You can’t hide from the Breastapo!

iStock_000003310617XSmall

Apparently it is not enough for lactivists that breastfeeding promotion is the official policy of the land. It is critical to purify the world by shaming women who choose to bottlefeed anyway.

But bottle feeders have begun a stealth campaign to escape detection and opprobrium. If confronted while bottlefeeding, they’ve taken to lying about the contents of the bottle. They actually dare to claim that the bottle is filled with breastmilk. Don’t worry, though; the Breastapo is on the case!

Like every fascist organization, militant lactivists feel the need for a secret police force, hence the Breastapo. The Kommandant of the Breastapo is Allison Dixley of The Alpha Parent. Dixley has helpfully created an educational poster designed to allow the average lactivist to sniff out — literally — those bottlefeeders who are lying to save themselves.

As Dixley warned when introducing the poster:

Formula feeding in public? Don’t bother trying to pretend it’s breast milk.


The poster is loaded with tips for informants on how to discern the difference between breastmilk and formula even when it is in a bottle. For example, breastmilk may look thin and watery, but formula is of uniform color. And breastmilk may have a layer fat on the top, while formula is of uniform density.

You don’t have to simply trust your eyes, though. Once you grab the bottle away from the mother and baby, be sure to smell it. Formula has a “cheesy” odor.

On her Facebook page, Dixley notes:

I’m not sure if the internet is ready for this. Oh well, some things have just gotta be said.

But unlike Dixley, some lactivists are too mealy mouthed to recognize the need of the Breastapo to recruit informers from among general public.

One commentor states:

Lady, you are so full of hate and issues….please do not kid yourself for one minute that you are anything like Dr Jack Newman or anyone else who promotes breastfeeding. You are a troll, pure and simple, and all you achieve is to cause upset and hurt. Do not kid yourself for one minute that you are a breastfeeding advocate. You do more harm than good and I really, really wish you would stop and do something positive to promote breastfeeding.

Someone else offered the ultimate compliment/insult:

Because she is the Dr Amy of breastfeeding…loud rude & obnoxious…but does get her point across!

Well, we may sound the same, but we have very different points to put across. My point is to alert women to the dangerous misinformation espoused by homebirth advocates, lactivists and vaccine rejectionists, and I occasionally invoke shame to do it. I’ve gotten my point across when women question misinformation and learn about the real risks of their options. It’s a victory for me when a baby’s life is saved, an incompetent midwife is exposed, a child is fully vaccinated or a mother feels happy with her own choice for pain relief in labor or bottlefeeding.

Allison’s point is to shame, period. No woman who is currently bottlefeeding could return to breastfeeding even if she wanted to, so there is no benefit to babies. There’s no benefit to anyone except lactivists themselves, who enjoy a frisson of satisfaction when hurting other women. Allison wins if another woman cries.

The post Allison created is to designed to spread the hurt to places where Allison herself cannot go. I doubt she should trust other women to shame as effectively as she can, though. Instead of trying to recruit new members of the Breastapo, Allison should make it easier on herself and propose the obvious: All bottlefeeding mothers should be branded on the forehead with the letter “B.” That way only minimal effort is required to identify bottlefeeders for shaming purposes.

Then it will be impossible to hide from the Breastapo!

  • Lili

    Are you insane? To compare people who want to encourage women to breastfeed their babies and support them through the process to the most murderous organisation od 20 century is just plain crazy and disrespectful to the real victims. Are you so out of touch? As a granddaughter of World War II survivals I find it ignorant and offensive.
    Nobody should be judged by their choice to formula feed. That’s one thing we agree on. Everybody’s situation is individual and as long as a woman make conscious, educated decision she is making a RIGHT decision and should be supported and helped with alternative options . The breastfeeding campaign is not even directed at those mothers but at those who do want to breastfeed and face many obstacles (the most common scenario) and those who haven’t made their decision yet but should have access to research and information. Majority breastfeeding advocates don’t judge formula mums and if there are any who do it’s because of their own issues, not because they are breastfeeding advocates. Highly judgmental people come who make nasty comments and personaly atack others come from all walk of life – just look at yourself.

  • Crappymother

    Just took a look at the rest of the pinboard which is full of more sanctimonious, holier than thou posters about the superiority of breastmilk. Some of the comments are good though, however I think one summed it up nicely when she just retorted ‘plz shut the fuck up’.
    Also she needs to remember that everyone knows what is in the bottle as breastfeeding mothers have a shiny halo around their heads so there’s no need to look at the milk.

  • OBGYNRN

    Remember that a ‘lactation consultant’ title is a made up title. Take the trial attorney’s approach to a deposition….. What attracts you to other women’s breasts? Is there any form of nudity? Do you, in the course of your ‘work’ as a lactation consultant get to look and touch another woman’s breasts? Isn’t your use of ‘breast is best’ simply a cover to gain the confidence of the naïve mother so your can look and or touch her breasts?
    Lastly, once you remove any form of a uniform and any fake titles from the ‘lactation consultant’, what to you have left? Just ANOTHER woman abusing the field of women’s healthcare to gain intimate access to another woman’s body.
    Reminds me of the wackos back in the 70s having menstrual extraction parties! Women with no real education or knowledge abusing other women under the guise of ‘helping….

    • Trixie

      I’ve got to say that in my personal experience, the hospital-affiliated lactation consultants, who are also RNs, that I have known, were extremely respectful of my body, and my right to make choices about feeding my baby, as well as extremely helpful. While there are bad LCs out there, I really think you’re stretching to make this about sexuality. Frankly your comments are a bit disturbing.

  • Bethany

    Nothing makes me angrier than lactivists’ sanctimonious attitude toward other women. For their information, my brother was born with a terrible, life-threatening allergy. He could not drink breastmilk or even most formula. My parents had to get a special kind of formula from England. My brother almost died after his birth before the DOCTORS found out what was wrong.

    Before they go telling mothers “I hope that’s breastmilk”, maybe they should consider that not all babies are able to have it.

    And guess what, my formula-fed brother? He’s an extremely healthy athlete and honors student who is rarely ever sick. So they can shove it with their “Feeding formula hurts babies!!!!1” crap.

  • Bomb

    If someone asked me what I was feeding my baby I’d ask when the last time they had anal sex was. Conversation ended. And yes, I’ve done this more than once.

    • Bombshellrisa

      I am stealing this one-too good to pass up!

  • wookie130

    Stare into my baby bottle while I’m feeding my daughter, and I’ll probably get creeped out and find somewhere else to feed her. Snatch the baby bottle away to sniff/smell it’s contents, and I’ll cold-cock you. Sheesh, what a freak this Dixley is.

  • Ainsley Nicholson

    This is just bizzare. Doesn’t Dixley realize that after your expressed breastmilk has sat in the fidge and separated, you shake it up before feeding it to the baby??

  • DrClaire

    I’m not a lactivist, and agree the alpha parent writes such rubbish it’s almost funny. However I would say I find using holocaust words – breastfeeding nazi, breastapo – to describe lactivists is not helpful. I think women who work to support those who wish to breastfeed find these terms very offensive, understandably.

    • Lisa the Raptor

      I get what you are saying here, but I think this is something that really happens all the time. It’s kinda just part of culture now to call people Nazis when people are ridiculously adherent to a belief. If there were not a million other examples I might say “Hey wait a second” but the terms are becoming more common place than they were even 30 or 40 years ago. One can talk about the German Fascists without necessarily referring to the Holocaust. We could say they are simply Fascist German words.

