to HIB, are we introducing things that interfere with the production of these antibodies? 

  •  On (page 8) Dr. Sears writes "research has not proven that the Aluminum in vaccines is harmful," * yet turns around to say on (pages 244-246) that it hasn't even ever been tested, never mind tested on neonates and infants, and is generally regarded as dangerous even when ingested in smaller amounts than is injected with vaccines. Also notes that premature neonates who were given IV drips containing small amounts of Aluminum were substantially neurologically and otherwise damaged. This is very contradictory considering his skepticism shared on (page 245) about CHOP's handout on Aluminum in vaccines.
    • * I do not know how Dr. Sears can claim that the Aluminum in vaccines are not harmful, when I know of over 60 that link Aluminum and/or Aluminum in vaccines to neurological degeneration and other such things. In 2011, a very comprehensive study was carried out by Lucija Tomljenovic and Christopher A. Shaw that has some very interesting excerpts. While I do not normally like to weigh in on anything that has a Vaccine-Autism connection, the authors attempted to identify whether or not any plausible theories could be drawn that Aluminum may contribute to Autism Spectrum Diseases. I will focus only on their conclusions about Aluminum itself. [L. Tomjlenovic, C.A. Shaw, Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence in Autism?, J. Inorg. Biochem. (2011), doi: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2011.08.008] It seems to me, Dr. Sears is playing it safe.
      • "(i) Children should not be viewed as "small adults" as their unique physiology makes them much more vulnerable to toxic insults; and (ii) if exposure to Al from only a few vaccines can lead to cognitive impairment and autoimmunity in adults, is it unreasonable to question whether the current pediatric schedules, often containing 19 Al adjuvant vaccines, are safe for children?" [Abstract]. It has been well known that children, especially neonates and infants are very vulnerable to toxins. The fact that they are still considered "small adults" in the vaccine industry illustrates lack of concern over safety. In some cases the adult vaccine dosage is the same as the infant and childhood vaccine dosages, a clear logical fallacy that has never been supported by scientific reasoning.
      • "Further, immune challenges during early development, including those induced by vaccines, can lead to permanent detrimental alterations of nervous and immune system function. [6-9] Experimental evidence also shows that simultaneous administration of as little as two to three immune adjuvants, or repeated stimulation of the immune system by the same antigen, can overcome genetic resistance to autoimmunity in animals. [10,11]" This is further supported by the Goldman-Miller study (April 2012) that determined through studying trends and the VAERS system. "Our findings show a positive correlation between the number of vaccine doses administered and the percentage of hospitalizations and deaths reported to VAERS." [Conclusion]
      • "Al is an experimentally demonstrated neurotoxin whose ability to impact the human nervous system has been known for decades [16,27-29]." So how can Dr. Sears claim no one knows if it's toxic? "For example, nothing is known about the toxicology and pharmacokinetics of Al compounds in infants and children. [35] In addition, the mechanisms by which Al adjuvants interact with the immune system are far from clear [34,35]." In layman's terms, basically nothing is known about how the mechanism of how toxicity works with Aluminum, the symptoms of a toxic reaction to Aluminum, and how it is diagnosed and treated. The pharmacokinetics (how it affects and moves through the body once it is inside of the body, including how it is processed, stored, or excreted and the timeline in which any of this happens) haven't been studied either. Don't you think we should know all of those things before going as far as deeming something "safe" for the most vulnerable population?
      • "In this regard it is noticeable that many vaccine trials usually use an Al adjuvant containing "placebo" or another vaccine as the "control" group [36-38], rather than a saline control. This study design has not allowed a direct comparison of the efficacy and safety of the antigen alone versus the Al adjuvant." There is no guideline for placebos in use, and drug manufacturers know this, and regularly use it to their advantage. In my research (spanning two years now) I have come across four studies on the safety of any vaccine that had a saline placebo, none of which were done by the respectable drug companies they were made by. Basically, they know that if they use an Aluminum adjuvant-containing placebo or other vaccine, it will mask problems and reactions to the Aluminum because there will be similar rates between the test and control groups. Only a saline placebo can accurately demonstrate the safety in a double-blind placebo-controlled study.
