I recently found out about a new company named 16 Minute Club that was geared toward providing subscription boxes products for breastfeeding mothers. I was thrilled about it and even recommended them to my Instagram and Facebook followers. They were one of a kind and really seemed like they would be providing quality products geared specifically toward a demographic that is sometimes left out of the mainstream mommy product lines.
My elation about the company was short lived.
This morning while browsing around on Faceboook, I noticed a post by this company of a pouch of powdered (freeze dried) organic banana baby food. From first glance it seemed like a cool product… the instructions on the front stated to “just add breastmilk or water”. Ok, fine. Seems like a cool product. But then I saw it.
So, knowing that according to the WHO:
Adequate nutrition during infancy is essential for lifelong health and wellbeing. Infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods, while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or more
Exclusive breastfeeding is the perfect way to provide the best food for a baby’s first six months of life, benefiting children the world over. But breastfeeding is so much more than food alone; breastfed infants are much less likely to die from diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections and other diseases: a non-breastfed child is 14 times more likely to die in the first six months than an exclusively breastfed child. Breastfeeding supports infants’ immune systems and helps protect from chronic conditions later in life such as obesity and diabetes. Suboptimum breastfeeding still accounts for an estimated 800,000 deaths in children under five annually (about 13% of total child deaths), according to the Lancet 2013 Nutrition Series. Data from 2011 indicate that only 39 per cent of 0-5 month olds in low-income countries are exclusively breastfed.
the AAP, and pretty much every major health organization in the world now recommends that babies not be introduced to solids until at least 6 months, I commented something along the lines of this:
Cool product. But I wish the package included the current recommendations for solids rather than 4 months.
I also posted this article on delaying solids from Kellymom about introduction of solids.
My comments were deleted and they responded with this:
That article is from 2011. Studies show that adding fruits & vegetables between 4-6 months increases a childs chance of regularly eating fruits & veggies at 7 years.
Ok…fair enough. But what you are missing is that babies who are introduced to solids before 6 months are at a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, eczema and celiac disease. Further, the “studies” that they cited was a 2009 study by ALSPAC and formula fed babies and breastfed babies were not differentiated. That makes a big difference. Also, the study refers to babies who are introduced to lumpy foods. Powdered bananas mixed with breastmilk is in no way lumpy. They then began to copy and paste “information” off of the products website. First off, I tend to not take all of my advice from someone who is trying to sell me something. Second, if I were selling something, I would definitely want to hear the concerns of my consumers and target audience.
And given the choice between a potentially picky 7 year old and possible serious health concerns…I will gladly take the latter.
Babies are not physically capable of digesting solid foods until around 6 months. They have what is called an open gut…
If solids are started before a baby’s system is ready to handle them, they are poorly digested and may cause unpleasant reactions (digestive upset, gas, constipation, etc.). Protein digestion is incomplete in infancy. Gastric acid and pepsin are secreted at birth and increase toward adult values over the following 3 to 4 months. The pancreatic enzyme amylase does not reach adequate levels for digestion of starches until around 6 months, and carbohydrate enzymes such as maltase, isomaltase, and sucrase do not reach adult levels until around 7 months. Young infants also have low levels of lipase and bile salts, so fat digestion does not reach adult levels until 6-9 months.
From Breastfeeding Essentials:
- The younger the baby, the more likely it is that any foods other than human milk will cause food allergies. While solely breastfed, the baby is protected by components in mother’s milk that prevent foreign proteins from entering the baby’s system and causing an allergic reaction. At about six months of age, the baby begins producing enough antibodies to prevent such allergic reactions. This benefit is especially important for a baby whose family has a history of allergies.
- Because a young baby’s digestive system is immature, he may not be able to digest other foods as well, perhaps making spitting up, constipation, and diarrhea more common. Waiting until the baby is at least six months old lessens the probability that these unpleasant reactions will occur.
- Solids displace breastmilk in the baby’s diet. The more solid food a baby consumes the less breastmilk he consumes. Early introduction of solids puts the baby at risk for premature weaning. An inferior food has been substituted for a superior one, and partial weaning has begun.
- Breastfed babies are rarely obese, but when they are it is most often related to the early addition of solid foods. This may be because a younger baby is less able to communicate when he has had enough, perhaps resulting in overfeeding.
- Breastfeeding provides some degree of birth control. It is most effective, however, when the baby is exclusively breastfeeding – no formula or water supplements and no solid foods. The addition of these cuts down on the amount of time the baby spends at the breast, therefore reducing the amount of stimulation necessary to inhibit ovulation in the mother.
- A young baby still possesses the tongue-thrust reflex which causes the food to be pushed out of the mouth rather than swallowed. This coupled with the fact that most young babies are unable to sit up alone results in feeding that is messier and more difficult. Once a baby has reached six months of age the tongue-thrust reflex has faded and baby can take a more active part in feeding time
So, thats all I have to say about early introduction of solids. The research speaks for itself.