      • Lisa the Raptor

        I mean the Soup Nazi was on Seinfeld 20 years ago.

      • AmyP

        The head of a local dance school is known around here as “the Ballet Nazi.” I thought it was ha-ha funny–right up until they cut my 1st grader from the spring dance program and then my daughter didn’t want to do ballet anymore.

        The term “ballet Nazi” seems not uncommon on the internet.

        • Lisa the Raptor

          You googled it lol?

          • AmyP

            Yeah. It’s hundreds, rather than millions of google entries, but it’s not just our local terminology. There are Ballet Nazis all over the US.

    • Katarina

      I’m partial to the expression “tit-nazi”.
      What I find offensive, is that these people are deliberately advocating, that women should be shackled to their offspring for the first 5 or so years of their lives, since so many of them have a fetish for “extended breastfeeding”. They’re dragging all of us back in time.

  • A Lurker

    Also, to create one of her offensive and anti-woman images, she has stolen the artwork of American artist Nikki McClure (I spotted it because I own a print of the image. The original text by the artist is “examine the food chain.”) See here: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/128985976800915133/ I’m gonna be the asshole who contacts the artist and let her know that her artwork is being altered without permission or attribution.

    • Lisa the Raptor

      Good for you!

    • Karen in SC

      did it get removed?

    • wahwahwah

      Strong mothers aren’t manipulated by silly posters.

      • Dr Kitty

        Yeah, but emotionally vulnerable mothers might be hurt or upset by them.

  • A Lurker

    If it’s so easy to tell just by looking, why did my day care put different labels on breastmilk and formula bottles?

    Also, even as a La Leche League leader, it has never occurred to me to ever give a shit as to what is in someone else’s bottle.

  • Pillabi

    [Does it happen only to me or is it normal that the bottom part of the page, when scrolling down, suddenly becomes completely black?]

    • Lisa the Raptor

      It’s everyone. Heaven help you if a good comment is stuck on the line. You can’t read it well.

    • Eddie Sparks

      Minimise the comment threads above (using the little “minus” line to the top right) and everything moves up into the white space. It was a life saver to me when someone else suggested that.

    • Karen in SC

      If you use Firefox, you can get a User Script Greasemonkey called SkepticalOb Layout Fixer. The layout changes slightly but the black hole of comments is banished. All hail the regular commenter who wrote it!

  • Joy_F

    Stainless steel bottles are the answer (I use them because I could boil them on a couple work trips to China, Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka – fantastically sanitary) no one can see what is inside. AND boilable in countries without perfectly clean water!

    Having had both Formula and bm in the bottles though – because I was doing a combo – I can’t “smell” the difference. Seriously – who does this?

  • Meerkat

    It’s funny, now that my son is 15 months, everyone is giving me hard time about still breastfeeding him. He eats like a normal toddler (loves fruit and veggies, chicken, cheese, eggs) but sometimes still asks for the breast.

    • Trixie

      Hey, if it works for both of you, keep it up! Nothing wrong with it whatsoever!

    • Lisa the Raptor

      I *weaned* my 13 month old when my husband and
      i went to Alaska for a week…..and then I came home and started nursing him again. Everyone was pissed, most of all my MIL who did all the work of weaning lol. And then he weaned himself a month later

      • Lisa the Raptor

        And he is 18 months now. I still can get out a bit of milk and he will sometimes put his hand in my cleavage while drinking from a cup. Maybe I nursed him too long and he now has a boob obsession…or maybe he’s just a boob lovin’ boy?

        • Guest

          My kid was bottle fed and periodically puts his hand in my cleavage so I don’t think his “boob obsession” is strictly from breastfeeding.

          • Lisa the Raptor

            I don’t know about you guys but I get felt up by my kids way more than I ever did when I was dating. I was in the store the other day and realized that my daughter is holding my rear end and my baby boy has his hand down my shirt. My ten year old is resting his head on my shoulder. I suddenly get the urge to scream “Stop touching me!! Wahhhhh!”

          • Dr Kitty

            Yeah, kids do not see their mother’s as having ANY
            need for personal space.

          • Lisa the Raptor

            We have “Private bodies” at our house and if you walk in on my 4 year old going potty she will remind you that it’s her private body and you need to leave. If Mommy is taking a bath and she says “private body time”, Mommy gets reminded by daughter that she gets to take a bath too and that mommy has to share. Uh huh.

          • Amy M

            Yeah, not that long ago I heard giggling from my room and then “Mom!!! N has your boobs!” N comes strutting out wearing my bra. Sigh….I think most males just find boobs fascinating.

          • Lisa the Raptor

            Even a few gay men I know think boobs are pretty interesting things. I mean, shoot, they’re squishy!

        • Julia

          My son self weaned at 12 months. Now a year later, he suddenly developed a boob obsession. Hands down my cleavage while giggeling and saying “boobs!”. He also points them out on pictures *all the time*. A bit quirky and quite adorable.

          • Lisa the Raptor

            Boys!

          • Meerkat

            Omg, that’s too funny! I think my husband is afraid that my son will never want to give it up. I kinda love it though. It finally doesn’t hurt, and my son pets my face and purrs while he nurses. Yesterday he came off the breast, looked at me, grinned and said ” mama” in a sweetest voice. He does dive for the cleavage though, sometimes not even mine!

        • Jessica

          My cousin’s son was born with a cleft palate and never nursed. (Though she did exclusively pump for 13 months!) He still liked to stick his hand down her cleavage when they were snuggling.

          • Lisa the Raptor

            Pumping exclusively is hard core. I give any mom that does that mad props.

  • Lynnie

    The Brestapo, great name. And so fitting. I knew some members of the Brestapo when my son was a baby. I did earn some favor with them because for a long time I was actually feeding my son “liquid gold” in a bottle, then over time, I started giving my son more and more “rat poison”. And they couldn’t tell the difference. But now they can with that handy dandy poster. (But even with out the poster, I could tell the difference from experience. I can still spot if a bottle is breast milk or formula, if I chose to care.) I still remember lying about what is in the bottle to certain members of the Brestapo, though. I didn’t think it was any of their business and since I am usually a quiet person and had a touch of PPD, I REALLY didn’t want to get into a long “discussion” of my inability to parent my child correctly.
    Ugh, parenting snobs, how I can’t stand them. And I am still not 100% convinced that the Alpha Parent blog isn’t a parody, but I digress. I am glad that I do have friends who accept me in my parenting choices and aren’t psycho about people doing it their way. I do know some moms who are that way, but I have learned to ignore and avoid them.

  • This is why i wish Tina Fey would be an anti-woo activist. She already coined the term “Teat Nazi”

    • Lisa the Raptor

      Her rant in “Bossy Pants” was hilarious

      • Susan

        I loved Bossy Pants!

    • KarenJJ

      Except the woo would be so outclassed in humour you’d almost feel sorry for them. I just looked at TAP’s sites. I didn’t go before, but I’ve now seen the halo. My conclusion, she is a nutter and not too bright.

  • nomorequestionscatherine

    I combo fed (much heavier on the formula side) with my son and when he was around 2 months old, I took him to go have lunch with my husband at work. A few of his colleagues came to lunch with us and when I had to feed my son his (pre-mixed formula) bottle during the meal the guy (in his 60s) sitting across from me said to me “I hope that’s *your* milk.” Obviously meaning breast milk.

    I am not quick with comebacks in general and can’t remember what I said but I’m sure it was something meek and dismissive. What I wish I’d said was something along the lines of “Of course it’s my milk. I bought at the store, so now it’s mine.” or some such.

