Why your sanctimony is my business

Dirty Kid Series - The Brat

The Alpha Parent is at it again. In her never ending quest to boost her own fragile self esteem, she commented on the HuffPo piece Food For Thought: How I Feed My Baby Is None of Your Business.

The author, Darlene Cunha, is spot on in her observations:

One of the most startling discoveries I made upon becoming a mom is that parenting is a competitive sport in which there are no winners. Something as simple and necessary as feeding your child is cause for judgement and snobbery from parents who do it differently…

There are many reasons that people might formula feed; necessary medication that doesn’t mix with breastfeeding being one of the biggest. To me, though, it doesn’t matter if one woman is feeding her infant formula because she couldn’t produce enough breast milk, and another is doing it because she’s on medication that could be harmful to the baby, and a third is doing it because she doesn’t like the feel of the baby at her breast. It’s simply not my business.

Allison Dixley, “The Alpha Parent,” the self proclaimed avatar of  “the snobby side of parenting” commented because she recognized that she was the prime target of the piece. Her comment, now removed, directed readers to her notorious post Why the way you feed your baby is my business:

“My baby, my choice”.
“It’s got nothing to do with you how I feed my baby”.
“Live and let live”.

These are classic lines you’ll hear from some defensive formula feeding mothers whenever a breastfeeding advocate points out the flaws of formula. The message from those who give formula to their babies is clear: “It’s none of your business”. Yet I argue that the way a mother chooses to feed her baby IS my business…

Dixley attempts to justify her obnoxiousness with the usual concatenation of stupid reasons (“breastfeeding prevents autism,” “breastfeeding prevents appendicitis”) and actually tries t0 justify biological essentialism (reducing women to breasts, vagina and uterus) as liberation. In addition, Dixley creates a few moronic “reasons” of her own: formula is apparently responsible for the “distorted” view that breasts are sexual objects (Earth to Dixley: a body part can have more than one function), the decrease in the IQ of the population (average IQ increased as breastfeeding decreased), and the claim that formula feeding causes child abuse and crime (clearly she hasn’t heard that correlation is not causation).

Like most quacks, she suffers from projectile verbosity. It seems that the more idiotic your claims are, the more words you must vomit upon the rest of us to explain them.

Dixley is a classic sanctimommy. Sanctimommies suffer from overwhelmingly ostentatious “sadness”. They are so “sad” for you that you don’t do everything their way. They are so “sad” for your children that you are not parenting the way they prescribe. They are just so “sad” that your children are going to end up abused, autistic, criminals with low IQs, all because you didn’t breastfeed like Dixley does.

I’d like to offer a few words of advice to Allison:

The way other women feed their babies is NOT your business. This may come as a tremendous shock, but the rest of us exist for reasons other than to boost your pitifully fragile self-esteem by mirroring your own choices back to you.

I don’t care that you breastfeed your child(ren); it’s not my business, but your sanctimony certainly is my business. I’m a healthcare provider and as such, I feel responsible for both the physical AND mental health of others. Your goal is to make other women feel bad. I recognize that is because you feel bad about yourself, and like most people with poor self-esteem, tearing others down makes you feel better.

It is important for the women you target (emotionally vulnerable new mothers) to understand that you are nothing more than a classic “Mean Girl.” According to Urban Dictionary, mean girls are:

…[g]irls who are bullies and use “girl agression” (nasty comments, trickery, deceit, … etc.) to manipulate other girls.

Everything about you from your moniker (as subtle as a sledgehammer), to your fabricated claims, to your nauseating sanctimony is about one thing, and one thing only: beating down other women so you feel better about yourself in comparison.

How women feed their babies is nobody’s business but their own. How some women use sanctimony to belittle vulnerable women is everybody’s business, and since it is my business, I feel free to say:

Get a life, get into therapy, and stop trying to feel better about yourself by making other women feel bad about themselves.

169 Responses to “Why your sanctimony is my business”

  1. Juniper_Sprinkles
    July 16, 2015 at 1:38 am #

    Bravo! I love this posting. Nothing worse than an egotistical “sanctimommy” who spends all her time tearing down women instead of trying to find ways to support them. Allison must have some seriously deep seated issues to be the way she is.

  2. Dr. Amy's Baking Company
    August 26, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    “I recognize that is because you feel bad about yourself, and like most people with poor self-esteem, tearing others down makes you feel better.” Wow, you really just wrote that without a shred of intentional irony? Nice blindspot you have there!

  3. parentwin
    July 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

    I was pretty sad when the moderators chose to take down Alpha Parent’s comment because I had a point-for-point response for her five ridiculous reasons feeding babies was her business. My favorite was the feminism one. She says something like, formula feeders contribute to the oppression of women. My response was: people who shame women for their choices contribute to the oppression of women. They were all like that. It was a fun eight minutes until the mods caught it.

    Thank you for citing the piece.

    Darlena Cunha

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      July 25, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

      “people who shame women for their choices contribute to the oppression of women”

      It amazes me that some people think they have a right to tell other people how to use their breasts.

  4. Esther
    July 22, 2013 at 1:13 am #

    Somewhat off topic – but how important is the USLCA (US Lactation Consultant Assocation) to IBCLC’s? Because their latest journal just went off the deep end WRT infant sleep/CIO: http://www.clinicallactation.org/Volume/4/Issue/2 .

    Why this should be a topic for a journal for and about LC’s is beyond me, but their choice of writers is even more disturbing.

    • rh1985
      July 22, 2013 at 2:37 am #

      Wow. I think it really depends on the age of the child. I wouldn’t let a newborn CIO but my niece cried at bedtime well past 2 (she’s 3 and might still do it, not sure). No CIO would have been a disaster. I love kids so I am not saying this to be nasty, but at some point it becomes manipulation by the child – they are trying to get out of bedtime.

  5. KarenJJ
    July 21, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

    Midwife professional body seeks a government intervention to ban midwives giving care in some circumstances.

    Oh – hang on – did I say Midwives? I meant Doctors..


    • Sue
      July 22, 2013 at 7:51 am #

      Yep – saw that too. And coincidentally, I also wondered why we don’t see more calls for better safety and policy from midwifery organisations!

      Waiting to see this headline: ”Midwifery professional organisation condemns poor safety record of home birth, advises stricter regulation.”

  6. guestK
    July 21, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    So ultimately many personal health care decisions affect society. But where do we draw the line about what is “my business”? Is it my business whenever
    someone chooses to smoke? OK how about this – most health care dollars are spent on end of life care. So is it my business when you choose to remove life support from your loved one?
    Suddenly it got a bit distasteful for it to be anyone’s business but the family huh?

  7. Allie P
    July 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    i thought she believed in breastfeeding because garbage from formula containers are filling up landfills (no mention of used breastmilk bags).

    • wookie130
      July 21, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

      Or pump parts, which are technically only supposed to be used by the original user of the pump. Oh, and nipple cream tubes. I bet they’re not a commonly recycled item. LOL!

  8. GiddyUpGo123
    July 21, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    So it *is* her business whether or not you breastfeed, but I’ll bet it’s nobody’s business whether or not she and/or her readers vaccinate.

    • anh
      July 21, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

      YES!! I was just thinking this today. this drives me nuts. research shows that breast feeding probably does prevent some GI or ear infections. but vaccines are shown to actually reduce MANY different diseases. and when people don’t vaccinate their kids deadly diseases come back. but heaven forbid you try and make vaccines compulsory and these idiots start screaming “my child my choice”. do they not see the hypocrisy?

      • Ceridwen
        July 22, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

        Not to mention how much stronger the evidence for vaccine benefits is compared to the evidence for breastfeeding benefits. Or how much larger the actual benefits of the vaccines are compared to the benefit of breastfeeding vs. formula.

  9. Lisa from NY
    July 21, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    Vegan diets and breastfeeding are a bad combination.


    • Denise D.
      July 25, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

      A vegan friend has a toddler who is below the tenth percentile for growth. I don’t know if the child is also vegan, but I don’t feel right saying anything about it.

  10. sleuther
    July 21, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    Amen Dr. Amy!! What a tool this woman is. I haven’t read her blog and I don’t plan to!

  11. MichelleJo
    July 20, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    “There are many reasons that people might formula feed; ”
    I wouldn’t put the author Darlene ‘spot on’; she’s assuming that breast feeding is the default.

