MilkMeg and lactivists’ crushing lack of self-esteem

self esteem

The Alpha Parent, queen of lactivist viciousness, appears to have dropped off the map. But fortunately for me, a new queen of viciousness has crawled out from under a rock, The Milk Meg.

Meg Nagle, the eponymous Milk Meg, describes herself thus:

In between breastfeeding my youngest boy, chasing after my oldest two boys, blogging and occasionally sleeping …I work with women to help them reach their breastfeeding goals!

I have a degree in Psychology and was a La Leche League Leader (breastfeeding counsellor) for seven years before becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I write frequently on my blog about all things breastfeeding …

I am currently being filmed for a short film documentary titled, “Lactaboobiephobia” which is based on an article I wrote about breastfeeding in public.

Meg has recently written an exquisitely reprehensible post that highlights the crushing lack of self-esteem that appears to afflict many lactivists. In their desperation to feel superior to somebody, anybody, they’ve imbued breastfeeding with significance far beyond its actual benefits, have made shaming of bottle feeding mothers intrinsic to lactivism, and react with cruelty when anyone dares question their right to shame anyone who doesn’t mirror their choices back to them.

Meg, we recognize that your need to bully other women means that you really don’t feel very good about yourself.

The title of the piece is You’re offended? You feel judged? Here’s why I don’t give a shit… (cached version).

The irony is that Meg does give a shit.

She wants you to be offended, indeed, she needs you to be offended. How else can she feel superior to you if she doesn’t flaunt her amazing “talent” to lactate, right up there with her ability to respirate and digest her food.

Meg, with her degree in psychology, ought to recognize her piece as projection, but she can’t.

What is projection?

Projection is a defense mechanism that involves taking our own unacceptable qualities or feelings and ascribing them to other people. For example, if you have a strong dislike for someone, you might instead believe that he or she does not like you. Projection works by allowing the expression of the desire or impulse, but in a way that the ego cannot recognize, therefore reducing anxiety.

In this case, Meg is projecting her feelings of inferiority on the very people she criticizes in order to keep her own feelings of inferiority at bay.

Meg’s fragile sense of self-esteem depends on her ability to shame others who choose to formula feed. The idea that it impolite at best and cruel at worst to shame mothers who formula feed, fills her with despair and rage, so she lashes out.

Consider the main points as to why she doesn’t “give a shit that you’re offended.” The projection embodied within these statements imbues them with pathos.

It’s your ego talking…My husband loves the little phrase he made up, “Ego…let it go!” Ego is defined as, “a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.” It is this very thing that drives people’s need to FEEL something when they read or hear something. “I AM IMPORTANT!” We want to scream!! “SOMEONE LISTEN TO ME AND MY IMPORTANT STORY!” “SOMEONE MUST UNDERSTAND THAT MY STORY IS DIFFERENT!”

Yes, Meg needs to feel that people are listening to her and her important story, featuring her lactating breasts.

The lens you see this in is completely different to the next person …it’s all about our perspective.

That’s right, Meg. You cannot tolerate anyone else’s perspective but your own, and it enrages you that others aren’t impressed with your “achievement” or are hurt or offended by your boasting.

Your feelings are not facts… and yes “offended” is a feeling.

Actually, in this setting women’s feelings are facts. Therefore, Meg, if your claims offend women (and it is a fact that women are offended), it is up to you to examine what you have said and how you said it. It is possible that you did not mean for other women to feel offended, in which case you should clarify. However, your insistence that you don’t give a shit when other women are offended indicates that you don’t care how your words impact others.

Someone questioned my philosophy on not being offended or upset by someone’s words and they used bullying in school as an example. I see this exactly the same though. When my middle boy was being bullied … I said to him, “He must really not feel very good about himself to be spending time saying these things to you. All of those things he is saying doesn’t matter because you know you are a good person. You know the truth so he can say whatever he likes.” I then told him to tell him that he cannot talk to him like that as it’s also equally important to stand up to oneself. After a few days of telling this boy, “Don’t talk to me like that.” The boy stopped!

And what if the bully responded that he didn’t give a shit how your son felt and that he would go right on bullying anyone he chose? What if, Meg, the bully responded like you’re responding?

Let’s see if you solution to bullying works when you are the bully:

Meg, we recognize that your need to bully other women means that you really don’t feel very good about yourself. Don’t talk to other women like that!

Are you going to stop bullying other women now? I doubt it.

You are not special…because we are all special.

And that’s your deepest fear, Meg, isn’t it? Breastfeeding doesn’t make you special, so you double down on your insistence that it does make you special and that those who don’t breastfeeding should be shamed.

Let’s take the phrase, “I’m offended” and start focusing on being in charge of our own happiness and feelings … instead of putting it in other people’s hands.

I’ve got a better idea, Meg. Let’s take the phrase “I’m offended” and start focusing on why you feel your own happiness depends on offending others.

As a first step, start “giving a shit” when others are offended and examining your contributions to their feelings.

If you can be honest with yourself, you may be surprised at what you find.

  • Sarah

    As a formula feeder by choice, I give so few shits about Meg and her Incredibly Important Views that frankly, I can’t be arsed clicking on the link to the article.

  • Zen

    Maybe this is just because I have never attempted to breastfeed a child, but if breastfeeding isn’t working right off the bat, how many different types of fancy tricks are actually available/possible to make it work? Seems like you could try a few different things, but I can’t envision breastfeeding as some sort of sorcery that would have 10,000 complex, personalized troubleshooting solutions. I’m just thinking of lactation consultants who solely work on helping breastfeeding mothers and babies for a living; how exactly do you make a career out of that? If it’s not working, it’s not working…

    • Kelly

      That is the problem. Many won’t acknowledge that it does not work and will make a woman go through hell and back to have some kind of breastfeeding relationship. The good ones will acknowledge that some people will not be able to do it and will recommend formula as the safest alternative.

      • Evelyn

        There is indeed only so far that we can go. What I can’t quite figure out though, is the idea that IBCLCs can *make* a woman do anything at all. If a mother calls me and I work with her over the phone or an in person visit, when I’ve examined the baby, seen a feed and answered all the questions the parents have, I go home and I write up my observations and my recommendations. I send those to the parents and to their health care provider if appropriate. And then I never have contact with that family again unless they initiate (9/10 times I get follow up questions, which I answer, and sometimes I make another visit). I don’t chase down clients or phone them or show up at their doors. My purpose is to help mothers who want to breastfeed, to be able to breastfeed if at all possible, for the duration and exclusivity they choose. Some mothers can and do go to great lengths to work it out, and some families don’t have the flexibility or the resources to go as far, and they may combination feed, or only nurse for a few weeks, whatever they decide for their family.

        • Kelly

          You can’t but the big problem is that these women are in a vulnerable state and are feeling guilty if they don’t breastfeed. As long as you are supporting them and not trying to browbeat them into breastfeeding, then you are a great IBCLC. Also, someone with more experience and training should be able to tell when a woman might not make her goals and guide her to better goals like sometimes supplementing or going to full time formula.

          • Evelyn

            Rule #1 is Feed the Baby! Rule #1 is also Mother Knows Best.

    • Evelyn

      The ones who solely work at helping moms are at big hospitals in big cities and are part of the package for moms who birth there, if they indicate they intend to breastfeed. There is actually a really sizeable list of potential issues in the mother, and another list of potential issues in the baby, but one visit with the right questions and observations narrows it way down, of course. Some are quick fixes, and some are long and drawn out, like anatomical issues with the baby. It really depends on how far a mother wants to go. I worked once with a mom whose baby had a hidden birth injury that left her unable to latch properly for three months, until she grew and got strong enough to work it out herself. That mom tried latching periodically, but mostly pumped her milk. Physical therapy or osteopathic manipulation would have made it far quicker, but that wasn’t accessible where she was. I would never look down on a mother who couldn’t manage that–that’s a heck of a lot of pumping, which isn’t accessible to every mother, it would be very hard to do with other children to look after or a job outside the home–but that’s what she chose to do, and she was fortunate to have support people who helped it happen, instead of communicating to her that it was too hard, or she should quit. I’m all for mothers making their own decisions. What I find upsetting is not that some mothers choose not to breastfeed, but that those who want to often don’t have either the resources, or properly educated support people to help them reach their goals, or a culture which values the investment.

  • Lisa
    • Mattie

      ohgod 🙁

    • momofone

      There’s no way this will work. Dolphins can’t even knit!

      • Sue

        Just as well – the yarn would get all caught up in the rocks and seaweedy stuff.

    • MaineJen

      The pair also say their baby will be able speak ‘dolphin’.

      Oh FFS.

      • Sue

        Babies ALREADY speak dolphin! It takes them years to learn a human language, however.

        • Sarah

          I think mine might be able to speak cat.

    • Azuran

      I’m very mean but part of me does wish those dolphins will turn on her (or her hours of struggling and bleeding into the ocean will attract sharks). When you do something so obviously ridiculously stupid, you totally deserve the obvious consequences.
      Of course, although the risk is unacceptable, everything will probably end up all right (worst case scenario, those dolphins will not show up for the birth, much like some lay midwifes are known for) and more and more people will start doing idiotic stuff like that.

      Here’s an idea: The Canadian Birth
      The pregnant woman shall time her conception so she will give birth in the middle of winter.
      Then she shall eat and fatten herself up a lot before birth, then find herself a cave or dig a hole. She will spend the whole winter in that hole, where she will give birth alone and breastfeed her baby without eating anything until spring.

    • Megan

      That poor baby…

    • Roadstergal

      Shall we re-visit our discussion from several weeks ago about all of the fish poop, dog poop, decaying animal and vegetable matter, garbage, and other fun stuff that gets in the ocean?

      Also, can’t the native Hawaiians have just a _little_ spell of time when white people don’t try to appropriate their stuff?

      http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/09/01/12/2BDF2EB400000578-3218121-Dorina_and_her_partner_Maika_travel_to_Hawaii_for_the_delivery_o-a-6_1441106591963.jpg

  • Bugsy

    I had trouble finding _any_ of Milk Meg’s blog posts underneath her glaring book promotion that took up my entire screen. Certainly seems legit and not out for $$ in any context…

  • Fallow

    That’s so absurd I’m actually laughing.

    • Kerryn Gill-Rich

      Me too! It’s been nice chatting!

  • D/

    As an IBCLC I share the same job and do understand the frustrations that come with it which were being throw around in this piece. I work very hard, for the majority of my waking hours, to help women meet their breastfeeding goals and I, too, think breastfeeding is important. I can however (and, in fact, should) do all that and still “give a shit” about whether my professional words or approach are (or could easily be interpreted as) offensive or judgmental.

    Why I should give a shit if you’re offended …

    It might be my agenda talking … It’s not at all out of the realm of possibility for the very same passion that allows effective support of breastfeeding families to easily blind breastfeeding advocates to any other interpretation of their comments. If I don’t intend to come across as offensive and judgmental then I should care if someone tells me that I have.

    The lens you see this through, your perspective, is completely different to the next person … and it is quite likely if I take a moment and really listen, I may learn something new to improve my practice from each of those perspectives, OVER and over, every time.

    Your feelings are not facts … but they damn sure aren’t trivial either, and they are absolutely real. Further if I don’t realize the impact I have in how a new mother feels about her mothering ability in the middle of (and even long after) that hormonal, sleep deprived soup of a mess that most women find themselves hip deep in, then I am not paying any attention to what I am doing, at all.

    Being subjected to bullying in school (and at home) as a child largely shaped my philosophy on the power of someone’s words on another person … Without any exaggeration it is fair to say for all of my elementary years that I was absolutely at the bottom of the social ladder for the entire school. I was an unkempt child with her nose always in a book who lived in a “three-sided shack”. I was THE kid that any other kid could have felt comfortable picking on, and a *great* number of them, in fact, did … relentlessly, for 7 years. I survived it though along with coming home to witness my grandfather’s verbal abuse toward my grandmother almost every day.

    “Don’t talk to me like that” would have been like taking a thimble full of water to a forest fire. The lessons I learned were that bullies thrive in packs, it’s easier to pretend kids can always work it out themselves and that the child (or even the adult) victim always has control over their well being. Most importantly though was that I can smell a bully (any age) a mile off and wasn’t going to put up with that shit for one minute once I got away from it as an adult!

    You are not special because we are all special … However true this may be, as the professional whose job it is to help folks through these obstacles and through the processing of the aftermath of their special circumstances, I accept that I absolutely can “make” you feel something through my words and actions. And that I am not so special as to be excused from apologizing for that even if I in no way intended for it to happen … or perhaps even apologize for someone else doing it … which I am doing now.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD
    • Kerryn Gill-Rich

      Well done Meg! You’re the bigger person!

      • Fallow

        You misspelled “asshole”.

        • Who?

          lol

        • Kerryn Gill-Rich

          Oh look, a keyboard warrior!! Goodie!!

          • Sarah

            Oh look, your mum.

        • monojo

          A cowardly asshole, the worst kind.

  • Kerryn Gill-Rich

    This post doesn’t surprise me one bit coming from a doctor. I struggled to feed my baby and searched high and low for a medical professional to help me sort out why I couldn’t feed my 4th baby successfully.. Their answer? Just give her formula!! They had NO idea!! They weren’t trained in breastfeeding, they weren’t interested in anything other than charging me $200 for a 10 minute consultation which no doubt worked wonders in lining their pockets!!

    No wonder The Milk Meg and other IBCLC’s need to fight so hard to help women breastfeed successfully when the medical profession are both ignorant AND arrogant as displayed here… I’d rather give Meg the money, any day!!

    • Fallow

      I’m going to repeat what I said in a comment below. An IBCLC “professional” told me I was lazy, and wanted to put me on an incredibly punishing pumping schedule, and to take gigantic doses of unregulated, unproven herbal supplements – less than a week after I came perilously close to dying in childbirth. She had no regard for whether any of these supplements would harm me, and very little respect for how incredibly sick I still was. She clearly had no fundamental understanding of whether or not supplements like those have any evidence behind them, or if they can be dangerous to a postpartum woman who just endured an assault on her liver or kidneys. She had no clue. She just wanted tits to fire milk.

