Scaremongering at its best (worst?!)

Nothing causes panic like targeting the fears of parents. We’re geared to protect our young, and when they are threatened… we stand up and roar, or scoop our babe’s into arms and shield them away.

So it’s absolutely no surprise that the media articles garnering major attention this week have created a hive of buzzing amongst parents…. the baby formula powder 1080 scare, and Pete Evan’s new baby food recipe book.

In NZ, someone has threatened to contaminate baby formula as a protest over the use of 1080. While this is somewhat alarming, the Government withheld information over this threat for months.

As a result, shops took action, moving formula to behind the counter, using more security around the baby aisle. As calls to Plunketline died down, parents became more reassured that the powder was safe.

It is inconceivable that someone could actually think it would be ok to hurt children in this way.

It has also threatened our fragile dairy industry and could have had disastrous effects on the economy.

There are risks to all ways of feeding baby. I do believe that parents have been lulled into a false sense of security with giving their baby formula, forgetting that there are serious risks of using it.

However, not only does it exist hugely in our society, it does have its place. I have heard many valid reasons of why a mum cant feed her baby.

Piripoho Aotearoa stated this on their Facebook page yesterday:

**1080 SCARE**
There is a risk to every infant feeding decision, be it breastfeeding, donor breastmilk or formula. I feel that the threats have been made at the very people in our society who we should be supporting, and am shocked and disgusted.

Screened, donated breastmilk is a fantastic option for those who do not breastfeed their child. Assisting parents to source donated breastmilk from screened donors is a service which we provide at no charge. However if you have concerns relating to formula or donor breastmilk, you are invited to get in touch- ask us questions, or just vent about what is now going on in your families and minds.

Piripoho Aotearoa’s concern is the health and emotional wellbeing of families of young children, and we really feel for the families who have recently felt powerless as a result of this scare. Formula feeding is not a stress-free path to have to take, and I find the threats utterly reprehensible

Over in Australia, popular celebrity chef Pete Evans is under attack for publishing a recipe for homemade infant formula in his new cookbook (coauthored with two other writers).

The article states:

The Weekly online has learned publishers Pan Macmillan have held back release of Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way – following intervention by a consortium of health organisations that expressed grave concerns over the book’s DIY baby milk formula, based on liver and bone broth.

“In my view, there’s a very real possibility that a baby may die if this book goes ahead,” Professor Heather Yeatman, president of the Public Health Association of Australia, has toldThe Weekly online.

“Especially if [the DIY formula] was the only food a parent was feeding their infant, it’s a very real risk. And [I consider that] the baby’s growth and development could be impaired.””

What makes me laugh (cynically) is this:

“Under the Paleo diet, all grains, dairy and pulses are banned. While adults can choose to follow such a diet, Prof Yeatman says it isn’t fair to subject a baby to what she characterises as an unproven set of beliefs.

“That’s the really troubling thing: the infant is totally at the whim of their parents when it comes to feeding,” she says. “If the wrong decision is made, they may be seriously affected.””

Everything that we do for our children is subjecting them to our beliefs… and I’m not talking about taking them to church. Some put their children in disposable nappies, which is said to increase the temperature of the genital area. Some formula feed despite WHO reccomendations to breastfeed. Some put their children into childcare, take them to the public pools, vaccinate, play in the rain, play with food…..

The book states: “All kids deserve the best start in life, and that means adopting a healthy lifestyle right from preconception, through pregnancy and breastfeeding, and into first foods.
“This book is a wealth of information on everything from where to source the best and freshest ingredients to how to make your own natural health remedies and how to rid your home of toxins. All recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free and devoid of refined sugar, and instead favour ingredients that are organic, unprocessed and sustainably produced.”

Heaven forbid we embrace real food, right?

“Rather than shaming one another it’s time to surrender to the fact that nobody has all of the answers. That many alternative therapies are the basis of modern medicine. That advocating for healthy living isn’t quackery – it’s the foundation of wellness. If we don’t start here, we’re doomed! That without progression, trial, error and mistakes we wouldn’t be here. That alternative therapies play a huge role. That modern medicine saves lives. That modern medicine does not have all the answers and that alternative therapies may, in some instances, come with far less side effects to achieve a better outcome. Imagine! All of us working together to make a collective difference. This can be a reality. All that needs to happen is that we stop trying to outdo each other. Acknowledge the difference we are ALL making towards saving lives.

It isn’t a competition. It’s not a race. Nobody has all of the answers and that we all have a beautiful, important role in moving ourselves towards health, together.”

From http://www.natkringoudis.com.au/medicine-quackery-hocus-pocus-rock/

At the end of the day, I think we need to remember firstly how important breastfeeding is. As a nation, we must make it a priority to support mothers to breastfeed in the first year of a child’s life.

Secondly, we mustn’t forget how much of our food is at the mercy of others. Remember the big scare of yasinia food poisoning last year, and how for a week it was thought to come from bagged lettuce? Remember apples being recalled over fears of illness?

Finally, a healthy whole food, real food diet is essential, that is what kids need. Why are we letting the media attack a chef who is trying to promote healthy eating, while the fast food giants use toys to ply our kids and half the food in the supermarket is made from numbers/chemicals?

And we really must, as united parents, stop letting the media force us into pitting against each other. Instead of asking the big questions above, each time a feeding issue comes up in the media, it turns in a breast/formula debate.

I dont have the solutions, but I do think we need to be considering this.

Let us not forget how fortunate we are to have good healthy food available to us – what an amazing resource we have compared to so many less fortunate 🙁

Ashlee is a busy mama on a journey of natural living with her family. She writes at phraseology.co.nz

For infant formula:

From NZ Herald:

What to do

* Parents with any concerns could call Plunketline on 0800 933 922 or Healthline on 0800
611 116 for advice.

* The Ministry of Health said anyone who suspected tampering could contact 0800 723665 to report suspected tampering.

* Anybody who suspected their formula had been tampered with could also take it to their nearest police station.

* If cans or bottles of formula had tears, rips, holes, punctures or noticeable bulges, it was possible the product inside had been tampered with.

* Visit www.foodprotection.govt.nz for more advice on how to check packaging for signs of tampering, and for information about government’s response.

* Police said those who had information about the threats should call the Operation Concord team on 0800 723 665, or the independent group Crimestoppers on 08000
555 111.

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