Breaking news: telling new mothers they are breastfeeding failures leads to depression

Breaking news

Is it really ground breaking news when a study shows that telling new mothers they are failures increases the risk of depression? Actually, it’s not, but considering the way that a new study on breastfeeding was reported, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was.

The study is New Evidence on Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression: The Importance of Understanding Women’s Intentions published in the open access Maternal Child Health Journal.

According to the BBC, the study showed:

Breastfeeding can halve the risk of post-natal depression, according to a large study of 14,000 new mothers.

However, there is a large increase in the risk of depression in women planning to breastfeed who are then unable to do so.

The study, published in the journal Maternal and Child Health, called for more support for women unable to breastfeed…

That’s not precisely what the study showed. The study actually found that breastfeeding had “heterogeneous effects by mental health during pregnancy and breastfeeding intention.”

Specifically:

…[T]he effect of breastfeeding on maternal depression symptoms was found to be highly heterogeneous and, crucially, mediated by breastfeeding intentions during pregnancy. Our most important finding relates to the majority of mothers who were not depressed during pregnancy, and who planned to breastfeed their babies. For these mothers, breastfeeding as planned decreased the risks of PPD, while not being able to breastfeed as planned increased the risks.

An additional critical finding was:

For the majority of mothers who did not show symptoms of depression before birth, breastfeeding … increased the risk of PPD among mothers who had not intended to breastfeed. (my emphasis)

It’s not clear to me that this study has anything to do with breastfeeding at all. In fact, it seems to me that this is really a study of the impact societal pressure on new mother’s mental health. The authors appear to have ignored their own finding that breastfeeding increased the risk of postpartum depression among women who were breastfeeding despite their previously indicated desire to bottle-feed.

That suggests that the critical variable here is NOT breastfeeding, but rather new mothers’ self assessment.

The authors conclude:

These findings have implications for the way in which new mothers are supported; they suggest that the provision of expert breastfeeding support may, in addition to increasing breastfeeding rates and durations, have the additional benefit of improving mental health outcomes among new mothers. At the same time, it is clear that where mothers had intended to breastfeed, not being able to breastfeed may have deleterious consequences on their risk of PPD, and that providing specialised support to new mothers who had intended to breastfeed, but who for some reason find themselves unable to breastfeed, may also constitute a desirable health policy objective.

Here’s another interpretation that is far more likely given the actual evidence:

Breastfeeding has no impact one way or the other on maternal mental health, but pressure to breastfeed has a dramatic effect on maternal mental health. When women could not meet their own needs, either because they could not breastfeed when they wanted to do so or because they successfully breastfed despite not wanting to do so, their risk of postpartum depression doubled.

When we juxtapose the harmful effects of pressure to breastfeed on maternal mental health against the trivial benefits of breastfeeding in industrialized societies, an entirely different conclusion is warranted:

The findings of this study have implications for the way in which new mothers are supported. They suggest that breastfeeding itself has no beneficial effect on women’s mental health, and that the pressure to breastfeed generated by lactation consultants, lactivists and public health authorities is actually harmful. Not every woman can breastfeed successfully, and not every woman who could breastfeed successfully wants to do so. Making breastfeeding the “holy grail” of new motherhood, leads to an increased risk of postpartum depression among those who cannot breastfeed successfully (presumably due to feelings of failure) and among those who do not want to breastfeed (presumably due to feelings of frustration).

To me, the conclusion is pretty obvious: when it comes to new mothers and breastfeeding, we don’t need to provide more support, we need to BACK OFF!

  • sadlady

    In other news…who breastfeeds when they weren’t planning to? This statistic makes no sense to me. Like a woman just discovered the she is lactating really well. Oh well wasn’t gonna do this but let’s stick the baby to my boob…aaaaand now I’m depressed. What?!? Enlighten me.

    • Young CC Prof

      They were surveyed about plans in mid-pregnancy, and they might have changed their minds by the end.

      The authors really should have explored the issue further. Were these women convinced to breastfeed even though they didn’t really want to? Did something happen in their lives that caused them to change plans?

      • me

        I count myself in that group. With my first I planned to formula feed – my mother had done so, and her mother had as well, and it was what I knew and was comfortable with. If you had asked my in the second trimester, yeah, I would have told you I planned to use formula. Nearer to the end of my pregnancy I changed my tune a bit (learning more about breastmilk’s benefits, especially colostrum (however small for full term babies), realizing how much formula would cost (I planned to SAH anyway and we wouldn’t qualify for any sort of subsidies to help out), and knowing that my milk would “come in” whether I used it or not all factored into my decision). I decided I would try it for the first few weeks and if it worked out, great, if not I could always switch. I was very fortunate and after about four weeks of fumbling with it, everything “clicked” and I went on to nurse my oldest for two years, and my subsequent children for the same time frame. No depression, but I figure that’s only because it worked out so well, and I had given myself “permission” to stop at any point I deemed necessary.

        So, yeah, I was an example of someone who hadn’t planned to breastfeed, but changed her mind and fortunately if worked out well for me. If it hadn’t worked out, perhaps I would have experienced depression over it. Who knows?

    • fiftyfifty1

      “who breastfeeds when they weren’t planning to?”

      Women who are pressured into it by medical professionals. I did my training at a low income clinic. Many of our patients expressed a desire to bottlefeed at the beginning of pregnancy. Our “job” was to change their minds….

      Pretty sad, huh?

    • Smoochagator

      I just saw a post in a FB group by a young mom who’s husband told her she’s selfish and doesn’t care about their son because she decided to formula feed. Which is total bullshit but I can see how some moms would buckle under that pressure.

      • LibrarianSarah

        I hope someone gave her the number of a good divorce attorney.

    • Amy

      My friend who is from China just had a baby recently. In China (or at least in her family) nothing about childbirth or nursing are discussed. She assumed she’s have problems. She assumed she’s use formula. She didn’t. She had some quick help from an LC and nursed with no problems….it’s kind of funny how what you think or feel about nursing may not have much effect on whether or not you can actually do it.

  • Guestll

    This isn’t about PPD, but it is about breastfeeding and feeling like you’re going completely mad due to lack of sleep.

    As I’ve written below, my daughter didn’t sleep for more than 3 hours at a stretch until she was 9 months old. Not once. The first time she did, she slept for 4 hours, and my husband actually awoke in stark terror, looking at the clock and thinking something was wrong.

    She would not take a bottle. I was told by the following experts — my primary RM, my then-GP and his BF-at-all-costs NP, and The Very Famous Breastfeeding Doctor — not to give her a bottle until breastfeeding was well-established. I did just that when she was around 12 weeks old, she took pumped milk once or twice, and like a fool, I figured, we’re good! When I tried again a few weeks later, she refused. And again, and again, and again. My kitchen cupboards are still full of bottles she wouldn’t take, nipples she refused — we tried everything.

    She didn’t actually take a bottle until she was a year old — and then it was formula, initially mixed with pumped milk — which needed it because her weight gain was so poor and she showed little interest in solids.

    When she was 5 months old, a kind older woman at a 24 hour supermarket at 4 AM (because when else should you grocery shop if your baby won’t sleep?) unstrapped the crying infant Mei Tai’d to me and walked her around for a bit as I finished unloading the contents of the cart onto the conveyor belt. She got me a tea from the in-store Starbucks and I nearly wept with gratitude.

    When she was 6 months old, I fell asleep in the glider in her room as she was nursing and she rolled off my lap and onto the hardwood.

    When she was 7 months old, I fell asleep at a red light.

    When she was 7.5 months old, one of my very best friends came over and took her from me. She’d given birth to her third child, a fat happy boy, a month prior to my daughter’s birth. She sent me to bed — alone. I slept for 9 hours straight, during which my friend nursed my daughter as needed. I know some of you might be squicked out — I wasn’t — I woke up and I felt like SUPERWOMAN! Like I could, I dunno, function! Without feeling like I was in a dense fog.

    This friend also later worked with me to get my daughter to take a bottle. It was slow and like I said above, it didn’t happen until she was 12 months old. Ironically, she quite liked her bottle and I’m glad she did, because she ended up staying on formula until she was 2 years old — she is barely in the 15th percentile for weight and 65th for height. There is nothing inherently wrong with her, and there is nothing wrong with being thin — but one good bout of gastro can and has knocked her off the weight chart.

    I didn’t suffer from PPD. But I do know what it’s like when you realize that breastfeeding isn’t a panacea. I loved breastfeeding, I really did. Before she was born I approached the idea with trepidation, made myself a promise that I’d do it for six weeks, just six weeks. We ended up nursing for 15 months, until she decided she was all done. If I could do it all over again, I’d get her to take a bottle early and stick with it. Because sleep is critical to my mental health, and I know I am not alone.

    • Mishimoo

      Oh goodness, I can completely relate to that fog of exhaustion. I was lucky enough to not have it that bad, nor for that long (started solids at 4 months because he would not take a bottle), but it was horrible. No one should ever feel like they HAVE to do that.

  • Trixie

    Speaking for myself only, whatever hormone mix is involved in lactation actually sort of mellows me out. I am in generally good spirits anyway, but I definitely notice the difference, and it’s a positive one. It’s probably why I didn’t mind nursing my kids until they self-weaned. It just kept me very even keeled. I’m fine with my children having weaned, I would never coax the to keep going for my sake, but if I could just perpetually lactate so I could pump for donation once or twice a day, I’d be genuinely happy about it.
    Of course, I realize that it has the exact opposite effect on others and that I’m probably weird. But I do think that, for some people like me, actually lactation itself does have a positive effect on mood. I’m not sure how you would measure that outside of a host of societal factors.

    • Young CC Prof

      Hey, oxytocin is freaking awesome.

      • Trixie

        I think it may also be the prolactin suppressing ovulation and therefore menstruation. Lots of highs and lows get evened out there. I was one of the lucky ones — even nursing once or twice a day stopped me from ovulating.

    • Guestll

      I used to love that rush – it was better than any drug.

    • Cobalt

      I feel so relaxed when nursing I have trouble staying awake sometimes. It’s just peaceful. And really hormone/chemical based, because it would even hit me when pumping, which is no where near as pleasant as feeding a baby.

      • Young CC Prof

        You know, I never got the rush when pumping. It was always, “Are we done yet? Can I go back to baby-cuddling or sleeping now?”

        Actual breastfeeding, definitely. Even though he never learned to latch, even when he just nosed around, I got the rush from that. (And it seemed to help me pump more.)

        • Trixie

          Yeah, pumping because you have to sucks. Especially once your milk production transitions from being mostly hormone-driven to being demand-driven. Then you’ve got to be pumping as much as a 3 week old nurses, which is all the damn time. I really admire women who do it for months and months, especially if they have preemies. It’s tough.
          But, pumping once a day was not a huge deal for me.

        • Cobalt

          It’s not as intense when pumping, unless I also have the baby there. Looking at the baby (or a picture of the baby if we’re separated) definitely ups the hormonal response.

          But there is nothing like holding your baby close. Combine that with nursing response and I get a serious natural high.

          • Sis

            You know you don’t even need to really breast feed to get that natural high. I’ve EFF my son since the day he was born because of reasons that are no one’s business and for me the high comes when he spits out the empty bottle and nuzzles up on my chest.
            In fact the only time I’ve ever felt bad about not breast feeding is when the pediatrician told me my son gaining three ounces in three days made him fat. Then my mother who was with me at the time had to sit on me to keep me from murdering her.

          • Young CC Prof

            Um, newborns are SUPPOSED to gain about an ounce a day. I guess when my baby gained 2 ounces a day for an entire month, that made him super-fat?

            And in an older baby, an ounce or two is well within the range of daily variation or measurement error.

    • Allie

      Personally, I can’t wait to be done breastfeeding; however, my LO is 20 months tomorrow and shows no sign of giving it up any time soon. When did yours self-wean? I know you can’t compare, but just knowing it will happen someday gives me hope. I honestly don’t get all the BS about what a special bond it is. For me, it has been quite convenient for the most part because it did spare me fussing with bottles and mixing and sterilizing and all that, and I am fortunate that I have been able to do it without any problems. But LO is just as bonded with dada, grandma and grandpa (especially grandpa), and meanwhile, my sister-in-law never breast fed her youngest even a single time and he is every bit the bonded little momma’s boy as mine is a momma’s girl. Everything both sides (those strongly pro and those strongly anti) say about breast feeding is utter poppycock. Do it if you want and are able. If you don’t want to or can’t, take advantage of the myriad selection of safe and nutritious alternatives that are available and let it go.

      • Trixie

        One was 20 months, one was about 2.5. I did night wean the first at 15 months because he was waking up at 4:30 and using nursing as an excuse to party.
        Both of them pretty much only nursed at wake up, naptime, and bedtime by a little after a year, though. Naptime was the last to go with both.

        • Allie

          Thanks for replying. My LO still wakes multiple times in the night, and nursing is the only way to circumvent the party. I know people judge me and think it’s my fault, but reflecting back I don’t know how this could have been avoided unless I hadn’t started nursing at all or had done some kind of sleep training. I know it will end all too soon and someday, maybe not so far off as it seems now, I’ll look back fondly, preferably with a cool, refreshing G & T on a patio somewhere ; )

          • Trixie

            Yeah, by toddlerhood, night nursing (with exceptions for illness) was off the table for me. Just wasn’t going to do it anymore. I didn’t sleep train them as little babies but as a toddler, I’m fine with some screaming because I feel they need to learn to sleep long stretches in order to be functional, too. So at night they got a cup with water, and after a while decided it wasn’t worth waking up for that anymore.

      • Mac Sherbert

        It sounds like you would prefer your lo to self-wean, but you certainly don’t have to wait . I think my daughter would have nursed until college. I cut her off at 18 months. 3 months later she seems perfectly fine. She’s still a mommy girl and very happy. She also started sleeping better…without nona.

      • SK

        I told both my daughters at age two that they were big girls and could drink milk from the refrigerators. I was done. Neither reacted badly.

    • onandoff

      It makes me nauseous. Every time. I’ve been breastfeeding for 26 months. Every time I nurse, I feel dead tired and sick.

      • dbistola

        That happened to me as a rule with both my kids. Apparently this is called DMER. Does “letdown” trigger this feeling? For me it was a minute of really bad feeling and anxiety to the pit of my stomach that left me nauseous for a while later.

        • onandoff

          Yep! I didn’t know it was a thing.

          • dbistola

            neither did I. It didn’t stop me from nursing, but it made things not as pleasant. “Ellen Mary” told me about this on Slate, I believe. Incidentally it exacerbated my weight loss (being nauseous and all).

          • onandoff

            I lost way too much weight with my first child so I have been very careful this time to make sure I keep eating. I’ve always known that it was associated with let down and just figured the rush of hormones didn’t suit me. But sometimes I forget and just feel so rotten. I have to remind myself each time that it’s just how my body works.

          • dbistola

            Yes. Same with my sisters, but it was worse with me. For some reason “oxytocin” or whatever other hormone does not suit my body either. For what it’s worth it sounds like it’s completely physical and not psychological at all, which you probably can already tell.

        • emkay

          Thanks for this! Had never heard of D-MER before

        • D/

          Yep, it seems to be wonky dopamine activity just before let down.

          http://www.d-mer.org/Home_Page.html

        • Sarah

          Yup! Thanks for putting it out there. For me, letdown always came with extreme nausea and incredible panic. I gave up bf-ing my second baby the day she cried, I let down, puked and was half-way out the front door before I came to from the panic. And despite all that, we’re rolling the dice on #3 and I wonder if somehow this time the hormone bomb will go off in my favor!

      • Trixie

        I’m sorry. I did get a sleepy feeling but it was relaxed and pleasant.

      • toni

        It made me feel sick too! And sort of sad and very thirsty. Only for the first few minutes of a feed fortunately. And only for the first. 3 or 4 months.

  • Young CC Prof

    OK, read the actual article. First, there were way way too many hypothesis tests, man, like pages of hypothesis tests. They had one chart with over 50 different confidence intervals values in it, but all related to each other. (Still breastfeeding at 1 week? At 2, 3, 4? Exclusively at 1, 2, 3, 4?) Mental health at 8 weeks, 8 months, 21 months, 33 months?)

    The only thing that clearly attained statistical significance when you took into account the number of different things they felt compelled to measure (seriously, authors, reduce your hypotheses!) was that women who planned to breastfeed and did were more likely to be depressed at 8 weeks.

    Interestingly, the strongest effect was on women who intended to breastfeed, but did not initiate breastfeeding at all. (They defined initiating as putting baby to the breast even once.) These women were more than twice as likely to develop depression as women who planned to breastfeed and succeeded.

    This is interesting. These women probably didn’t have latch issues, or supply issues, since they didn’t even get far enough to find out. Why not? Was there a neonatal or maternal health problem getting in the way? If so, that in itself could be a contributing factor to mental health issues.

    • mostlyclueless

      I am looking at the study too. What’s with Table 2? Are these r values or p values?

      • Roadstergal

        Looks like r. They star to indicate the p values (noted at the bottom of the table). Those look like teeny correlations for BF.

        Table 4, column 5 – OR all over the map.

        • mostlyclueless

          I wonder if there are some typos in Table 2? They supposedly have rs < 0.1 significant at <.001….seems unlikely to me.

    • DiomedesV

      I continue to be shocked at how few health professionals understand the limitations of multiple hypothesis testing. This is standard knowledge in my field and has been for almost 3 decades.

      Sometimes I think medical professionals should simply not be allowed to publish papers without a statistician on the paper.

      • Young CC Prof

        Did you see the deceased salmon poster? Freaking hilarious, and a beautiful explanation of the perils of multiple hypothesis testing. Google “fMRI gets slapped with a dead fish.”

    • Medwife

      Interesting about the non-attemptors who intended to breastfeed. You’re right, I only hear about that happening when mom, baby, or both are very ill, separated in the ICU/NICU. That’s a huge setup for PPMD.

  • Ash

    In an ideal world, IMHO, the lactation consultant specialty should be changed to Infant Feeding Specialist. As a result, consultants would be certified to teach about various ways of feeding infants: breastmilk, formula, combo feeding. Women who don’t exclusively BF need help as well!

    • Young CC Prof

      I’ve met one LC who was like that. She worked in a NICU and was extremely practical. She told me something like, “I can see you have milk in there, you want to get some of it into your baby, let’s find a way to make it happen.” And then she helped me pump, attempt latching, feed expressed milk, then feed formula.

      But we need more like that. We also need a way for women to actually find such people, rather than luck of the draw.

      • Ellen Mary

        I actually was extremely disappointed with my LC experience in the hospital this time. I was an unusual case for sure (3rd time mother, extended BF my other children, first Cesarean) but there was actually some slight delay which led to a 8% weight loss that the Ped was starting to be concerned about. She came in my room, gave me upsize Medela flanges (I don’t own a Medela) and pretty much left. Any questions I had about lactation and taking Opiates for post surgical pain, I asked the Peds. They wound up releasing me on my track record and weight was back to birth by our first Ped apt, but the LC did less than nothing.

      • Liz Leyden

        I had premature twins at a very popular maternity hospital. I remember asking to meet with a Lactation Consultant, but in the 4 days I spent there, I don’t think I ever actually met with one.

        My son spent his first night in the NICU, where he got formula and a pacifier. There was a pump in the room, and I figured out how to put it together, but no one showed me how to use it. When I put my son to my breast, he would suck a few times, look at me, and start screaming. After 30 minutes of trying, I gave him formula to make sure he was getting *something*. I kept him skin-to-skin. I drank a lot of water. I consented to having his tongue tie snipped. Nothing changed.

        The one time I successfully produced a few drops of colostrum, I had to turn up the suction, which hurt. When I mentioned that, the reaction I got was “It’s not supposed to hurt!”, as if I was doing something wrong. Not encouraging.

        At the same time, my daughter was having open-heart surgery. My father died right after cardiac surgery, and I was terrified of losing her. When I had a mental breakdown on day 3, I was finally told that it was okay not to breastfeed.

        I was discharged, to temporary housing, with a breast pump, more pump supplies, and not much help. Pumping produced 30ccs twice, then nothing. I tried to meet with the LC at my daughter’s hospital, but we kept missing each other. After a readmission for post-partum pre-eclampsia, I finally threw up my hands. Finding out that WIC paid for formula made the decision easier, though we had to buy our own until we got home (Amazon Prime was a lifesaver).

        When I go to the WIC office to pick up formula, I have to stand next to life-sized cardboard cutouts of women breastfeeding their babies, wearing buttons that say things like “breastfeeding is easy!” I wanted to cry the first time, and scream the next time.

        I know that formula isn’t poison, and that there’s more to being a good mother than how you feed your baby. Sometimes I wonder if I was set up to fail breastfeeding. It doesn’t matter: my kids are thriving, I’m doing okay, we all sleep well. But the pressure to breastfeed is still there, and it’s not helpful.

        • Allie

          As I mentioned above, poppycock! Breastfeeding ain’t easy. That’s a bald-faced lie. I didn’t even have any “problems” per se (like blocked ducts or mastitis or any of the other complications that are all too common), but it was bloody hard, especially over the first two months. Given everything else you had to deal with, you absolutely made the right decision. Please, whatever you do, don’t put any stock in any of the claims about all the miraculous benefits of breastfeeding. Thankfully, you are here where Dr. Amy can set you straight. I also recommend you read Bossypants by Tina Fey. She’ll put to rest any lingering doubts you may have : )

          • Allie

            I just wanted to clarify that I didn’t mean to come off sounding like “bully for me, I breastfed and it’s hard.” New motherhood is hard all around, and each of us has our own challenges unique to our situation. Lactivists will use whatever weapon they can. Sometimes they say, “it’s so easy, so shame on you for not doing it,” and other times they say, “it’s so hard, so shame on you for not doing it.” In fact, I think Dr. Amy had a post about this a while back. I say ignore them, make the decision that’s right for you and don’t look back.