      If that’s being “trained” in breastfeeding, something very fundamental about lactation consultant education must change.

      • Kerryn Gill-Rich

        I nearly lost my kidneys due to multiple Dr missing my symptoms!! Who picked it up? My IBCLC.. Go figure.. Lol

        • SuperGDZ

          How convenient.

        • wookie130

          Well, I guess there’s your answer. The next time you have a life-threatening emergency, and need immediate and critical medical attention, go to your IBCLC. They’ve got all the sauce.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            In fact, the answer is see someone that specialised in the area you require… Dr know nothing about lactation.. Nothing! Utterly useless.

          • Megan

            So because the doctor you saw didn’t tell you what you wanted to hear, all doctors know nothing about lactation?

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            I have 4 kids.. Breastfed for 10 years and seen many doctors in that time.. I am yet to meet a dr that is knowledgable.. So yes, doctors know nothing about lactation!!

          • Megan

            There are quite a few doctors on this board alone who have personal knowledge breastfeeding and who have extensive knowledge about lactation. Dr. Amy breastfed all four of her children. Just because the handful of docs you met didn’t meet your expectations doesn’t mean all are ignorant. I’m sure you would never generalize that all LC’s are rabid lactivists based on the personal experiences of many here so why would you lump all doctors together?

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Because in the vast majority, it is the case! You don’t have to look too far into the poor state of breastfeeding success and hear stories from mums who desperately wanted to breastfeed but their dr advised them to do something destructive to a successful breastfeeding relationship! Our national helpline has endless examples as do support pages I’m involved with… So, unfortunately, it’s not just my handful of dr..

          • sdsures

            Feed the kid first – worry about your breasts later. The level of your self-involvement is scary.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Lol.. The level of you non involvement is scarier!

          • Fallow

            It’s scarier that sdsures thinks a baby should be fed no matter what, even at the cost of the mother’s ego issues? I don’t get how that’s scary at all, actually.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Maybe retread.. My baby was fed.. The dr had no ability to help me sort out breastfeeding..

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            You don’t have to look too far into the poor state of breastfeeding success

            In what respect is there a “poor state of breastfeeding success”?

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            96% of mothers initiate breastfeeding. Thereafter, exclusive breastfeeding rates drop off. Less than half (39%) of babies are still being exclusively breastfed to 3 months (less than 4 months) and less than one quarter (15%) to 5 months (less than 6 months).

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            But how many are still breastfeeding to some extent? What is the obsession with “exclusive” breastfeeding, especially at 5 months? A large number of babies are started on solids at 4 – 5 months, so of course they aren’t being exclusively breastfed. What’s wrong with that (in the US)? However, they could still be breastfed at that point. Why do you consider them a failure? Personally, I would consider a baby that is eating solids at 6 months but still breastfeeding to be a breastfeeding success, but you folks consider them failures.

            And if you want to promote EBF until 3 months, the obvious place to start is with US maternity leave laws. Pumping is possible but it is a pain in the ass, and it is moronic to insist that someone do it, when you have a perfectly good alternative in formula.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            I’m
            Not in U.S.. I had 32 weeks paid maternity leave.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            So why are so many supplementing? Because it works best for them, and the difference is trivial.

            Again, how many are still being breastfed to some extent?

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Well that would be because of the poor advice given by the very people we hope can help us… You guessed it.. Doctors!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            What is the poor advice? That the benefits of breastfeeding in first world countries are trivial? That’s true. Even the WHO acknowledges it (the only long-term benefit the WHO could find was a couple point difference in IQ)

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Very happy to look at that evidence based research to support your claims!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Here’s the WHO report

            http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/79198/1/9789241505307_eng.pdf

            Most importantly, go to the conclusions. You will see a lot of “evidence suggests a small effect….but confounders make it impossible to say anything for sure” and no cases of “here’s a clear, significant benefit.”

            So even ignoring the problems of uncontrolled confounders, they couldn’t find anything significant. Hence my characterization of the long term benefits as “trivial.”

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            If suggest you take a look at research around HAMLET etc., you may change your views.. Actually, I retract that! But you might still find it interesting.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            You disagree with the WHO?

            ETA: Their report was in 2013. Do you think they were unaware of the “research around HAMLET”?

          • Megan

            Are you unwilling to admit that there might be many reasons for that, not just doctors?? Perhaps, women going back to work, actual real troubles with breastfeeding that can’t be solved by saying “pump more/nurse more” or “take fenugreek” or perhaps maybe women just (gasp!) don’t want to continue breastfeeding!! Wait let me guess what you’ll say: women just need more education and support?

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Of course there are many reasons! You’d be fairly ignorant to ignore the lack of training doctors have around breastfeeding.. It plays a pretty big part in wen being isles and ultimately effecting their feeding success!

          • Megan

            But there are plenty of doctors who do have experience and training in lactation. I’m sure you won’t admit that though because as an IBCLC that might affect your bottom line. I suspect the lack of maternity leave in the US is the biggest reason women don’t continue to BF. Regardless of why women switch to formula feeding, who cares? Formula feeding is not harmful. Breastfeeding has only trivial benefits in first world countries with access to clean water (like the US). That’s what the best science on breastfeeding shows.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            I’m not an IBCLC if that’s what you’re suggesting.. I just saw one.. After seeing many dr to try and sort out my troubles! THEY were my first choice to try and help my baby.. They let me down!! And the more I talk about it, the more I discover how common that is!!

          • Megan

            Funny, the more I talk about my bad breasfeeding experiee e and now horrible 3 out of 4 of the LC’s I talked to were, the more common I see it is. The only good LC was finally the only one (besides my doctor!) to say to me you have done enough and you’re a good mom even if your baby needs formula. The others were so obsessed with breastfeeding as an ideology they had nothing to offer.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Why does being a good mum come into this? Why would you think that that is determined by how you feed your baby? Strange.. But at least now I understand how you’ve come to your conclusions!

          • Megan

            That is not my belief but the belief of lactivists. That is why so many formula feeding moms feel shamed. That is how I was made to feel by lactivists and LC’s when I could not breastfeed.

          • Sue

            Why would a doctor be the first point of call for breast-feeding advice?

            A doctor would be the first point of call to check the health of yourself and your baby. A lactation consultant or early childhood nurse would be the first point of call for breasfeeding advice.

            You’re angry because you made the wrong choice and that “let you down” (!!)

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Doctors have always been my first place for felt in any health related concern… diet, illness, injury, etc.. Not any more! Lesson learnt!

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Please post links to that ‘best science’ I’m yet to see any plausible studies that show this!

          • Megan

            You can start with the PROBIT study and the discordant sibling study. I’m not posting links for you since they are easy to find and you are the one who parachuted in here to “educate” us all. You can look it up if you’re so educated.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Lol

          • Nick Sanders

            As satisfying as that may feel, we don’t get to dump the burden of proof just because the other person is being a jerk. If we want to say our arguments are better than those of the woomeisters, we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

          • Megan

            I provided the links above. I doubt it will make much difference.

          • Nick Sanders

            Yeah, but “here’s my evidence, now put up or shut up” is a great way to expose people for who they really are.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I linked to the WHO report 5 minutes before you posted this comment. I trust that you will retract your comment (a simple edit, “Nevermind, they’ve been provided” will suffice)

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            If ONLY what you linked was of any use for your argument.. It’s a shame the evidence has to be twisted to support it!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            How did I twist any evidence? I just summarized their conclusions.

          • yentavegan

            OT…Kerryn please continue to come to this web site and read up on all these wonderful eclectic parents with various levels of education. I learned humility and balance by having my knee jerk beliefs shredded apart. Challenge is important for growth.

          • Megan

            Ok, Nick has convinced me to be more generous. I still think the burden of proff should fall on those parachuting in to disagree but here the links are anyway.

            PROBIT study that found only reduction in GI infection, used intent to treat analysis, which is rare in breastfeeding research:

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/11242425/

            Here is the discordant sibling study, which controlled for socioeconomic status and maternal IQ by using siblings, one breastfed, the other formula fed:

            http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953614000549

            And Dr Tuteur’s post about the discordant sibling study:

            http://www.skepticalob.com/2014/02/hold-the-guil-new-study-finds-benefits-of-breastfeeding-dramatically-overstated.html

            Plus Bofa gave you the WHO info, and they concede that benefits of breastfeeding are trivial in first world countries with clean water. That should be a good start for you.

          • Megan

            *crickets*

            Of course…

          • Sue

            We’ve discussed the evidence here many times.

            Here’s just one example:
            http://www.skepticalob.com/2013/05/world-health-organization-no-long-term-benefits-to-breastfeeding.html

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Oh goodie, another link to a skeptical blog!! I’m excited!

          • Sue

            Kerryn – what makes you so indignant about GPs not all being lactation experts? Isn’t that why we have lactation nurses and early childhood nurses? We also have physios and dietitians, podiatrists and occupational therapists – we don’t expect doctors to provide every type of therapy for every life issue, do we?

          • moto_librarian

            How long is the average maternity leave in this country?

            HINT: a shocking number of women have to go back to work 2 weeks postpartum.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            I’m just about the hit the magic 2 years maternity leave.. 32 weeks paid here!

          • Megan

            I hope you are thankful for that privlege. I took 12 weeks unpaid leave before going back to work on a very limited part time basis and I am much more fortunate than most in the US. Most women here only take 2-4 weeks…And then get criticized for not breastfeeding for a year.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            …congrats?
            You get 6 weeks unpaid here, and sometimes that only under certain conditions.

          • madcapfeline

            Ah, statistics with no context. Love it. How many of those mothers are employed? My boss was a pretty cool cat, but I’m reasonably confident that she wouldn’t have been cool with my bringing a squalling infant to work with me, just so that I could stick him on my boob every couple hours…

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Ah, statistics with no context.

            Actually, this is the direction I intended to go with my question (“And why do you think that is ‘poor'”?), but she went with the “Exclusive breast feeding” part which is nonsensical from the start.

          • Nick Sanders

            And this is a problem because?

          • Cobalt

            After trying breastfeeding, many mothers decide that formula better suits the family’s needs. Can’t fault them for that, they are doing what’s best for their situation.

          • DaisyGrrl

            That’s nice. Know what three months of exclusive breastfeeding got me? A failure to thrive diagnosis. Formula fixed that.

          • Linden

            I’m in the UK, and almost every medical professional involved in my pregnancy and follow-up until DS was 1 year old, was a woman. I saw one male anesthetist and one male midwife. Many of the doctors I saw mentioned their own children, and many had breastfed. I can’t imagine seeing 5 doctors that were completely clueless about breastfeeding. I *can* imagine 5 doctors faced with a narcissist holding a starving baby, hoping to persuade her to give the goddamn baby some food!

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Welcome to Australuan Doctors!

          • Sue

            I am an Australian doctor. Does your generalisation apply to me?

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            If your knowledge is lacking.. Absolutely!

          • Who?

            Tiresome. Unbelievably tiresome. Do the babies get fed? Can you line them up at three months, six months, one year, school commencement, 18 yrs or 21 yrs and tell, based on benchmarks, who was bottlefed and who was breastfed.

            No?

            Who cares then.

            Perhaps if people had child feeding goals rather than breastfeeding goals babies and mothers might do a bit better.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Maybe you’d be best using your time extending your knowledge rather than arguing on the Internet.. I’d be happy to suggest you start with this book..

            http://www.amazon.com/Milk-Matters-Infant-feeding-disorder/dp/0959318313

          • sdsures

            Apparently neither do you: babies aren’t supposed to shrink and grow lanugo.

          • Amazed

            How does the biological setup to breastfeed conform to meeting all those doctors? Women who were designed to breastfeed don’t need them doctors, or mommy blogs and Meg to tell them how to fix matters.

          • Sue

            On the basis that none of the doctors you have seen were knowledgeable about breastfeeding, you came here to attack an obstetrician who has personally breast-fed four children of her own?

            Sure, makes sense. Sigh.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Have you read her thoughts on breastfeeding? That’s EXACTLY why I came here.. Sigh.

          • sdsures

            Do they have neurosurgeons, too?

        • Fallow

          What is this non sequitur? A LC diagnosing kidney problems would be working WAY outside of her scope. Not that’s not a good thing she noticed something was wrong – of course it is. But you aren’t seriously suggesting LCs have actual ability to diagnose medical problems?

          • Sarah

            My lactation consultant can turn water into wine.

    • broomrider

      I had the hospital IBCLC who was supposedly educated told me that I needed to get off the medication I took for a crippling health issue, that could kill me if I got off of it, so I could breastfeed. Because apparently this health issue was “all in my head” and “there was no proof this drug was dangerous during breastfeeding.” Yeah, and zero proof it was safe, you uneducated moron.

      I never wanted her to come in the room, I had a sign on the door telling her not to come in, and I called my insurance and told them if she billed them to not pay it. And she did bill them – for $500 for 5 minutes of bullying until I threatened to scream for security.

      • Fallow

        THIS here is a point WELL worth addressing. This is another example of an LC operating outside her field to promote ideology over everything.

    • Are you sure they weren’t saying to give your baby fomula *now* so she wouldn’t starve, and so you could work out the issues with a less hungry baby?

      • Kerryn Gill-Rich

        I was in there for minutes before it was suggested.. You would think to make an informed decision you would take a history, weigh the baby, do some ons.. Lol.. Nope, nothing! But it still cost me $200!

        • wookie130

          As if seeing an IBCLC (who would have undoubtedly supported your feeding choices, as long as it was breastfeeding) would have been free! I wasn’t aware that they worked on a volunteer basis only! How enlightening!

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Hi Wookie.. So that you know for your next baby.. IBCLC support formula fed babies too! There are several free ones I can get there details for you if you like… The lady o see is in QLD, Australia if that’s close to you?

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            But LCs aren’t free here in the US. The ones near me charge anywhere between $200-$400/hour for a consult.
            Also, donor milk here isn’t free except through insurance to premature babies. It generally runs $4-$5 per ounce. For a baby drinking 3 ounces per feed 6-7x/day, as my two-week-old was, that’s over $100/day. Not feasible for anyone except the uber-rich.

