Have lactivists lost their minds?


I wasn’t planning to write about breastfeeding today. I thought I had temporarily exhausted the topic.

Then I saw this:

The Australian Breastfeeding Association is warning that new mums are giving up breastfeeding so they can drink alcohol … with disappointing outcomes for their bubs…

New mothers are being warned that feeding their ­babies formula is worse than breastfeeding after a few drinks.

Have these people lost their minds?

[pullquote align=”right” color=”#b700d9″]Formula is worse than alcohol in breastmilk? Really? Really??!![/pullquote]

The advice from the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) comes as new research shows an increasing number of women turning to bottle feeding within weeks of giving birth, in some cases because they wish to recommence consuming alcohol.

The ABA’s website states two alcoholic drinks a day is safe while breastfeeding…

“I am not advocating for women to drink alcohol and certainly not in the first four weeks but they need to know they don’t need to give up on breastfeeding if they want to have a couple of drinks and are scared of the impact on the baby,” ABA Queensland spokeswoman Naomi Millgate said…

Gold Coast midwife Amanda Bude believes that while ­socialising is not the main reason women give up on breastfeeding, she sees women who simply get fed up “being good”, especially after abstaining from ­alcohol throughout pregnancy.

Lead author of the research, Jennifer Ayton, a PhD student and registered midwife, said she was shocked by the dropout rate.

“What is needed now is a re-education of new mothers and a rethink on how best to support the family so that exclusive breastfeeding can continue,” she said.

No, what is needed now is for lactivists to get a grip on reality.

Formula is worse than alcohol in breastmilk? Really? Really??!!

What research supports this astonishing claim? No research at all!

  • Has anyone ever compared the impact on the infant brain of alcohol vs. formula? NO.
  • Has anyone ever compared the impact on the infant microbiome of alcohol vs. formula? NO.
  • Has anyone ever compared the impact on the infant ANYTHING of alcohol vs. formula. NO.

They just made it up, because they will say and do anything to have their own feeding choices mirrored back to them.

I have been shocked by the lactivist response to my TIME piece that made what I consider a rather innocuous and obvious claim about formula feeding. Formula is nutritious and healthy and no one should feel guilty for using it. Two entire generations of Americans were raised nearly exclusively on infant formula and it made no difference in infant mortality, life expectancy or population IQ.

Breastfeeding advocates have gone ballistic. How dare I tell women the truth??

The benefits of breastfeeding in industrialized countries are trivial. That’s what population data shows. I challenge any breastfeeding advocate to present population data that shows otherwise.

I suspect that the ferocious response of lactivists is due in part to the fact that they can’t use their tried and true tactic of shaming on me. I breastfed four children until they weaned themselves.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped people from trying. “Nursaholic” (how apt) who offers advice for the “lactation lush” writes regarding my breastfeeding experience:

Keeping in mind that some people round up (a lot), we know that breastfeeding multiple children for a few months each is not the same level of experience as breastfeeding multiple children for, say, a few years each…

…[S]uch a claim needs honest clarification before it can be used as evidence of credible “expertise” in this area.

Regarding my commitment to supporting all mothers, she writes:

It’s also hard to ignore the fact that some medical practitioners receive monetary kickbacks for promoting formula…

What evidence does she provide for her insinuations? None, of course.

More disturbing to me is the ongoing Tweets between Canadian pediatrician Dr. Daniel Flanders and myself, who claims my writing is inflammatory and divisive.

Inflammatory about what Dr. Flanders? Divisive toward whom? I’ve asked him, but he won’t say.

And the inevitable culmination with the classic sexist exhortation to be “nice” like other women:

Flanders tweet3

No doubt the Fearless Formula Feeder is a MUCH nicer person than me.

But you know what Dr. Flanders? It’s 2015 and professional women don’t have to be “nice” to get their message across.

I wrote a piece about being nice to formula feeders and get accused of not being nice.

Oh, the irony!

297 Responses to “Have lactivists lost their minds?”

  1. fiona ball
    August 18, 2015 at 8:37 am #

    I’d also add, there have been studies on drinking during pregnancy, and moderate drinking during pregnancy does not seem to have a baby’s neurodevelopment. Trying hard how you can confer that there is some link during breastfeeding?

    I could also add – that there has been research on the brain development of formula fed infants vs breastfed though. Exclusively breastfed infants have larger head circumferences, than mixed and formula fed counterparts, after the first 3-months.

    See – The influence of feeding patterns on head circumference among Turkish infants during the first 6 months of life.

    But you suggest I should mixed-feed my child, if I want to drink alcohol, because there are fears and assumptions on brain development if I breastfeed my child after consuming only a few units of alcohol (despite no evidence, or concerns from any other health professionals). When mixed-feeding has some evidence, that is might effect my child’s brain development.

    • Young CC Prof
      August 18, 2015 at 9:07 am #

      Neither of those studies really adequately controlled for confounders. The Danish study, for example, did not examine family health records, and they used breastfed for less than one month as a placeholder for never breastfed. Babies breastfed for just a few days or weeks may have suffered insufficient intake as newborns, which can cause brain injury. I’d want to see babies fed only formula from the first day of life as a control group.

      The white matter study didn’t control for family socioeconomic status.

      There’s no evidence that feeding breastmilk with traces of alcohol is harmful, but there’s no evidence that occasional formula feeding is harmful, either. And of course, someone who is actually intoxicated probably shouldn’t be holding a baby.

      • fiona ball
        August 18, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

        It’s hard to control all variables, I agree, that is why I stated “some evidence”, it is far-away from the full picture. But, it is more than can be said about breastfeeding whilst consuming moderate amounts of alcohol. If there are any worries, I felt it would be more apt to suggest abstinence over artificial milk.

        Also, The Danish study is a very large study and the differences are quite substantial; considering that babies who were breastfed for 9-months, are half as likely to experience seizures, that’s quite staggering. But as you say – it doesn’t compare formula fed from birth, just breastfed only for a month. And did it look into family history (etc).

        And complications from dehydration in newborns is very rare too. One study showed 7 of every 100,000 live births (0.00007%) caused any damage due to dehydration in newborns, and the vast majority recovered well.

        There is also little standard deviation in the head circumference studies, they don’t even overlap with the mixed and formula fed infants. I’m trying to find the figures for the study on white matter.

        The studies Amy links to on here, that apparently show “little benefit” and she touts as proof against breastfeeding advocacy, also have holes in them – every study does, doesn’t it? Finding refutable proof is difficult. Hopefully with more studies, and understanding, we may uncover the truth.

        “but there’s no evidence that occasional formula feeding is harmful, either.”

        I’m not so sure of that. There certainly isn’t *no* evidence, Conclusive evidence, is undecided. many studies, including the white matter and head circumference one above, offer very different results for mixed-fed babies.

        Also, most of you body is made-up of bacterial cells. And what you eat is reflected in your gut bacteria, of which there are trillions. Breastmilk creates a unique environment in infants, it contains sugars to specific good bacteria, and agents to bind with iron to prevent bad bacteria growing. And it seems only a small amount of formula creates a shift in the gut environment.

        “Exclusively breastfed babies have denser colonization and greater proportions of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus.”

        Intestinal flora during the first months of life: new perspectives, Edwards and Parrett 2002.

        Programming infant gut microbiota: influence of dietary and environmental factors. Marques

        I’d write more, and provide more evidence and studies, but I’m so busy.

        • Young CC Prof
          August 18, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

          Yes, formula changes the microbiome, but it’s actually not clear that there’s anything unhealthy about the gut bacteria of a formula fed baby. And the differences shrink when solids are introduced and vanish at weaning.

          Complications from dehydration in newborns really aren’t all that rare at all. True kernicterus is very rare in the first world, but something like 3% of breastfed babies require readmission to the hospital, and no one really knows how many have subtle injuries, either from straight hypernatremic dehydration, hyperbilirubinemia, or hypoglycemia. My son had to be readmitted, for example. He seems to have taken no permanent harm, but if his problem had been identified even a few hours later, it could have been very bad.

          So, babies breastfed and then switched to formula very early may not be the same as exclusively formula-fed babies.

          Also, 7 per 100,000 = .00007 = .007 %.

          • Roadstergal
            August 18, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

            “Yes, formula changes the microbiome”

            And microbiomes vary massively from location to location, and even change day to day. There are is a large diversity of ‘healthy’ microbiomes.

            In the absence of any real differences in long-term outcome – which is what the better-controlled studies point at – there’s no reason to think the FF microbiomes are inferior.

          • Sarah
            August 18, 2015 at 4:07 pm #

            We don’t know that they aren’t superior, come to that…

          • Roadstergal
            August 18, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

            Exactly. Although, since the outcomes are pretty similar, I’d lean towards the null hypothesis.

            I wonder what effects starvation/dehydration/jaundice/vitamin D deficiency have on the microbiome.

          • fiona ball
            August 20, 2015 at 6:27 am #

            But, it’s okay for Amy to make conclusions about consuming alcohol whilst breastfeeding.

            I agree though, there needs to be more long-term studies.

            You can look at the types of bacterium present though. currently. Breastfed babies are shown to have more gram-negative bacteria. They’re also enriched with species such as Bifidobacterium (often seen in probiotics) and Lactobacillus. There are studies showing how the latter can help prevent diarrhea.

            Unlike formula fed infants, that have colonies of Clostridia type bacteria – like Roseburia. And, well, I cannot see how these bacterium are superior.

            And if it is superior, then why are formula companies trying very hard to mimic the properties of breast milk?

          • SporkParade
            August 20, 2015 at 10:05 am #

            Why are they trying to mimic it? Partly because there are still some minor health benefits to breastmilk over formula all else being equal. Partly because it’s good marketing. In any event, you are doing your science-ing backwards. There is no good evidence for long-term health differences between breastfed and formula-fed babies. Which means that you are looking for a cause of a phenomenon that doesn’t even exist.

          • Roadstergal
            August 20, 2015 at 11:27 am #

            “But, it’s okay for Amy to make conclusions about consuming alcohol whilst breastfeeding.”

            What is up with parachuters and reading comprehension? Read the piece again. Slowly.

            “You can look at the types of bacterium present though. currently.”

            Yes, I can. I’ve been involved in microbiome research in the context of IBD. It’s really difficult to come to any solid conclusions even in the presence of a blatant, debilitating phenotype like that. One thing is clear – the lack of substantive differences in long-term outcome in the best-controlled studies means that differences we see at the moment in the microbiome between FF and BF babies are likely to be equally trivial. (I doubt they’re real differences that will hold up over time in well-controlled studies. As I said, this research isn’t easy, and the confounders and multiplicity of readouts are horrific.)

            “And if it is superior, then why are formula companies trying very hard to mimic the properties of breast milk?”

            You’re just like the mansplaining parachuter we had in the other day, who sees ‘the differences between BM and formula are trivial in the developed world’ and immediately thinks, ‘How dare you say formula is superior to BM?’ Again, reading comprehension. As Sarah mentions below, we don’t know if one microbiome is superior to another (and the idea of a ‘superior’ microbiome is silly anyway – there are a limited number of definite baddies, but in general, there are a wide variety of ‘healthy’ microbiomes, and context – location – plays a huge role). All we know is that the downstream effect, in terms of health, is comparable.

            If you want your best opportunity to look at meaningful microbiome differences, look at the differences between the children of low SES women vs high SES women, however they were fed. That’s where the big differences in outcome lie.

            Formula companies don’t try to mimic breastmilk overall, because breastmilk varies so much. Some of it is too much like water to sustain a baby. Some of it is too little. Some is too salty. Some has HIV in it. Formula companies try to make a product that allows babies to thrive. You can say it’s based on some Platonic ideal of breastmilk, but that does ignore the fact that there’s a fair bit of breastmilk out there that can’t sustain a baby, and it’s been the case for all of human history. That’s why wet nurses and milk substitutes have been, and continue to be, a Thing.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            August 20, 2015 at 2:26 pm #

            Oooh IBS research sounds very, very useful. Would be awesome to have a breakthrough on that. I’m pretty sure my IBS is just from anxiety but maybe something could make it less awful.

