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Gettysburg Heritage Festival will offer kids’ bicycle parade and community walk

The 2022 Gettysburg Heritage Festival on to be held on Sep. 18 in the Gettysburg rec park will host both a kid’s bicycle parade and a community walk along the Biser Trail. The entire day is loaded with great entertainment and wonderful food, making it a terrific community unity event. Bike decorating starts at 12:30 behind the stage, or you may decorate at home. Helmets are required—and you get a free can of Lucky Leaf Apple Juice, courtesy of Knouse Foods, just for wearing one! Kids 12 & Under: Register to Win a $350 gift card to Gettysburg Bicycle & Fitness! When your child registers at the Festival near the stage and rides their bike at the parade, they will automatically receive 5 entries for a raffle to win a $350 gift certificate from Gettysburg Bicycle and Fitness. If you ride your bike before the event and report to HABPI@ habpi2021@gmail.com with thechild’s name, age, adult contact email/phone and date of ride, you’ll earn one additional entry to win! If weather cancels the event on September 18, the $350 prize will still be given, chosen from those that registered by email. Limit one email entry per child

A summer of reading fun at the Adams County Library

By Robyn Woods  It’s time for a Summer of fun at the library! Come along and dive deep into the fun.  This year’s theme is “Oceans of Possibilities”.  Grab your scuba gear as we dive into an ocean of educational fun. All six library branches have fun and educational programs for all ages to keep you busy all summer long.  Summer Quest provides the opportunity to keep kids’ minds sharp and their bodies active. Summer is of course a time for fun at the library it is also a time to practice your reading, science, and learning skills. SummerQuest is an all-ages reading program to promote reading for all ages.  This program runs from June 1st-August 13th. Both children and adults have the opportunity to earn prizes. To register for the program you can go to our website https://www.adamslibrary.org/summerquest and click on “Beanstack”.  That is where you register and log your reading minutes.  For children, once you have registered on Beanstack you can begin to record the minutes that you have read. You have the opportunity to win a prize for every 200 minutes that you read.  For adults, once you have registered on Beanstack you record how many books you have read. If you record five books you have the chance to win the grand prize. If you read twenty books you have earned yourself another chance to win the grand prize. Brand new this year is the chance to win book bundles! There will be six drawings throughout the summer for this special prize.  If you are an adult who misses the summer reading program from when you were a kid or just an avid reader, now is your chance to challenge yourself for a summer of reading.   SummerQuest is not just about reading, you can also take hikes with your family with the GO Adams program.  To get you started, head to your closest library branch and get your guide.  This year the guide is called the Wayfinder.  There are fifteen posts throughout the county for you to find and complete the hikes.  Each hike name is ocean-themed to go along with the summer theme.   Once you complete the hike there is a post with a rubbing that you transfer to your rubbing sheet. There will also be a code to enter into the Beanstack website.  By entering the code your child will have the chance to win prizes.  If your child is interested in the hikes and you still have questions, come join the explorers club at the Gettysburg branch.  The club meets weather permitting and completes one of the hikes together.  Please see our website for more information. To see all of the fabulous upcoming events please check out our website or stop by any branch to pick up a What’s Happening, your guide to all things programming.  There are different exciting programs offered for all ages all summer at the library.  There will be magic shows, ice cream parties, reptiles shows, and a visit from a local author. If these events sound like a good time be sure to go online and register under our events page. If you have any questions just head on down to your local breach to learn more. The fun will be here before you know it; registration begins on May 25th, 2022. 