    • guest
      July 21, 2013 at 10:23 am #

      shouldn’t it be the default, tho? It IS better. Maybe not a huge amount better, but somewhat better. The point is that it’s ok to choose otherwise for a whole host of reasons without feeling badly about it.

      • MichelleJo
        July 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

        I see your point, but it is only better if everything else about it goes as it should. Given the multiple problems people have, like latching issues, supply, baby intolerant to mothers diet, exhaustion etc, plus the massive dropout rate that we see, I would thing that the two options should be weighed up as equal in the first place.

      • suchende
        July 21, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

        Huh. Should there be a “default”? Does there have to be?

        • LibrarianSarah
          July 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

          Took the words right out of my fingertips suchende

        • guest
          July 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

          if something is better, and breastfeeding is, then yes, it probably should be the starting place, or the “default” as you would. But that is not the same as saying that people should feeling bad for needing to, or choosing, to do otherwise. and to deliberately MAKE others feel bad, well, that’s just unconscionable. this is all hard enough as it is.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 21, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

            If “by default” means “the choice to make when all else is equal,” which is probably not a bad way to think about it, then yes, breastfeeding should be the default.

          • fiftyfifty1
            July 21, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

            No, the choice of infant feeding method is a case that is exceptionally *badly* suited to “when all else is equal” thinking because it has so many competing variables that will differ widely (to the point of being completely reversed) based on each woman and baby:
            -For some women breast is less expensive, for some formula is less expensive.
            -For some women breast is more convenient, for others formula is more convenient.
            -In some cultures breast feeding is more appropriate, in others it is bottle feeding.
            -Some babies cannot tolerate breastmilk due to metabolic problems. Other babies have cow or soy protein allergies and cannot tolerate most formulas.
            -Some women carry viruses that can be passed in breastmilk. Other women live where water is dirty so risk passing on infections through formula.
            -Some women make lots of milk, others make little.
            -Some women live close to a reliable source of formula, others live far.
            -Some babies prefer to feed from a breast, others seem happiest feeding from a bottle.
            -Some women have always dreamed of breastfeeding their babies. For other women, the idea of breastfeeding is a nightmare.
            I could go on and on.
            So what meaning can “all else being equal” have in a case like this?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

            If you have a reason to choose one over the other, then it is not equal.

            No one ever said that “all else being equal” is likely, common, or even friggin possible, so your comment is one big strawman.

          • fiftyfifty1
            July 21, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

            Nope, not a strawman. My point is not just that it is extremely unlikely for “all else to be equal”. It’s also that for many of these factors there is no way to even conceive of them or make them equal.
            Here are some things that could conceivably be equal comparing breast feeding to formula feeding: Cost, Convenience, Cultural Acceptability (or lack thereof).
            But here’s an example of something that can’t: a metabolic intolerance. How does the statement “Breast is best all else being equal” apply to somebody who has a kid who is poisoned by lactose? Equal to what exactly? A metabolic intolerance is or it isn’t. Breastfeeding cannot work. It’s not even on the table.
            You said that using the concept of a default in infant feeding is “probably not a bad way to think about it” and that that default should be breast. My argument is that this is not a useful way of thinking about infant feeding. It serves no one. It’s not a helpful model in either the real world or from a theoretical standpoint. It just doesn’t work as a model.

          • Wren
            July 24, 2013 at 4:26 am #

            Obviously in those cases all else isn’t equal. I don’t see a problem with the statement though.

            As a sahm whose breasts produced well, whose baby latched well and who had no medical reasons on either side not to breast feed and with access to formula, bottles and clean water I’d say things were pretty much equal for me. Culturally, I felt roughly equal support for breast or formula feeding. Bofa’s statement applies largely to people like me. If there is a compelling reason to choose one way or the other, then all else clearly isn’t equal.

          • fiftyfifty1
            July 24, 2013 at 9:27 am #

            So if Bofa’s statement applies only to a subset of women, not even the majority of women, then why should we decide that breastfeeding should be the default? Why not set the default as the method that works best for most families? Or why not set as the default something that might have the best features of both methods i.e.combo feeding? Or (crazy thought I know) why don’t we trust grown women to analyze their individual situations themselves and choose what is best for their families and thus have “Mom’s Preference” be the default?

            Or since there are so many variables and opposing forces, why set a default at all? Who exactly does it serve to have infant feeding described by a model that says “This is what you should choose unless you have an excuse”.?

          • fiftyfifty1
            July 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

            You seem to think we should have a default as opposed to not having one. Why is that?
            You think the default should be breastfeeding. Why is that?

          • suchende
            July 21, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

            Better on which metrics? My house isn’t a laboratory. I would bet for MANY (maybe even most?) women, formula is “better” due to other demands on their time and physical person like work, other children, eldercare, etc, etc. So no, I don’t agree that breast should be the “default.”

          • wookie130
            July 21, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

            Exactly! Breastfeeding is ONLY better, when it is better for the baby, and mother…and unlike the fantasy that many extreme lactivists weave on the world wide web, there are CLEARLY instances when breastfeeding is not better. A woman taking certain medications that effect her milk, for example. Or the mother who feels nothing for her baby, because she’s so die-hard on getting the child to latch when he won’t, and she feels angry and depressed, and unable to bond with her child because of it. Women with supply issues…NOT better for the baby, particularly when the child fails to thrive. Formula is clearly better for a lot of people…and the reasons why are STILL none of The Alpha Parent’s business!

          • rh1985
            July 21, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

            Exactly. For breastmilk to be better, I think it has to be the best option for both the mother and the baby. The mother matters too and having a healthy, happy mom is more important for the baby in the long run. In my case, breastmilk wouldn’t be better for either me or the baby I am expecting due to prescription medications. Either I feel really sick without the medications, or the baby gets exposed to a lot of the medications in breastmilk – not good for either of us!

          • fiftyfifty1
            July 21, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

            “if something is better, and breastfeeding is”
            Why do you say that breastfeeding is better? Is it because you have heard that the nutrition it provides is generally better? If that is your reason, I am curious as to why you have chosen that factor, rather than some other factor, as the factor that should be considered most important in rewarding breast with the label of “better” and making it the default.
            As an example: Breastfeeding mastitis only occurs in breastfeeding women. It is not uncommon. It occasionally leads to the need for surgery and even rarely leads to sepsis and maternal death. So formula feeding is clearly superior here. So why shouldn’t we say formula feeding is better and have it as the default?

        • fiftyfifty1
          July 21, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

          I agree with you. The concept of a “default choice” is a human invention. It’s a decision making tool. We have a choice about whether we want to use this tool or not. Is the idea of a default helpful or useful in the breast vs. formula decision? No. It’s actually counterproductive. There are better tools to use in this situation.

    • Rebecca
      July 22, 2013 at 12:13 am #

      I would agree that breastfeeding is the default, because we are mammals. Being the default doesn’t make it superior – particularly not at the individual level – it’s simply the one option that is available to our species when no viable alternative exists.

    • Mariana Baca
      July 22, 2013 at 5:28 am #

      Default just means fallback choice if no choice is made. The breasts are there, if they work correctly, mom can feed baby. Once one makes a choice (to breastfeed or formula feed), one is no longer falling back on the default. Default carries no value added.

  12. notahomebirthlactivist
    July 20, 2013 at 7:34 am #


  13. Antigonos CNM
    July 20, 2013 at 5:08 am #

    Sometimes I think twits like “Alpha Parent” or “Feminist Breeder” are just deliberately seeing how provocative they can be, and then having a good laugh when they read outraged comments. Other times, I think they are just stupid. Either way, I have better things to do with my life than pay them any attention [which, of course, is all they want. Negative attention after all is still attention]

    • XLhz
      July 20, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

      I have mixed feelings about ignoring certain types of people.

      Some deranged pundits and self-described ‘experts’ interpret a lack of public opposition as being the equivalent of their receiving broad public support and professional agreement with their assertions and chronic indulgence in truthiness.

      I like to disabuse them of that notion. I feel I owe it to them as a public service.

      Like my grandmother used to say: “It really doesn’t take *all* kinds to make a world.” 😉
      (‘Truthiness’ is such a wonderful term for what these people engage in btw. Thank you Steve Colbert for coining that word!) :-))

      • Esther
        July 21, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

        I’d like to think that were true, but the Alpha Parent has an awful lot of likes on her Facebook page (last I checked about 28K). Apparently more peeps than you’d think get off on sanctimony…

        • KarenJJ
          July 21, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

          Really? That’s crazy! What on earth is the appeal of anyone calling themselves ‘alpha’ anyway? That sort of person would have me running a mile.