            Also with all the focus on the microbiome they tend to forget there’s some nasty bugs in there that are also all natural. So are immune deficiencies that make you more susceptible to c-diff colonization. *shudder* Never get c-diff…

          • Dr Kitty
            August 20, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

            IBD Inflammatory Bowel Disease, an umbrella term for Crohns and ulcerative colitis, where there is inflammation of the bowel and obvious pathology on biopsies. Weight loss, bleeding, abdominal pains, fever and diarrhoea are typical. It is treated by surgery and heavy duty immune modifying drugs like azathioprine and methotrexate.

            IBS is Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a functional bowel disorder, where constipation, diarrhoea, cramps, mucus and flatulence are features, but the bowel itself is normal on CT/MRI/ endoscopy and biopsy.
            It is treated with dietary modification, relaxation, CBT, anti-depressants, and anti-spasmodic medication. Some people feel IBS is a somatisation disorder (where physical symptoms are a manifestation of emotional distress).

            Different animals.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            August 20, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

            Whoops! Switched the D to an S in my mind somehow.

            Good to know the differences between the two though. Both are miserable but IBD tops IBS. Chron’s disease always seemed like it’d be ridiculously awful to live with…

          • fiona ball
            August 20, 2015 at 6:05 am #

            Sorry, I forgot to multiply by 100. I was multi-tasking, as I wrote my reply. That was a mistake, and not deliberate.

            My son was also admitted due to dehydration; he was experiencing nipple confusion after midwives game him a bottle top-up in hospital due to low-blood sugar and because I gave him expressed breast-milk in a bottle (so my partner could feed him) in the first week. He’d scream at the breast, but take a bottle. I couldn’t express enough, I tried…so I gave him some formula (ready-made). He began to vomit immediately, and he kept vomiting for hours, soon he was vomiting up green bile with blood in it, he also refused to feed, full-stop.

            I rushed him to hospital, and they were syringe feeding him and he was vomiting it back up.

            He was then placed on a drip.

            Breastfeeding is not the only cause.

            There’s actually little research that shows me what percentage of babies admitted in their early weeks are breastfed, and which are formula fed. Because not only cases like mine, formula leads to increase risk of diarrhea and vomiting, which might also lead to dehydration.

          • Young CC Prof
            August 20, 2015 at 8:48 am #

            Actually, there is research into the causes of neonatal dehydration, and it pretty much never happens to bottle-fed babies, although it occasionally did in prior decades when the salt content of formula was higher.

            There could of course also be cases like your child, who was apparently unable to digest regular formula at all. (Formula sensitivities or true allergies do happen, although ones that severe are rare.)

            I did a very quick search for scholarly articles related to “neonatal dehydration incidence.”

            In this study, all of the 89 babies readmitted to the hospital for dehydration or excessive weight loss were breastfed and suffered from insufficient intake. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17425930 (Original article is in Danish, sorry.)

            In this one, all of 13 babies were breastfed. http://fn.bmjjournals.com/content/87/3/F158.full It also indicates something else that I just learned: in some breastfed babies with hypernatremia, analysis of the mother’s breast milk shows unusually high sodium levels, which usually dropped when mature milk arrived.

            So, yeah, neonatal dehydration accompanied by low sugar, high salt and/or severe jaundice is usually the result of breastfeeding that didn’t work correctly, often combined with other risk factors present at birth, like being slightly small or early. Our mothers prevented it with prelacteal feeds, but now prelacteal feeds are verboten.

            Now, dehydration in older babies is usually the result of illness, like a stomach bug. Since breastfeeding does reduce the risk of diarrhea, dehydration in babies age 1-12 months could indeed be more common in formula-fed babies. Still, since the rotavirus vaccine came out, all babies and toddlers are at lower risk of hospital admission for GI illness, down 50% from a few years ago. (Hooray!)

        • Sarah
          August 18, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

          Ah, the gut flora stuff again. Were you aware there’s no evidence at all that the different gut bacteria in formula fed babies is remotely harmful?

      • Roadstergal
        August 18, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

        “Babies breastfed for just a few days or weeks may have suffered insufficient intake as newborns, which can cause brain injury.”

        This really annoys me. Babies who don’t thrive on breastmilk survive on formula, and the more the lactivists push EBF, the worse off kids will be before they get supplemented. Not only do kids suffer, but it puts the negative outcomes of early starvation into the ‘formula fed negative outcomes’ bucket, continuing the cycle.

  2. fiona ball
    August 18, 2015 at 8:29 am #

    Alcohol in the blood maintains approximately a 1:1 ratio with the alcohol contained in the breastmilk. This means that if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 (over the legal limit in California) then your breastmilk alcohol content is approximately 0.08%. By comparison, orange juice is 0.09.

    I’d be mostly worried about the mother’s actions, whilst influenced by alcohol, regardless of how she fed the child.

  3. toofargone
    August 17, 2015 at 9:25 pm #

    This coming from the country that forbade a woman who got a tattoo from breastfeeding.

  4. Jennifer Love
    August 12, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

    The amount of alcohol in your breastmilk is equal to your blood alcohol level. You can be rip roaring drunk, and your breast milk will contain maybe as much alcohol as a ripe banana. (I’m not encouraging caring for a baby while drunk, of course.)

  5. The Bofa on the Sofa
    August 12, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    Damn, responded to the Dr. Moleman comment too late….

  6. MaineJen
    August 12, 2015 at 9:52 am #

    Yes, what we need to do is condescendingly “re-educate” grown women on what they should and should not do with their own bodies. I’m sure that will have GREAT results. God forbid a grown woman should want to have a few drinks, and give her baby a bottle in the meantime. Because that incident is everyone’s business, right? We should all be outraged that women are allowed free will in the privacy of their homes…or worse, out on the town with friends, while dad watches the baby. For shame! /sarcasm

    • Sarah
      August 12, 2015 at 10:08 am #

      Re-education is good. There could be camps.

  7. Sue
    August 11, 2015 at 11:27 pm #

    The guy says “your style and message are hurting others.” How?

    Your article doesn’t make happy breast feeders feel bad. It can make suffering breast feeders and formula feeders feel LESS bad.

    So who’s it “hurting”? Ideologues?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      August 12, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

      The guy says “your style and message are hurting others.” How?

      Easy. It means breastfeeding moms cannot feel superior to others like they have been. That harms them.

  8. fearlessformulafeeder
    August 11, 2015 at 10:50 pm #

    For the record, there are plenty of people who think I’m the devil incarnate. So you’re in good company, Dr. A.

    This woman in particular feels a lot of hate towards me, I think. I recently decided to block her on Twitter because her circular, tone-deaf arguments were exhausting and made me feel like I had taken some really bad hallucinogenic mushrooms. Although she might be directing this piece towards you. Who knows. I honestly just feel sorry for her at this point. I mean, what else can you do? (see? “nice” might just mean apathetic, on my end…)


    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      August 11, 2015 at 11:14 pm #

      Does she think that’s eloquent? How many times does she have to repeat that she doesn’t care about what everyone else thinks?

      • Bombshellrisa
        August 12, 2015 at 1:50 am #

        Until she believes it herself : )

      • Sue
        August 12, 2015 at 4:08 am #

        And all that F-bombing is a poor substitute for rational arugment.

    • Chi
      August 12, 2015 at 12:51 am #

      You know, for someone accusing us of having tantrums, she’s certainly doing a spectacular job of sounding like a 3 year old stamping her feet and screaming ‘no no no!’ at the top of her lungs.

      She deserves the community?? What about those of us who were ostracized by that self-same community because we ‘gave in’ and DARED to give our kids a bottle of formula? What about the support WE needed when we needed it the most?

      And I don’t know if she’s looked lately but in a LOT of places there’s legislation that basically allows breastfeeding women a great deal of freedom when it comes to feeding in public or pumping at work. Is there still a way to go? Maybe. But the fact of the matter, WBW is NOT about enacting legislative change for the better. It’s about smug, self-righteous mothers pushing their agenda on others because of this fallacy that because our boobs make it, breast-milk is the best damn thing on the face of the earth.

      And sweetie, it’s not ‘your party’. All you’re doing by saying that is reinforcing the notion that you’re a self-righteous lactivist who needs validation. If you can’t accept criticism about why World Breastfeeding Week is a bad idea, then you have NO right to dole it out in return.

      And certainly not if you cannot do so without resorting to childish tantrums.

      • SporkParade
        August 12, 2015 at 2:57 am #

        I like how, whenever someone tries to explain the other side to her, the response is to stick her fingers in her ears and yell LA LA LA LA LA.

        • Chi
          August 12, 2015 at 3:16 am #

          Of course, because if she can’t HEAR the stories of how women were horrendously bullied for using formula, they don’t exist and don’t count.

          And yet we’re the bullies for trying to ‘hijack her party’? Dude we’re not saying that you breastfeeding isn’t something to be celebrated, sure, it is.

          But honestly, if you need that kind of public applause and validation for something that lactivists tout as a natural, beautiful biological process, then honey, you have issues.

          Nature is not infallible. Processes fail. And we are lucky enough to be privileged enough that we live in a world where, when those processes fail, science is there to step in and save us and improve quality of life.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            August 12, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

            But honestly, if you need that kind of public applause and validation for something that lactivists tout as a natural, beautiful biological process, then honey, you have issues.

            Again the contradiction. Breastfeeding is natural, and women have been doing it for time immortal. Therefore, breastfeeding my child is a great accomplishment.

            You could replace breastfeeding with “unmedicated childbirth” and have the same result.


      • Squillo
        August 12, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

        And sweetie, it’s not ‘your party’. All you’re doing by saying that is reinforcing the notion that you’re a self-righteous lactivist who needs validation.


        “Enough about me. What do you think about me?”

    • Sarah
      August 12, 2015 at 3:04 am #

      White people appropriating Black Lives Matter? Filth, unutterable filth.

    • Young CC Prof
      August 12, 2015 at 9:00 am #

      If breastfeeding isn’t a persecuted choice, then she isn’t a Warrior Mother. Therefore, breastfeeding is persecuted and needs more support.

  9. Froggggggg
    August 11, 2015 at 9:49 pm #

    It doesn’t fit in with the guilt trip they put on mothers during pregnancy, what with all the food limitations and the info about drinking (along the lines of “we don’t really know if there’s a safe amount, so don’t drink at all”), but on the other hand, alcohol is a big thing in Australia. Not to say we’re a nation of drunks – I don’t think that at all, but there seem to be quite a lot of people (not limited to particular socio-economic backgrounds, I might add) who just can’t get through any type of social gathering without alcohol and who are horrified by the idea of a booze-free event, even if it’s a kids’ birthday party. My views on alcohol are probably a bit skewed due to personal experience living with an alcoholic, but that’s what I’ve observed. So in that respect, it doesn’t really surprise me.

    And of course it’s an opportunity to formula shame that’s too good to pass up…

  10. KarenJJ
    August 11, 2015 at 9:39 am #

    Hold on, we shouldn’t be taking such an ‘either/or’ stance on something like drinking alcohol and breastfeeding. That sort of black and white thinking forces decisions that aren’t necessarily optimal for anyone.

    Unless it’s formula. One drop of that stuff and your baby becomes a dud.

    • Sue
      August 12, 2015 at 4:10 am #

      Let’s face it, if you’re going to use that poisonous, neuron-destroying formula, you may as well make it up with vodka. Reduces the risk of bacterial contamination, doesn’t it?

  11. Dr Kitty
    August 11, 2015 at 9:15 am #

    Good grief.

    How hard is it to tell women that you can certainly drink while you are breastfeeding, if you want to and if you are sensible about it.

