World Breastfeeding Week challenge for lactivists

Prepare yourself! Next week is World Breastfeeding Week. Prepare yourself for an onslaught of articles, and podcasts and tweets rhapsodizing about the benefits of breastfeeding as well as an onslaught ...

Let’s normalize vaccination because vaccines are love

Lactivists are constantly nattering on about “normalizing” breastfeeding. They are absolutely convinced that baring their breasts on Facebook and Twitter will encourage more women to breastfeed their babies. In their ...

No one should be exulting about lowering late preterm births until we figure out who died as a result

Imagine that I published a paper crowing that the US had reduced the use of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is expensive, arduous and has a plethora of terrible complications up to and ...

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How we know that cigarettes cause lung cancer and vaccines DON’T cause autism

Even those who can’t tell the difference between a t-test and a ...

Why do people believe in vaccine conspiracies but not antibiotic conspiracies?

They utterly changed the nature of infectious disease. Communicable diseases that had ...

Natural childbirth and victimhood

The most over-used word in natural childbirth discourse is “empowerment.” But an ...

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World Breastfeeding Week challenge for lactivists

Prepare yourself! Next week is World Breastfeeding Week. Prepare yourself for an onslaught of articles, and podcasts and tweets rhapsodizing about the benefits of breastfeeding as well as an onslaught of images of breastfeeding stunts — breastfeeding in uniform, in evening gowns or naked outdoors — ironically designed to “normalize” breastfeeding.┬áPrepare yourself for a disingenuous […]

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Let’s normalize vaccination because vaccines are love

Lactivists are constantly nattering on about “normalizing” breastfeeding. They are absolutely convinced that baring their breasts on Facebook and Twitter will encourage more women to breastfeed their babies. In their view, breastfeeding fell out of favor due to a concerted assault by formula companies on women’s comfort with breastfeeding. In other words, it was social […]

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No one should be exulting about lowering late preterm births until we figure out who died as a result

Imagine that I published a paper crowing that the US had reduced the use of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is expensive, arduous and has a plethora of terrible complications up to and including death. We would save lots of money and prevent lots of serious complications. A victory, right? Wrong! You don’t have to a rocket scientist […]

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How we know that cigarettes cause lung cancer and vaccines DON’T cause autism

Even those who can’t tell the difference between a t-test and a chi-square are familiar with a basic principle of epidemiology: correlation does not equal causation. Just because Event A happened before Disease B, it does not mean that A caused B. For example, in last 100 years deaths from infectious diseases has declined precipitously. […]

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Why do people believe in vaccine conspiracies but not antibiotic conspiracies?

They utterly changed the nature of infectious disease. Communicable diseases that had previously wiped out wide swathes of the population could be controlled with simple injections. Deaths dropped dramatically. They became ubiquitous and virtually mandatory. The companies that manufactured them became extraordinarily wealthy and developed into large multinational conglomerates. But there were side effects. Some […]

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Natural childbirth and victimhood

The most over-used word in natural childbirth discourse is “empowerment.” But an equally important concept, one that is rarely spoken aloud but is central to natural childbirth advocacy, is victimization. To a greater or less extent, natural childbirth advocates take it for granted that they are victims … of men, of doctors (almost always portrayed […]

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I only had a minor childbirth injury so why am I incontinent?

Yesterday I wrote about childbirth injuries. They’re common, lead to life long disability and distress and are a subject of deep embarrassment for many women. I discussed the two most serious forms of childbirth injury: obstetric fistula, a hole between the vagina and the bladder or rectum or both; and severe vaginal tears that can […]

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The truth about childbirth injuries

Cosmopolitan Magazine recently published an amazing piece on childbirth injuries, Millions of Women Are Injured During Childbirth. Why aren’t doctors diagnosing them? Why do childbirth injuries occur? The single greatest cause is a mismatch between the size of the baby and the size of the passage it must negotiate during birth. There are two different […]

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Do you know what lactivism and creationism have in common?

I’ve been quoted extensively in the mainstream media about breastfeeding. In nearly every case I mention that I breastfed four children relatively easily and I (and they) enjoyed it. Nonetheless I caution that the benefits of breastfeeding have been grossly exaggerated and that what passes for breastfeeding “science” is generally based on data that is […]

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Natural childbirth, breastfeeding and survivorship bias

“We’re still here!” It’s a favorite declaration of those attempting to justify natural parenting practices: Childbirth without interventions must be optimal because we’re still here. Homebirth must be safe because we’re still here. Exclusive breastfeeding must be best because we’re still here. But “we’re still here” doesn’t merely fail to justify natural parenting practices, it […]

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