          • Jennifer2
            July 22, 2013 at 9:01 am #

            It’s the same appeal the “popular girls” had in school. They weren’t popular because they were the nicest girls. They were popular because they were mean girls and if you didn’t want to be the target of their meanness, you needed to be a sycophantic hanger-on.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            July 22, 2013 at 9:09 am #

            Most NCB bloggers are only interested in sycophants. They simply cannot tolerate anyone who disagrees. A blog like TAP or like TFB is all about boosting the self-esteem of the author or else she will exclude you.

        • XLhz
          July 22, 2013 at 11:28 am #

          Oh well…I suppose we can still take comfort that 28K ‘likers’ in a country with an estimated female population of 157 million doesn’t even come close to significance. That’s something like a little less than 2 out of every 10,000 women by my reckoning, assuming that all the likers are actually female. I’m sure there are more than a few SNAG (Sensitive New-Age Guy) husband/boyfriend likers in that number

    • Amanda Stamps
      July 31, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

      “Feminist Breeder” LMAO!

  14. rh1985
    July 19, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    So, so true!!!

  15. Kelly
    July 19, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

    “Like most quacks, she suffers from projectile verbosity.” Well if that isn’t the kettle calling the pot black, I don’t know what is!

  16. MAngulo
    July 19, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    Dr. Amy, you’re awesome!

  17. KarenJJ
    July 19, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    A shame she deleted her comment. It was a perfect example of what the author was talking about.

    I first The Alpha Parent was a Poe. The name is just too funny and irrelevant. Babies aren’t going to care if you’re alpha or not, just that they are comfortable and fed and cuddled.

    • Lizzie Dee
      July 20, 2013 at 6:46 am #

      I do sometimes wonder about the relationship these women have with their own mothers. Clearly, TFB’s awesomeness is not to be credited to her mother. Wonder what it is like to HAVE an alpha mother? Do you have to give them credit for everything you achieve in life?

      The four year old critiquing birth videos would terrify me.

  18. S
    July 19, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    This woman gives people with low self esteem a bad name. Not all of us enjoy shitting on others.

    Own your low self esteem!!

    • KarenJJ
      July 19, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

      I honestly don’t understand why lactivists aren’t more embarrassed by their over the top counterparts. Why protect the bullies in their ranks instead of calling them out? Like midwifery, you end up suspecting they all believe the nutters

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        July 20, 2013 at 7:25 am #

        I honestly don’t understand why lactivists aren’t more embarrassed by
        their over the top counterparts. Why protect the bullies in their ranks
        instead of calling them out? Like midwifery, you end up suspecting they
        all believe the nutters

        Yes. Why should they be embarrassed? They agree with them.

  19. Mom2Many
    July 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    As a foster mom who is passionate about what I do, I cannot tell you how much this breastmilk vs formula riles me up. I have taken in children who are bruised and battered, who are painfully thin from neglect and terrified of loud sounds…yet I am accosted in the grocery store because I have formula in my shopping cart? Really? THAT is something that we will attack a perfect stranger for? At the doctor’s office once, I was told that ‘I think it is disgusting that you are not breastfeeding your baby’, and although there was much I could have said in my defence, I simply left it at a quiet, ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’. I simply was not going to justify to someone that ignorant, that I was holding my foster daughter. If I had depression and was on drugs for that, I shouldn’t have to spill my medical history to defend myself either. People, get worked up over REAL abuse, not this minor and inconsequential issue. If formula feeding is so horrible in your world that you need to spout off about it and shame others who have made that choice for WHATEVER reason….then you need to get out more as there are numerous more pressing needs out there that need volunteers and advocates. (though if you are that judgemental, I don’t think the fostering world is for you…maybe go to an animal shelter and volunteer in the poop’n’scoop program for a while)

    • Guesteleh
      July 19, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

      Bless you for fostering children. I had a friend whose parents fostered 6 kids after having 5 of their own and it’s such difficult work, but so badly needed. One little girl they fostered died of AIDS and they fostered three brothers who’d been sexually abused and had to be taught not to act out sexually with other children. As you said, real problems. These sanctimommy assholes are so privileged and sheltered it’s enough to make you want to Marie Antoinette them.

    • prolifefeminist
      July 19, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

      People like you are the quiet heroes among us. Thank you for doing what you do to love these little kids who have been through things no child ever should.

      “then you need to get out more as there are numerous more pressing needs out there that need volunteers and advocates.” I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes it seems like 95% of the privileged world sits back in judgement and comments on the actions of those around them who aren’t just like them. So much good could be done if those judgmental people would just zip their lips, roll up their sleeves, and start getting involved to help alleviate the very REAL problems people face in their lives.

    • guest
      July 21, 2013 at 10:28 am #

      Wow – people have been so direct and rude? How horrible! I’ve never heard of such a thing. The silent judgment, yeah, but to be directly admonished? i wish you had put them into place to save the next poor FF victim they come upon.

      And THANK YOU for fostering. You are making an incredible difference in that child’s life.

  20. amazonmom
    July 19, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    When the sanctimommies give me their criticisms about the circumstances of my daughter’s birth I like to ask them a few things. I actually ask them these questions. I only do this if they give me crap persistently about c section and breastfeeding.

    Would it have been better to sacrifice my daughter’s life to have a vaginal birth? The ultrasound and exam immediately before my C section revealed double nuchal arms, a hyperextended head, cord presentation and a frank breech at +1 station wedged in so tight she couldn’t be moved. She wasn’t making it out of a vaginal birth intact.

    Would they have bought my tombstone that said “At least she went down breastfeeding?”. It was live and feed formula or die breastfeeding. My daughter had an absorption issue that led to me having to breastfeed every hour or more often. I hadn’t slept more than 1 hour a day in 8 weeks. I was an unrecognizable shell of myself who had lost 50 pounds in the last 6 weeks. I was ready to just end it all. The only advice I got from the woo pitchers was to breastfeed more and parenting is a sacrifice I should be willing to make. When I just let go of breastfeeding I was able to get the help I needed. My daughter’s health problems went away and I felt like living again. I was able to pursue treatment for my very serious PPD.

    Usually at that point they are embarrassed and go away. I’m glad I embarrassed them. The whole NCB movement has gotten so far out of control that I want nothing to do with it anymore. It’s useless at best and life threatening at worst.

    • Maire
      July 20, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

      I’m sorry you had this experience. IMO L & S’s live in a very small bubble. To be able to acknowledge the real world, with all of its different nuances is something they just can’t or won’t accept. They believe themselves to be the very best representation of what’s “Good” in the world, except their world is very small & it falls to the rest of us “Realists” to pick up the slack.

  21. auntbea
    July 19, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    Isn’t sanctimony always someone else’s business, in the sense that you can’t be sanctimonious without attempting to get someone to acknowledge your view?

  22. Renee Martin
    July 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    As long as the kid is fed and growing, I seriously cannot see how one cares how others feed their babies and kids, short of not approving of putting Mountain Dew in a baby’s bottle.
    FF vs BF, WHO CARES?
    If you spend your time ranting about how moms feed their baby- Get a life.

    • Zornorph
      July 19, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

      If Dolly Parton were to have children, her babies would drink mountain dew.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        July 19, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

        Sorry, no. Flatt & Scruggs’s babies were the ones who drank mountain dew

        They call it that mountain dew
        And them that refuse it are few
        I’ll hush up my mug if you fill up my jug
        With that good old mountain dew

        And Funyuns. The breakfast of champions.

  23. Tim
    July 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    It’s almost nice to have a kid who had to bottle feed for medical reasons sometimes, if only because when people get snarky or don’t mind their own business, you get to make them feel horrible about themselves for it and silently hope that the next time they are thinking of saying something to a complete stranger, that they’ll shut their mouths instead.

    • suchende
      July 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

      If it’s a stranger, just lie: “she’s adopted.” The end.

      • Tim
        July 19, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

        No – because telling them the truth, like I said, will hopefully make them think twice next time they want to approach a stranger to press about their feeding choice, or the size of their child.

        • GuestK
          July 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

          Sadly a lot of them lack even this awareness. I’ve been pressed about having a c-section (seriously why is this anyone’s business) to which I responded that I pushed for 4 hours without medication before my transfer, so my only regret is not getting the c-section sooner. I hoped they would feel a little embarrassed. Their response? “Did your midwife have you try squatting?”