    1) If you are sober enough to drive, you are fit to feed.
    2) If you are not sober enough to feed, you need to pump and dump if you re engorged or on a frequent feed schedule.
    3) If you are not sober enough to feed your baby the milk currently in your breasts, you need to feed formula or previously expressed milk until you are.
    4) figure on 1-2 hrs for each unit of alcohol to leave your system.

    For MOST women, if you get to the point where you are 2-4 hrs between feeds, and your baby is sleeping between 8pm and 11pm without a feed, then YES, absolutely, you can have a glass of wine or a cocktail with dinner and no harm will come to your baby if you feed it at midnight.

    Should you go out and drink bottomless margaritas until 2am and then come back and feed your baby at 4am? No. No, you should not.

    There are feeding patterns that make any alcohol intake risky (the feeding for 30 minutes every 2hrs for a newborn, evening cluster feeds).

    There are feeding patterns that make drinking perfectly do-able (a toddler old who likes a morning feed and a bedtime feed, and otherwise isn’t really bothered).

    There is also drinking (125mls of a 12% wine with dinner- like the French) and drinking (a few mixed drinks, a few beers, several rounds of shots- like the Aussies and Irish).

    • Wren
      August 11, 2015 at 9:35 am #

      But just 1 drop of alcohol while pregnant or nursing will destroy your baby! You cannot even have food with alcohol in it!

      • Young CC Prof
        August 11, 2015 at 9:39 am #

        Yeah, I heard that claim about needing to watch out for alcohol in spaghetti sauce. Pretty silly.

        • Wren
          August 11, 2015 at 9:43 am #

          That was exactly the food I was chastised for, by someone who had no business chastising me for anything.

          • Dr Kitty
            August 11, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

            I’m absolutely planning to have a glass of champagne when I come home with the new baby (baby’s arrival scheduled for 2 weeks..woop woop). It will be a small glass, and it will be savoured slowly, but it’s going to be drunk.
            I also have had an occasional small glass of wine during this pregnancy, as I did during my first pregnancy.I’m OK with that.

            When you have a young single mother, still living with her parents, and the baby is largely being raised by granny, does it make more sense to say “massively curtail your social life in order to breast feed, and be hugely resentful of your child”
            “combo feed or formula feed, enjoy your baby, allow your mother to do some night feeds if she wants to, try to keep in contact with your friends and enjoy yourself”.

            For some young mums breast feeding means total social isolation and loneliness, which is not good.
            If all your friends meet up in the evenings to go to see bands, or to go to the cinema, or bars and clubs, and they all work during the day, you can suddenly lose all face to face contact with your friends if you can’t join them because of your feeding schedule.

            It might not even be about alcohol itself, it might be about their social life and not wanting to subsume every piece of themselves into motherhood. Which is perfectly fine too.

            Not everyone wants to move to a social life solely consisting of LLL meetings, coffee mornings with other mums and mummy and me classes.

          • Montserrat Blanco
            August 11, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

            Best wishes for the baby arrival. I am really glad you are doing well.

          • FEDUP MD
            August 12, 2015 at 12:12 am #

            I have a picture after each of my children’s births, a couple weeks later, holding them asleep after a feed in one arm and starting with a glass of wine in the other. I don’t drink very often but damn if having a newborn wasn’t one of those times I really needed one.

          • Sarah
            August 12, 2015 at 10:10 am #

            And not everyone can even if they did want to. Those are not necessarily things that are accessible to all.

        • Allie P
          August 11, 2015 at 10:09 am #

          Alcohol AND oregano in sauce, because the herb is an “abortifacient.” LOLS for days

        • Mattie
          August 11, 2015 at 10:37 am #

          Italian children are all ruined 4eva

        • MaineJen
          August 12, 2015 at 9:56 am #

          WTF? Really…you mean the alcohol itself isn’t taken care of during the cooking process? Who knew?? …who are these people.

  12. somethingobscure
    August 11, 2015 at 8:59 am #

    Wow. I love Dr Amy. That is all.

  13. Susan
    August 11, 2015 at 7:29 am #

    this fascinates me. I have found that when I tell people that I breastfed my three children, loved it, and they each nurses a little more or less than two years, that it sort of does not compute to the lactivist mind that it’s possible to do that yet be critical of how they treat moms who formula feed. Same with the fact I had a pretty damn perfect home birth experience yet I have decided since to have a hospital birth and feel I with the best of intentions took a risk that the experience was not worth. I have all the attachment parenting creds but am critical of the movement because they prostelysize and judge and deny realities that don’t fit what they want to believe.

    • Angharad
      August 11, 2015 at 9:21 am #

      I’ve been interested to see that many people on this site seem to follow at least some of the recommendations of attachment parenting, but without being judgmental, self-righteous jerks about it. It’s almost like you can parent your children however you want (as long as it isn’t harmful or neglectful) and leave other families to do the same!

      • Susan
        August 11, 2015 at 9:42 am #

        Agreed. Can just see the thought… but what fun would it be if I don’t feel superior to someone else?

      • Allie P
        August 11, 2015 at 10:11 am #

        Oh yeah, for sure. I love my slings and my “baby led weaning” (translation: let the baby eat things off your plate when she’s ready). But I’m not anti stroller or gerber. They’re great too.

      • Daleth
        August 11, 2015 at 11:26 am #

        Yes. I love me my cosleeping. Even though I sometimes awaken with a baby’s foot in my mouth, it is so nice to sleep through the night instead of getting up 16 times to soothe them back to sleep, so nice to share baby-soothing (much less frequent with bed sharing than when they’re in cribs) with my husband (we each soothe the baby next to us), and so nice to cuddle with them. I also loved baby-wearing, at least for that narrow window when mine would tolerate it.

        I also love me my formula (Holle, made from the milk of happy cows in Switzerland and Germany). It is so great to not be the sole source of food for my babies, so great to share the huge bonding experience that feeding can be with my husband, so great to be able to sleep or leave the house while someone else feeds them, and SO SO great to know that they absolutely are getting every calorie, every fat gram, and every nutrient they need to thrive.

        And I love me my feeding schedule–so FANTASTIC to know when they’re going to be hungry, feed them then, know they will fall asleep afterwards, and not have to worry about it at other times!

        • Sarah
          August 11, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

          I like cosleeping too- with the toddler though, the baby sleeps through in her own cot and likes her personal space! But frankly, the alternative would be having to get out of bed and do night time parenting whenever the older one wakes up. Fuck that.

    • Busbus
      August 11, 2015 at 11:10 am #

      I used to consider myself an “attachment parent” but have, for various reasons, completely stopped identifying with it. I still use some ideas that are common in AP circles, but I also use or have used other things that AP’ers generally abhor, such as sleep training or formula, because they worked great for our family. I think the judgmental attitude and “one size fits all” philosophy is one of the biggest downfalls of AP.

      Personally, however, there is another aspect that bugs me even more: The retrograde definition of motherhood as “the greatest thing that ever happened to me” (if not, you are a bad mother) and the general hostility to mothers who work outside the home and anything you might need to do to make that work. You *might* just get a pass in AP circles if you work only because you have to and constantly talk about how sad it makes you to be away from your baby. But being a professional who loves her job, is happy with daycare/other caregivers, and doesn’t believe she has to be with her children 24/7 to make them happy or to be a good mom is anathema to AP proponents.

      That’s what really makes me sick about AP. It’s 2015, people, not 1950. Where did we go wrong to have *this* be the overarching theme in middle class motherhood today!?

      • Rebecca Fuentes
        August 11, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

        I’ve also noticed that AP has accumulated all sorts of extra parts, too. It isn’t just babywearing, cosleeping, breastfeeding anymore, now it apparently includes natural homebirth, no vaccines, “gentle parenting”, whole foods/paleo/organic/vegan, etc.
        I babywear, cosleep and breastfeed because I’m lazy.

      • demodocus
        August 11, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

        That reminds me, every once in a while someone will ask some version of how I like to be a mother, isn’t being a parent the greatest thing, and how do we like having a family. We already had a family, it’s just more likely to continue into the next century now. And being a parent is like any other responsibility and relationship, If you’re deliriously happy for long, it’s either a very new relationship or your meds need to be adjusted.

        • Sue
          August 11, 2015 at 11:35 pm #

          You’re right, but it has no end. Once you have that first child, and the expectations of delirious fulfillment wear off, the next set of questions start:

          “Don’t you long for another one?”
          “Don’t you want to give little Suzie a brother or sister?”

          • demodocus
            August 12, 2015 at 9:50 am #

            I get that too. My answer is “Do you have 15 grand for another round of IVF?” Usually they change the subject.

      • Charlotte Davies
        August 11, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

        This is a fantastic comment! Really similar to what I’ve been thinking recently. I can’t understand why intelligent, educated women fall for this stuff, that motherhood simply has to be the greatest thing that you’ve ever done and you can’t possibly want to go back to work. It really feels like ‘the times are changing back’ and that is so anti-feminist. It’s also very ungrateful of the Sanctimommy-type AP women to take the choice they have to stay at home and play earth mother and sneer at those who choose otherwise. Who was it down to that women now have a choice at all? Other women in history fighting for all our rights. If you believe in the right to choose, it is irrelevant what the choice is (stay at home/work; bf or ff; co-sleeping or cot, etc). The choice is the point. Perhaps a time machine to send some mothers back to live in the *real* 1950s might be quite educational 🙂

        • Sue
          August 11, 2015 at 11:33 pm #

          Remembering, of course, that one-on-one mothering is a relatively modern concept anyway.

          In the years before safe childborth, antibiotics and contraception allowed families to limit their number of children, and when families spent all their time laboring to produce food, each family had a string of children, watched by grandparents or older sibs while both parents toiled.

          • araikwao
            August 12, 2015 at 6:34 am #

            Yes!!! Villages apparently don’t raise children any more.

      • Montserrat Blanco
        August 11, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

        Exactly!!! I remember when I came back to work and some people told me: you must miss your baby so much… And I was like: mmmm…. Yes? I really missed my job a lot.

        • Kelly
          August 11, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

          It took me a month to miss my baby. I was too busy catching up and it was a relief from taking care of her 24/7.

        • MaineJen
          August 12, 2015 at 9:58 am #

          I remember being thrilled to realize that I had just gone 8 hours without having to change a single diaper! Woot!!

    • Sarah
      August 12, 2015 at 10:14 am #

      Works the other way too. People are sometimes surprised that I, a formula feeder through choice, am so unashamedly militant about a woman’s right to breastfeed a child of any age in public, and the only acceptable response to that being STFUAMYOB. I’ve even argued with my mother and mother-in-law, who both spent years breastfeeding and think women should feed discreetly. But actually, there’s no contradiction.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        August 12, 2015 at 10:33 am #

        It’s because people don’t get it. Supporting choice is manifested in supporting choices, not in the choices on makes. One can be pro-abortion rights and still choose not to have an abortion.

        • Roadstergal
          August 12, 2015 at 11:20 am #

          One can even be pro-abortion-rights and work hard to avoid the necessity of having them at all, by supporting free access to effective birth control and better workplace support for pregnant women and new moms.

  14. Francesca Violi
    August 11, 2015 at 4:39 am #

    “we know that breastfeeding multiple children for a few months each is
    not the same level of experience as breastfeeding multiple children for,
    say, a few years each…”
    seriously?! Like: of course you can’t be a reliable nutritionist since you don’t eat a big lot of food!

    • Sue
      August 11, 2015 at 11:37 pm #

      Amusing, isn’t it?

      “She graduated medical school, trained in OB and breast-fed four children? Meh, what would SHE know?”