    So just watch out all you bottle feeders. The breastapo can take all shapes and forms. It’s not limited to young, white, relatively well-off women judging each other.

    Also, as a side note – how bizarre is it to ask your much younger colleagues wife about the excretions of her breasts at a lunch table full of other co-workers!

    • Sue

      Ugh – what a creep!

    • Sue

      I’m usually late with the one-liners too, but in response to “I hope that’s YOUR milk”, one could say:

      – Why – would you like some? or
      – No – it’s the baby’s milk; or
      – Why – did you lose yours?

    • Pillabi

      “I hope that’s your milk”.
      “No, I’ve stolen it from the baby who’s crying overthere”.

      • Amy M

        It’s a White Russian. (unless you’d think he’d not understand sarcasm and call CPS immediately)

        • Burgundy

          My husband did that once when an older lady (we don’t even know) asked us that at a restaurant. You should see the expression on her face, PRICELESS!

    • Young CC Prof

      How about: “I hadn’t realized you were a pediatrician!”

  • Pillabi

    [Totally OT, but some hours ago I posted this comment in the thread of an old article:
    http://www.skepticalob.com/2013/09/lets-review-strengthening-the-immune-system.html
    which of course no one is editing anymore, so I probably won’t ever get an answer. Sorry for the lack of *netiquette*, but I repeat it here:]

    Recently I’ve come across the following claim: the immune system of newborns is immature, not yet able to distinguish the attacker, and it must be “educated” before getting vaccines. If you vaccinate a baby in his very first days or months, probably he will have fewer reactions (fever, pain…), but this is no good because it means he is not yet able to eliminate toxins, whereas an older child (for example a 6-year-old one) has developed this ability.
    Moreover, the newborn’s immune system gets confused and disoriented by vaccines.

    I’ve got the feeling that this doesn’t make sense… But I lack the medical knowledge to explain why. Can someone help me?!

    • Lisa the Raptor

      If their immune systems were that weak would it not be like having full blown AIDs and they’d get every disease ever? But I know there is a reason they don’t vaccinate for some things right away. I know that we got the hep A (or B, can’t remember) after birth but then it was 2 months before we got more. I know. All this is useless. lol

      • Pillabi

        wait, wait, you are forgetting something crucial: newborns’ immune system is *immature* (therefore you should wait YEARS, not months before vaccinating) but they are *not weak* if they are protected by the magical superpowers of breastmilk!!!

        • Lisa the Raptor

          Indeed! Unless, of course Mom has not had the illness yet. But breast milk is psychic and knows what mom will get and magically changes mixtures.

    • AlisonCummins

      I’ve been told in comments here that this kind of information must be withheld! If people don’t know better it’s their own fault because they could ask their doctor who will be happy to spend an hour giving a crash course in immunology, or they could just go to wikipedia and find out. So nobody here is supposed to answer your question, and if they do on no account must you share the answer even if it means that a baby dies.

      • Pillabi

        I know what you are talking about, I’ve read that thread. And I agree with you: if it were so easy for lay people to tell the difference between reliable information and so-called *evidence-based* crap, this blog would have no reason to exist. I’m sorry you got that nasty answer, but more than once on this board I’ve been given useful information by commenters and I’m sure this will happen again, as long as I’m so pedant to keep on asking boring questions… 😉

      • Karen in SC

        uh, what?

    • jenny

      What’s meant by eliminating toxins? The liver does that, and it does it from day one.

      The infant immune system is naive, and vaccines are one way that it can “educated.” Basically, the first time the body encounters an antigen, there is a lag in the immune response, while the body learns how to produce antibodies, which is why we get sick. After the illness, antibodies linger in our blood. In addition, there are cells called memory cells which remember how to produce antibodies that neutralize the antigen. Subsequent exposure reactivates these cells which then differentiate into antibody producing cells. The immune reaction is quicker and stronger so our illness is mild or nonexistent. This is why we vaccinate – so that our first exposure to these diseases is to something that can’t make us sick – a piece of the microorganism or a weakened form, etc.

      Babies get passive immunity while in utero – antibodies from the mother’s blood. They also get some passive immunity in the early weeks of breastfeeding, but eventually (very quickly!) they clear the maternal antibodies and produce their own through exposure to antigens. That’s another reason to vaccinate babies. They need the exposure to develop their own immune system, and the safest way for them to get it is through something that won’t make them sick, which is a vaccine.

      • jenny

        There’s another way of looking at eliminating toxins, btw. We vaccinate against the tetanus toxin rather than the tetanus bacteria. That’s because we also use antibodies to neutralize toxins. So to make the tetanus vaccine, they make a piece of a tetanus toxin, called a toxiod, which can’t cause any trouble. This teaches the immune system what to do when it encounters that toxin, so that the toxin doesn’t make us as sick. The antibodies inactivate the toxins so they can be “eaten” and cleaned up by white blood cells. Eventually all that crap does get cleaned out by the liver.

        And the thing about babies not getting fevers and inflammation is so stupid I don’t know how to address it, sorry Pillabi. 🙂 Of course they get fevers and inflammation. Have these people ever been around a baby?

        • Pillabi

          unfortunately YES 😉

        • KarenJJ

          One of my children has a faulty immune system that causes an overreaction of the inflammatory part of the immune system. She showed symptoms related to her over-active immune system within hours of being born (my suspicion is she was reacting to the cold of the operating theatre – cold conditions can cause a non-itchy hives like rash).

          • Lisa the Raptor

            Isn’t that by definition an autoimmune disease? Or is it different?

          • KarenJJ

            It’s different. Auto-immunity is due to a problem of the Adaptive part of the immune system creating anti-bodies against the body’s own tissues. Our problem is called “Auto-inflammatory” where the Innate immune system (so a different part of the immune system) causes inflammation to be constantly high and/or overreact to things it shouldn’t (eg cold temperatures).

            Auto-inflammatory syndromes are generally due to genetic mutations (we have an identified genetic mutation) and are quite rare. We’re lucky in that ours is controlled very well using a biologics medication.

          • Lisa the Raptor

            Interesting. Thank you for explaining. I’d never heard of that.

      • Pillabi

        But is it possible that vaccines interfere with the “physiological development” of the immune system by “disorienting” it… or is this just sheer fantasy?!

        • Young CC Prof

          Definitely fantasy. The immune system does not possess a sense of direction, and whoever wrote this probably does not comprehend the different parts of the immune system and what they do.

          Also, note discussion of unidentified toxins. Whenever someone talks about the dangers of unspecified toxins, it’s probably nonsense.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          • Pillabi

            Thanks, I had already read that article but, as long as I’ve understood, this “immune system education” theory has a different focus: they don’t call into question HOW vaccines work, but they
            claim that if a baby is vaccinated in his early months he won’t be able to develop a normal, healthy immune system *in general* (with no reference to the specific diseases against which he was vaccinated). It’s this supposed correlation that puzzles me: why and how should vaccines interfere with the baby’s ability of dealing with a cold?! Or with the development of a healthy and functioning intestinal flora? They answer with this blurred notion of the immune system getting “disoriented”, and that’s it.

          • Sue

            Pillabi – the antigens in vaccines represent only a tiny proportion of the bacterial and viral antigens that babies and toddlers are exposed to. Each new exposure just adds some immune memory. The advantage of vaccination is that it is an effective exposure to an antigen without having to survive the full-blown infection. Also more reliable, cos a child might not get measles or chicken pox infection and therefore may not develop immunity.