Collaborating for Youth Virtual Town Meeting

Adams County’s Collaborating for Youth (CFY) will be hosting a FREE and virtual Town Hall Meeting on Monday, May 23 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.   The event will take place virtually on Zoom – please visit www.cfygettysburg.com for more information on how to access this event.  The Town Hall Meeting is entitled “Youth Voices – Emerging From Covid” and is the first of a three-part series. CFY will present the 2021 Pennsylvania Youth Survey data results and trends of Adams County youth.  This first event will feature drug & alcohol trends, the second event will be on youth mental health, held on June 27 and the third will be about risk & protective factors and youth attitudes held on July 25. All three events will be on zoom and will be at 6 p.m.  The three events are open to all Adams County residents interested in learning about this important information. According to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency website:  “Since 1989, the Commonwealth has conducted a survey of school students in the 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th grades to learn about their behavior, attitudes and knowledge concerning alcohol, tobacco, other drugs and violence. The ‘Pennsylvania Youth Survey,’ or PAYS, is sponsored and conducted every two years by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.  The data gathered in PAYS serve two primary needs. First, the results provide school administrators, state agency directors, legislators and others with critical information concerning the changes in patterns of the use and abuse of these harmful substances and behaviors. Second, the survey assesses risk factors that are related to these behaviors and the protective factors that help guard against them. This information allows community leaders to direct prevention resources to areas where they are likely to have the greatest impact.”  Collaborating for Youth has worked with the school districts and community agencies in Adams County to analyze this data to understand the unique trends of Adams County Youth and to seek out needed services within the area. Collaborating For Youth is Adams County’s community-based, data-driven coalition that works to support positive youth development and substance-free, positive futures. For over 20 years CFY has continued to grow by supporting services and engaging new community groups to assure that their coalition is driven by the voices in the community they seek to serve.  CFY is located at the Center for Youth and Community Development on 233 West High Street in Gettysburg, PA. 

Gov. Wolf: Pennsylvania is Ready for Federal Authorization of COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Ages 5-11

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today issued a statement on the Biden Administration’s preparations for the COVID-19 vaccine authorization for children ages 5-11. “In Pennsylvania, the vaccine is our strategy out of the pandemic, and Pennsylvanians are doing a tremendous job of protecting ourselves and our loved ones by getting the COVID-19 vaccine. We should all be proud of how far we have come since the beginning of the pandemic as another milestone is upon us – the vaccine authorization for children ages 5-11.  “Today, the Biden Administration released their plan to operationalize vaccination efforts for our children upon authorization. This plan furthers their support to states and confirms their commitment to ensuring this rollout is done properly. We are ready in Pennsylvania. Vaccine providers are prepared to safely vaccinate our children, and to protect them against this deadly virus.  “The light at the end of the tunnel is shining brightly and we are all ready to be on the other side.” As of October 20, 70.8% of Pennsylvanians 18 and older are now fully vaccinated, and vaccine providers have administered more than 13,400,000 total vaccine doses. Pennsylvania is ranked 6th for first doses administered nationwide. To find a local vaccine provider near you, visit vaccines.gov.

