Is breast best or does nourishing=flourishing?

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It’s everywhere.

On doctors’ lips and in lactation consultants’ exhortations. In advertisements and on the walls of public assistance clinics. Heck, it’s even emblazoned around cans of formula.

I’m talking about the admonition that “breast is best.”

“Breast is best” is awesome from a public relations point of view, but is it really true? Is it even meaningful? Or for babies does nourishing=flourishing?

Isn’t it more important that a baby is growing and thriving than that it is getting breastmilk?

Is breast best for babies?

Sure, it’s best for babies in developing countries with contaminated water supplies. Formula mixed with contaminated water kills babies, but it is the water that kills the babies, not the formula.

Yes it is best for premature babies because it reduces the incidence of deadly bowel complications. Of course it is not natural breastmilk that is best for these babies, it’s technologically concentrated and fortified breast milk that is best.

But in countries with clean water, breast is obviously not best for term babies whose mothers have low supply and they aren’t getting enough milk to grow and thrive. It’s obviously not best for babies who have latch or muscular issues and don’t have the srength to extract the milk from the breast.

Is breast best for mothers?

It’s not best for mothers who are counseled to forgo medication for pre-existing conditions in order to breastfeed. It’s obviously not best for mothers who have no time to cuddle and appreciate their babies because they are so busy pumping and nursing to boost their supply. It’s certainly not best for women who feel shame, guilt and humiliation because of breastfeeding difficulties.

Or does “breast is best” merely reflect the tendency for natural parenting advocates to privilege process over outcome? Shouldn’t we judge a feeding method by its impact on babies and not by whether it comports with some activists’ views about process?

Simply put, isn’t it more important to ensure that a baby is growing and thriving than to ensure that it is getting breastmilk?

Isn’t it more important for a baby to drink formula to satiety than to wail in hunger and frustration because there isn’t enough breastmilk to meet its needs?

Isn’t a mother’s mental health important at all? How did we get to a point where women are encouraged to risk their physical and mental health by forgoing needed medications that are incompatible with breastfeeding? We got here by elevating process over the wellbeing of mothers and babies.

As I said in my piece in TIME, I could happily celebrate Infant Feeding Week. As a physician I am more concerned with ensuring happy, thriving babies than with the process of infant feeding.

Breast isn’t best. A happy, healthy, growing, baby is best. How it happens isn’t important. The truth is that nourishing=flourishing and when it comes to babies, outcome is infinitely more important than process. We should be celebrating any method of feeding that produces thriving babies, not specific methods of feeding. We should be celebrating any mother who feeds her baby nourishing food, not a subset of such mothers merely because they used their breasts to do it.

They say that when you frame an issue you own it. Therefore, it’s time to wrest framing of infant feeding back from activists who obsess about process and give it to the rest of us who care more about outcome.

Forget “breast is best.”

Nourishing=flourishing!

  • Sue

    Anyone ever realised that milk production is affected by neck “subluxation”? More scams taking advantage of vulnerable women.

    Or maybe it’s the baby pressing on the magical talisman that promotes flow of milk sparkles. Anyway, Chiro takes credit and $$.

    • Who?

      Ah well the comfort is next time it won’t ‘work’-though no doubt the chiro will have some plausible explanation not involving the entire fantasy nature of this ‘treatment’.

      Too many quotes but don’t know how else to convey my utter contempt for this particular process.

    • Angharad

      So with proper chiropractic care my milk will come in within 5-7 days, while otherwise it could take up to a week? Sign me up!

    • Box of Salt

      Is the chiro also going to take credit for the “six day old” (presumably pictured in the ad) holding up her own head?

      Marketing: why I will never take chiropractic seriously.

    • sdsures

      Subluxation is actually a real thing for people who have hypermobility, or Ehler’s-Danlos Syndrome. They can pop joints back in as if they’re turning a page in a book. It’s routine for them, and often very painful. So it’s upsetting to see woo try and take it for their own purposes.

  • Bombshellrisa

    While breastfeeding dd, not one person ever asked if I had THOUGHT about the fact that breast milk doesn’t provide enough vitamin d and that a supplement would be necessary, if I realized that I would be the only one who could feed her and how isolating it could be. I combo fed (with the majority of the feeding being formula) ds and GOOD GRIEF! Nobody said outright that I was poisoning him, but they would ask had I read the studies that show breast is best, had I THOUGHT about how EXPENSIVE formula is and how HARD it is to have a bottle fed baby. It felt like they were implying that I was a vapid idiot who chose to reproduce, who couldn’t comprehend data and was throwing away our family money because I was so stupid and that I was easily swayed by Big Formula. I am sick of women being treated like their decision to formula feed means that they “haven’t thought about” this or that. We have.

  • Roadstergal

    Slightly OT, but since lactivists and NCBers alike go off on oxytocin, its status as The Love Molecule was #16 on the list of 50 misused terms in a recent publication. Via SGU:
    http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01100/full

  • Ellen Mary

    Please: the VAST majority of mental health medications are compatible with BF. Please specify this. Medications for BiPolar & Schizophrenia are exceptions, *maybe* but even then, some are compatible. It is a pharmaceutical fallacy that medications are not generally compatible with BF, generally transfer rates are very low & any feelings to the contrary are wrapped in purity & superstition, not pharmacology.

    • DelphiniumFalcon

      One very important thing to remember though is that people with mental health issues are at a dramatically increased risk of developing post partum depression or even postpartum psychosis.

      If breast feeding is difficult and they’re already vulnerable to PPD it can bring about horrific surges of guilt and depression. In these cases breastfeeding may not be in the best interest of the mental health of the mother. And like others have stated, sometimes you need that “permission” to switch to formula. Not only is society telling you you’re a failure but your PPD is too. There’s is absolutely no escape from the shaming even inside your own mind.

      Having that permission to switch may be what finally helps pull them out of the PPD through finding help or just easing the stress. Sleep deprivation and stress also tends to exacerbate existing mental conditions. It may be in the mother’s best interest to get a few straight hours of sleep instead of risk their medications not being able to control their previously stable symptoms.

      • Sarah

        Kind of along the same vein – When I was unable to exclusively breastfeed my son, the LC did mention one medication that may have helped. However, she told me that the medication carried a potential side effect of depression, especially people who may be predisposed to depression already. I have GAD, with some comorbidity with depression, so we both decided that it wasn’t for me.

      • Ellen Mary

        We are not going to go down the rabbit hole of there being some type of perfect mental health history litmus test to BreastFeed, right? Because that is not a thing.

        • Sarah

          No, we’re not. That’s why the best route is letting mothers decide for themselves what is best for their families.

        • DelphiniumFalcon

          But mental illness is a confounding factor and it is extremely common in our population. It’s a factor that can’t be ignored. Another reason to butt out of other women’s infant feeding habits.

        • Cobalt

          Perfect? No. Perfect is a useless concept (not unlike “best”).

          What is needed is “good enough”. A good enough desire, good enough milk supply, good enough latch, a good enough environment, good enough health, good enough support, and yes, a good enough neurotransmitter stability to not get sick when all that prolactin smacks you in the synapses.

          Not having these can make breastfeeding anywhere from difficult to dangerous to deadly.

          • Roadstergal

            Perfect is an utterly useless concept. “Best” can have some relevance to sorting out options, but only if the context is clearly defined. The best feeding choice for a dyad can’t be made without the full context, and yes, the women’s mental health history, how well she’s controlling any issues currently, and how compatible those controls are (pharmacological and otherwise) with the various feeding options are all relevant to deciding what’s the best feeding option for that context.

    • Cobalt

      The medications being compatible does not make breastfeeding necessarily in the mother’s best interest. If the mother is having mental health issues exacerbated by breastfeeding, then she needs to know that she can stop. That it is ok, that her baby is ok, and that breastfeeding will not make her a better mother or formula a bad mother.

      Some women find breastfeeding to be a comfort, to be something they CAN do in times of struggle. Some find the struggle to breastfeed is what pushes them over the edge. If they are in the second group, they need to be supported in weaning.

      • DelphiniumFalcon

        Also let’s not go digging in the garden of nope that is telling a mother to switch medications to breastfeed.

        If you’ve never been through the crap shoot that is finding a medication that works that doesn’t have intolerable side effects, I don’t want your input.

        I’ve been on about eleven different medications since my teens to get both my GAD, social anxiety, and depression under control. We just barely found a combo that works and it’s not a common combination of drugs from what I understand.

        You can pry them away from me if you want. I don’t recommend it. I’m not in a very healthy place mentally without them and SNRI withdrawal is a bitch.

        • LibrarianSarah

          Yeah anyone who say “oh you can just switch medications” obviously hasn’t entered the wonderful world of chronic health problems.

          I can’t imagine what I would do if my doctor said to me “I know we finally found something that works for you with minimal side effects but you can’t breastfeed on it so take this instead. Sure it might give you the shakes and cause you to rip your hair out, but you know, breast is best.”

          Actually I can imagine what I would do and I will be arrested for it.

          • Roadstergal

            We just had a patient advisory board earlier this week where that was brought up as a significant barrier to entering clinical trials. Patients want to enter for both potential personal benefit and altruistic reasons, but if they have a stable cocktail going that finally lets them get out of bed and function on a regular basis, they are _really_ loath to touch it.

    • momofone

      And while all of that may be the case, I would hope people are discussing those issues with their physicians, and not relying on the word of laypeople in making those decisions.

      • Ellen Mary

        Individual physicians may not be equipped, fortunately both the US and Canada have hotlines staffed by experts (InfantRisk & MotherRisk respectively).

        • FormerPhysicist

          Individual physicians may not be equipped, but they will be more so than laypeople.

          • LibrarianSarah

            Never mind the fact that physicians can give referrals to those who are more equipped or search that information out on Up-to-Date. Also, a physician is not going to prioritize breastfeeding over all else (hopefully) which is more than I can say for LC’s.

        • DelphiniumFalcon

          What kind of experts are running these hotlines? MDs? CNMs? LCs? It makes a differencr.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            It’s the same number that they give you on the formula can to speak to an LC.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            So no actual medical schooling. Yeah, I’m not gonna trust my already frakked up brain chemistry to someone who hasn’t at least studied pharmacology.

          • KarenJJ

            But wouldn’t a lactation consultant have a vested interest in getting more people to breastfeed?

            I had the hospital lactation consultant try and look up my medication in a phone book type of thing and say that it would likely be OK. I said “no thanks, a paediatric immunologist at the children’s hospital has looked into this for me and recommended formula if I take the medication”.

            I’d been taking my daughter to this doctor for a while and seen how he operates and had no doubt in his ability to think outside the box, to research and to understand the medical research. As far as the “doctors are biased against breastfeeding” trope I also knew that wasn’t the case. In fact I believe lactation consultants are biased towards breastfeeding and this colours their advice, far more than doctors will advise against breastfeeding due to some internal bias.

          • Dinolindor

            Are you sure about that? Because I just looked at my can of Similac and googled Infant Risk and I don’t see any obvious connection, and its not the same phone number. Granted it was only a 5 minute investigation, but if it’s the same source it’s not obvious.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Are you sure about that?

            Of course not. I made it up.

          • CanDoc

            Motherisk is the nationally-funded leading Canadian think-tank, run out of Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto (basically “The” quaternary hospital for Canada) that reviews medications in pregnancy and lactation. If I phone with a question (and as an OB, I call them once or twice per month), I speak on the phone to a pharmacologist who can either give me a very solid current answer (for common medications), or who will call me back within 24 hours with very specific details about the number of recorded women who have been exposed to the medication, the outcomes, and the statistical interpretation of this by leading pharmacologists. They NEVER provide advice or recommendations, they simply provide data about level of risk to help inform decision making. (I have no knowledge of InfantRisk, so can’t comment on them.)

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            See this I can get behind. Your description of highly trained professionals and analysts that give straight days without overstepping their bounds is a very good program.

            I’ll have to look and see if the US program is similar as I know Canada has a leg on the US system in several places.

          • MJ

            There is a service like that running out of the pharmacy department of the tertiary women’s hospital in Australia where I had my children. You would leave hospital with a medical record book for your child that had a sticker with the phone number. I don’t think they anticipate lay people calling about prescription meds but, for example, when I got the worst flu ever when my baby was two months old I was able to call them and check what headache medicine was safe while breastfeeding. Very helpful.

        • momofone

          Are you suggesting that someone take their advice over that of their treating physician? The last thing I would advise is for someone to disregard her physician’s advice in order to take medical advice from someone not familiar with her situation. And frankly I find it irresponsible that someone would presume to know how to advise, given that they wouldn’t have history, etc. I have a close family member with serious mental illness that has taken quite a long time to stabilize. I hope that she would not take the advice of someone at InfantRisk/MotherRisk (and I am familiar with them) over the advice of her treating physicians.