  15. Blythe Spirit
    August 10, 2015 at 6:54 pm #

    Oh how I love your writing. When I first got pregnant, I thought I would be immune to fads, misinformation and silly practices, but I wasn’t. I was sucked into so many idiotic ideas (which I won’t go into here) because I was made to question just about every decision I was making during and immediately after my pregnancy. One of those was breastfeeding vs bottle. I was told that my child would be worse off by 10 IQ points if I bottle fed instead of breastfeeding (which I believed). I am so very angry about that. I breastfed exclusively for 6 months and for 6 months, my little girl was constantly hungry. The breastfeeding kept certain hormones circulating in my system, which aggravated a congenital condition. I lost a finger and could have lost more if not for an amazing surgeon. I wish these lactivists would crawl back under the rock from which they came. Thank you!!

    • Gatita
      August 10, 2015 at 11:31 pm #

      Oh, I’m so sorry. That’s terrible. I can’t believe no one thought of your health when they were pushing you to BF. It’s disgusting.

      • Blythe Spirit
        August 11, 2015 at 12:15 am #

        Thank you, but my hand is a side note and just unfortunate. What I have is so rare that we could not have foreseen it happening. The real issue is the religious mindset of some people that drives fear and guilt in those of us that might stray from the path they prescribe. There is a bewildering arrogance and vainglory among many who hold such absolute views about “natural” birth and child rearing. .

        • Angharad
          August 11, 2015 at 9:08 am #

          I’m so sorry about your hand.

          It is really easy to get sucked in. I consider myself reasonably intelligent and well-informed, and I already knew that formula is an acceptable option, epidurals are fine, etc. I still somehow felt so terrible for using them, and for making a variety of other decisions that are actually just fine. I think it’s the combination of hormones, physical exhaustion/pain, doing something new, and sleep deprivation, and being told in that vulnerable state that you’re hurting your baby.

  16. Amy Tuteur, MD
    August 10, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    The response to my piece in TIME:


    • fiftyfifty1
      August 10, 2015 at 7:57 pm #

      The premise of her piece is that public campaigns to pressure women into breastfeed aren’t a problem because the only downside is that they results in some white women getting their feelings hurt, while their upside is that low-wage women of color may get more support for breastfeeding like pumping breaks.

      It is true that low wage workers, and especially WOC face a lot of barriers to breastfeeding at work, at home and in public places. And breastfeeding advocacy may help that. But as a healthcare provider, I also see closeup the downsides to breastfeeding campaigns. First of all, I see that the toxic pressure hits WOC too. I’ve had them cry about breastfeeding “failure” in my office. I’ve had them be afraid to tell me they’ve switched to formula, thinking that I would pressure them or berate them like the lactation consultants in the hospital did. So this can hit WOC on an individual basis.

      But it’s a problem from a societal basis too. Now all the poor outcomes in communities of color are blamed on their moms’ individual choices. Black kids aren’t ready for kindergarten? It’s not lack of access to quality daycare, it’s that their moms didn’t nourish their brains with liquid gold. Kids dying of asthma attacks? It’s not pollution in their neighborhoods, or lack of access to their meds, or allergenic dander from the cockroaches that the negligent landlord refuses to treat, it’s that their mom didn’t care enough to prevent it by breastfeeding (never mind that the best studies we have do NOT show a connection between formula and asthma). Child abuse? It’s not moms with untreated mental illness struggling to live under toxic racism, it’s that they never bonded, not REALLY because they didn’t breastfeed. Childhood obesity in communities of color? Well those lazy moms started with shit in a can and graduated to McDonalds.

      It’s a hell of a lot easier and cheaper to blame it all on lack of breastfeeding than it is to actually address the true underlying causes. And on top of that, it lets privileged white women continue on believing in their own superiority, believing that every nice thing that white privilege hands them is due to their own superior choices.

      • Gatita
        August 10, 2015 at 8:19 pm #


      • Sarah
        August 10, 2015 at 8:21 pm #

        To add to that, an Infant Feeding Week could also address access to formula for all moms who feel like its the right fit for them, regardless of their income levels. Focusing on breastfeeding as the end all be all is just so misguided and has so many negative repercussions regardless of the woman’s demographic. Even if you don’t have two cents to rub together, if your breasts can’t produce milk, no amount of wishing is going to make that change. Chanting “breast is best and CHEAP” over and over again at their nipples isn’t going to produce some sort of miraculous result. We need solutions/support/education for everyone.

        • fiftyfifty1
          August 10, 2015 at 9:01 pm #

          “To add to that, an Infant Feeding Week could also address access to formula for all moms who feel like its the right fit for them, regardless of their income levels.”

          I agree that World Infant Feeding Week instead of World Breastfeeding Week is the way to go, but the writer of the piece derides that as turning it into “#AllFeedingMatters” (just the way #BlackLivesMatter was turned into #AllLivesMatter by clueless/racist white people). I totally disagree with the writer, obviously. When a woman tells me that formula works better for her, I listen to her. If that makes me clueless and/or racist Ms. Steven’s mind, I’ll just have to live with that.

          • Dinolindor
            August 10, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

            No, I see it backwards. #AllLivesMatter = World Breastfeeding Week (in terms of tone deafness)

      • Sarah
        August 12, 2015 at 10:21 am #

        Yeah. I’d have liked to see her address the issues with controlling for social class and privilege, bound up with race as they are, and the fact that so much research doesn’t even try. I’ve posted before about how breastfeeding advocacy is a pretty convenient tool, if you want to avoid the more expensive interventions that would be necessary to address health inequalities. Certainly, advocacy for maternity leave and employment rights is necessary, probably particularly so for working class women and WOC. But it needs to happen in a way that doesn’t help with one hand, hinder with another.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          August 12, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

          Remember Tim the Pediatric Neurosurgeon listed all the great benefits of breastfeeding, such as the reduction of sickness.

          However, as I pointed out, formula doesn’t cause sickness. Being around others causes sickness. In particular, daycare is a hotbed of sickness.

          So if you are really serious about wanting to prevent sickness, a far better solution is to keep kids out of daycare. How do you do that? You give parents sufficient maternity leave so that they don’t have to go back to work right away.

          6 mos paid maternity leave (or, like other countries that have 12 mos combined parental leave) would do a lot more for improving the rate of 3 mo ebf than any amount of formula shaming will ever do.

          Oh yeah, “you can pump at work.” True, you can, but it is also an impediment to breastfeeding, and therefore makes it less likely.

          But it’s a lot easier to shame women who choose not to breastfeed. It’s not as good of a solution for promoting breastfeeding, but it’s easy. Making a real difference? Oh, that’s hard…

    • Young CC Prof
      August 10, 2015 at 8:08 pm #

      Does employment discrimination against mothers exist? Heck yeah. Do we need paid family leave? YES.

      However, until and unless we get it, I cannot escape the conclusion that for many women of the working poor, breastfeeding advocacy is exactly what they don’t need, because family financial stability or maternal educational level are so much more important for the child’s future than feeding method.

      • Julia
        August 11, 2015 at 7:01 am #

        Hmm. I agree that many points are more important for the child’s future than breastfeeding advocacy, but unfortunately it does come across as rather patronizing to tell women of the working poor what is worthwhile for them to advocate for.
        Lack of pumping breaks etc. are glaring instances of discrimination and absolutely worthwhile to speak out against. If “breastfeeding week” were to focus on just that rather than the guilt-tripping and woo, I’d be perfectly fine with it.

        • fiftyfifty1
          August 11, 2015 at 8:51 am #

          “unfortunately it does come across as rather patronizing to tell women of the working poor what is worthwhile for them to advocate for.”

          Agreed. This is why we need to stop and listen. Right now 99% of breastfeeding advocacy comes from white women. The rare 1% comes from privileged WOC. The voices of working class and poor WOC are totally lost in all of this.

        • Young CC Prof
          August 11, 2015 at 9:27 am #

          Let me make a distinction: I am all in favor of advocating for conditions that make breastfeeding possible, like helping mothers fight employment discrimination. I am not in favor of advocacy that involves telling other mothers to breastfeed.

          • Julia
            August 11, 2015 at 9:40 am #

            Thanks for the clarification

      • Azuran
        August 11, 2015 at 11:11 am #

        Really, I feel that giving woman in the USA proper paid maternity leaves would solve so much of the problem.
        Where I live, we have very good maternal leaves and we also have very good breastfeeding rate. Those rates are also on the rise since our paid maternity leave was raised from 6 months to 1 year.
        Weirdly enough (duh), it seems that women who are not forced to go back to work right after birth and are supported financially are more likely to breastfeed and to breastfeed longer.

        Of course, women needs to have the right to pump at work. But I suspect that many new mothers, who are already exhausted from the birth, lack of sleep because of a newborn AND having to go back to work before they are ready, will not want to add ‘pumping at the job’ to their list of chores.
        I know I wouldn’t, and I have a boss who is 200% supportive of pregnant women and new mothers.

        Perhaps Lactivists would do more good if they focused on paid maternity leave rather than shaming formula feeders.

        • EllenL
          August 11, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

          Paid maternity leave for 6 months is the best solution and most fair. It embraces all classes and professions.

          It would have the side effect of boosting breastfeeding
          rates IMO. But the greatest thing about it is that it would benefit all babies and families, regardless of feeding choice.

          To bring about this change will take sustained political will and organization. It’s easy to be a lactivist blowhard; all you need is a website and a computer. Effecting systemic change is a lot harder.

          • Roadstergal
            August 12, 2015 at 11:25 am #

            We can’t even get low SES parents in the US to get a freaking living wage, let alone maternity leave. 🙁

    • EllenL
      August 11, 2015 at 9:48 am #

      We should normalize ACCESS to breastfeeding.

      That’s different from normalizing breastfeeding – which is
      unnecessary and judgmental.

      • KarenJJ
        August 12, 2015 at 4:33 am #

        This is the perfect summary of what lactivists are missing. Denigrating formula is pointless. It’s necessary and wanted by many. Access to the time and ability to breastfeeding is what’s missing. If it’s that damn important to society, we’d have far more policies giving access such that more women can breastfeed. However that’s not something that is easy and it’s not something that gives the feeling of superiority that many of these lactivists need.

        • SporkParade
          August 12, 2015 at 5:56 am #

          If breastfeeding were that damn important, we’d treat it as an actual medical issue, with more research into physiological impediments to breastfeeding, counseling during pregnancy for women at elevated risk of low supply and/or delayed lactogenesis, and drugs designed to address breastfeeding problems at the source. Instead, it’s poorly-controlled study after poorly-controlled study supposedly comparing outcomes between breastfed and formula fed babies, but really just proving that you need to be well-off in order to breastfeed exclusively for six months.

          • Young CC Prof
            August 12, 2015 at 9:04 am #

            Exactly. In general, people who think breastfeeding is a really important public health issue don’t know how to evaluate research, so they don’t know how to do research either.

            Do you remember the article in Pediatrics about supporting nursing relationship with early supplementation at the first sign of insufficient intake? The “rebuttals” were absurd. They amounted to, “This is a bad article because we know that what it says is wrong. Because.”

          • Roadstergal
            August 12, 2015 at 11:23 am #

            It’s crazy that it’s gotten to the point where “feed a hungry baby” is a controversial suggestion.

  17. Who?
    August 10, 2015 at 5:37 pm #

    We in Oz are living in a neocon fantasy land at the moment, where our political leaders-and I use that word in its losest imaginable sense-are basing economic, social and fiscal policy on ‘common sense’. Not mine or anyone else’s, of course, their own. ‘Instinctive’ and the appalling ‘instinctual’ are the other catchcries. Because they are always right and their feelings always matter.

    These lactivists are just singing from the same songsheet.

    • Froggggggg
      August 11, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

      Not to mention the increasing nanny state mentality, where someone else is trying to do that “common sense” thinking for us. The ABA and their particular brand of lactivism seems to fit in nicely with that.

  18. Amy Tuteur, MD
    August 10, 2015 at 5:03 pm #

    My book, PUSH BACK: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com! Publication date 4/5/16. I’ve seen a mock up of the cover and like it very much. Once the cover details are settled I will share it with everyone.