          • Sue

            You are in Queensland, Aus, and your GP charged $200 for a short consultation? Sounds strange.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Ummm That’s cheap for a Paed here.. GP are about $80 for a short consult but that avenue was fruitless too..

          • wookie130

            Much to my sadness, my last baby just turned a year old a couple of weeks ago, and my body can’t handle having any more. So, there won’t be a “next baby.” He was a formula-fed baby, however. I do not live in Australia – I’m an American. I met with over 5 different IBCLC’s with my first baby, and none of them, NOT ONE, provided assistance to me with formula, which was necessary for me to use, given that I am a poster-child for IGT. The pressure for me to continue latching (although I have little to almost no breast tissue), with no let-down, and the ability to only pump 5 mL’s between BOTH breasts during a half hour pumping session by the IBCLC’s that were “supporting me” could have easily sent me into the throes of PND that could have been very difficult to come out of…I was very much teetering on the edge, and their “support” was to blame. Please. Pitch it elsewhere, but not to me.

        • Smoochagator

          Interesting. The IBCLC I visited with my son was glad to charge me $250 for her “expertise,” but she didn’t notice A) that I wasn’t making milk or B) that my son was dangerously close to starving.

        • Cobalt

          Your baby was so obviously malnourished that the signs were immediately apparent to the doctor, but you preferred to keep looking until you found the excuse to continue exclusive breastfeeding?

          Feed the baby first! Then fuss around with everything else.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            My baby wasn’t even in the room at the time… So there goes your theory!! Lol.. But nice try!

          • sdsures

            Nice moving of the goal posts.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            The goal was to feed my baby! The posts were moved by ignorant dr with poor training and large egos.. I should have been referred to a lactation specialist! End of story!

          • Nick Sanders

            Then formula should have been fine. Formula feeds a baby.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            How do you suggest you feed formula to a baby with a tongue tie that cannot drink from a bottle? I’m fascinated??

          • Megan

            So your kid couldn’t breastfeed, couldn’t bottle feed and your happy with an LC who told you to supplement with formula using an at the breast supplementer? My kid had a tongue tie and while she did leak around her mouth when taking a bottle she got much more that way than at the breast, which she couldn’t do at all. Using a SNS in that situation just doesn’t make sense.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            It makes perfect sense.. The SNS is gravity assisted.. With both tubes unlocked and using the larges tube it is free flowing.. I then used it to build oral strength and tone post tie release to allow me to continue to feed.. Of course under guidance from my IBCLC.. You’ll be pleased to know that my Dr now refers to my IBCLC and has recommended SNS off her own accord as a result of my journey.. So there is ONE dr that has managed to deflate their ego enough to refer on to someone knowledgable when necessary!

          • Megan

            So then why the cup feeding if your baby (unable to latch or bottle feed) did so well with the SNS? My experience with it was horrible. My tongue tied B&B couldn’t latch on my nipple let alone my nipple with a th e beside it. That just created more difficulty feeding.

            And the assumption that doctors all have big egos and are unwilling to change their views despite new info is entertaining… Stereotype much?

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            The cup feeding was BEFORE I got the SNS!! Once we got that, feeding was a breeze compared to cup feeding!
            As for the dr stereotype? At least I’m willing to change my view if I meet a few that don’t fit it!! Unfortunately, I don’t think the same can be said for ‘lactavist’ bashers…

          • Megan

            You don’t even know what my “views” are.

          • Sue

            SO Kerry’s doctor has been able to “deflate their ego”, but has Kerryn?

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Oh dear, schoolyard rhetoric used as bait! Good job!

          • Nick Sanders

            Well, I don’t see how they could have known about the tongue tie, since you didn’t bring the baby with you.

          • sdsures

            NG tube.

          • THIS IS WHY MEDICOS FAIL US

            IDIOT

          • sdsures

            Something wrong? If your baby is starving, you feed it.

          • sdsures

            You have something against feeding a starving baby?

          • sdsures

            Actually, I’d demand a stat NG tube be placed to feed the kid, not sit around waiting weeks for an LC referral while he screams in hunger.

          • THIS IS WHY MEDICOS FAIL US

            I’m presuming that by repeating this point you’re attempting to make it sound like this was necessary.. Lol.. Or is that how this community works? You just have to keep hammering the same idiotic and incorrect information until everyone believes it?

          • sdsures

            What’s incorrect about feeding a starving baby?

          • AirPlant

            So how on the earth was a doctor supposed to diagnose a tongue tie without the baby in the room? You presented them with an incomplete dataset.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            The dr DIDN’T Diagnose the tongue toe.. The IBCLC did!! The dr suggested formula without assessing my baby, just talking to me.. My husband had the baby changing her nappy but even when she DID come into the consult room the dr didn’t look at her.. Poor form for someone trying to work out what is going on in a feeding dyad!

          • Megan

            Wait so was she there or not? First you criticize the doctor for not diagnosing a tongue tie and not weighing her. Then you say she wasn’t there. Which is it? You also criticize the doctor for suggesting formula but that’s what your LC ended up suggesting too! This all makes no sense.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            No, Megan, it makes perfect sense:

            LC Good
            Doctor Bad

            That;’s all you need to know

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            I’ll say it agai for you.. I saw 5 dr.. None diagnosed the tie! That particular dr didn’t even wait until my baby was in the appointment to assess her before suggesting formula.. So you’re right, doctor= bad!! I went on after spending a fortune on useless dr to see an IBCLC who finally discovered the ties, suggested formula supplemented at breast and release of the ties.. Not the dr sibling the issue with their years and years of wisdom! But hey, who would have thought to look into the baby’s mouth when presented with a FEEDING issue??go figure!

          • Linden

            You let your baby starve as you went from doctor to doctor?
            Your poor baby.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            My baby couldn’t feed from breast OR bottle.. fortunately I researched cup feeding her so no, she didn’t starve but yes I stupidly went to dr looking for answers., I should have gone straight to someone that knew what they were talking about!

          • Megan

            But you said your LC suggested using a SNS. That isnt a helpful suggestion in the situation you describe.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            I did use an SNS once I got to my IBCLC!! Before then I had the crazy task of cup feeding.. You seem oddly fascinated by details.. Which I’m happy to provide but don’t see the relevance.. Lol.. Shall I phone you to tell you the whole story? It’s quite extensive and no doubt gets lost in these small snippets all over the page!

          • Megan

            I’m interested in the details because so many of them contradict eachother. Plus I also had a tongue tied baby and am pregnant with my second. I do like to hear other people’s experiences even if I question their candor and truthfulness.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            I suggest you join the tongue tie support page.. You’ll find my whole story on there which might help you piece together my journey more effectively. You’ll also find a list of people who are knowledgable in assessing and releasing ties.. Without that, feeding in any manner is difficult and the long term implications significant.. Our journey was tough but I’m thankful it happened with my 4th baby rather than my first. The knowledge I already had from 3 previous kids made a world of difference to our success.

          • Megan

            I actually had my kid’s tongue tie released twice by Dr Kotlow himself (it reattached repeatedly despite proper aftercare, which felt cruel to do anyway). And we still could not breastfeed. I’m glad you had better success than I did, but I still find your views about doctors to be over generalized. My doctor and my fourth LC were the only voices of reason when my original IBCLC’s were of no help to me. Ironically none of the first LC’s looked for my daughters tongue tie so your assumption that all of them would think to look was not my experience. I do not generalize about all LC’s based on those experiences though, because that would make no sense.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            I’ve never suggested that all IBCLC would! They don’t! You need to seek an assessment by a person trained in ties.. Whatever the profession.

            Dr haven’t been successful here in Australia and it runs fairly rife in relation to breastfeeding unfortunately. I’m glad it’s different for you and I hope things will change here too.

          • Sue

            What a confusing thread of comments. A post about the insightless, bullying behaviour of a lactivist has Kerryn slagging the entire Australian medical profession.

            Here’s a clue, Kerryn. Many GPs are not experts on lactation – that;s why we have lactation consultants. Similarly, we have dietitians, physios, occupational therapists, podiatrists, early childhood nurses, psychologists…all collaborating.

            Australia has an excellent network of early childhood nurses, who are experts in “parentcraft”.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Bangs head on wall! happy to see someone you suggest because I have t found one of these experts in my 17 years of being a parent!

          • madcapfeline

            People with their stupid “details” and “facts,” right? I mean, why can’t they just take at face value that you know what you’re talking about, and accept it without any evidence? I mean honestly, who really needs to know the details of any situation before coming to an informed conclusion…

          • sdsures

            Why did none of the doctors put in an NG tube if the baby wasn’t getting fed during this time.

            This may be news, but a baby needs to be fed every couple of hours.

          • THIS IS WHY MEDICOS FAIL US

            OBVIOUSLY that wasn’t necessary.. While dr are poor in breastfeeding knowledge, they aren’t completely stupid

          • Amazed

            And after this doctor who didn’t bother to examine your baby in person you land here to defend Meg who is just a blogger and almost never examines anyone in person?

            Bofa, my irony meter has just joined yours into non-existence.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            That’s an odd comment, I’ve seen meg in person.. Lol!

          • Roadstergal

            Reading comprehension fail.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Wow, good contribution to the debate!

          • Roadstergal

            Since you ignored my more substantive comments below, I thought I’d try something shorter.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            You could try throwing yourself on the floor to get my attention! That’s what my toddler does!! No wait, rude remarks worked for you.. Phew! I was worried for a minute!

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            You could try throwing yourself on the floor to get my attention! That’s what my toddler does!! No wait, rude remarks worked for you.. Phew! I was worried for a minute!

          • Amazed

            Since you’ll probably stick your boob in my mouth as you undoubtedly do with your toddler at each peep, hungry or not, I’ll pass, thanks.

          • Fallow

            HAAAAAA! 😀

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Sure do!

          • sdsures

            My irony meter is still projectile vomiting and may require rehydration.

          • THIS IS WHY MEDICOS FAIL US

            I’d suggest ensuring your sip fluids regularly;)

          • madcapfeline

            Shhhh, you’re distracting from her Poor, Pitiful Me narrative with your stupid “facts” and “logic.”

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Lol.. I love it when a debate gets personal.. It muddies the facts on either side and makes the poster look poo.. Oh well.. Clearly you know best!

          • madcapfeline

            You mean exactly what you’ve been doing throughout this entire thread? Good to see that you are finally recognizing your own shortcomings! So proud of you!

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Lol.. Best argument of the night!! You win!

          • madcapfeline

            Indubitably.

          • sdsures

            “Feeding dyad” – first time I’ve heard that phrase.

          • THIS IS WHY MEDICOS FAIL US

            Lol

          • sdsures

            What about the fathers/spouses? Guess they never get to experience feeding their kid. No triads for the family.

        • Sue

          What short consultation in Aus costs $200?

          • sdsures

            Aus has free medical care, like Canada and the UK, so maybe she went private?

          • THIS IS WHY MEDICOS FAIL US

            Medical care in Australia is far from free! We DO have some consults and procedures covered by Medicare but it is rarely free unless you are admitted to hospital without private health insurance.

    • Amazed

      So, you were ready to let your baby starve but not give formula. Way to show love to your baby, mama!

      • Kerryn Gill-Rich

        Ummmmm.. No, I wasn’t prepared for it to be my first port of call. But thank you for your ignorant comment all the same!

        • moto_librarian

          It was your fourth baby and something was clearly wrong. You weren’t some new mother having normal feeding issues – you were experienced. It stands to reason that you would have already tried a number of things before consulting with a doctor, so I fail to see why the recommendation to use formula was so problematic.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            It was only problematic because it was the first suggestion.. That’s not in line with the WHO recommendations. Nor is it helpful as a first response! Take a history, assess the mother, assess the baby and if it can’t be rectified, suggest supplement feeding… I DID use formula.. On recommendation from my IBCLC.. I tjen found out that my daughter was tongue tied which should have been picked up by one of the first 5 dr that I saw!

          • sdsures

            The WHO doesn’t mean diddly squat when your milk supply is low and the baby is screaming with hunger.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Of course it does.. Lol.. There are options other than formula.. But once again, dr aren’t aware!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            But since formula is a perfectly fine option in that situation, so what?

          • Amazed

            Why did you go to people who care about the baby being fed first and lied that you wanted the same thing when the thing you wanted first and foremost was to stuck your boob in your baby’s mouth and feel it sucking milk out of it? There was a major difference in goals. For one, doctors aren’t willing to lose precious times exploring other options first while the baby is starving.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Ahhhh.. That’s how you feed a ban? But you can make it as crass and crude as you like.. We are biologically set up to feed outlet babies at the breast., that’s EXACTLY why I sought help!

          • Amazed

            Your biology seemed to have some sort of mishap in this case. By your words, you sought help to fix yourself first, feed the baby second. And the baby didn’t have this much time to lose waiting around until you were fine again. The baby needed to be fed before everything else. And since formula is a fine option, it was normal for the doctors to recommend it.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            that’s where you’re wrong! It was my baby that needed fixing.. She was tongue tied.. But the dr didn’t bother to check that., regardless of whether she fed from breast or bottle, she was unable to feed.. So really, what was in the bottle is irrelevant.. The dr had no idea what to do!

          • Dinolindor

            You said elsewhere that you didn’t bring the baby in the same room as the doctor. How was the doctor to see the tongue tie if the baby isn’t there to be examined?

          • sdsures

            Good question!

          • sdsures

            Do babies with tongue or lip tie ever need feeding through an NG tube?

          • THIS IS WHY MEDICOS FAIL US

            Absolutely they could.. Fortunately, not us.. We used a supplyline to protect breastfeeding and building oral strength though!

          • sdsures

            We might be biologically set up, but sometimes, there isn’t enough to feed the kid.

          • wookie130

            And you should absolutely realize, that anything biological can (and often does) fail. You’re not immortal. Your biology will fail you one day also. Breasts fail babies sometimes. If we can find another way to feed our baby, we’ll at least not be failing them as parents.