          • CanDoc

            Motherisk NEVER gives advice. They provide the data about exactly how many women have taken the medication during pregnancy and what the outcomes of those pregnancies were, and an interpretation of that data (high risk, low risk, indeterminate risk). When a Canadian physician goes to “look up” detailed information about a medication in pregnancy and lactation, WE CALL MOTHERISK; they are the final and gold standard nationally. I would have concerns about a physician who didn’t accept the data provided by Motherisk, out run by the department of pharmacology and staffed by pharmacologists at Sick Kids’ Hospital in Toronto, since following their information would be the standard of care.

          • momofone

            I think I came across differently than I intended to–my response was based more on what came across to me as EllenMary’s saying doctors are less reliable than other sources of information, particularly if they advise that breastfeeding is not compatible with a particular medication. I know that my doctors used InfantRisk when I was breastfeeding, and I’m not doubting the reliability of their data; I’m responding to the idea that doctors wouldn’t know how to find out about the safety of a medication, and the perceived message that other sources would be a more reliable gauge of safety.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          I should think that a good doctor would be willing to look this stuff up, though. I wouldn’t expect a doctor to know whether or not every single one of the thousands of prescription meds out there is safe for a breastfeeding mom; I would expect him to check if he doesn’t know.
          When in my neurologist’s office last week, I mentioned that I didn’t know yet if I was pregnant, but that it was a possibility. As a result, he asked me to give him a few minutes while he cross-checked a couple of my meds to see if they would be okay in those circumstances. This didn’t make me doubt his competency in the slightest; quite the opposite. It meant that he cared enough to confirm rather than make a blanket “don’t take X, then” statement. I can’t imagine he’s the only doctor with that sort of outlook.

          • KarenJJ

            Yep. My eldest’s main doctor for her immune system issue specialises in paediatric immunology and looked into the risks/benefits of breastfeeding while on a biologics medication. Initially he was keen, but once he’d gone into the data he rang me and said he’d recommend formula feeding. Doctors can do this that sort of research, far more honestly and thoroughly than a lactation expert can.

        • Dr Kitty

          Bollocks Ellen Mary.
          Every single physician can use LactMed, Breastfeedingnetwork.org, their formulary of choice (BNF etc), medsmilk etc. to see the particular risks of a medication, just like every BF mother or LC can. It is all information freely available on the Internet.

          If your Dr can Google (and I’m going to hazard a guess and say that if you can make it through med school, you can Google) they are equipped to find out the information about a medication and breast feeding.

          HOWEVER, lay people are not in a position to advise a BF mother trying to choose between risks whether a particular medication should be stopped or switched to another one.

          I have patients, for example, who I am quite happy to switch from one drug to another, because it is worth a try and they’ve always tolerated everything thrown at them with minimal issues.
          I have others who are on their current medications only after much trial and error, and I wouldn’t change them around unless it was literally life or death.

          Patients don’t always remember or know all the drugs they have been on, or the side effects, or how badly mucked up their bloods were with one particular drug. I have patients on ten tablets who can only correctly name two of them, and can’t remember their own drug allergies reliably.

          LCs don’t have access to patient medical records or appropriate knowledge to interpret the information contained in them.

          Unless the advice is “this medication has not been associated with any reports of problems in the literature, levels in breast milk are thought to be too small to be pharmacologically active, and it is generally accepted as safe” I’d be extremely wary of taking it.

        • Megan

          It’s not hard to look up the safety of a med for breastfeeding. I do it all the time as do all of my colleagues. Sometimes it’s worth changing a med for breastfeeding, sometimes it’s not and sometimes no change is needed. But that decision should be between the patient and their physician, not a decision made by some random person on a phone hotline who hasn’t taken care of the patient for years like I have and doesn’t have their medical record.

    • CanDoc

      As an OB, I’m puzzled as to why everybody has jumped on this as some evidence that @Ellen Mary is in bed with the Lactation Consultants. (And slightly appalled, to be honest.) What she says is absolutely correct: Most medications are safe with lactation. Whether a woman breastfeeds or not? I don’t care, but I think women MUST have accurate information and support for whatever they want to do – and saying, “You should formula feed just in case there’s a risk to the baby” is exactly the kind of woo-woo that this blog is meant to debunk. The MotherRisk line (as I mention in a different comment) is absolutely the gold standard in providing detailed evidence to Canadian physicians, nationally supported and with data compiled by pharmacologists at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. A phone call to them puts you through to a pharmacologist who either has an answer at their fingertips, or can find one for you within 24 hours. They don’t give advice, just data.

      • DelphiniumFalcon

        Normally we’d give her the benefit of the doubt but in the past she has presented skewed information favor of her methods. Last time was regarding family planning birth control method. She presented it as being as effective as hormonal and barrier birth contril and refused to acknowledge that in average use, many some will have family planning fail and that some women do not have predictable enough cycles to use it effectively. She used herself as an example and failed to mention that she was also using a barrier method.

        Now that’s not an issue except that EllenMary was presenting family planning ONLY as being just as effective without barrier protection.

        We’re a little wary of her assertions now.

      • EllenL

        What I reacted to in the original post was the attitude of “That’s
        no excuse!” towards medications and breastfeeding. There’s an underlying assumption in the breast-is-best crowd that mothers need an excuse (deemed appropriate by them) not to breastfeed.

        No one needs an excuse to use formula. It’s a personal
        choice. We don’t need a permission slip from La Leche League.

        If a mother wants to breastfeed and is taking medications, that’s a topic for discussion between doctor and patient IMO.

      • Dr Kitty

        I rather took umbrage at the idea that doctors aren’t “equipped” to use resources to find out if medications are safe or not, so you should do it yourself.

        Sure, maybe you won’t know off the top of your head, but the idea that you wouldn’t even be able to find out is insulting.

        Ellen Mary may not have MEANT to imply that, but her post came off as advice not to speak to your doctor, because they won’t help you, but to do your own research and decide for yourself.

    • sdsures

      Still, I’m coming off my valproate completely and waiting whatever period the doctor says is safe before TTC. (In my case the valproate treats my migraines. It is, however, a very serious cause of teratogenic damages to fetuses).

  • Erica

    Dr. Amy -sorry – this is unrelated to this particular post – did you realize your RSS feed is no longer working? (I realized I hadn’t seen posts in quite some time on my reader, and when I come here and click the “subscribe to posts” link below, it gives me an error “Error establishing a database connection”.

  • ajc

    “Breast isn’t best”???? Really? Of course it is. You know that it is. Are french fries just as good as fresh vegetables? Obviously not, but if a mom can feed her child french fries or nothing, she will choose french fries. That doesn’t mean that fresh vegetables aren’t best. Are you saying just because some women aren’t able to breastfeed, breastfeeding shouldn’t be promoted as the best way to feed your baby? I have friends who aren’t able to breastfeed due to medical reasons (medications they are taking, etc.), but I have many more friends and family members who CHOOSE not to breastfeed because they find it gross or inconvenient. And that is why World Breastfeeding Week is necessary.

    • Sue

      ajc – you seem to have fallen for the usual misinformation and ideology. The benefits of breast milk in a wealthy society are short-lived and relatively small – and nothing at all like fresh vegetables vs french fries.

      If a mother can’t supply enough milk to nourish the baby, or providing it makes the family dynamics less supportive for the mother and baby, then breast ISN”T best, is it?

      And that is why Dr Amy’s blog is necessary.

    • EllenL

      I’d say it’s more like the difference between fresh vegetables and frozen. They aren’t identical. Both are nutritious. People who wish to use fresh can do so. For some, frozen will be the better choice.

      You’ve just admitted that the purpose of World Breastfeeding Week is to remove formula as a legitimate personal choice for mothers. That’s bullying.

      • Sarah

        Frozen veg actually is often more nutritious than fresh.

        • SporkParade

          Sort of like how breastmilk is deficient in vitamin D and iron, which is why exclusively breastfed babies are at higher risk for rickets and anemia. 😉

          • Sarah

            And there’s the vitamin K thing.

    • demodocus

      Do any of your friends tell you that they shudder any time they hear about breastfeeding, that they cannot stand the thought of some other person demanding access to their breasts whenever that person wants (even their own newborn), that they had to completely ignore their first child while feeding him in order to suppress the desire to shove him away and still cannot allow her husband to touch her there even after a year of not nursing? This is me, under the mask of anonymity. Only 3 people in real life know about this, because it is far too personal to share with random acquaintances.
      Please don’t judge your friends; we aren’t talking about the difference between taking your kid with pertussis to the doctors’ or not. If you saw a picture of my nephew and my son, you’d have no idea which was formula fed and which was breast fed. And they don’t give a bad toupee about it.

    • Gatita

      Fuck you for your french fry analogy. Just fuck you. At least you showed us right up front what a nasty, judgmental cow you are.

      • Fallow

        HIGH FIVE

    • DelphiniumFalcon

      You just pointed out the biggest issue with shaming others for not breast feeding. Some of your friends are on medications that don’t allow them to breastfeed.

      Looking at them, would I know which ones? Not likely.

      Looking around can you, at a glance, spot the women on seizure medication? Anti-rejection drugs for organ transplants? The one with Lupus? The one with reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy?

      No, you can’t. Which is why butting in to shame a woman is none of your business.

    • Who?

      So the fact that a woman finds something that impinges on her bodily autonomy ‘gross or inconvenient’ is a good reason to tell her she’s a terrible person for not doing it? Or talk about her behind her back as though she is?

      I wouldn’t assume all those friends and family are telling you the truth-there may well be medical or other reasons even you would find compelling, that they don’t choose to share with someone so obviously judgmental.

    • Sarah

      I’m glad you made your french fry analogy. Comparing formula to any kind of junk food is always a helpful signal that a person is either unfamiliar with the literature or has been unable to understand it. Useful to have a heads up, when we’re dealing with someone who grossly overestimates the potential benefits of breastfeeding.

    • momofone

      Are you seriously making a comparison between formula and french fries?

      • Cobalt

        Well, if they made formula by frying and salting breast milk, she might have a point…

    • Megan

      It’s amazing to me how many of these idiots compare formula to french fries but they have no problem giving their kids cow’s milk. How do they think formula is made?

      • Daleth

        Megan… you RULE.

        And for those interested in the answer, formula is made by taking cow’s milk and adding the exact nutrients newborn human babies need (e.g., extra iron since there’s not enough in cow’s milk). Honestly, to me that sounds more like “the perfect food for babies” than the average American woman’s milk (how much pesticides and other crap have we eaten in our lives? How many of us are deficient in vitamin D or iron or whatever else?).

      • Angharad

        Yeah, I think it’s funny that yogurt and cheese and cow milk introduced at appropriate times apparently don’t destroy the baby’s gut, but formula somehow does.

    • fiftyfifty1

      “Are french fries just as good as fresh vegetables? ”

      Depends on what the need is of course. If the person’s diet lacks fiber or certain vitamins, fresh veggies will be better. If the person’s diet lacks different vitamins, or calories, or essential fatty acids, french fries will be better. There is a reason that when the Irish Potato Famine happened people died. There were still plenty of fresh veggies around, but fresh veggies alone can’t sustain anybody.

      • Dr Kitty

        Studies done have shown the the average Irish peasant in the 1840s had a very high dietary intake of vitamin C…from potatoes. Nothing wrong with potatoes, and if all you are eating is potatoes, you may as well have them fried to increase your essential fatty acid intake and calories.

        In Ireland you can grow potatoes, carrots, turnips, apples, cabbages, onions and grass. We don’t have the climate for most fruit and veg…too wet, too dark, summers too short and cool. Given a choice between a plate of carrots or a a plate of french fries, your Irish peasant in 1853 would have taken the fries.

        How will World Breastfeeding Week turn an inconvenient practice into a convenient one? Or a painful process into a painless one? Or a personal dislike or disgust with breastfeeding into enjoyment of it?
        It won’t.

        Why does anything have to be promoted as the “best” way? The “best” way to feed your baby is whatever way works for you, your baby and your family.

        Why does it bother you that your friends chose not to breastfeed? They seem to have reasons they feel are legitimate, and yet you gaily dismiss their feelings and reasons and feel free to substitute your own, which is, quite frankly, disrespectful.

    • Cobalt

      World Breastfeeding Week is necessary to make your friends choose what you would choose?

    • Azuran

      And it is their RIGHT not to breastfeed. It’s been proved many times that the benefits of breastfeeding on infant are trivial in first world country. Comparing formula to french fries is stupid, it only shows how biaised you are.
      You’ve just proved the point of this post.

    • Sarah

      What’s really important? That babies are fed in a safe way or that they follow your particularly biased dogma? If it’s the former (which it really should be), then let’s drop all pretense of bias and call it “World Feeding Week.” This week would focus on making sure women in developing countries understand the downfalls of their water supplies. It would look into supplying donor milk or clean water or even wet nurse programs when women suffer inevitable problems with feeding or supply in those areas where clean water isn’t readily available. In developed countries, we could focus on fundraisers and supplying aid to those countries that actually need this information as opposed to groups of women sitting in their huddled circles and patting each other on the back for what they see as the “superior feeding choice,” all the while making baseless comparisons of formula to french fries.