    • 2boyz
      August 10, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

      Changed the title from Guilt Trap?

    • Amazed
      August 10, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

      Congrats, Dr Amy! I know what a thrill it is when I see the covers of *my* books and they aren’t even mine, I just translate them. I suppose seeing something that you actually wrote come to life might be even more thrilling.

    • Karen in SC
      August 11, 2015 at 7:56 am #

      yay! I pre-ordered.

  19. OttawaAlison
    August 10, 2015 at 4:25 pm #

    Apparently the reasons I used formula were the following:

    1. I didn’t have enough education on the subject.

    2. I was formula fed and didn’t grow up around women who breastfed.

    3. I didn’t have enough support.

    4. I gave up at the first hint of trouble.

    5. None of my health care providers were educated enough on the benefits of breastfeeding.

    6. I was scared of post-lactation drooping.

    7. I was selfish.

    8. I wanted to go out and party and get drunk all the time.

    9. I was embarrassed and scared to breastfeed.

    10. I had a mental block about breastfeeding.

    What is worse, these weren’t my reasons in the slightest, from the moment I said my reasons, I would be told, “no, this ((insert one of those 10 reasons) is why you ended up formula feeding”. I felt completely ignored and alienated from the lactation community. I really didn’t feel listened to at all (heck I was breastfed and I assumed most women did some breastfeeding, that is how I was brought up).
    The reality is from my experience, that there are some zealots out there (not all passionate breastfeeding advocates are, not even all lactation consultants are that zealous), that couldn’t care less about a women’s real reason not to lactate/why lactation is difficult since it differs from the narrative the collective has created.

    • Amy M
      August 10, 2015 at 9:59 pm #

      And they always seem to ignore working mothers, which in many places is the majority. Having to go to work is a HUGE reason women don’t ebf. I know a number of women at my job who pumped, but that doesn’t always work out, and depending where you work, might not be an option. I don’t know if breastfeeding rates would increase in America, if a better family-leave policy was implemented, but I can’t imagine it would hurt.

  20. Ellen Mary
    August 10, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

    I was breastfeed with Lark lights in the 70s though & all my brothers were.

  21. Ellen Mary
    August 10, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

    Providing childcare while drunk is a huge issue. I don’t drink more than one beer @ a time while BF, but the transfer rate is not great. However if it makes a mother feel better to switch OR she needs to enter alcohol treatment, good for her.

    It is an issue though when mothers believe popular nonsense like ‘if your diet has too much McDonalds & Dominos in it, you can’t BF, or you can’t take SSRIs & BF, etc’

  22. E
    August 10, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

    Breastfeeding while drunk? No problem. This woman thinks breastfeeding is so advantages that she would rather give her pot laced liquid gold to her premature baby in the NICU than feed him horrible evil formula. You’d be amazed by how many Portlanders stood by this woman.


    • Roadstergal
      August 10, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

      “Crystal Cain couldn’t have been happier when she delivered her little girl Karrisma”
      Oregon, yo.

      • Roadstergal
        August 10, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

        Also, too. Baby premature and in NICU. Yes, that can happen if you don’t smoke all through the pregnancy, but…

        • E
          August 10, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

          That was one of my thoughts too. Another thing, how many women don’t have morning sickness and postpartum depression/anxiety and manage to find other ways besides ubiquitous pot use to manage them? It’s as if she thinks she’s the only one and pot is the only solution. Except, I would bet most anything that she was a pot user before pregnancy and she found those two things to be a convenient reason to continue during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            August 10, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

            When my best friend found out her parents used to smoke pot with her in the room as an infant and she ended up breathing some of the smoke she was…less than thrilled.

            I don’t know how her child is going to feel when they grow up. Maybe she won’t care but for my best friend is was just another nail in the coffin for her relationship with her mom who’s demonstrated repeatedly that she really doesn’t seem to care all that much about my friend including forgetting her 16th birthday and didn’t even bother to send her usual gift of socks.

            We’ll see.

      • DelphiniumFalcon
        August 10, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

        If you think that’s bad, Utah is gonna knock your socks off.


        • Cobalt
          August 10, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

          Utah names are the best/worst.

          Once upon a time there was a woman with a blog devoted to them, pulled straight from local newspaper birth announcements. It was funny snarky without being mean snarky.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            August 10, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

            Sometimes I have to bite my tongue when my cousins tell me what they’re naming their newest baby.

          • Kelly
            August 10, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

            Thankfully, most of extended family has chosen normal names. I bite my tongue at church and generally don’t ask what they are thinking for a name. I can’t hide my judgement.

          • Azuran
            August 10, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

            Many also don’t seem to get that there are clear rules stating the pronunciation of words, they just randomly change those rules and then get mad when people follow proper pronunciation rules and ‘mispronounces’ their kid’s name.

          • Kelly
            August 10, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

            My favourite were the students who somehow had added letters in the pronunciation that were not in the spelling of their name.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            August 10, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

            Just keep smiling! Just keep smiling! If you smile wide enough you can’t make snarky comments!

          • FrequentFlyer
            August 10, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

            I have been biting my tongue since my sister told us what my new niece will be named. It isn’t the worst name for a girl I’ve ever heard, but I don’t understand how she and BIL decided it would be a good one. Oh well. They didn’t ask for my opinion and I am not going to offer it. Lactivist and NCB types should do the same.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            August 10, 2015 at 5:37 pm #

            Yup. Smile and nod and put their child’s name in your smartphone so you can remember how the hell it’s spelled.

          • Kelly
            August 10, 2015 at 7:44 pm #

            That reminds me of my husbands nieces with normal names but the weirdest spellings in the world. I had to have my husband get a text of the spellings so that I could put their names on the wedding program correctly. The explanations for how they are spelled make no sense at all either. Poor things.

          • Wren
            August 11, 2015 at 8:54 am #

            I don’t get that at all. Their kid is just going to be Mary S or Mary Smith (yeah, as if Mary is common now) all the time even if it is spelled Maaariie. If it sounds the same, the kids and teachers will still need to use some way of noting who is being talked to. My son has a Maddie and a Maddy in his class, and yes, the surnames are used regularly.

        • Kelly
          August 10, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

          They have made their way to the east coast too. I had to write name tags for a girl’s activity and the names were weird or weirdly spelled.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            August 10, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

            My husband and I have promised each other we will not be following Utah naming customs.

            Lilly and Garrett are our first choices for names! They’ll be so unique with their two syllable names! J/k

          • Kelly
            August 10, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

            We do the same. Our children have normal names with normal spellings. Teaching has given me a perspective on the hard time these kids have with their names.

          • Squillo
            August 10, 2015 at 11:57 pm #

            Have you seen this?


          • Kelly
            August 11, 2015 at 5:57 pm #

            Yes, I about died laughing. I love it.

          • Angharad
            August 11, 2015 at 11:03 am #

            Eh, I hear that, but at the same time it’s not the worst thing in the world. I have a normal first name but an uncommon last name. I always spell it for everybody who needs to write it down. People will write it letter by letter as I speak but they still write the wrong letters at least 40% of the time. It’s kind of frustrating sometimes but more funny.

          • Kelly
            August 11, 2015 at 5:56 pm #

            My maiden name was super hard and so I understood if they got it wrong. My parents gave us easy first names because of it. As a teacher, when you have to figure out the different spellings of Jasmine within one class, it gets a bit difficult. I remember one time one of the girls was so grateful that I remembered how to spell her name. I had a Jasmine, Jasmun, and a Jasmin in one class and several others in my other classes. As a result, I don’t want my kids to go through that and to me, it is just plain stupid. I swear only their parents think it makes the child unique.

          • Kelly
            August 11, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

            I love both. In my mind there are three lists for baby names. The first one is holy crap that is so awful and I am judging you behind your back. The second one are normal names that are great but are not on my list to name my children. The third list is the shortest with names I would name my children. As long as a name does not fall into the first list, I will ooh and ahh all day over the names someone picks.

        • Busbus
          August 10, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

          They will all be able to get their own name as URL – yay!!! (Even if no one will be able to remember how to spell them.) Unexpected benefit of unique names…? (Well, unless you become infamous on the webz… Then you’r truly f’d.)

        • Amy
          August 10, 2015 at 7:33 pm #

          My friend’s daughter had a girl on her soccer team named Xulja. Pronounced “Julia.”

          • Amy M
            August 10, 2015 at 10:03 pm #

            There was a Kal-El in my boys’ preschool. I swear I’m not making that up.

          • Amazed
            August 10, 2015 at 10:06 pm #

            A poster here wrote about someone naming their daughter Cersei. I am not making it up either.

          • Amy M
            August 10, 2015 at 10:07 pm #

            Our neighbors had a little girl last year, named her Arya. They outright said it was because of GoT.

          • Liz Leyden
            August 11, 2015 at 2:11 am #

            Back in 1997, the Boston Globe published a multi-day series on poverty in western Massachusetts. One family featured was the Pickup family. Dad was dead, Mom was on welfare (before reform), 5 kids. The middle kid was a boy named Chevy Van.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            August 11, 2015 at 2:18 pm #


            Just no

            They’re also white as untouched snow aren’t they?

        • Gatita
          August 10, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

          Don’t forget Renesmee. 😛

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            August 11, 2015 at 2:11 pm #

            Oh damn it! I’d almost forgotten about that one!

            Now I’m going to be to mouthing it all day trying to wrap my mind around it. It doesn’t even feel good to pronounce!

        • Wombat
          August 11, 2015 at 12:17 am #

          Noo, the follow up ruined Teague for me :c

          I’ve always liked it as an admittedly very ‘out there’ choice (though less so than the traditional Tadhg)

          Just one more thing to say “Damn you Utah, damn you” over, lol.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            August 11, 2015 at 2:26 pm #

            Your kid is not a special snowflake that needs a special snowflake name!

            I wonder how these kids feel. I mean my sister has a “normal” name but she was still pissed at my parents because she has a minor case of dyslexia (I think that’s what it is) and said her name was too long and too hard to spell.

            Ninteen letters in all if we include middle name but our maiden name alone is eight. Michelle is about is exotic as my family went and my mom actually is part French so it’s not completely out of nowhere.

            I always keep this in mind now when considering baby names. How pissed is my kid going to be about how long their name is and does it really need that many letters? Also are all letters pronounceable?

            Josephine is as exotic as we’ll go. My husband is the third Joseph in his family and he’s forbidden us from naming a son Joseph. He says three is more than enough for this earth. But he’ll compromise with Josephine.

      • Gatita
        August 10, 2015 at 8:09 pm #

        I’m not even going to read that article before guessing they live in Clackamas. Off to read and see if I’m right.

    • DelphiniumFalcon
      August 10, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

      After living less than two hours away from Portland and visiting quite often, I’m not shocked at all. That’s probably a bad thing.

      My parents can’t watch Portlandia. If they wanted to watch something like that they’d go park near the Lloyd Center mall for an afternoon.

      • Bombshellrisa
        August 10, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

        Ever been to La Grande? I am convinced it’s Portlandia but looks like Napolean Dynamite.

        • DelphiniumFalcon
          August 10, 2015 at 1:32 pm #

          I think I’ve driven past/through it a few times. I’m having trouble remembering. We usually hung around the North Western part of the state.

          But Eastern Oregon and Western Idaho look so dang similar it’s creepy! Including the models of houses! They do look like Napoleon Dynamite!

          • Bombshellrisa
            August 10, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

            It’s indeed creepy. I didn’t know what to think when we first got the place there. Just imagine a Portland attitude but the people all look like Napolean and his family. (No, no llamas at our house or our neighbors, horses and a couple cows that never ever shut up). Every time I leave La Grande I am happy. For such a rural area, there are also lots of home birth midwives and herbal stores. Everyone is into essential oils and homeopathic remedies.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            August 10, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

            The westen half has the llamas. There’s a few people that keep alpacas and llamas near my home town.