    • nomorequestionscatherine

      As someone who did/is combo feeding I cannot tell you how fantastically valuable this would be. To have a reliable resource that knows accurate info about breast feeding and formula feeding. Assuming that specializing in both would give them the means to help women combine both types of feeding in the best way.

      Because logistically, it’s been a really rough road to determine:

      - how much breast feeding vs formula feeding is needed to allow my babies to gain weight appropriately
      - the best way to combine them: use SNS for every feed? (did that for a year with #1) nurse then follow with a bottle every time? (current route w #2) nurse one feeding, give bottle next feeding? nurse, supplement, pump every feeding? (did that too)
      - when to start supplementation (especially since I knew ahead of time that baby #2 would need it – do I start day 1, day 2, wait until he’s lost 10% body weight?)
      - when and how to decrease supp/if ever?
      - pumping, especially if you are having problems with supply – when, how often, shield size, managing suction, duration, etc
      - finding the right formula
      - when to switch from breast to formula during a feed – my babies could stay latched for days. After awhile I remove them if not actively nursing & can almost always still express a flow of milk. But they will not actively nurse if I put them back on – why? Time for bottle then
      - how do you realistically combo feed in public?? because it’s a bit awkward to bust out nursing for 20 min, then pull out a bottle so baby can finish eating. And using an SNS in public … :/

      Doing it combo style you get some good parts of both – but you also get the worst parts of both styles. And it’s sometimes a bitter pill.

      I could go on for days.

      I saw 4 LCs with my first baby. One of them actually sneered at me when I asked her on day 5 if I should be pumping to increase supply. Not one of them ever mentioned this as an option to me.

      I attended the hospitals breastfeeding groups for support after leaving the hospital. They were all visibly annoyed when I came because it took me longer to feed than everyone else, since my baby needed supplement after nursing.

      Well, I nursed that baby for 19 mo. And formula fed him for 12 mo. And figured everything out on my own. They were not just worthless but they were detrimental to me, my psyche and my feeding relationship with my son.

      Now, 3 yrs later I have a 12 week old baby. Whereas every LC & medical professional the first time was entirely dismissive of me nursing, this time everyone was amazingly supportive – initially. And I let myself gain hope it would be different – better supply, less supplementing. But it’s crashing down around me now. And again I find no support from the professionals – nay, even disgust and annoyance almost for the fact that I’ve still continued to nurse since it’s clear once again I do not have a full supply. I’m working through everything on my own. And I’m very seriously considering going to 100% formula soon.

      There is a HUGE overhaul that needs to happen to professional & societal attitudes & info towards infant feeding in this country IMO.

      • Young CC Prof

        Exactly. Far too many professionals don’t discuss combo feeding as an option, and there are almost no resources to explain HOW. I’ve said many times, more support for combo feeding would probably result in more breastmilk inside of babies.

        • nomorequestionscatherine

          Quoting “more support for combo feeding would probably result in more breastmilk inside of babies.”

          DING DING DING

          Exactly. Formula feeding actually made breast feeding possible for me. If I had to choose just one, it would have been formula. Because my babies would’ve died without. But you don’t always just have to choose one or the other. They are not mutually exclusive. Although if you find the need to refer to yourself as an “exclusive” breast feeder, then yeah, I guess they kinda are.

      • Alexicographer

        I’m sorry you’re struggling with this (and not finding access to support advise).

        I was similarly situated, and muddled through on my own. What I did was this — BF exclusively for 1 week, advised that LO was not getting enough milk (clearly true in retrospect) despite good latch, etc. — supply issue. Add SNS (also, pump after every single nursing). I used the SNS until the point where he needed more than an extra 10cc per feeding; that was the amount the syringe would hold and managing more than 1 syringe + nursing + SNS was just more than I could deal with. So at that point I ditched SNS and would nurse and then bottle-feed him if he was still hungry. Still pumping after every nursing. Obviously this was tedious. At about a month (?) my supply went from absurdly inadequate to tolerably useful (but still not adequate).

        At some point (3 months?) I gave myself permission just to give the kid a bottle at the 2 a.m. feeding, while I pumped. That streamlined things dramatically and made my life so much easier. As he got older, I got more comfortable about the fact that I was using formula, and would nurse him if my breasts had milk in them and otherwise give him formula (or pumped milk from earlier). Of course, over time he started eating some solids, and at a year I switched him over to cow’s milk.

        He nursed until he self-weaned at about 15 months, and I’m very glad I did it (honestly it never occurred to me to stop trying though I sort of wonder in retrospect why not). I had no qualms about nursing in public and certainly no qualms about giving him a bottle after nursing him, if I needed to.

        I have to say — once we got through the early days, I didn’t overthink things. I’d have preferred being able to EBF, for sure, but — I couldn’t. And I did learn pretty fast that there’s not much out there about combo feeding. But given that I was doing it, I figured no need to sweat the small stuff. I mean, yes, I was glad I was able to BF and yes, I was glad he got my milk. But was an extra ounce or two of milk a day going to change his future (or present)? I doubted it. So we muddled along.

        Don’t know if there’s anything useful in there — I’m certainly no expert, just a (previously) similarly situated mom. But in case there is — and also, just wanted to say good luck to you and I hope you can be kind to yourself as you navigate all this.

        • nomorequestionscatherine

          Thank you for such a thoughtful reply.

          I had more stubbornness? time? patience? lol with my first experience. We used the full sized Medela SNS until he was off formula at one year. After the first couple months or so we had a pretty good routine for that & it worked really pretty well for us and I don’t regret it.

          I used a tiny hospital one in the first week or so with this baby but in the hormonal & sleep deprived early days – I just couldn’t get on board again. For some reason it felt like a jail sentence looming over me or something almost this time. So bottles it is. And honestly, sometimes, after he’s suckled for 30+ min on a raw bleeding nipple I was so grateful to unlatch him and be able to feed with a bottle. The pain, ultimately was much worse with my first who had a very poor latch & transfer issues in the beginning – but I used a shield with him and I hated to go down that road again if I didn’t have to this time (LO 2 has much better latch & good transfer so I tried to wait it out).

          I came to the same realization about an extra ounce or two of breast milk here or there. In the long run, it doesn’t matter. And after LO1 weaned I almost never thought about it anymore. It just doesn’t matter in that way.

          Honestly the thing that keeps me going with the nursing at this point is remembering how nice it was to nurse a toddler – when it didn’t matter a lick for their nutritional needs but it was just a nice way to have a few minutes together when he woke up or putting him to bed. It was a sweet time for us. But of course no guarantee it would be the same this time! I’m actually having mild almost mastitis at the moment as we’ve recently adjusted his formula and he’s nursing more poorly at the moment so … maybe he’s already weaing himself? lol

          • Alexicographer

            Oof. Yes, with the benefits of hindsight it was absolutely the joys of nursing him when he was older, that made sticking with it (most) worth it. But as you say — who can know what will happen (with any given kid)?

            I love your “DING DING DING” reply below: perfect.

    • D/

      Over the years I’ve actually had a number of “lactation consultation” referrals for exclusively FF babies. The first few were startling enough that I had to clarify that it wasn’t a mistake or something.

      *Many* mothers are sent home pretty clueless about how to actually go about FFing their babies. Probably the most heartbreaking example for me was an illiterate mom whose feeding “education” was to follow the directions on the can. :(

      • nomorequestionscatherine

        That is absolutely tragic. How can we treat new mothers this way?

    • FormerPhysicist

      That is PERFECT! Just simply PERFECT. So, how do we make that happen?

  • Ellen Mary

    Your solution leaves women who WANT to Breastfeed, who despite all the work by the Skeptics still seem to exist, out in the cold. I personally think support is not what is needed, what is needed mainly is for medical professionals to stop perpetuating myths around breastfeeding and get themselves up to date. Nearly every woman I know who has had to deal with medications around breastfeeding has been given totally erroneous information about them . . . One mother was told to interrupt lactation for FOUR DAYS with a neonate over a scan the mother had to have. Correct time? 4 hours. Many mothers are told they can’t take antidepressants and breastfeed in clinical settings when it is well established that medications like Zoloft are totally compatible with breastfeeding and transfer rate is low. Also nurses still insist on bottle feeding for quantification when you can use a scale for the exact same purpose (weighing baby before and after feeding). So I would be satisfied if no additional support was given, just every person who called themselves a medical professional was obligated to access medical facts around supporting breastfeeding, rather than opinion.

    • Young CC Prof

      Absolutely, there are medical professionals who perpetuate myths. Many of them, though not all, are in specialties completely unrelated to pediatrics or obstetrics. They should get educated.

      Now, please make sure all lactation consultants are also properly educated, including the ones who go around saying things like 15% weight loss in a sick neonate is normal and all women can make enough milk.

      • moto_librarian

        They also need to know that they shouldn’t be recommending fenugreek to women with asthma. And that domepridome has its own set of cardiac risks.

        • Ash

          What is the mechanism of action for fenugreek as a galactalogue? Also, does something like a “lactation cookie” contain enough active ingredient to actually increase milk production?

          • Ellen Mary

            Cookie: No, not in my opinion . . .

          • Bombshellrisa

            I think it’s the brewer’s yeast in the lactation cookies that are supposed to be what increases the milk production. The lactation consultant (real support, and just wonderful all the way around, loved her) was not supportive of fenugreek or lactation cookies for increasing supply.

          • Guestll

            I have no idea how fenugreek works as a galactalogue but it did make me smell like an IHOP, which was nice since my husband loves pancakes.

        • Young CC Prof

          And that supplementing lightly during the first few days is a better way to support breastfeeding than ignoring delayed lactation and other troubles until the baby requires readmission (and usually separation from Mom.)

        • Dinolindor

          Fenugreek also shouldn’t be taken by someone taking hormones for an underactive thyroid.

          • Anka

            Ugh, when I think of all those months I took fenugreek while taking synthroid while desperately trying to switch to exclusive breastfeeding, and how smug and rude the lactation consultants, who knew I was on synthroid were about how I was doing a subpar job and was a nursing failure while taking the fenugreek they prescribed, and then I got PPD mostly from this “failure”…it seriously makes me want to find them and punch them in the head.

          • Trixie

            Fenugreek also is forbidden in milk donation because it’s dangerous for preemies.

        • Liz Leyden

          And reglan should not be used by women with a history of depression.

      • amazonmom

        How about the ones that lie about that huge weight loss in order to get a mother not to supplement? My NICU nurse self had to confront that LC and force her to admit my daughter was down 16 percent. I threatened to have the medical director of the NICU come listen to her explanation if she opened her mouth in my presence again. My feeding plan “FF until milk comes in” worked well and got my daughter breastfeeding just fine.

        • Young CC Prof

          My son was released from the hospital without ANYone telling us that he was down 11 or 12%, actually bringing him under 2000 grams. If I’d known, I’d have immediately switched from tidbit-style supplementation to aggressive, full-bottle supplementation and he probably could have avoided readmission.

          Heck, the pediatrician the next morning didn’t initially seem upset by the fact that he was by then down 14%. Not until the bili results came back, anyway…

          • amazonmom

            My daughter would have been a readmit for anyone else but a NICU nurse parent who had just fired the lactation staff. I forget your son’s GA, I know at work we follow the small young ones closer and usually don’t discharge until they start regaining weight.

          • Young CC Prof

            He was 37 weeks, but not quite 5 pounds, IUGR. They watched him like hawks for 24 hours, then apparently decided, “Hey, he looks perfect! Guess we can just treat him exactly like all the other babies now!”

            In fact, as you said, they should have continued to monitor him until he started gaining weight. Maybe discharging him was the right move, but they should have been more thorough about his discharge exam and communicated concerns clearly at the time of discharge.

    • Bombshellrisa

      No, support is VERY important and there needs to be more of it. New mothers need to hear that it can be “the hardest thing in the world” (what my OB told me when we talked about it) but that some things that make it difficult can be overcome and it can be enjoyable. More lactation consultants need to be more like the awesome ones I saw that the hospital, who assured me a little formula and nipple shields could help until my son could latch, also who acknowledged just how hard pumping and trying to nurse a baby can be.

      • Young CC Prof

        As I said to my pregnant friend the other day, when folks try to write honestly about the challenges that can come up when breastfeeding, someone always pops up to accuse us of “sabotaging” nursing relationships.

        And claiming it’s easy and almost always works beautifully, that ISN’T sabotaging?

        • OldTimeRN

          I recently had a mom who was in tears because her breastfed baby was losing weight. She was on the verge of freaking out. She said she got tons of info about breastfeeding and no one ever mentioned weight loss. Hell even bottle babies lose weight in the first few days, though generally not as much. I don’t understand the need to keep the realities from a mother.

    • moto_librarian

      How about giving factual information about infant feeding, period? The claims about the benefits of breastfeeding don’t have very good evidence to back them up (as demonstrated by Dr. Amy’s analysis of much of the literature), yet they are routinely cited by professionals of all stripes. If you have preemie, breastmilk definitely helps to prevent NEC, but if you have a term infant in the developed world, the benefits are marginal. That is the truth, but it’s impolitic to say so.

      • Ellen Mary

        I am actually fine with them saying that, as long as they also say correct information to women who express a desire, for whatever reason, to breastfeed and face a potential obstacle. AND they give women objective information about the benefits breastfeeding can possibly confer to them . . . Like lowering the risk of breast and ovarian cancer . . .

        • Ellen Mary

          I think what we are both saying is that there is a disconnect between exaggerated claims of breast is best and society poorly equipped to support breastfeeding in the face of any obstacle, so mothers find depression in that tension.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            I think the pressure to breast feed is quite intense and when a women is not successful she feels like a failure because society seems to put an intense and overwhelming expectation for all mothers to breast feed regardless of circumstances. There is plenty of support out there for nursing mothers, LLL, lactation consultants, lactation clinics, lactation classes and a million websites, books and blogs. It’s a matter of people not being so judgmental when things don’t work out. In my own experience there was overwhelming support to breastfeed, but no support when breastfeeding became impossible because of low milk supply due to inadequate breast tissue. Nobody told me it was okay to stop breast feeding, only that I was poisoning my baby, a multitude of crazy latching issues (which I think are baloney) and not trying hard enough to continue to breast feed and build a milk supply, even though it was medically impossible for me. I’m sure a lot of mothers can relate to this article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2730109/The-babies-starved-mothers-brainwashed-BREASTAPO-How-anti-formula-milk-fanatics-putting-babies-health-danger.html

          • Ellen Mary

            The pressure to formula feed can also be overwhelming. Almost every day that I have been a mother who breast feeds, I have read somewhere that it is worthless, perverted, disgusting, anti-feminist, retrograde. Here I read there are no real benefits and I am torturing myself and reducing my husband’s earning capacity and perhaps stealing from his employer . . . I thought to myself earlier today that I am *shocked* that I haven’t just said ‘why bother?’ since even in 2014, it will never be an act that anyone seems to value.

          • Young CC Prof

            Um, you realize at least half of the other people in this conversation DID breastfeed or are currently breastfeeding?

            You set up extreme positions, and then decide that everyone who doesn’t agree with you 100% must have adopted an extreme opposite position.

          • Ellen Mary

            Do you realize this conversation isn’t the entire internet? It is no secret that most skeptics (who right now are acting like they have a lock on science) at least say breastfeeding is equal to formula feeding. Then they turn around & say breastfeeding is incredibly cumbersome to the mother and basically promotes antiquated gender roles. Then they fail to mention any actual benefit to the mother. So it follows that if it is equal for the infant & more cumbersome for the mother, and anti-feminist, it must be worse.

          • DiomedesV

            “Most skeptics”?

            Citation please.

          • Ellen Mary

            Do you want a list of feminist, skeptical writers that have disparaged breastfeeding in print? It would be more economical to give you a list of those who have not . . .

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            you are ridiculous, completely making a fool of yourself to prove a non-existent point. And since you are offering, post the links

          • DiomedesV

            Why don’t you start with listing the feminist, skeptical writers that have called it “perverted”?

            And then explain why you care for their opinion in the first place?

          • Ellen Mary

            I never said feminist, skeptical writers call it perverted, I said people regularly say that in internet comments . . . No writer in MSM ever calls formula poison either, that is usually relegated to comments as well. Here’s a link to probably the ne plus ultra of the current popular rhetoric . . . http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/04/the-case-against-breast-feeding/307311/

            ‘Or is it this generation’s vacuum cleaner—an instrument of misery that mostly just keeps women down?’

          • DiomedesV

            Are you really getting worked up because comments on CNN or some other website are calling it “perverted”?

            Look, virtually anyone can allow themselves to get upset about random shit on the internet. But most people understand that’s a waste of their time and some people even figure out that it’s just an excuse to get upset about something.

            I actually used to be kind of like that. Then I had a kid, and I didn’t have the time or energy anymore. Having a kid actually gave me some insight into my earlier behavior.

            I think you need to learn not to introduce things into your home or life that you find to be actively demeaning and not at all intellectually valuable.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            It is no secret that most skeptics… at least say breastfeeding is equal to formula
            feeding.

            I don’t doubt it, but I am trying to figure out, who the hell is saying otherwise, that formula feeding is better?

            For fuck’s sake, FORMULA COMPANIES say that “breast is best” in their own commercials.

            You are seriously tilting at a strawman.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Sorry, but I have never once experienced or read anything like that, what people don’t want to see are women who breast feed being rude and inconsiderate in public pulling out their entire boob, aerola and nipple while feeding uncovered with their entire breast out for the whole restaurant or shopping center to see. That is what people think is disgusting and I tend to agree. I’m from eastern Europe where most women tend to breast feed and I have never seen women expose themselves in public like these American women tend to do and then whinge and complain to the media about nobody being supportive when they are asked to cover their breast which is entirely overexposed with no consideration for the other children and patrons. I have never seen any support for formula feeding, ever and I work in a hospital in the Midwest.

          • DiomedesV

            Even if people don’t like to see the whole package… they need to get over it. Seriously. How often can that possibly happen to anyone?

            But then, I often wonder where people get the energy to get offended about basically anything. I don’t have it in me. Maybe in a couple of years….

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            True, but common courtesy goes a long way. They complain nobody supports them breast feeding in public but they fail to mention they had their entire breast exposed at the table for everyone to see. I saw it last week in Ruth’s Chris of all places

          • Ellen Mary

            Well maybe you don’t visit ANY baby websites or read ANY baby magazines. Even if you didn’t read the scientific discourse of the day, you would see that BabyCenter, FitPregnancy, etc all run formula ads all day long. My Amazon is covered with formula ads and I don’t even shop for formula . . . I am just a member of Amazon Mom. I think it is pretty ridiculous to say that there is NO support for Formula Feeding . . .

          • Ellen Mary

            Formula even showed up in my mailbox unsolicited this time!

          • Guestll

            Please tell me you threw out the can and blew up your mailbox.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Bwahahahahaha!

          • Ellen Mary

            No but I did leave it in the car, because as a mom of 3 recovering from a Cesarean, it was something that almost dissuaded me from breastfeeding, even though I had a lot of experience. I can’t imagine what it does to a mom without a strong BF history . . . I don’t think we have to wish for formula to be promoted to moms. I can’t imagine more effective promotion than delivering it to women’s homes.

          • Guestll

            Good for you because that can has special powers.

            When I opened my mail today, there was a free sample of a piece of shingle from a roofer. We’ve already committed to using another roofer! I can’t believe some other company is trying to sell me, a woman in a developed country who is able to read, write, discern, etc., another form of roof. It was almost as if I had no free will, no ability to throw it in the trash with the rest of the shit I get in the mail but don’t care for.

          • Bombshellrisa

            “because as a mom of 3 recovering from a Cesarean, it was something that almost dissuaded me from breastfeeding,” How? Is it the thought that it might make life with two little ones and a newborn a little easier to manage?

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            Oh the horrors!

            I get a lot of stuff showing up in my mailbox. Some stuff I look at, most of it I don’t.

            I hope you offered the free samples to your friends who might need them. We were very appreciative of our friends who let us have their formula samples and coupons.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            I fucking LOVE coupons/samples and they completely influence how I think and what I buy! Sometimes my husband has to cut up the credit cards to stop me from buying depends underwear and glue sticks because the advertising just takes over and forces me to buy shit I don’t need!!! *sarcasm*

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            Getting restaurant coupons in the mail does not affect our decision whether to go out to eat or not, but it does affect where we go.

            And that’s actually kind of true. For example, we tend to avoid the types of restaurants that send out a ton of coupons, typically because they suck.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Yes, my point exactly. You use the advertising and coupons you know will work for you and are beneficial to what you are looking for in a product or restaurant, not because it simply exists. If someone can’t see past the schtick in advertising and uses every coupon they get with no benefit to the family, well you get my point. Advertising is in no way support, it is marketing to sell a product

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            yeah, formula companies pay those magazine to put those adds in the magazine, it is called marketing! How the hell else is the magazine going to make a profit? Every article in American Baby, Parenting and all those mags is about breast feeding. There are also Medela and Ameda adds in them as well. Now you are just trying to make up shit to prove your point, I believe Dr. Phil calls this right fighting.

          • nomorequestionscatherine

            Well maybe YOU don’t visit any baby websites or read any baby magazines. Because ads =/= “support”. Seemingly every other article or blog post or message board post in/on most of these resources these days are all about “promoting” breast feeding, often at the cost of demonizing formula feeding.

            These are the resources that consistently regurgitate the “amazing” benefits of breast feeding without bothering to give current, factual information about the real benefits and the real obstacles of it to the women who will read there.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            Because ads =/= “support”.

            But it goes beyond that, doesn’t it? It’s “ads for formula = anti-breastfeeding”

            She feels insecure about breastfeeding because someone … advertises formula?

          • Young CC Prof

            I got restaurant coupons in the mail today. Clearly this has sabotaged any cooking plans we had for the next month, I had the frying pan in my hand and the groceries on the counter, then that coupon book arrived, and like the pied piper, led us right out of the kitchen and downtown!

          • nomorequestionscatherine

            I’m about to wake my baby laughing at this :)

            Although with a new baby I can’t say I wouldn’t be tempted away from cooking by the pied piper of fast food.

