Comunicado de Prensa de La Liga de la Leche en cuanto a formula contaminada en China

September 24th, 2008

Hola amigas,
Me imagino que ya muchas conocen el problema de la formula contaminada, que ha causado muchas muertes y mucha enfermedad en bebes alimentados artificialmente.

Aunque nosotros no vivimos en China, se conoce que se ha distribuido de esta formula a distintas partes del mundo. Para disminuir el riesgo de que los bebes se contaminen, se esta sugieriendo que se considere relactar a aquellas mujeres que alimentan con formula artificial.

Comparto con ustedes el comunicado de prensa que envio La Liga de la Leche Internacional al respecto:

Mothers Can Choose to Breastfeed or Relactate with Proper Information and Support

(September 2008) La Leche League International was deeply saddened to read about the illness of almost 7,000 Chinese babies who were fed formula tainted by the chemical melamine. The chemical has been found in several brands of infant formula manufactured in China as well as in other dairy products, including regular milk, yogurt and ice cream. At least four babies have died, more than 150 have been hospitalized with kidney failure and thousands have been sickened after being fed contaminated infant formula. Melamine is a chemical which is meant to be used as a binding agent and is also an ingredient in fertilizer. Melamine artificially increases the protein profile of milk and can cause kidney diseases.

Massive recalls of dairy products manufactured in China are being conducted worldwide. La Leche League International (LLLI) strongly suggests that mothers with infants who are being given formula consider relactating to avoid possible exposure to tainted formula, improperly prepared formula and to protect their ability to nourish infants in case of disaster.

Relactation can be accomplished even when little or no breastfeeding has occurred. It does require determination from and support for the mother. LLLI offers a variety of resources for women who would like to relactate at Relactation can be established even several months after birth or by mothers who adopt.

Although health professionals around the world advise breastfeeding as the best choice, mothers who choose to feed formula to their babies often do so believing that they are providing the best for their children. Marketing messages from formula manufacturers promote the belief that formula is equal or superior to human milk. These marketing tactics are prevalent even in developing countries where it is often difficult to properly purchase, prepare and store human milk substitutes. Beliefs in the superiority of human milk substitutes can become pervasive, resulting in mothers finding little or no support for their desire to breastfeed.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than one million children die every year because they are not breastfed. WHO estimates that no more than 40% of infants worldwide are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. A cornerstone of WHO’s and UNICEF’s Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding is the aim that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. After six months, it is recommended that breastfeeding be continued along with the introduction of locally available foods. For the first year of life and beyond, human milk provides nutrition and protects infants from disease. Research has demonstrated that the nutritional value of breastmilk, specifically the fat and energy content, continues well beyond the first year. There are many reasons that women choose not to breastfeed, including some medical conditions, which are contraindications to breastfeeding. However, in the absence of such contraindications, providing women with information and support to be able to breastfeed is important.

Pregnant mothers need to know that while breastfeeding is natural, it is a learned behavior. Although many mothers and babies begin breastfeeding and continue on with no problems, this is not always the case. Mothers can find information to help them with their difficulties by contacting a La Leche League Leader or attending a La Leche League meeting.

Women in both affluent and developing countries need to have information and support to breastfeed their babies. Since 1956, LLLI has been offering this information and support. Mother-to-mother support groups now exist in almost 70 countries. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, published by LLLI, has sold over two million copies. The LLLI web site reaches millions of women a year. For more information about breastfeeding or to locate a support group in your area, visit the LLLI web site at

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Carmen Cabrer  |  October 2nd, 2008 at 11:25 am

    In China’s spiraling milk-contamination crisis, some mothers are making
    money selling their breast milk.

    As news spread of the deadly taint of the industrial chemical melamine in
    China’s milk supply last week, new father Jimandy Wu approached his wife
    with a business proposition: She could become a nai ma, or wet nurse. He had
    read on the Internet about the practice, in which a woman feeds her own
    breast milk to someone else’s child.

    Fresh Milk in China

    Security staff kept order as families with children undergoing checks for
    possible kidney stones waited their turn at a hospital in Chongqing

    “Why not,” says his 24-year-old wife, Tina Huang, a mother in the southern
    Chinese boomtown of Shenzhen who says she produces more milk than her own
    2-month-old baby can use. “It’s a pity that I waste my breast milk when I
    see on TV so many kids with no milk to drink because of the contaminated

    Ms. Huang’s old job as a secretary paid just 1,000 yuan ($146) a month. The
    12,000 yuan she will earn each month as a wet nurse will “buy some good
    clothes for our daughter, and send her to a better kindergarten, ” says Mr.

