Mom shaming is the new slut shaming

Worried young woman being accused

It often seems that major appeal of natural parenting is shaming women who do not comply. Mom shaming is the new slut shaming. Take the Fraser Health hospitals new breastfeeding contract. It exemplifies everything wrong with contemporary breastfeeding advocacy: it is demeaning, infantilizing, it tramples on a woman’s right to control her own body, and it makes claims that are not supported by science. According to Jennifer Pinarski, writing in the Canadian edition of Today’s Parent:

The pressure on moms to breastfeed is real. British Columbia’s Fraser Health hospitals is asking new moms to sign an Infant Feeding Declaration. The document outlines the pros and cons of formula feeding and breastfeeding—listing the increased risks of SIDS, certain childhood cancers, obesity and diabetes with formula use. As if responsibility for a tiny, new human isn’t terrifying enough, I can only imagine how new moms struggling with breastfeeding must feel when signing the Infant Feeding Declaration.

Raina Delisle at iVillage reports:

Some highlights from the form include: “Although most babies grow on formula, studies show the routine use of formula comes with some risks to both mothers and babies.” “Even one feed of formula can damage (baby’s gut) coating and make illness more likely.” “Babies who do not receive breast milk are more likely to get significant illness and disease.” “And … mothers can take longer to lose their pregnancy weight.” So, your baby may not grow on formula, even one bottle can make him sick and the little guy is 38.5 per cent more likely suffer from SIDS. Oh, and you’ll be wearing those maternity jeans for a while longer.

WTF??!!

Four blatant lies, unsupported by any scientific evidence! Routine use of formula comes with no more risks than routine exclusive breastfeeding, just different ones. The only “risk” of exclusive formula feeding is a tiny increase in trivial neonatal illnesses. There is NO EVIDENCE, zip, zero, nada, that anything else is caused by formula feeding. The data that exists is weak, conflicting and riddled with confounders. There is NO EVIDENCE that formula IN ANY AMOUNT damages the neonatal intestinal lining, and it is a bald faced lie to suggest that there is. There is NO EVIDENCE that term babies who do not receive breast milk are more likely to get significant illnesses, the only solid evidence that exists suggests that there is a small increased risk of TRIVIAL illnesses. There is NO EVIDENCE that every woman will lose weight while breastfeeding. Weight loss depends on a myriad of factors, and some women will won’t lose weight at all while breastfeeding since it makes them ravenously hungry.

While we are on the subject of scientific evidence, there is no evidence that I am aware of that making mothers sign breastfeeding contracts improves infant outcomes (supposedly the goal) or even breastfeeding rates, the classic natural parenting elevation of process over outcome. So if there is NO EVIDENCE that breastfeeding contracts improve anything at all, why go to the time and trouble to create them, print them and get women to sign them? Why? To shame women, of course. That’s why the contract is demeaning, infantilizing, and tramples on a woman’s precious right to control her own body. It’s the mothering equivalent of slut-shaming. The parallels are really quite remarkable. What is slut shaming? According to Wikipedia:

Slut shaming … is a neologism used to describe the act of making a person, especially a woman, feel guilty or inferior for certain sexual behaviors, circumstances or desires that deviate from traditional or orthodox gender expectations, or that which may be considered to be contrary to natural or religious law. Some examples of circumstances where women are “slut-shamed” include: violating accepted dress codes by dressing in sexually provocative ways, requesting access to birth control, having premarital or casual sex, or being raped or sexually assaulted.

Mom shaming is the act of making a woman feel guilty or inferior for certain parenting behaviors that deviate from “natural parenting” expectations, which, in the minds of those doing the shaming, is considered to be natural law. Examples of circumstances where women are “mom shamed” include: “failing” at breastfeeding or worse, refusing to breastfeed; “giving in” and getting an epidural for labor pain, or worse, actually planning on it; having a C-section or worse, requesting one. Mom shaming, as in slut shaming, assumes that anything bad that happens to the mother is her fault for not trying hard enough, not trusting deeply enough, or simply having a defective body. And, as is the case with slut shaming, mom shaming has a lot to do with social class. As Marisa Taylor, reporting on a new study, explains:

The researchers discovered that definitions of “slutty” behavior and the act of slut-shaming was largely determined along class lines rather than based on actual sexual behavior. What’s more, they found the more affluent women were able to engage in more sexual experimentation without being slut-shamed, while the less-affluent women were ridiculed as sluts for being “trashy” or “not classy,” even though they engaged in less sexual behavior.

Sociology Professor Elizabeth Armstrong, one of the study’s authors, noted:

By engaging in ‘slut-shaming’ — the practice of maligning women for presumed sexual activity — women at the top create more space for their own sexual experimentation, at the cost of women at the bottom of social hierarchies.

Similarly, by engaging in mom shaming, Western, white, relatively well off women create more space for their own parenting practices, at the cost of women of color and poor women at the bottom of social hierarchies. It’s bad enough that natural parenting advocates engage in mom shaming of women who don’t mirror their own parenting choices back to them. It is completely unacceptable that Fraser Health has joined them in this odious practice.

Make no mistake. There is NO BENEFIT to a breastfeeding contract for babies or for mothers. The only people who benefit are lactivists and lactation consultants, the Western, white, well of women who simply adore shaming anyone who is not like them, and who cement their place in the social hierarchy by shaming women who won’t follow their parenting “norms.”

Fraser Health should withdraw the breastfeeding contract immediately, and issue an apology for ever using it in the first place.

  • Maxgarete

    I live in Germany but apparently the situation is not that far from the US. When I had my daughter, breastfeading didn’t work right away and after 24 hours of going through labour and delivering, the baby pretty much cried for another 24 hours straight. My husband and me were beyond exhaustion at this point but were not given any formula until the day after that as she had lost 10% of her birth weight by then. Now I know that that’s not a problem for a healthy baby but it was a very uncomfortable and stressful situation for all three of us. It made me feel like how we felt totally didn’t matter. Is there any scientific evidence at all to support the claim that feeding formula a few times during the first few days is bad for the breastfeading process?

    • Young CC Prof

      “Is there any scientific evidence at all to support the claim that
      feeding formula a few times during the first few days is bad for the
      breastfeading process?”

      No, there isn’t. In fact, evidence shows that supplementing with small quantities of formula actually increases long-term breastfeeding success, possibly because when supplementation is so strongly discouraged, women are more likely to give up entirely. Or the baby may become too ill to keep trying to breastfeed. When a baby needs readmission and emergency treatment for breastfeeding failure, many women will (reasonably) be too afraid to try again.

  • AgentOrange5

    That is so dumb, giving just “one” bottle of formula will doom your baby for life? That’s kind of like saying drinking just “one” soda will rot your teeth out and give you osteoporosis. I suspect there are many women like me who breastfed for 1 year, but worked & didn’t always get enough pumped at work, so caregiver would supplement with formula. I can see their doom and gloom backfiring, because if women believe that even “one” bottle of formula has doomed their baby, then why bother doing any breastfeeding at all?

  • KeeperOfTheBooks

    A friend of mine who BFs but whose milk always takes several days to come in had the following lovely scenario happen at a hospital which was, I presume from her description, a “breastfeeding-friendly hospital.”

    A day postpartum, baby was diagnosed with jaundice and mom was told by the pediatrician to formula-feed for the next few days and come back in daily for bili checks. Fine by her, so she rings the nurse and requests a bottle of formula. However, the LC and nurse told her, I kid you not, that they “didn’t allow” moms to formula feed at the hospital because it would discourage breastfeeding. She pointed out that it was the pediatrician’s orders, but was blown off. She requested (and got) an early discharge from her OB and the ped, took the baby home, fed the baby a bottle, and then proceeded to raise all sorts of Cain with the hospital with the help of the (breastfeeding-friendly but understandably furious) pediatrician. (My friend figured that it would be faster to go home and feed the kid than continue arguing about it in the hospital.) Of course there was no official policy saying that formula “wasn’t allowed;” it was absolute bunk devised by the LCs to force women to at least try breastfeeding no matter what. Leaving aside the ethics of the situation, you’d think that SOMEONE might have noticed that this was a lawsuit begging to happen.

    • Belle

      I’ve seen similar situations, but not so extreme as to refuse to give a mom formula even with a doctor’s order. That’s pretty bad! If a baby is jaundiced that early after delivery, any competent nurse knows that baby will need supplementation..

  • Allie

    Well, colour me embarrassed to be from B.C. Very misguided. I hope women fully understand that they have no legal obligation to participate in this so-called declaration. The problem is they are doing this to women at a time when many of them are very vulnerable. Thankfully, there are lots of great nurses and other health care professionals who will scoff at this. There was a wonderful nurse who recommended that we supplement when LO and I were having trouble figuring out how to latch. She brought us the formula and bottle and everyone was much happier as a result. LO’s gut is fine, we did eventually get the hang of breastfeeding, and we are still at it 20 months later (by mutual choice, not because I was bullied or guilted into it).