          • nomorequestionscatherine

            Quoting “But it goes beyond that, doesn’t it? It’s “ads for formula = anti-breastfeeding” ”

            ah, yes. good point.

            Breast feeding articles or ads aren’t anti-formula. Oh no. But formula feeding promotion is most definitely anti-breastfeeding. /snark

          • Bombshellrisa

            If it’s bothering you seeing those ads, why don’t you stay off the baby websites and put aside the baby magazines and see if you feel better?

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            A paid advertisement is not support for formula feeding, it is marketing to sell a product. How is a company supposed to make a profit without selling ad space? A coupon or a free sample is not support. If you are so easily persuaded to formula feed from seeing a paid add, well can you say sheep? That whole line of commenting is pure garbage and talk about disparaging!

          • Ellen Mary

            Why would anyone pay for advertising if it was not shown to influence behavior? Real question. Do you think no one eats a burger because they saw a McDonald’s ad that was not going to eat from BurgerKing anyway?

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            I don’t know how else to explain this to you: A PAID ADVERTISEMENT IS NOT SUPPORT. IT IS AD SPACE WHICH A MANUFACTURER PAYS ANOTHER ENTITY I.E A MAGAZINE TO PUBLISH. It is in no way support for formula feeding, it is paid advertising, just like Medela pays to put it’s breast pump ads in the same magazine. It’s to sell a product, not garner support for one or the other. They don’t give a shat how you feed your baby, they care about selling pumps or formula.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            Why would anyone pay for advertising if it was not shown to influence behavior?

            Yes. Similac advertises because it wants formula users to use Similac, as opposed to Infamil.

            Similac doesn’t advertise because they want you to use formula. They want you to use THEIR formula. They DON’T want you to use their competitors.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Thank you Bofa, sometimes I just can’t get it out right

          • Ellen Mary

            It is an opinion matter, but I think the effect of vigorous, paid advertising is to increase consumption of ALL goods, even if it is a particular brand being advertised . . . So if Burger King and McDonald’s are both showing a burger on TV, net consumption of all burgers goes up and probably Wendy’s and Hardees also benefit. I am not an advertising professional . . . But I think it is pretty easy to see that formula advertising doesn’t just speak to already-users. Otherwise we wouldn’t see all this ‘for supplementation’ formula of late . . .

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            go to Similac and Enfamils website, they have an 800# for BREAST feeding support and claim breast is best! It’s all over the website. Oh wait, you can’t because you might be unfairly influenced by the power of Similac and its advertising to stop breastfeeding and instantly run to Kroger and buy formula.

          • Ellen Mary

            They did not just up and start doing that voluntarily. They do it to deflect allegations that they are promoting their product to the detriment of breastfeeding . . . To generate goodwill . . . They also may be required to have that language on the can by law. I don’t know the history of it, it would be interesting to find out.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Ay dios mio! It’s the same shit Yoplait and Dannon do to sell yogurt. It is not about breast feeding one way or the other, it’s about the product and product competition. They can’t compete with BF, but they can with each other I’m done, I just can’t deal with this level of ignorance anymore. you have infected yourself with woo and nothing can be explained to you without your self-righteous, right fighting.

          • Bombshellrisa

            The line is staffed with lactation consultants! The horror!

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            I’m dying

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            Because women supplement!!!!

            Do you know why formula was invented?

            It was not as a replacement for breastmilk. It was as a replacement for the crap that was being used instead of breastmilk.

            Women supplement. Formula companies know this, and they want mothers to use their products. So if Similac gives a free sample, and mom uses it, and the baby likes it, they are likely to continue using it, which is good for Similac.

            That’s why you market it, and give free samples. So now Infamil has to also give free samples.

            As I said, Similac does not benefit from mothers using Infamil. They don’t have any interest in increasing Infamil’s market share.

          • Ellen Mary

            It is spelled Enfamil . . . And a mother who uses Similac could quite possibly switch to Enfamil tomorrow . . . People tend to be brand loyal but not always . . .

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            They COULD but they likely won’t, because they don’t know if they baby will like it.

            It’s not brand loyalty, it’s sticking with what you know works.

          • Amazed

            Comparing choosing FF to eating a burger or two is ridiculous. And if you think people really make their entire food choices based on ads, I suppose I am a superwoman then. I freely admit that from time to time, I eat the ice-cream of a particular brand just because because I saw their ad. Amazingly though, it doesn’t happen on a daily base. In fact, when I think of the ad, it’s usually when I am in the line in front of the ice cream already.

            By your logic, I should be stuffing myself sick with ice cream because ads are everywhere and well, I love vanilla ice cream. I am not. Wow me.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Ellen Mary, here’s a question for you. Do you think car adds are aimed more at people who already drive cars, or do you think car adds are mainly aimed at people who don’t own cars and instead rely on public transportation? ‘Cause the last time I saw a car add that featured characters that appeared to be life-long NYC dwellers or black bus-taking families was….never. Weird that. Shouldn’t the adds focus on trying to convince savvy urbanites of the merits of abandoning the subway? But instead the car adds seem to always feature some family that already drives and is looking to purchase a new model. How can this be possible? What are the advertisers thinking?

          • Durango

            Facebook always puts up ads in my feeds for naturopaths and the like. So what? I ignore them and scoff at the stupid algorithm that puts them there.

          • me

            You know, I understand that there may very well be a small segment of the population of nursing mothers who deliberately “expose” themselves to see if they can get a rise out of people. BUT, the overwhelming majority of breastfeeding mothers take a lot of care to avoid potentially embarrassing exposure. I look at it kind of like farting in public. We’ve all done it. We try not to. We usually succeed, but occasionally, someone will crack one at an inopportune moment. The polite, mature, adult thing to do when someone passes gas in your presence is to understand that they are way more embarrassed and uncomfortable about it then you could ever possibly be, and you *pretend it didn’t happen*. What you DON’T do (unless you are an immature asshole) is point, laugh, call them stinky/dirty/insert name here, and tell them to leave your presence. While certainly there are people who purposely pass gas in front of others (for laughs, just to get a rise out them, whatever), most of the time when life’s little boombies happen, they are unintentional, and gracious people react with, well, grace.

            So, yeah, there might be nursing moms who are like the deliberate gass-passers, but the vast majority would rather you not see their breast at all. If it happens it is most likely completely inadvertent. If you respond with anything other than ignoring it and pretending not to notice you either are an immature ignoramus, a bully, and are unworthy of being in the company of respectable persons OR (in the case of those very few women who are exposing themselves deliberately) you are a fool who took the bait and gave them exactly what they wanted – a reaction.

            I don’t know where you see all these “American women” exposing themselves, but I’ve not seen it. And remember; “overexposed” is a subjective term. In a nation like the US, with so many differing ideas on what constitutes “modesty” (as well as what doesn’t) it is not surprising to find that women women would never dream of nursing in public without a hooter hider, while others are perfectly okay simply lifting their shirt and quickly latching. And both of those options are perfectly okay.

          • me

            That should be “some women” not “women women”

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Like I said a little modesty goes a long way. The whole subject is bases upon personal experience not once did I claim bf to be disgusting or taboo. I have just noticed in the last month two different women completely exposing themselves in full view if other children at a park and restaurant. Please bf, no problem there, just don’t plop out your entire breast before your baby is out of the stroller at the park. Shocking that other people and children have rights as well

          • me

            Fair enough, but as I said, these two women you saw remove their breasts before their child was even out of the stroller (I’m taking you literally here) were apparently one of the tiny minority of women who, like those who deliberately pass gas in public, were looking to get a reaction out of those around them. They do make it harder for all breastfeeding mothers, but they are NOT representative. I’ll admit, I just see them as boobs. They aren’t genitals. Everyone (including men and children) has nipples. So I don’t see it as “flashing” or indecent exposure. If the sight of a bare breast is enough to scar one for life, one is particularly fragile and would probably find some other reason to be “scarred” anyway. Of course other people have rights. But NO ONE has the right not be offended in public. Sorry. If that were the case one would be required to step on a scale before purchasing short shorts and no one would be allowed to wear pajamas to WalMart. I’ll repeat: no one has the right to not be offended in public. You leave your house at your own risk. You may see, hear, or smell things that you find unpleasant. Mature people ignore it and move on.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Yeah because none of us have any right to be offended by the crude and unusual just for stepping out of our front door. your exact statement is what is wrong with society, nobody gives a shit about other people, just their selfish agenda. So you go ahead and be mature while the rest of us sit around saying WTF is wrong with those people?! It is straight up wrong to have your whole boob hanging out in front of a dozen kids at a playground just because you are breast feeding. If that lady didn’t have a baby her ass would have gotten arrested and probably placed on a 5150. Please breast feed your baby, but do it with respect for yourself, baby and the other people around you. Sorry but your opinion sucks

          • me

            No, you do not have the right to never be offended in public. Is it reasonable to expect that you won’t be? Sure. Just like it is reasonable to expect that it won’t rain on your birthday. But you aren’t entitled to it. And that is what’s wrong with our society – people think they are entitled to have everything their way because that’s the way they want it. You do have the right to feel safe. You do have the right to have laws, statutes, and rules enforced. However the laws, statutes, and rules about NIP tend to favor the breastfeeding mother – at the least it is exempted from indecent exposure laws and in the most bfing friendly areas it is spelled out that a mother has the right to feed her child anywhere mother and child are allowed to be. Why do you think your made-up “right” not to be offended trumps her actual legal right to feed her child? That is what is wrong with society – people think they can make up “rights” and use them to take other people’s actual rights away.

            Look, when I get in my car and drive down the highway, I sincerely hope I don’t see any other drivers licking their noses, spitting out the window, or talking on their cell phones. I hope when I turn my cart down the next aisle of the grocery store that I don’t see some lady with her butt cheeks hanging out the bottom of her shorty hot pant or some guy with his shirt unbuttoned low enough to see gnarly chest hair. When I frequent the mall I hope to not be witness to a gaggle of school girls wearing skin tight leggings with trampy slogans plastered across their rear ends. When I go to a restaurant I hope I don’t see someone pick her teeth with the cutlery or hear some group of drunk guys swearing. When I go to a movie theater I hope I’m not sitting near someone with BO. I hope when I enter an elevator that the person who just exited didn’t crack off a fart in there. I hope when I go in a public restroom that the last lady flushed the damn toilet. And, yes, like you I hope that when a nursing mother is present that she doesn’t over expose herself in the process on feeding her child. Unlike you I realize that I’m not *entitled* to be free from ever being offended by other people’s behavior in public.

            Now you can go wringing your hands a la Rev Lovejoy’s wife can cry ‘won’t someone please think of the children”, but the fact is young children aren’t ashamed of bodies the way older kids and adults can be. They likely won’t notice or care if a woman is nursing in public; they may ask what she is doing, and it’s a great opportunity to talk about the primary function of breasts and what they are for. Older kids, who have developed a sense of modesty and understand about “private parts” may have more detailed questions. Great, use the opportunity to share your values with your kids. If you think it’s inappropriate to NIP, it is your right to spread that to your kids. If you merely object to the amount of exposure one particular woman engaged in, you can share those thoughts. I suspect when grown ups try to suggest that kids will be corrupted or scarred by seeing a woman nurse it’s disingenuous; the real concern is that the adult might have to have a conversation that makes them, not the child, uncomfortable.

            Personally I suspect that you are embellishing upon what happened to try to prove your point. But even if what you are claiming actually happened, so what? Some people do things in public that make other people say WTF. You yourself admit this. stop being such a control freak and realize that the only person whose behavior you have any control over is your own. Model grace and dignity for your children. Staring, pointing, gawking, laughing, harassing, etc are just as (if not more) rude and that’s the real bad example.

            You think my opinion sucks? Well, the feeling is mutual, hon.

          • me

            Ha! should be ‘picking their noses” not “licking their noses”

          • me

            Just one last thing: You claim that I said you don’t have the right to be offended. That is a straw man. What I said (read carefully now) is that you don’t have the right to NOT be offended. Sure, you can be offended by any damn thing you please (and it strikes me that you are the type who will find SOME reason to be offended no matter where you go). If you choose to go around with your knickers in a twist, go ahead. I won’t tell you not to. But you do not have the right to have everyone else conform to your personal set of standards of behavior simply because you don’t want to be offended. If you don’t want to be offended you have the option of staying home. As long as you aren’t harassing the person who “dared to offend” your delicate sensibilities, think whatever you want. I hope that clarifies.

          • Amazed

            Hanging my head in shame. Just two weeks ago, I got really, really offended. I was waiting at the bus station. Next to me, people were boarding another bus. The last passenger in the line was a nice looking grandmother whose granddaughter, aged 4 or 5, lifted her dress, squatted and took a pee right there, between the two buses. Grandma looked at her benignly, got her on the bus and started to follow. And them I, stupidly offended as I was, grabbed this sweet old lady by the hand, pulled her back and told her in no uncertain terms what I thought of her. She said just what you wrote, that I didn’t have the right to be offended and if my long dress got soaked in her granddaughter’s piss, that was my problem because I really shouldn’t travel in such dresses.

            Now I know I had the option to stay home, not travel at all. Thanks.

            For the record: if authorities hadn’t come to see what was going on, finally, I would have pushed the good old woman on her knees and pressed her nose in the piss. We of delicate sensibilities are barbarians. Eastern Europe produces lots of us.

          • me

            I’m not sure about how it applies to children, but there are laws against public urination. If you bothered to read my post thoroughly (instead of skimming it and then ignoring large portions) you would recall that I mentioned that you have the right to feel safe and you have the right to expect laws, statutes, and rules to be enforced. Instead of confronting the woman directly (thereby attempting to take the law into your own hands) you would have been better served leaving it to proper authorities. Why didn’t you report it to the bus driver?

            Also, when did I say people don’t have the right to be offended? Reading comprehension is apparently on holiday this week. What I said (read carefully now, I won’t use any big words, I promise) was “You don’t have the right to NOT be offended in public”. IOW, in case that’s too hard for you to understand, yes, you can be offended by anything you like. What you don’t have the right to do is insist that everyone else abide by your personal standards of public behavior at all times merely because you don’t want to be offended.

            What is really revealing is that instead of going to proper authorities, you were ready to commit battery against an elderly woman. Vigilantism is against the law. Guess who would have gone to jail?

            Apparently those of you with delicate sensibilities aren’t very bright either. As for your prejudice, sorry, I won’t go there. I refuse to believe that all the members of an ethnic group are stupid, lack the ability to read and understand simple English, are brutish, uptight, self important, have an overblown sense of entitlement, and are generally fucked up merely because I encountered two individuals on the interwebs that happen to hail from the same locale and fit that description.

            And feel free to be offended, my dear. ;)

          • Amazed

            Because the bus driver was right there and pretending not to see, of course. Because people are so scared of coming off as “hateful” to children that they are ready to close their eyes. Because if I had let it go like everyone else did – before I spoke up, of course. Then, it turned out they didn’t find it all that unoffensive either – the driver would have gotten his wish and drove away from the problem. The elderly woman would have saved her 50 cents for the WC. Everyone happy. Is that what you think should have happened? One of the (few) good things with our system here: no one would have paid attention to my offense. No jail for me, no justice for the woman, sorry to break it to your sense of justice.

            Really, the distance between letting a child urinate in public, about 20 meters away from a WC and finding flashing breasts under the pretext of breastfeeding normal isn’t that big.

            And you cannot offend me, so sorry for the lost effort. I get offended mostly by things I see with my eyes, not some pseudoliberals in the internet.

          • me

            Did you try to tell the bus driver, or did you simple ASSume he/she would do nothing? If you told the bus driver and he ignored you, why not find a police officer (it sounds like one wasn’t far off, since one got involved before the bus departed) and report it to him/her?

            No, I don’t think you should have kept silent. Quite the contrary. A law was broken. You have a duty to report it. However, you do not have the right to commit battery against someone for public urination. You have the right to defend yourself – had the little girl squatted over your foot, you would have been justified in pushing her away. But you were in no imminent danger. Self defense only allows for justifiable force. Beating up an old lady because she allowed her grandchild to cop a squat is not justifiable use of force. It is vigilantism and you would face criminal charges. And rightfully so.

            “Really, the distance between letting a child urinate in public, about 20
            meters away from a WC and finding flashing breasts under the pretext of
            breastfeeding normal isn’t that big.”

            Really? Public urination is illegal. Nursing in public is a protected act. The difference between shouting “fire” in a crowded theater (that isn’t currently ablaze) and peacefully protesting the actions of police officers in Missouri isn’t that big either. you know, except legally, of course. Minor details, I know.

            Sorry if you think my refusal to judge your ethnic group based solely on my limited interaction with you makes me “pseudoliberal” (whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean). It certainly must suck to go around feeling “offended” at every turn, tho. Well, maybe the smug sense of self-importance you apparently derive from it makes up for the inconvenience of having your panties in a wad 24-7.

            It really does take all kinds, don’t it?

          • Amazed

            Did you not read what I wrote? The driver was right there, looking at them and then quickly looking away because if he showed he had seen, he should have taken some action. And no, I could not find a police officer (one did not get involved, the only reason someone from the bus station got involved was because the quarrel stopped the woman from boarding the bus and so stopped the bus from departing). I was with heavy bags of my own, in line to get them loaded onto my own bus, the law prohibited me from leaving them anywhere without me close and the other bus was already getting late. They were the last passengers and the driver was already getting ready to depart the moment she climbed in. Getting her by the hand was the only way to stop her from leaving the mess literally behind. Believe it or not, I am not making a hobby out of harassing elderly women. Then again, most of them aren’t doing anything extreme either.

            No one beat her up. Just stopped her from getting away without a peep. And if I was going to press her nose in the urine, it was because of her arrogance, not because she let the kid pee right there. I suppose it’s nice to rely on the law for such things but here, it’s too rare to happen for such minor offenses. It’s up to us to ignore it or show that it isn’t tolerable. Sorry but there are things I am not willing to ignore (admittedly, I don’t pay much attention to those who parade their naked boobs in the park under the pretext of breastfeeding. Their boobs, their choice to make themselves ridiculous. I am not going to lose my sleep over that.)

            Nursing in public is a protected act. Is stripping your boobs in public a protected act as well? Because you know, there is a difference between a woman who has no choice but nurse unprotected because the kid. Will. Not. Suffer. A. Cover. and one who, at seeing you look away, makes it a point to step where you cannot Not see her.

            Pseudoliberal wasn’t referring to your attitude to my ethnicity, by the way. It was about your contention that no one has the right to tell anyone else that they are committing an offense. It was about you mocking those “with tender sensitivities” and advising them to stay home.

          • me

            Look, FWIW, I understand you were in a difficult situation and I don’t think you were wrong to speak up. It was your comment that you were ready to commit battery over the incident that makes you sound unreasonable.

            In reading your third paragraph, I think we actually agree more than you realize. No, I don’t think it is appropriate for a woman to deliberately over-expose herself while nursing, or any time for that matter. However, it is extremely difficult to judge intentions (did she just flash everyone, or did her distractable 4 month old pop off and leave her exposed for a moment before she was able to cover up?) and even more difficult to clearly define how much is “too much” exposure (small breasted women will always have an advantage there. is top down nursing ever okay? is any amount of areola okay? is any amount of skin okay? how long must the nipple be visible before it’s “indecent”? if the woman looks sufficiently embarrassed do we give her a “pass”? etc). I think the reason the laws are ambiguous on those points is that no one wants to discourage women from nursing their babies, despite the fact that a very tiny minority of sickos might take advantage of the law’s ambiguity. Why punish the majority of nursing moms because of the theoretical possibility that a few might use it as an opportunity to engage in exhibitionism?

            “Pseudoliberal wasn’t referring to your attitude to my ethnicity, by the
            way. It was about your contention that no one has the right to tell
            anyone else that they are committing an offense. It was about you
            mocking those “with tender sensitivities” and advising them to stay
            home.”

            Okay, thanks for clearing that up. I never said no one has the right to tell someone they are committing an offense. But it has to be an actual offense. Breastfeeding in public is not an actual offense. And quite often it is protected and anyone interfering may face charges of their own, in some places. “Delicate sensibilities” was referring, not to people who find certain acts offensive (we all do), but to those who feel it is their right to insist that everyone live up to their personal standards of decency and decorum. In an ideal world, sure, we’d all have the same standards of what constitutes “appropriate” behavior, and we’d all agree to abide by them all the time. But here on planet Earth, it’s not that simple. And being gracious, giving people the benefit of the doubt, and minding one’s own business (when the offense in question is not an actual illegal act) is a reasonable philosophy. Really, if one is that offended by the sight of a bare breast, they need to look at their own issues. No, maybe they’d rather not see it, but are they really going to be harmed by it? I think not.

          • Amazed

            Ah, I see. Well, the nursing women I have a problem with are those who get offended when I look away. They are the tiny minority of those who breastfeed in public but I’ve met them. It’s as if a complete stranger you’re sharing a bench with looks away from your exposed breast, they are judging you. That’s the moment I start judging – when a breastfeeding woman behaves as if I’ve committed an offense against her by not looking at her boobs while she’s breastfeeding. Everything else is fine in my book. Actually, I find looking away from a nursing mother considerably easier than being forced to hear the squeals of a hungry infant. Anyway, up to the moment I haven’t been pissed enough to actually say something. I believe they know what they are doing and they are doing it on purpose, so why bother when it doesn’t even concern me that much? No one has actually turned my head and forced me to watch.

            As to my willingness to commit battery, it was quite real. Not something I am proud of but yes, at the moment I was quite ready to do it. And not because it was legal or whatever. I was simply fuming angry by her reaction of the whole accident. Not a rational reaction by any means.

          • me

            Okay. I myself have not encountered this, but I’m sure there are some women with whom you can’t win for trying – if you look away you are “judging” her, if you don’t look away you are some kind of “pervert”. I can understand your aggravation over that. And, yeah, they can’t exactly force you to look, so saying something would be pointless. If they bother you that much you can simply walk away or sit somewhere else. If that offends them, well, they don’t have the right to not be offended either! It goes both ways.