          • Tim
            July 19, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

            I guess some people are determined to be stupid regardless of common sense or tact. True enough.

          • Sue
            July 20, 2013 at 7:47 am #

            Yep – if they had insight, they wouldn’t have made the judgy comments in the first place.

          • prolifefeminist
            July 19, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

            “Did your midwife have you try squatting?”


            These are probably the same types who, when they hear that someone has fertility issues, asks, “have you tried doing it doggy style?”

            Some people really are just…morons.

          • Antigonos CNM
            July 20, 2013 at 5:13 am #

            I think I would rather have said “I’m too posh to push” and watched them get apoplexy.

          • Dr Kitty
            July 21, 2013 at 6:02 am #

            I have no problem explaining that I chose a prelabour CS, and it was GREAT.
            Sure, there were enough “soft” medical and non medical indications that all taken together meant a TOL was a bad plan for us.

            However, I’m perfectly happy telling people that I’ve seen enough people giving birth vaginally, and I didn’t think I was missing much.

            THEN their heads explode.

        • Antigonos CNM
          July 20, 2013 at 5:12 am #

          Alas, it almost never does. The true zealot is never really embarrassed at the social faux pas his/her zealotry engenders.

      • Bombshellrisa
        July 19, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

        Those types will just then suggest that you should have asked people to donate breastmilk. It happens so much in this area, it’s a little scary.

        • Tim
          July 19, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

          That too. Impressing upon them that there are people out there with seriously ill children who look “normal” , will hopefully make them rethink their eagerness to berate a total stranger – even if it’s for the wrong reason, if they stop, they stop.

        • amazonmom
          July 19, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

          Or take medications to induce lactation. Seriously!

          • guest
            July 20, 2013 at 11:46 am #

            The truth is that the medication/induced lactation route rarely gives the adoptive mom much of anything at all, especially in the first few months.The truth is the medication part of it is hugely unnatural and can be passed on in the milk. The truth is that even mom’s who try this route “successfully” will still probably be feeding a mostly formula combination until the child is on solids and its milk requirements plummet. The truth is most people who suggest induced lactation won’t have any idea about these things.

        • GiddyUpGo123
          July 19, 2013 at 11:59 pm #

          I have also heard people say you can induce lactation with a breast pump even if you didn’t give birth.

          • Spamamander
            July 20, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

            That is the line my best friend got when she was feeding her son. She adopted her sister’s child and was feeding him in a park when she was “confronted” about feeding him a bottle. “But you could have forced lactation by pumping!” Uggh.

          • July 20, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

            Dafuq? That sounds … very painful, actually, and like a huge hassle a woman who is adopting a newborn just doesn’t need.

          • Antigonos CNM
            July 21, 2013 at 5:12 am #

            OT: how many Israelis do we have on the forum, anyway?

          • MichelleJo
            July 21, 2013 at 9:03 am #

            Index finger up.

          • July 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

            I have no idea. I’m an American, though.

          • Antigonos CNM
            July 21, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

            Since “dafuq” is “screwed” in Israeli [Hebrew] slang, I thought you might be. Just curious.

          • July 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

            Huh. I picked it up somewhere- it sounds a lot like “… the fuck?” in English, so I figured it was Internet slang for just that. Now I know it’s Israeli slang instead for pretty much the same thing!

          • Anka
            July 21, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

            I’m not Israeli, but third-generation Israeli-American (some of my relatives even live on Antigonus Street). I didn’t know that about “dafuq,” though; I learned very sanitized 1950’s Hebrew from my mother (while growing up in the 1980’s) as my first language. I enjoy your posts a lot–I just gave birth and it’s really neat to read about the process over there.

          • GiddyUpGo123
            July 20, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

            I just find that whole proposition ridiculous. At my very best I never got more than three or four ounces out of a pump. Most of the time it was one or two. And that was when I had an actual, nursing baby that I gave birth to. I can’t imagine going through all that misery for a couple of teaspoons full. And I really can’t imagine that such a small amount would really do much good at all, especially considering how small the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding actually are.

        • amazonmom
          July 20, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

          I love it when I hear lactation consultants suggesting to moms that they get their friends or strangers on the internet to give them EBM and just not tell the pediatrician! Why would you be willing to feed your child bodily fluids from a stranger that might transmit disease or have dangerous medication in it? If its so safe why would you hide this from the doctor? Formula is not gasoline or nuclear waste. You don’t need to go finding EBM from strangers on the internet! (Donor milk from milk banks is different. It’s safe but very expensive.)

    • Karen in SC
      July 19, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

      I get what you’re saying but what the heck is wrong with saying “I didn’t want to breastfeed.”

      Period. The end.

      Women who don’t want to breastfeed should speak up – though I know it must be hard.

      • Tim
        July 19, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

        There is -nothing- wrong with that, for sure. It just won’t make total prats feel bad or back off is all.

      • rh1985
        July 19, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

        Yeah, if someone is really nasty to me about my decision to exclusively formula feed the baby I am expecting, I might just get irritated enough to tell them why to make them feel bad and guilty and maybe they will learn and not be nosy to the next FF mom they encounter. My primary reason is medical, I might have tried combo feeding otherwise. I had no interest at all in EBF.

        Or maybe those types just don’t learn, but I do have the same silent hope as you.

      • Clarissa Darling
        July 20, 2013 at 12:27 am #

        Personally, I don’t feel that I owe the sanctimommies even that
        much of an explanation. I’ve pre-emptively thought up a list of comebacks I can fire at them, none of which provide an explanation for my actions and all of which are very rude.
        I realize I should probably take the high road and not stoop to their level but, at the risk of sounding like a 5 year old—they started it!

      • Antigonos CNM
        July 21, 2013 at 5:11 am #

        It can be harder than you think. When my granddaughter was born, I watched as various “experts” gave their very authoritative advice [much of it conflicting, btw] to my daughter almost immediately she arrived on the postpartum ward. They did not know [at that time] that I was a midwife [and in fact, had worked at that hospital 30 years ago]. My daughter later told me that she “didn’t know how she would have coped” if I hadn’t been there, and the two other women in the room, both multips, also thanked me later for giving them some practical advice.

        It’s fine to read all the books while you’re pregnant, and think you’ve got the knowledge you need, and it’s quite another thing to be confronted, for the first time, with The Real Thing [who hasn’t read the books] screaming at you.

        • auntbea
          July 21, 2013 at 9:44 am #

          Our 3-day PP at the pediatrician comes with a LC consult. When I had trouble with my latch, she scolded me for not attending the prenatal breastfeeding classes. I allowed as how it was unclear to me how much watching a video of someone else breastfeeding a baby that was not mine was going to help me.

          • Anka
            July 22, 2013 at 12:50 am #

            Ugh, that makes me so angry! While in the postpartum ward I heard, “well, did you take prenatal classes?” (yes, three months ago.) “Was there a breastfeeding video?”…”Well WHY didn’t you pay attention!?” And then I went all sleep-deprived and in tons of pain and dragging that metal coat-hanger-type thing with an IV I didn’t even need hanging off it behind me while wearing my still-bloodstained hospital gown like a zombie to join four other exhausted mothers in an hour-and-a-half-long “breastfeeding class” with an actually very competent (I saw her later individually) lactation consultant. It would have made much more sense if she’d spent 15 or 20 minutes with each of us individually in our rooms while we practiced latching on with our babies, but instead she just fondled this plush breast model and passed around the usual drawing of an un-baby-like baby latching on. I don’t know why these people seem to think that secondhand demonstrations should be all we need. There’s nothing like actually doing it ourselves.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 23, 2013 at 8:46 am #

            It would have made much more sense if she’d spent 15 or 20 minutes with
            each of us individually in our rooms while we practiced latching on
            with our babies,

            That’s absolutely what they did at our hospital, regardless of whether you went to baby class or not. The LC visited every one to check on their feeding, and if they were breastfeeding, she would check to see how it was working. If you were breastfeeding, you couldn’t get discharged until you got the nurse seal of approval.

