Why do lactivists ignore what women tell them?

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Imagine going to the doctor because you hadn’t been feeling well for several days.

Dr. Knowitall: What seems to be the problem?

You: Well, Doctor, I have a pain in my lower right side and it’s been getting worse. I’m afraid I might have appendicitis.

Dr. Knowitall: No, you don’t.

You: Pardon me. I don’t have appendicitis?

Dr. Knowitall: No, you don’t have pain in your lower right side.

You: No, really I do have pain and my pain is getting worse.

Dr. Knowitall: You just think you have pain because you’ve been culturally conditioned by surgeons to expect that you will develop appendicitis.

You: But, Doctor, my pain is so bad that I can’t lie flat on your exam table.

Dr. Knowitall: Sigh. Obviously the pain is your fault. You must be walking wrong.

You: Look, you can see me walk. I’m not walking wrong; I’m walking just like everyone else, but I have pain in my lower right side, and I’m constantly nauseated.

Dr. Knowitall: If you just trusted your body, you wouldn’t be nauseated. Appendicitis is extremely rare, so you don’t have pain or nausea.

You: But I’m vomiting, too.

Dr. Knowitall: Please, it’s obvious that you are selfishly looking for an excuse to have surgery. If you were educated like I am, you would understand that it is absolutely critical for you to avoid surgery under any but the most extreme circumstances. Do you have any idea of the risks of surgery? You could end up brain damaged, with allergies and autism.

*****

Sounds ridiculous, right? Who would continue to consult a doctor who refused to believe you when you described your symptoms, or, worse yet, blamed you for your own pain? Most people would be outraged.

Yet lactivists feel no compunction about behaving like know-it-alls and doing the exact same thing. Tell them you have pain when nursing and they “know” that you don’t. Insist that you have pain and they’ll insist that you are breastfeeding your baby all wrong.

Tell them that your baby is screaming with hunger and they’ll tell you that it’s normal. They “know” you’ve been culturally conditioned to believe that you aren’t making enough milk.

Tell them that your baby has gained no weight in the 4 weeks since birth and they “know” that you are lazy and looking for an excuse to stop breastfeeding. Just pump in between feedings to increase your milk supply.

Tell them that you can’t pump enough to nourish your baby while you work and they’ll tell you that you are depriving your baby of multiple IQ points and sentencing him to a lifetime of allergies, obesity, diabetes and cancer.

No one would tolerate a doctor who refused to accept the patient’s description of her own symptoms. Why do lactivists think they are entitled to dismiss the symptoms of women having difficulty breastfeeding?

Would anyone think a doctor could diagnose and treat ANYTHING if she refused to listen or completely dismissed what patients were telling her? Why do lactivists think they can improve breastfeeding rates if they refuse to listen and completely dismiss what women are telling them?

Why? Because they don’t care about improving breastfeeding rates nearly as much as they care about hectoring mothers who don’t model their own choices back to them.

If lactivists really cared about increasing breastfeeding rates, they’d stop talking and start listening, but instead they just keep yammering away.

  • LadyLuck777

    Although I had the harassment about BF before I had my son, I must admit that after I had him my LC’s were wonderful. I saw three different ones for consults and they all told me that I was doing everything right, my son just did not have any patience for the breast. It was quite liberating, and allowed me to let go of the “need to BF.” I did pump for 7 months (8x per day), but during that entire time I still had to supplement as my supply just would not increase.

  • ProChoiceRN

    Mom guilt sucks. I know all about it. I do have a Pinterest account. I’m also a mother that’s chosen to work and my partner is a physician who works long hours. I feel guilty about missing soccer games and dance lessons. Some moms feel guilty about not breastfeeding. There are a million things to feel guilty about as a mom. I feel very guilty about forgetting to put sunscreen on my kids and letting them veg in front of the tv. Do I want their Dr. to stop talking to me about those things? Of course not!

    You seem to “know” a lot about lactation work. I’d love for you to come shadow me at my job and see what I do. PM me please.

  • Ashley

    While I don’t disagree with this article in general (since a lot of of the elite breastfeeders are very… erm… persistent?) I think that as a mother, if you ALLOW others to make you feel like you’re shit for formula feeding that’s all you. Don’t let anyone else determine what you’ll do with your kid. EBF if that’s what you want, EFF if that’s what you want, do a little of both if that’s what you want. I wanted to EBF but not because everyone was telling me to, I wanted to because it’s way super cheaper and I love the look on MIL face when she can’t feed the baby because I hadn’t started pumping yet.. Of course that ended because pumping is stupid and so is money and working at a job, but it was fun while it lasted. Blame the hardcore breastfeeders, but also blame the moms who think having a baby is all about impressing everyone else.

  • Claribel Rodríguez

    I think you may have never been breastfed and your lacking nurturing, love, and compassion. Your a women hater, and why you deny your feminine aspect is beyond me. Maybe your possessed maybe your birth experience was traumatic. Maybe no one has told you that your are loved, cherished. Maybe you need a hug. You can’t manipulate all that is, and the fact that breastfeeding has BECOME a choice, and its the best option for the vast majority of children AND mothers as well, which extends to the family and the society. If someone doesn’t want to breastfeed that is okay but it does not change the truth and it does not change that formula is not safe, just read the ingredients and trace it’s source. Yet a woman has the ability to nourish her children through her body naturally and it can be enjoyed. She has the power to give something so beautiful, full of love, breastfeeding goes beyond nutrition. She can hold her baby close to her heart while she/he feeds. Heart to heart. She can pass down immunity to illnesses, vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, carbs. When in her life will she be able to provide such nurturing care. Such compassion such devotion that will extend for generations to come because her babies genes have been made stronger through her body. When? Tell me when? The ultimate creation and cultivation of another human being. With freedom comes great responsibility. With motherhood comes even greater responsibilities. May you be blessed. May God shine the light upon you. May you someday stop perpetuating negativity in the name of health. Health means to be whole to be completed, healed, disease free.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      The baby’s genes have been made stronger? I guess when you’re making stuff up, you might as well throw in as much nonsense as possible.

      • Claribel Rodríguez

        Yea all the nonsense you talk, genes can be altered and that is FACT!!!! They can even be altered by your thoughts!! Why because thoughts create. From the unmanifest to the manifest, ideas made reality. Perpetrater of negativity. You lack understanding of science and art yet you call yourself a Doctor. Yet there is no controversy only levels of understanding. And this ends here because your are very immature.

        • Box of Salt

          “You lack understanding of science.”

          My, that’s ironic.

          • Dr Kitty

            No, wait, this ISN’T sarcasm?
            It’s like a parody.

            Also
            Your= belonging to you
            You’re = you are

            It’s= it is
            Its= belonging to it

            Not usually pedantic about these things (G-d knows I have enough spelling and grammar snafus) but in this case, it actually feels like they might learn something they didn’t already know.

          • Dr Kitty

            Does Claribel come from one of the states with some form of legalised cannabis, because, well…you can read, it come off a little “trippy”.

            Or maybe it’s just a Saturday afternoon Chardonnay or six…

            Anyway, stream of consciousness should probably be left to Safran Foer, Morrison, Pynchon and Kerouac…people who are good at it, in other words.

          • Claribel Rodríguez

            I don’t smoke!!! I am not addicted to alcohol, sugar, coke, fat, fast food, pharmaceutical medications, cutting myself, sex, money. I work on myself to heal from the pains of the society sorry to inform you I PRACTICE health. Sorry that you don’t. May god heal your soul.

          • KarenJJ

            I suspect you may suffer from quite a few pains of the society. Good luck with your healing.

          • Claribel Rodríguez

            Yea I suffered from many pains, insults, e.t.c. but I have learned the power of healing and forgiveness.

          • Dr Kitty

            And may someone you care for buy you Eats, Shoots & Leaves.

            They have to read your emails, FB updates and so on. I find your writing style insufferable after 3 or 4 short blasts, goodness only knows how your nearest and dearest put up with it on a daily basis.

          • Claribel Rodríguez

            Now your stocking me!! May you be blessed and healed. Stay off my page its not for you.

          • Dr Kitty

            No dear, I haven’t read your FB, don’t worry.
            I’m just implying that if this is a representative sample of your writing, your loved ones must find it a challenge to read your output on a daily basis.

            I am glad you wrote more here though, because it became clearer that making fun of you, or debating you would be unkind and pointless.

            I hope you get better soon.
            Lithium is a naturally occurring element, just FYI.