    • Siri Dennis

      Wouldn’t it be more efficient to simply call it “World ajc’s Choices Week”?

    • Amazed

      Do you go around often telling your friends and family members who CHOOSE not to breasfeed just how dumb, fat and unattached their kids are opposed to those best way fed kids?

    • Roadstergal

      So, here’s some good news for you. Past studies showing how much superior breast is to formula were hopelessly contaminated with uncontrolled confounders; the recent studies (PROBIT, and the recent discordant sibling study) show that the better-controlled the study, the more marginal the differences between breast and formula for term infants in the developed world. They’re very comparable.
      So that’s good news! Your friends and family are not negatively affecting their children’s health by formula feeding; they’re making one of two excellent choices for raising happy and healthy kids. No need to be upset. You’re happy to hear that – yes?

  • Sue

    I like Bofa’s quote: “breast is best, all other things being equal”

    which essentially means: in some circumstances, breast is not best.

  • Each mother must make the choices best for her in her circumstance – statistically “best”, and best for a specific mom are often two different things.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD
  • mostlyclueless

    From a facebook group discussing the TIME article:

    http://i.imgur.com/Wffvjd0.png

    Dr. A, most of what she’s saying is pure fabrication….right?

    • AL

      Wow that’s a whole lot of BS.

    • Megan

      I’m sure that is all lies.

      • Cobalt

        The whole blog is archived, links on the right sidebar. She’s remarkably consistently not as described in that post.

        • Megan

          Yes, I’m pretty sure that post qualifies as slander.

    • Cobalt

      Who are they talking about?

      If it’s Dr. A, then I’d guess they’d describe me as a childless bachelor who lives in a penthouse suite in New York City, enjoys ping pong and competitive housecleaning, and drives a tank to my job as a pastry chef.

    • Poogles

      I know exactly what she is referring to with the single moms and abused moms – she’s referring to an blog post Dr. Amy wrote called “Are Fathers Optional” for her Open Salon blog; I can’t seem to track down the original with all the comments that clarified her position (which I completely disagree with), but here’s where she reposted on this blog, and there are some comments that clarify: http://www.skepticalob.com/2009/07/are-fathers-optional.html

      From the article: “Having an active, involved, resident father is the birth right of every child. It is not the birth right of every mother to have children simply because she wants them. It is morally imperative for women to recognize that if marriage is unappealing or inconvenient, they shouldn’t be having children. It doesn’t matter how much they want them, and it doesn’t matter that they can financially provide for them. A child is owed a father, and any woman who is unable or unwilling to provide one is making a self indulgent, selfish choice to conceive a child.

      Comment by Dr. Amy: “People can whine and complain all they want that the lifestyle they have chosen for themselves is good for children, but that doesn’t change anything. Marriage is tremendously beneficial for children. I’m not talking about just the practical benefits, though. I’m talking about morality. Children are morally entitled to a resident, involved father. Every child HAS a father. No amount of pretending by single mothers or gay women can change that fact. So the only issue is whether the mother allows the child contact with that father (or the father allows contact).

      The same thing applies to same sex parents. The parents’ sexual orientation doesn’t change the child’s moral right to two opposite sex parents, no matter how convenient it is for gay people to pretend otherwise.

      In the the comments of the first posting on Open Salon, Dr. Amy said that a women who is being beaten by her husband still has an obligation to have the biological father living with her and the child. If she leaves him to escape the abuse she is, basically, being selfish because she is by extension not allowing the child to be raised in a household with both biological, married parents which Dr. Amy sees as a moral imperative.

      As far as blaming women for pregnancy losses (assuming they aren’t talking about intrapartum losses) or for getting raped while intoxicated, I have no idea – I don’t remember anything along those lines.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        I NEVER said that women should stay with men who are physically abusive. I blamed anyone for pregnancy losses and I NEVER blamed anyone for their own rape. Two people fought over this issue on my Fed Up page. Both of them were banned and one wrote a nasty post on her own blog because she was angry she was banned.

        • Poogles

          “I NEVER said that women should stay with men who are physically abusive.”

          Ok, I at least found where I have quoted the relevant comments from you elsewhere on this blog: http://www.skepticalob.com/2014/03/birth-bullies-breast-bullies-and-socially-acceptable-shaming.html

          Dr. Amy:
          “What other explanation is there for depriving a child of a father other than the fact that the mother doesn’t like him enough to live with him?”

          RogerF:
          “1) Maybe the father beats the shit out of the child.
          2) Maybe the father beats the shit out of his wife.
          3) Maybe the father spends all of the families money at the racetrack.
          4) Maybe the father is a serial adulterer.
          5) Maybe the father is all of the above.”

          Dr. Amy:
          “Right, she doesn’t like him.”

          Dr. Amy:
          “I have repeatedly acknowledge that if a child’s physical safety is threatened by the father, the father must go.” [emphasis mine]

          So, you didn’t outright say it, but it was sort of implied.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Poogles, you did this the last time we discussed this issue, selectively quoting me and then insisting that I implied something I explicitly denied.

            I wrote that piece years ago; I’ve changed my views since. What do you want me to do now?

          • Poogles

            I am honestly not trying to misrepresent you; I have a great deal of admiration and respect for you. I am only trying to quote the things you have said in the past that are being referred to by others, so that other readers have some basis off which to make their own conclusions.

            I think others suggestions to perhaps revisit these issues in a new post might be helpful, but that is of course entirely up to you. I am very happy to hear that you have changed your views on some of these issues – not that you need(ed) my approval in the first place 😉

          • dbistola

            I believe it is significant that these posts were from 2007, or at least before 2010. The web as we know it today is quite different than it was in 2007. Back then it was in the earlier days of high volume commentary and it was more of a brash, wild west, let it all hang out.

            Many well respected bloggers said more extreme things during that era. I honestly think that the idea of your past words haunting you had not set in then, and it was more of an idea of making a strong statement to provoke discussions and debate.

            These types of statements were much more common in those days, and may not necessarily have reflected a staunch, set in stone view. It might be more of loosely letting some of your personal thoughts out, like writing in your diary or discussing with someone you know. That has changed.

            You can see it anywhere if you look at a well known blogger who has been at it for around that long.

            Now, well known bloggers take very close care at what they do. Social media has taught us all some harsh lessons.

          • Squillo

            Agreed. As a writer by trade and by nature, I tend to work out my thoughts and ideas in writing. The web has made publishing these thoughts very easy, for better or worse. That’s one reason I stopped blogging (and deleted my blog). I realized that my evolving thought process probably wasn’t interesting or even particularly fit for public consumption.

          • Gatita

            I wrote a blog post on parenting that was picked up by a national magazine and I deeply regret it. I wasn’t in a good state of mind when I wrote that piece and I hurt a lot of people with it. But it’s out there and I can’t take it back. Luckily it’s no long on the first page of results when you google my name.

          • fiftyfifty1

            I think it’s fair that Poogles brings this up, and I have been glad she did both times.

            NCB advocates say that a vaginal birth is a child’s birthright and mothers that opt for CS are selfish. Lactivists say that breastmilk is a child’s birthright and mothers that can’t or won’t breastfeed have no business conceiving children in the first place. You rightly have criticized their arguments as being based on biological essentialism. You have argued that what matters is that children are thriving, and that strong scientific research shows that babies born by CS or fed by formula also thrive.

            We have similar evidence that kids thrive when raised by gay parents. What studies we have show that kids born after gamete donation also thrive. And that the “problem with single mothers” seems actually to be poverty, and than when corrected for poverty, a planned and wanted child can do well with a single parent. When a couple turns to donor sperm because Dad has infertility, we have no more evidence that the child experiences this as a Primal Loss than advocates of Lotus Birth have when they claim that cutting the cord is a Primal Loss.

            I do think that if you have changed your views it’s time to write a new post detailing that change. (Or if you haven’t, you had better come up with some better arguments).

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            I deeply regret writing the piece. I deeply regret defending it. And most of all, I deeply regret the pain that it caused others.

          • Melanie

            I am very glad to read your views have changed Amy. Thank you for expressing regret. I have been a reader/lurker for 5 years and I was suddenly sickened.

            Obviously the suggested opinion on family violence doesn’t change your ability to articulate the evidence underpinning home birth, vaccination and breast feeding – but it DOES say something about your skill, professional integrity and personal capacity to have been a good OB.

            The most common time for women to experience first episode domestic violence is during pregnancy. I find it horrific and galling that a doctor dealing with pregnant women on an everyday basis would think women should remain with abusive partners. The evidence is also very clear that children in situations of family violence suffer irreparable harm, even when the violence is not directed at them.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        My position on some of these issues has changed over the years, and my children are responsible. They’ve argued with me and caused me to reassess things that I had believed. I no longer feel as sure about some of the philosophical issues I wrote about back in 2007 as I did then. And I hope that I will always take philosophical disagreements with my family, my friends and my readers seriously and reconsider even deeply help beliefs.

        I’m not perfect (I’m sure that no one is surprised by that), but I am listening.

        • DelphiniumFalcon

          Everyone changes. 2007 was eight years ago.

          I don’t think my 2007 self would know who I am or wonder if I got replaced with a pod person. I’m far more moderate on a lot of issues I used to be extremely conservative about.

          If one’s viewpoints haven’t changed even a little in eight years I’d be more afraid of the stagnation of thought than the previously held beliefs.

          • Kq

            In 2007 (the first few months of it anyway), I was still in the cult. I still believed I was speaking to hundreds of transdimensional beings through my abuser. I also was still “training” to be a midwife (via the channeled doctor, who was also an Elf from Lord of the Rings).

            A lot of things have changed since then.

            I agree with those who say Dr. Amy should make a dedicated post addressing her earlier statements – but that post should wait a couple weeks so as not to further arm the critics of her excellent piece in TIME.

        • Alcharisi

          Dr. Amy, I (and I imagine others) would appreciate it if you addressed these changes in a dedicated post. I know I’m not your only queer reader, and I would hazard a guess that one thing we appreciate about this space is that it provides an unabashedly feminist, queer-friendly refuge from the politically-charged woo that’s crept into significant parts of the queer feminist world. It would be good for us to see a clear statement, front and center, that we’re fully welcomed here.

          I think we all deeply appreciate the work you do here, and don’t doubt that you’re engaging in anything but good faith. So consider this request an affirmation of both of those things.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            The issue has never been about gay people. To me it is obvious that gay people are entitled to every right, privilege and protection that straight people have, and a few more to protect them from discrimination by others.

            Back in 2007/2008 I wrote a post about fatherless children. In some ways, fathers have become a luxury item and those who have them tend to have more advantages than those who don’t.

            My position on the issue has been informed by conversations with adoptees. I suspect that I represented the mainstream in believing that if babies were adopted into loving families, they would not experience the adoption as a loss. People have informed me in passionate language that for many adoptees adoption represents a primal loss, and that a loving adoptive mother and father do not negate that loss.

            Will the children who grow up without fathers in their lives experience that as a primal loss, too, even when their mothers chose to be single parents and consider their lives to be happy, full and complete? I can’t answer that question, but I do think it is worth asking.

            Adults created the adoption system because it met THEIR needs. It turns out that it didn’t meet children’s need. Some people are deciding to raise children without a mother or deciding to raise them without a father. When those children grow up, will they tell us that they experience that absence as a primal loss? I don’t know; I don’t think it is wrong to raise the issue, but perhaps others do.

            What people choose to do is up to them. I’m a firm believer in autonomy from government regulation of family life. I have discussed the philosophical implications of these issues but I have never suggested, promoted or even dreamed of restricting how people built their families.

            I consider these discussions akin to my views on the first amendment; I might not agree with what someone says, but I will passionately defend their right to say it. I have raised the issue of how new family arrangements will be experienced by children, but I will passioantely defend anyone’s right to build a family the way that he or she sees fit.

            I could go back and delete everything I’ve written on the issue. That would certainly be easier. What do people here think I should do?

          • Megan

            I am adopted. I do appreciate that many adoptees view their adoption as a loss but I never have. There have been moments, yes, where I allowed myself to feel sorry that I “wasn’t wanted” but as I’ve learned more about the circumstances of my adoption I realize I am very lucky. The ironic thing given your statements on growing up without a father is that had I not been adopted, I would’ve grown up without a father (He was ill and died shortly before I was born.) and instead raised by a poor single mother and I’m sure I would not have had the opportunities that I did. I probably would not be a physician. My birth mother knew she could not provide for me and so she gave me to a family who could and they loved me as if I was their own flesh and blood. I always knew I was adopted; it was never a secret. Now that I’ve had a child of my own, I am thinking about meeting my birth mother. I haven’t decided yet.

          • Alcharisi

            Certainly we SHOULD raise these discussions (and critiques of the way we’ve set up the adoption system need a lot more light, especially given the really damaging ways race and class has played into it). And I fully understand that gay parenting, even then, wasn’t the main focus of your writing. Nevertheless, the discussion is clearly quite relevant to the question of queer parenting, as well as single parenting–and queer people and single mothers are well-used to being opposed in starkly moral terms. So I trust you can understand why the 2007 piece really touched a nerve.