    As Chinese parents panic about the tainted milk — which authorities now
    admit began in late 2007 — that has killed four and sickened more than
    53,000 children, the fallout is breathing new life into an ancient
    profession. Wages for Chinese wet nurses, who post online ads and sign up at
    housework agencies around the country, have doubled since the milk crisis
    began on Sept. 12. They now run as high as 18,000 yuan a month.

    On Tuesday in a residential Shenzhen neighborhood, six new mothers showed up
    looking for work at Zhong Jia Family Services Co., which serves as a broker
    for maids and, increasingly, women like Ms. Huang. “I’ve been working in
    this industry for over 10 years, and never seen such a craze for wet
    nurses,” says Ai Xiaoxiong, the company’s manager. Since Friday, Mr. Ai has
    registered 260 available women and found employment for 20.

    While doctors say any breast milk from a healthy woman will help a baby grow
    and protect it against disease, the practice of having another woman nurse
    one’s own baby was largely abandoned in the West in the 19th century. But
    the practice is common in a number of countries. China also has a long
    tradition of wet nursing, but the Communist Party considered the practice
    decadent and tried to stamp it out.

    On the Decline
    Breast-feeding is on the decline in China, where commercial formulas are
    heavily marketed. According to China’s Center for Disease Control and
    Prevention, the percentage of poor rural women who breast-feed slipped to
    38% in 2005 from 62% in 2000. The reasons for the decline vary, but many
    people appear to believe that formula is somehow better for their children.
    Among some wealthier families, a busy lifestyle gets in the way.

    Tina Huang
    Many public-health experts promote breast-feeding. “This formula scandal is
    like nature’s wake-up call to all of us. It’s not just about unscrupulous
    manufacturers, ” says Yanhong Wheeler, a breast-feeding advocate and author
    under the pen name Xiao Wu who is often compared in China to the late
    Benjamin Spock, the famous pediatrician and author. “We really must pay
    closer attention to…what we feed our offspring.”

    Some parents searching for a wet nurse say they’re desperate for an
    alternative to possibly tainted milk powder. Xiao Guidong, the father of a
    4-month-old in the city of Chongqing, posted an ad on a popular online
    message board asking for a wet nurse who was “in perfect health, has plenty
    of milk, and has good hygiene.” He’s offering to pay the woman 3,000 yuan a
    month, plus free room and board.

    “My mom takes care of my son,” says Mr. Xiao, who recently divorced his
    wife. “I need a wet nurse urgently, especially because so much milk powder
    has problems.”

    The upswing in demand for wet nurses is raising moral questions. It’s often
    the poor who end up selling their milk. “Many people look down on this job.
    I do it because I have no other method to earn more money,” says a woman
    named Ms. He, 24, from the northwestern Chinese city of Lanzhou. She runs an
    online ad selling her services.

    Then there’s the problem of what to do with a wet nurse’s own child, since
    many of the women move in with their employers and, sometimes, they aren’t
    allowed to bring their own babies to work. Ms. Huang, the prospective wet
    nurse, says she’s willing to leave her own 2-month-old baby at home if
    that’s what her employer wants. “We can feed our baby with some other food,
    such as rice water,” she says.

    Mr. Xiao says he doesn’t want another baby in his house. “If she feeds my
    son while her own son is crying, I cannot stand that,” he says.

    He admits some might view hiring a wet nurse as exploitation, but he
    disagrees. “They need higher pay and a better job while I need them to look
    after my baby. It is a good deal. We help each other,” he says.

    To make sure that everyone is on the same page, Mr. Ai, the Shenzhen agent,
    requires that any potential wet nurse come into his office with her husband.
    “I have to ask the husband face-to-face whether he will let his wife work as
    a wet nurse,” he says.

    Scouting for employees, he also asks to see a mother’s natural baby. “Look
    at how fat this baby is,” says Mr. Ai, pointing at prospective wet nurse
    Zhang Amei’s 4-month-old son, Zhang Youmin, who looks like a little Michelin
    Man. “The fatter the baby, the better the milk,” he says.

    It’s a point of pride for Ms. Zhang, too. “My milk is really good. My
    elderly relatives say the color and density are as good as formula,” says
    the 28-year-old.

    Quantity is also important. “Her milk is sufficient to feed three babies,”
    says Mr. Ai.

    Ms. Zhang demurs. “Maybe only two.”

    Professional Training
    Mr. Ai provides employees professional training on “ethics, etiquette and
    attitude” — such as the best way to hold your employer’s baby — to help
    ease the emotional and physical transition. He also asks that the families
    go to the hospital together while the wet nurse gets a checkup.

    Some prospective wet nurses say that making a good match with the family
    whose baby they’re going to feed is their only priority. Ms. Zhang, mother
    of the fat baby, says she first tried wet nursing when she gave some of her
    extra milk to her neighbor’s baby.

    “We do not care that much about money as long as we can make friends with
    the other family,” says her 38-year-old husband, Zhang Mingchuan.