          • DaisyGrrl

            Reading this comment, it seems you find the idea of promoting your baby’s wellbeing above the WHO code to be funny. Please, please tell me that you did not intend to make light of your child’s hunger. Because that’s how it comes across.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            I find your comment comical.. Maybe read the thread before you trivialise a comment by taking it out of context.. The WHO doesn’t suggest not feeding your baby.. Lol.. It suggests donor milk at a higher priority to formula..

          • Fallow

            Donor milk for full-term babies is ridiculous for many reasons in an industrialized country. I will never get why people put unregulated, untested breastmilk from other women into their baby. Milk that’s very often tainted with germs, mixed with cow’s milk, mixed with formula – all of which has been documented to happen.

            Which is exactly what does happen. I know multiple people who have donated breastmilk to strangers. These are eople I’d never, ever accept untested bodily fluids from. The very idea I would put some other woman’s bodily fluids into my child’s body. Why the living hell would I do that, when I have access to regulated formula that is guaranteed to not be contaminated with staph, or prescription drugs?

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            The is donor milk available here through hospitals.. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t offer it if it was unsafe..

          • Megan

            And that milk should be reserved for babies who really need it, namely premies. There is no reason moms of healthy term babies should spend $4-$5 an ounce on donor milk when they have access to formula made with clean water, as in the developed world.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            It is available for premmie as wells.. I’ve never paid a cent for donor milk!

          • Megan

            Well things must be very different in Australia. Here in the US there is not enough milk in milk banks to go around and is saved for the most vulnerable babies. Many moms here turn to private milk sharing which can be dangerous as the milk is not screened or pasteurized and still costs $2-$3 an ounce. This market has grown because of the demonizing of formula.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            It is illegal to charge for donor milk here! Hospitals can charge costs incurred but don’t always.

          • Megan

            Hospital donor bank milk is paid for by insurance companies of the babies who get prescriptions for it, almost always premies. The price of he milk is to cover the cost of screening and pasteurization. Term babies rarely can get a prescription for milk from a hospital bank because there isn’t enough for premies and that’s who needs it. So some moms turn to private milk sharing from sites like Craig’s list or onlythebreast.com. This milk is not screened or pasteurized and it is common for moms to sell their milk for $2-$3 an ounce of more. It has been found in studies to be contaminated with bacteria, HTLV, CMV and other pathogens as well as being contaminated with cow’s milk and formula. But moms about she it because they have been taught to fear giving their babies formula.

          • Roadstergal

            “This milk is not screened or pasteurized and it is common for moms to sell their milk for $2-$3 an ounce or more.”

            And if you’re a mom with oversupply struggling with raising a new baby, what are you going to do with that extra milk – donate it to preemies, or sell it for a tidy sum?

            At the right price, you might even FF your kid and sell all your milk.

            So the lactivist obsession with donor milk for healthy term infants hurts preemies by incentivizing women away from donation, and might result in less of mom’s breastmilk going to her own kid.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Not where I live!:)

          • Linden

            You live somewhere where new mothers never suffer financially? I want to move there.

          • sdsures

            My mom donated her extra supply when I was in the NICU. She had enough for all the patients there, including me!

            (34 years later, she’s still the best mom in the world.)

          • Sarah

            Quite possibly the child would benefit more by having that money invested for their future than by drinking it themself anyway. After all, the beneficial effects of being rich are certainly significant.

          • sdsures

            You beat me to it. I was a 28 weeker and needed that milk, thank you very much!

          • THIS IS WHY MEDICOS FAIL US

            The donor milk that YOU are currently using was probably provided by ME!! After I had our issues resolved I have donated to various mothers in need.. I appreciate your heartfelt thanks!

          • sdsures

            I’m not currently using donor milk. Unless you’re in your late 60s, I’m not using yours for sure!

          • sdsures

            Not unless you’re in your late 60s, you didn’t. If you’re in Aus, then you certainly didn’t. So you don’t get any more ego stroking here.

          • sdsures

            Thank you, I didn’t see your comment before I posted my own, echoing your sentiments.

          • sdsures

            Donor milk for a (brainfog, need a word, can’t find it) full term healthy weight baby is a ridiculous waste of precious resources that could instead be used in NICUs, especially if the mothers of NICU patients are so stressed out by their child’s prematurity, NEC or god knows what else is making their kid sick, that the mom can’t produce enough milk.

          • THIS IS WHY MEDICOS FAIL US

            In Australia, donor milk is available to all babies after those in need have had what they require!

          • Linden

            Yeah, keep on trying to breastfeed until your baby is readmitted! That eebil formula, costing our healthcare billions of dollars!

          • sdsures

            Aware of what?

          • swbarnes2

            Is it possible that the WHO recommendations really aren’t meant for first-world mothers? It seems to me that you have a lot of poor women who probably couldn’t afford formula if they wanted, rich first world women with access to safe water, for whom the benefits of breastfeeding over formula have been shown to be very very small. And then women in the middle, who might have access to formula, but not birth control, and I wonder if for those women, the benefits if not having another baby right away is the real benefit to breastfeeding instead of formula, because I bet that benefit would be pretty significant.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Then why do first world countries endorse it and attempt to get our doctors to follow it?

          • sdsures

            Could be, as the “W” stands for “World” in which there are many many nations without access to clean water, a salary that could help them afford formula, etc. It’s not always about women in the US, though lactivists might wish it so.

            I don’t know if WHO recommendations differ depending on the SES of a country. Anybody know?

          • Sue

            You do realise, don’t you, Kerryn, that the WHO recommendations are mostly relevant in developing countries, where BF vs formula can make a big difference to infant health?

            In wealthy, internet and bloggin communities, not so much.

          • Allie P

            It’s not the first suggestion if you’re an experienced mother and nurser coming to your doctor for help. additionally, formula can be used as a short term fix — give formula, stop the hunger pangs, and then figure it out when neither of you are depserate. I love how formula is more evil than performing mouth surgery on a newborn baby.

          • THIS IS WHY MEDICOS FAIL US

            I love assumptions.. What you describe is exactly what I did.. But because you presume that to be breastfeeding advocates you must think formula is evil, your narrow minded view shines through and accuses me of doing exactly what you’re doing.. But I’m slowly discovering that THATS what this page is about.. Not surprising considering it is run by a narrow minded dr

        • sdsures

          “Your” first port of call?

          What about your baby’s need to be fed? Oh, I’m sorry, it’s all about you. I forgot.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            That’s narrow minded!! If you read further down you’ll see that I said I used formula when necessary.. I don’t know any mother that doesn’t want the best for their baby.. Suggesting formula as a first port of call goes against WHO code.. Their are other options that should be used first!

          • Cobalt

            The WHO code says that the choice between donor milk, wet nursing, and formula should be based on the circumstances of the infant, it is not a rigid hierarchy. Read the whole thing, not the bullet points on the meme.

          • Kerryn Gill-Rich

            Lol.. I forgot that only those with your view point have read the whole thing! Great argument!!haha

          • Sarah

            Well you evidently haven’t.

        • yentavegan

          I help mothers who seek my input not feel angry disappointed or let down with their baby’s pediatrician and the lack of breastfeeding support from that professional. I tell them the pediatrician is the BABY”S doctor and if the doctor gets feed back from the mother that breastfeeding is difficult their number one priority is that the baby get fed. And formula does indeed feed a baby.

        • Linden

          When my baby cries because he is hungry, my first port of call is to feed him. Because I cannot bear that he be hungry for long.
          Since I haven’t been brainwashed into thinking an adequate and nutritious source of nourishment is actually poison, my lucky baby doesn’t have to wait for me to do my “internet research” and drag him around from one doctor to another. Oh, sorry, *not* drag him around, as I expect doctors to diagnose tongue-ties in the absence of the actual baby involved!!!
          You know none of your stories have made any sense, right?

          • THIS IS WHY MEDICOS FAIL US

            Lol.. Feel free to re read as slowly as needed!

          • Linden

            I did. Your priority was not feeding your child.

    • demodocus

      actually, my son’s male ped was the one who helped me figure out breastfeeding. No one pushed formula feeding, ‘though the grandmotherly nurse practitioner at the ped’s office recommended a little supplementing that first week or two, since my milk didn’t come in for 5 or 6 days and my nipples were agonizing and bleeding badly. 2 years later and the left is still scarred.

    • Allie P

      My pediatrician well baby visits are covered by my insurance. My LC was the one who charged, uninsured, by the visit, and recommended that I order her expensive rental pump, but expensive pumping bras, guilted me for taking advil for my childbirth pains…. She made a fortune off me, and I still had to feed my baby formula. Meanwhile, My pedi gave me free samples of formula, Vitamin D, lanolin, etc.

  • yentavegan

    I have come to the conclusion that if a person wants to make a career out of all things breastmilk it ought to be in conjunction with something else..like having a degree in Nursing/ Pediatrics. Make a living from lactation is like trying to make a living at a pie eating contest. You can choose to coach others on how to do it, but it says nothing about you really as a human being.

    • Leah Whitley

      It is important that there are people out there like Meg who soley “make a career” out of assisting women with breastfeeding. According to ACOG breastfeeding is a “public health issue and not only a lifestyle choice.” Babies being formula fed cost us billions of dollars each year. Pediatricians and nurses have very little if any formal training on breastfeeding. They are largely ill equipped to assist woman with breastfeeding under the most ideal circumstances, let alone woman experiancing breastfeeding challenges. Because of these reasons I do not understand why one would hold the opinion that a person needs to combine this career choice with Nursing and/or
      Pediatrics. Nor do I understand the analogy with a pie eating contest?

      • MaudedelMar

        It’s hate Leah, just rabid, Ellen Jamesians, outta proportion hate against modern-day breastfeeding mothers and modern-day insights. My post will probably get erased again by the good doctor herself.

        • Chi

          It’s not “hate against modern-day breastfeeding mothers”, it’s hate for the fact that those of us who chose to use formula to feed our babies are being demonized by those who successfully managed to breastfeed.

          I’m all for women breastfeeding however long they want and wherever they want (within reason), but I do not appreciate being made to feel like a bad mother because I decided formula was a better choice for me, my child and my family.

          That’s all.

          • Roxie Turner

            I’m very sorry someone made you feel like that. 🙁

          • Chi

            Thank you. I was part of a milk-sharing community, mostly mothers who were nursing and over-producing donating their milk to others who were struggling. But at the time I needed milk there were several preemies who needed it more, but when I told the community that I was failing to breastfeed and my daughter was struggling, I was shamed, told I wasn’t trying hard enough and that if I gave her formula it would totally mess up my supply etc etc etc.

            My daughter was starving. She wasn’t sleeping. She was unhappy, and I was a mess of hormones and sleep deprivation and so having that community that I so desperately needed support from turn its back on me the way it did was almost enough to send me spiraling into PPD.

            Formula saved my sanity. It saved my daughter. And for that I am so grateful.

            Which is why I get annoyed with people who tell new mothers that formula is ‘poison’ and that they shouldn’t use it. If their babies are struggling, correctly prepared formula is the next best thing to breast milk. At least here in the 1st world where we have clean running water to prepare it with.

          • Leah Whitley

            Sorry to hear about your struggles Chi. Breastfeeding is a sensitive subject matter. It is good that we have formula available and there are definitely appropriate times for its use. Most woman are physically capable of exclusively breastfeeding and that is when things get tricky. There are woman like yourself who put there best foot forward and attempt to breastfeed at all cost. There are also woman who choose not to breastfeed for a litany of other reasons. Unfortunately I think when woman feel attacked it is because they sometimes are in the minority of the population who have a strong desire but are physically not able to meet their personal breastfeeding goals and have been mistaken for woman who do not breastfeed for other reasons.

          • Chi

            The thing is, the way lactivists tell it, there is absolutely NO breastfeeding education whatsoever for new mothers when in fact that is FAR from the truth. Here in NZ (I can only offer a NZ perspective as that’s where I’m from) all government sponsored antenatal classes MUST dedicate one full session (out of 8 weeks) to breastfeeding. This includes: benefits of, the basic how-to (aligning baby, rolling them onto the nipple etc), different positions for breastfeeding, etc etc etc.

            Not ONCE is formula even allowed to be mentioned. Not one word about how it can be given in place of breast-milk, let alone how to safely and properly prepare a bottle if it becomes necessary to supplement.

            The problem with this approach is that successful breastfeeding pretty much becomes synonymous with your success as a mother. If you do not succeed at it, you are a bad mother who has failed their child. And as a new mother whose hormones are well and truly out of whack, you’re vulnerable and it’s SO easy to become depressed if you cannot breastfeed successfully.

            Plus then you get the mothers whose very identity becomes tied up in their tits and that’s not healthy either.

            Honestly, I think we need to ease up a little on the breast is best mentality. Mothers need to be told that breastfeeding is great, but it’s not worth killing themselves or losing their sanity over. I think a little more balance in antenatal classes would be nice and for sure the shaming absolutely NEEDS to stop. Because when a mother is feeling wrecked because she ‘gave in’ and gave her child a bottle, the last thing she needs is other mothers kicking her while she is down.

          • Leah Whitley

            It is true! There is such an effort to get more woman breastfeeding because of our low breastfeeding rates much if this push is felt as pressure for mothers. And pressure is NEVER helpful.

          • Chi

            Especially when there have been studies that imply that early supplementing with a LITTLE formula (until supply is established etc) can actually EXTEND the breastfeeding relationship and lead to a more successful relationship.

            The pressure and the shaming need to stop. Because neither help mothers breastfeed successfully.

          • Leah Whitley

            I think there are certain isolated circumstances when formula is appropriate, but I do agree that we need to do a much better job of educating and supporting mothers to minimize woman feeling shamed as much as possible. Feeling shamed, pressured or cornered will never improve breastfeeding!
            I have not read all of Meg’s stuff. But I have read a great deal. I truly feel as though she is trying to disseminate information to support and enable woman to breastfeed. You might be surprised at the lack of general knowledge that woman lack which contributes to them not breastfeeding. Many woman cannot afford a private lactation consultation and have virtually no help at the facility where they birth their child. But they can get on the Internet and read tips that may help them on their journey. I think she is trying to meet that need.
            The problem is when woman have tried everything and they are not in a position to meet their breastfeeding goals. Especially when we have been shamed or made to feel less than for formula feeding it is a sore spot. I feel many of these woman feel like Meg is judging or opening up a wound. Then she feels as though she is being attacked by the negative comments, and it’s all down hill from there.