            Nevertheless, as I said, I DO think it’s important to raise the questions of potential or actual conflicts between children’s interests and adults’ interests, and to do so in terms that are sensitive to the above-mentioned complexities. Which, actually, I think is all the more reason you should revisit the issue. Given what you’ve just written in your comment, it seems like you WOULD raise the questions in those terms.

            Also, just as a matter of principle, I tend to be in favor of keeping a record of the changes in one’s view. I think it shows real integrity, and it also stands as a demonstration of the fact that positions do change in response to new evidence and well-delivered argument.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            You are probably right about revisiting the issue, but I’m not going to do that now since it will lend legitimacy to libelous accusations.

            I know that the positive reaction to the TIME piece has made some people desperate to discredit me. I would suggest to anyone who thinks about libeling me that they consider what happened to Gina. Those who know me know that I don’t make idle threats.

          • Alcharisi

            That’s fair. Perhaps in a few months would be a better time.

          • Squillo

            As a public figure, you’re going to deal with a certain amount of defamation. I suggest you ignore it and refrain from making threats, idle or otherwise.

            I’m not a lawyer, but I understand that the standard for proving defamation against a public figure is very high, as you must prove actual malice, i.e. that the defendant acted knowing that the statements were false or with “reckless disregard for the truth.” You’re much more likely to invoke a Streisand Effect than to right the record.

            I think you’re better off simply ignoring the falsehoods at this point.

          • Sarah

            Yes. Gina had done quite a lot more than make things up about you at that point. I would also urge caution, as things stand. It’s one thing to take action against someone who is actively trying to stop you exercising your right to freedom of expression, quite another to get legal on anyone who ever says anything potentially defamatory about you.

            As for your views, personally the reason I want to read your analysis on pregnancy, birth, pseudoscience etc is because of your professional expertise on those issues. Your combative writing style is interesting but would be pointless if not backed with your medical experience. Whereas I’ve no particular interest in your thoughts on fathers, guns or anything much else because there’s nothing you’re offering that any other non-expert wouldn’t. Sure, you’re intelligent and a decent writer, but so are millions. If I want to read about those issues, SOB would not be my first port of call. So while I think the some of the views expressed in the articles from 2007 are pretty risible tbh, I can’t see how they’d have any bearing on your ability to skewer pseudoscience, detect bullshit about obstetrics or do any of the other things I read you for. Why would they?

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            I think it’d be a good way to talk about being open to a paradigm shift in what you once believed to be true with all your being to being able to accept new data and formulate new views.

            I wonder how many people that cling so tightly to NCB, EBF, homeopathy, do have their doubts but they are scared of what it means if they change their views. Does that make them a massive hypocrite? Can people trust anything they say after such a radical shift of views? How do I let go of my fear and change my views when clinging to what I once believed as gospel is within my comfort zone?

            How do you learn to accept new views instead of immediately closing your ears to anything that could possibly be contradictory? Change is frightening. Your teenage years are when you’re supposed to make all your changes supposedly. Once your an adult you should know yourself and your views and stick with them. Except accepting that as truth stifles growth and impedes developing wisdom.

            I guess just illustrating that finding yourself disenchanted with what you once believed isn’t rare and our mindsets are constantly evolving. To stop learning and reassessing ideas and how you view them is to give up on life itself.

          • Squillo

            As others have suggested, revisiting the issue and explaining how and why your views have changed would be useful, not because you owe anyone an explanation of views you once held, but as an example of how skepticism works.

          • KarenJJ

            Maybe a post about how scientists remain open to other views based on changing evidence and how people often hold views that are more rooted in culture than what is actually “best” for baby. Also that taking an extremist attitude that defies evidence is going to be very difficult to maintain in the long term. I think you’ve touch on this before, but a clickbait title of “Dr Amy changes her mind” could be funny if (and no guarantees – internet stuff is not my specialty) it gets viewed in the right places.

          • Mattie

            I won’t say I know especially what you should do, but I can say with almost 100% certainty that deleting it and not offering an explanation would be utterly terrible. Things on the internet never go away, even when you delete them, the rumours of your views will be making their way through the NCB communities and removal of the original posts would just fuel the fire and legitimise their claims, it would also make you look like you’re trying to hide something.

            If it were me, I’d post an update responding to the accusations and restating your views.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Though you and I disagree fundamentally on some of these points, I want to say that I appreciate more than I can possibly express the fact that you are honest enough to ask so many of these questions. In some circles, I have encountered any number of people who, if asked, “Statistically, what is best for kids in these situations? Are fathers important, and why? Why are those statistics the way they are–is it because fathers are genuinely very important indeed to a child’s development, or because of another factor, or some combination of the above?” the response would be a near-universal scream of “BIGOTRY!”, with no further discussion to follow because BIGOT. To quote a character in the musical “1776”–“In all my years, I’ve never seen, heard, nor smelt an issue that was so bad it couldn’t be talked about. Hell yes, I’m for debating anything.”
            I don’t think I’m wrong about the way I think about these things, but if I am, I want to find out. If the response to asking questions in even academic circles is to scream “BIGOT!”, much as McCarthyites would shut down debate by shrieking about the red menace, then the facts of the matter may never come to light, and we’ll all do ourselves–not to mention our science and our kids!–a serious disservice.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Plus if you delete anything that makes you look bad instead of taking responsibility for past posts and explain that ideas change and evolve. It’s no better than the midwives who scramble to cover their tracks once their ideas get someone into a medical emergency and pretend they never said that.

            We like to say we take a higher road but we need to demonstrate integrity with this, own up to it without ridijg the guilt train, or our words mean nothing.

            We all say stupid stuff but what you do after you say it determines if I’m going to keep listening.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            One last thing. I assume your last question was rhetorical, but on the off chance it isn’t–no, don’t go back and delete. Recording how one’s beliefs and ideas on a given issue change, change again, perhaps change back–that’s the best way to figure out the thought process behind the whole issue. It’s like keeping a log of scientific experiments. Sure, we know now, for example, that the combination of X, Y, and Z ingredients make a highly effective MMR vaccine, but who knows? Maybe at some point someone will reexamine that and want to make an even more effective one. They can go back over the original research that led to the MMR vaccine and say, “Okay, so A, B, and C combination didn’t work so well because Reason, but X, A, and D haven’t been tried–let’s see what happens.” Same thing here.

        • Sarah

          I would also really like to hear you address the points that woman has made- not just for your readers but so if they start being repeated as ‘fact’ by the NCB crowd we have some insight into what you actually meant

        • Who?

          So positive that your position has changed because of what you have learnt from others. That is something that never seems to happen over in homebirth/attachment parenting/militant breastfeeding world.

          When we know more, we can do better.

        • RMY

          I said a lot of dumb stuff in 2007 too. I completely disagree with a lot of those ideas (the fatherhood thing, donors are different than fathers, which is very apparent when heterosexual couples use donor sperm to reproduce; and I grew up in a family where I witnessed domestic abuse between my parents and it was very damaging to my mental health and most of the reason I don’t have a relationship with my parents).

          • I Do think that children need the support of positive role models of both sexes for balanced development. Who provides the “fathering” need not necessarily be the biological father. In the not so distant past, when extended families were more common, there simply were more parenting figures in a child’s universe. Today, with women, through divorce or choice being more on their own, and indeed often largely absent because they are working full time, to be able to provide necessary financial support, children often do not get even minimal parental support from anybody, and I think the results are obvious, with the cycle perpetuating itself in the next generation. Same sex families are probably better than no family, but as far as we know, no human society has not involved parenting by both sexes, the most common configuration being by a father and mother ( or mothers)

          • An Actual Attorney

            Probably better than no family? My son is PROBABLY better off with two loving mothers who house, feed, educate, and support him than he would be with no family, an orphan on the street? Fuck you.

          • Are you trying to tell me that there is NO male role model in your son’s life at all? No uncles, cousins, grandfathers, boyfriends, teachers, ex-husbands? 100% women only? It is the fathering figure that is needed, not necessarily an actual father. At a certain age, a boy NEEDS a father, just as a girl needs a mother.

            Even in orphanages children see adults of both sexes, but they are usually distant and often authoritarian. The Big Brother program was developed to help boys in single parent families.

            Both boys and girls need to be able to form relationships with both sexes or they will inevitably have warped ideas. I’m sure you are doing your best, and you love your son. But being raised in either an exclusively female, or exclusively male, environment is abnormal, and in fact, it rarely happens.

            Your overreaction suggests you are not entirely comfortable with the idea that two mothers are as good as a mother and a father.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “Your overreaction suggests you are not entirely comfortable with the idea that two mothers are as good as a mother and a father.”

            Bullshit Antigones. You throw an insult out there and then when AAA calls you out on your insult (which is contradicted by the data on gay families, by the way) you respond by saying that it must be true because it struck a nerve? That is the oldest bullying tactic in the book. “Formula feeding is probably better than letting a kid starve to death, but it certainly can’t be called a healthy choice.” “Fuck you.” “See that proves it, you feel guilty about not breastfeeding.”

            I second AAA’s fuck you, and my family is as traditional as they come (mother who produced the egg and father who produced the sperm, married to each other and living under the same roof).

          • Gatita

            Bears repeating that the literature demonstrates kids growing up with loving same-sex parents do as well as kids with het parents. Also good to point out if these kids do suffer it’s probably because of bigots making things difficult for them, not because of any inherent dynamics in the family relationships.

          • An Actual Attorney

            The literature demonstrates that even with the bullying, the bigotry, the precarious legal and financial situations, and even the prospect of imprisonment for being who we are, our kids do better on most measures of achievement and adjustment than hetero–raised kids.

            Yes, since most of our kids our wanted and planned for (but not all), that probably accounts for the difference.

          • Cobalt

            I think she has a point but is totally butchering the delivery. At least I hope so. I’m going to try not to.

            Mixed gender role models and extended families (and sometimes your family relationships aren’t the same as your relatives) benefit kids. The specific genetic and family structure relationships are not the important part, the exposure to giving and receiving care from a variety of different adults is. It’s a way that kids learn how to treat people and how they should expect to be treated by others (hopefully with consideration, trust, and respect). This is true regardless of how the nuclear family is structured.

            A similar argument could be made for other kinds of diversity, too. Having close friendships with, and seeing trusted adults having close friendships with, a diverse array of people is good for kids.

            It’s a big world out there. Learning early that good people and good relationships come in all sorts of packages helps kids transition to that world.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            The same sex vs not same sex parent debate I think has a lot of parallels to the breastfeeding debate.

            Do children raised in male/female households have a certain advantage?

            Maybe? The data doesn’t bear this out and if there are advantages they’re not statistically relevant.

            In a male/female parent house hold, in the theoretically ideal circumstances, having both sexes raise a child has an example of both sexes being able to demonstrate how a man should treat a woman and how a woman should treat a man. It may be easier to teach certain things about puberty, especially in the cases of girls.

            But this can be done in same sex couples as well since their children aren’t raised in a vacuum and men and women will be part of their life regardless. Same sex female and same sex male couples can still teach and demonstrate proper behavaior towards the opposite sex as will relatives and friends of their family unit. Which, ideally, should be to treat them like an individual really.

            It may be slightly harder when it comes to biological issues if their child is the opposite sex of the parents but this isn’t an insurmountable issue, more of a bump in the road. They may end up better educated about the issues because they will have to research instead of relying on personal experience. Which may be an advantage over male/female couples.

            So the differences end up muddied. There’s no definitive advantage or disadvantage from the data available. The only confounding factor really would be bullying for having same sex parents which is not inherent to the actual same sex relationship and is an outside factor.

            Soooo the answer is *shrug*?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I was going to mention this. The BEST you can say with this is “All else equal, having a mother and father is better than not. However, all else is never equal.”

            The problem with this, though, is that I don’t think the premise is correct. There is far less support for that premise than for the breastfeeding statement (“all else equal, breast is best”)

            So by the time we are done, it comes down to “All else being equal, who knows what’s better. And all else is never equal.”

            That’s not a great basis for making any decisions, is it?

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Also something even more deeply rooted in ideology than breastfeeding. Breast feeding can show a measurable advantage in areas without access to clean water.

            The same-sex vs opposite sex couples don’t have a similar definitive answer of one being better than the other in certain circumstances.

            I think the only thing we can extrapolate is that two parents can make raising children easier as responsibilities can be split and shared. Unless a single mother or father has a good support network of family, friends and/or community they don’t have the advantage of being able to split duties. So it’s less an advantage of one parenting style over the other so much as one of resource management.

          • Cobalt

            I don’t think the gender of the parents matters for parenting. Bullying might be an issue, but that’s a problem for society to solve (and there has been progress, certainly, but that doesn’t mean the job is done).