Finding Balance With Social Media

View the documentary anytime beginning Friday, October 29th at 8 p.m. until Saturday, November 6th at 12 a.m. October 13th, 2021 – LIKE achieves the impossible: actually getting kids and teens to put down their phones for a few minutes. From Friday October 29th to November 6th Healthy Adams County will hold a special virtual screening of the documentary.  Please click on the following link to register for the movie https://watch.eventive.org/indieflix/play/6153a5ed12cdfa003e63491c This take-action, inspiring film is the 2nd installment in the award-winning iNDIEFLIX Mental Health Trilogy, created to entertain, engage, and enlighten about issues surrounding mental health. Before Covid, 2 billion smartphone owners were checking their phones, on average, 150 times a day, and the enforced isolation and mandated screen time of the past year has only increased this figure. Research continues to confirm that having your head down, staring at the screen, chasing “likes” and seeking “followers” is the perfect recipe for low self-esteem, isolation and depression, as well as loss of focus and patience.  The filmmakers of LIKE inspire kids and teens to consider a life of JOMO (joy of missing out) as opposed to FOMO. They use their proven 4 E formula: entertainment, empathy, enlightenment and a heavy dose of empowerment, arming their audiences with easy-to-execute strategies to change their habits that very same day. Research and data is plentiful: happiness surges when we have digital balance, not overload; when we give ourselves time to look at actual trees, animals and all things nature, as well as interact – however we can – with other humans.  LIKE was ahead of the Social Dilemma curve in shocking its audience with its exclusive interviews from Silicon Valley insiders – including the co-creator of Facebook’s “Like” button – who break down the addiction-causing algorithms behind the apps. The medical and science experts explain the behavioral changes that come from chemical effects on the brain. But the 49-minute-long LIKE does not leave you with a sense of fear and foreboding. The core of the documentary is built around the kids and teens interviewed, and the empathy that they buildwith their audience as they look honestly at their usage and dependence on these tiny devices, consider the good that can come from and be transmitted via social media, and rethink the relationship to one where they are much more aware and in balance. Finally, a funny and engaging dancing panda meme at the end of the film perfectly illustrates the very sad rabbit holes our phones are sending us down, preventing us from looking up and seeing the world.  ‘‘For this particular film, the prestigious awards and reviews we’ve received are NOT the measure of success. It’s the direct feedback the kids & teens…. they are experimenting with our tricks on how to use their smartphones INSTEAD of their smartphones using them… and winning.’ said Scilla Andreen, CEO and Co-Founder of IndieFlix and Director/Executive Producer of LIKE. ‘Through shocking kids and adults alike with the behind-the-scenes look at their favorite apps and making them laugh, we’ve been able to engage them enough to consider taking the road back to ‘real’ instead of ‘virtual’ life, by working towards self-regulation and a healthy relationship with their phones.”  As with all iNDIEFLIX films, screenings take place in (now virtual) community settings, usually followed by community discussion and Q&A. This peer-group conversation is a critical element to getting young and old to reflect on what they’ve just learned, and the changes that they’ll make as a result.  LIKE, and its Mental Health Trilogy Companions Angst and The Upstanders are staples in social & emotional learning programs in schools all over the world. Knowing that successful change depends on continuing the conversation beyond the screening date, each film comes with discussion guides, tip sheets a catalogue of additional resources, with a dedicated 8-week curricula for each film launching in 2021.  iNDIEFLIX Group Inc is a global education and streaming service that promotes and supports social impact films that create positive change in the world. iNDIEFLIX Education books online and offline community screenings in schools and corporations around the world, while iNDIEFLIX Stream offers a monthly subscription-based service to access thousands of high-quality shorts, features, documentaries, and series from around the world. https://www.indieflix.com/

CFY will host family fall & farm fun event on Friday

The countdown begins until Collaborating for Youth’s Family Friday Fall & Farm Fun event! See the Flyers in English and Spanish below. To start the countdown the Youth Coalition would like to announce the Pie-Eating Contest! In one week these six community members will compete to eat the most pie at our Fall & Farm Fun Event, October 8 from 5 to 7:30 with the Pie-Eating Contest beginning at 6:30 p.m.  Who will win???? Vote for your favorite by donating through PayPal – $1 equals one vote! Make sure you note the person you are voting for by visiting https://www.cfygettysburg.com/donate The purpose of this event is for the Youth Coalition to raise awareness and a little money to have a messaging campaign geared to area youth around hope, decreasing depressive symptoms, and community support.

