Is The Alpha Parent Allison Dixley being shunned by professional lactivists?

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On Friday I wrote about the breathtaking, unrelenting viciousness of Alpha Parent Allison Dixley’s new book Breast Intentions. True to form, Dixley doubles down on her own blog with today’s post, The Formula Feeder Doth Protest Too Much.

She starts off with the conceit of narcissists everywhere: if you aren’t cheering what she likes, you are treating it with contempt.

If you’re been alive for the fast five or so years, you may have noticed something peculiar: the emergence of a new zeitgeist of contempt for breastfeeding. Even a cursory look at the lifestyle section of many online newspapers reveals a contemporary back-catalogue now groaning under the weight of the collective bitching of a vocal minority of failed breastfeeders.

In this post I question the motives of these failed breastfeeders, let’s call them ‘formula apologists’ – the folk who make it their raison d’etre to criticise breastfeeding – that is, to criticise its promotion and its significance.

No, instead of questioning them, let’s take a look at the science. Although everything that Dixley writes rests on the premise that formula feeding harms babies, the evidence shows something very different.

I shared these graphs last year, and they make the case quite powerfully.

breastfeeding and infant mortality

breastfeeding and life expectancy

breastfeeding and IQ

Over the past 100+ years US breastfeeding initiation rates have dropped precipitously and begun to rise again, but there appears to have been no impact on infant mortality, life expectancy or IQ. Sure breastfeeding provides benefits in industrialized countries, but those benefits are trivial.

So Dixley’s unrelenting viciousness toward women who can’t or don’t want to breastfeed rests on precisely NOTHING. It’s as though her entire blog were devoted to demonizing women who don’t buy the same type of car that she drives. She’s vicious because she is desperate to have her own choice mirrored back to her, not because her choice actually matters. And she utterly misrepresents that nature of the choice, the science behind breastfeeding, and the reasons why people oppose her.

It’s easy for her to go after women who chose to formula feed as trying to excuse their “failure” to breastfeed, but she can’t seem to account for the fact that someone like me, who easily and successfully breastfed four children would vociferously reject both her claims about breastfeeding and her vicious way of making them.

Dixley Twitter 12-1-14

It’s hardly surprising that I don’t support Dixley, given my claims that lactivism, like most of natural parenting is not based on scientific evidence and that the emphasis on time intensive parenting that requires the presence of the mother 24/7/365 is retrograde and sexist. But then I got to thinking about who does support Dixley, and besides her followers who are equally desperate to have their own choices mirrored back to them, she is supported by … NO ONE.

With her message of the vital importance of breastfeeding to the health and well being of children, you might expect that she would garner the support of professional lactivists. I could find no evidence that Dixley’s stance is supported by any professional breastfeeding organizations, any lactivism programs, or, any major authors in the field whether they write for lay people or for other professionals.

Dixley’s new book, Breast Intentions, has no blurbs from other lactivists, pediatricians or public health experts. Thus far, a week after it has been published in the UK, the book has received no professional reviews. As of this morning, there hasn’t been a single positive comment on Amazon UK or Amazon.com.

It’s as if (to appropriate the crude language of Dixley herself) the book is like “a fart trapped in an the elevator,” a repulsive eruption of which everyone is doing their best to ignore, in the hope that it will simply fade away.

When considering Dixley’s writing, both on her blog and in her book, readers would do well to keep in mind that her opinions are her own and are not supported by any breastfeeding organizations, lactivism programs or healthcare professionals. If professional lactivists shun Dixley and her viciousness, and they do, everyone else should, too.

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  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    She just doesn’t get it.

    • Ottawa Alison

      She’s at best misguided, at worst just a psychopath. I noticed on her FB page yesterday that she pretty much posted and just left people to comment with her commenting (things may have changed now), like she wants people to be upset and “butthurt” (I actually hate that term, damn people for being human with emotions and not robots) and she just laughs at it because she’s “right”.

      • just me

        Kind of reminds me of ann coulter. Crazy opinionated (and wrong) beeyotch who is just mean and nasty.

    • Roadstergal

      Nice to know she has that fire in her belly (I suggest Tums), but I haven’t seen her prove anyone wrong yet…

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    Tracy Cassels of Evolutionary Parenting weighs in:

    http://evolutionaryparenting.com/vinegar-honey-and-the-message/

    • Young CC Prof

      She says, “Breastfeeding is still a minority action, with most women at least partially using formula by 3 months of age in most industrial countries around the world.”