        • fiftyfifty1
          July 21, 2013 at 11:41 am #

          It makes me nuts how lactavists downplay baby factors and instead just blame the mom. My son had an abnormal suck, but the first 2 lactation consultants told me that he did not because they each had put their finger in his mouth and when he sucked on it it seemed normal to them and also his tongue appeared normal. I showed them my nipple after breastfeeding which was creased and flattened and they told me that that was MY fault because I must not be waiting for him to open his mouth wide enough. I had them watch me latch him on and they did have to admit that he seemed to be opening his mouth very wide actually. So then the first one decided that therefore the problem must have been that the epidural damaged him neurologically causing him to have a “shallow latch despite latching normally” (whatever that means) and that he needed cranio-sacral therapy from her friend. The second thought that I must be holding him in an “unnatural fashion” that transmitted insecurity to him and made him latch wrong.
          Finally another lactation consultant realized that he had a discoordinated suck and swallow and even though he appeared to latch normally, what he was doing with the nipple inside his mouth was NOT normal and that his actions were crushing and bruising the nipple and shearing away the skin.
          When I put my second child to the breast for the first time it was an ah-ha moment. So THAT’S what a normal suck feels like!

          • AmyP
            July 21, 2013 at 11:55 am #

            I had something somewhat similar–two poor suckers, followed by a truly talented breastfeeder. There is really no comparison and I had nothing to do with it.

            I don’t know if the two poor suckers could have been retrained, but what they were doing was never going to work.

          • Anka
            July 22, 2013 at 12:31 am #

            It is so true about the lactivists and the shaming. I gave birth three weeks ago, and it was an induction with an epidural and it was great overall. My baby came out very alert and interested in feeding. I also really wanted to try breastfeeding, and my hospital is aspiring to official “baby-friendly” status. I was extremely out of it and couldn’t really make it work, and my baby agreeably went to sleep. The L&D nurse said it was fine, and he didn’t need to eat right away and we could try tomorrow morning (it was late at night). The postpartum ward nurse, who seemed to be annoyed that I was sort of incoherent from fatigue and the whole 20-hour birth thing, informed me in a tone of calm disgust that I could already have fed him TWICE and practiced my latch. The other nurses I saw for the next day were a bit nicer, but they were equally (un)helpful (one even taught me to nurse with just the nipple so that it was incredibly painful for the next week until I learned that was wrong). All of them insisted that it was absolutely normal for the baby to cry constantly in a hungry and desperate way. My baby lost 11% of his birth weight and got slightly dehydrated, and the pediatrician recommended formula, which we jumped on. That day, my milk came in with a vengeance, and my baby started nursing for longer and longer, until he’d be doing it for twelve hours at a time (with minimal bathroom and food breaks for me) and crying and screaming when I put him down. Everything I’d read said you should let them nurse for as long as they want, but I was losing my mind. I called La Leche League and the leader I talked to said, “Well, did you have an EPIDURAL? Did you have an INDUCTION? Those will mess up your baby and your milk supply, so THAT is the root of all your problems.” Then, in the next breath, she informed me that I didn’t have any problems, even though my INTERVENTIONS caused them all, and that my situation is normal and some babies just need more milk for a while, and that it was only a problem if I wanted to make it a problem, and that motherhood requires sacrifice and don’t I WANT to nurse? She also said that I should be co-sleeping OR ELSE. Because that is what some vague “traditional cultures” that she couldn’t name specifically all do. (We don’t co-sleep and don’t want to.)

            Fortunately, after a terrible week of trying to accommodate these nursing marathons and never sleeping because my baby wasn’t sleeping (I was about to kill the next person who chirped, “sleep when the baby sleeps!” or “have you contacted LLLI? They’re a valuable resource!”), I saw two lactation consultants/public health nurses who WEREN’T so full of it; the first one said that my baby was using me as a pacifier and had to be broken of the habit, and the second one said that my baby has a weak latch and has to be encouraged to eat more food less often rather than constant snacking. Both recommended the same thing (nursing for 15 minutes on each side, drinking pumped breast milk, topping up with formula as needed, and then pumping for the next feed).

            Today I’m exhausted and feel like I hate anything to do with my breasts, but in general this has been MUCH easier than doing nothing but breastfeeding all day. At least I know I’ll have an hour or two here and there. I’d like to keep going with the breastfeeding because I seem to have potential and it’s been going well for a couple of days. Plus it is free (as long as women’s time is not valued of course, but I’m an unemployed analyst anyway so I don’t have somewhere else to be).

            But it struck me as chilling how the “baby-friendly” environment is so very NOT breastfeeding-friendly or baby-friendly (or mother-friendly). If they’re serious about promoting breastfeeding, they ought to have knowledgeable, empathetic nurses or lactation consultants who don’t minimize serious problems (or create them). And the breastfeeding literature–this is from basically the best hospital in Canada, or one of them–that they hand out says that using formula can result in death. DEATH. Seriously. I know this is not true and it STILL freaks me out a little.

            It also seems to me that these “baby-friendly” zealot nurses have absorbed the dangerous LLLI stupidity, which is scary, since they represent an institution that is otherwise very progressive and about women’s choices. They do not fit and it’s so easy for a first-time mom to be intimidated by them, mess up breastfeeding as a result, and ignore warning signs with regard to the baby’s health.

          • fiftyfifty1
            July 22, 2013 at 8:19 am #

            First off, congrats on that baby!! I hope you get more rest and that things get much easier soon.
            Yes, that bit about the epidurals drives me nuts! My current hospital has been keeping stats on this according to one of the very sensible lactation consultants who works there and she tells me that they have found NO association between epidural use and breastfeeding problems or continuation rates in their experience. I think it’s just a cop out for lactation consultants to use when they can’t figure out what is going wrong. There are so many bad lactation consultants out there unfortunately. I wish that fewer of them were driven by idealism, they would be able to do a better job.
            Anyway, congrats again. I hope it is smooth sailing from here on out. And if it’s not, formula feeding and combo feeding are both lovely choices.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 23, 2013 at 8:40 am #

            I think it’s just a cop out for lactation consultants to use when they can’t figure out what is going wrong.

            What bothers me the most about that approach, as Anka described

            “Well, did you have an EPIDURAL? Did you have an INDUCTION? Those will
            mess up your baby and your milk supply, so THAT is the root of all your

            is just how useless it is. Even if it were true, so what? That doesn’t help Anka at all, because it is over. She can’t go back and undue it, so pontificating about how epidurals are the cause does nothing to help (unless there were a specific therapy to use in response, which of course, there isn’t).

            Our local hospital has a “mom’s group” that meets once a week, organized and attended by the local LC. Moms sit around, chat, and breastfeed, and she helps them if they need it. It is mostly social and they exchange war stories, but the LC is also there to help those who need it. I doubt you see many bottle feeding or anything, and they may not feel all that welcome, and I make no pretense that there’s not a lot of judging going on, if not of each other, at least for those who aren’t there.

            My wife went when our kids were little, and made some good friends. One of those friends also used to go to the local LLL activities. However, she quit because she couldn’t handle it. They were just too over the top for her.

            Note that she was breastfeeding, and had no problems going to a breastfeeding group. And still, LLL was over the top. But the most important lesson, to me, is that you know, a good LC can do things in a reasonable manner, be helpful, AND make people feel better about themselves.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            July 23, 2013 at 8:22 am #

            So then the first one decided that therefore the problem must have been
            that the epidural damaged him neurologically causing him to have a
            “shallow latch despite latching normally” (whatever that means) and that
            he needed cranio-sacral therapy from her friend.

            Wow, I hope you ran, ran, ran! Who are these morons?

    • prolifefeminist
      July 19, 2013 at 10:39 pm #

      I do this too! I’m bottlefeeding b/c of my son’s medical issues, and I secretly enjoy making the idiots who give me grief feel like a-holes. I totally agree that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying “I just don’t want to BF” (and I would say that if that were true for me), but that doesn’t give these judgmental loons the big smack upside the head that they need.

      My favorite was a know-it-all wannabe crunchy first time mom at a kids consignment sale who tsk tsk’ed me when I pulled out a bottle. I let her prattle on for a couple of minutes about how BF’ing is superior (and of course is what she does), before I informed her that I’d EFB and practiced baby-led weaning with my first four children, but that this baby was born at 31 weeks (after an attempted VBA2C at that – threw that in there for street cred, haha!), and that he’d had a long NICU stay and multiple medical issues that made nursing impossible for him – and that heck, we were just excited that he was off a feeding tube. THAT shut her up awfully fast! I then went on to bemoan how horrible it is that “some people” are so judgmental when it really is none of their business how another person’s baby is fed.