          • Spamamander
            August 11, 2015 at 2:44 am #

            Eastern Washington looks identical too. I mean, how much different can sagebrush and rocks look from each other?

          • Bombshellrisa
            August 11, 2015 at 3:11 am #

            But Eastern Oregon (at least my part) is mountains. The Blue Mountains and Mount Emily. But yeah, town and the area right before you get to the pass at the Blue Mountains could be Eastern WA, Eastern OR or Western Idaho. Too bad no wineries and vineyards, that is something Eastern Washington has going for it. Elgin looks like Roslyn, where “Northern Exposure” was filmed. The passes are strange vortexes for weird weather even in the summer, but a local home birth midwife was bragging about how she hopped in her car in a snow storm and left a woman in labor and drove to the Tricities in WA from La Grande to check and see if someone was in preterm labor. So instead of telling someone to get to the hospital, she made them wait hours while she navigated a treacherous drive in the snow.

          • Spamamander
            August 11, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

            … I’m a Kennewick native (was stuck in Yakima for a bit, now in the Walla Walla area) and she drove through… //headdesk.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            August 11, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

            Yeah it’s not even close enough to Hanford to have mutated sagebrush or something!

      • August 10, 2015 at 7:41 pm #

        Are you still local??? I’d totally love a PacNW sane mom meetup

        • DelphiniumFalcon
          August 11, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

          I wish! I’m in Utah right now. Cost of living is waaaay lower here but I miss the green so much. I do need to visit the Northwest again. My husband grew up on the East coast so he hasn’t seen our temperate rain forests. I took him to Oswald Park near Cannon Beach and trees growing on trees growing on stumps blew his mind.

          Plus you can NOT get good Asian food out here. I finally broke down and ordered the ingredients for miso soup and learned how to make it after the watery blah I keep running in to here. Nothing makes a winter cold feel better for me than that stuff.

          • Roadstergal
            August 11, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

            The picture I took the night before leaving the PacNW… I miss it there. I did moto trips to Rainer and the Olympic Peninsula and the OR waterfalls, and just hiked endlessly in the summer. Even the winters were fun – there’s so much to do in Seattle. I still have a silver hip flask engraved with The Stranger as my second-place prize in an erotic fiction contest they held at the ReBar.


          • Sue
            August 11, 2015 at 11:41 pm #

            I’m on the other side of the world, but I LOVE PacNW and that silhouette of Rainer in the background. Great part of the world!

          • Bombshellrisa
            August 12, 2015 at 1:47 am #

            Kerry Park on Queen Anne?

          • Roadstergal
            August 12, 2015 at 11:39 am #

            I honestly can’t remember where we were – this was almost 10 years ago now. 🙁 A friend of mine took me on a farewell tour, and I ended up with pictures from all over the city that I was emotional enough not to remember well…


            In my last few years there, my commute was Bellevue to the U of Washington over 520, so I would see the Olympics lit by the rising sun in the morning and the Cascades lit by the setting sun in the evenings. Perfection.

          • Bombshellrisa
            August 12, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

            Oh wow. I have fallen out of love with Seattle as of late, your word picture now has reminded me why I loved it.
            Ok so this will resonate with you, the Kirkland home birth midwives insist on transfer to UW medical center instead of Evergreen. Now imagine being in your 38 hour of labor, having pushed for six hours, having to get into a car and make the drive from Kirkland to UW. In traffic. Yeah, nobody deserves that. My dad and I once did an experiment where I jumped out of the car along Montlake and walked toward UW medical. *Spoiler alert: walking was faster

          • Roadstergal
            August 12, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

            I’d laugh if the consequences weren’t so horrific. Montlake is a cluster. I rode a motorcycle or took a bus every day to take advantage of the HOV lanes approaching the floating bridge, and it all still came to a grinding halt coming over – oh, I’ve forgotten the name, the bridge over the Ship Canal with the metal surface that cars couldn’t bring themselves to cross at faster than a crawl if there was any rain.

            (I was working at the UW Medical Center when the Hawks were playing at Husky Stadium post-Kingdome-kablooie, and the traffic on game days was horrific – and the traffic streams to the Stadium and NE Pacific would only diverge after that bridge. I’d go in early, work, and leave during the third quarter…)

          • Roadstergal
            August 12, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

            Also, too – whenever fetal tissue was available from the medical center, it was all immediately used by a variety of labs (including ours). I always assumed it was from abortions, but now I wonder if some of it was from stillbirths. :

        • Bombshellrisa
          August 12, 2015 at 1:45 am #

          As long as you are willing to help me fend off the Mid Willamette Baby wearers group. I had a run in with someone belonging to that group when I was at the mall there. Yeah, my kid hasn’t wanted to be in the Ergo since he discovered his legs could propel him through the park without me doing anything. He likes his stroller. You would think I was being cruel letting him sit there with his sippy cup and plastic Mickey Mouse snack container full of cheesy bunnies, taking in the world while I shopped for stuff–or so this chick would have me believe.

    • Bombshellrisa
      August 10, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

      But her midwife TOLD her to smoke during her pregnancy! So it MUST be ok!

    • Sarah
      August 10, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

      I’ve read some of them citing research showing that Rasta women who used cannabis during pregnancy for religious reasons had slightly better outcomes than average. Nothing to do with Rastas typically prioritising a healthy diet, of course.

    • Busbus
      August 10, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

      I actually think the hospital did the right thing—warn her and let her sign something but not prevent her from breastfeeding. I have no idea on the medical aspects of this, but without any actual studies that show damaging outcomes, I don’t see a reason to get worked up over it, or involved at all, for that matter.

      • Liz Leyden
        August 11, 2015 at 2:20 am #

        If there are negative outcomes, even outcomes no one could have known about. Mom can sue the hospital until the day the child turns 18. Then the child can sue for as long as the statute of limitations will allow. The hospital was prudent to cover their butts.

    • Captain Obvious
      August 10, 2015 at 5:09 pm #

      Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. Textbook.

      Marijuana category X

      Marijuana risks contaminants. So unless you are growing your own, beware of laced product.
      THC does cross the placenta.
      Possible decrease gestation by .8 weeks.
      Increase risk precipitous labor (29% v 3%) or prolonged labor (31% v 19%).
      Increase risk of meconium passage (57% v 25%).
      Increase risk resuscitation (41% v 21%).
      Association with strabismus.
      Newborn risk for decreased visual responses, irritability, high pitched cry, tremors, startles.
      At 36 and 48 month lower verbal and memory scores.
      At 9-12 yo, worse impulse control and visual analysis/hypothesis testing.
      1989 report from Children’s Cancer Study Group demonstrated 10 fold increase risk for acute nonlymphoblastic leukemia (ANLL).

  23. Squillo
    August 10, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    Girls should always be nice, doncha know. Women must never be provocative. You should stop wearing short skirts writing divisive pieces, Amy.

  24. AL
    August 10, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    If you want to comment/discuss on lactivist article featured here who accused Dr. Amy of getting formula kickbacks, MAMA’S MILK, NO CHASER, regarding her commentary about how “breastfeeding for a few months is not the same….” Here is her facebook page:

    • AL
      August 10, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

      Also, does she do anything besides breastfeed? Does she not have anything else to contribute to society besides saying look at me! My boobs made milk and I fed my child?

      • Sarah
        August 10, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

        Unmedicated vaginal birth, I should imagine.

  25. yentavegan
    August 10, 2015 at 11:58 am #

    There is a quiet shift in attitude within the lactation community concerning marijuana use and breastfeeding. Breastfeeders who have come forward with their life style choice of “wake and bake” are expecting accolades and nods of approval. I do not promote nor condone recreational drug use while actively parenting regardless of how the infant is being fed…

    • Cobalt
      August 10, 2015 at 12:21 pm #

      I’ve seen this, and I just can’t wrap my head around it.

      Pro-marijuana activists have the same woo issues as lactivists. It cures everything! All natural! No negative effects! No negative outcomes! Everyone should do it! If you don’t it’s because you’re just not educated enough, or you’re an agent of “the man”!

      It’s a bunch of lies to set up a choice mirror. And it’s bad for babies.

      • Roadstergal
        August 10, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

        The woo drives me _nuts_, because I’m pro-legalization. Yes, it should be legal, and no, it’s not magic, it doesn’t cure anything other than an oversupply of Cheetos, and being high does indeed impact one’s ability to perform complex tasks. But it’s like saying anything negative about it is Against The Cause.

        • demodocus
          August 10, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

          It annoys me when they say there are no side effects. Somehow, I doubt that.
          My own drug of choice (tea) can give you heart palpitations if you drink enough and/or are susceptible.

          • Young CC Prof
            August 10, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

            You’re burning leaves and deliberately inhaling the smoke. I don’t care if it’s tobacco, marijuana or oak leaves off the lawn, smoke is not good for lungs. (Yes, this argument does not apply to other modes of administration.)

          • Mel
            August 10, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

            I used that explanation with my HS students. Blew their minds.

          • Roadstergal
            August 10, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

            And ‘vaping’ doesn’t improve it much. It takes away a fair bit of extra crap, but it’s still hot vapor going into the lungs. The carriers are still an unregulated syrup of who-knows.
            I like David Sedaris’s quote – he meant it for menthol vs regular cigarettes, but it works for smoking v vaping, for me. It’s the difference between being kicked by a donkey, and being kicked by a donkey that has socks on.
            TL;DR – I hate it when vapers vape in places where smokers are not allowed to smoke. (Vapers gonna vape vape vape vape vape?)

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            August 10, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

            I don’t know which I dislike more at this point. Cigarettes make me choke to be around but those vaping devices that look like a hooka that blow vapor everywhere give me migraines depending on the flavor they’re using.

            Vapers also seem to be less considerate of people around them than regular tobacco smokers. They blow that vapor egerhwhere, including inside. Gummy bear flavoring gives me the worst migraines…

          • Gatita
            August 10, 2015 at 8:01 pm #

            Some assholes vaped in an expensive restaurant where I’d taken my husband for his birthday dinner. At least they got shut down immediately by the management but really they should’ve been thrown out on their asses. And wordy wordy word on self-righteous marijuana users. All the eye rolls in the world.

          • Cobalt
            August 10, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

            If you use pot for anything other than getting high, then getting high is a side effect, and not an inherently valuable one.

          • Julia
            August 10, 2015 at 3:27 pm #

            I smoked pot once and only once. It made my heart race, gave me a panic attack and a feeling of “doom”. A horrible experience.
            I am pro-legalization for recreational use (controlled much like tobacco or alcohol as mentioned by others above), but my experience has also often made me wonder how much exaggeration goes into its supposedly miraculous effects and harmlessness.

          • Roadstergal
            August 10, 2015 at 3:42 pm #


          • Gatita
            August 10, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

            OMG, that reminded me of the time I ate a tiny piece of hash brownie, went to sleep and WOKE UP STILL HIGH. And a Louis CK high too. For like 12 hours. That was it for me.

          • demodocus
            August 10, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

            I break out in hives if I catch a whiff of the stuff.

        • LibrarianSarah
          August 10, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

          The worst are the “cancer cure” claims. Promoting any other “alternative” cancer cures will get you eviscerated by most right thinking (non-woo) people but people give marijuana a break because they don’t want to be accused of being pro-drug war.

        • Cobalt
          August 10, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

          I’m not a user, but I support recreational legalization with restrictions to minimize risks to non consensual collateral exposures. Much like cigarettes and alcohol.

          Get informed and then choose to get high in your own house and stay off the streets and out of the public’s way? Go for it.

          Smoke where someone else has to breathe it? Drive impaired? Stumble around the neighborhood where people have to deal with your stoned self? Nope.

      • DelphiniumFalcon
        August 10, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

        Ugh this crap.