      That’s the second time recently I’ve heard breastfeeding described as a minority choice. In fact, everyone knows that most pregnant women in the USA plan to breastfeed. In the upper half of society, it is the default choice and has been the default choice for two decades. Successful exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months or more is a minority OUTCOME, but most women start out breastfeeding as best they can.

      You see, to folks like this, breastfeeding HAS to be counterculture. It has to be the underdog. That’s why breastfeeders need protected spaces, and legal protections, and why any and all rhetorical tactics are acceptable in the war to liberate nursing mothers from the tyranny of Big Formula, a war that will not be won until every baby is breastfed or dies trying.

      • guestS

        Why doesn’t she use the breastfeeding initiation rates to prove her point? Oh, oh wait, shit, it’s not minority……ooops.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Yeah, this obsession with “exclusive breast feeding”‘ is not helping anyone, and especially babies.

        As I said the other day, instead of complaining about how mothers who supplemented with formula are failures, why not celebrate the fact that they continued to use breastmilk and didn’t just switch completely to formula?

      • just me

        Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. We still need legal protection for those who choose to bf (pumping in the workplace etc.) The wife of someone I know thru work ended up suing b/c the local school district she worked for made it basically impossible to pump which made it impossible to keep her supply up. And that is with the federal and california laws in place. So I don’t think that we can just all relax and think there are no issues.

        • Young CC Prof

          Oh, definitely there are issues, mostly around the workplace. And mothers do need protected physical space to physically breastfeed or pump. I’m talking about protected Internet and psychological space, where only successful breastfeeders are welcome.

          • just me

            Ah.

        • moto_librarian

          But this is exactly the problem with TAP – there are so many more meaningful ways that she could advocate for breastfeeding that might actually make it feasible for more women, but what does she do? Belittle and shame women who feed even a drop of formula to their children. It’s fauxdvocacy at its finest.

  • Dr Kitty

    Completely OT

    Atul Gawande is doing the BBC Reith lectures this Year.

    Looks like we’re in for a treat- available on BBC world service and online over the next four Tuesdays.

    http://www.theguardian.com/news/2014/dec/02/-sp-why-doctors-fail-reith-lecture-atul-gawande

  • Dr Kitty

    OT:
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/dec/01/kings-college-hospital-oxygen-birth-damages-chase-lorck-cerebral-palsy

    A little boy with CP following anoxic brain injury has been awarded £7million for his lifetime care costs. He was breech, is mother was advised to have an elective CS, however talked into a vaginal birth by her midwives and then inadequately monitored during labour, and then when distress was detected it was too late for the CS.
    I feel really, really sorry for his parents.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      So unnecessary. Vaginal breech birth is strongly correlated with poor outcomes. No one should be exposed to that risk when safe c-sections are available.

    • Ash

      Kinda interesting that below the article, there is a link about homebirth in the UK.

  • araikwao

    It’s a pity she’s not a public health scholar, because then she’d know that shame is not an effective strategy for changing behaviour. (Neither is confabulation or plain old bitchiness, but they seem to be her only weaponry. Oh, and maybe bad similes, too.)

    • LibrarianSarah

      Case in point, we’ve been shamming people (women mostly) for having premarital sex for centuries.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        One thing I tell my TAs is that one thing I learned in catholic grade school is that shame and humiliation is not an effective approach for teaching good penmanship. Nor is hitting, for that matter.

        • Young CC Prof

          About the only thing shaming and corporal punishment do teach folks is to keep quiet.

    • araikwao

      (Did I need to put inverted commas around “public health scholar” to make the snark more obvious? )

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    Another Twitter interaction with The Alpha Parent:

    • RKD314

      Wow. The misunderstanding of basic statistical concepts on Dixely’s part has blown my mind. Would be very curious to know what kind of science education this person has received.

      • Young CC Prof

        Precisely. The fact that “No study controls4every variable 100%” weakens the pro-breastfeeding evidence rather than strengthening it. With observational studies comparing breastfeeding with long-term outcomes, the more confounders are controlled, the less benefit is seen, and in the few actual treatment studies, no benefit is seen at all. Classic sign that there’s no fire under the smoke.

      • Sarah

        She didn’t. She has degrees in early years and law. Both valid and legitimate qualifications, but not ones which provide much grounding in stats.