      Yea, I do kind of enjoy giving em the business. 🙂

      • Antigonos CNM
        July 20, 2013 at 5:20 am #

        I’m surprised you weren’t asked whether you tube fed him with breast milk, and don’t you know how much better that is than [facial expression and tone of disgust at this point] anything from a can.

        One of my most vivid memories, in Cambridge, was the ward sister, complete with posh university/upper class accent, asking “peasant” East Anglican new mothers: “Are you nursing the baby YOURSELF, or are you ARTIFICIALLY feeding him?”

        it took considerable guts for the new mom, painfully aware that she was being addressed by someone of a superior nature [this is much more an “item” in the UK than in the US] and education, to admit to wanting to bottle feed, so she almost always said she wanted to breastfeed. When I made a home visit immediately after discharge, the woman had already switched to a bottle, although sometimes she’d try to keep it out of sight when I was present.

        • drmoss
          July 22, 2013 at 10:04 am #

          I remember the sister on a busy labour ward telling me there were three ways to feed a baby “Breast, bottle,” (both in impeccable BBC English) “and bo’le” (in her best Estuary English with a glottal stop instead of the t sound). We got a lot of the last.

  24. mydoppleganger
    July 19, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    In a perfect SantiMommy Utopia, formula feeding your babies would require govt control and regulation. (Black box it?) Parents would need to attempt to gain donor milk or pay fines. C-sections and epidurals would need further red tape to be administered, and Doctors would need to explain every c-section in painful detail. For the extremists in the movement, this comment is not too far fetched from their ideals.

    This has become as controlling as a cult, in my humble opinion. I’m glad I have freed myself from caring about their standards for my life. Outside from the subculture, does anyone else really care what wrap you hold your baby with? When you die, will your eulogy be about your birth experience?

    • prolifefeminist
      July 19, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

      It really isn’t too far fetched to think that they’d want all that. When you consider that a large proportion of HB midwifery supporters believe that OOH birth should be the norm, and lay midwifery care the standard, it’s not too far fetched at all to think they’d severely curtail formula, surgical births, pain relief, etc. in whatever way they could.

    • Antigonos CNM
      July 20, 2013 at 5:22 am #

      Well, the “Baby Friendly” hospital initiative actually incorporates a fair amount of this intimidation.

      • amazonmom
        July 20, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

        It sure does! I’m going to deliver where I work as a NICU nurse and refuse all contact with the lactation staff. I don’t want to attend the postpartum clinic staffed by lactation nurses either. I will pay cash to visit my OB and a real pediatrician instead. Baby friendly often turns into woo pitching garbage.

  25. KumquatWriter
    July 19, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    PWN. Way to lay it out, Dr A! Perhaps you could do a post that’s more directly addressing Mean Girls. Tina Fey adapted the movie from the research in Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman. I don’t think its coincidental that Tina Fey also calls lactivists “Teat Nazis” and has participated in multiple skits mocking extreme NCB.

    And also, I love Tina Fey. And hey, maybe she could be a celebrity face on reason’s side, since Jenny McCarthy is joining The View.

  26. WKH
    July 19, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    TAP isn’t the sharpest. In her latest blog entry, she discusses the respective merits of raising boys and girls. Under the “girl” list, she has “You’ll likely be the only woman your daughter ever loves.” Uh, really? So she won’t love her sisters, aunts, or grandmothers?

    And, under “boy” list, “If your son turns out to be gay you’ll have an instant passport to fabulous holidays and heart to hearts” (or some such nonsense–I paraphrase). Yeah, because all gay men are the same; they ALL just love that shit. Right.

    • mydoppleganger
      July 19, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

      Bahaha. How about: If you have a boy, your chances of raising a serial killer skyrocket. Sounds like TAP had a slow day in bloggy land.

    • auntbea
      July 19, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

      Apparently she believes her daughter will never have daughters of her own. Or will hate them.

      • Guesteleh
        July 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

        Or that her daughter may be a lesbian.

        • auntbea
          July 20, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

          Well, she said it was “most likely” she would never love another woman, so I was assuming she had put lesbian in the “less likely” column,

    • Alenushka
      July 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

      My son is gay. Frankly, I think they should take his gay card away. He is nerd. He dresses like a nerd and his room is utter mess. However, we do go to the opera together and he likes to decorate food he makes.

      • WKH
        July 19, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

        If she hasn’t figured out that it’s potentially offensive to stereotype gays, then she’s not exactly as “alpha” and sophisticated as she seems to think she is.

        • Amy M
          July 19, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

          Or potentially offensive to stereotype girls for that matter….

    • realityycheque
      July 19, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

      “You’ll likely be the only woman your daughter ever loves.”– heteronormative expectations much?

      I know plenty of adults who can’t stand to be around their mothers, PARTICULARLY if their mothers are insane control freaks like TAP. Wait until she has to deal with adolescents… it’s a whole lot easier to get along when they’re little and still haven’t realised that the sun doesn’t shine out of your ass.

      There will come a time when her children will start looking at their mother more critically, when they start questioning that her position in life and point of view might not be right, and I suspect it wont go down as well as she thinks it will.

      • prolifefeminist
        July 19, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

        “it’s a whole lot easier to get along when they’re little and still haven’t realised that the sun doesn’t shine out of your ass.”

        Oh, how true this is! My oldest is 15 and even though he was an extremely high maintenance child, many times I think back to those days and realize how much easier/simpler they were.

      • Clarissa Darling
        July 19, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

        “There will come a time when her children will start looking
        at their mother more critically, when they start questioning that her position in life and point of view might not be right, and I suspect it won’t go down as well as she thinks it will.”

        This is so true. It seems to be a tradition in my maternal line for daughters to veer off course from how they were raised. My uber liberal, spiritual but not religious, socialist mom was raised in a very conservative Christian mother and then she gave birth to me who converted to Catholicism and, gasp, Capitalism (I don’t know which is worse from her perspective). It’s not that these differences never caused disagreements but, they never ruined relationships. Luckily my mom and Grandma realize that you can’t dictate how other people (including your children) live their lives and that the fact that they raised loving kids who turned into functional adults is more important than anything else. Somehow I don’t see TAP being that flexible and I think it might be a rude awakening if her children turn out at all different than she imagines or hopes they will. I mean what if she ends up with a gay son who doesn’t throw fabulous holiday parties?

    • Elizabeth A
      July 19, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

      Pretty sure I know plenty of gay guys who don’t get on with their moms.

      I never got the flavor of baby I thought I wanted. The first time out, I wanted a girl because I have two sisters, and girls seemed like a known quantity. Second time, I wanted another boy, because we were having so much fun with the boy we had, and there’s somethong special about same gemder siblings. Nearly four years on, both my kids are so fantastic that I wouldn’t change a thong. The fun part about raising any kind of kid is that you get to know this wholly original person. If you manage not to screw up, they’ll still call and visit after they move out.

      • LibrarianSarah
        July 19, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

        “wouldn’t change a thong”


        • Elizabeth A
          July 20, 2013 at 7:40 am #

          Curse the tiny phone keyboard!

    • prolifefeminist
      July 19, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

      But what if her daughter turns out to be a lesbian and loves other women? Sounds like that would really screw up her plans.

      And yea, I can think of plenty of gay friends of mine who don’t fit into the typical “gay male” stereotype. People are always like, “omg! But you don’t ACT gay!”

      TAP is even more narrowminded that I thought.

      • WKH
        July 20, 2013 at 9:24 am #

        I think she “covered” the possible lesbian aspect by using the word “likely.” Odds are your daughter will probably be straight, just look at the numbers. However, there’s a much bigger chance that one’s daughter will have a female relative, and that she will (gasp) love that relative.

        Or heck, aren’t we allowed to love our friends anymore?

    • Clarissa Darling
      July 19, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

      “You’ll likely be the only woman your daughter ever loves.”

      Oh yea, cuz, making sure you child loves and is dependent
      on you and only you for the rest of their lives is the hallmark of every
      healthy parent/child relationship!

      • S
        July 19, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

        Exactly what i was thinking! She sounds very needy.