    “I was so angry when I read about the contaminated milk,” says Ms. Zhang. “I
    had to help.”

  • 2. Carmen Cabrer  |  October 2nd, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Comunicado del Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine

    Toll From Tainted Chinese Formula Climbs to 53,000; Producer Received Complaints in

    New Rochelle, NY, September 25, 2008 – The number of infants in China who have fallen ill as a
    result of formula tainted by melamine, has reached 53,000 and is responsible for the deaths of at
    least three infants. (New York Times, September 24, 2008)
    A report released by the Xinhua News Agency indicates the Sanlu Group, the producer of the
    tainted formula, had received consumer complaints about their product as early as December
    2007, and repeatedly made efforts to hide information about possible contamination. Melamine, a
    chemical compound used mainly as a fire retardant, has been identified as the contaminant in the
    formula which has now led to the recall of Chinese-made dairy products in China and other parts
    of Asia as well.
    In response to these continuing reports of tainted Chinese baby formula, the Academy of
    Breastfeeding Medicine ( urges public agencies worldwide to renew education
    and support for breastfeeding. The tragic and unnecessary deaths of infants in China , and the
    sickening of thousands of others, remind us of a truth health experts have long understood: with
    extremely rare exceptions, breastmilk is unquestionably the safest method of infant feeding.
    Much attention has been focused lately on ways in which food and other supply chains in China
    should be more carefully monitored and regulated, a problem which has proven to be ubiquitous,
    deeply engrained in the Chinese economy, and thus far highly unmanageable.
    In the case of infant feeding, however, very little has been said about what would appear to be
    the most effective long-term strategy to protect infants against future feeding catastrophes,
    namely, the promotion of breastfeeding. The melamine scandal, together with the terribly
    catastrophic earthquake that ravaged so many Chinese communities last May, should have
    demonstrated to China and to the entire world that breastfeeding is a practice that all societies
    should cherish, safeguard, and promote. This stark reminder of the potential dangers of artificial
    milk, underscores the importance of promoting, protecting, and supporting breastfeeding
    Dr. Caroline Chantry, President of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, pointed out “ China is
    not the first, or only country to fall prey to contaminated baby formula. But we must make it the
    last. And we do know how.”
    According to the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), a recent decline in funding
    world-wide for public education and training of health professionals to support breastfeeding, has
    resulted in a decline of hospitals implementing the WHO/UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital
    Initiative. The Initiative incorporates ten steps for successful breastfeeding, and forbids the
    unethical promotion of breastmilk substitutes in health facilities. And the Academy of
    Breastfeeding Medicine continues to promote professional education through its conferences,
    publications, and its peer-reviewed journal Breastfeeding Medicine (
    The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine is a worldwide organization of physicians dedicated
    to the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding and human lactation through education,
    research, and advocacy. An independent, self-sustaining, international physician organization
    and the only organization of its kind, ABM ’s mission is to unite members of various medical
    specialties through physician education, expansion of knowledge in breastfeeding science and
    human lactation, facilitation of optimal breastfeeding practices, and encouragement of the
    exchange of information among organizations.
    Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for
    establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and
    biomedical research, including Breastfeeding Medicine, the official Journal of the Academy of
    Breastfeeding Medicine . A complete list of the firm’s 60 journals, books, and newsletters is
    available at
    Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine 140 Huguenot St., New Rochelle, NY 10801-5215
    Phone: 800-990-4 ABM / (914) 740-2115 Fax: (914) 740-2101

  • 3. Carmen Cabrer  |  October 2nd, 2008 at 11:26 am

    Nestle is on a list of prods that the Malaysian gov’t is warning
    about with re to melamine contamination.

    The PDF file can be downloaded here from Malaysian site. Most of it is
    English. Nescafe, Nestle, Ovaltine, Aussie Dairy products, Campbell’s,
    Lee, Tesco, Oreos (Kraft- although they deny it) M&M’s, Snickers.

  • 4. Carmen Cabrer  |  October 2nd, 2008 at 11:26 am

    China baby milk scandal highlights decline in breastfeeding
    Post a comment (1)Posted by: Global Voices Online
    Tags: Global News, China, milk
    By Juhie Bahtia

    Thomson Reuters is not responsible for the content of this post – the views are the author’s alone.

    Health authorities in China reported this week that nearly 53,000 children have become sick after consuming tainted infant formula. As the effects of these contaminated dairy products become more widespread, many are discussing the alternative to formula — breastfeeding.

    The scandal erupted earlier this month when Sanlu, China’s top-selling infant formula manufacturer, publicly recalled its products. The baby formula was deliberately contaminated with melamine, an industrial chemical that can cause kidney problems. Since then, thousands of children have become sick and the milk powder has been blamed for the deaths of four infants. The crisis has not only raised questions about food safety, but also about why so many children are being fed formula in the first place, instead of being breastfed.