          • Claribel Rodríguez

            Actually I am very loved, inspiring young woman who is proud herself. Her accomplishments all the challenges she has overcome, but thank you for your comments. My life is not based on other peoples opinions. Just remember we are reflections you have reflected me and I have reflected you. I don’t normally care for online entertainment but much ignorance is perpetrated on this website that is NOT evidence based and she knows it in her heart.

          • Susan

            Bless your heart!

          • Claribel Rodríguez

            Thank you, may you always be blessed and loved.

          • Susan

            aw shucks thanks sweetie!

          • Squillo

            ProTip, Ms. Rodríguez: Future employers are going to “stock” you on the Internet. You’ll probably want to make sure that they don’t see an arrogant, illiterate child when they look you up.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            “I was walking with a friend and he said, “I think the weather is trippy!” I said, “Maybe it’s not the weather that’s trippy, just how we perceive it?” Then I realized I should have just said, “Yes””

            Mitch Hedberg is awesome.

            “If you are flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit.”

            “Ducks eat free at Subway”

          • Claribel Rodríguez

            I don’t care language is a barrier to true communication of the heart your just hating. It all relative. As long as you understand it’s all good!!!

          • anion

            No, properly used language facilitates true communication. Misused words, misspellings, grammatical errors, malapropisms, and line after line of nonsense create barriers to true communication.

            It is your responsibility to make yourself understood, not ours to understand you.

          • Claribel Rodríguez

            Maybe I am not concerned if you understand me. Maybe you don’t need to understand me. Maybe what is needed is to stimulate thought and that all. Grammar is created, in our life time there is a correct way 100 years from now it will have changed just read a dictionary, language changes. It’s relative!

          • Dr Kitty

            “It’s relative”
            Is that like the episode of South Park where Michael Jackson says “that’s ignorant!” to justify everything?

            Claribel, I don’t think this site is a good place for you. Really, I know I’m being mean to you, but c’mon lady, you’re not winning here, cut your losses.

            Best case we think you’re mentally ill, worst case we think you’re just not very bright. Either way, you no longer have to deal with our negativity if you leave.

          • Claribel Rodríguez

            Actually this woman is running into all the other website perpetrating hate why don’t you leave us alone and live your lives. Your happy right?? But the fact that you write means that you doubt. You can think I am mentally ill but remember if I am mentally so are you!!! You reflect that which you are! I see love in all.

          • Susan

            Is that sort of like the one who smelt it dealt it?

          • theNormalDistribution

            Ahh, the classic “you smelled it you dealt it” argument.

          • Claribel Rodríguez

            In science here is only levels of understanding. I seek to understand first and talk later. Remember when you point one finger three are pointing back at you.

          • KarenJJ

            “Your a women hater” (sic) was trying to understand first?

            What were you trying to understand with that comment?

          • Box of Salt

            Claribel Rodríguez, “I seek to understand first”
            if you wish to understand science, please go to school and learn from actual scientists. What you’ve posted here indicates you are very misinformed about it.

          • Claribel Rodríguez

            According to you??? Schools???? Indoctrination system???? This statement is laughable I am actually entertained by what you said..

          • Box of Salt

            Claribel Rodríguez, “Schools????”
            Yes. I suggest this because your system of self-study has clearly failed you. You may laugh all you want, but it’s not going to make you any better informed.

            I do hope you put some thought into question I asked above (it is a reply to your “pseudo education” comment).

          • Claribel Rodríguez

            Actually schools failed me but I don’t blame them I thank them because they taught me some great lessons. Through them I learned to follow my heart, to give love, to enjoy life because tomorrow is not promised. To not take people online so seriously. That we are all in this together trying to heal this planet that is in great pain. And to be thankful for everything and everyone. Thank you maybe I will take what you said into consideration but I have tested much of this and experience is my greatest teacher.

          • Amazed

            You seek to understand first and talk later? Oooh, there was a fluke in the system, obviously. Otherwise, I cannot explain the oral diarrhea you’re pouring all over us.

        • anion

          “No, because anything we think can be made manifest, much like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. I saw it happen all the times I imagined myself holding a hundred bucks and it appeared in my hand, and also when I dreamed of world peace and having longer hair and I altered the genes of flies through my thinking powers to make them fairies and IT IS TOTES REAL. Also, your are immature.”

          You told HER!

          • Claribel Rodríguez

            This is lack of faith and I can’t help you there. I can only pray for you that the light will shine and you. Ask and it’s given.

        • Jocelyn

          Genes can be altered by thoughts? Wow, I guessed I missed that day in my genetics classes.

          Please excuse me for a couple days, everyone. I’m going to be meditating my genes to perfection.

          • KarenJJ

            Genes can be altered by thoughts? Can’t think of where I told them to give my daughter a rare genetic disease. In fact I’m trying to think of what an infant can think of that tells her genes to go wrong? Talk about victim blaming..

          • Claribel Rodríguez

            Yes genes can be altered research the many cases of people with terrible illnesses who have healed. That doesn’t mean everyone will be healed all challenges are opportunities. Some message is being sent to you. May you be healed by the grace of God.

          • Dr Kitty

            Oh, ok…
            Apologies.

            I was mean, and you’re not well.

          • Claribel Rodríguez

            Ohhhh the pseudo education you received in college I don’t depend on systems to educate myself. I engage in self study. And I have a college degree I am multifaceted. Intelligent and Intuitive. Research the Russian DNA research studies who have no interest and saying that we carry 90% junk DNA (BULLSHIT!!!), Michio Kuku, quantum physics, Masaru Emoto, Deepak Chopra e.t.c. Sooooooo many cases. TEST IT YOURSELF!!! Educate yourselves. Think for yourself.

          • Box of Salt

            Claribel Rodríguez, since you are so informed about quantum physics, could you please share with us what you think a wave function is?

            Do you have any idea why I asked this question?

          • KarenJJ

            I googled the name. Are you Claribel the doula and maternal and children’s health advocate?

            Out of curiousity, can you describe to me in your own words, what quantum physics is and what it has to do with DNA?

          • Claribel Rodríguez

            Why don’t your own work. I am not here to make you believe anything. And stop stalking me.

          • KarenJJ

            More then happy to. I agree with Dr Kitty. Good luck with your healing.

          • Claribel Rodríguez

            Thank you, I send you the same love back. May you be healed as well.

          • PJ

            I think this person must be deliberately satirising new age internet crazies.

      • Bombshellrisa

        I am pretty sure I watched a couple of “Twilight Zone” episodes that deal with what she is talking about. It’s also the general thought of that Louise Hay book “You Can Heal Your Life” (I was very into that one when I was into the woo). I wonder what thoughts my grandmother was thinking to have created ovarian cancer. I know it’s prevalent among Jewish women, but surely her genes could have been altered by her attitude and thoughts.

    • Young CC Prof

      You’re trolling, right? You made it all up to sound as absurd as possible. You couldn’t possibly believe what you just wrote.

      • Susan

        I thought so too until she accused someone of “stocking” her so I did a search I think she is the real rumi quoting epigenetic quantum deal bless her heart!

    • PJ

      It is now clear to me now that being breastfed is associated with a decline in the ability to analyse things scientifically and rationally. I am so sorry, my poor son, for sabotaging your future career options. 🙁

      • Tim

        Don’t worry, I was breastfed until the point where I bit my mother hard enough to draw blood, and I know that I can’t modify my own DNA with my thoughts. If I could, there would be a whole lot of stuff in the world that had holes in it from my laserbeam eyes.

        • Claribel Rodríguez

          Thank you everyone you made my day! It shows the quality of people who follow this woman. I am done Enough feeding those who are devoid of love and compassion for another human being, yet call themselves human. Don’t write to me anymore or stalk me I know my rights unlike most people who lack social responsibility yet claim to have rights and cry all day online. Not one person here said anything loving, compassionate, positive, or tried to understand where I am coming from. Most people here cultivated hate for expressing myself candidly. If you disagree that is fine but no need to hate another because they are not like you…. But I am not surprised… Of course I will never visit this again but please stop visiting site that cultivate health spreading your hate…

          • Box of Salt

            Claribel, “Not one person here said anything loving, compassionate, positive, or tried to understand where I am coming from.”

            I gave you constructive criticism, based on the words you had posted. You did say you would consider it. I truly hope that you do.

            That said, I’d like to respond by quoting you: “Remember when you point one finger three are pointing back at you.” This goes both ways.