  • CanDoc

    Love this post. Thank you.

  • Meredith

    I had to sign one of those forms at midnight, less than 24 hours after my c-section, when I was crying from excruciating nipple pain and lack of sleep and frustration at not being able to breastfeed. My nurse (who was new to the hospital) clearly felt terrible about it, and told me the next day that when she asked another nurse how she should have handled it, the other nurse said, “Oh, we [the rest of the nurses] don’t even give those forms out.” When I talked to my OB the next morning, he said that the OBs thought the form was a violation of women’s rights and that he and the other OBs had strenuously protested, but alas, lactation consultants got their way. Whenever anybody in charge asked how my stay at the hospital was, I told them that I resented the “breastfeeding blackmail” form.

    You know the funny thing, though? I was feeling really bad about not trying harder at breastfeeding… until I signed that form, and rage swept away my shame. I instinctively knew that if the lactation consultants were resorting to bully tactics like that, there must not be much actual evidence that breastfeeding was so much better than formula feeding. So thanks, lactation department — you made me feel a lot better about switching to formula!

  • Felicitasz

    These are the articles I love you for most.
    (Sorry about appearing emotionally carried-away. I do mean it. And sometimes such statements just escape onto my keyboard as well.)

  • Dr Kitty

    I do 6 week post natal appointments.
    I have a standard spiel:
    “How are you feeding baby? Bottle? Breast? Both?”
    “How’s that going? Any issues?”

    If their baby looks well and they look well, I tell them well done, they are obviously doing something that works for them, keep doing it…no matter what their answer was.

    If they feel guilty about formula feeding, I tell them their baby is obviously thriving and isn’t it nice to be able to have some help with the feeds.

    If they are struggling with breast feeding but really want to keep at it, I offer to check the latch and give them some strategies to help with the problem.

    If they burst into tears because they are doing some sort of pumping/feeding/mastitis/thrush merry-go-round I’ll maybe suggest that they have been through a lot of pain and fatigue and that what matters to a baby is a loving, involved mum, and making yourself miserable to feed your baby isn’t good for either of you. Do they have any thoughts about that…

    Unless their feeding choice is something bizarre and clearly unsafe (tea in a bottle, home-made formula, raw cows milk etc) or their baby isn’t thriving, then all new mothers deserve to hear that they are doing a perfectly good job of feeding their baby, just as they are.

    • Meredith

      When my daughter’s pediatrician first came to the hospital to check on her, he said, “And how are you feeding?” I said, “Breastfeeding,” because that’s the Kool-Aid I had drunk. “Good, good,” he said.

      The next day, after the hideous nipple pain caused me to switch to formula, he came around and I said, “We’re feeding formula now.” “Good, good,” he said. Literally no change in tone of voice from one day to the next. I adore that man.

    • MelodyCason

      I wish I had had you to be my dr after I had my first! I was in the pumping/clogged ducts/crying/depression+anxiety/mastitis/thrush merry go round and I was miserable! No one told me it was “ok” to quit. Ok, my family did but they weren’t the OB’s/pediatricians checking on us. In fact I admitted to myself at one point that I desperately wanted my dr to just tell me it was ok. I was a mess and they never asked about my mental state or how I was doing/struggling with infant feeding.

  • MS

    One of the things that bothers me so much (besides the obvious) is that this contract does NOTHING to actually help mothers and babies. It’s Brestfeeding Initiative Theater, nothing more. It’s all for show, with no substance. It gives the illusion that the hospital has the best interest of mothers and babies at heart, when, in fact, it does absolutely nothing. Why don’t they have a contract making parents promise not to shake the baby? Or smoke near the baby? Or not drink and drive with the baby? Why don’t they attempt to understand why breast feeding is so difficult for some women, rather than berating them with guilt-inducing misinformation? Why don’t they give similar priority to other very crucial issues, like good maternal mental health postpartum? What a piss poor policy.

    • KarenJJ

      “Brestfeeding Initiative Theater”

      Fantastic term for it.

  • Belle

    My response to this hospital: A quote from Bubba Blue’s mother in Forrest Gump, “Are you crazy or just plain stupid??”

    • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

      “Stupid is as stupid does.”
      “OK, so since this a stupid thing to do, I take it that means you are stupid”

  • Lisa

    Do ANY parents today ask themselves: “How did people survive without [fill in the blank].” How did we all live who were born to knocked-out Moms, who endured shaving, ememas, no hubby or birthing audience other than doctors and nurses, who were immediately given help STOPPING their milk, who were allowed a cocktail while pregnant, cigarettes while pregnant, who gained lots of weight, who never went to yoga, never had a baby bump picture, had to wear “smocks” with big bows on them, who…..and…..and…..and…. The Self righteousness in this generations “advisers” (and here I mean the celebrity guru de jure). Are young women really so damned gullible? Good grief. Then add to it all the Safety Squirrels ruling every waking moment of a child’s life….UGH!!!!

    • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

      Then add to it all the Safety Squirrels ruling every waking moment of a child’s life.

      When we were young, we used to lay in the back window of the car, no seat belts, no nothing. And we never even had car seats when we were babies.

      Yes, we survived, but I don’t think that means it’s a good thing that we did it, or that it is even acceptable.

      • Young CC Prof

        Most children growing up a few generations ago survived riding without seatbelts, catching measles, constant exposure to cigarette smoke, and other things which are now considered unsafe.

        Most. Not all.

        Of course, that doesn’t mean all security precautions currently recommended are necessary, but a good many of them are helpful.

    • Belle

      Well, that’s the truth, isn’t it!! And, a lot of us who “lived to survive” all these horrible things are pretty damn healthy too!!

      • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

        “Pretty damn healthy” is a relative term.

  • guest

    Is it true that formula fed babies get tiny tears that cause bleeding in their intestinal track? or is that another myth told by the pro-breastfeeding crowd?

    • Amy M

      I’m gonna guess that’s false. How would this happen? Unless the formula has ground glass in it?

    • Cobalt

      Intestinal bleeding has identifiable symptoms, such as black, red, or coffee grounds-like stools. Since formula fed baby poop is normally not like that, I’m going to say formula doesn’t normally cause intestinal bleeding. There will always be the risk of abnormal digestion or allergies to a food (formula, breast milk, whatever), but that is not because of the formula.

      • Elaine

        Personally, I think formula poop has its color/scent in part, maybe large part, because of the iron. Our pediatrician told us to give iron supplements to our exclusively breastfed son starting at 4 months. We did, and the poop changed a lot, really fast. I’ve never actually changed a formula-fed baby’s diaper, but I imagine it’s similar. If we have a few days where we don’t give the supplement (we put it in bottles of pumped milk on days I work, but usually skip it when I’m home all day), it starts to go back to normal.

    • Dr Kitty

      No.
      Babies with a Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy can have inflammation of the gut and hellacious nappy rash, but that will settle on a special hydrolysed formula.

      Breastfed babies with CMPA can also develop the same symptoms- and then their mothers have the fun of a strict diary free diet while they breast feed and all the extra risks to their own teeth and bones that such a diet entails.

      I know of one woman who had a baby that was allergic to EVERYTHING. The mother wanted to nurse SO much that she was willing to live on a diet of potatoes, steamed chicken and peas to do it. Unfortunately, it turns out it is very hard to eat enough potatoes, steamed chicken and peas to maintain a good milk supply…so the baby ended up on the prescription formula pretty quickly, and thrived on it, thankfully growing out of most of the allergies within a year or two.

      • Lynn

        my 4th child had that CMPA at almost 3 months i had enough of the green slimy smelly poop & blood oozing out of baby’s diaper area. i stopped ingesting all dairy. it took 21 days for her poop to turn back to normal BF poop, mustard yellow cottage cheese. several days later, we had a 3 m check up. i told the pediatrician what i think was happening. he said, OH NO! it would have stopped it right away! stupid me, listening to him, since 4 days later when she was being christened in the wedding gown style dress, green slimy poop EVERYWHERE! i never went back to that a$$hat again.

      • S

        I’ve been wondering, is it true that formula-fed babies are more likely to develop CMPA than exclusively breastfed babies? I thought i read somewhere that the bloody-poop-only presentation is usually found in breastfed babies, and that formula fed babies usually have more severe symptoms. (We had our pediatric GI consult yesterday, but we focused on questions that were actually relevant to the care of our child.)

        (For the record, even if it is true, i’m not suggesting it should necessarily factor into any woman’s decision making, since the vast majority of babies will outgrow CMPA.)

  • Ava Marie Wensko George

    I cannot tell by reading your article if you are pro breastfeeding or against, for formula feeding, or against. I can, however, share my story. I just could not breastfeed my first child (I think because I could not manage a C-section and breastfeed too). I could not breastfeed my second child because he had cerebral palsy and no suck reflex. I was able to breastfeed my third child, but we included formula feeding as well. I think we as women have to determine what works best for us with no shaming involved whatsoever. I don’t see anything wrong with breastfeeding or formula feeding. It’s up to the parents in the end. Society and hospitals should stay out of it.

    • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

      Is there really anyone who is “against breastfeeding”?

      I don’t even think the concept makes any sense, but that is just me.

      • lawyer jane

        I’m actually sort of headed towards being against breastfeeding as a feminist matter. If it’s really true that the benefits are marginal (especially controlling for other factors like income & education levels), then I think there’s a good argument that breastfeeding is a serious physical and financial burden for working mothers and possibly a big factor in the development of PPD due to sleep deprivation. That said, I had an instinctive desire to breastfeed and found it a net positive on balance for me … pumping when I returned to work, that’s another story!

        • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

          So if someone wants to breastfeed, you would oppose it as a matter of principle?

          • lawyer jane

            No, unless they were really hurting themselves or their baby by trying to do so – and unfortunately that happens sometimes where I am!

            It’s not that I think breastfeeding is bad (other than the cases of actual harm), it’s that I think it can contribute to the systematic economic disadvantages that mothers already face. But it’s more about the socioeconomic context than the individual choice being unfair. Probably akin to the decision for a mother to quit her job to stay home — for the individual family this can make a lot of sense, but it economically disadvantages the mother because of the broader context of unfairness that exists outside of her personal choice.

      • Cobalt

        I have a friend who is sort of against breastfeeding. She just doesn’t see the benefits or understand why anyone with access to formula would even consider breastfeeding. In private conversation she’s a bit obnoxious about it. But she doesn’t advertise, campaign on, or share unasked her opinions on the subject. As much as the idea of being pro-breastfeeding bewilders her, she also doesn’t give a damn what other women do with their breasts. Even in public.

        She’s a lot of fun to watch if a lactivist type starts harping on breastfeeding, though. Completely unapologetic and totally confident.

        • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

          I have a friend who is sort of against breastfeeding. She just doesn’t see the benefits or understand why anyone with access to formula would even consider breastfeeding. In private conversation she’s a bit obnoxious about it.

          But I could say the same thing about Brussels sprouts. Why would anyone eat them when you have perfectly good asparagus? People who eat Brussels sprouts are bizarre, and don’t make any sense.

          That doesn’t make me anti-Brussels sprouts, though, does it?

          I am anti-mushroom, though.

          • Cobalt

            That’s why “sort of”. She is personally very against it, but doesn’t cross the “preaching” line.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            But does that make her “anti-breastfeeding” overall?

            As I said, I am personally very against brussels sprouts and find people who like them bizarre. But does that make me “anti-brussels sprouts”? I wouldn’t say that. I just don’t like them.

          • Cobalt

            I’m not sure where the line is. She thinks it’s not just weird but the wrong choice for just about anyone in the modern world. But she doesn’t interfere with anyone else and is perfectly content to keep her opinion to herself unless significantly pushed.

            I’ve breastfed all my kids, and she did once ask why on earth I was, but she didn’t try to change my mind. It was a great conversation, actually.

          • theNormalDistribution

            I would call that anti-breastfeeding in the best of ways.

          • attitude devant

            Oh Bofa, you have no idea. Have you ever had them braised in butter? Besides, asparagus is spring and brussels sprouts are fall and winter.

          • D/

            I’m afraid I may be weird beyond redemption then.

            I’m a pro-mushroom, Brussel sprout-ambivalent (but I do eat them), uber anti-asparagus (anything making me instantly pee sulfur *cannot* be a good thing!), pro-feeding lactation consultant.

            Btw, I’d totally be willing to cut out the Brussel sprouts if it somehow made me “less” bizarre ;)

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            Don’t bother. This is all I need to see

            I’m a pro-mushroom

            “Get thee behind me, Satan!”

          • sdsures

            LOL – which type of shroom? ;)

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            It is a downside

      • the wingless one

        Probably not too many nowadays in the US, but anecdotally my grandma was apparently against my mom breastfeeding us. Which is kind of strange since my grandma breastfed all six of her kids…but of course that was out of necessity since this was in the 1940-50′s in a developing country. Basically to her, formula feeding was superior (since only the rich could do it) and so when her kids starting having babies in the US where they could afford formula (and the clean water to mix it with), she pushed for formula feeding.

      • Still tired

        Yep, I’ve had a few clients who though breastfeeding was ‘weird’. They went straight to formula and never had a second thought about it.

      • Kerlyssa

        Ehh, personally I am against it FOR MYSELF and am slightly uncomfortable seeing someone else do it, because my mind immediately imagines ME doing it which is just. No. But I have no moral or ethical objections to it. I could totally see someone taking their own preferences against it and applying it universally- people do that all the time.

    • Young CC Prof

      That is exactly what most of us believe: That breast, formula and some of both are all perfectly valid ways to feed a child, and as long as the baby is growing, it’s no one’s business but the parents. Shaming women who don’t breastfeed, whether it’s “for a good reason” or simply because they don’t want to, is inappropriate.

  • Francesca Violi

    My yoga teacher told me what happened with her first baby. A few hours after he was born, he was diagnosed with breastmilk-induced jaundice. So, beside phototherapy, he had to be put on formula for a few days or so. After the baby recovered anyway she could breastfeed him and lived happily ever after. Still, after years, she (the yoga teacher) cannot live with the cognitive dissonance between the trust nature-liquid gold- good mother=breastfeeding woo she is imbued with, and
    the reality that her milk was in fact harming her baby… To the point that she came up with this theory: since she grew up in a heavily polluted city, her body must have absorbed poison and stored it, and then released it ten years after with breastmilk. Because it’s impossible that breastmilk itself is always not the super very best right?

    • Dr Kitty

      Jaundice within the first 24hrs is often NOT caused by breastmilk, but by other factors and ALWAYS needs investigation, although, overall, jaundice in the first few days of life usually IS breast milk/ physiological jaundice and will settle.

      • Francesca Violi

        Sorry, I may have got the medical details wrong, like the timing of diagnosis: but doctors -she told me – were positive it was a form related to breastmilk. What I wanted to point out is that in the following years she fabricated her own theory about pollution in order not to question her beliefs, like, I knew it, it wasn’t a failure of Wise Mother Nature and Holy Breastmilk after all!

      • S

        My second child had a combination — physiologic jaundice in the first 24 hours (not severe at that point), compounded by breastmilk jaundice when my milk came in, resulting in skyrocketing bilirubin level and NICU admission at 4 days old. (My first child had breastmilk jaundice only and did not require treatment.)

        • Dr Kitty

          I had my own very yellow breast fed baby, but her bili was always below the phototherapy line.

          I always say something about early onset jaundice, because most people don’t know that there ARE other causes that need excluded ( like sepsis and ABO incompatibility). If you leave hospital very soon after delivery (or Homebirth) and all you know is that breastmilk can cause jaundice, but it’s common and no big deal you might be tempted to minimise or ignore it.

          Prolonged jaundice is also bad, and needs investigating.

          • S

            Very true. Because my first was jaundiced but otherwise fine, it really didn’t occur to me to be concerned about the second. Even though i knew that physiologic jaundice is different (and my baby was very, very sleepy those first few days), and that my milk additionally causes jaundice… i just didn’t put it all together until they told me he needed to be admitted. Hooray for well baby checks!

          • Amy M

            I always figured my boys were a bit jaundiced (never enough to require the lights) because they were born pre-term. Are preemies more likely to have jaundice than full term babies?

    • sdsures

      Reminds me of that blog post from FFF about the woman who insisted on EBF, and her baby nearly died because there was something wrong with the milk (not enough fat or protein?). The baby shrank, grew lanugo, the works! They saved the baby. Two years later, the same thing almost killed her second child, but that time, the father spoke up.

    • TsuDhoNimh

      “It is probably caused by factors in the breast milk that block certain proteins in the liver that break down bilirubin.

      Breast milk jaundice tends to run in families. It occurs equally often in males and females and affects 0.5% to 2.4% of all newborns.”

      http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000995.htm

      I didn’t know that!

  • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

    What happens if a woman won’t sign?

    • Ash

      Nothing the hospital can do but document refusal of signing consent. And maybe bringing in some more staff trying to convince the woman to sign.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        For the record, when kiddo #2 comes along, if anyone tried to make me sign something so patently idiotic the next words out of my mouth would be, “Despite my stated wishes to the contrary, you have continued to harass me about my refusing to sign this medically and legally unnecessary document. I’m getting my lawyer on the phone now, and you can discuss this matter with him. Incidentally, he’s my father-in-law, and has slightly less than no tolerance whatsoever for BS relating to me or his grandkids.”
        *snarl*

    • Siri

      Ve haf vays off making you sign.

  • Dr Kitty

    I think you should have your own feeding contract you make the hospital sign.