      • Amy M

        I just saw something this week, online, about a study comparing a cohort of breastfeeding women in the UK with breastfeeding women in Brazil. It was an attempt to tease out the socioeconomic factor. Surprise, surprise, there were no correlations of breastfeeding with obesity, diabetes and I forget the other major thing they were looking at, once SES was accounted for. The one thing they still saw an association with was slightly increased IQ, but the article mentioned that there were likely still confounders that were unaccounted for.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Um…can someone tell alpha that correlation =/= causation.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD
    • Vg2010

      Dr Amy, this is PRICELESS

      • Karen in SC

        Damn I am loving the Spudd!! Has someone sent this to TFB?

      • Samantha06

        LMAO!!

  • just me

    Ok, for laughs I went to her web site. She claims to be getting a PhD in baby sleep yet she of course pushes bed sharing and criticizes actual good sleep books (e.g. Ferber) as anti bf books. Ha ha ha.

    • Life Tip

      I might be a little dense here…but can one get a phd in baby sleep? What?

      • Cobalt

        I know a lot of moms that wish their babies would get a PhD in sleep. Or at least take a night class.

        • Young CC Prof

          Mine did great first semester, then dropped out.

          • Allie

            Mine had a fantastic first day of classes and then skipped out the rest of first and second year : /

          • MLE

            Would you say they were a baby sleep scholar then?

          • Young CC Prof

            Indeed. He’s still not-resting on his laurels, like he thinks it makes him better than other babies!

  • Susan

    My first baby was born in 1979. Breastfeeding went great, and into toddler years, with all my three children. I consider myself witness and part of the change toward breastfeeding becoming “normal”. But damn it no mom I know wanted to see the breastfeeding moms become the bullies. And as Dr. Amy says so well, when you have the perspective of watching your children grow up your children are indistinguishable from their formula fed classmates. The ugly side of motherhood and human nature is what this is all about, nothing to do with wanting what’s really best for moms and babies. It really saddens me… Too bad that prolactin and oxytocin we are supposed to be infused with doesn’t benefit us with grace or kindness.

    • moto_librarian

      I hate that women were (and sometimes still are) bullied for breastfeeding. That should never have happened, and I think it’s important for women to feel comfortable feeding their babies in public no matter the method.

      • Lion

        I have mixed fed both my children and been verbally attacked for both methods in public. You just can’t win!

    • Smoochagator

      “Too bad that prolactin and oxytocin we are supposed to be infused with doesn’t benefit us with grace or kindness.” BOOM.

    • MaineJen

      Same here! I loved BFing my kids and it was relatively easy. But I would never dream of assuming it’s that easy or enjoyable for everyone else, because I know for a fact it’s not. Because I listen to what people tell me, instead of preaching at them. And I can see with my own eyes that their children are no less healthy or well-loved than mine are.

      My brother was born in 1979 and, for various reasons, was quite ill, and was in and out of the hospital for a few months after his birth. My mother was a committed BFer, but after watching her struggle with a dwindling milk supply due to stress and prolonged separation, a kindly doctor finally told her, “You know…you CAN give him a bottle. It won’t hurt him.” She says it gave her such relief to hear that! I believe he was formula fed from then on, but I defy anyone to pick him out of a lineup. 🙂

  • Hannah

    Slightly off topic, but does anyone else find the picture on the front of her book to be creepy? The look on the mom’s face looks like it belongs on the front of a vampire novel. In the ‘this is all miiinnneee’ style. Not looking at the baby. Not cradling it. Holding it and eyeing the reader like a threat. Just gives me the skivvies….

    • Cobalt

      This is what Allison Dixley herself has to say about it:

      “Now, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this dark and sinister cover would be better suited to a thriller novel rather than a breastfeeding guide – and that’s the point! Breast Intentions is NOT your average breastfeeding manual. The book takes you through the twisted world of mother-upon-mother manipulation, shining a spotlight upon the murkiest inner conflicts inherent within the maternal psyche.

      The cover features a mother clutching her baby. What’s that expression in her eyes.. Concern? Resentment? Guilt? Malice? Well, that’s for you to decide. The mother clearly loves her baby as she holds him close to her bosom, yet there’s tension between the dyad, as well as tension within the mother herself. The cover taps into the postpartum taboo – that motherhood (particularly early motherhood) is not all gurgling babies and exchange of blissful stares. Rather, early motherhood is wrought with tension – with guilt, envy, defensiveness and sabotage.”