          • Squillo

            Yes, you have the right to make a total fool of yourself publicly, which you’ve exercised to an admirable extent. I think you know it, too, which is why you’re blathering on about rights and stalking.

          • Sarah Eilerson

            Nailed the flounce. A 9.5, at the very least.

    • yentavegan

      We are, as a species, adapting. Two of our most positive adaptations are 1. Beneficial interventions during birth and 2. safe and effective alternatives to breastfeeding. Those who believe that we are negatively altering humanity because of these adaptations are RACISTS posing as lovers of nature. Get over yourself!!!!

    • Karen in SC

      Guest = Claribel Rodriguez, who apparently thought better of revealing her name. But I hope anyone who looking her up finds her comments here. If she was joking, she can come back and ‘fess up.

  • Michele

    “Sounds ridiculous, right? Who would continue to consult a doctor who
    refused to believe you when you described your symptoms, or, worse yet,
    blamed you for your own pain? Most people would be outraged.”

    I went through this for 10 years, with several different doctors. The difference is that they blamed everything that was wrong with me on me being fat. Why did I believe them and continue to consult them? Because even after I changed doctors they told me the same thing. It was always my fault for being fat. I was pretty dang outraged when I found out my conditions were either what was contributing to my weight, not the other way around, or would only have been slightly helped by losing weight and nothing would have been done to help the underlying causes.

    • LibrarianSarah

      I am sorry that happened to you. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. Skepchick had an awesome article on how doctors routinely overlook health conditions in overwieght and obese individuals. I had a therapist basically tell me “of course you are depressed, you are fat.” I told him “I am fat because I am depressed. I a depressed because my mom has stage 4 breast cancer and I am afraid she will die.” What do you know I lost the weight soon after my mom beat cancer.

    • Lisa the Raptor

      I was about to say, Autoimmunes and fibromyalgia get this treatment all the time. Who knew that having two kids and going to school could cause daily pain and exhaustion? I didn’t, because it can’t. Not to the extent I was feeling. And it only took me 9 months to finally get a Dx.

      • Lisa the Raptor

        They do the same thing with smoking too, BTW. It’s not good for you, but it’s not the be all and end all of health problems.

      • KarenJJ

        Same. 32 years with an undiagnosed condition that caused all sorts of seemingly unrelated and often hidden issues. I definitely know how it feels from this side of the fence.

        Oddly enough now the bafflement from some of the doctors is how we were undiagnosed for so long. I stick to a few that I trust and like and are well respected in their fields; and ones that either understand what it is like have lived with such a confusing thing from birth or who don’t blame us for not knowing better.

        Not that alt-med people knew any better either, they were even more useless. But they did make me feel listened to for a while there.

        • SkepticalGuest

          @KarenJJ: I don’t suppose you have celiac? I was diagnosed recently and utterly totally surprised by how so many seemingly unrelated health problems I had were: a) all related to the celiac, which is an autoimmune disease; and b) quickly resolved by changing my diet.

          I spent decades frustrated by fatigue, joint pain, and digestive problems. Pretty much every since I was a small child. And when the time came, infertility.

          Always an excuse from the doctors: not enough sleep, playing too many sports, rigorous academics, and then finally busy career, pregnancy, childbirth. Oh, and my age (36 at the time) was the reason I wasn’t getting pregnant

          Anything to avoid a simple blood test that would’ve revealed the problem and led to an easy solution.

          • KarenJJ

            No not celiac, although in desperation to find out what was causing the anemia my Dad’s GP trialled him on a gluten free diet just in case. For us though it turned out to be a very rare auto-inflammatory syndrome. And everything else , fatigue, rash, fevers, hearing loss, joint pain, infertility, anemia, eye problems all turned out to be related.

          • KarenJJ

            That’s one of my bug-bears. A simple blood test would have showed inflammation and at least ruled out RA (which I share a couple of symptoms with). Instead I get the idea that it’s my fault due to lifestyle (working hard at school and playing sports with my friends – like any other kid does!). Instead it wasn’t considered by the doctors I saw and I get the run around and the blame for something that was treatable all along and definitely wasn’t in my head. Teenage girls get fobbed off terribly by doctors.

      • Mishimoo

        2 years for me, but that was due to a mix of a doctor-shopping, attention-seeking mother as well as doctors that were willing to write it off as “only growth pains” once the blood tests came back negative because I was 12-14. I eventually ended up with a week in hospital and many specialist visits crammed into that time, and came away with a diagnosis of Joint Hypermobility Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. I ended up figuring out how to live with it all by myself due to lack of post-diagnosis support. To this day, my mother still alternates between insisting that I’m faking or coming up with some other explanation/’diagnosis’ despite my official diagnosis coming from a very well-respected rheumatologist.

        • Young CC Prof

          Wow, that is exactly the story of my life. Two years to diagnosis (except they were 18-20), learned to manage it on my own for the most part, and my mother still hasn’t actually adjusted.

          • Mishimoo

            I wonder if it’s because we’re independent adults now and no longer need them? I know that mine hasn’t ever really left home, so to speak, and can’t seem to understand that I quite happily did.

  • yentavegan

    When it is my sacred cow being slaughtered, I come running to defend her. I am not a “lactivists” by Dr. Amy’s description of one, I am however a certified accredited La Leche league Leader and therefore I would like to clarify a few misconceptions. When a mother attends a LLL meeting she is free to speak her mind. I try to make it clear at the meetings I run, that only a LLL Leader can speak for La Leche league. It is possible to hear mothers spouting unhelpful breastfeeding advice and a savvy LLL Leader can re-direct the conversation back to useful information. Some mothers spend hours on the phone in private conversation with a LLL Leader and come to the meetings because complaining is their default setting. regardless of how much beneficial one on one information a mother receives, sometimes just talking endlessly about her bleeding, chapped nipples and her fussy cranky baby is all the mother wants to do.
    You would be surprised at how many mothers fall into this category. They don’t want help, they just want to express their displeasure.

    • PJ

      What’s the point of this? To imply that many of the women who complain about how they are treated by lactivists are really just whiners?

      • yentavegan

        No my point is differentiate between qualified trained La Leche League Leaders and free range “know-it-all’s”

    • fiftyfifty1

      If the info is so beneficial why do the nipples continue to be bleeding and chapped?

      • yentavegan

        not every mother wants to apply the adjustments or use the information offered. I offer suggestions, alternatives to ‘just keep at it mamma”. We get mothers coming to our meetings who had unsatisfying breastfeeding relationships and switched to bottle feeding. Some still come to meetings because they find value in sharing their hardship.

        • fiftyfifty1

          Ah, so the problem could have been fixed if only she had done what you told her. But what she actually, really, secretly wanted was to whine and give up. Got it.

          • yentavegan

            every problem can be fixed. Mothers have to be realistic about their goals.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Every problem can be fixed? Really? Why couldn’t my baby’s latch be fixed? Why couldn’t my reynaud’s be fixed? Was I not following directions well enough? Wasn’t I trying hard enough? I must have just secretly wanted to whine.
            Your answers to this piece illustrate Dr. Amy’s point about lactivists perfectly.

          • yentavegan

            Because the problem is not breast feeding, the problem is baby feeding. And the solution is switching to bottles.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Well that I can get behind. It sounds like I misunderstood you. I apologize.

          • Lisa the Raptor

            The solution to my lack of milk problem (DD dxed with FTT at 9 months after not gaining weight since 4 months old) was to start over again with another kid. Once a supply gets to the point that mine was at there was no help. With my next child I had to pump 25 ounces a day extra for 8 weeks and managed to nurse 14 months, BUT guess what? My DS was still on the small side and was starting to show signs of FTT right before we started cows milk. So even then I have a pre-disposition to low supply. 25 extra ounces a day is nothing small to ask of a working mother or even a SAHM. I had two other kids and the only reason I could manage was because I work from home. So I don’t think it’s fair to say all problems can be fixed. Maybe they can if the mother has unlimited time and energy and that time and energy is worth nothing to her.

          • Jennifer2

            Pumping 25 EXTRA ounces A DAY? Wow. Hat tip to you, ma’am. I think I only once pumped 25 ounces in a day when I was exclusively pumping. There was no “extra.”