            For biological stuff like explaining, for example, menstruation, there are het moms that have just as much trouble with it as any stereotypical dad would. That’s what sex ed and health class is for, because any parent can be uncomfortable, uneducated, or incomplete when trying to teach teens about sex or sex organs. It has nothing to do with the adults gender or orientation, it has to do with talking about a potentially difficult or embarrassing topic with your preteen or teen.

            My point is that diversity benefits kids, and gender is included in that. Mixed gender parents are one way to achieve that, but not the only or necessarily best way.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Oh I agree with you completely and I don’t think I articulated what I wanted to say quite right.

            For example mothers in extremely conservative areas and households may not let their daughters have a proper exam by a gynecologist because it may ruin her virginity or some stupid crap. Or that menstration pain is just women’s punishment from God and isn’t a medical issue. Then find out then years down the road that their daughter had PCOS, endometriosis, or another gynecological disease that prevents them from having children that could have been managed as an adolescent.

            On the other hand, if two gay men have a daughter they may have caught the issue earlier because they don’t have that cultural baggage and can’t dismiss their symptoms as easily because they don’t have a good anatomical comparison. They’d probably be more likely to keep gynecologist appointments because they’d have done more research to understand something their bodies don’t do.

            On the side of lesbian couples, it’s probably more likely they’d listen to their son’s pain complaints and get it checked out instead of telling them to “man up.” Not because women are naturally more compassionate or anything like that but especially if it’s groin pain they’ve likely done their research and understand certain things can be very time sensitive. Also they don’t have dangly bits so they have no comparison, like the gay men with a daughter having abnormal menstrual pain.

            So there’s that to consider.

            And I think diversity is an essential part of teaching children and how to gain further progress on easing things like racial tensions and cultural misunderstandings.

            Where I live now it’s probably over 90% people of Western European with a small smattering of Navajo and Paiute tribe members, Hispanics, Mexicans, Latinos, and the odd Polynesian. We have a lot of Saudi students but they generally keep to themselves to avoid being called terrorists or threatened with bodily harm so you rarely see them out and about. Not the most diverse when all of them make up less than 10% of the population here.

            Where I grew up it was still predominantly Western European Caucasians but we had a lot of Latinos, Mexicans, and Hispanics that were better integrated into the community. There were a lot of Vietnamese people in the area too. My neighbor two houses down was a Japanese woman who immigrated over to the US right after World War II. She had a group of Japanese people she would hang out and play cards with. There were other families but she didn’t like them lol. A hop away over to Portland and there’s a lot more diversity with South East Asians, India Indians, Chinese people that had diversity within their subgroup with both Madarin and Cantonese speakers, a large Polynesian population, a group of Russians who basically only spoke Russian, but not a huge amount of Black people, African American or otherwise. So not as diverse as it could have been.

            When I have kids I’d like them to see the diversity that I was lucky enough to see and then some. My mom has said when my kids are old enough to have jobs she’d let them stay with her and Dad to have summer jobs and live in the Pacific Northwest culture for a while. She knows how much letting my kids be exposed to people who look different from them and to accept it as normal means to me because it meant a lot to her too. Not as some kind of “Look and gawk kids!” or “Look how progressive I am!” but of a “I bet the little girl over there would like someone to play with.” “But she looks different.” “She’s a kid just like you though. I bet she wants to make friends as much as you do.” and try to make it a normal thing that there will be many, many people that won’t look like them. Or even after like them. And that doesn’t make them bad or scary people.

          • FormerPhysicist

            ” having both sexes raise a child has an example of both sexes being able to demonstrate how a man should treat a woman and how a woman should treat a man. ”

            If you are talking about in a romantic relationship, such as might be modeled at home, that presumes the children will be hetero.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            If you are talking about in a romantic relationship, such as might be modeled at home, that presumes the children will be hetero.

            And it presumes that the parents relationship is healthy.

            Vikings running back Adrian Petersen learned how to raise kids from his mother. It involved whipping them with switches. Imagine his shock when it was discovered he did it and society responded with, “No, that’s NOT acceptable.”

            He had been taught how to raise kids alright, and it wasn’t good.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            See that’s another sticky spot in the argument.

            The part you quoted from my post is one of the more common arguments that I hear against same sex parenting. Personally I think it’s more important to treat someone like an individual on their own merits rather than what you first see.

            So assuming your child will be cis-hetero, while the most likely scenario, is not the only scenario by far. Which means modeling good behavior towards people period is the more important part of socializing a child than enforcing gender stereotypes.

            I don’t like my husband to open the door to the car for me. My mom and sister do. I just want to get in the car and jet, don’t waste time on gestures. I already know you respect me. But opening the car door is, at least in these areas, what is taught to boys about how to treat a woman. Some people find my husband rude for not opening the door for me. I tell them I asked him not to. Then it’s all confusing because we’re not taking people as individuals with different preferences.

            So another point down the drain that points more towards loving parents are what’s most important, whatever they are.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            In a male/female parent house hold, in the theoretically ideal circumstances, having both sexes raise a child has an example of both sexes being able to demonstrate how a man should treat a woman and how a woman should treat a man.

            That also means that they can be taught WRONGLY.

            I got runnoft the Dads board at WTE when I went off on a guy who was happy to have a boy because he could teach him to be a man. For example, he wouldn’t let him wear pink because he didn’t want his son to struggle with gender identity issues.

            I told him as a dad who has boys who wear pink, if that’s what he’s teaching to keep his kid and homophobic bigotry away from my kids, because I want none of it. Of course, I was called the bad guy for being mean to that asshole.

            You think that the son of a lesbian couple would be taught that fucked up bigotry?

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Sorry, should have clarified that’s not actually my view and just arguments I hear from the in favor of heteronormative parenting.

            That’s another issue that makes this so complex. My dad learned how NOT to raise kids from his parents. He had a pretty dysfunctional childhood from the bits and pieces he talks about. Everyone knows that he has a favorite sister and that is the eldest of the five children. He has good reason. My dad got hit with the belt by his dad and it left awful marks. His oldest sister was the one who put a stop to it when she got between my grandpa and my dad and told my grandpa to never lay a hand on him or anyone else again. She has this commanding presence so despite still being very young, he listened. We don’t hold it against dad for playing favorites when she literally saved him from being beaten.

            Children on my dad’s side of the family had been beaten for generations, especially the boys. Dad never laid a hand on us. It’s not easy to break the cycle of abuse, especially when it’s wrapped up in a lot of toxic ideals about gender roles. Not everyone managed to do it and dad struggled for years with anger issues despite never hurting us because that’s what was modeled for him as a father figure. You were scared of your dad and that’s how it was supposed to be. He didn’t want that.

            And to reply to another of your postsz no I don’t think something like that would have happened in a lesbian relationship. At least it would be vanishingly rare if it did and seen for the awful actions they are instead of “,that’s just how we do things.”

          • Roadstergal

            I’m going to leave this here.

            https://youtu.be/lyK7LdIKQe8

          • Roadstergal

            “how a man should treat a woman and how a woman should treat a man.”

            Like normal human beings?

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Bingo!

            And that’s where that argument falls apart. With women finally saying “enough” about being passive objects for consumption, there has to be a culture shift. One that focuses on the merits of the individual in front of you and not the stereotypes they represent.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Also added to my initial post for clarification that those are the usual arguments I hear against same sex parenting.

            My actual opinion on the matter is that if a child has a loving home that can provide for their needs, there’s not enough of those in the world so who are to deprive a child of a stable home just because their parents happen to be the same sex.

          • An Actual Attorney

            You are the one who threw out that my child may likely be, in your estimation, better off abandoned and homeless. And then you try to say that if I get protective of my son, it’s because I have issues? I repeat, fuck you. I add, fuck the horse you rode in on.

            I guess in your opinion, it’s good that your country men are killing teenage girls at pride events. Prevents them from ever having children. And if you take offense, then I guess you have issues.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Those poor, poor children of homosexual parents. Those raised by gay men never even realize that women exist because they spend all their time in a public restroom at the Greyhound station where they are fed their bottles through a hole drilled through the wall of the bathroom stall. And the children of Lesbians—raised in the middle of a forest in Michigan. They don’t know that men (or even clothes) exist. And that’s just the girl children. The male offspring are immediately fed to the lesbians’ sled dogs. It would probably be better to have no family at all. You are just defensive.

          • You know what, I agree with your taking offense to Antigonos’ exceptionally poor delivery of what I equally view to be an appalling argument, but FUCK YOU about the ‘countrymen’ schtick. FUCK, FUCK YOU.

            That tragedy is not your fucking pawn to use in an argument and if you knew one tiny thing about the Israeli community’s response to this, about the cultural issues that are at play, what a tiny portion of the population that man represents, you wouldn’t have said it you rabidly anti-Semitic piece of shit.

            You should be as ashamed of yourself as the person you are angry at.

          • An Actual Attorney

            Shall I let my rabbi know about my rabid antisemitism? Do you think it’s best put on my son’s religious school forms or my High Holy ticket requests?

          • Hannah

            ‘Your countrymen’? Frankly, I don’t believe you.

            If you are Jewish, then you should be even more ashamed of yourself.

          • An Actual Attorney

            What word do you use for fellow citizens? I’m genuinely wondering if this is a shared language / different conotations.

          • Hannah

            If that is in fact true, which I find hard to believe given your use of the phrase ‘your countrymen’, then you should be even more ashamed of yourself.

            Again, if it is in fact true, you can see how I might come to the conclusion of anti-Semitism when you brought up a tragedy in Israel that has precisely nothing to do with the conversation at hand simply because Antigonos happens to be Israeli. That’s generally behavior that that characterizes one as an anti-Semite and runs utterly rampant when it comes to people defending liberal agenda issues.

            That tragedy is, repeat, not your fucking pawn, Jewish or not, LGBTQ or not. What Antigonos said was offensive. What you said was equally so.

          • An Actual Attorney

            Hannah, one is part of the cultural continuum in which one lives. As an adult, we are all responsible for what we say and required, as part of adulthood, to consider the implications of our beliefs. Would it have been more acceptable to you if I situated the murder in the context of traditional Jewish beliefs? Is it acceptable for me as American to demand other American wrestle with our racist currents and how that lead to Tamir Rice’s death? Or only if I don’t talk about the Jewish Americans?

            Antigonos, whether or not she actually believes it, said she’s not sure whether my son would be better off of I and my wife were dead. Is it that I can’t examine the implications of where that belief leads, admittedly in a bit cheaper way? Or is it this particular tragedy that can’t be mentioned?

          • An Actual Attorney

            Oh you can click on my profile and find comments from long ago that mention that I’m Jewish. That’s a hell of a long con I’m running if I’m making it up. ,

          • Comrade X

            Well done, Counsellor. Obviously the best, most philosophically-sound, most devastating response to a bit of ignorant misguided homophobia is a nice touch of antisemitism. Lovely. Good stuff.

          • An Actual Attorney

            Missed the point there. First, just so you know (and I’m pretty sure Antigonos knows since we’ve both been hanging here for years), I’m a Jew and have lived in Israel for a bit. I’m an asshole and a bitch, but unlikely antisemitic.

            Second, pointing out the cultural continuum in which a position exists isn’t prejudice. If it is, I guess I’ve got no business telling my fellow citizens that their “history isn’t hate” defense of the Confederate Flag is on the same continuum that made Dylan Roof a terrorist.

            Third, my biggest point was that you can’t say something outrageous to someone and then use their offense as proof you were right.

          • Siri Dennis

            “…they will inevitably have warped ideas.” Could you enlarge on this bizarre and highly offensive statement please? What warped ideas? Proof of inevitability? Thanking you in advance.

          • RMY

            I know of no parents who are currently raising their children in single-sex communes or want to. Most parents have brothers/sisters/fathers/mothers, etc. I think you’re concerned about situations that aren’t happening.

            When you say “same sex families are probably better than no family” you make me have to remind myself to be civil, despite being horribly insulted by someone who hasn’t done their research and thinks that an appeal to tradition is more useful than the facts and research on the matter.

            “[A]s far as we know, no human society has not involved parenting by both sexes” — that really depends on your definition of parenting. I strongly feel that answer to that is “no” because I don’t think that sending money is parenting or being involves with nieces or nephews or grandchildren is necessarily parenting. I can come up with a list of cultures where the biological father isn’t in the picture beyond gestures or financially if you’d like.

            I just think the whole statement of “both sexes” is stupid and really isn’t true. Children NEED A VARIETY OF ROLE MODELS. They need family role models, friend role models, etc. They need to be socialized. I think it’d actually be detrimental to a child to *only have two role models*, regardless of the configuration of their genitalia.

        • Gatita

          I like how you listen to your children’s opinions. Didn’t you once write an apology because your son called you out on some issue? That shows what tremendous respect you have for the kids you’ve raised. I think that’s great.

      • Gatita

        I disagree with all that but it has absolutely nothing to do with Amy’s views on BF. Call her out for the past comments but what she’s written about BF is right on and nothing she’s said before negates that. James Watson is a racist, sexist prick, doesn’t mean he was wrong about DNA.