Senators introduce mask opt-out for Pennsylvania schoolchildren

(By Christen Smith – The Center Square) – Two Pennsylvania senators introduced a bill last week offering parents a chance to opt out of public school mask mandates. Senate Bill 846 came just days before the Department of Health ordered universal masking for staff and students in schools and child care centers amid what the administration calls an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases in children caused by the delta variant. The administration’s reversal on the issue – after months of deferring to local school boards on the policy – came under immediate scrutiny from Republican lawmakers, co-sponsors Sens. Judy Ward, R-Hollidaysburg, and Doug Mastriano, R-Gettysburg, among the loudest critics of them all. “[The] announcement is hardly surprising,” Mastriano said. “Once most school districts rejected mask mandates … Governor Wolf quickly changed his position when those officials made a decision that he didn’t like.” The administration said last week that fewer than 13% of the 474 submitted health plans required masks for unvaccinated students and staff. Immunization rates among kids between the ages of 12-14 and 15-19 are 18.2% and 38.3%, respectively, the department said. Ward said school boards “worked hard” to develop mitigation strategies that worked for their communities. Many parents in her district worry about the impact of wearing masks long-term on their children, she added. “Parents have the fundamental right to make health and educational decisions that are best suited for their children,” she said. “The circumstances and issues in each of those local communities should drive the decisions there, not a statewide mandate.” Mastriano also questioned the science behind masking and said federal studies show there’s no “statistically significant” difference in transmission whether students cover their faces all day or not. Wolf said “aggressive” anti-masking rhetoric nationwide and veiled legal threats explains why so many local school boards opted against the mandate, despite pleas from parents of younger children ineligible for the vaccine. “The reality we are living in now is much different than it was just a month ago,” acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said Tuesday. “With case counts increasing, the situation has reached the point that we need to take this action to protect our children, teachers and staff.” Beam said 92% of current COVID-19 cases are caused by the delta variant. Since the beginning of July, Pennsylvania’s caseload skyrocketed from 300 daily to more than 3,000, with cases among schoolchildren climbing by more than 11,000 during that same time. “That’s nearly a 300% jump [for school children] in about six weeks here in Pennsylvania, and remember that half of those kids are not yet old enough to get a vaccine,” Beam said. “The reason for this jump in cases is the delta variant.” Children younger than 12 remain ineligible for the vaccine, while 65.8% of adults are fully immunized, according to the department. Pennsylvania also ranks fifth in the nation for total doses administered. “The science is clear,” Beam said. “If we want to keep our schools open, maintain classroom learning and allow sports and other activities to continue, masking significantly increases our chances of doing so.” Ward said the reversal isn’t shocking given Wolf’s veto of her bill in July that would have prevented the Secretary of Health from issuing statewide mandates using her limited authority within the state’s Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955. The administration’s interpretation of the statute gives Beam limited authority to implement orders during a public health event. It’s why, even though voters agreed in May to limit the governor’s emergency powers that give him carte blanche to enact statewide pandemic restrictions, Beam can still do so. Ward said it’s now “obvious why” Wolf vetoed her bill. “We saw this mandate coming and began to draft legislation weeks ago,” Mastriano said. “Parents and guardians need to make the choice as they know better than bureaucrats or anyone else what is best for individual needs of their child. I want to leave it in the hands of the parents. This bill will empower them to do that.”

Music Together® Classes to Return to ACAC

The Adams County Arts Council (ACAC) is bringing Music Together® classes back to its Arts Education Center (AEC) beginning in September. Ten-week sessions for families with young children will be held on Friday and Saturday mornings beginning on September 17 at the AEC, located at 125 South Washington Street, Gettysburg, PA. To register, please visit www.adamsarts.org or call (717) 334-5006.  The program’s director, Lisa Cadigan, previously offered Music Together classes at the ACAC from 2017 to 2019 as an artist-in-residence. Since then, Cadigan has joined ACAC’s staff as Arts Outreach Coordinator, and transferred the Music Together license to the Adams County Arts Council. “The license transfer gives us the ability to offer scholarships to low-to-moderate income families, which was something I wanted to do, but was not able to do as an independent contractor,” says Cadigan. “I am thrilled to be part of ACAC’s staff, to be able to re-start this wonderful program post-pandemic, and to ensure availability of high-quality music instruction to all residents of Adams County.” Joining Cadigan to teach the classes is certified Music Together instructor Ronda Sprague, who also rents space at the ACAC to teach piano lessons. Sprague received a B.S. from the Butler University School of Fine Arts in 1983 and runs a successful private music studio (room2music.com), where she offers piano, flute, and early childhood music instruction privately and in groups. “I use a variety of contemporary teaching methods to help my students achieve their individual goals in the ways that are best suited to their learning styles,” says Sprague. “I was inspired by music as a child, and I have a passion to nurture the love of music in others. I look forward to joining the ACAC’s Music Together program and helping it grow.” ACAC Executive Director Leona Rega is also enthusiastic to add Music Together to the ACAC’s list of program offerings. “Music Together classes are exactly the type of high-quality educational arts experiences we want to offer at the Arts Council for young children and their families.  I’m very familiar with the curriculum of Music Together. I’ve seen firsthand how music and rhythm are key to the development of cognitive skills (memory, focus) in addition to taking turns and sharing. A personal favorite component of Music Together is the quality time a child has with their parent and or caregiver in the development of these skills while having fun. It truly is a program where parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings can participate together,” says Rega. Music Together is a leader in research-based, developmentally appropriate music education. The curriculum offers music of exceptional quality, exploring a variety of tonalities, rhythms and cultures. “All children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate in music with confidence, provided that their early environment supports such learning. Music Together brings families together by providing a rich musical environment in the classroom and encouraging family participation in spontaneous musical activity at home within the context of daily life. Families get so much from these classes,” Cadigan explains. An internationally recognized early childhood music and movement program for children birth through age seven, the Music Together curriculum was coauthored in 1987 by Kenneth K. Guilmartin (Founder/Director) and Rowan University Professor of Music Education Dr. Lili M. Levinowitz (Director of Research). The curriculum offers programs for families; schools; at-risk populations; and children with special needs, in over 2000 communities in 40 countries. The company is passionately committed to bringing children and their caregivers closer through shared music-making and helping people discover the joy—and educational value—of early music experiences.  To learn more about the Music Together program at the ACAC, look for Cadigan at the Arts Oasis on Lincoln Square on August 28 at 10 a.m. for an interactive demonstration, call (717) 334-5006, or visit www.adamsarts.org. 