          • PJ

            No offence, but you kind of sound like every midwife, lactation counsellor and breastfeeding advocate who tried to help me when I had so much pain breastfeeding my son. I have no doubt that all of them meant well, and all of them were very nice people–and all of them were quite sure that if I just adjusted the latch it would get better. It didn’t. Women like me just wish breastfeeding advocates could admit that sometimes pain is just an inherent part of breastfeeding. Sometimes (after six weeks of using nipple shields in my case) it goes away; sometimes it doesn’t. But OK, in addition to the fact that the pain was my fault for not being able to position my baby properly, I am probably also just a whiner who didn’t listen to the suggestions I got for my fixable problem. Righto.

          • theadequatemother

            I would like to point out that all the breastfeeding problems below can be fixed…by switching to formula.

          • yentavegan

            yes, you might be surprised at how often a LLL leader like myself suggests bottlefeeding instead.

  • Dr Kitty

    Dr Amy, it’s almost like you’re keeping tabs on me.

    You see yesterday I had an unnecessary appendicectomy.
    Now, I had a temp of 39C for 2 days and generalised severe abdominal pain that had moved to the right iliac fossa for a few hours, and I’d been vomiting.

    By the time I got to the ED yesterday morning I had a heart rate of 140, and a systolic BP of 80 and rebound and guarding a positive Rosvings and all the stuff that means that you don’t need scans or tests, you just go straight to theatre. High pain thresholds are not good when you’re sitting at home going “this is probably just ‘flu, appendicitis is supposed to be 10/10 and this is like a 7 at worst”.

    And the fact that what I ACTUALLY had was a ruptured right ovarian cyst with 200mls of free fluid in my pelvis is irrelevant. The surgeons took my perfectly healthy appendix anyway.

    And you know what? They did exactly the right thing, and I like knowing that if I ever have those symptoms again the one thing it CAN’T be is appendicitis. So, anyway, that’s how I’ve spent the last 24hrs (home now, fine BTW) and I’m glad I had the kind of surgeons I had, and not the kind who like to minimise, procrastinate or avoid doing interventions.

    • FormerPhysicist

      I’m glad to hear you are home and fine.

      • Dr Kitty

        Thanks!
        I’ve also discovered a new allergy, which brings the number of major antibiotic classes I can’t have to three. Thankfully my husband was on the ball as I rapidly turned pink and got covered in hives…

        Modern medicine is amazing-life threatening acute abdomen one day, home with three tiny laparoscopic wounds and a few tablets the next.

        • Dr Kitty

          Also…NHS and excellent care from lovely staff, and it didn’t cost me a penny. Feeling very fortunate today. Anyway, off to bed!

          • Dr Kitty

            Update: almost a week later, feeling fine. Being at home is not fun, other than that, no complaints!
            Back to work next Monday, but only because DH and my mother will kill me if I go back sooner.

            Thanks for the good wishes.

        • Antigonos CNM

          I’ve also discovered a new allergy, which brings the number of major
          antibiotic classes I can’t have to three. Thankfully my husband was on
          the ball as I rapidly turned pink and got covered in hives…

          You see what those unnecessary interventions can lead to when you let Evil Doctors work their will on you! You should have used acupuncture and eaten lots of probiotics and yogurt!

          • Dr Kitty

            I know, right?
            I should be SUPER annoyed they instituted the sepsis protocol!

            I only got the one dose anyway, because it became clear I wasn’t septic once they opened me up. Since they’d run Cipro, Vanc and Metronidazole simultaneously we used a process of elimination to work out it was the Cipro.

            If at any time you’re sitting in an ER with two bags of Hartmanns and three separate Antibiotics running and seriously wondering if you should have refused them and tried homeopathic silver, I think you should assume that the sepsis has made you delirious.

            I think my weirdly high tolerance to Morphine was a source of entertainment. I had 33mg IV Morphine in a 6 hour window and remained lucid and only just pain free. Unfortunately I don’t get the warm fuzzies.

    • MaineJen

      I have had ruptured ovarian cysts that painful before! I can sympathize…the first time was when I was 14 and I did think it was appendicitis, but the pain had dissipated by the time I got to the ED and I didn’t have a temperature.

      • Dr Kitty

        The surgeon reckons the cyst burst a few days ago (apparently without my noticing!?) and the free fluid sloshing about started an inflammatory reaction, hence the fever. This was developing into peritonitis, hence the pain. If it had been a smaller cyst it wouldn’t have caused any problems, but that much fluid is not easily dealt with. But really it’s all a bit academic: no more cyst, no more fluid, no more appendix and no more pain or fever.

    • moto_librarian

      Glad that you are on the mend, Dr. Kitty!

    • Lisa Cybergirl

      That exact thing happened to my sister when she was 16! And they went ahead and got her appendix too, just like with yours. Smart!

    • Antigonos CNM

      Refuah shelayma [a complete recovery], Dr. Kitty!

      Some years ago, after having 3 C/Ss, and a miscarriage, and a ruptured intravertebral disc, I had an ectopic pregnancy at age 41 [with an IUD]. When it became obvious that the doctors were going to remove the Fallopian tube, I requested tubal ligation, and it was done at the same time. Later, in discussions with an OB/GYN I worked with, he told me that had he been taking care of me, he would have advised a hysterectomy at the same time [leaving the ovaries, so I wouldn’t have a surgical menopause]. “If you’ve completed your family”, he said, “you don’t need your uterus any more, and in the future, you might be spared a number of problems, one of which is cancer, and you would no longer have your period.” [As a matter of fact, I did have a large asymptomatic myoma at the time]. He continued, “I wouldn’t advise this except that the doctors were already operating on you”.

      It is an interesting argument, although a bit more radical than having your healthy appendix removed. Sometimes I wonder whether it would have been wise to do the hysterectomy along with the salpingectomy.

    • Lindsay Beyerstein

      I hope you feel better soon, Dr. Kitty.

    • Lisa the Raptor

      Hey friend! Welcome to the Appendix free club. I was very lucky to have survived several bouts of appendicitis before finally getting it really really freaking bad and having it yanked. Looking back I feel sort of stupid as curling up in a ball in such pain for hours on end surely can’t be right, but, well it’s too late now. Anywho, glad you got it out and feel better.

  • guestk

    But who’s going to tell me whether my reasons for not breastfeeding are good enough, or if my epidural was justified, or whether my c-section was necessary?

    • Jennifer2

      They were, it was, it was. There. 🙂

  • Bethany Barry

    I just don’t get it. Has there been any time in history when women have been allowed to simply enjoy their babies, without someone making a mountain out of a molehill about something? I am currently nursing baby number 2, and working full time (hubby is with the kids during the day, horror of horrors). I pump mainly to keep my supply up for morning and even bf’ing, and we give formula whenever fresh milk isn’t handy. Worked for 15 months the first time, seems to be working this time. And if it doesn’t and I switch to formula, great, fine, whatever. I’m bf’ing for the same reason I wear ballet flats all the time. I like it. It’s comfortable for me. When my first was born my husband and I promised each other one thing: whatever works for us is what we’ll do. If something is causing any of us undue stress, it’s not working and should be adjusted. And those decisions take place solely within our family team. Our pediatrician has her opinion (which weighs heavily, of course), my OB has his, our parents have theirs. But how we all chose to sleep/eat/dress/school, that’s our call. And our call is generally to enjoy ourselves as much as we can (on our limited funds and in our limited space) because life is much too short to be spending hours desperately trying to force a square peg into a round hole. Or a square nipple into a round latch. Or something.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Bravo! Awesome philosophy.

    • fiftyfifty1

      “When my first was born my husband and I promised each other one thing: whatever works for us is what we’ll do.”

      This idea needs widespread dissemination!!!

    • Antigonos CNM

      I just don’t get it. Has there been any time in history when women have
      been allowed to simply enjoy their babies, without someone making a
      mountain out of a molehill about something?

      Yes, actually, there was. It was when people minded their own business more, and there were fewer “experts” around.

      OTOH, there have always been mothers-in-law

  • Grace

    This has never been my experience. When I said I had pain while nursing and my nipples were cracked and bleeding, I thought it was normal and was prepared to deal with it, just wanted an approximate estimate for how long I would have to. All the lactivists (in a local group for bf support) said nay, I shouldn’t have to deal with that one more day. They got me in the next day to an LC who helped with latch, gave me soothie gel pads, diagnosed a lip tie (which I could have chosen to clip), and made life so much better. Then, a fellow breastfeeder gave me a magical numbing cream derived from Dr. Jack Newman’s RX recipe (but this was a less strong otc version) that gave me relief within two feedings. We have great support around here and nobody tells moms to just deal with whatever issue they are having. Lactivists and LCs make themselves available to help at all hours. No, they don’t all go around saying, “just supplement with formula,” or “just switch to formula,” at the first sign of an issue, because what would be the point of that? Anyone could say that and it wouldn’t have helped me at all. I would have just suffered longer (like I did with my first daughter when I had cracked and bleeding nipples and didn’t seek or have any help).