      How she says it with a straight face is beyond me.

      • Hannah

        All doubt is now lost. Creepy.

      • Lion

        If she had so much say in the cover photo did she self publish?

        • Cobalt

          That I do not know. I am quoting her blog post promoting the book.

  • MS

    Lets get one thing straight. This woman got a book deal because there is a lot of money to be made in the “Mommy Wars,” and her publisher is just cashing in. Her claims are sensationalistic, which will ensure the book will garner a lot of attention. Her book deal is on the same caliber as Paris Hilton’s record deal: there’s money to be made, but no real substance. Heck, whoever invented the Snuggie (remember the blanket with arms?) made millions.

    To me, there are two kinds of pregnancy/parenting direction floating around in the world. The first kind provides pertinent information and the critical thinking skills that help parents make the best and informed decision for themselves and their families. To me, this is the healthiest approach. The second is simply telling people what to do. Some people lack the confidence or critical thinking skills to make their own decisions, so they rely on someone else to tell them what is best. This woman has quite an audience to pander to. But she also seems to lack the critical thinking skills to truly understand what she has done. I have no doubt that she is quite intelligent, but she has to understand that by vastly overstating the importance of breastfeeding she is only undermining her own argument.

    Lastly, nobody spews this much bile about such a non-existent issue (a lack of healthy, valid feeding options in industrialized countries) without some kind of catch. I don’t know if she has created this persona to peddle books and ad space on her blog, or if she really believes this crap because she is completely unhinged. Either way, being this heinous is very unhealthy (and I doubt any amount of breastfeeding will help what’s wrong with her).

    • MLE

      Whoa whoa whoa. The Snuggie is 1,000x more valuable than any advice from this woman. Signed, the Chronically Chilly Even in Warmish Weather.

      • MS

        You make an excellent point!

      • Mel

        I loved the slogan “Blankets are HARD”.

        • MLE

          They are hard, especially if you’re trying to walk around with one (toga? sarong?), or someone is trying to share with you (No!).

          • araikwao

            Ooh yeah, I frequently practice the blanket sarong. It does tend to fall at inopportune times.

    • Vg2010

      Ok, so I am coming from this with no practical experience – but a lot of scary first hand observation of my friends who are new moms (said friends are giving me nightmares) – so basically everything I am saying is based on a study of 3 sets of parents 😉

      I think the big issue with parenting advice nowadays is that a lot of new parents are a) overwhelmed b) disconnected from their village – so they look for parenting advice to tell them what to do (the way family members used to) and a lot of this parenting advice seems to be based not on common sense (the way our families’ was because our mom’s and grandmother’s had lives and families) but on philosophies and lovey-dovey statements that sound wonderful in theory but are probably the fastest way to giving up your life.

      So you find new parents that are a bit isolated (my friends and I are all immigrants, so our families are over 8 hours away by flight), that even with parental leave are struggling to manage child care (dad works, mom stays home) and are sleep deprived and desperate to catch a few hours of sleep.

      So when you get an ideology like AP (or lactivism) telling you that sleeping with the baby is the way to help them develop self-esteem, that breastfeeding is essential, that you need to be attentive to every sound and that cute babies do not know how to manipulate – it just makes sense to them which I think down the road just makes their lives so much harder.

      • Amy M

        The extreme version (or maybe Sears version?) of AP seems to be this: Do everything in the most difficult way possible, and mother’s needs always come last, if they are considered at all. Mothers who suggest that they have needs are selfish and lazy. Its a zero-sum game, where in order for baby to have the best, mom must suffer.

        Certainly, the majority of American mothers (can’t speak for other countries) do not do this. But, they are aware of this ideology, and for some reason have been at least partially convinced that its the right way. So, since they can’t/won’t do things the right way, they feel guilty. The whole “mom-guilt” thing is a construct built on Extreme AP ideology, which insidiously worked its way into the mainstream even though it doesn’t really jive with the lifestyles of most people. (2 parent or single-parent working families are by far the majority in the US).

        Then, you add what you said: the isolation and lack of support. That makes it hard to see that the ideology is a bunch of bullshit and better to do what other generations did in the past: trial and error. Figure out what works for you, your baby and your family. Maybe some of it will be what the extreme APers do, and some won’t. It doesn’t matter, as long as everyone is happy and healthy.

