Update: Open Invitation For Constructive Dialogue On Infant Feeding Recommendations Still Stands

In the interest of being transparent, 1,000 Days is posting publicly the message our Executive Director, Lucy Sullivan, sent today to the co-founder of the Fed Is Best Foundation. 1,000 Days has joined nearly 100 organizations to request a meeting with the co-founders of the Fed Is Best Foundation. Our hope is to engage in a constructive dialogue to discuss the concerns they have raised with respect to our nation’s infant feeding recommendations and associated health care practices.

Dear Dr. del Castillo-Hegyi,

As you know, almost 100 organizations have requested to meet with Fed is Best in hopes of engaging in a constructive conversation on infant feeding recommendations and associated health care practices. Many of these groups work directly with breastfeeding mothers and have seen first-hand the problems caused by infant feeding complications. They help support parents, work with under-served families and communities, advocate for sick and vulnerable newborns, and are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of mothers and babies.

I will share your “open letter”, as you have asked, with these organizations despite the fact that your letter is unfortunately riddled with inaccuracies and distortions. For example, never once did we indicate that we wanted a closed-door meeting. We are committed to transparency as well and would have gladly made public the proceedings of our meeting with Fed is Best.

Given that your letter indicates that you “have not had the time or interest” and it is a “lower priority” to meet with the 95 organizations that have requested a meeting, it seems that Fed is Best is not interested in trying to find ways to work together for the benefit of mothers and their babies. Moreover, based on the approach you outlined in your open letter, it appears that Fed is Best has no intent in constructively engaging with the many organizations that can be your allies in tackling infant feeding issues. Rather, it would seem that you have chosen to criticize and attempt to discredit groups—including the World Health Organization (WHO)—that have reached out to Fed is Best in good faith.

I personally do not understand how attacking organizations like WHO and other groups helps serve the interests of mothers and babies or advance what you say is your top priority: saving babies’ lives. Nevertheless, our invitation to meet with you remains open, assuming you can approach the meeting with a spirit of honest collaboration and with the intent of trying to find common ground in order to help families get the support they need to give their babies the strongest start to life. In the meantime, I wish you luck with your endeavors.

Sincerely yours,

Lucy M. Sullivan