  • sdsures

    Sticking a label on cans of formula that screams “BREAST IS BEST!” is the worst kind of guilt-tripping I have heard of yet. 🙁

    • Bombshellrisa

      There are also lactation consultants you can call-the number is listed on the can.

  • sdsures

    Great post! #justfeedthekid

  • Cartman36

    Another great post Dr. Amy!!! I am so glad I found your blog. Being a new mother is hard enough without pressure from all sides to continue with things that aren’t working for you or your baby.

  • namaste863

    I am a graduate student of Social Work (USC) specializing in organ transplant social work. I intern with a major transplant program. One of my cases delivered a baby a few weeks ago, a few years after a successful double lung transplant. An idiot LC recommended her forgoing her anti-rejection drugs so she could BF. I just couldn’t believe my ears. Thank God she listened to me and the rest of her transplant team instead.

    • Mel

      I can’t even wrap my head around that one.

      Breast-feed baby while skipping anti-rejection drugs = rejection of new lungs.

      Best case scenario: Mom gets another set of lungs after the LCs have managed to waste a previous transplant. Lung transplants – well, all transplants – are whopping serious operations. I’d bet that’d have more effect on the toddler than not being breastfeed.

      Worse case: Mom BF, loses her lungs and dies. I know that’d have more effect on the entire family including the baby that formula feeding.

      Freaking lunatics.

      • Cobalt

        It’s not like those lungs grow on trees. To recklessly risk rejecting them, to risk dying from their loss, for the sake of a bit of milk is just wrong.

        • DelphiniumFalcon

          Not to mention you’d also lose hearts in the process since a not insignificant number of people with severe enough pulmonary disease to warrant a transplant also have severe cardiac issues from what I understand. But definitely correct me if I’m wrong.

          Hearts are needed so badly too that I think any transplant team would be in a frothing rage reading this stuff. Any organ suitable for transplant is almost always in short supply and only last so long.

      • LovleAnjel

        Or Mom loses her lungs, and is rejected from the waiting list because she purposely stopped her medication and they don’t want to risk wasting another pair on her.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Which line of thinking, horribly enough, I can quite understand. I mean, imagine if you’re told, “Sorry, you aren’t at the top of the list, we gave those lungs to someone who deliberately stopped her anti-rejection drugs.”? I’d be so angry I’d be in orbit.

          • Mishimoo

            It’s why my mother-in-law is on the waiting list for the kidney transplant waiting list. She refuses to see a dietician to get some help to bring her weight down to get on the transplant list, doesn’t look after her AV fistula properly, and views heperin + other meds as optional despite dialysing every second day for around 5 years, so she’s really not a good candidate for a transplant.

      • Sue

        Cos breat milk contains so much sparkle that it would compensate for a dead mother, following transplant rejection?

        What are these people thinking? (I know, I know).

    • Cartman36

      That LC should be reprimanded by her employer. That is dangerous!

      • anon13

        Fired, I say. Dangerous deadly advice, she is in the wrong career. What will she advise next?

        • Roadstergal

          Seriously. She has no sense of where the boundaries of her knowledge and authority lie. She’s going to kill someone.

          • sdsures

            I wonder if she even knows what the lungs are for. Kinda essential.

          • Roadstergal

            If the baby doesn’t come out of it or suck on it, it isn’t important. #NCB

          • sdsures

            LMAO!

          • Sarah

            They hold your boobs up.

          • sdsures

            Mine must be malfunctioning. I got horrid back pain from my J40s until I was properly fitted for a bra.

        • An Actual Attorney

          She needs to be taken out and beaten about the head and neck, at a minimum!

      • namaste863

        I have zero involvement with the maternity department, and as an intern I’m the lowest on the totem pole, so all I’ve heard at this point is “Disciplinary action is being taken.”

        • Mel

          On the positive side: If you, as the lowest member of the totem pole, are hearing “Disciplinary action is being taken” that means something – and probably something more substantial than a gentle reminder – was/is being done.

    • AL

      That is fucking insane. Did someone put her in her place?

    • Cobalt

      That’s insane. Absolutely insane.

    • Megan

      That is horrifying.

      • Megan

        And I’ll add, isn’t that practicing medicine without a license?

    • sdsures

      OMG that’s horrible!

    • I hope that you reported that LC to the hospital. She should not be allowed to work with mothers in any health-related capacity.

      • Daleth

        ABSOLUTELY. Please tell us you did. Or do so now if you haven’t already! She could really hurt some people!

        • namaste863

          The docs beat me to it. She told anyone who would listen.

    • MaineJen

      OMFG. What is an LC doing giving any kind of advice about medication? That’s beyond dangerous.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Leaving aside the gross ethical/moral/health issues associated with this, you’d think that that situation would scream “MASSIVE FREAKING WRONGFUL DEATH/MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT” to hospital admins. I know that many admin types wouldn’t be too bothered by the aforementioned ethics/morals/health concerns, but you’d think they, or at least the hospital legal team, would recognize that that situation sounds like a personal injury lawyer’s wet dream.

    • ladyloki

      Wow, I hope that LC is fired and it be known what she did. That is beyond disgusting.

    • DelphiniumFalcon

      What the ever loving hell?!

      What did this LC think anti-rejection were supposed to do? Did she think that the name “Anti-Rejection Drugs” were some kind of date enhancer?!

      I try to be optimistic and not think people are as stupid as I hear but damn if this isn’t tanking that view.

    • Allie P

      too many LCs are morons. At best, they arent given the patient’s medical history before foisting their one size fits all nursing advice on her.

    • SporkParade

      I’ve asked it before, and I’ll ask it again: If breastfeeding is so goddamned important, then why is lactation consulting basically ignored by the medical profession?

  • Lawyer Jane

    Let’s add to this: breast is not eat if it means sucking up a working mother’s time and energy to pump on the job instead of focusing on work!

    • Cartman36

      Thank you! thats why I stopped BF. I was carrying that f*g pump in addition to my briefcase and purse. I was exhausted from waking up in the middle of the night to nurse or pump. My doctor finally told me I needed to stop when I showed up in her office in tears.

      • For a country which seems to want to push breastfeeding so much, the US has some of the worst maternity leave policies for new mothers, and almost no support system for breastfeeding mothers once they leave the hospital, whether they are working or stay-at-home mothers.

    • Duh, everyone knows that this is a mother’s penance for daring to go back to work.

    • dragonchaser

      That’s why I didn’t breastfeed at all. I had heard horror stories of babies refusing to take bottles after breastfeeding so I wanted to start formula from birth. Why spend all my time home pumping instead of with my baby?

      Dang Disqus, not letting me sign in!

      • Allie P

        i think those horror stories are overblown to prevent moms from supplementing. my kids, neither of them, cared what kind of nipple i stuck in their mouth as long as milk came out of it.

        • Sue

          I’ve heard about bottle rejection after a period of exclusive breast feeding. One approach is to start giving expressed milk in a bottle from the beginning.

        • Kelly

          My LC told everyone to start baby on a bottle at two weeks not six weeks since she had had many women who had babies who would not take a bottle. My friend’s baby struggled with taking a bottle at day care.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Anecdata, and all that, but my MIL had eight kids, ranging from one exclusively breastfed kid to some who were exclusively formula-fed, and everything in between. According to her, none of them had a particularly hard time figuring out that Teh Foodz Comes From Teh Nipple, And It Is Yummy, no matter which nipple it was.

    • Mattie

      This is definitely true, although women who choose to pump should be given regular breaks to pump and a suitable place to do it. Also, if maternity leave was more equal round the world it would be less of an issue.

      • DiomedesV

        Being able to take regular breaks to pump helps get the pumping done. It does not help get the work done. And when your work revolves around making a product (e.g., science), breaking up your day multiple times to do something else renders you unproductive. It’s just a fact. I’ve known many women scientists who pumped, mostly in private offices. You can try multitasking all you want, but pumping just reduces your productivity.

        Maybe that’s OK. Or maybe it’s not. It’s up to the woman to decide.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Indeed. I also have to think that it’s just not terribly feasible in some professions. For example, nursing (the RN-type, not the breastfeeding type, that is). I should imagine that in a higher-stress environment, especially if staffing isn’t what it should be (say, in an ICU or ER), it could be bloody difficult to take regularly-scheduled breaks. “Sorry, I know we just got hit with three trauma victims, two with CPR in progress, but I need to go pump.” “Room Three is coding for the fourth time this evening, but I need to go pump.” Doesn’t excuse poor/low staffing, you understand, but from what I hear from my nurse friends, they’re often lucky to get to pee twice in one shift, never mind pump for 15-20 minutes!
          Law enforcement also comes to mind as a similarly problematic field in that regard, or courtroom lawyer-ing–basically, anything that really requires you to be doing something in public for long stretches of time.

    • KarenJJ

      Nor is it best if you are meant to be pumping and finding you have a crying infant that wants your attention. I had a catnapper and constant feeding infant. There was no time to pump unless someone was able to hold the baby and keep her happy. I didn’t have someone at home during the day to do it. After an afternoon of too many tears (me and baby) I stopped pumping during the day.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Same hear. The tipping point was when my daughter was sobbing for me to pick her up, and I said, “I can’t, I have to pump.” I stopped, thought about what I just said, and said something to the effect of “What the Eff?” before I set down the stupid pump and picked up the baby.

  • Erin

    I tried so hard to breastfeed my son, my milk came in quickly given that he was delivered by emergency c-section but every time I put him to the breast, I saw my rapist sucking away and it felt like my heart was breaking. I tried everything I could think of because I felt (and the odd “professional” reinforced) that because I’d failed to give birth I needed that link, that bond otherwise I was just some woman and how would he know that he had a Mother if he wasn’t breastfed because he’d been over an hour old before I held him. I was still going at the 3 month mark and used to sit there planning my death with him feeding.
    Now I might be on the extreme end of things, but I honestly believe I wouldn’t be here typing this had I kept forcing myself to go on, if my husband hadn’t put his foot down and bought formula.
    What’s best for baby doesn’t exist in a vacuum and without access to people’s personal stories, no one has any right to judge or to make blanket statements. I would like to think that my son grows up, he will believe that having a living breathing Mother is way more important than being breastfed for x number of months and that’s all that matters to me.

    • Allie P

      Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry you had that experience and so glad your husband was there to help you. My daughter does not remember nursing but she sure as hell knows who her mother is. Your mother is the one who tucks you in, wipes your nose when you’re sick, kisses your bruised knees, blows on your hot cocoa, reads you a bedtime story, does a million other nurturing, caring, loving things for you.

    • Mel

      Yes. Yes, a million times that having a living, healthy, happy mother is so much more important that breast feeding.

      Breast milk isn’t required for bonding. Your baby boy knows you are his mom because you are his mom. He’s lucky to have such awesome parents and I’m sure will grow up to be a great person.

    • Montserrat Blanco

      I am really glad you had such a nice and loving husband.

      I waited more than 48 hours to hold my baby, saw him for the first time after the OR more than 24 hours after his birth via CS, combo fed him for about 6 months when he decided he did not want any more breastmilk. And somehow after some hours on kangaroo care the first time I held him he showed he recognized me by having a tantrum. He very much knows I am his mom and makes it pretty clear he likes me very much. Oh, and he had to wait about six weeks after being born to start breastfeeding, during which he was fed by a tube.

      Apparently he was clever enough to find out who his mom is, he even did not confiar his mom with his feeding tube!

      • Montserrat Blanco

        Confuse, sorry.

      • Mel

        Yup. I’m really clear on who my mom is. I was too unstable to be held until I was 15 days old. My twin sister’s digestive system didn’t deal well with breast milk, so she never got BF. She knows who Mom is, too.

        • Montserrat Blanco

          When I hear those stupid statements about bonding… My son even worked out who his father is. And be sure he did not breastfed him nor vaginally birthed him and did not have inmediate skin to skin contact right after birth. They seem to love each other and to very well bonded.

          When I hear those statements I always think: well, if you really need all those things in order to be able to bond to your baby, you really do not love your baby very much.

      • DelphiniumFalcon

        I always wonder how these bonding nuts explain away the whole “Daddy’s Girl” thing.

        I was (and kind of still am) a daddy’s girl but my mom birthed me vaginally and breastfed me. How do they explain that one?

    • moto_librarian

      I am so, so sorry that this happened to you. I am really glad that you were able to switch to formula and start enjoying your baby.

      The only reason that any woman ever need give for not breastfeeding is this: “I don’t want to.”

      • fiftyfifty1

        “The only reason that any woman ever need give for not breastfeeding is this: “I don’t want to.””
        I don’t even think that. Why is anybody entitled to know our wants and not wants?
        I’ve decided on formula. Period.

        • Cobalt

          There’s a slim allowance that could be made for making sure the reason isn’t “because I’m not allowed to”. Formula should be a choice, as much as possible. You can’t dictate biology, but if there’s an unreasonable environmental factor forcing a choice (either way), there may be a duty to address it.