        I grew up near the Oregon/Washington border on the Oregon side. In my high school even the valedictorians and salutatorians were regular smokers. They don’t call them the green states just because of the trees.

        Some of them did function better on pot than they did without it so it was probably a case of self medication. Some didn’t see a change at all. And some, usually the most vocal group about how pot is the wonder drug held down by The Man, went from successful students to pretty much a useless lump in their desk seat. If they bothered showing up at all.

        Does marijuana have its uses? Probably. I’m not up to date on all the literature and its hard to weed (*snerk*) out the truth from the propaganda. I know that a few people I’ve known with chronic pain say that marijuana works better to manage their pain than opiates and that definitely intrigues me. From what people have told me who have done both marijuana and opiate abuse, it’s easier to quit marijuana.

        At this point legalization is likely to happen and actually I think it’d be good so that the different varieties would have to be properly labeled and get some regulation over it so no one gets hurt. Soil testing and plant testing to avoid any harmful contaminant since most people will be inhaling it and lungs don’t enjoy those things much lol.

        To be honest I won’t be partaking of marijuana if it’s legalized, but I will be very excited for the regulations on hemp for industry also being lifted. Hemp ropes are awesome. And hemp.paper would probably be a fun medium for watercolor with how the fibers absorb water and pigment.

        • Kelly
          August 10, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

          Does any one know about research into the medicinal uses for weed. Is it completely illegal to try and make a pill out of it? I have been confused about that aspect of marijuana.

          • Roadstergal
            August 10, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

            The problem is that ‘marijuana’ is a plant, with many different compounds with different effects, that are present in different quantities in different strains, and even different plants within a strain or different harvests from the same plant.
            When I worked for a while in neurology, one of the docs in our group worked with cannabanoids and their effect on glia. We called him Professor Pot.

          • Bombshellrisa
            August 10, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

            I know someone who was trying to work with the Mayo clinic to get a study done with a certain compound in marijuana, it was for seizure control.

          • Cobalt
            August 10, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

            Nothing they’ve found a benefit for that doesn’t already have a safer, more reliable, more effective, or more tolerable drug available.

          • Roadstergal
            August 10, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

            Mmm, I don’t agree – legit research into cannabanoids has some promise in multiple disease areas. But if a cannabinoid is found to have positive effects, it will be administered in a purified and tested formulation that goes through the GMP/Phase I-II-III-process, not ‘toke up for your glaucoma.’

          • demodocus
            August 10, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

            I’ve heard that you need to be high more or less constantly for it be effective for glaucoma, that it’s effect is very short term.

          • Julia
            August 10, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

            It has very promising applications in some pediatric epilepsies. However, that’s cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive ingredient.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            August 10, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

            Most of the hardliner pro-pot users that I’ve had this discussion with don’t want pills because they don’t want ANY regulation on marijuana. If it’s in pill form it might be regulated like narcotic meds. They reeeeaaaally don’t want that.

          • Liz Leyden
            August 11, 2015 at 2:01 am #

            Marinol (dronabinol) is THC in pill form. It’s an anti-emetic and appetite stimulant.

  26. Amy
    August 10, 2015 at 11:55 am #

    They’re contradicting themselves, aren’t they? Normally the crunch brigade love to point out how you can’t be a REAL doctor because you’re no longer practicing and your license has lapsed, to the point of putting the honorific of doctor in quotes. Now you’re a practitioner getting kickbacks from formula companies?!?

  27. Cobalt
    August 10, 2015 at 11:30 am #

    I wonder how many of these “quitters” are being driven to drink by lactivist pressure? And now they’re being chased further into the bottle?

    If mothers want to stop breastfeeding, let them stop! Pushing them into more and more extreme “excuses” benefits no one.

    • Young CC Prof
      August 10, 2015 at 11:33 am #

      Exactly. “You don’t have to stop breastfeeding because of X” seems like a helpful message, but it sometimes turns into “Your excuse isn’t good enough, you ought to keep going.”

    • Amy M
      August 10, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

      Well you know, a drunk breastfed baby is better than a sober formula fed one.

    • Cobalt
      August 10, 2015 at 11:31 am #

      He’s an ass. I don’t have time today for Twitter 🙁

    • Taysha
      August 10, 2015 at 11:50 am #

      Can I lob a dictionary at him? He needs some better grammar in his life.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      August 10, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

      Tell him, “I admit that I am not as nice as the FFF. Will you admit you are wrong? And if you won’t, then drop the tone trolling shit and address the issue.”

      • Roadstergal
        August 10, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

        I can only read his name in my mind in Homer’s voice, now. Stupid Flanders.

    • KarenJJ
      August 11, 2015 at 9:31 am #

      All women are perfectly alike. Their perfectly proportioned bodies grow perfectly sized babies, their boobs grow perfect milk in perfect proportions for these perfectly sized babies and they act perfectly pleasant even when they are in disagreement. Dr Amy, you are not behaving in a perfectly womanly manner…

  28. Roadstergal
    August 10, 2015 at 11:27 am #

    Reading this, two things came to me. 1: it would be easy to come up with a lactivist drinking game, and 2: it would definitely be unsafe to breastfeed after playing it.

  29. The Bofa on the Sofa
    August 10, 2015 at 11:14 am #

    breastfeeding multiple children for a few months each is not the same
    level of experience as breastfeeding multiple children for, say, a few
    years each

    Oh for fuck’s sake! Now it’s not good enough to, say, ebf for 6 months, you haven’t done “True Breastfeeding” unless it’s “multiple children for … a few years each”?

    They can go fuck themselves.

    They rally have lost their minds.

    • Michele
      August 10, 2015 at 11:19 am #

      That really shows that it’s not really about what’s best for the children, it’s about lactivists needing to feel superior to others. They’ll just keep moving the goalposts. Breastfed multiple children for years each? Then they’ll claim it is not the same level of experience because some of the feeds were pumped breastmilk in a bottle.

      • Young CC Prof
        August 10, 2015 at 11:29 am #

        You can’t really talk about breastfeeding unless you’ve breastfed twins, simultaneously.

        • Cobalt
          August 10, 2015 at 11:33 am #

          Two sets of twins, tandem nursed. Till age 7.

          • Sarah
            August 10, 2015 at 11:38 am #

            Whilst being employed as a wet nurse for triplets.

          • Mattie
            August 10, 2015 at 11:41 am #

            and donating your oversupply to a gay couple who found you on craigslist

          • Amy M
            August 10, 2015 at 12:21 pm #

            And had mastitis the whole time.

          • Munkie
            August 10, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

            Ya’ll made my breasts hurt just reading these replies lol

          • Amazed
            August 10, 2015 at 9:22 pm #

            Hope it didn’t ruin your supply. Your baby would hate to hang on dry nipples.

      • August 10, 2015 at 12:10 pm #


        • Liz Leyden
          August 11, 2015 at 1:15 am #

          Upside-down, without a yoga mat.

        • sdsures
          August 13, 2015 at 11:14 am #

          in Winnipeg. (My hometown.)

    • Ash
      August 10, 2015 at 11:32 am #

      Next campaign: Women who have never breastfed and have no infants shall attach breast pumps, or even better, a live baby to their breasts so they can experience what it’s like to be a Real Woman!

    • Are you nuts
      August 10, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

      I think there’s a great deal of pride in saying, “My child never had ONE DROP of formula.” Why? I do not know.

      • Roadstergal
        August 10, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

        My child never logged on to the internet ONCE.
        My child never had ONE phone call.
        My child never took ONE car ride.
        Yeah – I’m not getting it either.

        • Amy M
          August 10, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

          Well, in the first year of life, MY children didn’t eat one bite of McDonald’s or goldfish crackers! But, in the 2nd year of life, they probably had both, so are they permanently ruined, or what? 😉

          • E
            August 10, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

            Goldfish crackers = bad, but Annie’s organic cheddar bunnies = totes okay.

          • Amy M
            August 10, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

            I’m eating goldfish crackers right now. I can feel my cells dying.

          • Liz Leyden
            August 11, 2015 at 1:17 am #

            My 16-month-old twins had their first taste of pizza this weekend. They liked it. I’m such a bad mom.

          • Daleth
            August 11, 2015 at 11:34 am #

            I hope to be an equally bad mom when my twins reach that age.

            Hey, does any human being NOT like pizza?

          • sdsures
            August 13, 2015 at 11:15 am #

            Mmm, goldfish crackers… *munches on cheese rice cake*

      • E
        August 10, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

        Oh my mom likes to say that one all the time. But my reply is, “Well it hardly makes up for all the detergent you used to make us swallow.”

        Then she says, “That was for back talking.”

        Guess it didn’t do much good.

      • SporkParade
        August 11, 2015 at 2:10 am #

        Here’s the new level of crazy: Someone on one of my mothers groups is unhappy that the public health nurse recommended that she give her 1 year old formula. Not because she’s extended breastfeeding (she isn’t). Not because buying formula instead of breastmilk isn’t financially feasible for her family. Because she wants to be able to say that her child never had any formula. Local Popular LC, of course, is saying that she should just drop dairy entirely because formula is full of sugar.

        • sdsures
          August 13, 2015 at 11:16 am #

          Dear gawd.

          OK, that’s IT!! Wen I have a kid, we’re NOT joining any moms’ groups.

    • Gatita
      August 10, 2015 at 7:57 pm #

      Yes, that was SO FUCKING CRAZY. I seriously couldn’t get over it. And then saying she needed proof. Like what kind of fucking proof could ANY woman provide to back up her claims of how much she’d breastfed? And who the fuck are you lady to even ask for such a thing?

      Fuck her. Fuck fuck fuck.

  30. SporkParade
    August 10, 2015 at 10:58 am #

    True story: The local popular LC is obsessed with how formula will destroy a baby’s gut microbiome. Local popular LC is also a religious Jew. Which means, if she has any sons, she has already destroyed their gut microbiomes at 8 days old with a sip of grape juice or wine.

    • yentavegan
      August 10, 2015 at 11:02 am #

      That whole mishagos about the microbiome is just another attempt at sounding scientific when in reality lactation counselors are anything but. I was raised on formula flavored with coffee( my mom was young and said I like it) my intestines work fine thank you very much!

      • Azuran
        August 10, 2015 at 11:06 am #

        A coworker of mine had a very premature baby. He spent the first 4 months of his life hooked on caffeine. His intestines are also working fine.

        • sdsures
          August 10, 2015 at 11:37 am #

          Is this sarcasm or not? I’m interested because I was a very premature baby, too. Is the caffeine a way to get food into the baby a little bit easier because he or she liked the taste of it?

          • Montserrat Blanco
            August 10, 2015 at 11:39 am #

            They use caffeine on preemies in order to decrease the apneas that preemies often have. Mine was on caffeine some weeks as well.

          • demodocus
            August 10, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

            I feel less bad about allowing my toddler to steal a couple sips a day from my tea cup now.

          • Kelly
            August 10, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

            I feel less bad about drinking a coke a day throughout this pregnancy then.

          • Amy M
            August 10, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

            My OB said moderate caffeine intake, like a coke a day, or cup or two of tea/coffee was fine. This was 7yrs ago though, and perhaps the guidelines have changed?

          • Azuran
            August 10, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

            No, It was to help stimulate it’s heart. It wasn’t woo or anything, it was prescribed by the doctors.

      • SporkParade
        August 10, 2015 at 11:08 am #

        Until vaginas stop being the primary source of fatal infections in newborns, I won’t believe that a more “natural” microbiome is better until I see scientific evidence of it.

        • Sarah
          August 10, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

          Shut up, your vagina is perfect.

          • SporkParade
            August 10, 2015 at 12:50 pm #

            Nah, I needed an episiotomy. Everyone knows that you only get vagina-bragging rights if your perineum stays intact.