  27. fearlessformulafeeder
    July 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    ::stands up in the middle of Starbucks and starts clapping slowly and loudly::

    This made my day. TAP has spent a great deal of time writing posts that directly insult me and my readers. I don’t even consider her a breastfeeding advocate, but simply a bully. I could care less about her, frankly, but what DOES concern me is that she has a tremendous following, and frequently gets “respected” breastfeeding resear- er, advocates – to comment on her asinine ideas. These ideas then get validity in the lactivist community and damage all the work some of us have been doing to try and bring mothers together to stop this bullshit breast/bottle “debate”. I think it makes a frightening statement that she has more followers than most of the moderate breastfeeding advocates – clearly, there is a massive movement of Mean Girls that is coloring the online experience of new moms. Like you said, Dr. Amy, this is worrisome b/c it can have a direct effect on the mental health and confidence of new mothers. And I care deeply about that. TAP wouldn’t exist if weren’t for the thousands of mean-spirited, inflexible people who agree with her – including some of the most well known breastfeeding advocates and “experts” in the world. Scary.

    • Renee Martin
      July 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

      She IS a bully. Sadly, she says what too many of those “middle ground” activists are thinking. Thats why they like her.

    • prolifefeminist
      July 19, 2013 at 11:27 pm #

      “this is worrisome b/c it can have a direct effect on the mental health and confidence of new mothers. And I care deeply about that.”

      Me too. I can’t stand to see women tear each other down like this. It especially boils my blood when the target is young, first time moms who are trying so hard to be good mothers to their babies.

      I so wish we could quell this ridiculous, irrelevant debate over what we feed our babies and how we birth them, and direct all that energy toward things that actually matter, like…

      Moms and babies living in poverty
      The unique challenges single parents face
      Better treatment for PPD and other mood disorders
      Domestic violence
      Neglected and abused children
      Practical support for pregnant and parenting students
      Affordable child care
      Affordable and accessible maternity care

      And so on and so on…

      All this energy wasted on things that are so completely unimportant…when so much good could come from focusing on the REAL needs facing families today.

      Really…only a person who just doesn’t “get it” would spend more time fussing that a newborn is hatted than they do worrying that kids in a developed nation go to school in ice and snow without so much as a winter coat because their parents can’t afford to buy one. Priorities, people, priorities.

      • auntbea
        July 21, 2013 at 9:49 am #

        But formula feeding IS neglect and abuse! And breastfeeding is the solution to PPD! And poverty! And single-parenthood! How many poor, single, depressed mothers do you know who breastfeed, hmmm?

  28. Carol
    July 19, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    “Breastfeeding prevents appendicitis?” Oh dear, oh dear, what failed? I breastfed all my babies, and yet one of my sons had to have an appendectomy. Or maybe the appendectomy was just an evil intervention and I never should have let the doctors operate. Or maybe breastfeeding prevents maternal appendectomy, since I am still firmly attached to my own appendix. Whew! That must be it. 🙂

    • GiddyUpGo123
      July 19, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

      Which ass is it exactly that they’re pulling their stats from?

      • Carol
        July 20, 2013 at 11:56 am #

        It must be a collective effort. One ass alone couldn’t possibly produce such a quantity of diarrheic falsehood.

  29. Zornorph
    July 19, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    I was really mostly unaware of this whole ‘mommy culture’ until recently because, after all, I’m a dude. But with me expecting and as a single dad, I started posting on a couple of pregnancy/expecting/parenting type boards and started seeing it all the time. On one of the first days, I came across a post where a woman talked about how she was unable to breastfeed because of certain physical things that had come up when she’d tried and somebody had passively-aggressively replied ‘I’m sorry you didn’t get the support you needed to breast feed’. As clueless as I am about such things, I recognized it for the ‘mean girl’ comment it was. As a fairly self-confident guy, I’m pretty much immune from all the shaming that seems to go on over such things, but I think it’s a real pity that people use something as wonderful as having children to beat up other people.

    • Carol
      July 19, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

      You go, Zornorph! You’re going to be a great dad!

    • Stephanie
      July 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

      Go, Zomorph! When’s your baby due?

      • Zornorph
        July 19, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

        August 13th.

        • rh1985
          July 19, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

          neat! I’m going to be a single mom by choice, but I don’t see too many men that are single parents by choice – I guess because the logistics are trickier? you are using a surrogate, if I remember right?

          • Zornorph
            July 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

            Yes, I’m using a surrogate and an egg donor. I got divorced a few years ago and had no kids and didn’t want to wait for ‘Mrs Right’ to show up.

          • realityycheque
            July 19, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

            Congratulations! 🙂

          • rh1985
            July 20, 2013 at 1:34 am #

            Yeah, definitely a bit more complicated, but the legally safe way. hope you don’t get the OMG WHY NO DONOR MILK speech. I won’t be breastfeeding due to medications. Perhaps I will think up a creative crazy story to tell nosy sanctimommies.

          • Zornorph
            July 20, 2013 at 1:47 am #

            Oh, I’ve already gotten the OMG WHY NO DONOR MILK? speech from a few people. But I live on an island and it would have to be flown in – I’m not paying for that. Plus, I don’t know where the hell it’s been – it would be one thing if I lived close enough to my surrogate for her to pump, but I’m not letting the milk of some random woman go into my son. Not when I don’t know what she’s been eating. Tofu and placenta, most likely.

          • Bombshellrisa
            July 20, 2013 at 2:07 am #

            I have posted the link in other threads, but there was a midwife (CPM) who asked her patients and asked her fellow midwives and the doulas she knew to PLEASE DONATE BREASTMILK for her adopted son (who was born at her birth center, “in the water”). There were over 70 women who answered the call, all unscreened.

          • rh1985
            July 20, 2013 at 2:36 am #

            HA! I wouldn’t use donor milk because I think it’s too expensive, I would worry about adequate screening, and I think the small amount of milk that is very well screened should go to very sick babies in the NICU who would actually benefit from it. That’s actually the only situation I would try to pump for – a baby in the NICU.

          • Lisa from NY
            July 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

            A breastfeeding woman on a vegan diet can cause brain damage in the baby.


          • Lizzie Dee
            July 20, 2013 at 5:08 am #

            Your perspective on all this will be quite fascinating. I hope you will continue to tell us how it goes.

        • prolifefeminist
          July 19, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

          Congratulations! 🙂

  30. theadequatemother
    July 19, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    I was always very sad when I went to baby music class or mom and baby exercise class when I was off work with my first…women would BF (even while doing the exercise warm up which is way more coordinated than I ever was) but I never in 6 months saw a bottle come out.

    I almost wanted to bring a bottle one day to just break the ice…talk about moms feeling alienated.

    • Therese
      July 19, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

      Well, I wonder if this could just be because formula fed babies tend to be able to go longer in between feedings? So naturally, you would bottle feed your baby before class and then baby would be good for several hours. Whereas with breastfeeding, at least in my experience, is totally unpredictable. You could nurse your baby before class but baby is just as likely to want to nurse again 30 minutes later.

      • theadequatemother
        July 19, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

        maybe, except we’d often go for lunch or coffee afterwards…I would think I would have seen at least *a* bottle at some point.

        • SkepticalGuest
          July 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

          I wonder if there is simply a correlation between the type of moms that breastfeed and the type of moms that go to mommy-and-me music? Both probably attract (in general) a disproprortionate number of over-achieving, competitive moms.

          I combo fed, until my son completely weaned from breastfeeding at 10 months. Around 7 months, we went to a free trial class of mommy-and-me music with a mom friend.

          First, the whole structured class for baby is just not my thing.

          Second, it was mostly populated by over-achieving, competitive SAHMs.

          Third, several moms were *mortified* when I let my 7th month old scarf down a ton of solids. Several people commented on it. (“Is it really OK that he’s eating that?”) Now really, I get that kids are ready for solids at different ages, I don’t judge anyone whose kids take to solids late. But mine got interested very early and much preferred solids to breastmilk or formula.

          And finally, when I did bust out a bottle, I not only got the stink eye, I actually had two moms come close to me and talk about how bad bottles were. One mom bragged that “We skipped the bottle phase all together,” in a tone that suggested that she thought she was the best mom ever because of it.

          Needless to say, we never went back to mommy-and-me music.

        • Therese
          July 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

          Well, would the non-breastfeeding mom’s babies act hungry and the mom refuse to feed the baby? If a baby didn’t show any indication of needing to eat the whole time, then I wouldn’t assume mom was avoiding formula feeding in public out of shame. But if the baby was crying or just acting hungry and mom wasn’t doing anything to feed the baby, then yeah, maybe it was due to bottle shame.

