We love sharing stories of people who either visit our spring or share our love of springs.
Mary Richardson (BA, MS, RN, IBCLC) is a registered nurse who is on a search for clean water. So much so that she moved from her home in central Pennsylvania to Manitou Springs, CO (1,600 miles !!!!).
She reached out to us at Boston Clear on her journey across the country and her passion for mineral water. Mary informed us that there is a worldwide Baby Friendly movement, a group dedicated to standardizing care for infants … clean water being one of them. However, clean water for babies is not the only thing they need, they need nourishment that comes from a mother’s milk … so when some hospitals encourage powder formula, we introduce a water problem. According to Baby-Friendly USA, U.S. hospitals that have received a Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) designation must follow certain rules about when and how they offer formula to new parents.
Young mothers, parents, are looking for guidance in their first days after giving birth. Some hospitals provide free formula for newborns (courtesy of large formula makers like Nestle). The fact is, this sort of give-away deters women from wanting to breast feed and then mothers’ milk soon dries up. The result is that we have too many babies on formula that would be much better served having something better for them. Mary recognizes that mothers can choose, but are they getting all the facts to make the right choice or are these choices driven by profit?
Many doctors recommend breast feeding for up to a year. So how many mothers choose breast feeding for their child? In the U.S., about 80% of women start out breastfeeding but a number of studies suggest that this percentage drops off quickly after the first month of life. Only about half of U.S. babies (51.8 percent) are still breastfeeding at 6 months of age … by the time the child is one year old, only 34% are being breastfed. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
“Many mothers begin breastfeeding but need community support to help them overcome challenges they may face in the hospital, when they go home, or after they return to work. This support might include breastfeeding education programs, improved maternity care practices in hospitals, peer and professional support for moms; and adequate space and equipment to breastfeed or express breast milk in workplaces and childcare centers.”
A look at a map of breastfeeding statistics reveals a concern that some states, particularly the poorer states, experience shorter breastfeeding terms for their babies … the population in these states, the ones who can least afford additional costs, appear to choose the additional cost for formula over babies’ health. That just does not make sense!
While Mary acknowledges these challenges, many hospitals do not fully inform mothers of the dangers associated with formula along with the great benefits of breast feeding. As Mary put it, “Hospitals hand out formula like it’s candy. I love babies, being a mom/baby nurse and when I found out, well my heart collapsed.”
Mary presented all the information she could to the hospital about the trap in which they were putting new mothers and their newborns. They took a tough stand and when Mary saw that there was no hope of her employer becoming “Baby Friendly,” she made the move. Now, living in Colorado, she has found a new hospital and a new way of life.
The springs in Colorado are renowned and Mary has visited a number of them in the area. One of the things we noted was that one of the websites we visited about the springs said that they believed that the springs “once were thought to have healing powers.” Mary said they absolutely have healing powers! The photo here is one Mary snapped on her porch enjoying a cool glass of water.
So what makes Manitou so special:
Rainwater and snow melt from Pikes Peak and surrounding mountains soak into rock fractures. As the water penetrates to great depth, it becomes heated and mineralized. The warm water naturally flows up into cavernous limestone where it becomes carbonated, then issues from the numerous natural and drilled springs throughout Manitou. Because the water takes thousands of years to complete its journey from mountain sources, it is totally free of industrial and atmospheric contamination.
Makes us thirsty just thinking about it. As for Mary, she loves her move but misses her home in Pennsylvania. Her dedication to exposing how big companies trade babies’ health for profit is to be commended. Her hope is that the comradery among her new co-workers will spark some renewed energy to fight on. Mary said,
“I think of our children and the future for our planet every day and feel I have a moral obligation to do my part. I want to leave this world a better place. My voice may not be the best, but I have one.”
Mary believes that the lack of information on what we ingest has spread to our water. As she put it, we believe we can turn on the faucet and the water that comes out is safe … it is not. Like formula, it is full of chemicals that imitate the real thing but fall short. Mary told me, “We have to realize that we are taking toxins into our body if we drink water from a tap. As a society we have to realize that we are causing our own diseases. The search for pure, natural, nourishment will help us all live long, happier, lives.”
Mary asked me to share a poem she wrote about how big companies are robbing our babies. We with her luck in her new life and will certainly keep you all posted on her spring journey:
FIRST ONE IS ALWAYS FREE
Dealers of liquid formula, pushed through open doors,
Supplying a neighborhood nursery, non-“Baby Friendly” floor.
Watchful nurses taking note, heed this curious sight,
Bottles appear mysteriously, cloak and dag by night.
Central nursery cabs and bins, always plumply stocked,
Ready to feed formula, complete with swanky tops.
Polished logos shining bright, glossy picture themes,
Fess uncertain knowledge and quite possibly, malice schemes.
Special hand-held bottles, come desperate to defend,
We comprehend, we realize, our moms are hooked again.
We’re solemn and profess our part, and wipe our conscience clean,
“Just one to help a real tired mom, we pray she doesn’t wean.”
We struggle to unravel, this contorted paradigm,
You see, breastfeeding education, demands a massive chunk of time.
Working thru the dead of night, grim reality sets in,
There is no rest, we do our best, keep baby skin-to-skin.
Request for aide and some relief, a real Lactation Team?
I guess for now, yet somehow, tonight we only dream.
Bravely marching forward, call bells unending ring,
We require reinforcement troops, to fight this dreadful thing.
We have borne some heavy losses, during these Baby Friendly Times,
We call upon our government to halt these human crimes.
The WHO CODE needs our grave support, to protect the weak and poor,
From predatory companies, with delusions of grandeur.
Our under-education is a disrespectful shame,
To not call out an industry, that both profits and seeks to maim.
Ours moms and babes deserve better, though a third world-wide apart,
We stand united together, until death do us part.
- Mary Laura Richardson