          • Chi

            See, that is the main reason people are taking umbrage with this post. It’s because she SPECIFICALLY uses formula feeding mothers as examples. And the tone of the post is very dismissive towards them and their feelings – which of COURSE opens up wounds for women who had to formula feed, as it’s the EXACT SAME attitude we got from those who were supposed to be supporting us.

            She’s basically saying that our feelings are irrelevant and that she doesn’t care about them or about the fact that we may be offended by her comments. She certainly has the right to make those comments, but by the same token we EQUALLY have the right to feel offended if that’s what her words made us feel. She can’t write what she wants and expect to not have any backlash.

            And I’m sorry, but a LOT of her stuff reads to me that because she had an easy time of breastfeeding, everyone else should too and that there is absolutely NO obstacle that CANNOT be overcome, which is the standard lactivist viewpoint and completely unhelpful to women like me who struggled and, no matter what we tried, no matter how many LC’s we saw, or supplements we took, or doctors we consulted, just were NOT able to breastfeed.

            So yes, I’m offended. Because she trivializes my feelings and basically tells me I have no right to feel the way I do. Which I DO.

          • moto_librarian

            Because Meg is judging us! She has admitted that she is a bully, but then tell us that it’s our fault that her words and actions upset us. It’s classic victim-blaming. She deserves to be called out for her behavior. If she’s so sure that she’s right, she should own it.

          • Amazed

            Where are you? In the USA breastfeeding rates are extremely high already! As they are in most European countries! What rates would be satisfying to your lactivist heart, 100%?

            You know why in the past, breastfeeding rates were higher? Not because mothers weren’t devoted enough. But because those babies who could not nurse DIED! They DIED! When is your ilk going to understand this?

          • Leah Whitley

            Our definition of good rates are different. I was thinking of closer to Healthy People 2020, or even 2010

          • Roxie Turner

            I understand now. There is no breastfeeding education in the US unless you actively search it out. I paid $50 out of pocket for a class that didn’t address any of the physical reasons a woman might not be able to breastfeed. I was handed coupons and formula the minute I went to the Obs office and they confirmed my pregnancy. (literally) At the hospital the Drs. and nurses pushed formula. We were given cans of formula at the hospital despite my wish to attempt to ebf. And no, I didn’t try to starve my baby. I gave him formula. My wishes were undermined at every turn. The only difference is this time we cannot afford formula so my husband actually supports my breastfeeding (sort of, lol). Perhaps formula over there is cheaper? It cost a small fortune here to feed my eldest. Until recently, breastpumps etc. had to be paid for out of pocket. Breastfeeding moms are judged here the way it appears that formula feeding moms are judged there. I’m very sorry y’all have been treated so harshly. We moms need all the help we can get.

          • lilin

            “Unfortunately I think when woman feel attacked it is because they sometimes are in the minority of the population who have a strong desire but are physically not able to meet their personal breastfeeding goals and have been mistaken for woman who do not breastfeed for other reasons.”

            Or they feel attacked because some ignorant person comes onto a blog, waves a bullshit study, makes a bullshit diagnosis about how not breastfeeding killed a baby and she saw it with her own eyes, and then claims that women who aren’t breastfeeding are “costing us billions”. They could feel attacked because of that.

          • Leah Whitley

            A person could feel attacked by that, but it certainly is not my intention. No individual formula feeding us costing billions. It is the culmination of it all. My point was to show why this is such an important subject matter. Many people ( probably most) are unaware of this.

          • Who?

            Breast may well be best, though I struggle with the idea that there are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ reasons (as decided by a third party with no skin in the game) for making such a personal decision. Surely as long as the baby gets fed it matters not one jot why mother (or parents) made a choice to feed one way or another.

            I’d also caution against assuming that apparently ‘trivial’ reasons given as the excuse for not breastfeeding are the truth-a mother might quite properly decide to not share her health status with someone taking what she thinks is an over-active interest in her arrangements for the feeding of her child.

          • Leah Whitley

            In terms of a mother not sharing private information, I feel that is the case many times. Medical staff has access to hospital records that may reveal pertinent information. A good staff person can also often times pick up on signs that may point to things that could complicate breastfeeding like a history of sexual abuse for example. But there also a lot of woman who really do not breastfeed for other reasons, lack of support and misinformation are two big one’s. And sometimes the reasons really are trivial, and I don’t use that word lightly! I worked with a woman a couple of years ago who refused to pump milk for her baby in the NICU because she had just gotten breast implants and did not want to “mess them up.” That was a combination of what I consider a trivial reason and misinformation. Her implants looked awful by the way, but I digress. It seems like the woman commenting here have a level of education. But we cannot forget that many woman are not as educated and lack resources. Many of these woman make flippant decisions on feeding because they are either uneducated or miseducated. In many of these situations they feel as though they cannot breastfeed, (or don’t want to breastfeed) when in actuality with some slight tweeks and adjustments they really would be able to breastfeeding if not exclusively to some extent.

          • Chi

            So what if you think their reasons are trivial? It’s THEIR body and don’t they have the right to decide what they’re going to do with it? If they decide straight off the bat that they’re NOT going to breastfeed, who the heck are you to judge them for that decision?

          • Leah Whitley

            It’s not judging them for their decision, it is just recognizing the situation for what it is. The woman who I spoke of previously with the breast implants was adamant that she did not want to breastfeed based on misinformation. This was broken into two parts. The first reason was that she did not want to “mess up” her implants. Obviously breastfeeding was not going to mess up her implants but she believed they would. The second part was that she did not understand the potential ramifications of not pumping with her baby’s specific medical condition. She required extra care and information to get herself and her baby off to the best start. With some extra care she was able to pump and stayed committed to pumping for quite a while and her baby improved well. There are some cases that are cut and dry, the mother doesn’t want to breastfeed and that’s it. In those cases their is little or no discussion. But many cases are more gray, like the example I gave above. For that mother I feel it would have been a disservice to not educate her on feeding choices because she really just didn’t know.

          • GuestWho

            Yeah, I am one of those women who choose to formula feed for “flippant” reasons. If my physiology were different I might have given it a try, but I have stupidly inverted nipples and that makes it practically a guarantee that nursing will be excruciatingly painful for at least the first few weeks. That might be worth working through, but I only get six precious weeks with my child and the idea of spending those weeks painfully trying to work something as trivial as breastfeeding out when I could be holding and loving and bonding with my child just seems crazy, particularly when I am going to go back to work and that will likely tank my supply. My odds of success are not good and I see no reason to sacrifice even a moment of precious newborn time for something that will have so little payoff.

            I am sure no lactivist on the earth would accept my reasoning as valid and well thought out, and I know I am one of those horrible “won’t even try’ mothers, but my life and my baby are not yours, and it is insulting to say that my decision is any less valid because it doesn’t lead to the conclusion that you would prefer. I am not going to wear sackcloth and do the shame dance of “I knowingly fed my child the forth best” when I know my heart is coming from a place of love. My child needs a present and joyful mother more than they need breastmilk and so that is what I choose to give them. For me and my child that is the first best choice.

          • Leah Whitley

            Every woman has to make her own decisions.

          • SuperGDZ

            But if they’re not the same as yours then they’re uninformed, uneducated and frivolous. And their breast implants are ugly.

          • Leah Whitley

            Not all woman that choose not to breastfeed are uneducated or uninformed, but I think it is easy to forget about all the ones that are. Sometimes people don’t pay as much attention to those in the lower income bracket. Not all breast implants are ugly, but hers were, believe me. Not all surgeons have the same skill level, like anything else. I felt bad for her because they were not proportioned, and there was a lot of scarring and her nipples were not symmetrical. I’m sure they did not look as bad when she was wearing clothes.

          • Megan

            I would argue that if anyone isn’t paying attention to those in lower income brackets, it’s lactivists. Pumping every two hours while working two retail jobs? Riiiight.

            Since you care so much about low income women I imagine you actively participate in lobbying for universal paid maternity leave?

          • Leah Whitley

            That a whole other topic! But yeah, you are on the right track, lol.

          • moto_librarian

            Every single can of formula that I have ever bought has reminded me that “breast is best.” Do you really think that pretty much every woman isn’t aware of this? Or are we simply to foolish to choose to breastfeed?

          • Fallow

            This might not apply to every “breast is best” person, but it has applied among people I know: Yeah, they definitely assume that formula users are idiots who don’t understand anything, and can’t read. Because formula use is common among low-income people, classism and racism also comes into play.

            Exclusive breastfeeding is a huge class marker for middle-to-upper-class whiteness, among my friends and acquaintances. If they are not really middle or upper class, they have strong aspirations to be seen that way.

          • GuestWho

            I did. I thought long and hard, discussed with my husband and made my “frivolous” decision. I think we are a hell of a lot happier about it than my friends who killed themselves on the alter of breastfeeding. Watching the cycle of low supply and hungry baby and post partum play out in living color despite all the support was probably what killed my last notion of giving that nonsense a go.

            Besides, if I breastfed I might have to hang out with people like you and you might make fun of my rack.

          • Who?

            It’s so hard. Women really struggle saying ‘no’, and imagine having some zealot coming in and breathing down your neck at that difficult time.

            Maybe I should run some ‘saying no’ lessons for women having a baby and worried about this kind of pressure.

          • Amy M

            I’ve tried to do that for all my friends/family who had babies in the last few years.

          • Leah Whitley

            You made me chuckle. I would never make fun of somebody’s “rack!”

          • Megan

            Actually you did. You made fun of that woman’s breast implants and felt not only the need to type out for us here why her reasons to not breastfeed were not “good enough” and felt it necessary to mention that her implants “looked awful.” Careful, your judgey is showing…

          • Leah Whitley

            I did not make fun of her implants. Actually poorly executed breast implants can pose a lot of issues, many of which come to the surface when lactating. Her implants were poorly executed.

          • Megan

            What? Now you’re a plastic surgeon? Who are you to decide anything about her implants if she’s happy with them? Has it occurred to you that maybe that wasn’t her real reason for not wanting to BF. Maybe she just wants shou to leave her alone and stop “educating” her. It is her prerogative to formula feed.

          • Leah Whitley

            Based on working with the mother and on the outcome I think in that case it is safe to assume that her reasons for not wanting to breastfeed are the reasons she gave. If she had a different agenda that would have been a different story.

          • moto_librarian

            So fucking what? The only reason that a woman needs to have for not breastfeeding is that she doesn’t want to. Full stop.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Oops! Leah contradicts herself again. At first she says “In terms of a mother not sharing private information, I feel that is the case many times.” but then she says “it is safe to assume that her reasons for not wanting to breastfeed are the reasons she gave”. Come on, Leah, can’t you do better?

          • moto_librarian

            You did indeed make condescending remarks about her breast implants. You are yet another example of the ills of the lactation profession.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “breast implants can pose a lot of issues, many of which come to the surface when lactating. ”

            Ah, so now you admit she was right. She was worried breastfeeding could cause problems with her breast implants, and turns out you agree with her. And yet you called her reasons “trivial” and based on “misinformation”.

            Watch out Leah, you’re having trouble juggling all your contradicting beliefs and prejudices!

          • Amazed

            You did make fun of her implants. There was no concern in your post, juck mocking. And now you’re backpedaling like crazy.

            “They were awful but I digress” means “They were ugly but that’s beside the point.” If you had meant “poorly executed”, it would not have been a digression. And the “awful” thing was clearly a subsititute for “ugly” anyway.

          • Fallow

            Try a little harder. GuestWho made some extremely valid points there. You could address them.

          • Leah Whitley

            Actually I can’t I have to go,

          • Leah Whitley

            I can’t even find it

          • Fallow

            IMO you made the right choice. I will never get back my baby’s lost few weeks that I spent pumping and crying, while my husband and family bonded with her. I couldn’t bond with her the same way, because I was attached to a pump. Anyone who thinks that situation was acceptable can just get right out of my face.

          • yentavegan

            I going to take the bait…. So if tomorrow morning your heretofore inverted nipples magically protruded breastfeeding would still be a choice you would not choose. OK. But for the record in case some other mom is reading this and is wondering if inverted nipples prevent successful breastfeeding the answer is no. Mothers with inverted nipples can and do breastfeed.

          • GuestWho

            Oh yeah! I have two friends who managed quite well, but it is definitely harder, and I feel the extra effort is not worth the effort for my situation. In the best case the infant is able to suck out the nipple and over time stretch the faulty connective tissue. Nipple shields are also a great tool, particularly if your degree of inversion is severe enough that your infant is unable to suck out the nipple enough for a good latch. My two friends who managed to nurse through inverted nipples both did it with shields.

            I asked both of my wonderful friends a series of invasive personal questions and the takeaway was that shields get the job done, but they are tricky and can give you blisters and cause problems with your supply if you are not careful and direct nursing was a bust because it actually really hurts having your nipple pulled out when you have a bunch of connective tissue saying that it is fine where it is.

            For some women this is completely worth it, but for me I do not want to spend that much time powering through the pain only to dry up a month after I return to work. I can barely cope with the pain from light pinching on my nipples and I do not feel even a little bit inclined to see how far I can take this when the consequence for failure is missing my child’s life.

          • Annie Schimpff VerSteeg Ibclc

            Mom’? Don’t you mean’ woman’?

          • Who?

            My point, exactly, you made it much more succinctly than I did.

            The woman’s breast implants were important to her. They cost a lot of money and pain, and she was happy with them.

            Your gratuitous opinions about the implants,and her decisions about the feeding of her own child (which I sincerely hope you kept to yourself) are entirely irrelevant.

            I don’t forget that many women lack education and resources. Many people do, actually, not just women. And many of those people are acutely aware of those who clearly have resources and who believe they have education coming along to dole out advice with which they won’t have to live, back in their comfy ‘know best’ world.

            One busybody in hospital won’t change a lack of resources or education but just might make a difficult situation worse.