        • Playing Possum

          Fantasy. Presenting the antigens required to mount a response to a devastating illness is a nifty little piggybacking of a normal process. Better living through technology.

          It’s just including the specific disease associated antigens in the tidal wave of antigens a human is presented with in the first years of life. Millions, zillions of unique antigens breathed in, transferred from finger to mouth, eaten (especially in breast milk!). A few extra antigens are a minor contribution.

      • Mishimoo

        That is the best analogy, ever! May I borrow it for the next time I get into an argument with an antivaxxer?

        • jenny

          Go for it, lol.

          • Mishimoo

            Thanks 😀

    • Young CC Prof

      Most diseases, we DON’T vaccinate newborns against, not so much because it might harm them as because it simply doesn’t work, their immune systems are too immature to respond well with antibodies. (Also, in newborns under 1 month, Mom’s antibodies kill things before baby even gets the chance.) The ages on the schedule are pretty much the earliest age at which a baby will give a good strong reaction.

      • Sue

        Yep – that’s why the schedule is put together by people who know this stuff, and based on studies.

        Also: Why wait for six years to protect a child who could suffer more from those infections while younger than six?

        • Carolyn the Red

          My husband grew up in Denmark in the 70s/80s, and was vaccinated against all the diseases at 7 when he started school, as was standard then. By that time he’d had german measles, mumps…

          • Lisa the Raptor

            Rubella is one of those that is usually harmless if you’re born. It can be terrible for a pregnant mother. There was a famous actress who’s son was badly damaged because she got it while pregnant. I think she and her son would have a lot to say about early rubella vaccines.

          • Young CC Prof

            In Japan, they decided to discontinue the MMR. They do separate shots now. Only girls get the rubella one, and not until around 12. Result: Males and children get it all the time, and there’s one case of congenital rubella syndrome every year or so. The US, which vaccinates both sexes at age 1, hasn’t seen a single CRS case in decades. Best example of why herd immunity really is a thing.

          • Lisa the Raptor

            Why would they only vaccinate one sex. Do they not understand that by having it all over the place in the male population they are exposing females that might not have gotten the best protection form the vaccine? Wha?

          • Young CC Prof

            Because Andrew Wakefield, and the power of stupid people in large numbers.

            Every time I think that the US immunization situation couldn’t be dumber, I look at some other first-world countries, and know I was wrong.

    • KarenJJ

      I thought vaccines helped with the “education”?

    • fiftyfifty1

      Arguments like that are difficult to combat because the whole thing is nonsense, so where do you start? It’s as if I wrote about cars like this:
      “The engine of a car is reliant on internal combustion. That’s why diesel is a poor choice. A fuel with the octane of diesel cannot provide the ready combustion power needed to efficiently power the drive shaft. This results in lower performance per mile as well as increased emissions. This is why diesel should be phased out.”
      I know nothing about cars. I just completely made up that paragraph by throwing together some words like “diesel” and “octane” and “internal combustion engine” and “emissions” and “drive shaft”. It’s completely nonsensical, but I bet I could use it to fool other people who also know nothing about cars just as long as I delivered it in a confident manner. Pretty soon they would all be against diesel and would believe it causes pollution and would believe themselves to be “educated” on the topic of Diesel Fuel.
      The quote you copy is the same. You can’t combat it except to say “The immune system works nothing like you imagine it does”

      • Young CC Prof

        The Pauli Principle: Not only is it not right, it is not even wrong.

        Actually, though, that’s not a terrible explanation of why cars don’t run on diesel. The main mistake is that cars DON’T currently run on diesel, only trucks and buses. (And some diesel does cause a lot of pollution. Major metro areas often require low-sulfur diesel.

        • Antigonos CNM

          We’ve got lots of diesel cars here in Israel…

        • Yogi

          “Cars don’t run on diesel”? Tell it to VW, Ford, Chevy, etc etc

          • Young CC Prof

            True, some of the high-end ones can. Most of the ones around here can’t, though.

        • Pillabi

          Lots of diesel cars in Italy too. Mine, for example. 😉

        • fiftyfifty1

          “Actually, though, that’s not a terrible explanation of why cars don’t run on diesel.”
          Wow, I can believe I stumbled onto something that contains even a bit of “not terrible”. What luck!

      • Pillabi

        My problem when I hear this sort of things is that I istinctively KNOW they don’t make sense (the choice of words itself is a clue, like many of you pointed out: toxins, education, disorientation… all very imaginative and poetical, i.e. all very meaningless)… But at the same time there is also this naif part of me that thinks “why on hearth should anyone bother to make up such stuff, and spend their time in *educating* other people to believe it?!”… Btw it’s not things I find reading randomly in the web, but this is what is taught in an Italian midwifery school a friend of mine happens to attend. It’s not a public school but it’s attended by graduated midwives (more or less your CNMs). So I always tell myself: these people studied scientific disciplines, they have studied and worked in hospitals, therefore they MUST know what’s science and what’s not, they MUST be able to recognize reliable research from fake evidence!
        Well, clearly they can’t.
        Sadness.

    • yentavegan

      I don’t know where you read the claim that newborns immune systems need time to be “educated” but i can smell propaganda by choice of words used. “Educated” is not a word used in scientific studies when describing a newborns immune system.
      Somebody has a vested interest in hoodwinking parents living in industrialised prosperous nations into leveling the playing field by reintroducing eradicated diseases back into the population. there is a nefarious political motivation behind the anti-vaxers.

    • Playing Possum

      Answered below, but also wanted to add that most vpds cause disproportionate morbidity/ mortality in younger age groups – like the increased risk of sspe with younger measles infection. It’s to do with body proportions, capacity to tolerate extreme physiological disturbances such as dehydration, or shock, or airway obstruction. It’s not worth waiting around for a “mature” immune system to vaccinate if you end up ignoring the most vulnerable population.

  • WhatPaleBlueDot
  • Lizz

    Formula smell is not uniform and neither is texture. Regular powdered Enfamil smells like cheese, Similac smells like old powdered milk, soy tends to smell like dog food, Nutramigen is more like swimming pool and Alimentum is kind of like potatoes but with a tinge of vomit. Texture varies a bit depending on brand ,whether it had to be reconstituted and if it has a thickener in it.
    Formula may always have to have the same nutrients but it varies A LOT. Can we end the myth that all formula is alike in every way shape and form?

    • Lizz

      I keep getting the question of have I ever tasted formula and yes at least 10 kinds including the RTF, concentrate and powdered versions of the Similac brands cheapest versions. Their flavor is not uniform either.

    • Zornorph

      I need to switch from Similac to Nutramigen, then. I love the smell of swimming pool.

      • moto_librarian

        No, no, no! Nutramigen is the MOST foul-smelling substance of all time! Alimentum is better if you must use hypoallergenic formula.

        • Jen

          Wait, can I throw in a vote for Pregestimil as the worst, most unholy smell ever? It smells like rancid potatoes that have been left inside of a 12-year-old boy’s gym socks, after a cat has vomited on them.

          • amazonmom

            I can’t wait until we get sterile liquid supplements for our preemies at work. Pregestimil makes them all smell BAD.

    • Josephine

      In my experience Enfamil smells way worse than Similac coming back up, too. Similac has the least-offensive scent to me. It also tastes slightly less horrible…sorta.

      • Lizz

        RTF Similac Advance tastes like the powdered milk my Dad used to stretch the milk with. It’s metallic but it’s not horrible.
        Personally I liked the flavor of Isomil.