    Thanks to its numerous health benefits, the World Health Organization recommends that children be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life. However, despite a long tradition of breastfeeding in China, rates have declined as more mothers turn to milk formula. The rates of exclusive breastfeeding during an infant’s first four months decreased from around 76 percent in 1998 to 64 percent in 2004. At six months, the percentage of babies being exclusively breastfed is only 51 percent.

    Many blame China’s shift away from breastfeeding on formula companies who aggressively target the 17 million babies born each year in China. Samuel Dennis, a blogger and local politician in New Zealand says:

    “With the recent tainted formula scare in China I immediately became suspicious – why are so many Chinese using formula anyway? It is a poor country, surely they would be breastfeeding? Sure enough, just like in the West in the 40s and 50s, formula is being promoted in China as better than breast milk.”

    He goes on to cite a report that blames the marketing of formula:

    “Under Chinese consumer protection regulations, ads can’t claim or hint that a product is a replacement for breast milk. Nor are ads permitted to use images of breastfeeding women and babies. Nonetheless, infant formula companies often flout these regulations.”

    Mike Brady, blogging for Baby Milk Action, also blames formula companies and their unethical advertising tactics:

    “Consider a little further why there is a growth in formula use in China. It is undergoing rapid industrialisation and urbanisation, but that does not have to mean the fall in breastfeeding rates that is being experienced. Part of the cultural change is prompted by western companies. For example, Nutricia, now owned by Danone, promoted its ‘Kissing my Baby’ formula in China in 2004 with this gift CD with children’s music.”

    Some say that this push to use formula comes from doctors themselves. This despite the fact that China has banned the promotion of breast milk substitutes in hospitals since it launched the Regulation of Human Milk Substitutes Distribution in 1995. One article claims that almost 63 percent of babies receive formula in Chinese hospitals anyway. The same regulation also says that doctors must promote the advantages of breastfeeding.

    Covenofovens, commenting on this article, shares his story of pushy doctors:

    “We breastfed our baby exclusively for a year (breast milk and water only for the first 4 months, then breast milk, water and food after that)…This is not to say that we had formula pushed on us by doctors – especially the doctor that came to check on my wife a week after the birth. She brought a sample pack of formula produced close to Shenzhen (where our son was born), which sat on the shelf until we eventually threw it away.”

    Nase, blogging from Malaysia on My Solitude of Space, says that the moms in his local Chinese community are less likely to breastfeed. He asked his mother as to the reasons why:

    “Apparently (according to my mom and many Chinese moms), the main concern is about sagging breasts (quote from momma Rose: If I’d breastfed all five of you rascals, I’ll be walking on four legs now!)…Other less convincing reasons given by my momma Rose was that due to inconvenience, as moms also need to work and care to other whims of their older children and husbands too!”

    minipumpkin agrees that body image is an issue, but also blames a lack of time and the misconception that formula is healthier:

    (Translated from Chinese)

    “Now there are many young mothers who are worried about their time and their body shape. Even though they have enough milk, they decide not to breast feed their babies. Moreover with so many infant milk formula ads in the market, these mother may feel that the infant formulas are very nutritious and it is very convenient too. Babies grow very fast and look healthy, so why not. I don’t want to criticize those mothers who decided not to breast feed their babies, some of them may be forced to use milk powder because they don’t have enough milk. I just feel fortunate that I have made a right decision. And now that the Sanlu scandal broke out, I decide to extend the breast feed period for my baby.”

    kakb2006, quoted from Hong Kong’s newspapers, points out that working can be an especially large obstacle to breastfeeding for migrant workers.

    (Translated from Chinese)

    “Because many rural migrant workers go to the city to work, many women after giving birth need to return to the city and leave the babies in the village. As the mothers are not around to breastfeed the babies, they can only rely on milk powder. And because they are poor and cannot afford expensive infant formula, they can only use the cheaper brand. That’s why economic infant milk has a large market in the rural area.”

    Some Chinese researchers have said that the shift back to breastfeeding will require greater promotion of its benefits. Hoyden About Town adds that this change will only happen if breastfeeding is supported financially, socially and practically. Perhaps the infant formula scandal will start pushing this change to happen in China. A post from the South China Morning Post reports:

    “A lack of nursing skills, breastfeeding rooms, and public awareness are among the scores of reasons mainland mothers have abandoned breastfeeding over the years, but the melamine milk scandal is one factor forcing many to reconsider. Hospitals have been packed this week with scared mothers asking about breastfeeding, while the topic has become the most popular source of discussion on maternity and childcare websites.”

    This article was originally posted on Global Voices Online, a website that tracks global blogger reactions to world news.

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