          • Leah Whitley

            I am happy to say in the case I mentioned it didn’t make the situation worse but improved it! Her baby had a serious condition with their digestive system. Our job as hospital staff was to improve and preserve the health of mother and baby. It is simply a matter of informed consent (or informed refusal.) If a person makes a medical decision, but has no understanding of the subject matter that is not considered informed consent. That situation could be dangerous r not to mention a liability. Medical staff has a responsibility to inform patients so they can make the decision that they feel is best for their family. Only a parent can make such a decision. For example, if a doctor suggested you have surgery without explaining Why they felt you should have the surgery along with potential risk and benefits and you suffered as a result, that doctor would be co side red negligent for not making clear The medical ramifications before the patient.

          • Chi

            I honestly don’t believe that formula is costing billions. I think that is something that people with vested interests in breastfeeding are exaggerating to further their cause. Especially since it contributes to the shaming of mothers who use it!

            Plus, studies that focus on the ‘cost’ of using formula fail to look at the other side of the coin, the cost of breastfeeding. What about hospital readmissions for exclusively breastfeed babies that fail to thrive? The cost of pumping equipment? The cost of lactation consultants (cos they certainly don’t work for free)? The cost of mothers having to take unpaid leave from work to maintain a breastfeeding relationship?

            And for WHAT? The benefits are far more trivial than lactivists want to admit.

          • Leah Whitley

            I don’t think all of this information is from people that have a vested interest in breastfeeding. Like pretty much everything, I think it comes down to dollars and cents. Formula companies have a lot more money (and lobbyist) that breastfeeding enthusiast. I think the reason why there is currently such a big push for breastfeeding is because in the long run its less expensive.

          • Chi

            If formula was REALLY that detrimental to public health and truly costing the system billions, SURELY we would have seen it reflected in the child mortality rate? But it ISN’T.

            http://www.skepticalob.com/2015/02/3-graphs-every-formula-feeding-mother-needs-to-see.html

            So I truly believe that this claim about formula costing the health system billions is all drivel made by those with a vested interest.

          • Leah Whitley

            Who do you feel has a vested interest?

          • Chi

            In breastfeeding? Lets see, lactation consultants definitely. The makers of breast pumps and all the associated paraphernalia, etc etc etc.

            See, contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding IS winning. Formula companies (at least here in NZ) aren’t allowed to advertise their products on TV. They have to have warnings on the cans that breast is best. And hospitals aren’t allowed to give out formula sample.

            Not to mention that formula isn’t even MENTIONED in antenatal classes but breastfeeding is covered in detail, as I mentioned in another post.

            So yes, there are those with a vested interest in maintaining the ‘breast is best, formula is poison’ status quo. To deny otherwise is blind.

          • Leah Whitley

            I don’t’ know about that Chi. Lactation consultants are not exactly in the top 1 percent. Most LC’s work for hospitals. I could understand if they were paid on commission, but they aren’t. A very small percentage of LC’s work in private practice alone, and when they do they usually have some other form of supplemental income.
            Formula reps on the other hand do get bonuses. And the formula industry I would argue is bringing in a lot more money than breast pump companies. Formula is a billion dollar industry. Maybe the tides will turn in the future.

          • Chi

            Except with the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiatives that a LOT of hospitals are going for these days, formula reps aren’t even allowed on the premises. Those same hospitals have banned formula samples.

            And so what if formula companies make money? Why shouldn’t they make money for providing a safe, nutritious alternative to breast milk?

          • Leah Whitley

            It’s seen as a conflict of interest. They are attempting to treat formula as they do diapers, bassinets, and all of the other items they use for babies. The reason they purchase formula is so there is no incentive to market a specific product because it is then viewed as an endorsement. It’s a marketing strategy

          • Cobalt

            What happens to the LC if they don’t raise the hospital’s breastfeeding rate?

            Breastfeeding rates are tracked for BFHI. Readmissions for complications resulting from inappropriate breastfeeding and restricting or eliminating supplementation are not. This results in pushing breastfeeding (important enough to track!) over actual health (not worth data collection to the BFHI).

          • Leah Whitley

            BFHI wants to see that facilities have staff to support breastfeeding. Hospitals do not loose the status if breastfeeding rates fall.

          • I wonder whether all this is actually reducing the amount of formula sold in NZ by an appreciable amount. That’s the only way of really seeing if breastfeeding rates are up. Women who are being made to feel ashamed for using formula are liable to tell interviewers that they are breastfeeding when they aren’t (or are combination feeding)

          • Chi

            Does it really matter if it does or doesn’t? All health practitioners here in NZ recommend breast milk for newborns. But NOT to the detriment of that baby. As Dr Amy has said time and time again, for healthy, term infants, the benefits of breastfeeding are trivial as formula is almost as good as breast milk.

            That is basically my point. Formula is demonized because the companies that produce it make money off it. So what? I was countering that by pointing out that lactation consultants aren’t free either.

            But my main point was refuting the original idea that formula costs the health system more in the long run. That sounds like anti-formula bullshit to me and that’s exactly what I’m calling it.

          • Inmara

            It drove me crazy, reading all that pamphlets tossed at new mothers in antenatal classes and hospitals, how breastfeeding is superior and reduces obesity, diabetes etc. (all those claims from dubious research which has been ripped apart by science-based writers more than once). Formula not even mentioned as an option and zero advice on proper formula feeding. And then you get into postpartum ward in biggest birthing hospital in the country and there is ZERO actual breastfeeding support. As a result, many babies lose weight and THEN nurses give out formula, which is great because babies are fed but it must be hell of a confusion and anxiety for new moms who have been convinced that formula is inferior.
            I’m combo feeding my 3 week old because of insufficient supply; tried to read advice on combo feeding in local LC website which has lots of practical advice. Guess what, 2/3 of that article was trying to convince reader that ‘most probably you don’t need to combo feed’, as if your pediatrician is stupid and your baby would be better if he did’t gain weight but stayed exclusively breastfed.

          • Chi

            I feel your pain and agree that it is incredibly confusing and frustrating. When I was in the postpartum ward and was having trouble with my latch, the hospital lactation consultant was called in. And what was her ‘help’? To show me a POSTER showing ‘proper’ latch technique. My inverted nipples weren’t addressed, nor was my child checked for tongue/lip tie or weak suckle. I was just given a sheet to fill in every time she fed with a whole bunch of categories I didn’t even know how to look for.

            So I agree, there are some gaps in breastfeeding education. These lactivists aren’t filling these gaps though, they’re just making things worse by insisting that ALL women can breastfeed if they just try hard enough.

            And in the end, formula ends up filling the gap because what other choice do we have?

          • Kelly

            It is going to cost me $60 a month to formula feed. Once they hit about five or six months, the amount they eat goes down and I am putting that money towards solids. Bottles will cost about $20-$30 dollars for the entire year. Meanwhile the cost to breastfeed was way more than that and more time consuming and contributed to my PPD. I had all the help I could ever want and I am a stay at home mom. Of course all of this depends on the baby and in breastfeeding the mother as well. For some, breastfeeding is cheaper because they don’t need everything that I did but for me, it is way cheaper and better for my family to formula feed. I signed up for all the samples, and will be getting some at the hospital and hopefully some from my pediatrician. My children take after their parents and are healthy, will probably do very well in school, and will end up going to college because of our socio-economic status. My friend who breastfed all her children but is in a lower income and has her GED will statistically have children who are sicker (they are constantly sick) and kids who may not go to college. Why, because of their socio-economic status. I can’t wait in twenty years when all of our children have grown up and see the differences in formula fed or breastfed and see that there is no difference.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I don’t know if I’ve ever said it here, but something that’s been in my head:

            Given how one of the (real and apparently oh so important) benefits of breastfeeding is a reduction in illness, why don’t lactivists actually go after the thing that REALLY causes illness: daycare.

            Just think, how many illnesses could be prevented by guaranteeing paid maternity leave for 3 months instead of whatever they can do for 6 weeks? That would be 6 weeks less daycare needed for all those kids, and therefore less exposure to daycare-shared illnesses!

          • JellyCat

            I’m not so sure about formula costing “us” billions, but I know that breastfeeding cost me thousands.

          • Cobalt

            “have been mistaken for woman who do not breastfeed for other reasons.”

            What other reasons for not breastfeeding would excuse an attack, or making a woman feel attacked?

          • Leah Whitley

            I never feel as though a woman should be attacked.

          • Megan

            Unless she cares about her “awful” breast implants.

          • Leah Whitley

            She can care about her breast implants, but unfortunately for her they were awful. I do not advocate people going overseas and having surgery with physicians they are unfamiliar with. It can be dangerous. Especially not when it comes to elective surgery. I personally feel that there are to many risk. But that it my opinion, and she had a different opinion and she is entitled to her opinion.

          • yentavegan

            I have seen first hand struggling to breastfeed babies cured by one bottle of formula. That one bottle gave them the caloric boost to adequately latch and suckle for the next feeding.

          • Annie Schimpff VerSteeg Ibclc

            Me too. I have seen this very same thing in fact I made the bottle with formula in it and handed it to the woman who gave birth to give to her offspring. I have done this many times.
            FEED THE BABY, MAINTAIN/BUILD MILK SUPPLY TRY AGAIN AT THE BREAST TOMORROW OR THE NEXT DAY.

          • MaudedelMar

            My non-hateful, non-judgemental replies to the poster “Amazed” are being erased my Dr. Amy. Read some of her posts.

          • Fallow

            I question this. Dr. Amy leaves amazingly hateful comments up, all the time. Why would she bother deleting yours? They’re such small potatoes compared to the comments from those loving, giving, goddess mothers who show up here to call Dr. Amy a cunt.

            On the other hand, I have thought my comments have disappeared before, when the true problem was the way Disqus was displaying.

        • A bit paranoid, no?

      • Chi

        Citation needed. What exactly do you mean when you say that babies being formula fed are costing billions of dollars each year? Where’s your science behind that statement?

        And I think I’d much rather have a pediatrician or a nurse help me with breastfeeding rather than a rabid lactivist who admonishes me for not trying hard enough, or telling me that EVERY woman can breastfeed.

        • Evelyn

          It’s from a 2010 study published in Pediatrics. I can’t find the direct citation atm, but there is this summary: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2010-04-05-study-breast-feeding_N.htm

          • Young CC Prof

            That study was seriously flawed because it did not examine or consider the costs of breastfeeding: assisting mothers who have difficulty, treating mastitis, medical treatment for babies who suffer from hypernatremic dehydration, or lost wages from mothers who would otherwise have chosen to work.

            Could breastfeeding save health dollars? Maybe. But it’s pretty dishonest to try to answer that question by looking at just one side of the picture.

          • Chi

            Not just that, it lists stomach viruses as one of the things that can be reduced by breastfeeding. I sincerely doubt that claim as there is now a very effective vaccine against the most common stomach virus – rotovirus.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            It didn’t account for lost wages? !?!? That’s stupid!

            In order to breastfeed full time, my wife would have not been able to work. She couldn’t pump enough.

            When she worked, she made enough money on Monday morning to pay for a week of daycare and all the formula. The rest of the time was gravy.

            Should we have gone without that additional incone?

          • Nehimomma

            To breastfeed my oldest daughter it cost me OOP Apr $1000 in equipment, doctor appointment copay, ER visit copay, multiple antibiotic prescription copays and other medical copays.

            My insurance forked out $10k for a week hospital stay as I got MRSA mastitis. They also had to pay the ER visit, multiple doctor visits and prescriptions, a breast ultrasound, home health nurse to take care of my picc line and the IV vanco I brought home.

            Formula was so much cheaper.

          • Megan

            Breastfeeding cost us at least $3000 between hospital readmission, pump, hospital grade pump rental, missed work, etc. That’s far more than formula cost me.

          • Megan

            Actually now that I’m really thinking about it that was just the cost of pumps, supplements, LC’s and my daughters hospital readmission. If I really cslculated in lost wages it’d be more like $10-20k that it cost me to breastfeed. See, sometimes the mom is the breadwinner of the family. That’s why not al women can afford long unpaid maternity leaves just to breastfeed. Especially not when all it might save me is an ear infection and two IQ points and will cost thousands (not including the lack of advancement in my career while I stay home).

          • Evelyn

            I’d love to see someone crunch all those numbers. I can’t imagine, though, that breastfeeding support would be anywhere near billions of dollars. Those of us who work in the field would be overjoyed to see commitment of even a tenth of the resources.

          • Young CC Prof

            I don’t have enough data, but here’s a beginning. This document: http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/pdf/2014breastfeedingreportcard.pdf

            suggests that there are about 8 professionals for every 1000 babies, or about 32,000 in the USA. If they make $50,000 per year (including overhead or benefits), that’s roughly $1.6 billion.

            Now, some of those CBCs or IBLCs might not be working full time, so that could be an overestimate, but it’s not a crazy overestimate.

          • Evelyn

            It’s very kind of you to think that we would be valued enough to make $50,000 per year. The reality is that insurance companies have not figured out how to differentiate between different lactation credentials, nor have most states provided licensure, which is a step to insurance reimbursement, especially for those of us who do not have additional credentials in medicine. Many of us practice pretty much as volunteers (this is where I fall), and the majority of those employed are part-time. (Many RN-IBCLCs are full-time nurses but just get to be IBCLCs when they are not busy elsewhere.) I would say that on average it would be far more accurate to say we might make $10,000/yr, because so many make very little and practically nobody actually makes a living at lactation, especially at the $50k level. I do believe your number is an order of magnitude too high.

          • Evelyn

            Aaack! My reply has disappeared into the ether somewhere, or perhaps moved itself somewhere else under another thread. Anywhere, my point was that almost NOBODY in lactation makes anywhere near $50,000 per year. It’s not a field where one makes a living very often. Few of us work full time, many are nurses who swing from L&D or peds, most of us donate a huge number of hours, and $10,000/ea is a much more reasonable number.

          • Wren

            Are you talking take home pay, or total cost including benefits and overheads? If hospitals are providing the location, that’s room that could be used on some other health care. Same for doctor’s offices.