        If I ever had to live on baby formula I’m going with Similac all the way.

    • Leica

      What, you didn’t taste test them too? We did when our first started needing supplementing. My husband decided to taste the Enfamil that we’d gotten as a sample and called it horrific. We mixed up Similac, Enfamil. Gerber, Earth’s Best, Kroger store brand, and Baby’s Only and did a blind taste test. Yes, we’re weird like that.

      The Baby’s Only was the clear winner on taste and smell, but then we did more looking and found out about a little arsenic issue. Bummer, because it actually tasted good (vanilla and coconut). Earth’s Best came in second, very mild taste, no strong odors. We disagreed on the exact order but Similac, Gerber, and Kroger came next in line. Enfamil was at the bottom by unanimous vote.

      • sue

        Leica – why did you and your husband do the taste test rather than have your baby pick the favourite? maybe Bub would have picked a different winner 😉

        • Leica

          You know, we didn’t even think about it at the time. We were trying to pick the one that tasted/smelled the most like regular milk. Funny thing is that for baby 2 we got samples again, and I decided to just use those up to supplement if needed, because hey, free! Tried the Enfamil first and he would not take it at ALL. About 9 months we moved purely to formula, usually Earth’s Best, but we’ve also given him Similac and Kroger (smells pretty grody, but he’ll take it). He’s a lot more enthusiastic about the EB, but the others are acceptable.

          I got some freebie Enfamil singles samples, and stuck them in my purse for emergencies. I figured he’d be well past any issues with that particular formula. We were out longer than usual, he got hungry, so I mixed up a bottle. He took one sip, turned his head away, let out a bloodcurdling shriek, and would not try it again. So the moral of the story is – Enfamil is gross.

    • Courtney84

      Ima get real for one hot second. My primary motivation to breastfeed my little boy, anticipated this Christmas, is because I think formula smells awful. I’m a picky eater and can’t imagine having to drink that stuff. I know babies don’t know any better; they suck it down and love it. But it grosses me out. My personal motto isn’t breast is best, it’s breast smells best.

      • Lizz

        Ehh… My breastmilk smelled and tasted like soap. So not a big improvement either way.

        • palma fm

          Not a big fan of any of the milk we’ve give the baby (we are trialing formulas to find one he can drink). But they do all smell/look different. So far I’d say the isomil smells better to me than both my breastmilk and similac advanced ha. Hes eaten them all with gusto (even the ones that dont agree with him).

        • Trixie

          That’s due to excess lipase. If the baby takes it, it’s no problem. But you can also scald it right after expressing, and it’ll take care of that smell.

      • Antigonos CNM

        Having once seen a co-worker put Similac in coffee because the nurses’ fridge was flat out of ordinary milk, and seen her face, I agree that formula tastes lousy. However, I’ve tasted breastmilk and didn’t find it very palatable, frankly.

        • Wren

          The very last breastmilk my son got was on a flight from the UK to the US. It was still partially frozen from my freezer stash when we got to the airport, where they made me taste it. Partially frozen breast milk is TERRIBLE tasting.

          • Antigonos CNM

            I doubt entirely frozen breast milk would have tasted any better

          • Wren

            I think it might have. Once it was totally thawed my son seemed fine with it.

          • Trixie

            Could you have had a lipase issue? That’s the only reason it would taste worse than fresh.

          • Wren

            I’m pretty sure the issue was the fat had sort of separated and then thawed at a different rate to the rest.

    • Lisa the Raptor

      My thawed out breast milk could smell downright nasty and synthetic.

  • Lisa the Raptor

    An interesting side note about WIC. IF you have given the baby one bottle in the last 30 days you cannot get the free breast pump. I had been in the hospital for 5 days and was pumping and dumping and the baby was eating pumped milk and formula and they would not give me one until it had been 30 days. I had no way of controlling that. Some of these rules are stupid. Like why cant WIC give away pumps for people who have low supply but have to supplement with formula, like I did with my second? I have no control over my gallbladder crapping out, nor the transfer because of a stray stone, nor the insufficient milk supply with my second.

    • Trixie

      That’s a ridiculous rule. Hopefully access to pumps will improve under the Affordable Care Act.

      • Lisa the Raptor

        At least hand pumps? Seems like if they were so dead set they’d be happy with a little over nothing.

        • SkepticalGuest

          Have you ever tried to hand pump???? Even a consumer-grade electrical pump is a disaster if you’re having supply issues.

          The last thing you want here is to: a) use an ineffective system like a hand pump; and b) end up with a new mom with carpal tunnel or a repetitive stress injury.

          • Lisa the Raptor

            Yes, I have hand pumped until my head went numb. It’s painful but sometimes I got more with it than with a electric.

          • Lisa the Raptor

            Hand not head lol

          • Wren

            I got on better with an Avent hand pump than any of the Medela electric ones. My sister, on the other hand, preferred even a Medela hand pump to an Avent electric one.

          • Trixie

            I’m a Hygeia girl. That thing is amazing.

      • Antigonos CNM

        As a native of Washington, DC, with two parents who worked for the Federal Government, let me just say I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one. Need a pump? Go out and buy your own. Especially if you are just beginning your family. Even if you suckle every child, there will be times when having a pump is a godsend [want to go out to a movie, and leave a bottle with the babysitter?]

        Expect nothing from the government or any agency thereof, and you’ll never be disappointed.

        • Trixie

          Well, the ACA specifically mandates that insurance companies cover breast pumps. The pumps aren’t coming from the government. They’re coming from private insurance companies. Some companies are trying to weasel into only providing manual pumps, but that’s not really the intent of the law.

          • Antigonos CNM

            Unless the law specifies exactly what kind of pump [manual, or electric — in which case it has to describe the item, such as voltage, capacity, etc.] and within what specified period of time it must be supplied, everyone will dither and pass the buck until the kid is in high school. That’s the way governments work. Ever see the EU directive on how much a banana is permitted to bend?

    • SkpeticalGuest

      I think it must be at the discretion of the WIC office. My WIC person was more than happy to lend me a hospital-grade pump even though I was supplementing due to low milk supply.

      She did tell me that I had to choose between two WIC options for the under 6 month set–one was solely formula, the other was food for me (as a breastfeeding mom). There is no combo-feeding WIC package.

      I chose the food for me because I had a brand of formula my son was doing well on and that brand wasn’t covered by WIC.

      I declined the pump only because my health insurance covered the cost of an even better hospital-grade pump. (I got the Symphony rather than the Lactina that WIC was offering.)

      • Lisa the Raptor

        Maybe, this is the same WIC office that would not give me a hand pump with my second because I was taking the year off from school and staying at home. According to her they only gave them out to working/student mothers. According to WIC federal every mother was to get one. I made a complaint to the state. So maybe it is the office?

        • Lisa the Raptor

          You know it just hit me that on one hand they were punishing me for staying at home with my second, but I also took two, 2-day work related trips when my third was nursing that would have disqualified me for an electric breast pump because he’d had a bottle in the last 30 days. Seems to me I was getting punished for working as well as for staying at home. What a crock.

          • KarenJJ

            I’m sure there’s a Monty Python sketch there somewhere…

          • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC

            I worked for WIC for a while. At least in our office, the amount of pumps we were supplied was so scanty that we couldnt give them to all moms who needed them. We had to make hard decisions about who we thought needed them most. It was truly unfair.

          • Lisa the Raptor

            That sucks.

          • Antigonos CNM

            In more ways than one — though I’m sure you were speaking metaphorically.