            I can understand being enraged enough to consider getting physically emotional with someone over an egregious offense, too. And in hearing more details it sounds like it wasn’t so much the fact that the child peed as it was the woman’s response to you calling her on it. And that is understandable.

            I guess, from my POV, when someone is doing something that you find offensive, but is not actually breaking any laws or rules, the best course of action is to ignore it and move on. If someone is breaking a law/rule in my experience it is almost always best to bring it to the attention of someone who is in a position to do something about it (an usher, a manager, a police officer, etc). Sometimes confronting someone leads to escalation. And a lot of people aren’t wrapped too tight. Even if you are very polite about it, they could go ballistic on you. Unless I am in imminent danger by their actions I generally avoid direct confrontations. I’d rather quietly speak to the manager or whathaveyou. If the manager won’t do anything? That I’d take on a case by case basis, lol.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            This whole statement being my point exactly. I do not understand why you made such personal attacks against me over someone having a slight difference of opinion. I would never say anything to the women, because it is her legal right. I never said I was harmed, just slightly offended and maybe even amused to some extent because it was on the far end of the spectrum. I never said anybody had to live up to my standards, just that there was probably a better way to do what she was doing. My apologies for not explaining myself better or using the best description of the matter, but calling me uneducated, a bad mother and all the other assumptions you made about me for having an opinion different from others is wrong. i have two degrees and speak 4 languages. I never insulted anyone or made a personal attack, or claimed to be an above all being with impossible standards. Maybe it was because I said American, but that was just to show a difference in culture, not to insult Americans. My husband and son are American and I’m very grateful to America for giving me and my family a safe haven.

          • fiftyfifty1

            I think people reacted strongly to what you had to say about the women you saw on the playground, because you used such strong terms to describe them yourself.

            You called them “crude and unusual”, and “straight up wrong”, you asked “WTF is wrong with these people”. You compared their lack of coverage during breastfeeding to a sex offense: “If that lady didn’t have a baby her ass would have gotten arrested and probably placed on a 5051″.

            When “me” provided a different perspective you told her “your exact statement is what is wrong with society” and said that her statement showed that “nobody gives a shit about other people, just their selfish agenda” and told her “your opinion sucks”.

            And then yes, you went on to make generalizations about American women and how they like to flaunt it.

            And you’re supposed to be the arbitrator of whether or not something is classy?

          • me

            Yes, this. I’m glad it wasn’t just my imagination :) Her statements came off as quite inflammatory and wholly unfair. Maybe I got harsh in some of my responses, and I suppose I shouldn’t have done that, but she didn’t seem to be shying away from abrasive responses herself. I figured if she was dishing it out, she could take it. I may have been wrong on that point.

          • me

            As I explained above, it was more your assertion that the only time bfing moms get flack over it is when they fully expose themselves. That is simply untrue. And yes, making about “Americans” (as tho women in other countries are somehow more “modest”/”proper”) didn’t help.

            Perhaps we simply misunderstood each other. Not uncommon in these comments.

          • Poogles

            “Is stripping your boobs in public a protected act as well?”

            In some places in the US, yes, a woman is allowed to go topless anywhere a man is allowed.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            OH please! I’m not offended by much. My opinion being that there was probably a better way to go about the situation. I never said anything to either woman, nobody did. Please continue to insult me and assume you know how I think and why I have my own opinion. It is quite pretentious to make such shitty assumptions about a person. I never stated said opinion as fact. English is not my first or even second language for that matter so maybe I’m not using the language correctly, but all insults aside, it is an opinion that was never stated as fact.

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            Actually, being shielded from a breasfeeding breast isn’t a right legally speaking. Most states that have laws protecting breastfeeding do not have provisions for modesty and the act isn’t considered public exposure or whatnot. I mean, you may not want to see it, but it isn’t “right” to be protected from it.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Of course there are not legal provisions for modesty because I’m sure lawmakers never thought they would have to include them in the law due to human decency and what is left of common sense. But hey if they want to be rude and uncouth that is there business, but then they shouldn’t go complaining when owners of said establishments ask them cover up or leave
            Like I said, please.nurse your baby or ten y.o but have some common decency and respect for other people and yourself. There is no reason to completely expose the breast to nurse.in.public.

          • me

            And, aside from the two women you claim to have seen do that, nobody does. The reason they didn’t include provisions for modesty in the law is because the law is not designed to protect the general public from breastfeeding mothers. (derp) The law is designed to protect breastfeeding mothers from the general public. From people like yourself (including owners and managers of businesses) who are uneducated and like to bully other people into behaving in a manner they deem “appropriate”. Even tho, last I checked, no one died and made them Queen, Lord, and Emperor of the Universe. And you seem to be under the impression that a cover would “solve” everything. Not necessarily. Some dill-holes simply get “offended” at the mere thought of a baby breastfeeding, even when they can’t see a damn thing. Case in point:

            http://consumerist.com/2008/09/16/babies-r-us-dont-try-using-our-nursing-chairs-for-their-intended-purpose/

            And keep in mind, the use of covers (assuming the child will even tolerate one) really only serves to reinforce the wrongheaded idea that breastfeeding is a dirty, shameful act that should be kept hidden at all times. Why would you want to perpetuate such a load of crap? The fact is you can’t please all the people all the time. And some people are never happy. Why should the majority of sane, rational, mature people have to bend to the nonsensical whims of moronic busybodies with delicate sensibilities and no life of their own to attend to? The law says we don’t.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            And people have the right to govern their establishments how they see fit as well. It Is what it is, nobody said breastfeeding was offending delicate sensibilites since you seem to keep missing the entire point. But hey if they want to hand their boobs out like zoo primates then I guess the law protects that and nobody has the right to be offended or say anything.

          • me

            Yes and no. Are business owners allowed to refuse to serve certain races/ethnic groups? There are laws protecting breastfeeding mothers from this kind of “governing” for a reason.

            You insist I keep missing the entire point. What exactly is your point? You claimed that the only time women get asked to leave because they are breastfeeding is when they literally have their “entire breast exposed” for some prolonged period of time. I call BS on that. The fact is it doesn’t take long to uncover news stories where bfing mothers are harassed even though they are using a cover (like the one I linked to above). Not that you need to use a cover to breastfeed modestly, but certainly the use of a cover would automatically mean the mom was living up to your Puritanical standards, no? If your assertion was correct you would find no such stories. But you do.

            And it seems your reading comprehension still sucks ass. You have the right to be offended over anything you want to get your pretty little head offended over. You do not have the right to dictate to others what they can and cannot do simply because you are overly sensitive. Maybe someone doesn’t approve of visible tattoos or piercings. Maybe they find it wildly offensive. Fine. They are entitled to their opinion. They are not entitled to demand everyone cover up their tattoos or piercings in public. And they certainly aren’t allowed to bully or harass people who have visible tattoos or piercings in public. If the thought of a mother breastfeeding her child offends you so much, don’t allow it in your private residence – you have that right. But out in public you don’t get to call the shots, sweeite. Again, mature people ignore things they find offensive in public (assuming no laws or rules are being broken) and move on.

            Maybe if you go and get some of your own business you won’t have time to go minding everyone elses?

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            And another thing, you weren’t there and you didn’t see what took place. I NEVER once said I had a problem with bf, ever. The park lady took it to a whole other level that was just unbelievable. Sure they have tights just like everybody else which btw nobody infringed upon at all. Just like I have a right to my opinion and you have the right to your opinion. I’m done with this matter as I have friends, a kid and job to attend to which is contrary to your shitty little jab, instead of arguing with you about my personal opinion and my right to be offended or not, cause IDGAF how or who breastfeeds I just care that I have to explain why this lady had her whole boob out to my son.

          • me

            “I just care that I have to explain why this lady had her whole boob out to my son.”

            See, we could have saved ourselves a lot of back and forth. Like I said previously – whenever someone opposes bfing in public because “won’t someone please think of the children” it’s generally because they don’t want to have to talk to their kid(s) about something that might make them (not the kid, mind you, but the grown up) uncomfortable. IDK how old your son is, but depending on age a simple “she’s feeding her baby” would suffice. If he’s old enough to be more aware of modesty a discussion of how different people have different values and more or less modesty than others (the difference between say, nudists and the Amish). And it’s certainly up to you whether or not you tell your kid that what she did was inappropriate. You’re free to raise your child with your own values, of course. It’s not that hard of a conversation really. Not when there are much harder conversations awaiting as he gets older…

          • me

            I have to ask you a couple of questions. You claim that in the course of one month you saw two women, one at a park, the other at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, “fully expose” their breasts in order to feed their infants. Even if I assume that your account is completely accurate, it begs the question: Why were you staring at these women? You mentioned that at the park there were at least a dozen other kids around. I presume you were there with your kids? Why weren’t you watching your own damn kids? When I take my three to the park I’m way too busy supervising my own to be staring intently at some other broad and her baby. While you were busy being a looky-loo, who was watching your kids? You were at Ruth’s Chris for an overpriced steak, okay. I imagine you were with some other people, your spouse, friends, relatives, right? Are you so bored and disinterested in the company of the people you were there with that you were gawking at the other patrons? When I go out to eat, call me crazy, but I pay attention to the people I’m with and the meal we are enjoying. We don’t go out in order to gawk at other people. And count your blessings. This woman fed her hungry child, instead of ignoring the poor baby and letting him scream and cry (and subsequently ruin everyone’s dining experience) in the name of “modesty”. You can look away from a sight you don’t “approve of”. It’s much harder to ignore the piercing cries of a hungry baby.

            Seems to me that if you paid more attention to your own kids and found some friends whose company you actually enjoy enough to pay attention to through a whole meal, you wouldn’t have the problems you seem to be having. Just a thought.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            When I go out to eat, call me crazy, but I pay attention to the people I’m with and the meal we are enjoying. We don’t go out in order to gawk at other people.

            I know that when I go out to eat, I am pretty much oblivious to the folks around me and what the are doing.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            First off, I didn’t have to stare because it was literally right in front of me and who the hell says I wasn’t watching my kid you nasty troll? Secondly IDGAF

          • me

            I’m the troll now? Okie dokie. When I take my kids to the park, I’m busy watching them. I get being aware of one’s environment and scanning periodically to see if anything seems ‘out of place’. But the mother with the baby in the stroller sitting on the bench? Not a blip on my radar. Maybe she did make a big production out of it. IDK, I wasn’t there. As far as out at a restaurant, I stand by that. Even with an open seating plan, most people keep their eyes on their own table.

            “Please excuse me for having an opinion, living differently and it not being up to your standards.”

            Hee hee. So you not see the irony of this statement, in light of your previous statements about “modesty” and respecting other people’s sensibilities?

            Probably not…

          • fiftyfifty1

            Eastern Europe must be pretty different form Western Europe then? I’ve never been to eastern europe, but was in France and Spain earlier this year. Kids that appeared to be as old as 3 or 4 went entirely without bathing suits. Women from their teens well into old age went topless (and of course all the men went topless). Most women wore a top but a substantial minority did not. There they would be walking around and nobody batted an eye. My kids briefly remarked on it and then didn’t mention it again during any other day at the beach.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Yeah maybe on the beach or swimming, completely different than sitting.in a cafe or restaurant

          • fiftyfifty1

            So in your opinion it’s totally okay for European women to walk up and down the beach totally topless but you are shocked by “these American women” who “expose themselves in public” when they breastfeed. Got it!

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            It’s a completely different situation. They are swimming at the beach where in certain places nudity is expected or accepted. Not all beaches are nude and most have a designation for nudity at least where I have been in Europe and Ukraine. When I go to Jamaica or where ever in the winter I sunbathe topless, but it isn’t a family resort. It is completely different than being in a cafe or playground. I’m not a prude, not even close.
            I’m not talking about all women who breastfeed, just a certain minority. Please I apologize for any offense taken by my opinion and I don’t have a problem with bf, but she didn’t have to completely expose everything to do it at the playground.They make clothes and bras specifically for nursing with the aim of being discreet or for easy access. My neighbor nurses her baby through mass every Sunday, without a cover and you can’t even tell what she is doing. I honestly can’t explain it any further because the woman at the playground literally took her shirt half off and pulled her entire breast out before she even picked up her baby. It was hard not to notice and the older kids skateboarding definitely noticed.
            Maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know, but I felt it was just going a step too far. I’m not talking about most women who breastfeed, because I see women do it all the time where I live in middle-class suburbia. They nurse in Target, the mall, restaurants etc, and it is barely obvious. The two examples that I posted about where on the extreme end of the spectrum. I’m sorry for having an opinion that people don’t like, but maybe if you saw what I saw you would have been a little shocked as well. More importantly though, nobody said anything to them, nobody. But the other mothers with me at the playground group all noticed her and said that there was a better way to nurse in public. It is what it is and I’m done commenting on it because it is purely my opinion and I’m sure some people don’t like it and maybe others agree. My apologies for being offended and having my own opinion on the matter, in all sincerity I wasn’t trying to be inflammatory, offensive or make a big deal about these two particulars. If I came off that way, I apologize and excuse me

          • me

            Had you put it the way you just put it above, I probably wouldn’t have said anything. But you were talking about “these American women” (as tho it’s common for “dirty” American women, not you “clean, proper” Eastern European women) fully exposing themselves being the *sole* reason why someone might get harassed for nursing in public. And that’s what I took issue with; in many cases the nursing mother being asked to leave (or escorted to the bathroom) is NOT over exposed, and sometimes she is even using a cover (meaning NO exposure).

            You don’t need to apologize for being offended or having an opinion. But be careful how you word things – try not to generalize two rare, isolated incidents in order to paint all moms who breastfeed in public with the same (derogatory) brush.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            and yes, eastern Europe is very,very different from western Europe.

          • DiomedesV

            Why are you looking for commentary on how awful BF is? Could it be that you’re kind of a drama queen?

          • Ellen Mary

            Ugh, it is very much out there on all the MSM websites. I don’t have to seek out articles on BF being overhyped & oppressive in magazines like Time, Slate, Salon, Newsweek . . . It is the flavor of the day . . .

          • Young CC Prof

            Um, it is overhyped?

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Time devoted the cover of one of their issues to breast feeding and extended breast feeding. I’m looking for these articles you claim to exist right now and Google just isn’t finding them, what it is finding is breast feeding support and articles about mothers claiming to be thrown out of restaurants for breast feeding when they were really over exposing themselves.

          • Ellen Mary

            Google Bonnie Richman . . . She writes for Time & is fairly critical of BF. And you may remember that Time’s cover was about crazy moms taking BF too far, it wasn’t a celebration of BF.. It was a cartoon of a nursing mom, basically. And your views on how moms just love to over expose themselves, I am not even going to address those, I will just let them be, as an example of the barriers & prejudices & judgement BF mothers face.

          • Bombshellrisa

            The pressure to formula feed? Whatever. You are an adult feeding your child in the way that works well for you and affords your child adequate nutrition. If breast feeding doesn’t serve both those needs, then yes, then you should feel some pressure to adjust things. Why are you concerned that what you are doing isn’t being valued? As an adult you have be comfortable making the decisions that work best for your situation without worrying if you are going to get a gold star for what you are doing.

          • Ellen Mary

            Yeah, you should totes be cool with people constantly disparaging something you put a lot of time & effort into as completely worthless! What’s wrong with you?!?

          • Young CC Prof

            If you and your baby enjoyed it and bonded, the time wasn’t wasted. Just because breast milk doesn’t make inherently better babies, it wasn’t for nothing.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Nobody is disparaging your efforts to breast feed which is honorable and noble, just your efforts to constantly insult people, right fight and spew bullshit with no real back up or proof.

          • Ellen Mary

            I don’t know what right fight means, I have never seen Dr. Phil but I am truly confused about what would be honorable or noble about persisting in an activity that apparently damages the family, interferes with paid employment, deprives the primary caregiver of sleep, and confers no real benefit to anyone. You really can’t have it both ways . . .

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Like I have said before, I advocate what works for the individual. I support those who breast feed and those who formula feed. It is honorable to breast feed and it is honorable to stop when it isn’t working out. Realizing ones own limitations is respectable and shouldn’t be criticized by the breastapo, which was my experience. I never said breast feeding interferes with paid employment, I said I wasn’t going to wake up my husband to watch me breast feed, but to change a diaper hell yes. Why would I wake my husband up so I can breast feed? I never said it had no benefits, because it has plenty of benefits, just like formula feeding. You are always the one making inflammatory and ridiculous comments instead of engaging beneficially to the conversation. You egg people on with crap instead of being open minded and supportive of all options. You do this on every single thread you comment on

          • Young CC Prof

            Actually, you can have it both ways: IF breastfeeding is in fact seriously endangering your family’s financial stability or the health of any member of your family, it might be a good idea to stop. If breastfeeding is working reasonably well, keep doing it. I’m not sure why this is so complicated.

          • Ellen Mary

            Because there is only two realities you posit: one in which breastfeeding is neutral, not damaging your family and yourself and your baby, but also not providing any real benefit, and the other in which you ARE damaging your family and yourself and your baby. There is no reality you posit in which breastfeeding is providing a benefit to your family, yourself, and your baby. But that is the reality in which my breastfeeding takes place. We benefit financially (because no one would pay for formula for us), my sons benefit by learning to value lactation as a valuable activity that is worthwhile, I benefit in term of ovulation suppression and breast cancer risk reduction and while I haven’t lost much weight this time, it is very possible weight GAIN has been thwarted, and my baby benefits because he just likes to nurse & he is growing and thriving on my milk . . .

          • Bombshellrisa

            You want your sons to “value” lactation? Just don’t make a big deal about it. Seriously do what you are doing so they see it can be done, but don’t present it as this amazing thing you are doing and that this is the superior way to feed a baby. They may have children and you wouldn’t want them to put more value on breast feeding then their partner’s needs especially if breast feeding doesn’t work for their family. My FIL “valued lactation” and made anyone who couldn’t or didn’t want to breast feed (including his own wife, dying of cancer) to feel like they were ignorant of the benefits and were lazy and quite possibly wasteful of their income because breast feeding is “free”

          • Ellen Mary

            What I don’t want is for them to see it as a scientifically ignorant waste of a mother’s time, which is what they would see it as if I followed the line of thought presented here . . .

          • Bombshellrisa

            No, you are making it about more than a function that nourishes your child. If you are loving it, cool, it’s working for you. But you would be better striving to teach your sons to value the women in their lives for something other than their biological functions

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            bull shit

          • Young CC Prof

            Me making up songs that don’t rhyme and singing them while I’m trying to feed my baby veggies is a absolutely a tone-deaf waste of time. It will not make the veggies more nutritious, it will not instill in my son an appreciation of music, and it will not make me a better singer.

            It’s just parenting. I like it, he likes it. If I lost my voice, I’d do something else. Quit complicating everything.

          • nomorequestionscatherine

            Oh, how I hate the myth that breast feeding is “free” as a blanket statement to promote breast feeding!

            (I know you’re not saying it is. I agree with you)

          • Bombshellrisa

            Oh I know-I hate that too.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            and right fight is exactly what is sounds like, you fight to be right regardless

          • Bombshellrisa

            Yes. You certainly can’t control what people think about something like breast feeding. Anyway, if it works for your situation and your child is adequately nourished, what do you care what other people think?

          • Ellen Mary

            Why then why would y’all care what is said about formula? Because we all want our actions to be affirmed and valued by the society in which we live.

          • Stacy48918

            I care about blatant FALSEHOODS, which is what much of the lactivist material is. Outright lies deserve to be called out.

          • Bombshellrisa

            The lies and myths and downright disgust for formula feeding is palpable. Sure, there are women who are asked not to breastfeed in public, usually that is due to people being uncomfortable seeing a woman nurse, but she won’t be told that she is a bad mother or feeding her baby poison.

          • Ellen Mary

            She can be told she is a bad mother. Read the comments section next time one of these incidents hits the media. People regularly call any mother who BFs a child with teeth a pervert . . . And I mean regularly . . .

          • Bombshellrisa

            So what?

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Usually the comments are not about the BF it’s about the mother over exposing herself and insisting that other people bow to her natural, bodily function. BF your 10 y.o for pete’s sake, just do it with common courtesy

          • DiomedesV

            I am totes cool with that. Because I’m an adult.

            In fact, I could encounter that all the time all day long if I chose because of what I do for a living.

          • Stacy48918

            “Almost every day that I have been a mother who formula feeds feeds, I have read
            somewhere that it is worthless, perverted, disgusting, anti-feminist,
            retrograde.”
            Fixed it for me and other formula feeding moms. Well, except, I don’t read much rabid lactivist nonsense by choice because it’s lactivist nonsense and if I did it wouldn’t bother me because I know that formula is what my baby needed.

            If you’re reading anti-BF stuff every day and it’s as upsetting to you as it clearly is, you need some boundaries in your life to avoid some of this stuff. And some self-confidence to know that what you’re doing is best for you and your baby and everyone else can bite you.

            I don’t have any of my self-worth tied up in how I feed my child. It just doesn’t matter worth a hill of beans. So if someone critiques me, I don’t care. That’s obviously not the case for you.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            The pressure to formula feed can also be overwhelming.

            Seriously, you are just making shit up to be contrary.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            As usual

          • Guestll

            I don’t know where you live, but in my neck of the woods (affluent, upper middle class) it’s formula feeding mothers who are shamed. When I went to Mum/baby groups, it was the formula feeding mothers who were stigmatized.

            Nobody gave a rat’s about me breastfeeding, even when she was toddler. Nobody. Not once, and I fed her everywhere.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Amen, preach it sister! Because that is exactly what i experienced from my community.

        • fiftyfifty1

          Although women also need to know that the reduction in ovarian cancer that breastfeeding confers is not some magic particular to breastfeeding. It only occurs secondary to the ovulation suppression that exclusive lactation can produce in women in the first 6-12 month postpartum. This ovulation suppression can also be obtained by using birth control pills, depo provera etc.