          • Evelyn

            Ha ha! Benefits? What’s that? Hospitals generally hire *only* RN/IBCLCs full time because they use most of the hours as RNs. So I have no idea how to suss that out, but that’s the only way I know IBCLCs who work full time. In big city hospitals, I know there must be some full-time who work only as IBCLCs, but it is the exception to the rule. I know non RN IBCLCs who work prn, hourly, and visit each mother who births in a given hospital who indicates she intends to breastfeed, but that’s not full time, so no benefits. I know nurses and dieticians who get some IBCLC hours in somebody else’s space, but have the office space mostly as RNs and RDs. IBCLCs in private practice have no benefits, so we pay our own health/dental/malpractice insurance, our own other overhead, our own continuing ed, and a number of us clear nothing at all once expenses are covered, and rely on spouses to be the breadwinners. It would be interesting to get some numbers from our professional organization, which I don’t even belong to because I can’t justify the expense. I hardly even know where to start to properly answer the question, but it has been the subject of some humor lately among us, the very idea that breastfeeding support might cost anywhere near a tenth of what we pay as a country in public health costs for not breastfeeding more babies.

          • Young CC Prof

            OK, so that’s an overestimate, let’s make it more like 100 million for direct lactation support, including the time that non-certified nurses and doctors spend helping nursing mothers. Then we look at the cost of breast pumps and related supplies, and of course the cost of treating hypernatremic dehydration, which, although not common, can be pretty pricey. Insurance paid about $10,000 to treat my son, and other cases I know of, the baby was actually hospitalized longer.

            I’m not saying breastfeeding costs more than it’s worth. I honestly have no idea how much we spend supporting breastfeeding. I do, however, know that it does cost something.

          • Evelyn

            Absolutely! It isn’t free, and I hate that we only have a way to put a quantitative value on something if it has a monetary price. My volunteer services have value, even though they are not paid for. If you want to go with those estimated numbers, and maybe double it to $200 million since the formula numbers include lost potential lifetime wages for the babies who died from not being breastfed, and we want to include wages lost by nursing mothers (is this assuming they stay home instead of pump?) anyway. . . . then it would be safe to say according to that study, that if 90% of mothers nursed for just six months, then $12.8 billion could be saved. Even if we went crazy and said it cost a whole billion dollars to get nursing mothers to that 90% level, it’s still a return on investment of 12:1, which is excellent. As of 2013, the USA as a whole is at 49%, with Idaho topping out at 74.5% and California and Oregon up in the 70s).

          • Young CC Prof

            Keep in mind, the higher you try to push nursing rates, the more it’ll cost to recruit each new family. This is related to the economics idea of marginal cost.

            A certain percentage of mothers will need only a little bit of help to breastfeed. Another group will need a moderate amount of help, a few can do it only with an extensive amount of help or need to do exclusive pumping, and of course some cannot breastfeed at all due to true IGT or other medical obstacles. In order to get a very high breastfeeding rate, you’re going to have to recruit most or all of the women who need extensive help, which is going to raise the average cost of breastfeeding support.

            Of course, we also need to take into account the costs of medical treatment for various complications of breastfeeding. I don’t have enough data to do this, but like I said earlier, it’s not trivial. And, attempts to raise the breastfeeding rate higher may also increase the incidence of complications.

            And finally, if you’re looking at lost wages for babies who supposedly died due to not being breastfed, you’ve got to look at lost wages for the people actually doing the breastfeeding. Pumping at work doesn’t work for a lot of women, even when employers supposedly support it, and when a woman stays home or leaves the workforce solely to breastfeed, it can actually decrease her earnings permanently.

            Doing all the math would be a major project and a paper in itself, but it’s pretty easy to see the numbers add up.

        • Leah Whitley

          According to the USDA a minimum of $3.6 billion dollars would be saved if our country’s breastfeeing rate where increased to the surgeon generals recommendation. There is actually quite a bit of research out there on this subject. I reccomend going to Google Scholar and doing a search on cost of infant feeding, or something of that nature. Much of the research you have to pay for, but you could always read the abstract to get the idea. This is actually widely known information that pretty much all medical professionals are aware of and would not contest.
          Nobody wants to feel pressured when making important decisions, but there is something to be said for going to a specialist. Lactation Consultants specialize in breastfeeding, therefor they have the appropriate training to aid a woman in breastfeeding. Pediatricians and nurses are skilled, but lack the same level of breastfeeding training. As a result, even if they are well meaning or supportive of breastfeeding when woman need hands on support it falls outside of their scope of practice. For example, if I had a tooth ache I would not go to an OBGYN, I would go to my dentist. Although my OBGYN is a skilled doctor they would be ill equipped to help me with a toothache. Dentist specialize in those matters so that would be the best person to help me.

          • EllenL

            In order to breastfeed, I would have had to quit my well-paying job – which would have cost my family a fortune.
            Until that issue is resolved, it’s no use talking to me about how much could be saved through breastfeeding.

          • Leah Whitley

            Unfortunately not all woman are able to stay at home and breastfeed. Especially in our culture where the majority of households depend on two incomes. I remember having to go back to work within four weeks of having my second daughter. It’s hard, and my situation in many ways was much easier than many woman. Any amount of breast milk is better than a lesser amount. When I encounter woman who have a desire to breastfeed but will be unable to pump at work I encourage them to do what they can. Breastfeed for a month, or breastfeed during your hospital stay. Everyone’s situation is a little different.

          • Cobalt

            Or combo feed. It really isn’t all or nothing. Use whatever tool, or combination of tools, that makes the most sense for whatever situation you’re in.

          • Leah Whitley

            Agreed, we do the best we can.

          • guest

            The assumption that the man will be the primary breadwinner and the woman will only work out of neccessity or for extra spending money is outdated. In our house, I am the only source of income and my husband stays home to care for the children. It was the decision that made the best use of each of our strengths and I was happy to return to work 8 weeks post partum and leave my children home with my husband. I happily fed formula from day one and am quite happy every day that I am able to provide for my family. The monetary contributions I make to my family do not make me less of a mother, nor my husband less of a father for providing most of the day to day care to the children.

        • Kerryn Gill-Rich

          I tried Paediatricians and Dr first.. The only thing I got from it was an empty wallet!! In the end it was an IBCLC that had the knowledge to help me!! I’ll take a ‘lactictavist’ over a dr ANY day!

          • Cobalt

            Sure…If lactation is your first and only priority.

          • Amazed

            You see, they wanted to keep the baby fed first. Milk Meg and the likes understand what really matters – breastfeeding!

            Stupid doctors. Thinking that feeding the baby is most important.

      • Fallow

        Look, I saw three LCs when i was breastfeeding. The hospital LC and the one at my gynecologist’s office were both fine.

        The one at the pediatrician’s office recommended that I take megadoses of fenugreek and other unregulated supplements, and spend my entire day pumping to increase my supply. Less than a week after I had come close to dying in childbirth. I could barely walk, and she wanted me to do this. She told me I was being lazy.

        YES, she should have had real medical education. NO, she should not have been telling someone in the fragile state I was in, to pump constantly and take huge doses of supplements. My childbirth complications included liver issues – she wasn’t at all interested in that, or whether her supplements would cause problems for my very recently insulted vital organs. She prioritized her breastfeeding ideology, and the idea that my baby MUST be breastfed no matter what the cost, over my quite precarious health.

        How was that supposed to help my child? Oh wait, that’s right. It didn’t.

        You think that someone advising women in that sort of state, should have no rigorous medical education about whether anything they’re doing actually works? Whether it’s actually safe for all postpartum women?

        • Leah Whitley

          I’m glad that 2 of the three LC’s that you saw were good. I am sorry that you had a very bad experience with the third. It is always important to have good bedside manner And to be able to look at the total picture when making recommendations. I would caution against making broad generalizations about an entire profession based on a very poor experience. When u had my second daughter I had the worst labor and delivery nurse ever! She was awful! But with my other birth my L&D nurses were wonderful! So I recognize that most of them I would say are really good at what they do. It was just my luck that I got the awful nurse that day.

          • SuperGDZ

            An LC with no medical training giving dangerous medical advice is more than a problem with “bedside manner”.

          • Leah Whitley

            Agreed. I didn’t mean to trivialize your experience, I was referring to the part when she called you “lazy.” That is poor bedside manner at best, rude and offensive at worst. It is those bad apples that make everyone’s job harder, mothers especially.

          • Amazed

            Why don’t you refer to the part of the LC’s behavior that was DANGEROUS? You people are all about whining and howling about bedside manner, conveniently ignoring things like life and health.

            Frankly, I can totally see why Milk Meg has so many followers. She flatters them and that’s enough to ignore stuff like her phone knowledge and almost never examining the baby or mother in person.

            There is more to life than being pleasant. Rating pleasantness first in medical situation shows low level of understanding.

          • Leah Whitley

            No lactation consultant can diagnose a patient and should work in conjunction the the physician. Everyone is supposed to operate within their scope. When professionals work together to care for patients appropriately it should not be dangerous but helpful. No woman should have to go through that.

          • Leah Whitley

            Actually, I think there is a lot to be said for understanding a woman’s situation and being empathetic. Every woman should feel as though she is receiving real help. Having somebody bark orders at you is not helpful. Medical staff can become so accustomed to their day to day routine that patients begin to feel as though that staff person is simply ordering them around even though that is not staff’s intention.
            If a person feels attacked they become guarded, and when we are guarded we are less likely to receive information no matter how good or helpful it may be because we are in defense mode.

          • Amazed

            While I agree there’s a lot to be said for understanding patients and showing empathy, I think there’s much more to be said about not endangering patients’ health with dangerous advices. And you’re oddly silent about this. Could it be that you feel this particular member of a profession you so venerate acted dangerously unprofessionally, so you rush to redirect attention to matters that pale in comparison?

            Being a living and healthy, rightfully offended person trumps being a fawned over corpse each day of the week and ten on Sunday. But I guess that for NCBers (I gather you have such tendencies as well, given your willingness to shoulder all the blame on homebirthing mothers who lost their babies as having made “the decision” and be mum about the “midwives'” responsibility to tell them of the real risks) and lactivists being fawned over is more important. Especially when the corpse isn’t going to be yours.

            Is it some sort of game for you people? A way to show how modern and sophisticated you are? What is it?

          • Leah Whitley

            Not at all. I though I made it clear that that LC acted out of her scope, was disrespectful and insulting and that is the antithesis of what we should be doing. I will reiterate, that was an awful experience and no woman should have to go through that. I myself have received poor medical advice that (if followed) could have had grave consequences and it is scary.

          • Amazed

            But you started sympathizing over the bad treatment, not the bad advice. And no, you didn’t say the LC was wrong to give such advice. You were very vocal about medical professionals who have a bad bedside manner – there, you were quite clear indeed. But to the dangerous advice, you were very vague and it could be interpreted as anyone would like.

            I do think you try to be fair. But your bias is showing, no matter whether you think you have one or not.

          • Leah Whitley

            I’m sorry you feel that way. I tried to be clear.

          • Leah Whitley

            As far as your later statement. I try not to blame. I certainly cannot blame a person in such an awful situation your described. How can I blame if I do not know all of the circumstances? And in a situation like that, you will never know all of the circumstances. Plus, blame is not helpful or useful in any way. Any mother who has suffered such a grave loss needs support and love.

          • Amazed

            But there is blame to be placed! Midwives present themselves as medical professionals. They should give informed consent. And they should not mispresent their qualification which virtually every CPM does since the very name is meaningless.

            Women make decisions based on false information and there is much blame to be placed. A supportive community turns against a loss mother simply because she voiced how misled she was. They blame her. They say, like you do, “Own your decision, Mom.” Very unfair when the decision was made in good faith but bad information.

          • Leah Whitley

            I’m sorry that you have witnessed that. I personally know woman who have been in extremely similar situations as you described and that is not my response, nor do I think it should be anyone’s. It’s hard just to witness, I can’t imagine carrying that burden.

          • moto_librarian

            Six years ago yesterday my husband wheeled me down to the NICU to meet our son. He had been born the day before, a “textbook” unmedicated vaginal delivery at 38 + 3 weeks gestation. Immediately after delivery of the placenta, I began to bleed out. I wound up in the OR to have a cervical laceration repaired, and narrowly avoided a blood transfusion. Our son went to the NICU because of TTN and suspected infection (I spiked a fever during the night so he was given antibiotics). I was too weak to get up and walk for 24 hours. The hospital LC was a bully. She grabbed my breasts without asking permission, criticized everything that I did, recommended fenugreek, and put me on the pumping schedule from hell. I was too unwell to advocate for myself. The LC knew that I had a pph, but failed to mention that this could impact my supply (our son’s pediatrician told me this a couple of weeks later). She was a royal bitch who took advantage of me at a vulnerable time.

            Overall, I have a pretty dim view of LCs and IBCLCs. I know a couple who are wonderful people who are trying to make their profession better, but they face an uphill battle. Interacting with you reinforces my opinion that an awful lot of lactation professionals are more concerned about promoting an agenda in the absence of evidence.

          • Fallow

            Your comments here sum up what I was going to say, basically. This experience was bad for me because the LC gave possibly medically unsound advice in the name of breastfeeding. Her bedside manner was not the problem. The fact that she had no clue what she was doing – THAT was the problem.

            LCs prescribe women to take huge doses of unregulated, unproven supplements all the time. The evidence for most of it is very shaky, if there is any evidence at all. I don’t get why they’re so comfortable doing that.

            Funny thing – the hospital LC and the gynecologist’s LC were good and helpful precisely because they WEREN’T hyper-lactivists. The hospital LC told me to supplement because I was unlikely to make a full supply in my condition, and she wasn’t at all weird about it. And Jesus, no, she didn’t tell me to acquire some other woman’s bodily fluids to put in my child. Maybe she had sympathy because she saw me while I was still full of IVs. Or maybe it’s because she could prioritize properly, who knows.

            The gynecologist’s LC was also an RN – you know, someone who had real medical training? I saw her because I had a clogged duct. She knew I had supplemented from the beginning. I had my baby with me, and she said, “it’s clear you’re doing what this baby needs, so I’m not worried about that. Let’s worry about your clogged duct today.”