          • Certified Hamster Midwife

            Sounds like they don’t want anyone to have a breast pump, then.

          • Antigonos CNM

            Got it in one. Some worker will get a commendation for saving money. Reality be damned.

    • Young CC Prof

      That’s insane, and lacks even internal consistency.

      So, you used formula because something is making it physically difficult for you to breastfeed. We want you to breastfeed, so we’ll punish you for failing by withholding a tool that might help you actually do it.

      • Lisa the Raptor

        Ding ding ding!

        • Lisa the Raptor

          I mean yeah, I just took five days off from nursing. I was pumping but we all know you can’t pump as much as you nurse. It was vital to the success of my breastfeeding that I pump to get my milk back to normal, as well as nursing. What do they do? Refuse me a pump . Lucky for me I had a much better experience and seemed to have a great supply with my third.

  • Zornorph

    Who wants to invest in my new business opportunity? I’m going to come up with baby formula that looks like breast milk. Forget about any nutritional value; I just want to make sure it’s got a pink tinge and doesn’t smell like cheese.

    • Lisa the Raptor

      Snort. Why not just make black bottles that no one could see through?

      • Zornorph

        Lol, that would be a dead giveaway, I suspect. True story, I told my SIL I was buying ‘Doc Brown’ bottles for LO and she wondered why I wanted ‘dark brown’ ones.

        • Awesomemom

          I loved those bottles for my kids but they were such a pain to clean with all those parts.

          • Zornorph

            For some reason, it really doesn’t bother me. I sort of zone out and listen to music when I’m washing them. I also bought 18 of them so I wouldn’t have to wash every day.

          • amazonmom

            I just rinse the parts in hot water until you don’t see any leftover food on them and then stick em in the dishwasher. Got used to not using a bottle brush because the NICU where I work banned bottle brushes on the unit. We microwave steam everything that has been washed in Dawn dish soap and air dried.

      • Courtney84

        They make stainless steel ones. They are very posh (expensive!) – no toxic materials, etc etc.

        • Lisa the Raptor

          Well I’ll be. I can see that with the big BPA scare.

        • Leica

          Oooh, I have one of those and I love it. Mine was handed down to my older son by his cousin, and now to my younger, so it’s on baby #3, only needing new nipples along the way. He’ll be done with bottles in a couple months and it’s still in perfect shape, so I’m spending a couple bucks on a cap that makes it into a regular water bottle, and we’ll be able to use it for years. It completely cleans up, not even a tiny whiff of odor. The plastic ones get funky after about 6 months, especially if you don’t wash them immediately. I forgot it in the car for 3 days over the summer, ran it through the dishwasher once, replaced the nipple, and it was like new. Lightweight, unbreakable. In retrospect, I should have sucked it up and bought a few rather than buying the endless parade of plastic bottles. I was just always daunted by the initial $15 price tag – but it’ll easily outlast the equivalent number of plastic bottles you can get for the same price.

    • theadequatemother

      if you formulate it to smell like a caramel latte, I’m in. I’ll be your angel investor but I want a perpetual 4% royalty and my face on every can.

      • Zornorph

        You sound like Kevin O’Leary. Been watching Shark Tank/Dragons’ Den, have you?

  • Carolina

    Why in the HELL would you try to analyze what was in a stranger’s baby’s bottle?? These people need jobs. Or real hobbies.

    • Sarah

      Or slaps.

    • Anka

      Ha! I have this acquaintance who is super-competitive about all aspects of pregnancy and childbirth. She is a member of my husband’s Central Asian ethnic immigrant community, which is weird because most Central Asians I know, at least from the former Soviet Union, usually appreciate “interventions.” But even early on in my pregnancy, when I told her that I might have to have a medically necessary c-section due to fibroids (not true, ultimately), she informed me that SHE had had her baby “naturally” and vaginally, and if I don’t do the same then I’m doing something terrible to my baby. She asked me about this periodically throughout my pregnancy. She also had a baby a month before I did, and she called me the day after my due date to find out whether I hadn’t given birth yet, and then informed me that SHE had given birth ON HER DUE DATE (does she want a gold star on her you-know-what?), and was I going to let the birth happen NATURALLY, or was I going to do the WRONG THING and use DRUGS (by which I assume she meant induction). My husband and I put a pictures of our baby up on Facebook every so often, complete with amusing captions, and some of those pictures involve my husband giving the baby a bottle (in the past, the bottle often had breast milk, but these days it’s always formula, because insufficient supply, huge baby, and f*ck it–combo feeding works for us so why fight it). She called me yesterday, and asked multiple times if I was breastfeeding. I said yes, because I am. Finally, she blurted out, “but are you formula feeding TOO? Because I looked at every single picture of [husband] feeding a bottle on Facebook and I can’t tell if it’s breast milk or formula! IS IT FORMULA???!”

      So yeah–people actually do that. They waste what must be hours (in this case, because we have a lot of photos up) doing that.

  • AL

    I read all the comments on the FB thread. Most people are appalled at her post. Makes me think there is hope for this world after all.

  • NursingRN

    Actually, I’ve found that breastmilk tends to have a cheesy smell and formula smells more…. I don’t know how to describe it… earthy? Grainy, Malt-like? Both are kind of stinky I guess if you ask me. I found my own breastmilk to be smelly.

    • Lisa the Raptor

      Like potatos

    • Dr Kitty

      If it is an extensively hydrolysed formula then “cheesy” would be a compliment. Those reek (to me Nutramigen smells like fish).
      Breast milk smelt…milky.
      Formula smells sort of malty.

      OT I had a US visitor see me today and I had to charge them because they’re not entitled to free NHS care. Was £15 for a 10 minute GP appointment reasonable? I just pulled a number out of thin air because the admin staff told me I had to charge them something.

      • Trixie

        That was very reasonable, in fact you way undercharged!

        • Dr Kitty

          Oh good.

          I felt bad TBH.
          Most practices if a Locum does non NHS work (insurance medicals, letters to airlines etc) the fee the patient pays goes to the practice. In some practices though the fee goes to the Locum. This was one of the latter, so I got the fee directly…and I felt bad about charging it.

          I clearly need more brainwashing, because most of the consultation consisted of me apologising for charging them, and making sure they were happy to pay for the medications I was prescribing on a private script.

          DO NOT LIKE non socialised medicine.

          • Trixie

            I guarantee they just thought you were a benevolent and slightly crazy person. Or possibly high on some drug that causes you to undervalue your services. Seriously, that was very generous of you.

          • Joyous76

            If you don’t charge them and they try to apply for a visa later, say as a spouse, then they can be denied for having unpaid NHS charges. This kicks in at 1,000, but if they need further treatment it could happen. I’d rather have the bill then be denied my visa and have to reapply.

      • Carolina

        I would have loved to have been able to see a doctor when I was sick in London. I would have paid 4 times that amount. Very reasonable.

      • Josephine

        Uhh before insurance coverage I’ve found the flat, non-negotiated price of a doctor’s visit can be anywhere from $200-$600…or around 100-300 poundsish. They got a deal.

      • Tim

        Nutramigen is horrible smelling. And what’s worse, my kiddo is apparently hooked on it. She has finally grown out of her dairy allergy, but we are having a SOB of a time getting her switched over to cows milk. She will not take more than one sip of plain cows milk, despite us slowly leveling a mixture for the past month. Apparently even .5 ounce of nutramigen in 5.5 ounces of milk is enough to make it taste like nutramigen, but straight up milk she apparently finds vile.