          • OldTimeRN

            I’m sure most of us can debunk the ovarian/breast cancer claims and breastfeeding. My own mother and grandmother never nursed any of their kids and no cancer. My good friend nursed all her kids and will be undergoing a radical hysterectomy and mastectomy.

            Breastfeeding, imo is one of those gimmicks quacks used to sell off the back of their trucks. Claim to do this and that. Yet when it doesn’t? Oh well. I’d like to see actual hard core proof of breastfeeding benefits that couldn’t or wouldn’t be achieved with bottle-feeding. I think I’ll be waiting a long time.

          • Ellen Mary

            Maybe you don’t understand how statistics operate? One breastfeeding woman who gets breast cancer does not mean that breastfeeding does not reduce overall risk in the population. Saying that is like saying because you know some vaccinated child that got Pertussis (which does happen) that DTaP does not work.

          • OldTimeRN

            I know all about statistics. I also know they can be skewed to “prove” most anything. Yeah I don’t put a lot of faith, in most statistics. If part of my nursing decision of to reduce my chances of developing breast cancer and I need up with it anyway? I’d be annoyed and calling lots of people liars.

          • Ellen Mary

            I guess you can just believe the statistics you want to believe . . .

          • Guestll

            Or we could just go by your anecdotes.

          • Young CC Prof

            The effective of nursing on cancer risk is quite small and does not hold for all populations. In particular, the number needed to treat is pretty high.

          • DiomedesV

            Still a worthwhile goal on a population level, though.

          • Ellen Mary

            Only lactation can reduce breast cancer AND ovulation cancer risk simultaneously though. With combined oral contraceptives you have to trade ovulation cancer reduction for an increase in breast cancer risk . . .

          • fiftyfifty1

            It’s a myth that OCPs cause breast CA.

          • Ellen Mary

            No it actually is not, new research just last week says otherwise. The most recent release pertained to higher estrogen pills, but there is definitely a link.

          • Ellen Mary
          • fiftyfifty1

            Umm, you need to read beyond the first line of your link.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            I was just about to say the same thing 50!

          • Ellen Mary

            Just because it is a nuanced link does not mean there is not a link. No one argues that OCP *reduce* BC risk. They don’t. But breastfeeding does . . .

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            My grandmother, mother and cousin all breast fed and all were diagnosed with breast cancer. My aunt was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and she breast fed as well. None of them with the exception of my cousin took OCPs. Lactation is not a a guarantee or safe guard against cancer and shouldn’t be presented as such either. There are not enough studies with conclusive evidence to prove either

          • Ellen Mary

            There are studies that suggest that Breastfeeding reduces risk *statistically*. That does not mean that everyone who breastfeeds will be protected. That is not how statistical risk works. Not everyone who drives drunk gets in a car accident. Most don’t. But more people who drive drunk get in car accidents than sober drivers. That is an example of how statistical risk works.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Trust me I know statistics quite well, it is obvious who does not. Many cancers have a genetic component and it wont matter if you breast feed 100 babies, some will still get cancer. it is not conclusive evidence and should be reported as that

          • Ellen Mary

            There have been large population based studies that have shown a definite risk reduction and ALL the major breast cancer advocacy organizations including Komen & the CDC report that benefit. But it still gets left out of BF discourse.

          • Ellen Mary
          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            It is not definite risk reduction, not even close

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            “All else being equal, it has a small reduction in risk.”

            Unfortunately, all else is never equal.

          • Elizabeth A

            On what planet is reduction in breast cancer risk left out of the discourse on breastfeeding? I remember seeing it all over.

            My issue with this particular statistic is not that I have a king hell of a personal amecdote about not benefitting from that statistic, it’s that no one makes infant feeding decisions on the basis of a problem that might arise in the next 10-50 years. How to feed the baby is a problem that families have to solve when it arises, with whatever constraints they have in place at the time. They need to feed the baby and pay rent, sleep, eat themselves, keep their jobs and the associated insurance, take whatever medications they need to take, and stay sane. It is not unusual for those factors to add up in such a way that parents choose formula. Whereat they have to listen to lactivists basically tell them that it will be their own fault if they get breast cancer. It’s not helpful.

          • FormerPhysicist

            I worry that things go in the opposite direction. That mothers with (possible) breast cancer put off diagnosis and treatment so that they can breast-feed. Worse than not helpful.

          • Elizabeth A

            I don’t know that women with possible breast cancer are likely to deliberately put off diagnosis. I know that when I developed symptoms of possible cancer, one of the things that went through my head was “how long has this been going on, and what have I been feeding the baby?”

            However – lactation can mask symptoms of breast cancer in a number of ways. It’s harder to notice changes in breast tissue when you’re lactating, because your breasts are all over the map anyway. Lumps are likely to get written off as plugged ducts or random weirdness. Mammograms are harder to do and less likely to be effective, and ultrasounds and so on aren’t always available.

            Anecdotally, while we were still investigating causes for the funky nipple discharge I was having, I had a biopsy. The doctor took the sample straight over to a microscope, took a look, and crowed “these are lactational changes!” Lucky for me, there were other suspicious areas that still needed other biopsies. The pathology report on my erstwhile breast indicates that, basically, the whole thing was malignant. I have no idea what that doctor did to thread the needle through the various cancerous bits and come out with cells that showed only lactational changes. I can easily imagine shutting the whole diagnostic process down at that point.

          • Young CC Prof

            The best data seems to show that breastfeeding for a year results in a RELATIVE reduction in risk of 4%. It’s tough to translate a relative risk of cancer to an absolute risk, since your breast cancer risk is strongly linked to your life expectancy. However, it’s safe to say that the absolute reduction in risk is pretty small, and there are much easier ways to make your life safer and healthier.

            You know what reduces the risk of breast cancer more than lactation? Teen pregnancy. Why aren’t women having babies in their teens? It prevents CAANCER!!!

          • Elizabeth A

            But of course! Sixteen and Pregnant is a PSA for public health.

            You know the real answer – it’s about controlling women’s behavior. The other stuff is window dressing.

      • Roadstergal

        It helps to prevent NEC only if you win the biological lottery and have the right HMOs, according to the very interesting DDW talk I attended… if it’s borne out, it’s just further evidence that nature really does suck.

        • moto_librarian

          Oh wow, I didn’t know that! How interesting.

        • Young CC Prof

          Yeah, I saw an article about that! Fascinating stuff. What if we could come up with a way to synthesize it? Or test women for production levels?

          • Roadstergal

            I posted a few links a while back… and yes, you can test (they tested levels from breastfeeding mothers via HPLC in one trial), and in one rat study, they pinpointed and elucidated the structure of one HMO that seemed necessary and sufficient for prevention of NEC in that model.

            (You can do proper interventional trials in rats, and post-hoc analyses of women who BF their kids once the outcome re: NEC is known, and the talk I saw had both.)

          • Roadstergal

            What’s funny is that the guy giving the talk (Bode) came across as a really gung-ho BF type, but the data he was presenting clearly pointed to how much less risky formula properly supplemented with the _right_ oligosaccharides would be when a premature baby’s health is on the line.

        • mostlyclueless

          I am guessing HMO is not short for Health Maintenance Organization here? What is it?

          • Young CC Prof

            A type of sugar, sort of like lactose, but a special lactose that discourages bad germs in newborn intestines.

          • Roadstergal

            Sorry, human milk oligosaccharides.

          • mostlyclueless

            Thanks. And HMOs differ considerably from one person to the next? Can you recommend a review or similar?

          • Roadstergal

            The data I saw was very new, and what I’ve seen in reviews is a bit speculative – it’s not my area (although I do work, sigh, with the microbiome in some of my work). The rat study is free:
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3909680/

            (DSLNT is the HMO they identified as most critical) “DSLNT protects rats from NEC at a concentration of 300 μM, which is within the physiological range reported for human milk. DSLNT concentrations in milk from mothers with term infants are higher during the first 3–5 days post-partum (~600–1500 μM) and drop within the first 2–3 weeks (~500–800 μM), a timeframe that coincides with the occurrence of NEC in most preterm infants. Whether DSLNT concentrations in the milk from mothers with preterm infants are comparable to those of term infants needs to be elucidated. The inter- and intra-personal variations in the DSLNT concentration of human milk may provide one explanation for why some breast-fed infants still develop NEC. Some mother’s milk may simply not contain sufficient amounts of DSLNT to protect the infant from NEC. If this is true, the concentration of DSLNT in the mother’s milk may be a non-invasive biomarker to identify breast-fed infants at risk of developing NEC.”

            The discussion never mentions investigations that might support the addition of DSLNT to formula, although it seems an obvious step. This own study showed that formula supplemented with DSLNT can prevent NEC, after all.

          • mostlyclueless

            “Some mother’s milk may simply not contain sufficient amounts of DSLNT to protect the infant from NEC.”

            How can this be true when breastmilk is THE PERFECT FOOD PERFECTLY DESIGNED FOR YOUR PERFECT BABY?

        • Trixie

          Don’t high levels of HMOs lead to more frequent poop, also? I’ve read somewhere that the reason why some breastfed babies continue to poop frequently after the newborn period while others can go a week or more, is the level of oligosaccharides in the milk.

    • DaisyGrrl

      But then Baby Friendly hospitals that require mothers to sign waivers before giving them formula for their starving babies would have to change too. And frankly, the “benefits” of breastfeeding are greatly exaggerated by many in the health field and also need to be addressed.

      • melindasue22

        I found this at one hospital about baby friendly hospitals. At least one hospital gets it. http://bridgeporthospital.org/Birthplace/faq/default.aspx

        • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

          OK, so I am wondering about this:

          The Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a World Health Organization and UNICEF project with the following criteria for participating hospitals:
          …7-Practice “rooming in”– allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.

          OK, so the BFHI initiative says that hospitals have to “allow” for rooming in.

          How has that turned into being an excuse for hospitals to ditch their whole nursery,and require rooming in?

          • rh1985

            80% of moms have to room in to get and keep the BFHI accreditation. Perhaps they fear that too many moms will want to use the nursery and they won’t get that magical 80%, wrongly valuing that over the recovery of their patients. The hospital I delivered at is trying to become a BFHI hospital. They still have a nursery. However they don’t “let” BF moms send their babies to the nursery. (As I didn’t BF, I can’t answer whether they will take the baby if the mother is absolutely insisting on it. Moms I know who “requested” it were denied. I don’t know how hard they pushed. I FF and was not pressured to room in at night.) As most moms in this area attempt to BF, I suppose that is one way of meeting the 80% goal, but I think it’s unethical – of course I think the whole rooming-in policy from BFHI is unethical itself.

          • KarenJJ

            How did they come up with 80%? Considering around a third of births are c-sections. Then some mothers have long labours, others might have an underlying condition, PPH, Anemia and other post birth complications (I had a massive immune system flare the day after having my second and had to send him to the nursery because I could not physically get up to him). Seriously – isn’t 80% a tad optimistic here? How could they arrive at that number?

          • Young CC Prof

            The same way people arrive at “ideal” c-section rates. They make things up and ignore what happens on the ground.

            Or, you can say 80% unless medically contraindicated and leave open room for common sense. Because let’s face it, every postpartum woman can find a reason to be medically contraindicated.

          • Ash

            Right, in the guidelines from “Baby Friendly Inc,” the terms “justifiable reason” or “medical reason” is required for documentation of why mom and baby were separated. I do not know if a parental request to take baby to the nursery is considered “justifiable.”

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            I fail to see how ANY goal for rooming in makes sense. I have yet to learn what makes rooming in constitutes “baby friendly.”

            Why does it matter if the baby is sleeping in moms room or not?

          • Ash

            1) Buys into NCB belief that mothers should be available to place the breast in an infant’s mouth at any second

            2) Marketing that they the hospital promotes “better bonding”

            3) Decreases staffing costs by allowing the hospital to cut RN staff. Too bad it means infants&families are not receiving adequate care. If a significant number of families were using nurseries before BFHI, eliminating nurseries means that you are understaffed. RNs should not be expected to take babies with them while rounding because no nursery is available.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            1) Buys into NCB belief that mothers should be available to place the breast in an infant’s mouth at any second

            Yeah, that’s a good one. Because babies go from sleeping to screaming from hunger in the snap of a finger, right? And if they don’t have that boob right there, they are scarred for life!

            I know that with our first, when my wife had to put warm towels on her chest to facilitate milk let down, they would give us a few minute warning that he was starting to wake up, so we needed to get ready for him. By the time he woke up enough to eat, he was at the bedside and we were ready to go.

          • Liz Leyden

            No nursery means no nursery nurses. Like many other initiatives, it’s all about cutting staff.

          • melindasue22

            Now I think I might search out hospitals that aren’t striving for the BFHI status if I have more babies. It is placing some crazy idea over the true needs of mothers and babies. I had my first kiddo at a big navy hospital and they only had a special procedures room not a nursery they even said to me if your husband is gone and you really need to rest but the baby won’t, we will look after him don’t worry about it. I think it was about the way they organized their nursing staff. I didn’t end up taking her up on that offer but it was nice to know it was there. He was born at 2am and I was exhausted.

        • rh1985

          I live in that area. The other hospital in that city eliminated the nursery despite a 45% c-section rate. I won’t say anything bad or good about that CS rate since I am not a zealot and I don’t know why it’s higher at that particular hospital. But regardless, nearly half of the new moms at that nearby hospital are recovering from major surgery yet have no option for uninterrupted rest at night. It’s barbaric. I wouldn’t be surprised if that page is a bit of marketing to attract the women who are dissatisfied with the other hospital. (I gave birth at a third hospital in a different town that is trying to get BFHI, but still has a nursery, so not sure how that’s going….)

    • theadequatemother

      I have noticed a large variety of information given to lactating women around anesthesia and breastfeeding. Most of it erroneous. Way too many women are being told to interrupt feeding or pump and dump when they don’t need to. But do we actually know that most women who plan to breastfeed and can’t are in that position because of bad medical advice? How big, in the grand scale of bf problems is this particular problem? I don’t know the answer but if anyone does would love to hear from you (research note anecdotes please).

  • Amy M

    Totally agree. I read this article online, and thought the interpretation that women who breastfeed are at less risk for PPD a little bit of stretch, given the data. Women who wanted to breastfeed and couldn’t are more prone to PPD, and the report of this study seems to be saying the converse is true (women who wanted to breastfeed and could are less prone to PPD), just because A, doesn’t mean B, automatically.

    Also, a big trigger of PPD is sleep deprivation,and a breastfeeding woman is more likely to be sleep deprived because she’s the only one getting up in the night. This point never seems to be mentioned, or a lactivist will gloss over it by suggesting bedsharing and saying that [bedsharing] will lead to MORE sleep for a breastfeeding woman, as compared to a non-bedsharer, or a non-breastfeeder. I suppose that might be true for some women, but if you are waking up several times/night to feed your baby, you are sleep deprived, regardless of where your baby is.

    Another answer I’ve seen to the breastfeeding/sleep dep conundrum, is to suggest that a real mother would cherish every moment with her offspring, even at 3am, and to want more sleep is selfish, and such women should have thought twice before breeding, if they dare be tired and complain about it. That’s another set up for depression right there:not only is the woman sleep deprived, but she is also being told that she is a failure.

    These people demand complete sacrifice, and judge a woman an unfit mother (and lazy and selfish! Don’t forget that!) if she is anything less than thrilled by that prospect. Real mothers don’t take shortcuts and must selflessly suffer, “for the good of the child.”

    That’s bullshit and I hate the sancimommies on the internet. That that idea (that a good mother sacrifices everything) has gone mainstream, is appalling, surely contributing to PPD. It’s in the media, tv, movies and women are hearing this message from their own healthcare providers. Think about how often you or other people you know, apologize for some child-rearing choice? How many mothers feel guilty, or claim to feel guilty—and for what? Usually, whatever they feel guilty about is trivial or completely irrelevant. It’s amazing more women aren’t depressed post-partum.

    • Ellen Mary

      A breastfeeding woman IS NOT the only one getting up at night. First, babies need a lot more at night besides food. They need to be changed, they wake anyway, as all infants sleep for shorter stretches than adults, even formula fed ones. They need to be burped, they need to be rocked. Similac does not magically make someone else responsible for all of these tasks. A partner that is not inclined to help with them won’t magically be transformed into one who is by a bottle. I nurse at night, but my partner does absolutely everything else. So division of labor is NOT only achievable with the bottle. It just isn’t.

      • Amy M

        Sure, that may be true for you and others, but there ARE women who breastfeed, and get little help from their partners in other areas too. And of course, some formula feeders are doing all the work–single mothers, or mothers whose partner isn’t interested. That’s not the point here. The point is that if you are exclusively breastfeeding, you WILL be up several times/night, at the beginning at least, and therefore, you become sleep deprived.

        • Ellen Mary

          And chances are, that will also be true if you are bottle feeding unless you have a super-supportive partner or a live in nanny . . . What I object to is the idea many perpetuate that formula feeding excuses a mother for 100% of night waking because it seems ultra far from the truth . . .

          • Young CC Prof

            It is true, however, that exclusive direct breastfeeding means the mother must wake for every feeding.

          • Ellen Mary

            Surprise! My husband and I also took shifts . . . Probably we are doing shifts for longer, because I can’t alternate nights, but that is really my choice because I am too lazy to pump bottles (even though the ACA did buy me a very nice pump) . . . However I don’t really fully wake to nurse . . . But I was also getting at least 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep pretty early on. The mothers that are really having a hard time are those who don’t have a partner to help with the MANY night time parenting tasks . . .

          • Amy M

            Sure, but I didn’t think there were that many nighttime tasks. Feed the baby when its hungry, change the baby if it needs it. That was about it, in our house.

          • Ellen Mary

            Lots of babies need rocking and burping too. I am pretty low on patience at night, so I was happy to using nursing as a way to outsource those other tasks . . .

          • Amy M

            What do you mean? You nursed the baby, and then handed him/her off to your husband to finish up the burping/rocking, so you could go back to sleep? It’s great you have such a supportive husband.

          • Ellen Mary

            I didn’t realize that sounded so crazy. I don’t think it is any crazier or more/less supportive than having a spouse handle 100% of a night waking . . . It is just another system that works. Yes, I nurse the baby, he burps, rocks & changes . . .

          • Amy M

            I was just asking, out of curiousity. I never suggested it was crazy. If that works for you, it is not crazy.

          • Box of Salt

            That system work at our house, too.

          • DiomedesV

            Honestly, that sounds like a waste of your husband’s time and energy.

            My kid was exclusively FF and my husband fed her *every* night. But under no circumstances would either of us have agreed to an arrangement where both parents are awake. That’s just silly.

          • Ellen Mary

            He doesn’t think so: he bonds with his precious infant during that time, and as I don’t use bottles, he bonds through caregiving activities instead of a bottle.

          • Hannah

            Sanctimony and passive aggression, lovely! Ugh.

          • DiomedesV

            And that arrangement is especially silly where one partner is working and the other is not. If you’re a SAHP, your sleep simply isn’t as important and that of the person who is financially responsible for the entire family.

            I’d be very surprised if your arrangement was the norm. Most people understand the principles behind task specialization.

          • Ellen Mary

            I completely disagree with the statement that any person’s sleep is less important. Factually childcare is best shared between a primary and secondary caregiver . . . But I love that y’all are BOTH saying that a BF parent gets no sleep, so moms should have their PARTNER FF at night, BUT ALSO that the sleep of the primary breadwinner must be guarded at all costs, so they can’t possibly be disturbed.

          • DiomedesV

            I never said moms should have their partner FF at night. I said I did.

          • DiomedesV

            Clearly you’re never heard of optimal foraging theory.

            People who choose to allow one person, who must be awake anyway *if* BF, to also be the one who does all the nightly duties are optimally allocating their time and energy. You are not. That is your choice. But it’s pretty silly to argue that it is widespread and an ideal that other couples should observe.

          • Stacy48918

            I wish I could let hubby take a feeding or some of the night chores…but how is one supposed to sleep close to your baby to encourage breastfeeding and reduce SIDS risk…and sleep through baby waking up? Let’s face it, if baby wakes, I wake. There’s no way I’d be able to stay asleep for 15 more minutes.

          • Jennifer2

            I’m going to call bullshit on that right now. A big reason I was so sleep deprived when breastfeeding was that, since I was on maternity leave for 12 weeks and my husband was working, I believed I needed to handle all the night-time baby stuff. Including feeding, changing, burping, rocking, and pumping. I didn’t sleep during the day because I was terrified I wouldn’t wake up when our son cried. I went for weeks on < 5 hours of interrupted sleep a night. I was a wreck. When we switched to formula exclusively and started taking shifts so we each got at least 5 hours of UNinterrupted sleep a night, my mental health improved dramatically in just a couple of nights.

            No two people are the same, and there are many factors that influence the need for sleep. It is important for every parent to be able to get as much sleep as they can and not to automatically prioritize one partner's sleep over another for some broad, categorical reasons that may not apply to them.

          • DiomedesV

            Maybe you should have followed the entire strain of comments before you responded. I specifically said that, where one person *has* to get up to BF, then there’s no point in two people being sleepy.

            With FF, your partner can feed the baby and you can sleep. That is what I did. But if one person must be awake no matter what, as is the case with BF, then I do maintain that it is stupid to make both people sleepy.

            Parents that have chosen to EBF have already devalued sleep for the BF parent

          • Stacy48918

            That’s a really ridiculous system…

            I mean, great if it works for you…but asking both people to get up every time? Far from reality for the vast majority of parents.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            As I said, I did that with our first.

            But I also say it was because I could. I was very fortunate. I would never expect anyone else to do it.

            I realize that I was in a position of privilege.

          • Dr Kitty

            I breastfed.
            My husband NEVER, not once, ever got up in the night. My kiddo slept through the night from 5 months, and so even when I went back to work at 6 months and was working night shifts and crazy swing shifts in A&E, he still had an uninterrupted night’s sleep, even though he was responsible for given her EBM in bottles, putting her to bed and getting her up.