      • "It is also of note that the FDA requires limits on Al parenteral feeding solutions and requires warning labels about potential Al exposures, while setting no safety limits or issuing warnings for Al in vaccines [90]. The lack of an established safety margin for Al in vaccines may be concerning for numerous reasons: (i) Al is highly neurotoxic and can impair prenatal and postnatal brain development in humans and experimental animals [28,91]; (ii) a pilot study showed higher than normal Al levels in the hair, blood, and/or urine of Autistic children ..., (iii) children are regularly exposed to much higher levels of Al adjuvants than adults ..., (iv) practically nothing is known about the pharmocokinetics and toxicodynamics of Al adjuvants in children [35] and paradoxically, evaluation of the pharmaco- and toxicokinetics is not required for vaccine licensing purposes [93]; (v) in adult humans, Al vaccine adjuvants have been linked to serious neurological impairments, chronic fatigue, and autoimmunity (table 1) [31,32,94-96], (vi) injections of Al adjuvants at levels comparable to those that are administered to humans have been shown to cause motor neuron death, impairments in motor function and decrements in spacial memory capacity in young mice [29,97]; and (vii) intraperitoneal injection of Al adsorbed vaccines in 4-week old mice was followed by a transient peak in in brain Al levels on the second and third days after injection [98]. The latter experiment demonstrated that even a fully formed BBB (blood-brain barrier) does not impede Al access to the brain tissue." I really don't have to say anything more, they've pretty much got this one covered. Please note that in human children, the BBB (blood brain barrier) isn't closed until sometime after seven years old. It is only 40-70% functioning at 2 years of age.
      • "Finally, in newborn primates, a single dose of the HB (Hepatitis B) vaccine is sufficient to cause neurodevelopmental delays in acquisition of neonatal reflexes essential for survival [7]. Although the HB vaccines are adjuvanted with Al (Table 2), both the primate and the epidemiological studies mentioned above only draw attention to thimerosal (ethyl mercury vaccine preservative.)" Thimerosal, was "removed" as of 2001, but batches with Thimerosal were used well into 2007-2008, and even today there are some vaccines which still contain Thimerosal in full amounts, but most contain "trace" amounts even if not listed on the ingredients list.
      • "Given the bioavailability of Al through food sources, a common assertion in relation to Al in vaccines is that children obtain much more Al from diet. ... However, this notion contradicts basic toxicological principles. For instance, it should be obvious that the route of exposure which bypasses the protective barriers of the gastrointestinal tract and/or the skin will likely require a lower dose to produce a toxic outcome [14,16]. In the case of Al, only ~0.25% of dietary Al is absorbed into systemic circulation [104]. In contrast, Al hydroxide (the most common adjuvant form) injected intramuscularly may be absorbed at nearly 100% efficiency over time [105].
      • "First, there are critical periods in brain development during which even subtle immune challenges (including those induced by vaccinations) can lead to permanent detrimental alterations of brain and immune function [7,9,117,118]. ... Such high exposures were repeated over relatively short intervals during these critical periods of brain development (i.e., first 2 years post-natal) constitute a significant neurotoxicological as well as an immunological challenge to neonates and young children [2,14]. Third, despite a prevalent view that peripheral immune responses do not affect brain function, overwhelming research suggests that neuro-immune cross-talk may be the norm rather than the exception [25,84,119-128]. Indeed, it is now clearly established that this bi-directional neuro-immune cross-talk plays crucial roles in immuno-regulation and brain function [84,128-135]. ... Fourth, the very same components of the neuro-immune regulatory system that are known to play key roles in proper brain devlopment and immune function (i.e., interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I, complement cascade [25,84,119-129,133, 135]), are heavily targeted by Al adjuvants (Table 1)." But this is completely safe. We don't need no studies, yo, cuz we da CDC! (comic relief?)
      • "Al is known to disrupt the BBB and can increase its permeability by increasing the rate of trans-membrane diffusion and by selectively altering saturable transport systems [5, 148,149]. Even in adjuvant form, Al can enter the brain [98]. Furthermore, much like mercury, Al may induce autoimmunity through the so-called "bystander" effect [150]." Basically, Aluminum can permanently change what the BBB allows in and out (for the worse)- therefore allowing many of the other dangerous things, especially in vaccines, access to the brain. The brain usually stores these things, and this is known to contribute to or trigger autoimmunity. 
  •   Dr. Sears comes to a similar conclusion about Formaldehyde, stating "the miniscule amounts in these vaccines is probably harmless." (Pages 8-9) Yet, turns around to say on Page 248 that the EPA, OSHA, and CPSC as well as numerous other organizations acknowledge it as a dangerous carcinogen. And, he claims to have found no research on injected Formaldehyde. How is that 'probably safe?'