    • Gatita

      Oh God, I’m so, so sorry you experienced that. That’s why everyone needs to MIND THEIR FUCKING BUSINESS. You don’t know why parents are making the choices that they do and unless you’re talking about criminal abuse and neglect, SHUT THE FUCK UP.

  • Mel

    I’m sure my therapist would have a field day with this, but see if these phrases uttered by an adult make any sense whatsoever.

    “I’m obese because I wasn’t breastfed.”

    “I have allergies because I wasn’t breastfed.”

    “I have asthma because I wasn’t breastfed.”

    “I dropped out of high school because I wasn’t breastfed.”

    “My relationship with my parents is difficult because I wasn’t breastfed.”

    And yet, these are essentially the claims made by lactivists projected on to the baby who is probably thinking something more like “Oh! Fan! I like the fan!” “My tummy is full. That’s nice.” “I have FINGERS!!” “OH! Mama hair! Grab it! Pull!”

    • Sarah
      • Megan

        That is awesome.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Oh. My. Gosh.
        I think I sprained a rib laughing.

      • Mel

        I was laughing so hard one of my coworkers thought I was sobbing.

      • Azuran

        XD I find the mother’s comment to be the best part.

    • demodocus

      If you hear a small child chanting “Turn Spinny” it might be my kid talking about the fans or those things he thinks *ought* to be fans. Minor obsession right now.

  • Allie P

    My baby is flourishing and nourished quite well on a mix of breastmilk and the occasional bottle of enfamil. She’s putting on weight, looks great, my supply is more than adequate and we’re all happy and rested. Thank you, modern technology and letting go of shame/blame!

  • Sarah

    Lactofuckwits parachuting in to tell us breast isn’t best it’s just normal in 5-4-3-2-1…

    • Cartman36

      LOL!

    • Megan

      And apparently to tell us how “rare” low milk supply is.

      • Liz Leyden

        Total inability to produce breast milk is rare. Inability to produce enough milk is much more common. Pressure to breastfeed is so strong that women who can’t produce enough milk don’t usually talk about it.

      • KarenJJ

        Lactofuckwits 🙂 awesome.

        Especially you are being a lactofuckwit if your job is lactation support and you tell women that low milk supply is incredibly rare. It’s like how anaphylaxis is rare unless you are an immunologist at an allergy clinic.. If people aren’t having issues with breastfeeding they won’t be coming to a lactation consultant.

  • Rhiannon

    Classic straw man all around. People who support breastfeeding do argue that it is best if it is possible, but never argue that babies should starve if there is a milk supply problem (rare!).

    • Allie P

      Actually, I had several lactation consultants tell me to ignore my child’s cries of hunger, ignore my pediatricians admonitions to supplement with formula because of her weight loss, FTT, and jaundice, because it would jeopardize our breastfeeding relationship, and if I just fed more, pumped harder, stayed awake longer, drank more fenugreek tea, took more drugs, ate more oatmeal, etc…. then it would work. So… no. Milk supply is not as rare as the lactivists will have you believe, and yes, they argue to let your baby starve ALL THE TIME. My hospital walls were covered with posters telling me not to worry how long it would take for my milk to come in, to ignore the weight loss and dehydration and suffering, to “just keep trying” and not under any circumstances to use formula or artificial nipples.

      • Mel

        That’s freaking nuts. Babies aren’t made of stone; they are born metabolically active and rev up more and more over time.

        If the baby is crying with hunger, they are trying to send a message that they need food. That’s simple enough that a toddler instinctively understands that – but lactation consultants can’t understand that?

        I think I said this before, but dairy farmers are obsessed with “cow comfort”. Cows produce milk best when they have enough food, enough water, enough room to rest, enough room to exercise, are at a comfortable temperature and enough room to avoid cow-cow conflicts. Plus, farmers reach near obsession levels with making sure the miking equipment works smoothly so that the pumping process is painless for the cow.

        Why lactation consultants think that making a new mom be sleep-deprived, over-hydrated and having cracked nipples from pumping and nursing all the time will increase milk production is beyond me. My bet is that that regime will lengthen the time for milk production to start and decrease overall amount until the mom is allowed to take care of herself.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          I also think I may have posted this before, but it’s related. Apparently, the local Latina population has relatively high rates of long-term breastfeeding, but it drives the local LCs totally rabid. Why? Because SOP with a mom/new baby is for the mom’s mom/sisters/aunts/etc to come help out for several weeks. They cook, clean, and wrangle older kids. They also take a lot of the babycare duties. Mom nurses during the day while lying down/resting comfortably. Mom nurses once, perhaps twice at night, but her mother or another person handles all the other nighttime care: burping, changing, rocking, getting the kid back to sleep, etc. They also generally give the kid a bottle or two of formula over the course of the night in order to let mom sleep as much as possible.
          As a result, breastfeeding is established in a well-rested, well-nourished mom whose only job in those first few weeks is to recover from childbirth and nurse the baby. Shockingly (she says sarcastically), a mom who has enough food and sleep and no stress is a mom who tends to produce better, and to be happy nursing for longer. This, however, is Simply Outrageous per local LCs because AAAAHHH VIRGIN GUT and MOM’S MILK SUPPLY WILL NEVER BE ESTABLISHED IF SHE DOESN’T SPEND ALL NIGHT AWAKE AND NURSING. Because, you know, our bodies do everything else so well under sleep deprivation. Or something.

          • Mac Sherbert

            Reminds me of a friend I have who let her baby sleep for 4 hours straight in the hospital. The nurse told her she had to wake the baby every 2 hours or she would never have enough milk. Apparently, she was rooming in with another woman and after the nurse left they totally ignored her. Amazingly, she managed to exclusively nurse two babies just fine.

            I think the whole you must nurse nonstop the first few days for your milk to come in is total crap anyway. I know people who never nursed and their milk still came in much to their dismay and discomfort. My first baby nursed 24/7 after birth and my milk came in after 4-5 days…2nd baby liked to sleep and didn’t want to nurse and guess what? My milk came in after 4-5 days. Of course, with the 2nd baby I was prepared and gave formula (at the breast) until my milk came in and ended up nursing her for 18 months vs. the 6 weeks for baby #1.

          • Mel

            My mom and aunts would laugh over the only time they would wake a sleeping baby – when the kiddo overslept a nursing time because being engorged doesn’t feel good.

            We don’t milk newly delivered cows (“fresh cows”) more frequently than the standard 3x a day. They don’t need it and it would just irritate the hell out of the teats. In fact, we skip up to two milkings on cows that had a rough delivery or just happened to deliver on their own within a hour or so of a milking time. Longer than that and the cow starts complaining – but it doesn’t affect their total volume of production once they are healthy enough to ramp up production.

            It’s so strange that dairy farmers trust cows’ bodies to time milk ramp up without resorting to absurd methods while LCs can’t.

          • Liz Leyden

            My maternity rotation was at a safety-net hospital. I saw quite a few moms from Honduras and Nicaragua. They believed colostrum was dangerous, so newborns ate formula for 2 or 3 days, then breastfed exclusively.

            I worked with the unit lactation consultant a few times. She seemed to believe that the smallest deviation would completely destroy breastfeeding. One mother tried and tried for 30 minutes to get her baby to latch. When mom used a nipple shield, the LC said it would lead to nipple confusion. It took everything I had not to say “Hispanic babies don’t have nipple confusion.”

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Bwahahaha!

          • Gatita

            They say they want successful breastfeeding but discourage things like nipple shields and early supplementation that correlate to longer BF duration, which demonstrates they are full of shit and that it’s not really about successful BF but ideology.

          • KarenJJ

            Similar reason why many babies in SE Asia get chewed up rice in those early days. People thought colostrum was pointless.

          • Allie P

            Yes! I’m not Latina, but I followed this advice for my second kid, and I can’t recommend it enough!

        • Allie P

          true. I started supplementing with my second the day we came hoe from the hospital. I’m rested, happy, and producing, and she was strong enough (FROM THE FORMULA) so that she could suck like a champ. We’re doing great, and not being stressed about my supply is a HUGE part of that.

    • Nick Sanders

      Not directly, no. But this blog has repeatedly showcased examples of them pretending a supply problem doesn’t exist, or is the mother’s fault and easily fixed.

    • Sarah

      But you put (rare!) in your post. As if to point out that some women just give up too early, no?

      And what if a woman has ample supply but it’s severely hindering her ability to bond with her baby? What if she’s tried everything for sore, cracked nipples or cluster feeds? What if she is suffering from PPD and the struggle of breastfeeding is just one extra straw that needn’t break the camels back? There are so many factors that go into a woman’s feeding choice. Let’s just drop “breast is best” and go with “healthy, flourishing baby is best.”

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      LOLO! That term doesn’t mean what you apparently think it means. What is the straw man in the argument that it is more important for a baby to thrive than to be fed a certain way?

    • Sarah

      What do you mean by ‘milk supply problem’ and ‘rare’ Rhiannon?

    • Megan

      In other words: “Sure, we repsect the decision to formula feed if you have a low supply problem. But you don’t have low supply. No one really has a low supply problem because that’s so rare! You just aren’t pumping enough, haven’t taken enough fenugreek to smell like an IHOP, haven’t put the baby to breast enough with your cracked and bleeding nipples, haven’t taken enough illegal meds, haven’t eaten enough oatmeal, aren’t drinking enough water, etc., etc., etc.”

      We’ve all heard your BS before. You don’t respect any woman or her choices. You only want your own feeding choice reflected back to you so you’ll feel better about yourself. So please leave. The smell of maple syrup and self righteousness is making me sick.

    • OttawaAlison

      My definition of rare is far less than 5%. I had a 1 in 300 to 400 event happen to me and I still don’t even see that as rare…

      • FormerPhysicist

        1 in 400 works out to average more than one kid in my kids’ elementary school. IOW – any year you check the school, there’s at least one kid with that condition. And in every other school around here. So – every single student in my town goes to school with at least one student with that condition. Doesn’t feel very rare, now does it?

        • Cobalt

          Exactly. 5% is 1 in 20. That’s at least one in each elementary school class. Two on each school bus. Three in each grade.

      • Gatita

        I had a one in 60,000 event. Now that is rare. Gimme a break with this 5% is rare bullshit.

    • Montserrat Blanco

      People who support breastfeeding…

      I do not know why it is necessary to support breastfeeding, no more than defecation, for example. It is just a body function.

      • sdsures

        Why isn’t there a Poop Appreciation Week?

        • Sarah

          Doesn’t everyone have a state fair? :p

          • sdsures

            My butt should be honored! (or the LC’s butt, since that seems to be where their credentials come from)

        • Montserrat Blanco

          It should be!

        • Michele

          We’re potty training the 3 year old. Every time he poops in the potty we have to have a Poop Appreciation Viewing and Celebration.

          • AirPlant

            The best is when they burst in and return the favor.
            “Mommy!!! You POOPED!!!” *dancing*

          • Kelly

            Especially when it is in a public restroom.

      • Roadstergal

        If there were a safe, effective alternative to pooping that I could buy off of the shelf at Safeway, I totally would. Ignoring the Butt Is Best messages.

        • Cobalt

          Not to be a total internet creep…but sometimes you really make my day. This is one of those times.

          • Roadstergal

            You’re the nicest internet creep I’ve ever had! 😀 (I think I’ve seen you on Twitter – I Twit under my real name.)

        • araikwao

          Wouldn’t that make you “too posh to push”? 😉

          • Roadstergal

            *dying*

          • Sue

            Brilliant, araikwao!

    • Sigh. They do advocate for it. 5% of women have supply issues. That’s 5/100. They just need to try harder, right?

      Do you care about the women who would simply prefer to focus on mothering not just feeding? Or do they just need to ‘try harder’?

      Do you care about the women who need to take medication but don’t because breastfeeding trumps their own health?

      I was told my daughter dropping 15% of her weight was no biggie because I had a cesarean. My pediatrician disagreed and in my case I pumped after every feed because god forbid she have formula, according to lactation staff. When it was still agony I was sent home with a nipple shield and told to wait it out.

      I have multiple friends who have been told to ignore hunger or to get breast milk from co-ops rather than feed formula. This is happening. Babies and mothers are suffering in the name of breast milk.

      I am a lactivist’s wet dream of a ‘success story’. I’m the kind of person that bitch Alpha Parent blogs about: I exclusively pumped and put myself through hell to breastfeed until a tongue tie was finally resolved (missed repeatedly by multiple lactation consultants, all of whom told me the pain couldn’t be that bad because my nipples weren’t bleeding and that my compressed nipple was my fault for not getting my daughter latched right) and am now still nursing at 13 months.

      I suffered depression and additional anxiety, agonizing pain, additional sleep deprivation, endless rounds of consults, difficult bonding all in the name of breastmilk. I like nursing, it makes my daughter and I happy now, but in retrospect but it wasn’t worth that. It wasn’t worth missing out for the first five months of her life. Nobody in the breastfeeding advocacy realm wants to hear stories like that.