When ‘breast is best’ becomes too much: Many parents feel pressure and even shame when breastfeeding isn’t possible

Jennifer Gerson Jennifer Gerson Originally published by The 19th Throughout Gray Chapman’s pregnancy, visits to her midwife’s office always meant being asked if she planned to breastfeed. The question didn’t faze Chapman, who told The 19th that she would answer by saying, “Yeah, if it works great, but if not, there’s always formula!” At the time, she meant it, too.  But a difficult birth led to a five-day hospital stay, and Chapman — an Atlanta-based journalist — found her time in the hospital marked largely by a lactation consultant who just wouldn’t leave. Every day for four to five hours a day, the lactation consultant was in her hospital room, trying to help her understand why her newborn wouldn’t latch. With her baby rapidly losing weight and at one point going 26 hours without a wet diaper, at no point did anyone in the hospital so much as mention the word “formula” to Chapman.  Toward the end of Chapman’s post-birth hospital stay, with a baby still struggling to feed, the lactation consultant finally offered up a suggestion for an alternate plan: She told Chapman that in lieu of trying to breastfeed, she should try pumping and bottle feeding. “The troubling part,” Chapman said, “was that there were no professionals around me who were willing to step in and say, ‘This woman is recovering from a C-section and is unable to feed her hungry, six-pound baby — maybe we should bring in the Similac.’” Though Chapman said that she doesn’t believe anyone ever directly spoke the words “breast is best” directly to her, she nevertheless felt overt pressure to breastfeed her child at all costs. After all, she said, why else would the lactation consultant be spending so much time with her if this wasn’t “something I had to make work”? About a week later, National Breastfeeding Awareness Week began, and Chapman’s Instagram feed was suddenly flooded with “beautiful black-and-white shots of women breastfeeding their babies.” Looking over at her husband, then finally feeding their newborn son with a bottle and formula through a second lactation consultant’s advice, she broke down. “I just sobbed,” she said. “My husband has never seen me cry like that and we have been together a really long time. World Breastfeeding Week made me cry.” “I knew intellectually that breastfeeding just wasn’t worth it, that all things equal there wasn’t a huge difference nutritionally between breast milk and formula. But when [my son] came out, I lost all sense of perspective and felt that I had to make this work,” Chapman said. She’s not the only one who has felt this way. While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a child’s life — then followed by a combination of breastfeeding alongside the introduction of solid foods for another year — the reality remains that for many parents, breastfeeding is simply not feasible, either because a parent parent struggles to do so either as a result of mechanics or mental health challenges, or because breastfeeding simply isn’t an option based on their own medical history or family- building mechanisms. For these parents, being told “breast is best” implies that straight out of the gate, they have already failed their children by offering them something inherently not the best, says Laura Modi, the co-founder and CEO of Bobbie, an organic formula company. It’s also why Modi’s company is asking people to ask “How is feeding going?” instead of “How is breastfeeding going?” when talking to new parents, especially during National Breastfeeding Awareness Month in August — and beyond.  The issue is also personal for Modi, who herself always assumed she would breastfeed and says she went into her pregnancy “completely ill-prepared for what would happen if breastfeeding doesn’t work out.” What happened for her, she told The 19th, was being “hit with guilt, embarrassment, and shame when I realized I was unable to exclusively breastfeed my child.” But she also said that it taught her that she’s also part of a wider community of parents who for any reason are unable to breastfeed, be it those who have had double mastectomies, used gestational carriers, or grown their family through adoption. (Not to mention those, like Chapman, who simply struggled with the work of breastfeeding through no fault of their own.) She pointed out that more babies are being born via surrogacy today than ever before and close to 200,000 American children are being raised by same-sex parents. “Those folks need an alternative, but the message hasn’t caught up.” More from The 19th This nursing mom’s journey to figure out how much vaccinated breast milk is enough to