  • Formaldehyde (Formalin) Warning Label; Google Images
    • I myself have yet to find much information on injected formaldehyde. The WHO document on Formaldehyde itself glosses over it, but sets the inhalation limit at 0.1 mg/m^3 which is equivalent to 0.08 ppm. Most vaccines contain up to 0.5 mcg of Formaldehyde (1 ppm = 1 mcg/ml. Or basically, they are the same measurement.) I did however find that Formaldehyde had significant impact on the function of the testis. Most of the results I found were as such, and you could google multitudes of such studies if you are so interested. [1]
    • One "JEM" I found was here. To highlight the findings in their abstract, "In the peritoneal cavity, Formalin exercises a destructive action upon all organs (pancreas, liver, peritoneal fat, fallopian tubes, etc. with which it comes in contact and causes inflammation in these organs. ... 8. The injection of formalin into the muscles produces myositis. ... 10. Formalin in whatever way introduced into the body is absorbed, and is then capable of producing lesions in the parenchymatous organs. ... 12. The injection of formalin or the inhalation of the vapors of formaldehyde produces cloudy swelling of the parenchyma of the kidney. Focal necrosis may result. 13. Pneumonia and bronchitis are found in all animals after the injection of formalin." Yeah. Formalin is the form of formaldehyde used in vaccines. But it is perfectly "safe," just like mercury and aluminum are.
    •  The National Toxicology Program's fact sheet on Formaldehyde states in the very first sentence, "Report on Carcinogens Status; Known to be a Human Carcinogen." The IARC's (International Agency for Research on Cancer) Monographs include Formaldehyde. You can find their data on human carcinogen studies and more here. Formaldehyde is very, very dangerous to humans. 
    • Formaldehyde is a sensitizer. It sensitizes the body to other substances (allergenic and usually non-allergenic alike) and can cause acute allergenic reactions to other substances. This can include but aren't limited to; allergic dermatitis, eczema, asthma.
  • There is huge controversy surrounding Aspartame, as it releases formaldehyde in the body during digestion. The Ramazzini studies are considered to be discounted because of poor methodology, but that didn't stop the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) to "call for scientific data" on Aspartame. You can find their entire list of studies on Aspartame here. Because of the controversy around the Aspartame issue, I mention it because there are a few vaccines that now contain it. I've made a few notes on discoveries I've made myself trying to find out what the controversy with Aspartame is. (See, there is always much to learn!)
    • Two of the FDA's top toxicologists, Drs. Jacqueline Verrett and Adrian Gross objected to the approval of Aspartame for 16 years; alleging that the original studies on Aspartame by Searle had shown brain and other tumors as well as seizures and other types of reactions, and that Searle had "filtered out" these studies so that the FDA would not see them, and in turn get approval.
    • A 33 page letter was written on January 10, 1977 by Richard Merrill (Chief Counsel of the FDA) told US attorney Sam Skinner that Searle should be investigated by grand jury for "apparent violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act;  21 U.S.C.331(e), Act 18 U.S.C.1001," because of their "willful and knowing failure to make reports to the Food and Drug Administration required by the Act 21 U.S.C.355(i) and for concealing material facts and making false statements in reports of animal studies conducted to establish the safety of (aspartame)." Later, Donald Rumsfield was hired onto President Reagan's team in order to get Aspartame approved since the FDA still would not approve it. Reaghan issued an Executive order, rendering the FDA powerless. Then he replaced the head of the FDA with Arthur Hull Hayes; and which the Execute Order was expunged later (now illegal.)* In addition, when Hayes got to the FDA the Board of Inquiry said "...the board concludes that approval of Aspartame for use in foods should be withheld at least until the question concerning its possible oncogenic potential has been resolved by further experiments. The board has not been presented with proof of a reasonable certainty that aspartame is safe for use as a food additive under its intended conditions of use."
    • The FDA has list of "The 92" symptoms in relation to Aspartame. Jerome Bressler, who wrote the FDA audit, has also submitted a report (*The Bressler Report) alleging that the FDA swept the most damaging 20% of studies on Aspartame under the rug; and that Searle had very poor research practices that never demonstrated safety.
    • The EPA's powerpoint from 2009, "Building a Database of Developmental Neurotoxicants: (Evidence from Human and Animal Studies)" states that Aspartame is in the group "Chemicals with Substantial Evidence of Neurotoxicity (n=100)" along with Aluminum, Arsenic, BPA, Caffeine, Cocaine, DEET, Fluoride, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), and numerous others.