    “We understand that we are providing misinformation based on poor quality data of small population based benefits. We do not know what is the optimal feeding method for each individual baby and their family, but have decided to promote one particular method. We understand that our advice and information may not apply to you and your baby and may cause you feelings of guilt, shame and distress. We take full responsibility for that because we believe in process over outcome and performance measures and cost savings over the needs and desires of our patients”.

    If they want to make you read and sign something that you don’t believe or agree with and which makes you feel bad, fair is fair, they should have to do the same.

    • KarenJJ

      Love it :)

    • Belle

      Good one!

  • rh1985

    If someone presented me with that paper in the hospital, depending on my mood, I would have either yelled at them to get out of my room or written in huge letters DECLINED TO SIGN and told them to document all they wanted but I was not signing. Ugh.

  • MaineJen

    A breastfeeding…contract? WTF indeed. Are women required to sign this? Just…rrg. Some of those statements just make my blood boil. I can only imagine how they must sound to a hormone-addled new mom. This hospital should be ashamed of itself, and yes, they should withdraw this contract immediately. Yuck.

  • toofargone

    Hmmm this has me thinking if Dr Amy should put another petition on change.org for the joint commission to rework their breastfeeding benchmarks. Measuring rates is fine. Asking for improvement is crap. It is a mother’s choice. How can you ask a hospital to improve outcomes on a choice? They need to measure mothers satisfaction with the feeding support they received or maybe have a certain kind of training plan for the staff on lactation support. Maybe they can get joint commission brownie points for a lactation clinic Or something else that doesn’t hinge their accredidation process on a woman’s choice.

    • Young CC Prof

      Checkboxes:

      1) Were you asked about your breastfeeding plans?

      2) If you expressed an intention to breastfeed, did you receive services from a lactation professional on the day of birth?

      3) Rate the quality of your lactation support from 1 to 5.

      4) Please write in any comments on the quality of City Hospital’s lactation support.

      5) If you expressed an intention to formula-feed or combination feed, were you provided with sufficient feeding information prior to discharge?

      • toofargone

        Perfect.

  • Sue

    Now say they are ”supporting mothers in reaching their goals”. But also say that formula is a ”medicine” as has to be treated as such. Huge cognitive dissonance, lack of insight.

  • D/

    I really think this sort of thing and more is going to become the norm in US hospitals. JCAHO accreditation now requires most hospitals (those with >1,100 deliveries) to report- and improve- exclusive breastmilk feeding rates in their perinatal core measures and will likely make the requirement universal soon.

    This pressure to increase EBF rates is passed from the top down. For example, my primary employer now includes “increase EBF rate by 10%” in the yearly performance evaluation for every Maternal-Child employee as part of the determination to qualify for a salary increase or not.

    In my unimaginative little mind I assumed that an outside requirement related to breastfeeding would be a good thing … In fact, I’ve wished for it for years assuming it would simply translate retaining necessary resources to actually provide meaningful breastfeeding support to the families that want and need it. Evidently another example of being careful what you wish for :(

    • Young CC Prof

      The statistician says, “Be careful what you measure, because that’s what people are going to try to change.”

      • KarenJJ

        One of my previous managers was against a lot of KPIs for that reason. He believed that you had to be very careful about what type of behaviour you were encouraging and whether, for example, monthly sales targets were encouraging people to delay orders towards the end of the month (by sticking the orders into a drawer and leaving them sit idle for a week) once a target was reached in order to get ahead on the next month’s target…

      • lawyer jane

        Excellent advice!! I work in regulatory policy, and it’s extremely difficult to avoid creating perverse incentive or loopholes. I don’t think it’s so much measuring that’s the problem, but setting goals based on those metrics. I do think that our current data & metrics obsession in public policy is probably due for a backlash in the next decade.

    • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

      When I was in the UK, the ward sisters did a subtle but effective form of intimidation that resulted in almost every woman agreeing to breastfeed. The district midwives reported that the majority of women switched to formula within a week of being at home. As one woman told me “Sister was always going on about it, so to shut her up I agreed. It was only for 48 hours, anyway, until I was discharged, then I could do what I wanted”.

      • sdsures

        I’m in the UK. I’m on medications that would kill the baby if I breastfed. I wonder how many ward sisters are going to try to pressure me? *evil grin* Pass the formula, please!

  • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

    Situations like this make me seriously worried for many women. How am I going to explain to in 5 weeks time that I plan to combo feed and give bf a try, but am not going to run myself into the ground trying? It was not a pleasant experience the first time for me and was quite futile really. I don’t want to be made to feel bad for my choice to ff and try to bf or feel pressured to do something I’m not sure I want to do because of my experience the first time around.

    • MaineJen

      All I can think of when I read this is my poor sister in law, sobbing before and after trying in vain to breastfeed her daughter and recover from her c section. (She was in tremendous pain from her gallbladder as well, and ended up having it removed 7 weeks postpartum…good times). I think of how much worse her anguish would have been if she had been forced to read and sign such a ridiculous document before leaving the hospital. And…I think of the peace that finally ensued when she threw in the towel and switched to formula feeding, allowing her to rest and recover (after my brother took over some of the feedings!) and her baby to finally eat to her little heart’s content. That girl had an appetite!! She put away easily twice the amount that my own BFed daughter ate at the same age.

    • Belle

      How terrible that you feel that you would need to explain your choice! It’s no one’s business how you feed your baby!! It’s disturbing to think that so many women feel so pressured to breast feed because everyone says they “should”…

      • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

        It is honestly what I am most worried about having this new baby. Not the c-section or recovery, but how I’m probably going to have to defend any decision that works best for me and the baby.

        • Belle

          That is terrible! Are you comfortable telling them, “This is not up for discussion”? Maybe that would get them to back off?

          • An Actual Attorney

            My plan, back when this was a concern, was to immediately ask the busybody for their business card, effusively explaining how excited I was to find a pediatrician who did personal visits to the playground, took personal & legal responsibility for my kid’s care, and didn’t charge anything.
            Never got to put it into practice, because I think I give off a “go f yourself” vibe.

            My friend started chemo 8 weeks post-partum. My plan, if she got crap in my presence, was to throw a punch. Also never got to do that.

          • Belle

            Great plan! I bet that would have shut them up! I am the nasty, sugar-sweet type who says it with a smile and dagger eyes.. stops them in their tracks and they aren’t really sure what just happened… haven’t gotten to do that very often though.. more of a revenge fantasy! lol!

          • Meredith

            Ha, yes, my plan was to ask the harasser for their name and address because “I like to keep track of who’s giving me unsolicited advice.” I never got to do it either, because I think I share your vibes (no one even tried to touch my belly while I was pregnant!).

        • An Actual Attorney

          If anyone asks, repeat after me: “oh, go f yourself.”

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            Lol, yeah I have to go back and work at this hospital at some point. I think I’m going to stick with just give me the formula and get out of my room

          • An Actual Attorney

            Yes, that does increase your motivation not to be so rude. Your approach is probably better.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I like the way you think, and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    • Sara N.

      I suggest bringing a “feeding plan” to the hospital in place of a birth plan. Between my first (4 years ago) and my second (6 months ago), the pushiness around breastfeeding increased immensely at the same hospital. I brought expressed colostrum to the hospital with me, with the intention of giving breastfeeding a go, using the colostrum if necessary, and once it was out, switching to formula if the breastfeeding hadn’t been successful (I was not planning on combo feeding as it nearly killed me the first time). With my first, I never produced more than 4oz per day. I had all the signs this would be the case with my 2nd (and it was). But when it came time for me to ask the nurse how much formula I should feed, she REFUSED TO TELL ME. Instead she kept telling me I needed to put the baby to the breast every time. I finally burst into tears, and she said, “Listen, I don’t know your story, but the only way to make this work is to put your baby to the breast.” Thankfully my husband stepped in and demanded to know how much formula we should be feeding the baby. She grudgingly gave us a number, and I then spent the next hour sobbing in the bathroom, missing my daughter’s first bath, terrified that this was the start of another horrible journey with PPD.

      Anyway, I decided then & there I was going to bring a feeding plan to the hospital with me if I ever have a third child. Then hopefully every nurse can “know my story” and not be asshats about it. I never bothered with birth plans as they would have just said “whatever it takes for a health baby & healthy mom.” But some sort of document about my feeding wishes might have been helpful, as I had to go through this painful process with every shift change.

  • Deborah

    At the hospital where I work (midwife Australia) we have a checklist that we have to have completed by 32 weeks. It must be signed by both the midwife and the woman as verification that the midwife has discussed all the purported benefits of breastfeeding and all the supposed risks of formula feeding and that a referral to a lactation consultant has been made if there have been previous breastfeeding problems. Recently I had a situation where after dutifully going through the list, including the spiel on “breast milk contains everything your baby will need for the first 6 months of life” I noticed the woman had a vitamin D deficiency. To the bewilderment of the mother and to my embarrassment, I had to do a complete 360 and inform her that she would need to give her baby a supplement of vitamin D as her breast milk would not contain enough. Then I moved on to the signing of the consent form for vitamin K. Sigh.