    • Amy M

      No one said they just say “just switch to formula.” People are saying that the LCs say “NEVER EVER even LOOK at formula because even one tiny drop will ruin breastfeeding forever and ever, amen, and you have to stick with it even if your nipples FALL OFF, or your child is doomed.” Ok, that is hyperbole, but that is more along the lines of what many people below have heard, not “just switch or supplement with formula.”

    • T.

      There are many good LC. Some comment even here.
      But sadly enough there are a lot of bad LC. And the more authoritative ones seem to be the bad ones as well

  • carovee

    I had trouble BFing. This was my experience.

    Bad (actual) LC – in a flippant-ish voice to a sobbing me”Well, BFing isn’t for everyone”.
    Good (actual) LC – “Here are some things to try, but you can give yourself permission to stop at any time”.
    Better (but imaginary) LC – “X number of women do not produce enough milk. We don’t know why, but sometimes women need to supplement with formula”.

    Seriously, after ALL the “you will make the exact amount of milk with the exact right nutrients” crap I heard, just knowing that in reality lots of women do not make enough milk and I’m not weird or broken would have been SUCH a comfort.

    • ratiomom

      Every other organ in the human body is known to fail its owner on a regular basis and in a variety of ways. These lactivists seem to believe breast are the exception: the one part of the human body that works 100% perfectly in 100% of brths for 100% of mothers. Now if only those pesky women would stop imagining theyhave problems…

      • Courtney84

        Don’t forget the placenta is also a blameless immaculate organ. No need to worry about it failing your baby. And if it does – it’s not the poacenta’s fault it’s the woman’s fault for not keeping the right diet.

        • You reckon the placenta is still eaten if the birth went catastrophically wrong?

          • Jennifer2

            It wasn’t the placenta’s fault. Your birth went wrong because you didn’t trust it and the placenta enough. You should definitely eat the placenta to show it that you are sorry and respect it. Then it will pass the word on o your future placentas so your future births will be perfect experiences.

          • That makes the most sense out of anything I’ve ever heard in my life.

      • anion

        Well, if you’re a “real woman” you’ll have lots of curves and breasts overflowing with Liquid Gold.

        Those who don’t are just anorexic anomalies worthy of contempt.

    • omdg

      Why is response #3 better than #2?

      • carovee

        Because response #3 let’s me know that I’m not the only person who has experience low milk supply. Response #2 still leaves me with the impression that I’m just broken.

  • grenouille

    OT–

    I need some advice. Today I went to a playgroup for the second time. One of the mothers there told that it took her several months to find a doctor who would not lecture her about not vaccinating. I was taken aback, but it got worse. I asked warily if her stance on vaccines had been a problem with school or daycare. Nope. Apparently parents can just declare they don’t believe in vaccines and that is the end of it. That explains why the local health clinic has a sign on the door about a current measles outbreak.

    I told her that I was firmly in the other camp when it comes to vaccination and got an impassioned lecture that featured the following points:

    1) Vaccines have killed more people that the diseases ever did.
    2) She vaccinates homeopathically, on the advice of her aunt, the naturopathic “doctor.”
    3) Her 10 month old had mumps a few months ago and it was no worse than a cold. Just a little swelling on the neck. No biggie.

    4) She fully believes that her children will get “all those diseases they claim are so terrible and they will be the healthier for it.”

    Holy shit. This has never actually happened to me. Because of her comments on school policy, I am sure my kids go to school with unvaccinated kids. But I am not sure I can try to be civil with someone that I consider a bad mom, and frankly, a bad person. There are three moms who are pregnant in the group and young infants as well. She is willing to expose all of them, apparently.

    I am very depressed about this. We know no one here and I like these ladies. And it’s one of the few places where everyone speaks English. I did talk to a sympathetic mom and she said that it probably happens more than I think and that I should keep coming. I am sure it does, but that doesn’t mean I am enthusiastic about my child playing with her kids and the communal toys.

    For those of you who have encountered this issue, what did you do? Why am I left feeling like a bitch when science is on my side?

    • Young CC Prof

      For your child, how old is he? If your baby is over a year, with no health problems, and has had most of his vaccines already, then the risk this lunatic poses to him is relatively small. If your baby is still small, I’d leave on the spot.

      For her, for someone who is that hardcore out of touch with reality, there’s nothing you can do. She doesn’t believe that germs exist or are dangerous, she doesn’t believe that rampant infant mortality was the norm in the recent past. You could talk to the other moms, especially the ones with little babies, and see if they want a “safe group” without folks like that.

      And unless there was a lab test, it’s possible he DIDN’T have mumps, but instead mono, which is very common and usually mild in babies. (Probably the only remaining illness for which it makes sense to expose your child when young to prevent more severe disease later on.)

      • Anj Fabian

        Oh, yeah. The families who don’t vaxx AND don’t go to the doctor unless they NEED to.

        It’s hard to trust anything they report unless they have a lab report to back it up.

        • DirtyOldTown

          They probably have self-diagnosed gluten and dairy allergies too. It’s so hard to be interesting without one or both.

          • kumquatwriter

            Don’t forget the fibromyalgia!

      • grenouille

        She implied the mumps had been confirmed but who knows. Perhaps it was confirmed by her aunt the homeopath.

        My little guy is 2.5. He is fully vaccinated, and I know the risk is relatively small. Since there is no effort to keep unvaccinated kids out of schools or daycares here, I can’t do much about this kind of thing. Just hope his vaccines took.

        I am a newest person in the group and I think if I say anything more, I will be a social pariah. Her kids go to the drop-in daycare on the base too, so it’s probably a moot point. We’ll be around them no matter what we do.

        • kumquatwriter

          Grenouille, I suggest not trying to become friends with that group. Craigslist, other groups – anything. You WILL end up the pariah eventually, and it hurts way more to lose people you’ve come to trust and care about. These are red flags. Run.

          says the skeptic from Eugene, Oregon who was socially iced and eventually coldly cut out by my circle of friends who are woocrunch bitches*. My final crime? Insulting Ina May Gaskin on an acquaintances due date for her homebirth. I barely knew her, but she is bffs with the Regina George of the group.

          *Bitches is the collective affectionate name for the group, including the men – most of whom I am still friends with.

          • grenouille

            Thanks for the dose of reality, kumquatwriter. I know there are some people there who are not into the woo, but one of them is, she is very vocal and she is going to ruin it for me. Even if we avoid the subject, it is going to be in the back of my mind.

            The sad thing is, the group doesn’t seem to support her opinions, though they just sat there silently while she went on and on. They are all so socially isolated here that I think they will take whatever contact they can get.

          • Renee

            Did you see this article? It is called
            “I am coming out…as Pro-Vaccine”

            Maybe you ought to print and share it. You never know, maybe you will get a turn around where the AV is shamed instead of her holding all the power. That is what happens when people are too polite- the loudmouths win.

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jj-keith/vaccines_b_3829948.html

          • thepragmatist

            Hey, proud social outcast here too, and I agree. My gentle approach didn’t work and when I had finally had enough, I called out a group of about sixty women for being nasty bullies by posting derogatory things about other women (ALL ADULTS!) on another forum they had created just to avoid having their “science” challenged or criticized. When I recently returned to the group after illness (an online forum for the community), it was finally shut down by its owner within 48 hours. These people do not have any loyalty to the person at all: they are fanatical. Unfortunately, in many areas, becoming the dominant culture.

          • Renee

            ^She is right, you can only be OK with those types for so long. They are all friendly and nice when they think you agree, or can be convinced. You will even consider them friends! They aren’t- the instant you disagree, they will be the nastiest people you ever met. And you don’t even have to disagree to their faces, if you say something somewhere, online, they see, thats all it will take. If you have to be social with them, fine, but don’t ever trust them as friends.