            But I had a good sleeper and an easy baby who would have a quick feed and go straight back to sleep, no problems even when she DID waken.

            It isn’t that he wasn’t supportive, but he was working, I wasn’t, and so I got up at night and slept during the day when the baby napped, and there was no need for both of us to be up.

            If she had been harder to settle, or I had been working too we might have had a different system, but we had what we had, so we did what we did.

          • Amy M

            Who said 100%? I can only use my situation as an example, but my husband and I took shifts, allowing each of us to get a 5hr block of sleeping for the first 3mos. Then, when the boys dropped all but one night feed, we alternated nights for the next 3 mos. I still ended up sleep deprived, but wo/the shifts, if I was the only one waking every time, I’d have lost more sleep than I already did. I was excused from about 50% of the night waking.

          • moto_librarian

            Who says that? Both of my kids were bottle fed, and I woke up every 2-3 hours with them as newborns. But I also knew that if I was exhausted, my husband or mother could take a feeding.

          • Anonymous

            It certainly can excuse a mother from 100% night waking, there is that option. Not automatic, of course, but a possibility. One that isn’t provided by breastfeeding. That’s the distinction: as a formula feeder, you can have some entirely undisturbed nights right from the word go, but as a breastfeeder this is impossible.

          • Ellen Mary

            Only if she has a partner willing to get up at night OR she is PAYING money for that service. I have found grandparents to be surprisingly unwilling to do much of anything, so counting on that being a source of free labor seems unsustainable.

          • Young CC Prof

            You know, you seem to be judging everyone else’s feeding choices based off of what worked for you, a common mistake among LCs with limited education. You didn’t have much help other than your partner, but you did have a relatively easy baby. Try to recognize that other people may be in different situations and speak accordingly.

          • Ellen Mary

            No, see that is what I am NOT doing. What I am doing is saying that your statement that mothers who Breastfeed are sacrificing a biological need (sleep) to do so, and that formula the only or primary way to establish equitable division of labor is incorrect. I find the whole tact that Breastfeeding and only Breastfeeding keeps women in the metaphorical dark ages, and that we have to dispense with it in order to achieve equality, to be bone chillingly offensive.

            I am also calling out the hypocrisy of the statement that the breadwinner’s sleep must never be disturbed BUT that the secondary caregiver must do all night feedings via the bottle.

          • Hannah

            Exactly!

          • moto_librarian

            But your husband gets up with you, right?

          • Guest

            Yes, obviously only if those conditions are met. But the point is that formula feeding makes it possible right from day one. Breastfeeding doesn’t. 0% of breastfeeding mothers can get an undisturbed night’s sleep initially. More than 0% of formula feeding mothers can, because there definitely, absolutely, unequivocally do exist formula feeding mothers who have someone else who will take the baby for a full night at least sometimes. Your experiences with grandparents don’t negate this. This is an advantage that formula offers that breast doesn’t. It just does.

        • Young CC Prof

          Seriously. My baby needed care every 2-3 hours for at least an hour. What saved my life and sanity was his father taking the early morning feeding before work, which meant I could sleep a solid 4-5 hours most days.

          Some babies can just eat and go right back to sleep. Mine had to be held upright (carseat or rocker wouldn’t do, he had to be held) to keep him from puking and aspirating everything. When I did my two consecutive night feedings, I pretty much didn’t sleep at all in between them.

          • Amy M

            I hear ya…we were lucky, our babies went back to sleep after eating, and if they needed changing, it happened when they woke to eat. And they woke up to eat at the same time, which was excellent. If each one had a different schedule, I probably would have killed myself. And that’s not a huge exaggeration.

          • Hannah

            Yup. Baby with reflux = little to no sleep for primary caretaker.

      • KT

        Let’s see – with my first I got up, fed her half a feed, changed her diaper, then fed the other half of the feed. It was the only way I had half a chance she’d go back to sleep quickly. Otherwise it was hours. If it was hours then yes, my spouse might help out. But I really don’t know what he would have done otherwise. My sister-in-law had her husband get up with her for all the feedings, but I never could figure out what purpose that served.

        • Hannah

          Exactly. So now you have two people who are miserably sleep-deprived. At least I can cat nap during the day when my daughter occasionally sleeps and don’t have to focus on anything more than the baby and watching the Kardashians. My husband has to drive to work, spend 8 hours (plus 2 hours before and after on his computer at home) being a productive member of an executive team. You can’t do that properly on three hours of broken sleep a night i.e. what I am ‘functioning’ on.

          • Ellen Mary

            If you are not getting 4 hours of sleep a night, that is a need . . . It isn’t necessary to deprive yourself of this in order for breastfeeding to succeed, I would urge you not to do so . . . I have three children, so I don’t actually have time to do things like watch the Kardashians, I really don’t even have time to bang my head up against a wall here . . . We had to find a way to make sure we BOTH slept at night because we BOTH do important work during the day. My Husband and I understand that what I do is JUST as important as what he does. After all, he can find another job, but our children are forever. It is in *neither* of our interests to have me be sleep deprived.

          • Hannah

            I was being flip, but thanks for the sanctimony. If I had other children I would have quit nursing by now as they would be being deprived a mother.

            Arguing that my husband needs to be sleep deprived because he can just find another job is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.

            Here’s the thing: you still have to get up to nurse, at least for the first 12 weeks while establishing supply. Your argument is baseless.

          • Ellen Mary

            Right and now you are saying that Breastfeeding deprives a mother’s other children. My argument that you can breastfeed and also maintain a basic biological need for sleep is anything but baseless.

          • Hannah

            Provided breastfeeding is going well, the baby is average-low needs, etc etc etc. That doesn’t apply to everyone. I would not be able to dedicate the time an energy to pumping and working on nursing at consults, support groups etc with a colicky reflux baby and look after other kids properly.

          • Ellen Mary

            And sometimes formula feeding also does not go well . . . . Those babies typically end up on hypoallergenic formula, but sometimes it takes a while to get there, with lots of high needs behavior in between . . .

          • Hannah

            Oh, FFS, I haven’t questioned that. What I have questioned is your argument that spouses can take equal share in breastfeeding, that their being up all night somehow improves things for the mother (especially if they don’t bottle feed) and that a four hour of stretch of uninterrupted sleep is achievable for everyone in the first few months of baby’s life.

          • Amy M

            ..I would add, that even a four hour stretch of sleep is achieved, its still not enough sleep, what with all the sleep interruptions. Of course, 4hrs is better than less, and many people do feel functional on that, but not all.

          • moto_librarian

            Sigh. If a baby has allergies, it is going to be difficult even if you are breastfeeding. Both of my boys had soy and cow’s milk protein allergies as infants. If I had been able to breastfeed, I would have had to completely eliminate soy and dairy from my diet to keep at it. While this is possible (I have a friend who did it, but also weaned both kids at 9 months because she was so tired of not being able to eat dairy), I don’t think it would have been worth the hassle for me. They drank hypoallergenic formula, and ultimately both outgrew their allergies.

          • DiomedesV

            If a mother is tied to a breastpump 24/7 in the name of BF, then yes, breastfeeding is depriving her older children of her time and care.

          • MLE

            WOW. The husband can find a new job? Both my spouse and I work precisely because in our field, if either of us lost our jobs, it would take MONTHS to find another. That’s some hungry kids right there. We’ve both been unemployed at one time or another and it is NOT a trivial matter.

          • Stacy48918

            Just forget it. Ellen Mary lives in a fantasy world where all babies sleep a prescribed amount of time and male/female roles are balanced equally in every family. The rest of us in the real world figure out what works for each of us and go with it.

          • DiomedesV

            Yeah, it’s like Ellen Mary hasn’t noticed that the economy sucks and most families feel really lucky to have any employment at all.

        • MLE

          I had mine get up with me sometimes because I was afraid I was going to fall asleep and smother the baby. Maybe not the best plan for us both to be zombies, but that was my sleep deprived brain’s solution.

      • moto_librarian

        No shit, formula doesn’t make a newborn sleep through the night. Do you think that women who bottle feed don’t recognize that their infants have these other needs? And how do you know for sure that your partner will be helping with the baby until after it’s born? We all think we know what parenthood is going to be like; the reality is often far different.

        • Ellen Mary

          Right but a partner’s willingness to help with night parenting is *independent* of the liquid an infant subsists upon.

          • Young CC Prof

            Willingness is independent of feeding method. The extent to which he can help is not. Are we failing to communicate at a basic logic level?

          • moto_librarian

            Apparently, we are.

          • moto_librarian

            Changing the baby was the easy part. Feeding is what is time consuming. My husband would help with changing, and sometimes would give the bottle.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Yeah, I completely agree. I would be nursing the baby for hours at night and my husband would get up to change a diaper and be snoring 15 minutes later. It was kind of a division of labor but not really. Once I made the switch I wasn’t a sleep.deprived sobbing mess and we could sleep in equal shifts. It just depends on everything really

          • Sis

            Honestly as much as my newborn son squirms my DH would much rather bottle feed him than change a diaper

      • alannah

        The option of sharing night feeds in a shift system simply does not exist with breastfeeding. You can talk circles around that fact until you’re blue in the face but that won’t make it any less true.
        Also please don’t pretend that the majority of fathers are unwilling or unable to participate in such a shift system. Most men are happy to help their partner carry the load. With breastfeeding they can’t. Every night waking involves at least offering a feed to baby so whether or not dad gets up and does some peripheral task doesn’tttake anything away from moms sleep deprivation. In this case sharing the misery doubles it instead of halving it.

        • Ellen Mary

          The option of sharing night parenting on a shift system DOES exist with breastfeeding. You can say it doesn’t till YOU are blue in the face, but it does exist, especially if you are defining breastfeeding to include pumping, but even if you are not . . . I instituted one, I got the idea from other BF mothers who have instituted one. What interest do you have in telling mothers that they must choose between breastfeeding and ever sleeping?

          • Hannah

            I am pretty much exclusively pumping due to severe pain, I still have to be up and pumping when my baby is up so my supply isn’t compromised. Try again.

          • Ellen Mary

            I have no idea how often you have to pump to maintain supply, but probably you could still do one 4 hour stretch a day, I would ask your professionals because you need one 4 hour stretch a day to function . . .

          • Young CC Prof

            “you need one 4 hour stretch a day to function”

            That’s what I said.

          • Hannah

            Because at this point I have to exclusively pump due to what appears to be severe vasospasm despite good latch. I am pumping whenever my daughter eats i.e. every 2-3 hours. Just like a nursing mother is meant to according to every LC I have seen.

          • Ellen Mary

            I would ask the professionals you are working with but I strongly suspect that you could have one 4 hour period each 24 hour cycle dedicated to sleep and uninterrupted by pumping and still maintain your suppy via the pump. It is a need and probably your supply would benefit . . .

          • Hannah

            I got plugged ducts and mild mastitis when we tried skipping a pump or two for a week. Can you not accept that sometimes things don’t just work for everyone because they worked for you?

          • Ellen Mary

            I am not stating that, but you are on here stating that you are NEVER getting more than 2 hours a sleep . . . A person is not able to continue like that, and that is not what the majority of Breastfeeding mothers are living with, because it would be disabling in the extreme. Therefore you are not getting enough sleep to function. Exclusive pumping is not exactly the same activity as breastfeeding, but what is the solution you are proposing if you are stating it is impossible to continue as you are?

          • Hannah

            I was still up that often when breastfeeding. Either way, my 7 week old needs to eat every 3 hours, maximum. Anecdata from my big group of new mother and recent mother friends is that this is absolutely normal to be up feeding every three hours from start to start. I have five friends who had babies within a month of me going through the same thing. My mother did it with me for 11 months. You can argue until you are blue in the face that I am the exception but I don’t see how I can be.

            Either way, you need to be up when your baby wants to eat and while it appears you had good sleepers, not everyone is that fortunate.

          • RebeccainCanada

            I saw on a forum, women complaining of just that, months of feeding every 2hrs and the toll it was taking on the mother. Midwife suggested giving the baby Benadryl so mom could get some sleep and cope. I shook my head. Breastfeeding isn’t worth this.

            I’ve bf’ed all of my children. It’s been a difficult journey. I’m currently expecting twins. I don’t plan to breastfeed. I’m excited about it, dh is excited about it. :) Now my partner really can share the feeding burden, it doesn’t all fall on me.

          • Smoochagator

            ” that is not what the majority of Breastfeeding mothers are living with, because it would be disabling in the extreme”
            DUH. So why the fuck do you think that women choose to formula feed? Because they did not have the magical happy kumbaya breastfeeding experience that you are convinced EVERY mother should have. BFing doesn’t work, so they choose to FF. BFing does work, they either become asshats like you or they recognize how lucky they are to have had things work out for them and don’t judge people who have to do things differently.

          • MLE

            What is the baby supposed to eat while mom is out for 4 hours???

          • Michele

            Yes, you have no idea about EPing. Many women have to pump every three hours around the clock to maintain supply exclusively pumping, for at least the first 6-12 weeks. A four hour stretch of sleep requires closer to 5 hours between pump sessions. Pump 20 minutes, feed baby bottled expressed milk 10-15 minutes, store any excess milk, clean pump parts, get baby back to sleep, go back to sleep yourself. If you wake up 4 hours later and pump immediately it has now been at least 4 1/2 hours and probably closer to 5 hours. Even if someone else does the feeding and cleaning for you, you still have to get the pump session in.

          • Ellen Mary

            So we are discussing breastfeeding. Now you are bringing in exclusive pumping. I agree, that totally does not work as well to maintain supply & a lot of effort is required . . . You have to pump a lot. But if it does not allow for ANY block of sleep, then it just is not a sustainable system . . . I just do not believe that the majority of EP mothers are doing without any blocks of sleep for up to a year. So they must be finding a way to integrate sleep into the process.

          • Michele

            I didn’t bring in exclusive pumping. I replied to your comment to an exclusively pumping mother. Your statement that she could probably still do one 4 hour stretch a day (4 hours sleep, closer to 5 hours between pump sessions) is not accurate for many EPing mothers at 7 weeks.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Sounds like you have no experience with exclusive pumping and yet you believe you know that a woman can go 4 hours between feeds at night. I do have experience with exclusive pumping, both as someone who did it herself and as a physician caring for mothers and newborns.This is what I know: Most (not all but most) women who exclusively pump have to work very hard to maintain supply and many are not able to take any 4 hour stretches without a drop in supply.

          • Bombshellrisa

            In the beginning, if you are pumping, you need to at least try to put the baby to breast to try to nurse for 10 minutes, then feed the baby then you pump. Every three hours. Plus in the beginning you are having to do things like change sanitary pads for yourself, make sure you are getting enough water and food and get some rest.

          • lawyer jane

            Ok Ellen Mary, can you explain exactly how your breastfeeding shift system allows a mother to get 4-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep?

          • Ellen Mary

            I sleep for 4 hours. My partner gets up with the baby if he wakes up during that period. He rocks/changes/burps. I breastfeed just before and just after . . . A baby can go 4 hours between one feeding a day . . .

          • Young CC Prof

            Not all babies. My son never ONCE went 3 hours without eating until he was 2 months old.

          • Alannah

            As a mom of 3 I can confidently say that this is not true. Newborns don`t often wake because they want to be rocked or changed. The vast majority of wake-ups are for 2 reasons: they want to eat or suck something. Both things can be done with a bottle or pacifier, but not when you are breastfeeding (unless you`re pumping, which is a whole other kettle of fish). And burping does not happen until they have eaten something.
            Having your husband do some stalling for a couple of hours is noble but in the end the baby won`t settle until it gets something to eat and the only source of that are your nipples.
            Breastfeeding moms can have their partner get up with them so he can become equally sleep deprived but that will not get mom any extra sleep so there is no point really.
            Breasfeeding advocates have a really hard time admitting to that fact.

          • Ellen Mary

            Oh you can’t use pacifiers while breastfeeding? Because you actually can. Again, why do you want so bad to convince people you have to chose between sleeping and breastfeeding? Or that formula is necessary for sleep?

          • Amy M

            I don’t see anyone saying either of those things. What everyone is saying is that if you are breastfeeding, you will be up every time the baby needs to eat. In the early weeks/months, that includes overnight, so even if you only stir a little to bring the baby to your breast, your sleep is still interrupted. Sleeping in 2-4hrs shifts, or having your sleep interrupted several times overnight, (even if its a brief interruption) is not an ideal sleeping situation, and many people doing it become sleep deprived. Some people tolerate less sleep better than others, but its pretty well understood that whoever is getting up in the night to feed the newborn is not getting as much sleep as he/she should.

          • Alanah

            Using pacifiers during the first 6 weeks or so of breastfeeding is strongly discouraged by every breastfeeding book, website, leaflet and organisation I have ever seen.
            My personal experience was that breastfeeding and uninterrupted blocks of 4 hours of sleep were incompatible. Logic dictates that this is inherent to breastfeeding on demand: newborns feed up to 12 times in a 24 hour period and no-one but mom can do a feed. I have not yet read anything that is convincing proof to the contrary. Rocking, changing and burping are not the bulk of newborn care, feeding is.

            This is an inconvenient truth that is routinely denied and brushed aside by breastfeeding advocates. It`s false advertising that pushes a lot of moms into PPD.

          • Ellen Mary

            Everyone on here would definitely state that it is fine to use pacifiers whenever and wherever. My personal experience is that at least one 4 hour block of sleep was advised by my doctors and that is what I stated I needed. I managed breastfeeding to include that need for me as a human, as a mother. I definitely believe the key to sustaining laceration is respecting a mother’s own needs. However it is IMO very offensive to preach a gospel of ‘Formula Feed or you will deprive yourself!’

          • Alannah

            I find it even more offensive when the government and maternity care providers systematically preach

            “Breastfeed or you deprive your baby! There is no increase in sleep deprivation and no risk to your mental health! Breastfeeding has no downsides and it is for everyone!”

            If only those who promote breastfeeding would paint a realistic picture of what it is like, mothers would be able to make an informed choice on whether they want to do it or not and a lot of PPD would be prevented.

          • Ellen Mary

            The Prenatal period is filled with consumer goods, yummy mummies, etc. I don’t know if you could put a lid on that type of mother to be fantasy . . . But promoting Formula over breastfeeding as the only choice for SANE, Scientific mothers who value Sleeping is not the answer either.

          • Alannah

            I think moms-to-be are very much capable of seeing matters in a realistic way and making the right feeding decisions for their family, but only when they get facts and not a rosy, unicorns-and-rainbows version of them.
            Promoting breastfeeding by systematically spreading half-truths and misinformation about what it entails just backfires.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            Neither of my kids ever had any interest in a pacifier.

            No matter how hard we tried to get them to use one

          • Hannah

            Lots of my friends didn’t use pacifiers for the first month as they were told nursing would be RUINED and by the time they introduced them, baby was uninterested and the only comfort sucking they wanted was the breast.

          • Amy

            Aren’t pacifiers considered a huge no-no for lactivists? Who is saying that you have to choose between BF’ing and sleeping? BTW, my newborn woke every 2 hours for the first 2 months of her life..She was hungry so I fed her. I formula fed, and certainly did not get any more sleep than a breast feeder. My choice to use formula was based on my daughter’s increasing weight loss, and eventual absence of wet diapers. Not sleep. You cannot claim to be a feminist and yet think that formula feeding is based on mom’s selfish needs, or lack of education.

          • Ellen Mary

            I don’t claim that, nor did I say that. Basically everyone on here besides me is claiming that it is impossible to fulfill the need for sleep (which we all seem to agree is 4 uninterrupted hours) & Breastfeed. And implying that formula & bottles can solve this issue.

          • Young CC Prof

            Actually, no. We are claiming that with SOME newborns the only way to get a 4-hour block of sleep is to let another person do a feeding. Are there some newborns who will start sleeping 4 or 5 hours at a stretch within the first few days of life? Yes. But there are some babies who really do need to eat every 2-3 hours around the clock for the first month or two.

            Letting Dad take one feeding each day is not necessarily incompatible with breastfeeding, depending on your family’s circumstances.

          • guest

            I’m also confused – neither of my kids would go longer than 2.5-3 hours between feeds their first 4-6 weeks. It was usually 2-2.5 hours. It’s cool your kids would go 4 hours- pretty awesome, really. But I don’t think that’s necessarily the norm.

          • Ellen Mary

            My kids would not go 4 hours at first, but I needed one 4 hour block a night, so I would feed them, sleep and then feed them again when I woke up . . . My partner would rock them, etc until then. It isn’t CIO if there is a caregiver soothing them the whole time.

          • Young CC Prof

            OK, I need to call this out.

            If a newborn is hungry and you are not feeding it, this is a problem. It’s one thing to try cuddles instead of food if you’ve got a baby several months old who’s waking for night feedings basically out of habit, but newborns need their meals, all 8-10 of them.

          • Ellen Mary

            It is not a huge problem for a baby to wait an hour for a feeding in the middle of the night . . . Dr. Spock used to tell mothers to go 4 hours between ALL feedings. I would never do that. I feed on demand when I am awake. But please, I cannot believe you would suggest that I am somehow *abusing* my child for sleeping 4 hours at night. Just please. Get off it.

          • fiftyfifty1

            No I don’t think it’s child abuse to let a newborn cry for an hour in the middle of the night while dad tries to sooth it by… what, changing its diaper for the 30th time that hour? Attempting to burp it (even though it doesn’t need to bump because its stomach is empty, not full)? No really, I agree with you, it’s not abuse. I have a very high threshold for calling something child abuse. I just am surprised that you think it would be a good idea for one of the two (equally prized!) adults in your household to waste an hour of precious sleep in this way.

          • Amy

            I haven’t seen any posts that suggest that formula feeding can help you get more sleep. Quite the opposite. NO moms get good sleep with a newborn. Those who do are just lucky. Feeding choice has nothing to do with it.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “I haven’t seen any posts that suggest that formula feeding can help you get more sleep.”