    • Young CC Prof

      Infant vitamins aren’t a standard recommendation? My son’s pediatrician prescribed vitamin drops automatically.

      • fiftyfifty1

        They are here (a northern state in the USA). Babies need the vitamin D.

        • MaineJen

          Here as well. My ped recommended vitamin D drops in addition to breastmilk. I was never tested for vit D levels, but as a pale-as-a-ghost northerner, I assume they are inadequate :)

          • Dr Kitty

            White skin lets in more sunlight, so your levels are better if you are whiter. It is people of colour living in area with low levels of sunshine who are most at risk.

            White skin was probably an evolutionary adaptation to less sunlight in order to preserve vitamin D levels.

          • Poogles

            Or the REALLY pale white individuals who avoid the sun as much as possible since sometimes even 15 minutes of sun can lead to sunburn (yes, I’ve had this happen)…which is how my vit d levels became alarmingly low. Now I take a daily supplement :)

      • Deborah

        No they are not automatic here. We have only, in the last year or so, started screening women antenatally for vitamin D deficiency. If Mum is below 50 she is commenced on supplements and the baby also after delivery if the mum is exclusively breastfeeding. If she formula feeds the supplements are not needed. Sometimes, a paediatrician will prescribe vitamins for an IUGR baby or a baby who has been slow to gain weight after birth if solely breastfeeding.

        • Young CC Prof

          I live in a northern part of the USA near a majority-Black city. Vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women is about as common as morning sickness here.

          But American pediatricians have been prescribing Tri-Vi-Sol for generations. I had them as a baby. I think they were in the canned-milk formula recipe my grandmother used.

    • http://www.europeanmama.eu/ Olga@EuropeanMama

      In the Netherlands, they tell all BF mothers to supplement with vitamin D and K. But guess who doesn’t need to supplement? formula feeders.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    Fraser Health issues a tone deaf response to criticism of its breastfeeding contract:

    http://news.fraserhealth.ca/News/August-2014/The-choice-is-yours-supporting-moms-to-reach-their.aspx

    • Young CC Prof

      “uncomfortable talking about the risks of artificial baby milks or formula.”

      There, like I said, she’s starting from a place of persecution. She needs to believe that her message is novel, or is coming up against resistance. If she admits that what she’s pushing is as mainstream as it gets, then she loses.

    • OttawaAlison

      I agree the response was severely lacking. The one between the lines I always interpret when lactivists push “informed consent” what they do is word it to “scare the pants off of you for even considering formula usage” and basically believe that your informed choice would be to breastfeed because ‘artificial milk’ is a bigass health risk.

      By the way for Public Health Units to be certified BFI in Canada they have to give out information to make an ‘informed decision” by giving the benefits of breastfeeding and the risks of formula feeding. I wish I was kidding.

      • Amy M

        Let’s come up with some risks of breastfeeding and benefits of formula. But despite that their list of formula risks is largely exaggerated, they still say “may cause,” if I am remembering correctly, so we can do the same.

        Breastfeeding MAY CAUSE pain, shredded nipples, mastitis,yeast infection in the nipples, plugged ducts, D-MER, sleep deprivation, a hungry baby, mental anxiety*, depression*, and a drop in financial resources (if mom quits work). *especially for women who are having difficulty

        Formula feeding allows other people to feed the baby, which lets mom get some much-needed rest. You always know how much formula a baby ate. Feeding formula gives the mother the ability to return to work as soon as she needs to. Formula is fully fortified with Vitamins that breast-fed baby may have to be supplemented with. Formula feeding can be done anywhere, wo/a modest mother having to reveal her breasts in public.

        There’s a start.

        • Young CC Prof

          Bottle-feeding can be done in the car without needing to pull over and unstrap the baby. (By someone other than the driver, of course.)

        • AllieFoyle

          Breastfeeding may increase your risk of osteoporosis:

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25120256

          Breastfeeding for more than 18months was associated with a two-fold risk of developing vertebral fractures (OR 2.12, 95% CI 1.14-5.38, p=0.04), particularly in those without current or past use of drugs positively affecting bone.

        • KarenJJ

          Poor physical health of the mother who is not able to leave the couch and go for a walk because her baby has been doing hour and a half feeding sessions for the past 6 weeks. My husband made me sandwiches every morning before he went to work so I could get some sort of healthy snack into me.

          An unsettled baby that you can’t leave the house with and get in groceries or social contact.

    • Deborah

      The language used is also very performance driven with words like achievement and goals. Who the heck has a “baby feeding goal”?
      Paradoxically the response seemed to drip with a pseudo tranquillity – like on one of those science fiction movies where a soft, lilting woman’s voice is heard over the sound system in a monotone giving instructions to a mindless group of space station residents.
      “Support and encouragement” seem to have very different meanings when it comes to breastfeeding rhetoric. Getting a woman to sign a document that in essence tells her she is causing harm to her child if she gives him/her formula is manipulative and the only goals achieved will be those of Fraser Health.

      • Young CC Prof

        I have a baby feeding goal:

        All babies should be fed on breast milk or formula with nutritious complementary foods added when ready. No babies should be hungry. Anywhere.

      • KarenJJ

        I had a breastfeeding goal. I had never breastfed before and it turned out my goal was completely unrealistic in my circumstances (which I didn’t fully understand until I was diagnosed with an immune system some 12 months later). I didn’t need anyone’s “help” to meet that goal, I needed some realistic support to get my baby fed adequately. Unfortunately due to the infantile regulations in Australia the nurses couldn’t actually give me that information because it would undermine my breastfeeding goals.

    • Zornorph

      The woman even looks crazy in her picture. But the real giveaway that she’s a member of the Breastapo is the use of the world ‘artificial’ when talking about formula.

      • attitude devant

        She looks crazy, agreed. Zornorph, that’s what ‘having some work done’ looks like. You’re welcome

    • PrimaryCareDoc

      Has anyone tried to comment on the article? I tried but apparently my comment will not go through moderation.

      • Amy M

        I just tried, but it probably won’t make it past the moderator. I said “What about the risks of breastfeeding and the benefits of formula? If you don’t include those, you are not giving informed consent.”

    • carovee

      Wow. Ms. Harper completely ignored the fact that the hospital is LYING to women about the risks of formula feeding. I see that comments are going through though and some commenters have pointed out the research they are using is clearly cherry-picked.

  • Sue

    Does Fraser Health have anything so Draconian as a contract for cigarette smokers, where the harms are so severe and so well documented?

    If not, they can add hypocrisy to the list of problems with this demeaning and dishonest procedure.

  • Young CC Prof

    40 years ago, lactation was a radical choice, one that got some pushback. So, the women who chose to breastfeed developed “safe spaces” such as LLL to discuss and share information, including the idea that breastfeeding was a radical choice in need of defense against paternalistic doctors, unhelpful older relatives, and Big Formula. 40 years ago, they were often right.

    However, for at least two decades breastfeeding has been positively endorsed by most doctors and relevant health authorities. In high-income countries, breastfeeding is not only considered healthier, it is a choice associated with high-status families, while formula is associated with low-status families.

    However, the idea of lactation as a radical choice in need of defense has not faded, nor has the prevalence of safe spaces for breastfeeders, both physical and online spaces. Whether deliberately or otherwise, they have excluded the experiences of formula-feeding women, those who did so by choice, by economic necessity, and those who could not breastfeed. With this exclusion has come a dangerously narrow vision, which brings us to the heart of the problem:

    High-status people are presuming to speak for low-status people while refusing to listen to them.

    Years ago, men wondered, “What do women want?” They didn’t know because they didn’t listen. Lactivists don’t know what mothers want, because they don’t listen.

    So, once the voices of non-breastfeeders become irrelevant, the world is a dangerously simple place. Anyone who claims breastfeeding was too hard must be lying. After all, all the women in the nursing circle managed it! Any discussion of a medical downside to breastfeeding (even something as simple as low levels of certain micronutrients) must be an attempt to “sabotage” nursing relationships. Obviously breastmilk can’t contribute to tooth decay, since it’s perfect.

    I wonder what my town’s LLL would say if I decided to go to one of their meetings? I wonder if any of them would listen, or if they even realize what they’ve lost by making a breastfeeding club?

    • Trixie

      I would say even 20 years ago. When my cousins were born, the hospital had no lactation specialists and sent my aunt home with no advice on how to latch a baby with inverted nipples. Sure, they told her it was best, but gave her no means of accomplishing it.

      • Young CC Prof

        I would say the availability of breastfeeding help is still patchy. (The availability of USEFUL support is even more patchy.) However, the theoretical and cultural support existed even then.

        • Trixie

          Point being, there wasn’t even a person called a lactation consultant in the hospital 20 years ago.

    • Sue

      Very insightful comments, YCCP.

      As you say, there is lots of help available now, as well as positive endorsement. That’s what is required, not shaming and coercion.

      It seems that campaigns to improve can become self-sustaining industries, where the original aims become lost in the ideology.