I'm continuing to do crazy research every day. It's astounding how much, after 2 years of every day research, you have yet to read and study on each subject you're trying to focus on. I will probably update as soon as possible with more links to studies and information.

[1] Zeller, Jasminel; et al. (2011, April 2.) Assessment of genotoxic effects and changes in gene expression in humans exposed to formaldehyde by inhalation under controlled conditions. Oxford Journal of Mutagenesis

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Dirty Bits - Polysorbate 80

Polysorbate 80

Also known as Tween 80, Alkest TW 80, E433, Canarcel
Scientific Names: Polyoxyetheline (20) sorbitan monooleate, (x)-sorbitan mono-9-octadecenoate poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl)

Would you drink any of these? Me either.

What is a dirty bit?

It's going to be a new series I'm working on about the dirty "bits" of consumer life; ingredients in vaccines, foods, and other products that are commonly used. A "dirty bit" is something you should avoid or watch out for, or at the very least be wary of. 

What is Polysorbate 80?

Well, a sorbate is something that can taken up by another substance by adsorption or absorption. Obviously with a prefix "poly" it means many. Polysorbate 80 functions to stabilize things - it's an emulsifier - it helps things bind together that normally wouldn't (ie. oil and water), or enhance those that would. It's also a surfactant - it helps break surface tension of liquids, so it is used in say, ice cream to help it stay smooth and keep it from melting too quickly. As a solubilizer, it helps things dissolve that otherwise wouldn't or enhance those that would, like in gelatin and medicine. [1]

So what is it used in?

Well, like I've stated before, it's used in many, many things. I could not begin to give you a comprehensive list, but I'll give a very small generalized list.

Shortening, condiments, cosmetics, hair care products (and in 90's it was advertised as a hair growth serum - since debunked, but still available), chewing gum, dietary products, vitamins, whipped deserts, ice cream, gelatin, pickled foods, liquid gels and soaps, hair sprays, eye drops, sunscreen, spermicide, antiperspirants, many medications, herbicides, and vaccinations. 

Which Vaccinations?

Polysorbate 80 can be found in Infanrix, Tripedia, TriHiBit, Kinrix, Pediarix, Pentacel, Gardisil, Fluarix, JE-Vax, RotaTeq, and Boostrix.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Common Booby Traps & Troubleshooting

Our society is fraught with "booby traps" or traps that impede women's breastfeeding attempts. I am going to choose a few select common booby traps to explain and troubleshoot for you.

Tips and Troubleshooting to Ensure Breastfeeding Success

1. Read, Read, Read & See, See, See

Read as many books as you possibly can on it. The more you know about what is normal and what isn't, you will be able to troubleshoot most of your own problems at home or consult a Lactation Consultant who you can help by eliminating problems with them. It gives you a starting point.