            Actually there have been posts suggesting that formula feeding can help a mother get more sleep IF others are available and willing to help out. For example, a number of my patients with histories or risk factors for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders work very hard to assure themselves not just barely adequate sleep, but actually good sleep. This is especially important if the mother has a personal or family history of bipolar, which puts one at a much elevated risk of PPP (postpartum psychosis) if postpartum hormonal changes combine with sleep deprivation. For these women, they can often create a plan with their partners, other relatives and/or paid caregivers to allow her 8 straight hours at night. The truth is that if you are exclusively breastfeeding, this plan simply cannot be accomplished, but it is possible with bottle feeding.

            Too many times on message boards I have seen women cite mental health/sleep as their reason for bottle feeding (either exclusively or combo-feeding). But tone-deaf lactivists jump right on her and proclaim either that bottle feeding can’t possibly allow her to get more sleep, or that she “shouldn’t” need that much sleep, or say something that implies that a mom who truly loved her kids wouldn’t do this.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “which we all seem to agree is 4 uninterrupted hours”

            No, it’s what YOU asserted was both needed by any woman and attainable by any breastfeeding woman.

            The truth is that need for sleep, and need for uninterrupted sleep, varies from person to person.

          • Bombshellrisa

            If your baby will take a pacifier.

          • me

            My oldest certainly woke because she wanted to be rocked (and held, and walked, and bounced, etc). I’d feed her, put her down, than an hour later she’d be up. And totally not interested in the boob. I didn’t have any supply issues, she was just a high needs baby. In retrospect I think she had serious day-night confusion going on, despite my attempts to get her to understand that night=sleep. And those days (or nights, rather) when I was going on my third or fourth night of less than 5 broken hours of sleep? That’s when my husband was amazing. No, he couldn’t feed her (she didn’t want that anyway), but he’s sit in the rocking chair watching YouTube videos of Waylon Jennings with her for hours (she loved Luckenbach Texas) until she either fell asleep (which actually happened more often than not) or did get hungry (then he’d bring her to me for a feeding). So, yeah, in certain instances a father absolutely can help a breastfeeding mother get some much needed sleep. But I don’t know how common my situation was, so it’s certainly not applicable in every case.

          • lawyer jane

            So you follow Babywise or something like that? I can tell you with certainty that my baby did not sleep in 4-hour stretches until around 3 months.

          • Ellen Mary

            No, the same theoretical caregiver who can formula feed the infant can rock or otherwise settle the infant or even give a bottle of pumped milk until the *mother* has slept for the required 4 hour stretch. I don’t think demand feeding means every 2 hours around the clock. I think there is room for one period of longer waiting somewhere in a 24 hour cycle.

            I think it is dangerous & misleading to claim mothers can’t sleep & BF or enjoy equitable distribution of childcare & BF.

          • Bombshellrisa

            In another part of the house? The second one of my babies would start whimpering which was the intro to the hungry cry I would wake up. When my husband had his nights with ds, he would take the baby (the whole thing which is diapering, feeding and burping and anything else) and would sleep downstairs with the baby.
            With my first baby who was breast fed only, this arrangement was not possible-seemed silly to have me feed her and then wake him to do another part of care.

          • Medwife

            I exclusively breastfed my son. Those crazy first few weeks, I would obviously wake to feed him every 2-4 hours (like Ellen Mary, my kid would throw me a 4hr interval about once a night, lucky me!). He needed a new diaper almost every damn time I fed him, which my husband would do. It let me get back to sleep a little bit quicker. It worked for us. Changing a diaper took a lot more focus than nursing, so I stayed more half-asleep.

          • Guestll

            Not every baby can, or should, go 4 hours between one feeding. Your experience is not universal, in fact, in contradicts everything I’ve read about nursing on cue – especially in the first few months.

          • Ellen Mary

            I am not suggesting that they go 4 hours between feedings regularly. I am suggesting it happens once in a 24 hour cycle. However, I am amused that I found the way to make all the SOB commenters decide to die on the mountain of demand feeding, a practice they typically scorn!

          • moto_librarian

            Perhaps if you had stated this right off, this whole pointless conversation could have been avoided. What makes you think that bottle feeding mothers don’t feed on demand! You really think we are all just a bunch of cold, unfeeling bitches, don’t you?

          • Ellen Mary

            No, I don’t. I never said anything like that. However, I was accused of child abuse up thread for making my infant wait for one feeding each 24 hour cycle.

          • fiftyfifty1

            You were never accused of child abuse. Someone raised concerns that some newborns could run into trouble if they did not get their feeding needs met and then YOU claimed that you were being accused of child abuse as a straw man.

          • fiftyfifty1

            No SOB commenters scorn feeding a baby on demand. What they scorn is the Lactivist lie that claims that as long as you are feeding on demand you are sure never to have supply problems (and that if you have supply problems you secretly must not be feeding on demand though you claim you are).

          • Alexicographer

            Mine certainly couldn’t. He nursed every 2 or 3 hours every day for easily the first 3 months of his life. Note that we’re talking 45 minutes per nursing, so we’re actually looking at 1.15 to 2.15 hours between feedings (ignoring all other activities).

            While I wasn’t blessed with a kid who could go 4 hours between feedings (or much of a milk supply, but oh well), I was blessed with a local and devoted grandma, ditto husband, and the ability to conk out and feel remarkably refreshed after an hour and a half’s afternoon nap, so we muddled through.

      • Hannah

        Why would I get my husband up if I am already up to breastfeed anyway? Especially as a SAHM who depends on a husband who is actually functional when he gets to work so that, you know, bills get paid?

        What benefit is there in us both being sleep-deprived – if I let him sleep through at least on weekends he can look after her during the day so I can catch up a bit?

        I mean, honestly. Now both parents are meant to be equally exhausted and non-functional in the name of breastfeeding?

        • Ellen Mary

          It is your choice if you want to take on 100% of night parenting because your husband is the breadwinner. I don’t agree. But how would making your breadwinner get up to do a bottle feeding be any different?

          • Young CC Prof

            Dad gets up at 7 to go to work. By getting up just 20 minutes earlier, he can do a whole feeding. Then, Mom can sleep straight through from 4 or 5 in the morning until 9 or 10! They can do something similar in the evening. Dad gets a 7-hour block, Mom gets a couple of 4-hour blocks. Everyone is sane and happy.

          • Hannah

            Exactly. He helps me up to midnight and from 5am but I still have to be up for everything.

          • Ellen Mary

            Where on here do you see I said BF is best. What I said is that it is possible to have the basic amount of sleep for functioning & equitably distribute parenting tasks & still BF. Sorry if that upsets your ‘Breastfeeding oppresses women full stop’ worldview. Nowhere did I say it was ‘best’ tho.

          • OldTimeRN

            Possible, but generally not achievable. Especially in those first few exhausting weeks when babies need to feed every 2-3 hours around the clock and Moms are trying to establish their supply.
            After those first few weeks 4hrs of sleep becomes more attainable. But imo, not because a spouse helps but because your baby might actually sleep for 4 hrs between feeds.
            If your baby nurses at 1am, then wakes up at 4am does your husband get up and hold the baby off for another hour? If so isn’t that just prolonging the inevitable?

          • Ellen Mary

            Prolonging the inevitable? Or allowing me to get 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep . . . It is for every woman to decide if she needs formula to enable her need for sleep. But telling woman full Breastfeeding & sleep are incompatible & that equality & Breastfeeding are impossible doesn’t promote realistic expectations, it promotes not even bothering, because why would you, if there are no benefits & it is *impossible*?!?

          • OldTimeRN

            So your husband does hold off the baby? It’s really not a matter of breastfeeding or bottle feeding. I’d ask a bottle-feeding mother the same question if she told me her husband was holding off her hungry baby so she could get 5 hours of sleep.
            Holding off a hungry baby is cruel. I’d fed my babies on demand. Bottle-babies!

          • Ellen Mary

            Again we see a poster here claiming there is ONE way to be a good, adequate, rested mother and that is with a bottle. If that is your true feeling as a RN, do you think you brought that bias with you on the job? You wouldn’t be the first or the last to do so. :(

          • guest

            Like the adequatemother, my first – yeah, sleep wasn’t happening. My daughter had a poor latch and I basically nursed around the clock for the first month. I’d get an hour or two of sleep here or there. Unless I had been willing to supplement, there was just no way that I could get more sleep than that. My son, on the other hand, woke every 2-3 hours, ate for 15 minutes, and then went back to sleep. I didn’t even have to change him with every feed because he didn’t poop all.the.time like his sister. She also didn’t STTN until she was almost 2. He has STTN since he was 5 months old, and regularly sleeps from 7pm to 9am. His newborn sleeping was a breeze.

            My point being – I recognize that we were “unlucky” with our first, and hit the sleeping/eating jackpot with our second. You absolutely, absolutely cannot generalize how nursing will go for ANYONE. You just can’t. Even if mom is bound and determined, it’s just impossible to know what the baby will act like, be physically capable of. It seems like one of the biggest problems with the breastfeeding debate in America is this assumption that one size fits all.

          • Ellen Mary

            Where is the baby while mom is sleeping until 9 or 10?

          • Amy M

            Sleeping.

          • Ellen Mary

            That is a little bit wishful thinking, no? Or did I get the entire stock of babies who wake up when the sun does?

          • moto_librarian

            I am perplexed by you, Ellen Mary. You are claiming that breastfeeding women should be able to get four hour stretches of sleep if their partners help with diapering, soothing, etc. When multiple people tell you this did not work for them, you continue to claim that since it works for you, it should work for them. When someone claims that their baby sleeps until 9 or 10 am, you say it must be wishful thinking. Do you really not understand that your anecdote is n=1, and not particularly useful for extrapolating to other peoples’ situations?

          • MLE

            Yet more proof that she is incapable of empathy and has no imagination.

          • Ellen Mary

            Very useful to assign a character defect to someone who won’t accept some erroneous claim you want to advance.

          • MLE

            You are repeatedly and explicitly rejecting the personal stories of women who have not had the same experience as you. Oh yes, you’re full of empathy.

          • Ellen Mary

            What I see is many people trying to claim that because they could not find a way to get a 4 hour stretch of sleep at night while breastfeeding (or really most IMAGINE they could not have done this while breastfeeding because they actually formula) they want to claim it is TOTES IMPOSSIBLE for any woman anywhere to do so. I am claiming that 4 hours of sleep is necessary, and that if it were truly as impossible as posters here would like to claim it is, then breastfeeding would be entirely unsustainable for any woman. Since we know that a good percentage of women do breastfeed, some for years on end and some even claim to enjoy & benefit from it, then to assert that they are deluded & sleep deprived women doing something essentially impossible is ridiculous.

          • MLE

            Ok so now women are imagining things? We’re all obviously talking about newborns here, NOT breast feeding toddlers. We’re talking about a time when the baby cannot be sustained by anything except formula or breast milk. I sure as heck did breast feed my son every 2-3 hours from birth to three months (and then at less regular intervals well after that age), and don’t you dare tell me I imagined it you ninny.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            don’t you dare tell me I imagined it you ninny.,

            Oh come on, be fair.

            She’s not saying you imagined it, she is just saying that it’s your fault that your child ate all the time, and if you were a better parent (like her), your child would have been sleeping plenty.

          • MLE

            See I think she’s also trying to imply that women who couldn’t make it work definitely used formula (even if we won’t confess), when in fact we just plowed through however we could.

          • moto_librarian

            A one year old should be sleeping through the night. Hell, even a four or five month old is likely sleeping 6-7 hours a night. The point is that during those first 2 or 3 months, babies wake up a lot during the night, and it means sleep deprivation for the primary caregiver. I’m glad that you were able to get four hours of undisturbed rest; I did not until my kids were at least four months old. My kids were both a bit refluxy, and needed to be burped multiple times during a feed. My second would then promptly go back to sleep, but I was still up at least a half an hour just to feed him.

            You are the one who cannot stick with a claim around here and insists upon extrapolating your personal experiences to every other woman on the planet.

          • DiomedesV

            My kid slept 9 hours through the night at 7 weeks. And never got up before 7:30 am again unless sick.

            Unlike you, I’m not going to generalize my experience to everyone else on this blog.

          • Guestll

            (Just have to interject here that I generally really like you but at this moment, I do not.)

            Signed, Mother of child who didn’t sleep for more than 3 hours at a stretch until she was 9 months old…

          • theadequatemother

            I had one like diomedes and one like yours. Certainly my parenting was the same. Damn genetics and fairy dust.

          • Guestll

            Was your difficult sleeper your first? Please say yes. :)

          • theadequatemother

            No. My second but he naps like a champ compared to the first that napped like…crap. It’s a blessing when only one child is up at night. I would be twice as mental if I had too poor night sleepers. Both kids were sleep trained at around the same age and we did the same sleep hygeine things with both.

          • Guestll

            Thanks. I sort of feel as though we paid our debt to the Sleep Gods in the first 9 months of borderline-insanity, because she’s now 3 and for the past two years, once she’s down for the night? Doesn’t wake for another 11 hours, sometimes 12, unless she’s sick or has a bad dream. Will sleep ’til 9 if you let her, wakes up with a smile on her face every single day. I’ll take it. But those first 9 months…oh man. I know bedsharing is frowned upon here (and rightly so) but it’s what saved what’s left of my sanity.

          • DiomedesV

            I’m sorry. I do know that we were very lucky, and that nothing we did caused this to happen.

          • Stacy48918

            Wishful thinking? You mean like “babies don’t need to eat every 2 hours” and “all parenting should be distributed equally”?

          • Alannah

            Because when dad feeds a bottle mom doesn`t need to be awake at all so net sleep time is gained. Dad getting up to perform some token job like burping or changing while mom still has to wake up to do the actual breastfeeding will only create 2 tired parents instead of one. That makes things worse rather than better, irrespective of who`s the breadwinner.

          • Ellen Mary

            Says you. Burping & changing actually take more time at our house than feeding. I also don’t have to get out of bed to nurse, but changing & burping do require getting out of bed . . . We just share the burden, just like parents do when one gets up to do everything at night . . .

          • DiomedesV

            By your logic, I could just interject here that maybe you’re not “changing and burping” right.

            But I won’t. Because I’m not you.

          • Ellen Mary

            Uh . . . I think you just did.

          • DiomedesV

            I was being sarcastic…

            I’m not of the opinion that parents have much influence over basic aspects of children’s behavior. Especially at that age. I imagine it just takes as long as it takes.

          • Who?

            Agree with that. We all do the best we can with our little silver screwdriver, but in the end all we can do is knock off the rough edges, more or less reliably.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            Dad getting up to perform some token job like burping or changing while mom still has to wake up to do the actual breastfeeding will only create 2 tired parents instead of one. That makes things worse rather than better, irrespective of who`s the breadwinner.

            Yes and no. As I mentioned above, this is exactly what I did. I got up for every middle of the night wakening for the first year. Even after he quit nursing, I was the one who got up with him (my wife didn’t).

            And yes, it certainly led to both of us being exhausted. So I agree with that.

            Although I quibble with your inclusion of “only” and disagree that it made things worse. I don’t regret it in the least, and would do it all again in a heartbeat.

            HOWEVER, that is because I could. I had extended leave for my son’s first year, and so, as a mentioned, didn’t need to function all that effectively.

            Now, with our second, I didn’t do it again, but that is because I had other things that needed to be done, including taking care of our older child and work, and I wasn’t going to be able to do either effectively if I was doing what I did with our first again.

      • laywer jane

        Wrong. The ONLY way to get an uninterrupted stretch of sleep is to have somebody else do a bottle feeding. Making both partners get up constantly every 2 hours is hardly conducive to rest for either of them!

        • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

          I got up for every feeding for my older son for the first year, despite the fact that he was nursing for the first 9 months. Basically, I would take care of things after he ate, like changing and putting him back to sleep, so my wife could get those 15 minutes extra sleep before going through it again.

          • Hannah

            As sweet as that was, were you able to function? My husband tried doing this for the first three weeks and it was awful for everyone. He was delirious with exhaustion. He started taking the last night feed so I could sleep but I got mild mastitis, so that went out the window.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            As sweet as that was, were you able to function?

            Neither of us did very much, but we were fortunate that we didn’t need to be able to do much the first much.

            However, one thing I remember very clearly after three weeks, that we agreed that “If we could just get two hours of sleep in a row, life would be so much better.”

        • Ellen Mary

          Babies don’t always or even mostly feed every 2 hours at night. Look it up. 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep was what was suggested to me by my OB. Totally. F***ing. Possible.

          • moto_librarian

            I’m pretty sure that lawyer jane is aware of that. My first was up every hour and a half to two hours to eat for the first three weeks of his life. It felt appreciably longer than that.

          • Ellen Mary

            Doesn’t seem like it, given her example. Infants also typically have one longer stretch of sleep at night, that is longer than the others, once organization of sleep begins. And also: pumping one bottle a day is less challenging since the ACA, even if one breastmilk bottle at night is required.

          • MLE

            It is not less challenging if your supply isn’t adequate. In fact it’s incredibly stressful.

          • theadequatemother

            When infant sleep organizes, around 6 weeks after the due date, it means the longest sleep interval occurs in the evening/night but for most infants this is the first sleep interval starting 6-8 pm. Adult circadian rhythms actually make it very difficult for us to sleep then – that’s why tv refers to that time period as prime time. If you can get your uninterrupted 4 hours of sleep from 6-10 pm more power to you. But please have some empathy. You are arguing in circles that bf doesn’t lead to greater sleep deprivation compared to formula feeding and you are one voice against a dozen others with the opposite experience. So please put up some citations so we can have an intelligent conversation.

          • Ellen Mary

            People are not arguing that they had the opposite experience. They are arguing that it is categorically impossible for ANY women to even get one 4 hour interval of sleep per night or have an egalitarian parenting arrangement while Breastfeeding without sabotaging their income stream . . . It is not categorically impossible. It may be impossible for your situation. Formula is not the key to women’s liberation. I don’t know what is, but I am totally sure that we would be no more liberated if every single woman formula fed than we are now.

          • Young CC Prof

            Um, actually that is what we are arguing, that many, probably most, newborns (no matter HOW they are fed) need to eat every 2-3 hours during the early weeks. Not that all babies eat every two hours for three months. You had a baby who slept well right off, so good.

          • Ellen Mary

            I am not saying that my baby slept. What part of ‘my husband got up with the baby once per night so that I could sleep and did not actually need to give the baby formula to make that happen’ do you not understand?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            The key point, which you seem to be missing is that breast is NOT always best. Even when it works fine, the benefits are trivial, and when formula is substituted babies are just as healthy, smart, etc. There is no reason for women to put so much pressure on themselves and there is no reason for people like you to put so much pressure on them by declaring what they are or are not capable of managing when you have absolutely no idea what their needs are or what their babies needs are.

            If we could reduce the incidence of postpartum depression by promoting formula feeding and reducing the guilt of mothers who use formula, it would be worth it. Of course that is only the case if you think a mother’s mental health matters, and not everyone does.

          • Ellen Mary

            Okay, so now we are going to be *promoting* formula over breast feeding? Is that what this comes down to? Because we tried that . . . Was maternal mental health substantially better in the 1950s when Peds & OBs pretty much all promoted Formula Feeding?

            I am not a activist or a lactation promoter. I am just a mother that found a way to breastfeed AND sleep. I am arguing with those who are on here saying that it is categorically impossible for anyone, by design, as an infant feeding system.

          • Ellen Mary

            Additionally, it does not matter what the benefits are to babies exclusively, it matters what the benefits are to MOTHERS. They exist and you never discuss them. Including breast cancer risk reduction which is real and is hardly ever mentioned in these discussions.

            First, no amount of promotion could dissuade every mother from her desire to breastfeed. Even if it was wiped from television, movies, etc, some would still hear about it from relatives or friends or perhaps history books. This study showed that if those mothers who *want* to breastfeed are unable to do so, perhaps from real obstacles, but in your formula promoting utopia, also from mis/disinfo and lack of institutional support, they will get depressed. The real issue is that whichever people chose for themselves, they can’t help by attempt to demonize the alternative . . .

          • theadequatemother

            I don’t mind talking to myself. So a five minute search on oubmed for infant feeding modality vs parental sleep turned up a number or articles that used various objective methods of sleep duration and fragment testing in parents of one infant (first child) and compared that to bf or ff or combo. Last one I found was published in paediatrics in 2010. All concluded that bf did not reduce sleep duration or increase sleep fragmentation. However all the studies were done in infants 3 mo of age or older. That effectively weeds out dyads where there were significant bf issues in early life that lead to ff…and it also doesn’t address the OPs point about PPD and sleep deprivation or the difficulties of the newborn period and first 12 weeks of life where infant sleep is very fragmented. So we are left with an unproven hypothesis.

            Btw all studies concluded that parents that are worried about sleep deprivation should be counselled to try to or persist with bf bc of the “lack of evidence” that it interferes with parental sleep. !! But the literature isn’t biased….

          • Hannah

            Are you suggesting I let my 7 week old CIO? You had an easy baby. Lucky you. Not everyone does.

          • Ellen Mary

            No I am suggesting you state that 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep is a need for you & insist on it. If you think that means you have to use formula, then please, buy a can. I am stating I do not believe it does mean that, but I am sure everyone else on here will stand up and cheer if you don’t agree. I am also stating that the work you do at home is 100% as vital as any work your spouse does during the day. If you don’t agree with that, then we are just not going to see eye to eye. To me, valuing work in the home as equal to work outside of the home is basic to feminism and my own sense of equality.

          • RebeccainCanada

            Ellen Mary, I agree with much of what you wrote above. But I don’t in this area. Most BF mothers, are doing the nighttime parenting themselves. I did for all of my children because my husband had to get up early for a long work day. I don’t even want to suggest though that’s the hardest part about bf’ing though. There’s feeding on demand to increase supply, there’s warnings never to supplement because you are then cheating on your supply. There’s the incredibly fussy time called evening, that stretches into late evening! And hey cluster feeding! There’s growing days, where all you do is nurse the baby, change the baby, and repeat. Then there’s lack of nighttime sleep!