shield her baby from COVID-19 Parent’s vaccine protects babies best against COVID-19, studies show Minnesota offers conditional release so that incarcerated mothers can be with their newborns “I always remind patients that just like there are many definitions of the titles ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ — and many descriptions of a childbirth — there are also many definitions on how to nurture a newborn; breastfeeding is just one of those terms,” Dr. Brian Levine, the founding partner and practice director of CCRM New York, a infertility and reproductive endocrinology practice, told The 19th. Levine sees many patients at his practice that are LGBTQ+, utilizing gestational carriers, and for any number of medical reasons may be unable to breastfeed.  Dr. Christie del Castillo-Hegyi is a board certified emergency physician and investigator of, newborn brain injuries and breastfeeding complications, and is also the co-founder of the Fed is Best Foundation, which seeks to provide safe infant-feeding information to parents and healthcare providers, be it by breastfeeding, formula supplementation or otherwise. Del Castillo-Hegyi pointed out some widely acknowledged benefits of breastfeeding, such as its accessibility and the sharing of antibodies, but also said that parents who struggled with it should understand that “fed is best, no matter what. Any child who receives the full nutritional requirements without starvation or dehydration has the best outcomes.” But experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics caution to not discount the importance of breastfeeding and the immunological merits of breast milk too much. Dr. Lori Feldman-Winter, a professor of pediatrics at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University and the chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding, told The 19th that while “breast is best” might be an overly simplistic slogan, “it is important to be aware of the science and the overwhelming evidence showing improved health outcomes related to breastfeeding, for mother, for baby, and for society” — but that it’s just as important “to understand why and how the decisions to breastfeed, or not, are made.”  Feldman-Winter says that there are documented benefits of even short-term breastfeeding, such as a recent study which indicated that breastfeeding decreased the chances of high blood pressure in children, providers should use the prenatal period to to have “open, honest and nonjudgmental” conversations with parents about infant feeding “and explaining what we know about the benefits of breastfeeding, as well as the risks of supplementing with infant formula.” That said, Feldman-Winter also added that “for those unable to breastfeed at all, we must reassure families that we have a suitable alternative in safely prepared commercial infant formula. We should applaud even the tiniest amount of mother’s milk that the baby was able to receive and her effort in trying.” Del Castillo-Hegyi said that while data indicates that breast milk is an excellent source of nutrition, has antibodies present in it that may provide extra immunity, and is generally sterile, it’s still not a perfect nutritional product because of its inherent vitamin deficiencies. Without nutritional supplementation or monitoring, exclusively breastfed infants can present with anemia as a result of iron deficiency around four months of age. Formula doesn’t have antibodies or any of the potential immunity-boosting factors of breast milk, but parents who cannot breastfeed have “a nutritionally complete form of milk and no baby will ever go hungry from eating it,” she said.  “If it is offered to a baby from the moment they are born to whenever they stop feeding in this way, there is zero risk of them developing malnutrition, hypoglycemia, or jaundice.”  Some of those problems can be addressed at a hospital, often so quickly that they’re not part of the broader conversation. Other times, parents don’t know to look out for them, and the consequences aren’t visible until later.  For instance, research has suggested that when a mother does not produce enough milk, a newborn who is exclusively breastfed is at increased risk for hypoglycemia. Some hypoglycemic babies develop levels severe enough to increase their risk for developmental delays and lowered academic performance. Researchers in Arkansas found that newborns who had moderate hypoglycemia early on often struggled years later with reading comprehension and literacy skills.   