  • theadequatemother
    • http://Www.awaitingjuno.blogspot.com/ Mrs. W

      And for those on twitter tweet to @FraserHealth your outrage!

    • http://Www.awaitingjuno.blogspot.com/ Mrs. W

      Or if you are in the Vancouver/Burnaby area you can tell them in person what to do with their infant feeding declarations tomorrow: http://www.fraserhealth.ca/events_calendar/event_calendar_details?eventId=988

      • RKD314

        Hmmm….9:30 on a weekday. Reminds me of a postcard I got from the hospital I delivered at, inviting me to come share my experience and opinions on the breastfeeding experience I had, in honor of World Breastfeeding Week. Oh so conveniently timed at 2:00 PM on a working day. Yeah, I guess that they guess they know all they need to know about the breastfeeding experience of moms who work….

    • Kara Neely

      Done. Complained.

  • Ash

    What kind of road is Fraser Health heading towards? Women being court-ordered to express milk?

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    Anecdote here: I was extremely hungry the whole time I breast fed small one. Weight loss…yeah, some, but it was temporary because I was hungry still while weaning and not using as much energy in breast feeding.

    Also, my one real regret around my small one’s birth is that I didn’t give her a bottle as soon as it was clear that I wasn’t producing enough milk early on. I eventually came to my senses and gave her one and my milk did come in so no lasting harm, but could have saved myself and her some crying if I’d fed her a bottle of formula sooner.

    • Trixie

      I lost weight while BF pretty effortlessly. Didn’t start until 10 weeks or so, though. I ate a ton but still lost.

      • Elizabeth A

        I had a similar experience. I had terrible oversupply (nursed at night, pumped 30+ ounces per day), and dropped weight. I was starving hungry all. the. time. I was going to grad school, and needed to pack about 1000 calories to get through 5 hours of classes. The worst days were the ones when I couldn’t find a closet to pump in, or ran out of snacks.

        I got pregnant again before gaining all the pre-baby weight back, but once I was done having and nursing babies, I found all my misplaced weight pretty quickly.

        • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

          I’m seriously amazed right now. I wish I could produce 30+ ounces

          • Dr Jay

            God, me too. I would pump at work and be lucky to get 6oz all day. No wonder my boy fed every two hours round the clock for months.

          • Elizabeth A

            I never worried about having enough milk, but it could get awfully painful. I had two classes a day, with half an hour between them, and sometimes, by the end of the first class, I was so engorged that I couldn’t move my arms. I seriously do not recommend it.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

            I wish it was that easy for me to produce. It was next to nothing everytime

          • Elizabeth A

            There was a lot of milk, but it wasn’t easy at all. It was a major logistical burden, and it was physically very painful.

        • Kelly

          Me too. Everyone around me commented on my weight loss but as soon as I stopped, I went back to my normal weight. It was nice to eat whatever and whenever I wanted but feeling that hungry all the time made me feel sick.

      • MaineJen

        Me too…I miss that easy weight loss now. :( I’ve never been skinnier than when I was breastfeeding. And I ate like a pig. (I know it’s not that way for everyone.) I didn’t have oversupply either, I made just about enough.

    • Guest

      My first D was FF and by 6 weeks I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. My 2nd I was pumping not mare than a 40-80 ml/day for 6 weeks I lost NOTHING as I feel hungry all the time (to produce 1 Oz LOL!). Once I stopped pumping I started to lose the weight and had my first menses exactly 28 days from the day I stopped! (My post-delivery weight was the same both times)

  • Babydoc mom

    This is particularly ballsy on Fraser Health’s part, as they have drastically cut postpartum home care nursing in the last few years. They have a very agressive early discharge policy. Their busiest maternity hospital has a high immigrant population with significant barriers to care (despite it being paid for by the province).

    This is completely one-sided information pretending to be informed consent. What a crock. I suspect that the pediatricians and neonatologists were not consulted in this process (or if they were they were ignored)

    • RebeccainCanada

      Don’t lactivists ignore everyone who disagrees with them anyway? Mothers and babies needs are really invisible anyway. Breastfeeding at any cost is all that matters. :(

  • OldTimeRN

    The words “evidence based practice” and “recent studies” are thrown in our faces everyday at work as a way to promote breast feeding over formula feeding, rooming in over bottled in/brought out to feed and mother/baby over traditional post partum/newborn nursery. We constantly ask “where are these studies and evidence coming from?” We never really get an answer. I suspect there isn’t really an answer. Are mothers polled? Are babies followed in studies? If not how are studies conducted and evidence reached?

    Also if Moms signs the contract is it binding? On both ends? Does the hospital call CPS if a Mom switches to formula? Does Mom get to sue if she doesn’t lose all her pregnancy weight while breastfeeding? Or worse does she get to sue if her child get an ear infection, allergies or isn’t reading by the time they are 3?

    • Hannah

      I’d be tempted to save this list of questions just to hassle whoever on the floor is most obnoxious or condescending to me about it…

      • Sue

        Anyone over in BC? We could write and distribute a pamphlet that corrects the misinformation.

    • Young CC Prof

      Conversely, can you sue if your formula fed child DOES stay healthy and hit milestones early? Because that would just be funny.

      • KarenJJ

        LOL – I should sue the pants off the breastfeeding association because my FF son walked at 10.5 months. I thought I had AT LEAST another month or two of crawling without him trying to get into stuff at his head height… Or maybe it’s just a good thing I didn’t breastfeed him – otherwise he’d have been zooming around on his feet at 8 months instead…

    • Sue

      These days, it’s conventional for clinical guidelines and best practice papers to be referenced.

      I wonder whether the authors of this ”contract” have even read the literature.

      I had always assumed that BF made a huge difference to neonatal and infant health until I (i) read the actual studies; and (ii) found out that I was only BF for a few weeks – but still have enjoyed great health!

      • Dr Jay

        Yeah, they are referenced, but it doesn’t mean it’s a quality reference. I got an email the other day informing me that our hospital is kicking around the idea that we should push post dates inductions back to 41+5 (from 41+3) because “we need to get the CS rates down.” After I picked myself up off of the floor, I asked what the evidence was. I was told “there was an RCT” and someone would get it for me. Still waiting on that evidence, but I got $1000 that says it’s a shit study done by low level academic with an axe to grind.

        • Young CC Prof

          Probably one of the garbage observational studies comparing induced labor to spontaneous labor, rather than an intervention trial of inducing vs waiting longer.

          A study that compares induced labor to spontaneous labor is like running a “controlled” trial of a headache medicine in which the control group doesn’t have headaches.

        • Amy M

          I just read an article about VBACs in a local publication (Baystate Parents). They still believe that inductions cause Csections (evidently that most Csections are caused by inductions),which they got from interviewing a DO, and they cited ICAN. They also suggested that if your doctor/hospital won’t allow a VBAC, just go to the hospital in labor and refuse a Csection. They can’t make you! *headdesk*

        • Guest

          In the UK at least, induction at 41 weeks and after actually reduces the section rate. Not so before that, but once you get to that point you have a better chance of a vaginal delivery if you are induced.

  • Still tired

    Diabetes? SIDS? Lower IQ? I thought these were all debunked a long time ago. Honestly, someone gets paid to come up with this first-world-problem bullshit. Have a baby. Feed the baby. Watch it grow. Enjoy.

  • Mac Sherbert

    “some women will won’t lose weight at all while breastfeeding since it makes them ravenously hungry.” Yes!
    DH – Where are the brownies and the casseroles our friends left for us?
    Me- Umm….Sorry. I was hungry.

    • Cobalt

      I think for some the weight loss comes from not having time to eat. If you have an every hour and a half nurser, or a colicky baby, you miss a lot of meals.

      I lose weight breastfeeding, but if I lose more than a pound a week after week 3, my body freaks out, my milk gets thinner (but not less abundant), and I feel awful!

      One of my friends couldn’t lose any baby weight other than what she lost in the first week. As soon as her weight dropped, she would start to dry up. She gained 10 pounds that year trying to keep her supply up.

      • Mishimoo

        That was me with the youngest – every time I lost weight, my milksupply went down. To further compound matters, he had reflux and refused to take anything other than breastmilk! I bombed my LDL cholesterol because the only way I was keeping weight on was eating around 400g of chocolate a week, which sounds like fun but really isn’t all that great.

        • Trixie

          I thought your cholesterol generally goes up while lactating, and this wasn’t thought to be harmful? I was told they wouldn’t even screen my cholesterol until I had weaned for 6 months.

          • Mishimoo

            Wow, I didn’t know that! My hdl level was really good, so my doctor wasn’t concerned, just told me to change my eating + exercise habits when I could. It was done as part of a full blood panel, just to see how I was recovering and if I’d finally picked up immunity to rubella. (Nope)

          • Cobalt

            Cholesterol is apparently a major component of brain tissue, so levels go up during pregnancy while you’re building baby brain.