        • moto_librarian

          I’m glad she’s finally outgrown her allergy! Mine is making progress too – cheese and yogurt are going well, but haven ‘t made the switch to whole milk yet. The toddler version of Nutramigen doesn’t smell as vile as the infant one. Maybe you can try that if you haven’t already.

        • KarenJJ

          I’m not sure how old your kid is but my son stopped drinking bottles at 12 months and pretty much refused milk thereafter. Both my Dad and I can’t stand milk either, so I do understand he might have a similar aversion. I got him dairy via yoghurt, adding milk to cereal that soaked it up (weetabix) and also sweetening it (he’ll drink flavoured milk – especially strawberry flavoured). He still refuses cheese and he’s 2.5 now. He’s growing like a rugby player so I think he’s doing OK. I could not bear it if someone tried to force me to drink milk, so I didn’t with him either. I wonder if some food aversions are genetic.

      • theadequatemother

        in our provincial fee schedule an in office consultation is about 80CDN, an office visit is 30 CDN. Private rates are usually 15x to double the provincial insurance rate.

      • Awesomemom

        Copays can be around $30 so 15 is a steal.

      • KarenJJ

        In Australia it’s around $AUD60 for a 15 minute visit to a GP of which the government rebates around $35. There are bulk billing GP clinics that only charge what the government charges, but they can be few and far between where I live. Public hospitals are free.

      • Vyx

        My doc charged $120 for an office visit when I didn’t have insurance, £15 seems like a deal.

        • Antigonos CNM

          Now you non-Americans begin to see why the US needs health care reform so badly…

      • Joyous76

        I was in the UK as a visitor and needed to use the GP back in 06 and was charged 60.00. It was the standard fee at the surgery. I’m a citizen now, so I am not sure what the current charge is.

    • fiftyfifty1

      In my opinion, human breastmilk smells (and tastes) faintly like human sweat. Just like goat milk smells goat-y. Mammary glands are modified apocrine sweat glands after all so I suppose it makes sense.

      • Lisa the Raptor

        Raw milk smells cow-y too. I still recall it from my youth.

        • fiftyfifty1

          Me too!

          • fiftyfifty1

            I mean “me too” that I can remember it, not “me too” that I smell cow-y.

          • Josephine

            I’m glad you cleared that up. I was a little concerned about your living conditions…

          • WhatPaleBlueDot

            I have smelled cow-y.

    • Sue

      Wouldn’t it be possible that breast milk smell depends to some extent on the mother’s diet? The smell of sweat and other secretions does.

  • Anne

    Haha. Someone comparing you to her is apples to oranges. Or maybe even apples to kale. You are smart. Alpha Parent is not. End of discussion.

    • Josephine

      I seemed to have missed the picture where Dr. Amy explains how you tell if someone has had a homebirth so that you can feel extra haughty about your medical choices. 😉

      • theadequatemother

        their nether regions smell like seaweed, they have placenta stuck btw their teeth and their baby is wearing an “i was born at home” onsie with a youtube link on it.

      • IDHACN

        That’s easy. Because they talk about it non-stop. The baby wasn’t the point; having what they think is an “amazing” story to tell was. And tell they do.

  • GiddyUpGo123

    My sister didn’t breastfeed because her husband was HIV positive and although she’d always tested negative there were some concerns that she might still harbor the virus and pass it on to her baby. This was almost 18 years ago so I don’t know if the same precautions are taken today, but there are plenty of health reasons why one might choose not to breastfeed. Why doesn’t AP’s stupid little chart make room for that I wonder? Oh I know, because people with health issues ought to just breastfeed anyway and let nature take its course.

    My niece is now a very healthy, very smart (HIV negative) girl who is out to save the world–and not, by the way, by promoting exclusive breastfeeding.

    • Certified Hamster Midwife

      Lactivist response: well, obviously she should have had the foresight not to marry a HIV+ man.

      • GiddyUpGo123

        Well, she should have had the foresight not to marry that particular man, but HIV status had nothing to do with it.

        Of course, my niece is a wonderful girl who wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for that particular lapse in judgement (sis is now married to another guy who actually respects her), so I guess not all bad calls should be regretted. 🙂

      • mollyb

        Breastmilk is magic and may cure/prevent HIV. Literally an essay I saw posted at the hippy baby shop by my house.

      • realityycheque

        Or they would tell her to get donor milk from somewhere.

  • Lisa the Raptor

    Where is the meme that tells how to tell if a woman has had a double mastectomy?

    • fiftyfifty1

      Good point. It can be hard to tell. If a formula feeding woman gives that as an excuse I think she should be required to take off her top and prove it.

      • Lisa the Raptor

        Scars or Bars? Breastfeed or DIE!

        • Lisa the Raptor

          Of course a good plastic surgeon and careful oncologist can do amazing things and one may not even be able to tell.

          • fiftyfifty1

            With the top off you can always tell.

    • Certified Hamster Midwife

      If you can’t breastfeed, why are you having children?

  • GiddyUpGo123

    Does anyone know if there has ever been a case in the US of a full-term baby dying as a direct result of having been formula fed? And I don’t mean because mom does something stupid like mixing a bottle using pondwater from her backyard or letting a bottle go off at room temperature.

    I know of at least one case where a full-term baby died as a direct result of having been breastfed: http://www.salon.com/1999/05/21/nursing/.

    I guarantee you, if you start to limit access to formula or make it available by prescription only, babies are going to die.

    When the message is “death before formula,” that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

    • Trixie

      There are certainly cases where people have stretched formula by mixing less than instructed or giving water bottles to young infants to stretch formula, usually to save money. This is a horrible case, but it’s a bit sensationalist to say she nursed her baby to death. The baby didn’t get enough to eat. That should never happen to any baby, especially in the US, but the system also fails formula feeding moms occasionally.

      • GiddyUpGo123

        I blame the “breast is best” message for that baby’s death. I had plenty of people tell me that my baby’s (obviously distressed) screams should be ignored and I should just keep nursing him. But I clearly wasn’t making enough milk because he was losing weight. I gave him formula. If I’d listened to everyone around me I would have just kept nursing him and he would have just kept losing weight.

        The difference between trying to stretch a bottle of formula to save money and nursing a baby until he starves to death is that someone who’s stretching a bottle of formula knows exactly what she’s doing. Someone who keeps nursing a baby despite not having enough breastmilk to sustain him doesn’t necessarily know that she is putting him in danger, especially if the message she’s getting from lactivists and everyone else is “breast is best” and “just keep nursing” and “everyone can produce enough breastmilk.”

        • Trixie

          Well, there are many factors to that case, including that the baby was never seen by a doctor after discharge, there was something wrong with the mother and grandmother for not seeing the baby deteriorate, and of course the awful, awful advice to tell someone who has had breast reduction surgery and who didn’t have the baby at the breast for 10 days postpartum to just go home and nurse. It’s a horrible story, but there are so many factors that I don’t think it’s fair to say that “breast is best” is the sole reason for the baby’s death.

          Could there be similar cases where formula fed babies died due to, say, undiagnosed galactosemia and lack of medical care?

          • Jenny Star

            It is a complex case, but the insistence that “only breast milk is needed” is very strong. And her story- of being poor and living in the inner city, being denied medical care and follow up or any help due to red tape – sounds very similar to my own. No one told me that a baby nursing constantly and still fussing was a sign they weren’t getting enough – I only knew I was exhausted and that eventually his growth slowed. I’ve been vilified by lactivists when I tell them I had a supply issue, because they insist there is no such thing, only stupid mothers. But I received no help, no support, no guidance. It’s supposed to be natural and easy, right? At least I was bright enough to start using formula when it became obvious nursing was no longer working. That poor kid.