        • Bugsy

          Very nice! I would like to add that from personal experience, AP often doesn’t jive with families that have one spouse at home with kids. AP-related propaganda caused me to take 18 months before I was comfortable leaving my son with a sitter. I was home with him 24/7 for the entire 18 months prior. Yikes.

          It’s taken me until his second birthday for me to finally be comfortable joining a gym and regularly going to activities FOR ME. It’s taken me this long to say that not only is it okay, but that’s it’s best for me to have time to myself.

          Even a few yoga classes per week is letting me feel like I’m human again…as long as I keep reminding myself that there’s no need to feel guilty a la the Dr. Sears nonsense. My son, my husband and I are all better off when I don’t try to be the martyr for our family and instead focus on enjoying both of my roles: as person AND as mommy. They’re not one and the same.

        • Cody

          I blame 19 Kids and Counting.

      • Bugsy

        Wow, your observations are very astute and perceptive. I’m impressed!

      • AlisonCummins

        One of the things that you learn when you grow up with fairly functional families of all ages as part of your network is that … It doesn’t matter that much. You see parents you like making what you think are mistakes, you see kids you’re related to you think are obnoxious, and … they mostly turn out okay in the end after all. You get to watch the obsessively anxious parent and the excessively laissez-faire parent and see the pros and cons in action. Then when it’s your turn you will probably pick something to focus on as your metric of success (appropriate feeding, reading progress, cute outfits) but not get all cult-like about it. You know that good enough is good enough, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

        If your family if origin *wasn’t* good enough or if you didn’t have a large family with lots of relatives to watch in action you’ll be much more vulnerable.

        • Amy

          This.

          And when there are major issues, like abuse, neglect, and some piss-poor decision making on the part of the parents, it’s NEVER about sleep training or breast-vs-bottle. Everyone in my extended family, with one exception, practiced extended breastfeeding and child-led weaning. Some of the kids have grown into well-adjusted, functional, productive adults– those whose parents read to them, put the kids first, kept their media exposure age-appropriate, and emphasized the importance of education and healthy habits. And some of my cousins are seriously struggling with all kinds of issues that can be directly tied to unstable home lives, substance abuse, parental sexual partners coming and going, and disjointed and incomplete educations.

          I just don’t get making these relatively trivial choices such a BFD.

      • CanDoc

        You have hit multiple nails on the head precisely. 🙂

  • Guesteleh

    I just can’t take her seriously. I’m not even offended because she’s so ridiculous. I can’t figure out who her audience is–is it all hate readers? Genuine fans who are mentally unbalanced? I assume she has a lot of web traffic because she got a book contract. Why does anyone read her crap?

    • Sarah

      Her audience is mainly composed of people who only follow her FB so they can screencap stuff for Sanctimommy Said What.

    • @A

      I see on her page that she has a few people who legitimately follow her. What is sad about these followers is that they are deluded into thinking AP is not a bully. They think the loads of offended people are hurt for no reason. Even when people post direct quotes from TAP proving her callousness, these followers are so far gone that they believe the offended are not “comprehending” the sentences correctly. It’s cultish. Scary.

  • Bombshellrisa

    The “emergence of contempt for breast feeding”. Now I have heard it all. When even formula cans say “Breast is best!” and more and more hospitals are treating formula like a controlled substance, maybe Allison Dixley should analyze her statement again. It’s not breast feeding, it’s lactavists garnering the contempt.

  • Zoey

    I read the linked AP post, feeling my blood pressure rise up a little more with every snarky picture in her increasingly ridiculous list. She actually wrote that society should hold women that can’t or choose not to breastfeed “morally accountable” for “forcing their infants to consume fourth best nutrition.” Because society has no other, more pressing issues to focus their collective shame and moral accountability on than on women’s individual infant feeding choices.

    I still think she’s a Poe or a character created for web page views and to sell books.

    • She actually wrote that society should hold women that can’t or choose
      not to breastfeed “morally accountable” for “forcing their infants to
      consume fourth best nutrition.”

      If formula is “fourth”, what’s second and third? Even if I give her EBM as being somehow inferior for being in a bottle [which I don’t] that still leaves a “third” form of “inferior” nutrition.

      • guestS

        Is that maybe donor milk? There’s a hierarchy people throw around which apparently the Who came up with, except that they didn’t. It was all lactivist interpretation.