            I was in a playgroup full of AVers and HBers, and was sent an email about how I make others feel UNSAFE because I liked Dr Amy on FB and was not pro HB. Mind you, I had never even brought any of this up (I should have) to any of them, they must have searched my FB. The mere presence of someone who isn’t a cheerleader for HB and AV was enough to say I was unsafe. NOT even kidding, they used the word UNSAFE. AS in, my beliefs are so threatening that others might feel unsafe.
            HOLY SHIT BALLS>

            Make sure you mention something to the pregnant moms and those with small kids, and make sure others know you are pro vaxx. You will be surprised by how many think the same way but are also afraid to say anything. The woo believers are loud and mean, so normal people back away from them, which, sadly, gives them power.

    • Anj Fabian

      I think you felt like a bitch because you really wanted to like this person…

      I want to like everyone I meet. I can avoid topics – religion, politics, sports – but I can’t avoid people’s germs. Not entirely.

      I feel for poor Typhoid Mary who was literally born a disease vector. She refused to believe she was making her clients ill. She refused to give up cooking, which she was reportedly very good at. She was forcibly quarantined to protect the public. I don’t think she was a bad person, no more than the average person.

      It’s possible to like someone, genuinely like them and yet feel the need to stay away from them to protect yourself AND resent having to do so.

      • grenouille

        I did like her–she was really open and friendly. Her lecture was like a slap in the face.

        I have a very close friend who went of the deep end of woo once she became a mother and it’s been a real strain on our relationship. Whole subjects are verboten and I have to bite my tongue when she tells me about how the homeopath is curing her husband’s nut allergy. I guess I am getting a little resentful about always being the one to avoid the argument, to not say anything to the conspiracy theorists and gluten-phobes that show up in my newsfeed on Facebook. But engaging them is maddening, not to mention futile. So I shut up.

        The part about her being a bad person comes from her statement that she knows her child will get sick and that she is pleased about that. Maybe that’s too strong, but how could you want your child to get measles?

        • Box of Salt

          grenouille re “she knows her child will get sick and that she is pleased about that” and “but how could you want your child to get measles?”

          Her experience with what she’s describing as mumps was a mild illness. She thinks they’re all going to be like that. She has no clue what’s like taking care of a seriously ill child.

          I’ve had conversations with folks like her before. I honestly hope she does not find out how wrong she is about these “mild” illnesses the hard way, for her child’s sake.

          • Young CC Prof

            For the most part, that IS the problem. They’ve seen their child go through colds and stomach bugs and have no idea what even a “normal, uncomplicated” case of measles is like.

            Then again, there are some so delusional that they know exactly what the childhood diseases are and are pro-disease anyway. I ran into one woman on the internet who claimed that she nursed her child through full-blown pertussis, complete with coughing till she vomited, and that this was better than being vaccinated. (Pertussis! Not even a viral illness where infection creates proper permanent immunity.)

          • grenouille

            Not sure whether she believes all diseases are mild or if she just thinks the benefits of getting “natural” immunity outweigh the risks. I am leaning toward the latter, since she told me she does vaccinate, just homeopathically. *eyeroll* So she does try to do something to prevent them, I guess.

            We don’t really like our new situation and this whole revelation about vaccine policies in schools and daycares just makes it even less desirable.

          • Amy M

            How does one vaccinate homeopathically? Drinking water that was next to someone who had measles?

          • Young CC Prof

            Unfortunately, you’re right. Look up “nosodes.”

          • Tim

            Wow. Just read an article on nosodes – it sounded like what they used to do to vaccinate people against smallpox and the like 200 years ago? Take discharge from something infected and introduce it to your own body?

          • Young CC Prof

            Except that “licensed” nosodes are outrageously diluted and sterilized first. So, in proper homeopathic fashion, nothing.

          • Amy M

            Yeah, because the original smallpox vaccination methods, though messy and crude were actually vaccinations, as in they worked via the same basic method we use today. Introducing a small amount of antigen for the immune system to make antibodies against, but not so much as to confer full blown disease.

          • Amy M

            Huh. I can honestly say that I did not really understand that because it sounded like most of it was made up. Miasms? Idems? Wtf? I have trouble wrapping my brain around the fact that there are morons out there who believe that shiat. What, exactly, are the nosodes supposed to do? I couldn’t figure it out from ANY of the articles I read, and I read several. Prevent disease? Cure disease? Take away symptoms? Which diseases/symptoms? By what mechanism of action? Was the whole thing based on befuddling patients with made-up words so they would swallow anything to get those quacks to shut up? How could any modern person think this was a good idea? Why don’t we just dig through the trash and find some rotted animal parts, toss them in a pot of water, dilute that water 30K times and sell 1oz bottles for 20$/pop. Cures….uh…everything. Yeah. Everything.

          • Young CC Prof

            Many people who defend homeopathy think it’s related to herbal medicine, which has basic plausibility and sometimes works. They don’t understand that there’s nothing in the bottles at all.

            200 years ago, homeopathy made some kind of sense. Most doctors were bleeding and poisoning their patients, and the founder of homeopathy wanted a gentler, more natural approach. His patients generally did better than ones treated with leeches or mercury, too!

            However, the fact that it’s a part of modern life rather than history is pretty darned silly.

          • MichelleJo

            go figure

          • Susan

            I find these people frustrating too most of all because they can get away with this only because most of us DO vaccinate. I am working with a nurse with some very crunchy sorts of ideas and she is one of the nicest people I work with ( though she isn’t so crunchy as to not vaccinate!) But it makes me understand that you can like the person very much despite the weird ideas they subscribe too.

        • Renee

          She is a bad mom AND an asshole. Anyone that wants their kids to get sick with VPDs sucks, full stop. I am sure SHE was vaxxed so its not HER that will pay the price.

          Tell them not to bring the shit up, if they don’t want to hear your opinion. It is not fair that YOU have to listen to it, while they are free to spout their nonsense. I no longer let this happen, and I am in the center of the woo-niverse here.

    • Ceridwen

      I end up mostly holding my tongue. Mostly because I have two modes on this. The one where I say nothing, and the one where I completely lose it on them. I try not to get into the second one because that means I’m giving up on any friendship with that person and it’s often a person I need to tolerate for some reason or another. I do avoid letting my baby interact with children who I know to be unvaccinated but she’s still quite small (5 months) so the risk is still pretty high for her. As she gets older, it’s one of those things I don’t see any choice but to relax about.

      There *are* daycares that do require vaccinations though. The one my daughter attends does not permit waivers. Their policy is that children who cannot be vaccinated are not suited to a group daycare environment.

    • DirtyOldTown

      I empathize a great deal with this situation as I live in Vancouver (aka Portlandia North) and it feels sometimes like this is every second person I meet. There are some things you just can’t talk about publicly. Criticizing alternative medicine is just not an option if you ever want to have friends. I imagine it is rather like being a Democrat in a heavily Republican state, or vice versa. If it is a small community, you sometimes have to just learn to get along, which is immensely difficult when you are right and everyone else is a moron. You learn to politely disagree, then change the subject or deflect with humour. But you can still complain to the daycare and school so that your concerns about their policy are noted. And then find an anti-vax troll you can poke at online for an hour or two. Unfair perhaps, but very therapeutic. Fingers crossed you can strike up a friendship with the sympathetic mom or another sane person. Just one person you can make fun of the others with will help a great deal.

      • grenouille

        We just moved to Quebec–which in general has waaaay bigger issues than woo to worry about. But belief in chiropractors and such is big here because the healthcare system is in shambles. One can always get in to see the acupuncturist.

        I wish this weren’t so difficult. I didn’t mean to hijack this blog entry by being so off-topic. I just wanted to hear from some science-minded moms about their experiences. Thanks for all of your input.

        • Bombshellrisa

          I wish I could say I handle this woo stuff well. Between the “natural flu shot” recipe (lemon and pineapple juice, a bulb of garlic, cayenne and honey in hot water) someone is sharing on Facebook because her children “don’t like shots or antibiotics” to the family friend texting me about taking chlorella to increase blood count to avoid blood transfusion it’s wearing on me today.

    • anion

      PLEASE mention this to the leaders of that particular group. The pregnant women/women with infants ought to know that they have a disease carrier in their midst.

      Some of them may not mind, of course, and you should think of a way to mention it in as gentle and non-judgmental a way as possible in order to prevent being ostracized (if you’re worried). But for me, frex, I wasn’t immune to Rubella when I got pregnant with my first–I was of course then vaccinated after her birth–so I was very careful during my pregnancy. I would absolutely have wanted to know if I was hanging around with unvaccinated people willing to put my unborn baby in danger because of their silly ideology.