Levine said that the “number one shared emotion” he hears from his patients who for any number of reasons are unable to breastfeed is “frustration since so much of our language [around feeding] implies that breast is best. In reality, breast is available for many and used by some, but love and nurture are much more important than the mode of feeding.” He stressed that while breastfeeding is a “natural way to help support a newborn, it is not the only way.”  Del Castillo-Hegyi told The 19th that the current stigma surrounding those who do not, and cannot, breastfeed comes from developments in recent history. Breastfeeding has always been the primary source of infant feeding — even though from as early as the Iron Age, there is evidence of parents finding ways to provide supplemental nutrition because breast milk often does not meet all of an infant’s nutritional needs. The farming revolution made animal milk widely available, and researchers eventually found that adding several micronutrients to animal milk led to a form of nutrition that was readily available at any time — and that’s how formula was born.  Giving in to a kid who is hungry is the best thing you can do as a parent. Dr. Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, a co-founder of the Fed is Best Foundation Baby formula soon became a popular product, one that was marketable — perhaps too much so. Commercialized campaigns to bring it to more and more markets led to it being pushed on parents in developing countries who often could not afford it or did not have reliable access to clean drinking water. This ultimately led to many infants dying from starvation or malnutrition. In response to this tragedy in the 1990s, the World Health Organization launched its “Breast is Best” campaign, and soon after came the guidelines from various organizations recommending exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. It also led to a vilification of infant formula, and a not-so-subtle message that parents who formula feed “just don’t care enough about their infants and didn’t try enough or are not educated enough,” says del Castillo-Hegyi, even though a lack of robust data meant that it was never clear if a majority of parents could carry out the recommended breastfeeding guidelines.  Feldman-Winter still pointed out that there are some adoptive mothers who can lactate, and that chest feeding may also be possible in the trans population. “We need to be open to the options, explain the advantages of human milk over the unknowns of exposure to hormones in the case of gender-affirming hormones, and the desires of the partners/parents involved,” she said. “If breastfeeding-chestfeeding-human milk feeding are not options then we recommend commercially prepared infant formula, holding during feeding and responsive feeding to prevent overfeeding …. As pediatricians we need to be steadfast in our support of breastfeeding, but at the same time recognize that there are many factors involved in good parenting.” Lesley Anne Murphy, an Instagram influencer and former contestant on The Bachelor, had a preventive double mastectomy in 2017 after her mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer and Murphy herself had tested positive for having the BRCA gene. She knew that having her breasts removed would mean she wouldn’t ever be able to breastfeed, but told The 19th “in my eyes, it was more important to take care of my own health than to have the option of breastfeeding one day.” But after giving birth to her daughter last year and posting about formula feeding on Instagram, she was shocked by the kinds of comments popping up in her feed, with people attacking her choice to have had a double mastectomy without having had cancer. “You don’t forget those comments,” Murphy, a spokesperson for Bobbie’s “How is Feeding Going” campaign, said. (Bobbie has since started donating a can of formula to parents in need for each new trolling remark on Murphy’s social channels.)  If breastfeeding isn’t working, or if it isn’t an option, del Castillo-Hegyi said, then “giving in to a kid who is hungry is the best thing you can do as a parent. To be shamed by society because you gave your baby formula is severely harmful.” After five months of attempting to first breastfeed and then pump and supplement, Chapman realized that breastfeeding was something she was pursuing because it had become “a sunk cost thing. I felt like I had been miserable doing this for months already and I couldn’t give up now.” Finally after pumping a particularly bloody bottle of milk one day, Chapman decided it was time to call it quits. “And that was it. And it was fine. I didn’t have any emotional fall-out from switching exclusively to formula. It was a mental health game-changer for me. I am honestly just mad it didn’t happen sooner.” Editor’s note: This story has been updated throughout.

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