Avoid books written or funded by formula companies. Many of the breastfeeding pamphlets and books supplied by hospital staff (whether it be in a hospital breastfeeding class, a birthing class, after birth, etc) are written or funded by formula companies. They will sweet talk you and attempt to come off neutral...but why bother? They sell formula. Who buys formula? People who don't breastfeed. They are not trying to get you to breastfeed, no matter how well-meaning or "factual" they come off.

See? See what? See breastfeeding in action. Go to La Leche League meetings while you're pregnant. Take a class (I highly recommend non-hospital associated), meet breastfeeding mamas. Ask questions, watch closely. Go to Mommy Cafes in your area, if any. Many have meeting for breastfeeding moms. It helps to take away the "unknown" in breastfeeding when you see others succeed. It takes away the "fear" of failing.

2. Have A Mama/Baby-Friendly Birth

What does this mean? This means, be as informed about birth as you possibly can. This doesn't mean you have to go without an epidural or pain relief if you wish (although it is ideal). It means, if you choose to get the epidural, know that it's best to wait to get it as long as you possibly can, and that getting it before active labor (5cm) can stall or slow your labor and require more interventions. Having a M/B-Friendly Birth just means to reduce the interventions as much as possible. Epidurals, C-Sections, and other such measures are known to cause lower breastfeeding rates. The baby does sometimes come out far to sleepy to suckle (this effect can last up to two weeks, which is THE most important period in establishing supply) and you want to avoid that. If you do have to have a c-section for whatever reason, ask for only the epidural, and make sure they give you skin-to-skin immediately and do not take your baby (of course, barring complications). It is your baby, and they do not get to tell you no.

All in all, the less interventions - the better the breastfeeding outcome.

2. Check and Check Again

Check what? Check your baby for lip and tongue ties, even the smallest one can impede breastfeeding. Many nurses and pediatricians will say "Oh, it's only a small one, no need to worry" or play it off as if there isn't one. For most ties (2nd Degree +) they will need to be clipped by a pediatric dentist or ENT. If the tie is even a 1st degree, you need to know anyways, as some can still cause problems. I don't advise doing anything for 1st degree ties except to know they are there, so you know what the problem is if it still needs to be clipped if problems arise later.

Check latch. Don't follow the nurse's instructions. Nurses are well-meaning most of the time, and yes they see many many women who breastfeed, but most are not experts and not trained on the matter. If you have the smallest hint of a problem, or just feel like it needs to be checked, ask for the lactation consultant. If there is none, you can call La Leche League and usually they will be able to help you.

3. Avoid Formula Samples and Breastfeeding Pamphlets/Books with Ties to Formula Companies

This means, do not keep formula in your house. If it is gifted to you or you get samples in the mail...give it away or donate it. If the temptation is there, you are more likely to take it. This means, when you're in the hospital, make it clear you are breastfeeding. Do not let the baby go to the nursery (it is shown that regardless of parents' wishes, NICU staff often force-feeds newborns formula without regard). See the above information about why those Pamphlets and Books are bad. ^^

4. Have Support

It sounds so obvious - but some women really feel they don't need support, and then end up needing it. Breastfeeding can be hard, especially in the first few weeks post-partum. It takes dedication, time, sometimes pain, and lots of love. For a while it can feel like you can't get out of bed to pee without a milk-vampire screaming for you. It can make a mom desperate and lonely and frustrated. Having a supportive partner, friend, or relative can really help. Someone who encourages you or soothes the baby while you take a shower is sometimes all a mom needs. Seriously, even if you feel you can handle it - why deny that shower to yourself? You will feel so much better when you take care of yourself (and feeling better will help you succeed). It's been proven that women who feel they have no support - oftentimes stop breastfeeding before reaching the 6 week mark.