          • SkepticalGuest
            July 19, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

            I’ll admit to feeling a bit inadequate bottle-feeding in public, at least in the early months when I still blamed myself for the breastfeeding not working. But I NEVER refused to feed my kid because of it. Never even hesitated to whip out a bottle. I would often volunteer my story to those who said anything or those who gave me the stink eye. By and large, most of them just needed some education to realize how serious breastfeeding failures could be.

            There was only one mom who ever really gave me crap after knowing my story, and she was a passive-aggressive B*t*h who got off on alerting me of every single formula recall. But whatever. She was so depressed, the highlight of her day was talking to the guy she bought falafel from down the street–to the point where she admitted to going there every day just for a touch of adult conversation. If she hadn’t been such a snarky b*t*h, she would’ve had friends and wouldn’t have needed to gorge on fried food every day to feel like a grownup.

      • Renee Martin
        July 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

        I hope this is it. I know it’s true with my kids. In our case, a bottle was for eating only, but BF is used for multiple purposes.
        Ds was FF and ate on a schedule (happily!). Once he was a few months, we went 4-6 hours between feeds and he was fine. He didn’t use his bottle for a paci, or comfort, so it wasn’t around when he wasn’t eating. He ate. It was put away, that was it. Snuggling or soothing crabbiness was not mixed with the bottle.
        Compare this to DD, who is EBF. She eats, snacks, pacifies or nurses for ? reason, at least every hour when awake and with me- sometimes more. As long as Im in the room, she knows there are boobs and wants them (shes fine if Im not there.).
        If DS had been in a class, it’s unlikely I would have ever needed to feed him with the bottle, even for hours afterwards. Where DD would have nursed (or played) at least a few times in the same period. I wouldn’t have been avoiding Ff or trying to brag with the BF, thats just how my kids worked.

        This behavior also makes me wonder why its OK to have baby and toddler at breast forever, and comfort them with it, but giving a kid a bottle for the same reason is considered a no no. I have heard you don’t want to comfort w food (FF) but isn’t that what comfort nursing is? and it’s not just for babies, it’s recommended for toddlers too!

        • Prolifefeminist
          July 19, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

          Isn’t it interesting how FF and EBF babies have such different attitudes toward nursing/feeding? I EBF’d my first few kids and pumped and bottlefed my youngest. It was utterly awesome to get to sleep for long stretches at night, to sit down without someone climbing up to nurse because they saw the opportunity, to be able to go out for a night or overnight and know baby would be fed and happy, and to just be able to snuggle and cuddle without it turning into a nursing session. I truly enjoyed the closeness of nursing, but Iet’s be honest – sometimes it’s a bit of a pain. I used to joke to my husband that sometimes it felt like all I was to them was a pair of breasts! I love love love how my bottlefed baby will climb up in my lap now just for hugs or a cuddle – no rooting around required.

          There were many things I loved about nursing, but there are many things I love about bottle feeding too. And there are drawbacks to both. Which brings us back to…do what WORKS for you and your family, and everyone else can just butt out!

          • Lizzie Dee
            July 20, 2013 at 6:38 am #

            Iet’s be honest – sometimes it’s a bit of a pain.

            I was trying to think my way through this earlier – are their mothers who find it a bit more than a BIT of a pain, but don’t have the confidence to brazen it out with formula? In my innocence, I thought it was about providing optimum nutrition, but it seems to have got a lot more complicated than that. In my day, the thesis was that most of the benefits came in the first months and I am fairly appalled at the idea that it now has to go on for years. I can see that once it is working well, it may not be that problematic to just go on doing it, and I will concede that I do qualify as one of those old, conservative, uptight types – but I am not sure I would have liked being used as a kind of mobile pacifier. As I am all for cuddles and comfort, I am not sure why it bothers me – except for the confusion of comfort and food, and a kind of objectifying of mother love as a pair of breasts?

            The conflicting and confusing research doesn’t help, does it? How nice – but unlikely – it would be if this was clearer, and the bullying could stop.

        • Cleak
          July 21, 2013 at 1:32 am #

          I wonder about that too. I think it was recently that a study came out the once again supposedly linked FFing to obesity (or something related, it’s getting late where I’m at .) The reason being, according to the experts weighing in, was that FF babies are often given pre-measured food and encouraged to finish and therefore, don’t learn proper appetite control. I will proudly admit to being a FF mom (though the mommy-guilt always causes me to admit it with the caveat that no matter what I tried I could never get more than 4 oz a day and I felt the FF was preferable to starving him) and this logic baffles me. I give my son a bottle and he very clearly knows it is for meals only, if he wants comfort he can be cuddled by Mommy with his pacifier. He also is really good about eating just as much as he wants. He seems in no way developmentally behind his EBF cousin who is just older than he is. The only real difference between the babies, is that mine sleeps better.

          • fiftyfifty1
            July 21, 2013 at 9:14 am #

            I am really sick of studies saying formula feeding causes obesity. It’s all about confounding. Rich white women are the group with the highest exclusive breastfeeding rates. Well surprise they are also the group with the lowest obesity rate themselves and the highest access for their families to fresh fruits and veggies, gym memberships, organized sport activities etc.

            When you take away all this confounding, formula feeding is NOT associated with obesity. Just this past March 13 the 3rd report of the randomized Belarus PROBIT study came out that showed that the breastfeeding group actually had a 16-17% HIGHER rate of overweight and obesity at age 11 than the formula fed group. The authors state that because the numbers were only weakly statistically significant, the increased obesity in the breastfed group may be due just to chance. So obviously don’t choose to formula feed based on this alone. But I think we can safely conclude that at least formula feeding does not cause overweight/obesity.

    • R T
      July 19, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

      I like to mix up! I have both breastfed, uncovered in the middle of a Gymboree class and mixed a bottle of formula for my son. I actually bottle fed my son at a nation wide protest breastfeeding nurse-in lol! I was there to support a woman’s right to feed her baby however she wants! My son was going through a phase where he preferred a bottle.

    • Prolifefeminist
      July 19, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

      Oh my goodness…I know exactly what you mean. I EBF’d my oldest kids and you know there are always the people who give nursing moms dirty looks for nursing in public, etc. But it wasn’t until I bottlefed my last baby that I realized just how vilified bottlefeeding moms are. The dirty looks and snide little comments I received from other moms – wow! And it was always from other moms – you know, the ones who should be cheering their peers on in this difficult task of raising children. How sad that instead they tear each other apart. At least most of the people critical of nursing in public seem to be older people who are just generally very conservative and/or uptight.

      The funny thing was, I was feeding pumped breastmilk! I felt like I should put a big label on his bottles saying “It’s ok – it’s just BREASTMILK!” Don’t worry, folks – I’m not poisoning my baby! At ease, sanctimommies! So ridiculous. Of course, the purists would argue that I “didn’t try hard enough” and feeding pumped milk is better than poisoning your kid with formula but still depriving him of the magical life force energy that flows from the breast and is interrupted and scattered when it goes through a pump. Or something. Maybe I just should have held up a sign every time I whipped out a bottle:

      – born two months early
      – anemia
      – severe tongue tie
      – high arched palate
      – Laryngomalacia
      – dysphagia
      – aspirates thin liquids
      – severe food allergies
      – Do we qualify for guiltless bottlefeeding? Is that enough?

      The dirty looks and comments don’t actually bother me personally – I’m on my fifth kid and I’ve come to see the bullshit for what it is and not care – but I DO care that it happens. I remember what it was like to be a young first time mom, unsure of everything and wanting to do everything right. And it just pisses me off that anyone would put down a mom who’s doing her best to love and care for her baby.

  31. suchende
    July 19, 2013 at 11:22 am #

    I think she’s trying to get a book deal or something. She’s very self-promotional.

    • Squillo
      July 19, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

      Coat-tailing on Tiger Mom.

      • Renee Martin
        July 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

        Tiger Mom has actual achievements though. TAP is just a whiny sanctimony.

  32. Laura
    July 19, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    can I get an AMEN?! AMEN!

    • attitude devant
      July 19, 2013 at 11:21 am #

      Preach it, Sister!

  33. July 19, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    This should be a mommy motto: “I will not make others feel bad about their choices so that I can feel good about my own choices. I will feel good about my own choices and will not assume that others making different choices are passing judgement on my choices. I will just calm the f*ck down.”

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