My main concern is this…
After my comments were deleted from their Facebook, I went over to their Instagram and basically said that since my comments were deleted, I would be unfollowing them. I felt that they were not taking my concerns about this product seriously.
I was right. Other mothers began to show concern and commented about the dangers of introducing solids and those comments were also deleted.
Let me get this right… your targeted audience is breastfeeding mothers, but yet you are alienating those very people?
When mothers would persist with the information from the WHO, UNICEF, and AAP, they were blocked. Myself included.
No reputable research allowed, apparantly!
Here are some of the comments on their post that were deleted and the poster blocked by the company:
@kristarathert Two words: virgin gut!!!
@kristinbenandjeremiah solids aren’t to be added at 4-6 months, that’s misinformation, not to be rude.
@kristinbenandjeremiah The misinformation about solids before 6 months is dangerous because people look to you to provide correct knowledge. The WHO says nothing but breastmilk until 6 months, and putting anything in a bottle can cause obesity, allergies, and can cause babies to choke. So spoon would be the only option, and we know thats not recommended until baby can sit fully unsupported. So maybe later than 6 months.
@chelseyjordan Unfollowing since you are giving incorrect information. Saying that this is not solids is a lie and there are many parents out there who won’t realize this or the harm that it can cause!
@eutheria No thanks, my milk is perfect as is. Love how you’ve handled this bit of controversy. Nothing like enraging your target group and then censoring them as a way to build up your client base! Or wait, that doesn’t seem like a good idea at all. Oops.
@bindyjam Fun? Adding banana to breast milk is fun? Banana causes most babies to become constipated. Fun? Babies don’t need this stuff in their milk. I can’t believe ou are supporting this by posting it.
@katiaxo_0601 did you really say “when breast milk or formula milk do not meet the nutritional needs of an infant anymore? Are you kidding me? Shame on you.
Basically they kept responding with “Please direct questions toward <the manufactuer>” and then this, which disturbed me greatly, given that they are representing themselves as a point of support in breastfeeding.
Some mothers may have every intention to breastfeed 6 months or longer. However, some don’t for many reasons. This product offers a way for some mothers to transistion if they so choose.
I don’t disagree that mothers should be supported, regardless of their choice. But here is my point: You are a supposed to be a company that encourages breastfeeding, but yet you seem more concerned with weaning. You are in a position to educate women. To give out misinformation is dangerous. First, babies shouldn’t be transitioned from breastmilk to purees that derive from a powder. Second, if a mother wants to transistion her baby off of the breast, feeding him bananas or other sugary fruits is not the best way. Babies need breastmilk or formula to be their main source of nutrition until at least 12 months, with complementary foods after six months.
And here is my last point…
Another reason why breastfed babies should not be introduced to solids at 4 months is because that is the time for the “notorious” growth spurt!
SO many mothers wean around this time because they believe that their milk has dried up due to the increasing needs of the baby! It hasn’t, and continuing to allow the baby to nurse as much as he/she wants, it will adjust to those specific needs. But if you start replacing nursings with food or formula supplements..its probably gonna start to dwindle!
So what’s the big deal? Why are you going nuts over this? If you don’t want the product, throw it out or don’t use it!
But its not that simple.
Anything that is not supportive of breastfeeding has the potential to sabatoge it when it is “hand delivered” to mothers. It’s just like the “breastfeeding care packages” given out to mothers from formula companies….It can ruin breastfeeding and not all mothers have the liberty of being educated about the “booby traps” that could cause her milk to dwindle down, or may not have the information about the open gut and the importance of delaying solids.
The product isn’t the issue. It seems like a good product. The issue stands in the age recommendations for it. The issue stands in the way that the alleged breastfeeding supportive company disallowing comments that points toward the research. The issue stands in them completely disregarding and dismissing legitimate concerns about a product from the very consumers that will potentially buy it.
It also stands in the fact that ALL of the research was not allowed. This is the most important. Don’t give careless “research” like, “Studies show that adding fruits & vegetables between 4-6 months increases a childs chance of regularly eating fruits & veggies at 7 years.” and disallow, “They also have yet to develop the proper gut bacteria that allow them to process solid food safely, potentially leading to gastroenteritis and diarrhea, Dr. Gold said. The early introduction of solid foods has also been linked to increased risk of obesity, diabetes, eczema and celiac disease.”
If you are going to sell a product geared toward a breastfeeding mother, make for damn sure that that product is not going to destroy the nursing relationship that she has fought like hell for. And for God’s sake…LISTEN to the concerns of your target audience. So far I have received reports of over 40 moms being blocked because they voiced concerns about the product. Even sadder than that…the owner of the company is an IBCLC.