          • demodocus
            August 10, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

            especially if your kid’s head is 75% or up. ouch.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            August 10, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

            DD’s 90th-percentile head is within the top three items on my “Why I’d consider a scheduled repeat section rather than attempting a VBAC next time” list. *cringes*

          • araikwao
            August 10, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

            While we’re story-topping, my son (who did exit via the One True Path) had a gigantic melon head that was a full centimetre above the 99th centile. And he was OP until turned with the vac.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            August 10, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

            *crosses legs very tightly indeed*
            *sympathetically passes large glass of heavily alcoholic beverage*

          • Sarah
            August 10, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

            Ooooh oooh! Mine did! I had a c-section! Does that count? Haha

          • Sarah
            August 10, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

            I’ll defer to the majority here, but I believe a wrecked perineum is fine, desirable even, provided one of two conditions applies:

            a) you don’t get it repaired
            b) you have a fourth degree tear and you do get it repaired, with seaweed

          • LibrarianSarah
            August 10, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

            That’s what HE said.

          • Daleth
            August 11, 2015 at 11:35 am #

            My vagina is awesome. And my babies didn’t come out it anyway, so THERE.

  31. Cobalt
    August 10, 2015 at 10:56 am #

    I thought moderate, occasional alcohol consumption wasn’t a breastfeeding issue, especially after the first 3 months. I’ll have to go dig up my sources, but what I’m remembering is that heavy or daily drinking does have a negative impact on infant development, but a bit now and then doesn’t. Alcohol levels in breast milk reflect maternal blood alcohol levels, so even if you’re “feeling it” with a BAL of .08, your milk still has less alcohol than orange juice. It’s not enough to cause harm.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    And yes, formula will be totally alcohol free no matter how much mom drinks, unless mom is so drunk that she puts alcohol in the bottle.

    • Sarah
      August 10, 2015 at 11:00 am #

      This is from the Mayo Clinic : http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/expert-answers/breast-feeding-and-alcohol/faq-20057985 . I’m not sure how valid this information is, but I’ve come across similar pieces before.

      “When you drink alcohol, it passes into your breast milk at concentrations similar to those found in your bloodstream. Although a breast-fed baby is exposed to just a fraction of the alcohol his or her mother drinks, a newborn eliminates alcohol from his or her body at only half the rate of an adult.”

      • Cobalt
        August 10, 2015 at 11:23 am #


        This has a list of short summaries of studies done on alcohol content in breast milk, effects on the baby, and effects on lactation. The negative outcomes are all related to either very heavy and/or chronic drinking, and/or young and/or otherwise compromised babies. Formula would clearly have been far superior in those cases.

        The moderate, occasional drinkers with normal infants (not newborns) were fine long term with some very short term differences in eating and sleeping patterns. Babies would nurse less (probably from slower let down, lower supply, and funny taste) and then wake more often (probably hungry). Formula would skip those minor issues, but probably isn’t safer so much as easier on the baby. Mom may have to pump to deal with engorgement, how that factors into risk assessment will depend on individual pumping issues.

        Controlling for maternal behavior while drinking was not apparent. I think that would also be a major confounder. Comparison to a group of formula fed infants of drinking moms would be appropriate to see what differences are due to the alcohol’s effects on maternal behavior and not milk differences, especially for chronic heavy drinkers. Being raised by a drunk isn’t good for anyone, no matter what they’re eating.

        • Sarah
          August 10, 2015 at 11:36 am #

          Thanks! I have a feeling it also boils down to the advice for alcohol and pregnant moms. Basically, they’re not sure how much is too much so just avoid it so you don’t accidentally cross that line. Not particularly informative or helpful.

          • Cobalt
            August 10, 2015 at 11:48 am #

            It is ethical enough for a breastfeeding mother to drink that they can get approval to give nursing moms alcohol just to see what happens.

            They cannot do that during pregnancy.

            So while we don’t know exactly where the line is, at least with breastfeeding we know the line isn’t at zero.

          • Amy M
            August 10, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

            Such a study would be designed with a very low amount of alcohol–probably as low as possible, but still detectable in the blood after X amount of time. Then they take blood samples, breast milk samples, and whatever other endpoints from the baby.

          • Young CC Prof
            August 10, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

            Exposure to alcohol (or any substance) during pregnancy is more likely to do harm than during lactation. During pregnancy, the baby’s blood level of a drug is the mother’s blood level, during breastfeeding, the baby’s exposure is much lower. Also, an infant’s limbs and organs are already fully formed, which means certain teratogenic issues are no longer a concern.

    • E
      August 10, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

      Yes, this was my understanding too. While I was pregnant both my general practitioner and OB told me that 1-2 small glasses of wine or beer per a week after the first trimester was okay, and my OB laughingly said that I was welcome to drink a Guinness to bring on labor although she doubted it would work but at least it would help me be less stressed.

      Of course, my in-laws weren’t buying it. I had a near meltdown after having flown 12 hours while 7 months pregnant to visit them. When we arrived, my father-in-law opened a 400 euro bottle of champagne to toast his first grandchild and wouldn’t even let me have a sip. I was furious when I was handed a crappy glass of orange juice.

      Here is a link about some British studies about alcohol and pregnancy.


      • Amy M
        August 10, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

        I went to a wedding, while very pregnant and I took a sip of the champagne for the toast. Then, my friend sitting next to me, who was probably a bit tipsy, noticed the glass on the table and took it, saying I wouldn’t be drinking it anyway. I didn’t tell him I’d already drunk out of it.

  32. 2boyz
    August 10, 2015 at 10:52 am #

    To be fair, it’s perfectly fine to drink while breastfeeding as long as you’re not getting sloshed. Which you shouldn’t be doing anyway while actively caring for children, regardless of whether or not you’re breastfeeding.

  33. Cartman36
    August 10, 2015 at 10:43 am #

    Who are the people behind
    the Australian Breastfeeding Association? Is this a government entity?
    According to their “Position Statement on Safe Infant Sleeping”
    co-sleeping is not safe for formula fed babies (only EBF). “It is unlikely
    that co-sleeping per se is a risk factor for SUDI but rather the
    circumstances in which co-sleeping occurs.”

    • Allie
      August 10, 2015 at 10:45 am #

      So they want drunk moms breastfeeding and co-sleeping? In a country where the Aboriginal population is on its knees under the burden of alcohol and substance abuse and has infant mortality/SIDS rates more like those of a developing country?
      Check your privilege ladies!

  34. Allie
    August 10, 2015 at 10:42 am #

    Oh Amy, do try to remember the rules! You are a woman. that means that every word out of your mouth needs to be esthetically pleasing, nonconfrontational and saccharine sweet. If not, we can automatically disregard whatever your point is as “not nice”.

    • DelphiniumFalcon
      August 10, 2015 at 10:43 am #

      Don’t forget farting rainbows and glitter.

      Though farting glitter sounds painful.

      • Sarah
        August 10, 2015 at 10:48 am #

        It really is…

        Look, don’t judge… College was crazy.

        • DelphiniumFalcon
          August 10, 2015 at 11:00 am #

          I can’t judge. I’ve done and eaten some bizarre things on dares and some without. I don’t drink so I can’t even blame it on alcohol.

          Don’t eat gummy dog treats. The smell/taste stays in your sinuses for HOURS.

      • Taysha
        August 10, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

        Women never fart. We poof.

  35. Cartman36
    August 10, 2015 at 10:35 am #

    It has always annoyed me when I am told i need to be “nicer” and “soften my image” (said by my female HR director) when that would never be said to a man. I’m not mean or anything, just direct.

    • DelphiniumFalcon
      August 10, 2015 at 10:41 am #

      I act a lot like my dad when it comes to work and taking on projects. He gets called an efficient and effective leader to use as a role model. I get called a bitch.

      • Cartman36
        August 10, 2015 at 10:44 am #

        LOL! Bitch is one of the nicer things said to me. I once got accused of discriminating against women by another woman because I wrote her up after her mistake cost the company almost $800K.

        • DelphiniumFalcon
          August 10, 2015 at 10:58 am #

          Oh my gosh I hate that crap! It’s a damned if you do damned if you don’t situation.

          You don’t write them up they accuse you of being negligent and too gentle with your employees. You write them up and suddenly you’re the biggest c-word to ever exist. You can’t win.

          More often than not it was guys that would level complaints against me. Usually ones that thought they deserved to pass everything just because they exist and I made them demonstrate their competencies.

          I could be a bitch at times but it wasn’t undeserved. If someone, male or female, was talking in training and they wouldn’t shut up despite multiple warnings I made them get up and demonstrate the task from beginning to end because they must not need to learn the rest of the process if they’re turned around, not looking at the screen and talking.

          Most of the time the rest of the class was fed up with them anyways so no one was running to their defense.

          Hey you’re here to do a job, not get paid $10 in training to goof off and prevent the people who actually want to work hard from getting the skills they need.

    • Roadstergal
      August 10, 2015 at 11:09 am #

      I love the communication style of the blunt, straightforward associate director of our group. I know there are some who would consider it bitchy, but damn if it isn’t _liberating_ – it’s helped create a culture, even just in our own little group, where women and men can just say what they’re thinking without the former being accused of not being ‘nice’ enough. It’s rare in my experience.

  36. Angharad
    August 10, 2015 at 10:31 am #

    I’m surprised anyone would openly advocate reeducation, given its connotations. Then again, I guess it’s appropriate in this situation.

    • Amy M
      August 10, 2015 at 12:28 pm #

      Yeah, every time I see that phrase, I think of the Great Leap Forward.

  37. Sarah
    August 10, 2015 at 10:31 am #

    They need to be a little more specific on their “two drinks a day” suggestion. Everyone metabolizes alcohol differently. My vice is I looooooove martinis. I get more than a little tipsy off of drinking ONE. I know this limit, and I make sure that I’m in a safe environment before I make one, that my husband is home, etc. Could I breastfeed after one martini? Absolutely not! Even though it’s one drink, I’m 5’2″ and a lightweight and it easily feels like three to me.

    That being said, I think this is actually fallout from lactivists’ sanctimonious advice being thrown back in their faces. “Sacrifice for baby! Don’t drink alcohol. Your job is to provide healthy milk!” The reality is, of course, nuanced. You can have a little drink here and there, give expressed breastmilk in the interim , and nurse again after the alcohol has metabolized in your system. For whatever reason, lactivists can’t settle for the best advice between two extremes. They seem only capable of waffling between “NO ALCOHOL EVER” and “Give your baby boozemilk. It’s better than that toxic formula.”

    • Michele
      August 10, 2015 at 10:41 am #

      Yes. Much like they waffle between “every drop counts” and that “one bottle can ruin breastfeeding.”

    • SporkParade
      August 10, 2015 at 11:01 am #

      “You shouldn’t take ANY medications, even if they are breastfeeding safe and you need them to control your schizophrenia. But alcohol in breastmilk is okay.”

    • demodocus
      August 10, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

      On my Ravelry due date group (that’s a knitting site), they were recommending a glass of ale to help stimulate milk production, in addition to fenugreek, oats, and so forth. They weren’t lactivists, just trying to help someone who was asking for advice. Genuinely supportive of the couple of women with PPD, one of whom needed to switch to formula for sanity’s sake.

      • Michele
        August 10, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

        The breastfeeding group there still has some pretty woo-y stuff in it though. I cringe whenever I see someone recommending chiropractic for infants there.

        • demodocus
          August 10, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

          Mine too, one was using craniosacral therapy, another amber teething necklaces. Sigh.

      • Sarah
        August 10, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

        My mother-in-law also recommended it. And I’ve heard the recommendation through the grapevine a lot.

        • SporkParade
          August 11, 2015 at 1:50 am #

          My mother-in-law recommended it, too. Her theory is that the B vitamins help with milk production. I don’t know if it’s true (or if it’s just the extra calories helping), but it certainly seems to be international.

  38. Jennifer McGuire
    August 10, 2015 at 10:29 am #

    Ah, the “tone argument.” Classic derailing. Git.

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