      At the very least they may be able to mention in a handout or in person that everyone should remember that some children/parents in the group aren’t vaccinated.

      And if they don’t…it may be uncomfortable, and I’m not saying you have to feel the way I do, but I personally would feel it’s my duty to let those pregnant women/mothers if infants know that there’s at least one parent in the group who thinks their children’s lives aren’t worth as much as woo (I’d probably phrase it more nicely than that).

      I’m so sorry this happened to you.

    • MichelleJo

      They should hit people where it hurts most, their pockets. There is an idea being bandied around here about witholding child allowance to unvaccinated kids.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        It won’t work. In order to do so, you have to allow legitimate exceptions. And they are out there. The problem is, by the time they get done with that, they will allow exceptions for anyone who has a note from their friggin chiropractor or naturopath, which makes it worthless.

      • yarnbarf

        Oh, you civilized countries and your child allowances. We Americans can’t imagine such a thing.

        • Renee

          No, We ‘Muricans like to let our kids starve on the streets, while giving tax breaks and freebies to billionaires. Really.
          I am so sick about this stuff today.

        • Antigonos CNM

          Americans get to deduct sums from their income tax for kids. My Dad claimed it for me until I was in my 20s, keeping his fingers crossed the IRS wouldn’t call him on it. This was because Mother insisted that unless Dad got a refund, he’d computed the tax wrong. She was ALWAYS owed something by the government!

          • yarnbarf

            Now that doesn’t work since a child must have a social security number to be claimed. It used to be people wouldn’t bother to get them until they were ready to start working. Millions of children disappeared when the IRS made that change in 1987.

          • An Actual Attorney

            If you get a refund on your tax return, all it means is that you gave the government and interest free loan for the year.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      BTW, keep in mind this person is pretty much a hopeless case. Anyone who could accept the claim “vaccines have killed more people than disease” without rolling on the ground laughing is so far removed from reality that whatever happens, it isn’t going to go well.

  • Amy M

    Here’s an issue unrelated to breastfeeding problems, that highlights another area in which lactivists do not listen.

    I never intended to exclusively breastfeed because I had to go back to work after 3mos. My impression was the majority of mothers in America (something like 60%? not sure what % with babies though) work, so clearly I am not alone. However, I did hope to combo feed, thinking that some breastmilk must be a good thing. I personally did not run into any LCs or lactivists because it was clear after a month that pumping was not working for us, and I switched to 100% formula. However, it seems that combo feeding is an anathema to lactivists and according to them, any amount of formula immediately cancels out any benefits the breastmilk might have conferred. If that’s true, I REALLY wasted my time.

    As a result of that sort of crap, my sister, who had to go back to work 8wk after having her son (and only because she had a Csection, otherwise it would have been 6wk), went straight to formula. Why bother trying to establish breastfeeding if you won’t be with your baby all day by the time you get it going, and anyone who could help you will tell you that all your efforts will be for naught as soon as one drop of formula passes your child’s lips?

    Anyway, the lactivists automatically lose a HUGE swath of their potential audience right there: exclusive breastfeeding is not practical for most working mothers. Some can manage it with pumps, or lucky scheduling, but I’d say they are in the minority. Maybe, some kind of combo feeding relationship could be had and a greater percentage of babies would get more breastmilk, but the lactivists insistence on EXCLUSIVE, and NOT ONE DROP OF FORMULA and sticking their fingers in their ears and going la-la-la when this idea comes up prevents that from happening. I think that’s a shame.

    • auntbea

      A drop of poison is a drop of poison too much.

    • Angela

      In the LLL meetings that I attended shortly after my son’s birth, the leaders had bumper stickers available with the slogan “Every Ounce Counts.” This was a very encouraging message for me and helped abate some of the guilt I felt when I had to introduce formula once I returned to work.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        “Every Ounce Counts.”

        I’m glad that it helped you feel better, but the fact is that it is completely untrue. There is simply no evidence that any amount of ounces “count,” let alone each and every one. Formula is a completely healthy substitute.

        I see slogans like that as a way to diminish the guilt that lactivists cause, but they shouldn’t be causing it in the first plance.

        • Amy M

          Dr. Amy–I agree with you and the science that there are benefits to breastfeeding, albeit small. Do you think that combo fed babies get these same benefits?

          • oryon

            I think the problem is that there’s not enough research done on combo-fed babies vs formula vs breastfed to see if there truly is a difference. And even in formula vs EBF there’s a negligible difference.

            Still, I think the “every ounce counts” slogan could do a lot to reduce shame in some of the more hardcore ‘woo’ circles and although it’s not perfectly correct, if it helps someone, I’m not going to throw something at it.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            No one really knows, but I’ve not seen any evidence otherwise. It is lactivists who have insisted that EBF is some sort of gold standard.

        • Angela

          “I see slogans like that as a way to diminish the guilt that lactivists cause, but they shouldn’t be causing it in the first plance.”

          Oh, I agree. I just think it’s a far better message to help lactivists accomplish their purported goal of helping women breastfeed than the guilt-inducing message that any amount of formula is poison. And while I agree that formula is a completely healthy substitute, it made sense to me that any antibodies I could provide via breastmilk (since I was able to produce milk, was able to pump at work and chose to do so) would be beneficial to my baby (and help me save money on formula!).

          • Amy M

            Yeah, that’s kind of how I thought of it, but as it turned out, I couldn’t produce/pump much breastmilk, so they only got a few ounces of that. Oh well, I don’t regret trying, but its too bad they got no benefit at all from that month of me being hooked up to that stupid pump.

    • Zornorph

      They have this crazy idea about a ‘virgin gut’ and if you feed your LO an ounce of formula you will be busting their stomach cherry.

      • auntbea

        I am fairly sure I have heard someone refer to “busting a cherry” in at least fifteen years.

  • Anka

    I’m curious–were lactivists this horrible about thirty or so years ago? Or is it a new ideological thing? I have a number of friends who are my parents’ age, and all of them (and my therapist, who is the about the same age) have suggested that I contact La Leche League for support because they are a wonderful, knowledgeable resource. (La Leche League gave me the worst, most dangerously dumb advice I got during my period of hellish attempts at EBF.) They also kept telling me to get a midwife when I was pregnant (though there is a shortage here and I couldn’t). They’re not all woo aficionados either in general, so…were midwives and lactivists more reasonable in the 1970’s and 80’s?

    • Young CC Prof

      I think they were. In the 70’s, the mainstream position was that formula feeding was normal. Folks like LLL could position themselves to the left of that and still be very very sane, basically: “There are physical and emotional benefits to breast feeding and women should be encouraged to do it and should have support from family, medical establishment and society at large.”

      Like many organizations, they attained their original reasonable goals, then got weirder. Now, personally, I think they should be fighting for better maternity leave, since the need to work immediately is the #1 preventable reason women don’t breastfeed. But that’s hard, politically, and guilting new mothers is easy.

    • batmom

      I think it depends a lot on the area. The lactation consultant at the hospital here and my CNM were both very supportive and reasonable in their attitudes about supplementing. I was lucky that it wasn’t necessary, but their attitudes were clearly that they’d have more success getting women to breastfeed if it wasn’t presented as something that must be done perfectly and with ultimate maternal sacrifice. (e.g. “Nipple confusion probably doesn’t exist” said my midwife, when I wondered about using a pacifier. “If he has a problem with nursing after you use it, then stop, but there’s no reason to borrow trouble.”)

  • anion

    It’s not one of the reasons you listed, but a friend of mine was sexually abused throughout much of her pre-teen/teen years. Because of the abuse she had some severe trauma/anxiety at the very idea of breastfeeding her children: flashbacks, etc.

    The number of times she was shamed and/or scolded by perfect strangers for not breastfeeding still makes me sick. The complete and utter insensitivity of the lactavists toward her still makes me furious.

    There are reasons other than medical why a woman wouldn’t want to breastfeed, and those reasons are also legitimate and not anybody else’s business. (I’m not saying you said they’re not, just adding another reason.)

    • oryon

      I wasn’t sexually abused (or if I was, I’ve blocked it out – and there are 13 years of my life that I don’t remember, so it’s quite possible – and I’m 23), but I’ve got sensory issues and can barely stand people touching me. The thought of breastfeeding a kiddo sends me into spiraling panic attacks.