            There’s coming home from hospital with varying degrees of suturing, and needs for recovery, the only way to get someone else to help is pumping. Oh my, I found the added need to pump exhausting.

          • Ellen Mary

            Citation? I would need a citation for the statements ‘most BF mothers are doing the nighttime *parenting* themselves’. I would also need a citation that most FF mothers are not . . .

          • moto_librarian

            Maybe you can find one for us. It’s your claim, after all.

          • Liz Leyden

            If you pump, you have to disassemble and clean the pump parts every single time, and sterilize everything every 24 hours. I spent the first 6 weeks of my babies’ lives in a rented room. It was hard enough to get to the kitchen for meals. So either I followed every single pumping session with a trip to the kitchen, or I bought 5 or 6 sets of pump parts, hoping and praying that nothing disappeared.

          • Young CC Prof

            Ah, washing pump parts. That was always a special time of night, 2:30 am, baby is happily fast asleep, I’m washing freaking pump parts.

            That was the #3 reason I didn’t stick with pumping once it became clear direct breastfeeding was never going to happen.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Putting baby to breast/feeding formula/pumping, repeat every two to three hours with a newborn was likened to have triplets by the lactation consultant.

          • me

            I agree with this, with one caveat: Most stay at home moms *period* are doing the nighttime parenting. Regardless of feeding method. And rightfully so. Who has a more flexible job than the SAHM? You are your own boss, you determine priorities, you decide how your day will be structured, the people you are “managing” adore you and reward you with cuteness and kisses and tell you they love you about a gazillion times a day. Sure it is hard too; there’s a great deal at stake and you are very emotionally invested in your “product”. But if I’m tired because the youngest squirrel kept me up half the night, I can let the laundry sit (it’ll be there tomorrow), skip the trip to the grocery store (it ain’t going anywhere), ignore the dust-bunnies, and while the baby naps I can pop a disney movie in, microwave some popcorn and tell the older kids not to wake me unless the house is on fire. I might only get 30 min to an hour before someone decides I look like a trampoline (or someone else starts belting out that Frozen song at the top of her lungs), but I have the option of taking it easy after a rough night. My husband (while he certainly will help on those rare occasions when I need him to) doesn’t have the luxury of taking it easy at work. He’s no desk-jockey. He fouls up and he doesn’t merely lose the Anderson account; he fouls up and he (or someone else) could get seriously injured or killed. So, yeah SAHMs do the nighttime parenting. And I would venture that holds true regardless of feeding method. In that case, using formula wouldn’t grant mom any extra sleep, excepting in the case of supply/milk transfer issues, where the formula might help a hungry baby go longer between feedings.

          • fiftyfifty1

            ” I am also stating that the work you do at home is 100% as vital as any work your spouse does during the day. ”

            Except that staying at home with a baby is actually a luxury, while the money that is brought home by a working partner keeps a roof over your head and food on the table.

          • Ellen Mary

            Providing full time childcare is NOT a luxury. Is it luxurious? Maybe. It is a JOB though, one that if you had to outsource, the substitute caregiver would earn no less than 320/week. Most nannies would earn roughly 600 a week. So a SAHP is doing at least 320/week of valuable labor . . .

          • fiftyfifty1

            “. So a SAHP is doing at least 320/week of valuable labor . . .”

            So are you saying that your partner only makes $320 per week?

            Or let’s put it another way. Could you two swing things if your partner stayed at work and you also went back to work and had to pay $320/wk in child care? Now what about you both staying home with the baby?

            p.s. my childcare was only $250/wk so you would be totally foolish to pay $600 or even $320 per week. If I can do it, everyone else can too.

          • Ellen Mary

            If you are PAYING only $250 a week, your child is NOT the only child in care. I was talking about my theoretical salary as a full time caregiver. If your caregiver is only MAKING $250 a week, then she is making less than minimum wage and you should be reported.

            I don’t care if my husband is making $3000 a week. It does not make his labor, sanity, or sleep more valuable than mine. I am caring for someone who means so much more than money to either of us . . .

          • fiftyfifty1

            No really, could the 2 of you swing things if both of you stayed home? Answer that.

          • Ellen Mary

            Could anyone swing things if both parents stayed home? My labor is as valuable as his. We carry the same amount of life insurance, etc. Really shocked to see such devaluing of child care here . . .

          • fiftyfifty1

            “My labor is as valuable as his.”

            It is…in like a poetic way. In a practical way, no. The market says otherwise.

          • Guestll

            Jesus. NO! Pointing out the REALITY of workaday responsibilities is NOT devaluing child care.

          • Guestll

            Yeah. Well, my husband’s employer pays him the reasonable bucks to show up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and do a job that can’t be done by any trained monkey. And for that, he needed sleep. I seriously hate when lactivists make this a feminist issue. Get a grip, someone’s gotta pay the mortgage.

          • Ellen Mary

            Just so insulting. My husband’s job could not be done by a monkey. He is actually in a science-based field. He is also able to be a dad. Let me remind you that modern mothering can’t be done by a monkey. We both need to sleep.

          • Guestll

            I bet his job COULD be done by a monkey. My husband’s totally could. Ergo, yours should as well!

          • Guestll

            Also, thanks for the reminder. :)

          • rachel

            Sorry but I just don’t agree. After I take my two big kids to school each morning I go to my office and see 30-40 patients. I provide quality, in-demand, comprehensive care. At least one day a week I do surgery and many, many deliveries. My husband spends 7 hours playing video games, reading books, doing laundry, running errands, changing diapers, and feeding bottles of pumped milk. Then, he picks the big kids up from school right before I get home. We both recognize that my “job” is generally more vital than his (it certainly is to our bank account). I love that I don’t have to juggle my busy schedule with daycare but our household could still thrive without him doing his “job”.

          • Ellen Mary

            We can agree to disagree, but I wouldn’t stay in an arrangement where my work was considered less important. I can see that your work is important, but so is his . . .

          • fiftyfifty1

            “Babies don’t always or even mostly feed every 2 hours at night.”
            But mine did.

            “Look it up.”
            Are you suggesting that a book is a more reliable to tell me that my baby is awake than the sound of his crying?

            “4 hours of uninterrupted sleep was what was suggested to me by my OB.”
            So does this mean that when a patient’s psychiatrist tells her that *she* needs 6 or 8 hours, that she should ignore that advice and instead follow the advice your OB gave you?

            “Totally. F***ing. Possible.”

            So Ellen Mary will be the one to tell women what will F***ing work for them. Got it.

          • Ellen Mary

            I am saying what worked for me, in contrast to the other posters, who are saying that it is impossible *for anyone, by design* to share parenting or ever sleep and breastfeed without supplementing.

          • fiftyfifty1

            No, they are saying that IF a baby feeds more often than every 4 hours AND you exclusively breastfeed, THEN it is not possible to get a 4 hour stretch at night uninterrupted. But you assure them it can, because apparently if your child needs to feed more often than every four hours at night, all you need do is “look it up” in a book. And then what?! Show that book to your newborn? Have a firm talk with it? Have your husband wake in the night and hit the baby over the head with the book if it cries before its 4 hour stretch is up?

          • Ellen Mary

            Go on believing that Simalafamil has the keys to make all parenting totes easy . . . They don’t. How can the mother get ‘as much uninterrupted sleep as she needs or desires’ when the almighty breadwinner needs to sleep too? (Since we have been told that he cannot be awoken to do anything besides feeding . . . )

          • Guestll

            Your true colours are showing.

          • moto_librarian

            I have just about had enough of your sanctimonious bullshit, Ellen Mary. Nobody here says that formula makes parenting super duper easy, but thanks for playing”

          • fiftyfifty1

            But the person feeding the baby in the middle of the night doesn’t have to be breadwinner. It can be a grandparent or an older sib. Then breadwinner can be rested, mom can be rested and granny can take a much-needed nap. If parents of a baby who eats every 2-3 hours at night follow YOUR plan, on the other hand, what we get is a sleep-deprived breadwinner a sleep deprived mom (and granny rolling her eyes and wondering why weird daughter-in-law is too much of a snob to stoop to using a bottle of Simalafamil)

            Formula feeding simply has a built-in level of flexibility that breastfeeding can never match.

          • Ellen Mary

            Is there an agency where you can solicit these willing late night helpers from? Because my child has 4 grandparents & two older siblings. Neither sibling is old enough to handle an infant feeding and I have HUGE age gaps compared to the average US mother. My child’s 4 grandparents are too busy either earning income or dealing with their other children to hang out at my house handling feedings, and the one grandparent my child has who theoretically has the leisure time takes FAR too many impairing medications to reliably care for an infant . . .

          • fiftyfifty1

            “My child’s 4 grandparents are too busy either earning income… ”

            Looks like you need to set them down and explain that baby care is just as valuable as paid work. Once they understand this, they will be sure to help you.

          • Guestll

            We can all go home now, you’ve won the internet!

          • Ellen Mary

            Not really. Unfortunately, you must have won the grandparent lottery. My child’s grandparents think that watching Two & a Half Men & Law & Order SVU is at least as valuable as either. Not to get personal, but 50% can’t even be bothered to Skype, so the idea that they will be coming over to bottle feed in the wee morning hours is particularly laughable.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “Unfortunately, you must have won the grandparent lottery. ”

            It’s not a lottery, it’s about choices we make. It’s Totally F***ing Possible to rely on family help in just the same way as it is Totally F***ing Possible to exclusively breastfeed and be assured of getting 4 uninterrupted hours each night. Basically it comes down to this: If you can’t, you must be doing it wrong (and also you must not be a feminist or something).

            Oh actually, give me a second. I just had a different thought. Maybe we should actually LISTEN to women when they tell us their situations:
            What family help they have or don’t have, the job situations of their partners,how often their babies wake, how much sleep they need as individuals, their milk supplies and carrying capacities, what works for them or doesn’t work for them, maybe even their personal preferences. Maybe we should stop believing that what worked for us is what is Totally F***ing Possible for all other women.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            I wouldn’t dare wake up my husband to watch me breast feed the baby at 2 am when he had to get up at 4:30am to drive 45 minutes to work and manage the hazardous/environmental waste supply for a 30 million sq ft facility, especially since I wasn’t working and I won’t do it with this baby when he is born either, except this time he is taking 3 weeks off which we did not have the luxury of 5 years ago. My almighty bread winner puts the roof over my head, feeds my son and is our overall support and gives me the luxuries that I tend to want and not need. My son never slept more than 2 hours at a time the first 3 months, ever, not once. Just because and OB suggests a 4 hour stretch doesn’t mean it’s happening and it didn’t happen for me until the blessed case of Similac pre-made bottles were plopped down on my porch by UPS.I promote what works for each individual without judgement, because honestly I really don’t believe it matters how a baby is fed. My son who was mostly fed Similac has never been sick, compared to my exclusively BF neighbors son who is sick constantly. It makes no difference.

          • DiomedesV

            What’s truly ironic about the “my OB said this” story is that Ellen Mary is the first commenter here to inform everyone that OBs don’t know anything.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Or how completely inadequateand unsupportive the entire American healthcare system is as a whole. Let me take you to the Ukraine where you bring your own medicine and suture kits to be treated. And if you don’t have them guess what, its oh well for you. I can’t even deal with her level of nonsense on this particular thread because it is beyond contradictory and just plain insensitive and ridiculous.

          • Therese

            I don’t understand this because you talk about how your husband could not help at all during the night (for very understandable reasons) and then say that you weren’t able to get a 4 hr stretch of sleep until formula arrived…so did you hire someone to come over at night and feed the baby or what?

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            I didn’t have an adequate milk supply when I tried to nurse my son. I kept at it for 3 months literally nursing every 90 minutes or less. When I finally took my son to the pediatrician I saw as a child who told.me I was torturing myself and formula was fine to give the baby and it makes no difference as long as the baby is thriving. I bought the formula and the baby was sufficiently full and slept longer than 90 minutes without screaming like a banshee. Even after we solved the feeding problem I didn’t need to wake my husband because I was actually able to sleep longer than 30 minutes. I never said my.hub was unwilling, just that I wasn’t going to make him get up every 2 hours for 90 minutes to watch me nurse. He changed diapers and was all around great. You are obviously so ready to judge what I did without reading the entire post, or the previous posts in the thread because I said he changed diapers. Sorry, but get off your high hors trying to make me.look.foolish when I clearly stated the facts of the situation and the division of labor above in 2 other posts. Maybe you have a reading comprehension problem? BF is not always best and doesnt work for all of us especially those with very little breast tissue or who just aren’t producing enough.

          • Therese

            Older siblings can feed the baby in the middle of the night?? I bet even the Duggars don’t make their children wake up in the middle of the night to feed the baby.

          • fiftyfifty1

            I can’t speak for the Duggars, but I did this growing up (much younger sibs) and some of my patients do it. What better use for a teen who stays up until 1 a.m. anyway?

          • me

            You’re assuming that there are siblings old enough to take over nighttime baby duties (and, sorry, I can’t imagine making my kid wake up to take care of my baby at 3 am – the older kid needs sleep just as much, if not more, than mom, and the older kid did not ask for a sibling – talk about creating sibling issues. yikes) or that there are grandparents close by and willing to stay overnight in perpetuity (until baby STTN??). Many grandparents in this day and age are either too far away, physically, or they have the attitude that they raised their babies already. Sure they’ll babysit now and then, but they aren’t going to move in for 6 months so their daughter in law can get her beauty rest. and they would roll their eyes at the mere suggestion of such a preposterous arrangement.

          • mishabear

            So little creativity…I can only chalk it up to your sleep deprivation.

            This is how you use formula to get some real sleep…with twins no less. I went to sleep at 7 pm. “Breadwinner” hubbie and my mother managed to do the next feeding or two between them. They went to sleep around midnight. I did the night feedings, which usually started at 1 or 2 am. So in all, got about 6 or maybe 7 hours of continuous sleep every evening. I imagine having older kids just adds to the number of folks who can handle the evening feedings while mum is sleeping.

            BTW this schedule only went on for 2 or 3 months — from the time both babies were home until they started STTN (i.e., 6-7 hour stretches on their own with a little sleep training to get their stretches to coincide).

          • Alexicographer

            I’m puzzled that throughout this (long!) conversation the breadwinners have all been “he.” I was a breadwinner while I was mothering (and nursing) an infant (and yes, my DH was also working — but he earned noticeably less than I did), and I know I’m far from the only one here.

            Sure, clearly some commenters are in households involving a division of labor with a dad who’s the sole earner and a mom who’s out of the paid workforce and primarily responsible for caring for the child(ren). But this is far from the only configuration represented on this blog.

          • Ellen Mary

            Sure. It was in response to one particular poster who was insisting that the primary income earner’s sleep was so valuable that he could not be disturbed by changing or burping if the mother had already awoken to nurse, but at the same time claiming that this same individual could get up to do a formula feeding . . . But you are totally correct. The breadwinner does not necessarily have to be male and the mother’s secondary caregiver or spouse doesn’t either.

          • me

            I saw that contradition too. If a bfing mom isn’t allowed to wake dad up to help because his sleep is more precious than hers (cuz he has to work), well, then mom needs to do ALL the night time parenting regardless of feeding method. There would be nothing saved by using formula in that scenario.

          • MLE

            Truth. For our first, I was the breadwinner and working from home 60 hours a week while taking care of a baby secretly because we couldn’t afford child care. My husband was building a business using our savings and a loan, so he took no salary. Why in hell I thought breast feeding was a good idea in those circumstances, I’ll never know. Possibly because a nipple makes a good pacifier when you’re trying to keep a baby from participating in a conference call. Regardless there was no way to say whose time was more valuable, and we didn’t try to sort it out. It was survival mode and that’s it. No time for elaborate plans to get four hours of sleep, or even thinking ahead to the next 30 minutes for that matter.

          • Guestll

            FWIW, I’m equally the breadwinner in our home, but I was on mat leave (yay Canada). When I was on mat leave, I didn’t routinely expect my husband to be up with our baby in the night. When I went back to work, the roles shifted somewhat, though I was still nursing, and she would not take a bottle, so…I ended up being the one who was up more in the night. It was solely a matter of who had the milk.

          • rachel

            Absolutely! I’m the sole breadwinner in our home (my husband stays home with our three kids). I work full-time 60-100 hours/week depending on my call schedule and am exclusively breastfeeding our 7 month old. The baby is finally sleeping through the night since we added solids this month but even before that I would never have considered waking my husband to help me with a feeding. What’s the point? I’m the only one with the milk, if I didn’t feed her I would just need to pump, and listening to him try to get her settled after a feeding keeps me awake. Yeah, my sleep deprivation is a constant concern (especially leading into a busy 48 hour call) but he’s a beast if he doesn’t get his sleep too. This is parenting at it’s best and worst. Speaking of sleep…I should try for some. Who knows when the pager will go off again?

          • MLE

            I think if you’re the breadwinner with a schedule such as you describe, you should demand that your husband start lactating. Ina May says if a man wants to lactate badly enough, he can!

          • Guestll

            You do understand that babies, families, they’re all different, right? My kid couldn’t go 4 hours between nursing sessions. She couldn’t even go 3 without nursing. None of my mother 4 kids, according to her, ever went more than 3 hours, and none of us slept for more than 4-5 hours at a time until we were over a year old. And she never breastfed — and my father did every single night feed.

          • Ellen Mary

            NOWHERE did I say that a baby has to sleep for four hours between nursing or formula eating sessions in order to have a mother get a four hour stretch of sleep. I am arguing with the assertion on here that in order for a mother to get 4 hours of sleep in the first year, formula must be used. That is not true and no amount of name calling and hate posting will ever make it true.

          • Guestll

            Name calling and hate posting?

          • MLE

            I called her a ninny, and I am not sorry. I would have been distraught reading this when I was breast feeding a newborn, because according to her I did it wrong. And I am one of those women she claims to support, lol!

          • Guestll

            You wrote, above:
            “Babies don’t always or even mostly feed every 2 hours at night. Look it up. 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep was what was suggested to me by my OB. Totally. F***ing. Possible.”

            Which book should I be looking it up in? The ones I read in the wee small hours as my eyes bled? Please, tell me if I missed a book.

        • RKD314

          My husband woke up with me when I was still nursing. He changed the baby, burped her. This was especially useful as I was doing the nurse-feed-pump thing. He bottlefed while I pumped. Eventually we took the “nurse” out of the equation, and he fed while I just pumped. Ours started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, so this wasn’t so bad for us. If she had gone longer without sleeping through the night, possibly we would have started taking turns.

      • TiredofBS

        Ok, that’s it, I can’t stand reading this long thread of uninformed comments any more. First of all, we sleep in ~90 minute cycles, so it actually is probably better to get up at 3 hours than 4 hours because it is a multiple of 90. I believe that in recent sleep studies 7.5 hours was the best amount of sleep to get–but you don’t need to get it in one block. In fact, sleep research has shown that if we don’t get the 7.5 hours during the night we can make it up the next day with an afternoon nap and that in fact the afternoon nap can grow to be the same duration as the night sleep if the person is deprived of night sleep enough. So it is certainly possible to sleep in 3 hour increments and still get enough sleep to feel “rested” with two 3 hour increments at night and another 90 minute nap during the day–while breastfeeding! Wow, that even fits into the timeline that people mentioned for their baby in the first few weeks of life. So guess what Ellen Mary, one does not need a solid block of 4 hours of sleep for life because science. And guess what everyone else, it is certainly possible to breastfeed and get enough sleep, as I have demonstrated using simple math. It may not feel great because your body’s clock is not on the same time as the baby’s, but you can probably get enough sleep as long as you are only dealing with the one baby, even if you are EBF and not FF. Which is good because actual serious sleep deprivation over several weeks is really bad for you. They did studies on mice and they died from it.

        • MLE

          So my issue was that while my baby went right back to sleep during or after breast feeding, I could not. I am not a light switch. So the horrible cycle was wake up, BF for 30 minutes, put baby down, lie awake for 30 minutes, wake up after an hour because baby is now ready to eat again, since he was eating every 90 minutes to two hours, sometimes 3 if I was lucky. Thanks for not making blanket statements like Ellen Mary’s though.

        • me

          Yes yes yes!! I felt much more rested when my oldest was waking up every 3 hours than once she started sleeping 5 hour stretches. This explains it.

          Yay science.

      • Trixie

        Okay, but since I was staying home, one of us had to be functional enough to earn money. I would have rather have my DH well rested enough to earn a commission than have him wake up every 2 hours in solidarity.

      • Smoochagator

        The thing is, in an unsuccessful breastfeeding relationship, not only will mom be up all night, she’ll be confused, frustrated, and even more exhausted because she can’t get a good latch and baby’s extra cranky and falls asleep at the breast only to wake up as soon as he’s laid down. Once I figured out that breastfeeding was just NOT working for me, I got a ton more sleep because my baby would take a bottle in no time flat and then go back to sleep and sleep for 2 solid hours because he was finally full. For some moms, breastfeeding works great and they should absolutely do it if it works for them and they want to. But moms who can’t seem to get it to work out should know that there’s no shame in giving up.

  • Young CC Prof

    I’m really tempted to write a DHMO-style essay about the “hazards” of breastfeeding. Like parody, but with actual facts?

  • Roadstergal

    I wonder about the role of the partner in this. Had the women who planned to bottle-feed done so with the intent to share feeding duties? I can very much see having to be the exclusive feeder when you weren’t planning to leading to depression.

    • Young CC Prof

      Definitely, personal interviews might shed a lot of light on the subject.

      Also, what about getting fired? Pregnancy discrimination in the workforce is rampant despite being illegal, and any number of women have been fired or “reduced in force” during pregnancy.

      Woman plans to return to work 6 weeks after birth, therefore decides not to breastfeed. Position is eliminated when she’s 35 weeks. Scrambles around making COBRA payments, since the health insurance is under her job. Can’t find another job while hugely pregnant, decides to SAH for a few months and look later. Breastfeeds since she’s home anyway. 3 months later, husband working overtime to pay the mortgage, doing all the night feedings, no idea how to restart her career…