Make sure your child's pediatrician is supportive of your breastfeeding wishes. An unsupportive pediatrician will often try and get you to stop. They will give you samples of formula, those dreaded booklets we discussed, and use scare tactics on you that will attempt to get you to second guess yourself. Sometimes a pediatrician also doesn't know what is normal for breastfeeding. They use the CDC growth charts (based on formula-fed infants) and don't know that there are breast-fed baby charts (by the WHO). Oftentimes that small mistake can lead them to diagnosing your baby with FTT (Failure to Thrive) or other issues that your baby doesn't have - leading to supplementing - which will eventually lead to full-time formula-feeding. Make sure your pediatrician is either knowledgeable or willing to work with you.

5. Stick it Out! Set goals - or don't!

Oftentimes the first few weeks or months can be so hard. You may face latch issues, tongue or lip ties, allergies, thrush, mastitis, leaking nipples, sore boobies and other such problems. It may seem like forever - but those issues go away really quickly. It will be like the blink of an eye, and you will be SO proud of your achievement.

If it is helpful to you - set some goals. "Let's make it to the 6 week mark." "I will go a year!" Sometimes that doesn't work out - and that's alright. But if you think it will help - set them anyways. Stick to it! It's worth it. If you feel setting arbitrary goals is just going to put on too much pressure - skip them. Do what works for you! Find your inspiration somewhere.


1. My milk isn't in!!

Usually it can take 3-7 days for milk to come in post-partum. Until then, you will produce colostrum - and until your milk comes in this will satisfy your baby - even if your baby seems very hungry it is often just the sucking action that is soothing. Put them to the breast as often as you possibly can - this will ensure your milk will come in faster. Giving formula will just impede or destroy breastfeeding. You need your baby to breastfeed as much as possible for the first two weeks to ensure your supply. Breastfeeding is supply and demand. 

2. Why does it hurt??

Sometimes - it just does for a while. More often than not though, there can be an improper latch. Most of the time that is due to a tongue or lip tie, and usually a lactation consultant can diagnose it for you. In rarer cases - it can be caused by Raynaud's Phenomenon which is usually treatable and unconcerning (besides being painful, of course). 

3. What's this white stuff on my nipple and/or in my baby's mouth?

That's usually a sign of thrush, and there are many home remedies for it. In particularly stubborn cases an antifungal may be given to you by your child's pediatrician. Usually, just cutting out most yeast, gluten, and/or sugar in your diet will clear it right up though. Gentian violet is another common remedy.

4. I have shooting pains in my breast. The area is red and sore. What is this??

It could be a clogged duct - massage it and breastfeed often. Apply hot compresses (or take hot showers) to try and loosen it up. If not resolved quickly enough it can lead to mastitis - infection. Mastitis can be really painful, and takes antibiotics to treat. So if you suspect a clogged duct, try and help yourself out by getting rid of it. Your baby will often finally just suck it right out from your breast and you won't know.

5. My baby just eats and eats and eats every 20 minutes. I'm so frustrated!!

This is caused by a lot of things. In the beginning this is normal, a newborn's belly is only so big. And those tiny mouths get tired quick. Be patient - it will pass.

It can be caused by growth spurts - just remember you're giving them liquid gold! They will grow big and strong!

Your little one may be getting sick. Don't worry, her saliva will tell your breast to make antibodies - and you will pass those antibodies right along in your milk to help. Many times your little one will be over that bug before you even realize she may have been getting sick.

It can be teething. All that suction and motion may help relieve the pressure and pain in their tiny jaws. It may be the only thing that helps for a while. Again, will pass! Don't be afraid of them getting teeth - you can't suck and bite at the same time. Most babies only bite a few times and quickly get over it - they want their milk first and foremost!

Check again for lip and tongue ties. They may be just as frustrated as you because they don't know why their milk-nozzle isn't working right. In these cases they become frustrated with their own limitations and keep trying to satisfy themselves.

Most of all - have faith in yourself. Most women CAN successfully nurse with the proper support and determination. Only a very small percentage of women can't breastfeed due to hypoplasia/insufficient glandular tissue. Chances are - you are NOT one of them.