      Strawman, indeed. *eyeroll*

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Really? Never? ‘Cause on a local LLL board, I was recently one of about twenty commenters on a post asking how to fight the Evil Pediatrician who might suggest Teh Evil Formula because, based on the poster’s kid’s weight/height info, the kid had dropped about 40-50 percentiles on the growth charts over six months. I was also the only one who said something to the effect of “if those measurements and chart percentiles are in fact correct, then yes, that means there’s a problem.” Everyone else? “Weight loss is normal!” “Don’t let him force your child to eat that crap!” “If he thinks it’s a problem, fire him! You’re the parent!” Etc.

      • Mac Sherbert

        What is wrong with people?!

      • Oh and don’t you DARE try to wean at 12 months, you selfish bitch. Or 24 months. Or 36 months. No, you have to nurse for as long as your kid wants it, your own feelings about the matter be damned. The hideous sanctimony that is directed at mums looking for help with weaning AFTER BREASTFEEDING LONGER THAN THEY WANTED TO AND WELL BEYOND AAP’S 6 MONTH MINIMUM on LLL boards is disgusting.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Not just nurse, but if my board is anything like representative, cosleep as well. Tired of being kicked/used as a milk bar all night by your two-year-old? Clearly, you just don’t love them enough, and are being selfish.

          • Liz Leyden

            Even if your kid doesn’t want to co-sleep? My kids have been in their own beds from the start, but I’ve tried co-sleeping a few times. My son loved it, my daughter spent 30 minutes trying to get away.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I would imagine so, if only because “if you aren’t nursing all night, your supply will be badly affected!”, but I couldn’t say for sure.
            My DD is like yours: once she was past the tiny newborn stage, she figured that if Mom’s around, it’s play/eat/anything-but-sleep time. I was a little sad, ’cause I admit there were a few times when I would have loved to snuggle with her for a nap once she was old enough that I wouldn’t worry about suffocation, but not all that sad: I like getting some “me” time during naptime, thankyouverymuch!

          • Kelly

            Mine is the same. If they even get a whiff that I am laying down, they see me as a jungle gym. It was hard to get my daughter to sleep when we were on vacation and I had to sleep with my three year old and one year old in a large bed when neither had ever slept with me.

          • demodocus

            “No nap, Mama!”

          • Cobalt

            My you get daughter hated sleeping next to anyone. Still does. That’s just the way she is, and there is no good reason to force her.

          • Montserrat Blanco

            I have seen posts for tips to cosleep with children that do not want to cosleep.

          • SuperGDZ

            My son also hated co-sleeping. Until he was about 4, and now I can’t dislodge him from my bed!

          • Dr Kitty

            That isn’t how parenting works though.
            Your kid doesn’t get to do what they want.
            You spend your life as a parent enforcing boundaries, making rules, letting your kid know what is and isn’t acceptable.
            That is how you raise secure, empathetic, socially well-adjusted, safe kids.

            If you don’t enjoy co-sleeping or nursing, or would prefer to implement an alternative strategy for feeding/sleeping than your current one, being able to do that sensibly and help your child adjust to the changes shows better parenting skills and is kinder to your child long term than allowing your toddler to decide how to run your life.

            If the changes you want to make are something safe, and it is developmentally appropriate for you to make them at this time in your child’s life, and the desired outcome is a better quality of life for everyone involved…just do it.

            Do not send out messages that your own desires and needs aren’t important, or that if they make enough of a fuss the kids can have their own way. That is making a rod for your own back.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            EXACTLY. This x1000.
            All of what you posted about was something I struggled with when I became a mom. Society tells us that in order to be a good mom, you have to give in to your baby’s every whim, respond the second he/she so much as whimpers, and so on. To be a good mom, you have to neglect your physical and emotional health, even to the point of neglecting personal hygiene.
            The fact is, society is wrong.
            Sure, newborns need to eat at night; if they wake up and cry for food, you feed them! However, they will *not* suffer some sort of long-term damage if you pee first, or if they wake up at minute 5 of a 10-minute-long shower and they have to wait those five minutes—perhaps even six, while you tie back your hair and throw on some semblance of clothing! Seriously, I remember one awful night with DD early on; I desperately needed to pee, and had had to for the last couple of hours, but she wouldn’t stop crying and go to sleep, and I thought I couldn’t until she did. Finally, I had to either go to the bathroom or pee in the rocker, so I put her in her rock-and-play, and RAN to the bathroom, sobbing “I’m so sorry, baby, I’m so sorry!” the whole time. I genuinely thought I was doing a horrible thing by letting her cry for two minutes while I relieved myself.
            Also, once they’re old enough and big enough to sleep through the night, a complete night’s rest for all involved is one of the greatest things you can give your family. Teaching kids good sleep habits will help them all their lives. I can’t tell you how many parents I’ve seen post on boards that their 2-, 3-, 4-year-olds don’t sleep through the night, and, therefore, don’t let their parents and siblings do so either. This is, barring medical reasons, total madness.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            We should give these lactation obsessed people a puppy. A puppy they have to treat like their baby and respond to every whimper and want to go outsideoutside. Walks even when it’s 3am. Every. Single. Whim. But they can’t breast feed the puppy.

            See how long their martyr attitude lasts when they can’t use their breasts to prop themselves up over everyone else.

          • AirPlant

            And if you even suggest that breastfeeding all night might contribute to tooth decay? You clearly are an illiterate troll out to sabotage all breastfeeding relationships.

          • PenFox

            Yes, this 1000 times. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that breastmilk is “different” from cows milk and “protects” infant teeth even though cows milk at night rots teeth.

        • Cobalt

          “No, you have to nurse for as long as your kid wants it, your own feelings about the matter be damned.”

          Unless your kid decides to wean before age two. In that case it’s just a “nursing strike” and the child needs to be cajoled or even starved into nursing again, the child’s own feelings be damned.

        • araikwao

          I asked my son one morning, when he got to 15 months, was on one feed a day, and didn’t seem t be taking much anymore, “Do you want milk from Mummy or milk from the fridge?” He pointed in the direction of the kitchen, and never breastfed again. My daughter did something similar, ar almost exactly the same age. Obviously it is an inherent deficiency in my mothering skills, I should never have asked them what they wanted, and stopped giving them breakfast and dinner instead. Isn’t that how my breasts (because that is what is important about me) get some kind of award or something?

          • Dr Kitty

            I called a halt on BF when DD was 16 months old.
            I did not enjoy coming home from work and having an angry toddler attempt to undress me as I crossed the threshold. Objectifying wasn’t the word.

            I told her she was too big to have my milk and needed big girl drinks. We went to the shops, she chose some nice sippy cups, I wore high necked clothing for a few days and we made a new routine with a cup of Milo and a cookie when I got home from work, and an extra song at bedtime instead of breast feeding. No drama.

            I have friends who told their toddlers that Santa needed mummy’s milk to feed the reindeer, so there was none left, or that the milk fairy took away mummy’s milk and left some nice cups instead. Whatever works for you.

            We put DH in her own room when she was about 4 months old and too big for the Moses basket. She’ll occasionally sleep in our bed if she is sick, and will come into our bed for cuddles on weekend mornings, but she’s always been a great sleeper with no interest in co-sleeping, which suits us.

            With #2 I’m planning on a Moses basket in our room at the start, then we’ll see what kind of a sleeper we have before deciding whether and when to move the baby either into kiddo’s room or its own bedroom.

          • SuperGDZ

            By 12 months I was BF only when my son woke up in the morning and when he went to sleep at night. I introduced a cup of cow’s milk at both times – he had some breast milk and some cow’s milk. This continued until he was 22 months, which was fine because it was limited to those specific times. He weaned himself when we went on a beach holiday and he was so excited that he forgot boob for a couple of days.

    • wookie130

      Is that why a friend of a friend of mine told me that because I was using formula, I was feeding my daughter “crap from a dumpster” and that I was “poisoning her” by not breastfeeding her? Oh, and apparently I “didn’t try hard enough.” Never mind the fact that I saw 5 different LC’s, purchased donor milk from our hospital milk bank (EXPENSIVE!!!!), used a SNS, pumped my head off, and then was diagnosed with IGT…cue the massive bout of depression triggered by not being able to feed my children “the right way.”

      Dumbass friend of a friend, seriously.

      But, I guess this type of thing is “rare”!

      • Liz Leyden

        What the hell?!

      • Kelly

        She is still not your “friend” is she?

    • ladyloki

      Really? Because I can tell you hundreds of stories of mothers who had milk supply issues, and how most of those mothers were told NOT to use formula. One of them has a son with developmental delays contributed to the lack of nutrients he had over his first four months. One had a daughter who nearly died because of the push to keep her off formula.

      Or how about the mother who had both breasts removed and was told that she might still be able to breastfeed through her armpits while they did their best to refuse formula to her?

      Doesn’t sound like “never” to me. Or perhpas you don’t understand what the word never means.

      • Allie P

        if i were that mastectomy patient and milk did come out of my armpits i’d have my cancer surgeon on the phone so fast his head would spin. “bro, you left some.”

    • moto_librarian

      You know what? Screw you. Yet another lactivist here to tell me that milk supply problems are “rare.” People like you ruined my postpartum period with my first child. Turns out that I have IGT, but all I kept hearing was “keep trying and it will work.” Even if only 5% of women have supply problems, that a pretty damned big number. We don’t need nosy women casting judgment on whether or not we tried hard enough to breast feed our children.

    • Tara

      5% of women have IGT. 6% of women are infertile. I guess that makes infertility (rare!) as well.

    • Daleth

      I’ve heard countless people say that if you just pump and/or nurse more, if you just take fenugreek or eat lactation cookies, etc. etc., you WILL make enough. I’ve heard countless people say not to worry if your baby is dropping percentiles dramatically–so long as they’re not actually losing weight, they claim, the baby is getting enough food. I’ve heard people deny that breast milk is ever deficient in any nutrient or in calories.

      In other words they don’t think it is ever impossible or that any woman’s breastmilk isn’t just perfect, and they urge women to ignore evidence of a supply problem (such as baby plummeting to lower percentiles with each checkup).

      Is that somehow ok?

      • Sue

        And if the body knows how to produce enough milk for the baby’s needs, what’s the fenugreek for?

        • Daleth

          Great question!

    • Fallow

      The problem with saying that a group of people “never” do something, is that it only requires one example to prove you wrong. Here are two:

      I have an acquaintance who believed all that bullshit about low supply being soooo raaaare, and her child was diagnosed as failure to thrive as a result. Solution: formula, after a pediatrician laboriously talked her into it. Kid was fine.

      I had another lactivist friend who encouraged me to not listen to my daughter’s pediatrician when he said my daughter was not gaining weight well enough in the first week. She said it was okay for her to gain so slowly that it earned pediatric concern – because pediatricians don’t know shit, according to her. Solution: I fucking ignored her and supplemented my daughter.

    • Gatita

      Five percent of women can’t produce enough milk to exclusively BF their child–that’s one in 20 women. Not rare. And then there are the babies who can’t nurse effectively for a number of reasons: low tone, poor latch, motor planning issues, etc. That means the percentage of mother-child dyads who can’t exclusively BF is even higher than five percent. So can we please stop with the bullshit myth that BF problems are rare? They aren’t at all.

    • SporkParade

      It’s true; the hospital nurses gaslighted me about dehydration, not malnutrition. Because dark orange urine, extreme lethargy and loss of over 10% of birth weight are totally normal, and I’ll never be able to breastfeed if I insist on taking a break from nursing to do selfish things like take a shower to wash off all the blood and vernix staining my thighs from having given birth 36 hours prior.

    • SuperGDZ

      I was able to BF exclusively, but only with great difficulty. I didn’t produce a great deal of milk, and had a poor let-down response, regardless of whether I was BF my baby directly or using a hospital grade pump. It boggles my mind now to recall the sheer amount of time I spent pumping tiny quantities of milk, or cluster feeding from 3pm to 10pm straight, the exhaustion, the misery, everything that went undone because I was permanently attached either to my baby’s mouth or to my pump. If I had to do it again I would certainly supplement with formula, even if it meant losing my supply and exclusively FF. I’m sure there’s at least another 5% like me.

    • demodocus

      I had a milk supply problem. An LC helpfully told me mine was “a good problem to have”, and I suppose so, even if my kid had to cluster feed just to get past the colostrum. Even after a few months, I could pump a bottle-full on one side while he nursed on the other to satiation.
      Then there are the blisters.

  • AirPlant

    My mother’s body responded to breastfeeding beautifully. Adequate supply, no pain, and my brother and I both latched with no problems. The didn’t stop my mother from bursting into tears at the pediatrician saying that she hated every second of nursing a baby with a busy toddler. I wouldn’t say I am a sucess story in terms of overall health, but even if switching to formula at three months caused my environmental and skin allergies, I will take it anyday over the image of my crying mother trying to soldier on.

  • momofone

    “Breast isn’t best. A happy, healthy, growing, baby is best.”

    Perfect.