        • Lion

          Was it? I’m going to check their web site now, I thought I’d seen it there. I’m in a developing country and we follow their guidelines in our government hospitals and that is used. Hmmm.

      • Cobalt

        In their world, it’s:
        1. Direct from mom’s breast milk
        2. Mom’s pumped milk
        3. Some other woman’s milk

        4. Formula

        • Vg2010

          Once again, I went to hit my face against the wall repeatedly… Unless the donated milk has gone through a hospital or some other type of milk bank – how can you trust that this is safe and the person doesnt pose a real risk to the baby’s health???

          • Cobalt

            Since nothing is riskier than formula in that worldview, the risk of pouring random stranger’s body fluids down your baby’s throat is obviously superior.

            (Actual milk banks excluded, there is nothing random in their process.)

          • a

            What is even more ridiculous is that one person told a story about how her friend’s baby died from AIDS bc of HIV+ donor milk. Guess what? TAP’s minions didn’t care and just started going on other tangents to distract from that person’s valid point. That’s the thing, you can be totally logical with TAPs, but they will just spin the argument in a different direction, in turn just employing every logical fallacy in the book. I wasted about 2 hours there before I realized they were really legitimately the most extreme sanctimommies ever. At first I thought it was a joke website until I realized “wow… these ladies really know how to stay in character…”

          • Bugsy

            This.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            But it’s not even a BABY!!!!!! The child is almost 2.

            For a two year old, health risks aren’t whether they get breast milk or not, or even other people’s breast milk. If anything, it’s about the other things they put in their mouth, like the dog poop in the yard.

          • MegaMechaMeg

            What gets me is how much the toddlers in my life drink. the demand that one single toddler would encompass would be crazy, especially considering the shortages of approved donors and the diminishing returns of breastfeeding at that age. The amount it would take to sate one toddler could save multiple babies who need the milk for medical reasons.
            Suck it up and give the kid almond milk.

        • MegaMechaMeg

          I remember reading a posting by a woman who wanted donated breast milk for her toddler. The child was almost two, the mother’s supply had dried up and she was terrified of giving the child anything but breast milk and couldn’t find a bank willing to sell to her. I was so torn between sadness for her and wanting to slap her for thinking that her toddler needed breast milk more than a premie clinging to life.

          Weird stuff.

          • Cobalt

            Wow. At two, I would guess that breastmilk starts being more like juice in its range of benefits/drawbacks. Vitamins, sure, but also a lot of sugar. Save it for the preemies.

          • Elaine

            I figure it has to be at least as good for them as cow’s milk, and the nutritional guidelines definitely want you to give that to a 2 yo. But I do think that trying to source donated milk for a 2 yo is madness.

          • FormerPhysicist

            Human breast milk is a lot higher in sugar that cow milk.

        • Lion

          Isn’t that what the WHO guidelines say? We’re a developing country, so we follow these. Our milk banks only have enough milk for the low weigh premature babies not every premature baby qualifies.

  • Elizabeth A
  • yugaya

    ” ‘formula apologists’ – the folk who make it their raison d’etre to
    criticise breastfeeding – that is, to criticise its promotion and its
    significance. You see, nobody comes immaculately to the infant feeding
    debate. Its discussion can never be abstract. As I discussed in the
    chapter of my book aptly titled ‘Defensiveness’, the agenda of these people is not as transparent as they would hope. Ask yourself this question: by virtue of being failures, do these people really qualify as noted dispensers of feeding advice? Do they have the well-being of all mothers in mind, or just mothers that ad credence to their personal experience?”

    I love how the tweet exchange underlines just how stupid she is – apparently she wasted a whole chapter on arguing how everyone taking part in breastfeeding debate who disagrees with her is motivated by personal breastfeeding failures, only to be put down by a woman who breastfed with ease and joy all of her children.

    Just because she is unable to get over herself does not mean that everyone else is as shallow. I usually hate to add my own anecdata into this conversation, but apparently all of my kids not eating a drop of formula ever in her view makes me somehow “qualified” to have an unbiased opinion that she is a sanctimonious cow who is shamelessly cashing in on other people’s insecurities.

    • Samantha06

      It wouldn’t surprise me if she actually supplemented her kids with formula..

      • How many children has she breastfed, anyway, in order for her to be such an “expert”?

        • Cobalt

          I also wonder if she’ll dare to have more kids. She may have started her tirade in lucky ignorance, but by now enough people have told her the reality she refuses to publicly acknowledge that she has to know how wrong she is.