      • Mac Sherbert

        I had one that wanted to nurse for 30 to 45 minutes at a time. I was always hungry and so I ate while I nursed. In addition to being hungry, I had a baby that was sensitive to what I ate and for a while all I could eat was starchy foods(high carbs!). I never lost weight breastfeeding because I was always hungry and it was impossible for me to deny my cravings. Plus, as you mention time is an issue, so meals were not always the greatest. When I was in the process of weaning I was still hungry and then I was just in the habit of eating more. Until I curbed my breastfeeding habits after weaning I gained weight!

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Pretty sure that was me. I dropped to 10 pounds below pre-baby weight while nursing because between pumping/nursing/cleaning the feeding apparatus/taking care of the baby I barely had time to pee once in a while, much less eat. I remember at one point being soooo grateful that my husband had gotten me some chocolate bars that could have squares broken off–not just because CHOCOLATE (though that’s sufficient reason in my book ;) ) but because I could, with baby on one arm, walk past the counter where they were, break off a square or two, and inhale it with a glass of water before sitting back down to nurse. There isn’t a whole lot you can prepare and eat one-handed, but that much I could do. And, well, it must be admitted that for me chocolate made that rather horrible experience slightly more bearable.

  • Alannah

    Something tells me the disadvantages of breastfeeding and the good sides of formula feeding are nowhere on the contract. Discussing only the benefits of one option and the risks of the other is the opposite of informed consent. It`s manipulation.

    • Bombshellrisa

      I know, right?
      It’s like those people who can talk endlessly about the risks (or perceived risks) of a c-section, but who can’t name one risk of vaginal birth.

      • Junebug

        Don’t forget the brilliant decrees of “dangerous narcotics in epidurals” from the people taking cohosh.

        • RKD314

          I wonder if some of the confusion floating around about epidurals comes from the way they used to do things. From what I understand reading about women’s experiences in the 70s and 80s, women were routinely sedated. My own mother must have gone through something like that…when my aunt (who has never had children) asked why I looked sort of sad after giving birth, mom claimed matter-of-factly, “Oh, its the drugs.” Um, no. I was perfectly lucid after my epidural, thank you. But I had also just finished pushing a human out of my vagina, and it was not fun, and I didn’t like it at all, and that, combined with the happy emotion of finally holding my baby, leads to a weird facial expression. But she was so sure it must be “the drugs.”

          • Sue

            I suspect you are right, RDK, just like hospital delivery units are still described as some sort of 1950′s torture chambers with stirrups and straps.

          • Amy M

            And shaving! Don’t forget that.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            To be fair, the recovery (ie, regrowth) from the partial pre-C-section shave I got was worse than anything but the first night post-section.
            Which probably says a great deal about both how easy my recovery was and how incessant itching ought to be considered a form of torture under the Geneva Convention. Just sayin’. :p

          • Junebug

            I recently read a thread of angry homebirthers talking about how they “loved their epidurals during their first birth, but that was before they found out about the dangerous narcotics in them.”

            Asinine articles like this from midwifery today don’t help.

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20949786

            (Which was originally found on the midwifery today website but has since vanished)

        • Jenny_from_da_Bloc

          don’t forget the fenugreek too

  • auntbea

    It’s not really a contract to breastfeed. You can indicate that you are going to mix or formula feed. But if you sign the latter you are indicating that you acknowledge a list of horrible things that will happen to you and your baby due to your choice.

    It is pretty much an informed consent form that provides the opposite of informed consent.

  • Elizabeth A

    Also – this kind of thing is why “how I’m a bad mom” posts are so tempting, and so fun.

    I broke all these rules! My kids are fine!

    I think most parents are good people who want to do well by their children, and I suspect their kids are as fine as my are.

    • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

      I’ve mentioned this before, but seriously, you really have to try hard to mess up too bad, There are lots of perfectly good ways to do things when you raise your kids, and what works for your kids might not work for others, but then again, it probably would. And vice versa. The bigger question is whether it works for YOU. The kids will be fine.

    • Spamamander

      My mostly formula-fed oldest is starting her senior year of college at the University of Washington with an eye for getting into medical school (she’s delaying taking the MCAT until this year due to not being able to get some classes in when she transferred campuses). Obviously I did everything wrong, including feeding her poison.

      • Dr Jay

        I was exclusively formula fed…graduated with honours from both undergrad and med school, and am currently working on a PhD. Oh, and I’m a size 4 whose never sick. My exclusively BF son– hospitalised at 5 months with RSV. These people are morons. I read about a study that came out recently comparing twins in the same household that were fed differently (one FF, the other BF) and then followed up for milestones, etc. They found no difference in outcomes….I really should find that paper…

        • Young CC Prof

          There exists a discordinant twin study on breastfeeding? Seriously? I would not have expected that discordinantly-fed twins even existed.

          • Siri

            I’ve seen a few. Typically one twin has added vulnerabilities, eg is much smaller or has a medical problem, and mum decides to devote all her breastmilk to that twin.

          • Amy M

            We used to joke about doing this with our twins, so we could run a small study in our house.

          • Durango

            My friend with twins joked about having only one twin use/play with the Baby Einstein toys to see if that twin would end up smarter.

        • Still tired

          Heh, my boy – extremely attached, exclusively breast fed for ahem…years developed pretty bad asthma after he turned 4. My formula fed teen girl never had any health issues, skinny as a twig, and is better academically than the whole family put together. Go figure.

  • Elizabeth A

    Wow, that declaration is unconnected to reality. Does anyone know everything about how they are going to feed their child for the next twelve months? Could you have predicted such a thing the day your baby was born? Would you have been at all accurate if you tried?

    And seriously, what is with the anti-bottle thing? If you can’t nurse the baby at the breast, bottles are a safe and efficient way for the baby to eat. All the messing around with tubing and tape and what have you just seems like adding a challenge where there doesn’t need to be one, and throwing in some additional washing up.

    • TsuDhoNimh

      “All the messing around with tubing and tape”???

      Does this mean trickling milk down the tube and over the nipple to give the illusion of breast feeding?

      • Elizabeth A

        Yes.

        I can think of plenty of reasons why that’s dumb. The impossibility of getting tiny tubes that have had breast milk in them really clean is the first on an extremely long list.

        • auntbea

          No. Only formula-feeding costs money and raises concerns about sterile equipment. The declaration says so right there.

          • Young CC Prof

            Of course! The single-serving ready to feed bottles with disposable nipples available in the newborn nursery are clearly unsanitary. Using the same SNS for weeks with barely a rinsing is fine.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Well, duh! Obviously!

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          *raises hand* Got a yeast infection in my breasts from using a tube system. It’s made of soft, sticky rubber: you can’t even boil it to sterilize it or the tube will stick shut. Thank God it was “just” a yeast infection in me…if I couldn’t kill the yeast by trickling soapy water through the tube, who knows what bacteria DD was getting in addition to that yeast?
          But hey, the important thing is that I wasn’t using the EVIL bottles at the time! Yay me! *rolls eyes*

        • Amy M

          I used one of those tube/sns things in the hospital…it had a syringe on one end to push formula through it. At the time, I couldn’t understand why they didn’t just give me a bottle to feed the babies since they were getting formula anyway, and eventually I realized it was because I had checked “breastfeeding” on one of the registration forms. I checked breastfeeding because I wanted to try it, not realizing the hospital, in an attempt to support my wishes, would avoid giving a bottle. In my exhausted state, after having the babies, it didn’t occur to me to just ASK for a bottle…I probably would have gotten one. This hospital wasn’t BFHI (I don’t think it is now), and had no issues with formula supplementation, pacifiers and babies sleeping in the nursery at night.

        • TsuDhoNimh

          It’s used in getting orphan livestock or pets to learn what teats are for, BUT the method presumes that it’s for a limited time and that the mum has enough milk to make it worthwhile. Usually once is all it takes – the little critter suddenly realizes that THIS is what it’s been missing in its short life and doesn’t even notice that the tube and trickle of milk is gone.

          I can’t imagine trying to do it for weeks as a faux-feeding thing.

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      Not to harp on this but if you don’t WANT to breastfed then formula is a perfectly safe, healthy alternative( in countries with access to clean water or ready to feed formula). It’s a small distiction but it’s important. I probably could have breastfed if I had wanted…I did not want to. I had my own reasons but they are my business. If someone had shoved a contract in my hands the day after my daughter was born I probably would have smacked them withit…..I will admit to caving to the breastfeeding pushing nurses and LC at the hospital and letting them try to “help” me nurse. But I was lucky, this was 20 years ago and they also gave me a bottle when asked.

  • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

    I see this as being about as successful as abstinence pledges that high schoolers sign.

    IOW, the comparison to slut shaming is apt.

    • attitude devant

      It remains to be seen whether we will see the same negative correlation with desired results. Last I checked the abstinence pledgers were more likely to wind up pregnant within a year than a control group. (probably because the control group was more likely to use birth control )

      • Elizabeth A

        I remember an incident in 8th grade, when most of my year signed a pledge to never smoke. One kid refused. He said he had no idea what would happen, and he refused to make promises about it.