    • NursingRN

      And that is exactly what the hospital I work at is doing in the name of being “baby friendly”!! We have to HIDE all “paraphernalia” back in the nursery (excuse me, the “newborn observation center” because Newborn Nursery is not “baby friendly”) So all nipples, pacifiers and formula is now hidden from view of anyone. Because you know very well that room 5’s next-door-neighbor’s elderly grandmother would be horrified if she saw a bottle of Similac. Oh and we also have to document if a baby is bottle fed and WHY that baby is bottle fed. Pretty soon I’m thinking we’ll have to document what attempts we used to shame and bully women into breastfeeding.

      • amazonmom

        My NICU colleagues have vowed to bring me all the non baby friendly gear of my choice when my son is born. We have the contraband and I’m using it! We are the rebels in the baby friendly hospital. We just got donor milk in stock, I bet someone is going to try and make me feed it to my son instead of formula. Maybe my nurse can document my reason for supplementing as “patient trying to ruin our baby friendly recertification numbers”

  • Allie P

    This woman has too much spare time on her hands. She should go volunteer at a homeless woman’s shelter and see what children who actually AREN’T getting enough to eat really need (hint: playing games with formula vs. breastmilk ain’t it)

    • Bombshellrisa

      Or spend the night working with the staff of the ER, where babies who come in who have been shaken or slapped or beaten. It does little good to worry about breast vs formula when you are talking about brain damage and tiny broken bones.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    And really why would anyone care so much about what strangers were feeding their babies as to feel the need to make this picture up in the first place? As long as it’s not tincture of morphine or arsenic in the bottle, why should I care?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Someone cares so much about what strangers are feeding babies that you are supposed to sneak a whiff of it to make sure it’s not formula?

      This is just beyond looney.

    • fiftyfifty1

      I’ve had the occasion to prescribe tincture of morphine twice in my career. It gave me such a fun old-timey feeling to write it out on the prescription pad.

      • Dr Kitty

        Brompton cocktails have thankfully been superseded by newer palliative care drugs.
        Still must have been interesting when you could legally prescribe a speedball.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    I particularly like the last point: breast milk can be pink because of blood in it. It’s better to give your baby bloody (literally) breast milk rather than formula…why?

    • Lisa the Raptor

      And the blood is there because your nipple is falling off. I’ve been there. Had a LC tell me that it was fine to feed him blood and that it was the same as breast milk. OK, but it is normal for me to sob like a baby when he latches on? Because I do.

      • Amy M

        If blood is the same as breast milk, then donor milk is the same as donor blood, in which case getting it from stranger via Craigslist should NOT be recommended as superior to formula. But, I bet Alpha Parent and her ilk would rather that women open a vein and feed their babies as if they were little vampire bats, then give them formula. Grrrrrrr.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          Yeah, I can’t imagine why this is even remotely legal. Shipping potential biohazards through the mail?

        • realityycheque

          I can’t remember if it was on this blog, or someone else, but I recall seeing someone who worked in pathology stating that they were told to treat milk as ‘white blood’ in the lab. There’s no way I would accept unscreened donor milk from some random woman on the internet. Yuck.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Milk is a potential pathogen carrier, including HIV. Treat it as blood.

          • Trixie

            I’m in no way arguing for giving your baby random unscreened donor milk, which is just stupid. But human milk does not have the same risk of HIV transmission through contact that blood does. Otherwise every daycare worker would be at risk every time they fed a baby expressed milk.

          • Trixie
    • Trixie

      Small amounts of blood in breastmilk aren’t harmful to the baby, generally. Obviously the cause of the bleeding in mom needs to be addressed and treated, but assuming the mother can comfortable nurse, it’s not a reason not to feed the baby the milk.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        It’s not harmful. Breast milk is a filtrate of blood, in the end. But it isn’t something that I would have emphasized in a poster touting the virtues of breast milk. Especially since it often means that nursing is going poorly and is painful or traumatizing (as in Lisa’s comment.)

        • Trixie

          Oh, I agree, it’s just another example of how awful AP is.

    • Trixie

      Also, in my experience, eating a lot of beets will turn it pinkish 🙂

  • Amy M

    I can only imagine that anyone not involved in a community of mothers of babies and toddlers who stumbled across that would be all “Whaaaaaaaaaaa?” It’s so easy for women who are having babies, (as well as health care providers) to see breast v. formula as a GIGANTIC issue that blocks out the sun (especially if you are having difficulty and/or PPD)
    , but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t even register on most people’s radar.

    Here’s Alpha Parent making these stupid memes every day and flooding the internet , thinking she’s doing some grand work, singlehandedly making a difference (by shaming all of those formula feeders) and most of the tiny fraction of the internet that comes across her stuff think she’s ridiculous. Sure, she probably does make some women cry, but odds are those women were already crying because they are new moms, scared and maybe have PPD.

    I think the vast majority of people would see that picture and say “Who cares?”

  • Amy M

    All but one of the comments on the pinterest thing are telling Ms. Dixley there that she’s a big ol’ jerk and no one wants to play with her anymore. I think her reputation is beginning to precede her, which means the new moms are forewarned not to take her seriously, which means they won’t bother reading that crap, which means that Alpha-Parent (at least) won’t make them cry.

    • GiddyUpGo123

      I just went through and read some of the comments. They were pretty effing hilarious.

  • Antigonos CNM

    But hang on — “B” can stand for “breast”, too!

    • Amy M

      Yeah, it should be an F for formula, and FAILURE.

  • Trixie

    Wow, this is great information. I was having so much trouble deciding which mothers I should judge while walking around the mall. This infographic makes it so much simpler!

  • Lisa the Raptor

    I wish one of them had been there when we went to Walmart and bought formula and bottles and my frail little 9 month old (14 pound), exclusively breast fed baby, pulled the bottle out of my hands so fast it made me cry because I had been starving her for 5 months. Yes, yes that is formula in there.

    • Lisa the Raptor

      And am I right that if my breast
      milk had a layer of fat on top I shook it? I thought it needed to be mixed back together.

      • Trixie

        OMG you SHOOK it? Don’t you know that you should only GENTLY SWIRL? Tsk tsk. 😉

        • Lisa the Raptor

          Oops! I guess I beat all the good stuff out of it!

        • An Actual Attorney

          No, no, no! Shaken, not stirred. With an olive on a toothpick. Oh, wait, was that my martini? Crap, I’m always mixing those up.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        I produced more than the baby needed, especially during periods of weaning/reduction in breast feeding. I was always tempted to skim the fat layer off, whip it up, and serve it with strawberries. I didn’t do, but it seemed a shame to leave perfectly good cream just sitting around spoiling…

      • MaineJen

        I was thinking the same thing…if the milk hasn’t been sitting long enough to “settle,” it’s going to look just like formula, provided it isn’t blue (which I did see a couple of times; weird) or pink (OUCH). And that means you’re going to be getting dirty looks from the AP. This is so ridiculous. What is she suggesting: that her followers keep a sharp eye out for any bottle-feeding mothers in their vicinity, swoop in and inspect the contents of the bottles, and proceed to lecture/shame/quietly judge said mothers? What can she possibly hope to accomplish?

        • Lisa the Raptor

          To say nothing of the fact that people have talked for years about feeling paranoid bottle feeding in public only to be called liars. Turns out we know they are watching now.