          If I made a living promoting the outcome of my own dumb luck, I would quit rolling the dice while I was ahead.

        • Kate

          I find it funny that it isn’t listed anywhere in her “about” section on her website. You would think she would brag about breastfeeding for years and years if she indeed has.

        • araikwao

          If by calling herself “Alpha”, she means “arrogant”, it seems about right

          • KarenJJ

            I mentally substitute “asshole” for “alpha” and feel like I’m on the right track with the description.

        • guest

          hmm, BFing 10 babies doesn’t make her an expert unless: 1- one was not latching well, 2- one was a preemie, 3- one was not latching at all and jaundiced, 4- one bf clockwise and still loosing weight, 5- one she had to work and EP, 6- one has some medical problem (cleft palate or down syndrome…etc), 7- she was suffering of PPD that get worse with bf, 8- she had to take medicines during bf (say for hypothyroidism or what ever other condition), 9- she has to leave her baby with grandparents for (say a month or more) for a very important issue, 10 – had breast cancer/surgery/IGT and still managed to successfully breastfeed all of them!

          • MLE

            And anyone with that experience would have gained some perspective and wouldn’t be haranguing the rest of us.

      • Allie

        She did. Dr. Amy wrote about it not that long ago here: http://www.skepticalob.com/2014/09/the-alpha-parent-is-caught-lying.html

    • Cobalt

      Yeah, my first though after this:

      “by virtue of being failures, do these people really qualify as noted dispensers of feeding advice? Do they have the well-being of all mothers in mind, or just mothers that ad credence to their personal experience?”

      Was:

      Well, I’ve breastfed easily and very successfully, and I think you’re full of shit. I’m embarrassed to breastfeed in public sometimes, lest someone mistake me for someone who agrees with you.

      • KarenJJ

        Interesting… I ended up getting my advice on whether to formula feed instead of breastfeed (needed some specific advice due to medication and inheritable underlying condition) from a male paediatric immunologist that didn’t have any kids. He had both academics and science on his side and had no emotional attachment to either feeding method…

        • Cobalt

          Are you sure he wasn’t just in industry shill paying off his loans with formula company kickbacks? Or some other equally ridiculous idea?

          • KarenJJ

            Oh that must have been it 😉

          • guest

            If we have to suspect every physician to be paid by formula companies, why should we trust them and not suspect they are paid by LCs or BFaids manufacturing companies (like Medela…)!

  • Amy M

    I know there are some professional LCs here—what do you think? Do you warn your clients away from this woman? What about your colleagues?

    • D/

      For myself, I don’t generally think of her is a “woman” but more as a cartoon caricature just stirring a steaming pot of breastfeeding crap and meanness in her elevator with “tens of thousands” of followers for no reason other than the inflammatory traffic (and attention) that comes along with it.

      I don’t give her traffic, I don’t promote her materials (even ones that might be reasonable in themselves) because I’m not willing to send families I work with into something like that. I’ve only had one mother-initiated conversation about TAP and that was my response to her as well.

      I’ve never talked to a colleague about TAP, but I think I might when I go back to work … just for curiosity.

    • Lion

      I’m not a professional LC by any means, I do some volunteering helping new mothers get going with breastfeeding if they’re having problems. I think she’s nuts.

  • Amy M

    She’s such a one-trick pony. In APworld, you breastfeed, or you are a failure. If you used formula (any amount) and don’t acknowledge that you failed and beg forgiveness, you are defensive and whiny. The thing is, even women who were heartbroken about being unable to breastfeed for whatever reason, eventually get over it. They realize it wasn’t such a big deal, in the grand scheme of things and move on. This woman has been around, spouting the same song for how long? At least 5yrs? Her original infant must be in school by now. Surely there are other causes to get self-righteous about.

    And what about her audience? Are they the same women from 5yrs ago, still hanging around? Or do new ones stumble in and that’s how she keeps it going? By now, and surely to her delight, she has a widespread reputation for assholery, and even normal, non-extreme lactivists warn their friends to avoid her site and FB page. I would hope she’ll eventually crazy herself (her online presence, I’m not actually wishing her dead) out of existence.

    • Perhaps she and the Feminist Breeder ought to join forces and write for The Onion.

  • Sullivan ThePoop

    There is something really wrong with her. She is a bully and bullies usually are trying to make up for their own inadequacies by projecting them on to others.