      Could I get through it? Probably. Would it be worth it? No, not to me. I’ve worked hard enough to bring the rest of my life into balance (I’ve got anxiety issues, OCD, ADD, possibly Aspergers), and it’s not worth it to throw it off.

      So I’m guessing when I do have kids, I’ll get it from all ends (my Mum even informed me that I’m not ‘allowed to have a c-section without her permission’ and I told her to suck an egg and kiss my arse), so that’ll be fun.

      • I don’t have a creative name

        13 years that are completely gone in your memory? Either there was massive trauma there and your subconscious is blocking it out, or you have some kind of medical issue. Have you spoken with a doctor about this?

      • MaineJen

        “Not allowed to have a C section without her permission?” Wow, thanks a bunch, mom. How ’bout you let me and my doctor figure that one out? K thanks. I hope it was said somewhat jokingly… I don’t think it’s so unusual not to remember things before age 10. I only have flashes of memory from before that age…and anything earlier, like from age 3-4, I’m not sure whether it’s a real memory or just a ‘memory of a memory,’ or hearsay from my older family members. But I don’t have the best memory in general, either…what were we talking about? LOL

      • thepragmatist

        I have all kinds of sensory issues and sexual abuse issues and … well… a whole host of issues and a c-section was a wonderful thing. The pain afterwards was poorly controlled due to an assbackwards hospital, but it wasn’t really pain that was my worst fear– it was everything else. Post-operative pain sucks, and I had a specifically difficult c-section because I bled a lot, but overall it was a very, very good thing for me, because had I torn or otherwise had complications during delivery, it would’ve been a terrible, terrible thing to cope with. So you’re right to tell your mum to sod off.

        One thing I have to say is: you really never know about breast-feeding. I thought I would NOT breastfeed (as a survivor) and went onto to breastfeed until my son weaned. How’s that? I supplemented, so it felt like a choice, and reminded myself continually it was my choice. There was something special about nursing my infant at the breast– something only he and I could do, and something very intimate and beautiful. It was also, at times, horrifically difficult and I required therapy to continue. It was motivating enough to work through it to continue.

        You won’t know until you get there. I’ve know women with terrible histories who found breastfeeding to be really rewarding and comforting– and women with zero mental health or abuse histories who got D-MER and wanted to throw baby out the window every let down. Like most things, it’s a crap shoot. Unlike vaginal delivery, breastfeeding is something you can just stop, and quite quickly, if you don’t like it.

        • Dr Kitty

          Can’t believe your wee one is weaned. Time flies.

          • thepragmatist

            Time flies yes. He’s up to my waist now too and telling me stories at the moment about his play car and how it’s out of gas. LOL

  • Wren

    I think I met half of these lactivists when I was nursing my first. I had pain the whole 9 1/2 months I breastfed him. Turns out I was doing everything right, but he had a tongue-tie that went undiagnosed until about a month after he quit. It wasn’t the usual heart-shaped tongue-tie presentation, so all the “experts” failed to see it until it was too late to keep breastfeeding.
    It was amazing how much easier it was to breastfeed my second.

  • Oh, that totally sounds like a Dutch GP!

    • SkepticalGuest

      Or an American GP at an HMO. In fact, sounds like my son’s peditrician until we got real health insurance. Everything was either me overreacting or me being a bad parent. I got yelled at every time I went in there. It was awful.

      Worse, it turned out my son did have a serious medical condition that was overlooked for two years because of their negligence. If I’d had a choice, I would’ve dropped that pediatric clinic much earlier.

      • Oh no, that’s horrible! I was sort of joking but now I see I struck a nerve. I am sorry for your experiences! My big girl’s condition of a too big adenoid was also overlooked, but otherwise we always got medicine we needed and they took good care of her when she had the pseudo kroup. But it took me a while to find a good doctor here.

      • And don’t even get me started on dentists!

  • Lynnie

    My breastfeeding “failure” was pretty much the result of people not listening to me. When my son was born, he was pretty lethargic. He would fall into a deep sleep as soon as I picked him up (he eventually got diagnosed with Neonatal Polycythemia a few days after he was born), but all the nurses at the small town hospital would say is that I needed to try to nurse him more. I would be in tears trying to wake up my baby and keep him awake long enough to keep him latched and all the help I got was that I needed to try to nurse him more. I was made to feel that my son’s lethargy and breastfeeding problems were caused by MY inability to get my son to latch. By the time we left the hospital I was extremely stressed and burnt out and the thought of breastfeeding was just too much….. so I started pumping. I told the midwife/lactation consultant who did the well baby exams when my son was about a week and a half old that I resorted to pumping but I wasn’t making enough and her advice was “try getting him on the breast because babies drain breasts a lot better than a pump”. (Of course, he had a easily successful latch in her office, one of the very few successful latches-of course I felt like an idiot when I couldn’t get him to latch at home.) I pumped for over a month before I realized that it just wasn’t worth it. I had to use a double pump on both breasts for about 45 minutes to get enough milk for the next bottle and once my son started feeling better, he was HUNGRY and would eat often and a lot. Of course, as soon as I started pumping, he started crying to be picked up. My insistence that my son get breast milk was hindering my parenting.

  • Burgundy

    I have to say that I was lucky to have met 2 good lactation consultants. One thought me how to combo fee my first baby. Another one put a two weeks break on breast feeding when my 2nd baby almost chump off my left nipple and damaged the right side. If not for them, I would not survived the first month for both kids. I had a terrible one that did not listen and did not care. It was a horrible experience and no mom should experience that.

    • yarnbarf

      The words “nipple” and “chomp” do not belong in the same sentence. Ever. Unless that’s what you’re into.

    • Suzi Screendoor

      I wish someone had said that to me! After examining my destroyed left nipple, the nurse told me there was nothing wrong with the latch and then said, “Well, don’t give up.” I said I was worried it would get infected and she told me I could nurse even through a really bad infection. Maybe if she had told me to take a break, give a bottle, pump for a few days, etc, it wouldn’t have turned into full-fledged mastitis and I would still be nursing. Lactivists need to admit that the all-or-nothing approach isn’t working.

  • Bodnoirbabe

    I once went to this LLL meeting for help with my latch. There was a woman there who apparantly had excruciating pain when she was breastfeeding. Listening to her describe how she would curl into a ball and sob after feedings, or sometimes punch walls while her baby was suckling. She said she couldn’t wear shirts much of the time because her breasts were too tender. She showed us that she was wearing a hard plastic nipple shield. She’d been to doctors, she’d been checked for everything but nothing fit and nothing helped.

    Her baby was 6 months old at the time and she was STILL breastfeeding.

    My baby was just 4 weeks old and I was ready to give up. I had contracted thrush and so had my baby. That woman was insane but all the LLL people were fawning over her about what a hero she was to give her little one milk despite her issues and all I could think was she was a god damn idiot.

    • Wren

      I wasn’t in that much pain, but it did hurt. I had no idea it wasn’t just me being overly sensitive until I had my second and it didn’t.

    • Are you nuts

      I guess it’s good these LLL guides don’t have to take the Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm.”

    • guest

      I had horrible pain nursing for a good three months. I wasn’t trying to be a hero, but I was probably a lot like that “god damn idiot” you described. In light of the fact that we had no other problems, and the one problem was eventually solved, I am happy with my decision to keep trying. It was right for me, and maybe it was right for her too. Can we agree not to pass judgment on anyone, whether they choose to breastfeed or not?

  • KarenJJ

    If people got appendicitis back in the old days then how did the human race ever survive, huh?

    • Sue

      But they survived appendicitis better because they had clean water, good hygiene and better nutrition….no, wait…

      • DirtyOldTown

        No, they survived appendicitis because they lived in a matriarchal society, and had not yet been conditioned by the patriarchy to believe that appendicitis (which is 100% natural) was in any way dangerous or painful. Blessed be, mamma!

        • Antigonos CNM

          Who says they survived? They just didn’t die from appendicitis because no one had discovered it yet. Because of the advanced state of science in those glorious Golden Age days, people died from “poison”, or “witchcraft”.

          Deja vu ain’t what it used to be.

          • EllenD

            My grandmother was orphaned as a baby because my great grandmother died of a perforated appendix in the 1920’s. They didn’t survive, yet the human race continues. And here I am, living proof.

      • Esther

        No silly, it was the paleo, organic, non-GMO food they ate.

  • New greasemonkey script for this site:
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    • Lisa Cybergirl

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      • Yeah I should have excluded the home page.
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