        Since then, I have come to the conclusion that that kid was more honest than the rest of us.

        • Cobalt

          Wise beyond his years, certainly.

  • moto_librarian

    BRAVO!

    I was enraged when I read this idiotic “declaration.” How can any healthcare provider endorse something like this? This is beyond misinformation – these are outright lies!

    With my second child, I was confident enough in my parenting to not be bothered by this kind of crap, but as a new mom who had lactation failure, signing a contract like this would have pushed me over the edge. Are they hoping to increase their psychiatric practice at Fraser Health? Because more cases of PPD is what crap like this contract is going to cause.

    • Still tired

      Ha! That’s a good though. Also, more work Fraser LC’s I bet. First, you create a problem, then you solve it —-> job security!

      • Cobalt

        First rule of business:
        Find a need and fill it, or create a need and exploit it.

    • Anka

      I sometimes wonder about this based on my experiences as a pregnant and laboring and postpartum patient in my Toronto hospital that were almost so ludicrously awful as to seem *engineered* to increase the psychiatric practice. I really like my PPD psychiatrist and have been seeing her for over a year, and she’s very anti-lactivism and was an unapologetic formula feeder herself. (She used obscenities to describe lactivists–it was very refreshing!) She’s the best part of my experience of the healthcare system as a new immigrant who didn’t have access to a real family doctor for a long time. But I wouldn’t need to see her at all if my OB/hospital/lactation consultant experience hadn’t been so abysmal.

  • Amy M

    Wow, that’s some balls on Fraser health. I’d like to think that if I was a new mother there, I’d refuse to sign that thing. But, I know that many new mothers, especially first-time mothers, are not in a state of mind to recognize this obnoxious attempt to shame them and take away their power of autonomy. Many will simply accept it, because they have already been told that breast is best and formula is poison. In Canada, maybe there is less of a set-up for failure, since they have more maternity leave, but expecting all women to live up to this difficult standard is going to lead to disappointment. And trying to scare these new mothers, into breastfeeding using false information? Is terribly unethical.

    What happens if a mother doesn’t sign the form? Do they let her leave the hospital? What if she checks off all 3 boxes, just to confuse them, or signs her name as “Mickey Mouse?” I hope some of the new mothers have the wherewithal to turn that form into a paper airplane and fly it into the nurse who handed her the form.

    I am so tired of this cultural expectation of Mom Guilt. And it bothers me that many, if not most, new mothers (in the Western world) swallow it and wallow in it before finally understanding that its crap. Some never figure that out, and continue to feel guilty for something, throughout their children’s childhood.

    How do I become a childbirth/childcare educator? Maybe in some small way, I could help mothers-to-be have the assertiveness to stand up to this garbage,and understand that they don’t even need to feel guilty at all.

    • Amy M

      Credentials: no official ones. Amateur credentials: have 2 children, have no Mom Guilt, have already helped various friends and family members understand that their choices/circumstances are totally acceptable and they do not need to feel guilt.

    • guest

      If someone handed me that form, I would write F*** YOU across it!!

      • Amy M

        Yeah, I would do that now, but I’m not sure how I would have responded 5.5yrs ago when I had my children. I probably would have questioned the accuracy of some of the statements (most likely in my head), but checked “combo-feeder” (that was my plan, but it ended up being almost 100% formula), and signed the damn thing just to get them out of my face. Now, I am more assertive and also have better knowledge about breastfeeding/formula feeding.

        • guest

          I know, I say that out of anger, but you’re right, in the actual situation, how many of us would really do that.. especially when you are just learning and unsure.. They hand this garbage to a vulnerable new mom… pretty disgusting.. I bet it was “developed” by some lacto-nazi… sigh…

    • auntbea

      I *think* I might have had the wherewithal to write “FALSE” on it. In several places.

    • guest

      And what is with this “baby friendly” crap? Why can’t it be “family friendly”?? Why do they treat new parents like they are idiots and humiliate them with this garbage? Grrrrr!

      • Amy M

        I am SO glad the hospital I had my children in wasn’t BFHI. Everyone was nice to me. No one tried to make me cry.

        • guest

          OMG.. it’s pretty bad when someone says “everyone was nice to me and no one tried to make me cry”.. most nurses are so disgusted with the BF garbage, it just makes us cringe!

    • RKD314

      I think you’re completely right, this is one of those things that you get cowed into signing at the time, and then feel bad about it later. It’s like the perfect comeback that you think of the next day, just not there when you need it. When you’re a new parent there’s a lot of emotion that goes with that situation, and pressure, and sleep deprivation, and it can be very difficult to think rationally, even when you KNOW something isn’t right.

      • Cobalt

        And when you’re still in the hospital, they’ve “got you by the baby”. You might be too nervous to aggravate the staff providing your and your baby’s care.

        • RKD314

          “Got you by the baby”, that is EXACTLY right. I was cleared to be discharged after 3 nights in the hospital, and wanted to go home with my baby. They didn’t let me go though, since my baby was still losing weight. So they kept us both one more day, and we started supplementing with formula, finally. On the next morning my daughter had gained a lot of weight. There was no reason not to discharge her, but they STILL didn’t want to bc it was clear that the weight gain was just due to formula, not to any change in our breastfeeding situation. They reluctantly discharged us both on the condition that I allow a LC to visit me at home for 2 weeks. I didn’t want this, but I felt like I had to say yes.

  • Pilo

    I have a friend with 6 children. Breasfeeding babies 1 and 2 was a HUGE stressor and resulted in many tears, feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and lost sleep.
    So, for baby 3 she tried a new method. Baby was fed formula exlusively for the first two weeks. During that time, mom pumped every 3-4 hours while awake and did not pump during a 8-9 hour stretch at night while sleeping. Dad or grandma helped with night bottle feeding. Bottles were mostly formula, with pumped breast milk added when it was available. Then, after two weeks, she switched to breast feeding (no more pumping) and baby was nearly exlusively breastfed for 9-12 months after that. It worked so well, that she ended up following that same pattern for babies 4, 5, and 6.
    Now, I’m not saying that this would work for everyone. But it anecdotally worked for her four times. Her babies were all full term (though on the small end of normal for weight) and healthy. Some were vaginal deliveries, and some were c/sections. This method really worked out well for them. Mom was able to somewhat-recover from the birth before adding on the stress of breastfeeding and no babies were harmed in the process!

    • Cobalt

      That’s an awesome idea.

    • RKD314

      Wow, that is what I had already decided I was going to try with my next child. I had an insufficient milk supply, and I don’t know if it is something inherent (like IGT, I realize that this doesn’t effect a lot of women but I have reason to think I may be one of them). Or if it was just due to the fact that my daughter couldn’t latch and had a weak suck, and so she wasn’t removing enough milk. So I already decided that next time I will start with pumping, then try nursing later, and then if that doesn’t work out, go to formula with no guilt, worry, or costs spent on domperidone, fenugreek, useless LCs. I’m glad to hear that this method has already worked out for someone else. But I guess that isn’t too surprising; in my brief time as a mom, I’ve come to the conclusion that the biggest lie parenting “gurus” hand out is that there is only one way to do things.

    • KT

      Anecdotally I have a friend who sort of tried this (after things weren’t working BF-ing her first she decided to pump when she felt up to it and formula feed the rest of the time). She has gotten to a point of BF-ing for about 2/3rds of her child’s calorie intake, but not all. So If someone is really set on eventually getting to full milk production it may not work – as you already acknowledged. But hey, if a person tries it understanding that they might end up combo-feeding and that’s an acceptable solution, great!

      • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

        Of course, if someone has been fed bullshit like this

        “Even one feed of formula can damage (baby’s gut) coating and make illness more likely.”

        they might be worried.

        • Sue

          What do they mean by ”baby’s gut coating” anyway? That one feed of milk causes mucosal damage? How would it, and what evidence would there be?

          If they mean that ”even one” formula feed can alter gut flora, we know that this is a changing feast until a solid diet is established anyway. What nonsense.

          • Young CC Prof

            If you live in a region with dirty water, obviously even one bottle of formula made with dirty water can inflict serious damage.

            If you live here, that’s nonsense.

          • Guest

            Isn’t micro flora always changing through life according to what people eat!?

        • Hannah

          When I was being helped in the hospital, the lactation consultant saw on my charts that my daughter was given some formula for low blood sugar after she was born and went ‘well normally I advise against supplementing if at all possible, but your daughter’s gut has been compromised now, so I suppose it doesn’t matter’. I was devastated, even though objectively I knew it was a crock.

      • KarenJJ

        I had a family member who exclusively pumped and bottle fed for the first two weeks while her baby didn’t latch and then exclusively breastfed for the next six months or so. She was rather unimpressed that he wasn’t very interested in solids and also refused a bottle until around the 6-7 month mark.