            All three of the LCs I saw, work for one of the biggest, most
            distinguished hospital systems in the world. They sure as hell had better
            be doing better than the one at the pediatrician’s office was doing.

          • Fallow

            I don’t dislike LCs as a class. For job-related reasons, I meet many professional LCs. The majority of them seem like nice people who mean well, and plenty of them seem intelligent and thoughtful.

            But they need to be providers, not evangelists. They need to recognize that when they prescribe supplements to mothers, they ARE essentially practicing medicine. They do not need to be promoting an ideology, or sacrificing mothers on the altar of breastfeeding. They don’t need to demonize formula. They have an opportunity to help women in a concrete way. They should not further the motherhood culture wars via inflammatory, unprofessional internet rants.

            See my other comment to Amazed for the rest.

          • Leah Whitley

            I haven’t read you comments to Amazed but I understand what you posted above. In my experience LC’s often feel as though they are climbing an upbeat battle. They are trying to combat misinformation, as well as other staff that is often times not supportive of their efforts and circumvent progress they made have made. LC’ s usually do what they do because they truly believe in breastfeeding and want to help as you mentioned. They certainly don’t make big bucks (at least not by my standards.) with all of these things going on, they can be misread.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            In my experience LC’s often feel as though they are climbing an upbeat battle. They are trying to combat misinformation

            Like how formula feeding causes obesity?

            Man, my irony meter just exploded.

          • Amazed

            So it’s OK for them to offer DANGEROUS misinformation? Leah rushing to defense of someone cruel again. And incompetent, at this.

            I take back the post about you honestly trying. Now I think you don’t. You only care abot breastfeeding.

          • moto_librarian

            I had an LC recommend fenugreek to me. She had access to my chart, but did not take a history. I am a severe asthmatic. Fortunately for me, I looked it up in my copy of Nursing Mother’s Companion and discovered that it is contraindicated for asthmatics. I guess I should just feel lucky that she didn’t also recommend domperidone, given that I am a lifelong depressive.

          • Amazed

            LC was just trying to combat misinformation, I’m sure.

          • Fallow

            I’m also asthmatic, and no LC I saw asked anything about that before recommending fenugreek. We all know asthma attacks are an acceptable burden to bear, in order to breastfeed!

          • Megan

            I’m pretty sure it’s also not recommended for those of us with thyroid problems either. But no LC asked me about that. Actually my postpartum nurse told me and I verified it by looking up what little info was available. I then told the LC that suggested it that I couldnt take it because of my medical history. They did recommend Domperidone despite its status here in the US. I also have a history of depression but they said it was “better than reglan” for that.

          • Cobalt

            “LC’ s usually do what they do because they truly believe in breastfeeding”

            And that’s why so often what they do is wrong. The first priority is adequate appropriate nutrition for good health, NOT exclusive adherence to a particular method.

          • Daleth

            Just to illustrate the complete lack of knowledge and intellectual honesty to be found in some lactivists, I just had a debate with half a dozen lactivists (including at least one professional LC) who made the following completely false claims:

            – Bottle-fed babies can’t stop drinking when they’re full; they will keep drinking until the milk is gone even if they don’t want to, and that’s why bottle-feeding contributes to obesity. (When I pointed out that my twins have been sometimes refusing to finish their bottles since they were preemies in the NICU, they ignored me.)

            – Breastfed babies don’t have that problem for two reasons: first, because breasts magically know precisely how much milk the baby will need at this feeding, and breasts don’t make more than that; second, because babies can switch from nursing (which brings milk) to comfort suckling (which doesn’t), but somehow cannot do this with bottles. (When I pointed out that if breasts magically only make what a baby will need at each feeding it wouldn’t be possible to pump and freeze extra milk for future use, or for that matter to donate milk to milk banks, they changed the subject.)

            – Breast milk, at 30 calories/ounce, has far fewer calories than formula and that is why formula feeding contributes to obesity. (When I pointed out that formula varies between 19-22 cal/oz, in other words contains about 50% FEWER calories than they think breastmilk does, they moved the goal posts by going off on a tangent about how breastmilk varies from about 20 to about 36 calories/oz because it’s so smart that it knows how many calories the baby needs. When I asked if they were willing to acknowledge that they were wrong in stating that formula has more calories than BM, they again moved the goalposts and said they weren’t talking about BM–they were talking about colostrum, which allegedly (per them) does contain fewer calories than formula. When I asked how something that babies only eat for the first 3-4 days of life could possibly relate to later obesity, they went silent.)

          • Fallow

            “Truly believing” in breastfeeding = evangelizing. Sorry. They can help women who want to breastfeed, they can help women with breastfeeding issues. But “believing in breastfeeding” as the end-all be all, is an ideology. You aren’t supposed to “believe” in medical treatments of any sort. They are supported, or they aren’t.

            The fact that LCs don’t seem interested in studies that contradict their “belief” in breastfeeding, indicates they’re more interesting in their belief system of breastfeeding, than they are with providing scientifically supported care.

          • moto_librarian

            There are far too many of us that have had bad experiences with LCs. I know of a couple who are truly good at what they do and are not into promoting their agenda. I wish that I felt that they were representative of the profession, but my experiences suggest otherwise.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Remember Bofa’s Law: if you defense of a culture consists of “Not all of them are bad” there is an inherent problem with that culture

            I have always said that, IMO, LCs are on the edge. They certainly aren’t to the level of chiropractors or CPMs, but they are getting dangerously close.

      • broomrider

        My formula fed baby has only ever been to the doctor for well-baby and well-child visits. How is she costing you billions of dollars a year?

        Oh right, you believe a BS article that formula fed babies are sickos and constantly in the ER. Guess what, it’s 100% false. Look at Dr Amy’s article of a few days ago – there has been diddly squat evidence that more women breastfeeding has had an impact on the health of babies.

        • Leah Whitley

          When good studies are conducted they use a large sample. This makes the study valid because one persons experience may not be (usually isn’t) an good representation of the larger population. This is why evidence based research is so important. For example, it would not be wise to assume that everyone can eat peanuts because I enjoy them and have no negative reaction. A great number of people are dangerously allergic to peanuts despite the fact that I am not. The deference with formula and breastmilk is that the composition is inherently different than breastmilk. Because of this it effects babies in a different Way than breastmilk And from a purely medical standpoint The composition of breastmilk is preferable.

          • broomrider

            How ironic that you are quoting to me what is a “good” study when you are quoting for a very flawed one. Excuse me while I laugh hysterically. Like 900 babies a year are really dying from formula. That would be all over the news, unless you think Big Formula is hiding the deaths.

          • Chi

            I have never ever heard of a single case of a baby dying from being given properly prepared formula. And deaths that happen in 3rd world countries aren’t from the formula but from the water being used to prepare the formula.

            Babies starving to death because of this breast is best ideal? Those I’ve heard of.

          • Leah Whitley

            I understand. We hear a lot of conflicting information from varying sources and it makes things confusing. I personally have seen babies die right here in the USA as a result of not being breastfed. Have you ever seen a baby die of (NEC) necrotizing enterocolitis? It’s not pretty.

          • Chi

            How is breastfeeding supposed to prevent something that doctors aren’t even 100% sure about the cause of? It’s most common in premature babies and the leading theory is that lack of oxygen during delivery is a factor.

            By the way, may I ask what your credentials are that give you the authority to determine whether a baby died because they weren’t breastfed? Are you a coroner? Because I’m sorry your necrotizing entercolitis thing is BS. Especially since any babies that develop it are immediately taken off whatever food they’re on, be it breast or bottle and put on IV.

            So unless you can offer REAL, scientifically accurate PROOF that babies are dying as a DIRECT result of being formula fed, I’m sorry, but you’re just adding to the shaming, because you’re basically implying that formula is poison that will kill certain babies.

          • Leah Whitley

            I worked at one of the largest children’s hospitals in the country. Our leading physicians were very good. After reviewing much research they decided to switch to human milk to increase our mortality and morbidity rates. Practically overnight our NEC rates were dramatically improved (less than 2%) and our morbidity rates were markedly better. The change was so phenomenal they committed to operating a “milk bank” within the hospital.

          • Chi

            Ok, let’s see. We’re talking about ONE hospital. And there are a number of confounding factors that means you CANNOT say with 100% certainty that the human milk was 100% the reason for that drop (PS you want to decrease, not increase mortality and morbidity rates).

            Age of the babies being delivered could be a factor (just how premature were they?)

            Methods of deliveries (were more or less c-sections being done?).

            Honestly it may have been a big factor, but you can’t say for certain.

          • SuperGDZ

            Especially since she seems to have gleaned her knowledge as hearsay from the people who were actually involved.

          • Leah Whitley

            I don’t count first hand experience as hearsay.

          • SuperGDZ

            Well, you say “they” decided, and “they” committed to operating a milk bank, so it’s not unreasonable to assume that _you_ weren’t directly involved?

          • Leah Whitley

            I worked at the facility so I was required deal with patients as well as know and understand procedure, practices, protocol, and why things were the way they were. I feel every employee should.

          • Chi

            So what exactly was your job at this facility? If you don’t mind me asking.

          • Leah Whitley

            I wore many hats but primarily I worked in patient education and assisted with breastfeeding 🙂

          • Smoochagator

            So you were a… lactation consultant?

          • Leah Whitley

            Technically, no I was not.

          • Amazed

            But in fact, you were, I take it. That’s why you’re running in defense of the LC Fallow mentioned, again not saying that she did anything wrong but begging us to have sympathy for the poor dear.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Hey, she said “technically” she wasn’t. That means that she wanted to be and acted like she was one, it’s just that she never actually got the title.

          • moto_librarian

            I’m reminded of that “midwife” who claimed that she had attended hundreds of births in a hospital. She was employed as a janitor, but that didn’t stop her from using those births as proof of her experience.

          • Leah Whitley

            What is your definition of 100% proof? There is absolutely nothing that all will feel has been “100%” proven. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but when it comes to medical practice it is supposed to be evidence based. That means look at all of the research on the subject matter and using that information to guide practice and make sound recommendations. In theory, that is how it was intended to work. Because of the vast research on breastfeeding, and the overwhelming evidence of its benefits any governing body you can think of recommends from a medical standpoint that if at all possible babies be breastfed. The AAP, ACOG, ILCA, USDA, CDC, you name it. It’s actually a pretty consistent recommendation.

          • Chi

            I never said 100% proof. In fact I said that you COULDN’T prove your claims 100%. Which is why you CANNOT say what did or didn’t lower the incidence rate of NCE.

            And the benefits of breast milk are not ‘overwhelming’. In a first world country where clean water and formula are available, the benefits are trivial. Maybe one or two IQ points here or there, and MAYBE one or two less illnesses a year. Not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.

          • Leah Whitley

            I understand your stance. The point I was trying to make is that no claims can be “proven 100%.” If that is one’s stance they would have to look at medicine entirely with an eye of skepticism. I used the word “overwhelming” just due to the sheer amount and the fact that every governing body our medical system is based upon acknowledges the benefits of breastfeeding, and prefers woman to breastfeed for these advantages over other feeding methods if possible.

          • Leah Whitley

            Actually now it seems like much of the focus is on maternal health as well as the infants health. There seems to be a lot of emphasis on breastfeeding to reduce the obesity epidemic, as well as breast cancer.

          • KarenJJ

            Interesting.. Yet 60 years ago breastfeeding rates were much less, and so were obesity rates.

          • Leah Whitley

            I think it is more layered than that. Evidence shows that breastfed babies are less likely to be obese and have diabetes as adults. To me it’s kind of like saying that 50 years ago we didn’t have as many car fatalities so cars were structurally safer then than they are now.

          • Sarah

            Recent evidence shows this may be overblown. The real breakdown in communication here is that breastfeeding studies so far have relied on less than perfect research methods. There are few experimental studies on breastfeeding at all. Most are population studies that require reporting from mothers on their feeding methods. This information can be unreliable, and this method suffers from sample bias. Most women who breastfeed, especially in developed countries, are more likely to have higher income and education levels. Until there are multiple studies that control for these factors, no one can make truly informed decision or policy.

          • Leah Whitley

            I feel as though there is ample evidence to support the benefits of breastfeeding. Some studies are better than others (like anything else) but the evidence is there. Feeding practices are also very cultural. There are countries where breastfeeding is stigmatized and it is the poor, not the affluent that breastfeed. This has been our countries history.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Some studies are better than others (like anything else) but the evidence is there.

            But as the studies get better, the benefits are diminished. And so the big conclusion is that in order to find those real benefits of breastfeeding, you have to adequately control for a bunch of other stuff. Why? Because that other stuff is so much more important than breastfeeding that any effects are completely buried.

          • Leah Whitley

            Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

          • Megan

            Not when that opinion is used under the guise of “evidence” to guide the decisions of new mothers. Those decision should be informed by the best science available, not ideology.

          • Leah Whitley

            Then we agree..

          • Megan

            Since you can’t see past your confirmation bias, I doubt it.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

            But not all opinions are equal. Some are supported, some are not so much.

            What did I say above that is incorrect? It is absolutely true that as controls are improved, the benefits of breastfeeding go down.

          • sdsures

            No, actually they are only entitled to an opinion when they can successfully make an argument for it and back that argument up with evidence.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I%27m_entitled_to_my_opinion

          • Sarah

            When it comes to making recommendations about infant feeding, it should be more than a feeling. Why is it that you trust the evidence from studies with population bias over, say, the recent sibling cohort studies that show a lack of significant correlation between feeding method and IQ, obesity, and diabetes? Is it because the previous research agrees with your confirmation bias or that you trust the research methods more (research methods that don’t control for important factors that could have everything to do with this debate)?

            We should also only make recommendations for developed countries with studies for developed countries. This is the only way to make informed policy.

            The goal here is to make informed , ethical policy that helps all mothers. It should never be to promote one ideology over the other.

          • Leah Whitley

            Our demographic is so diverse, I think only using studies from developed nations is an oversimplification. The beautiful thing about breastfeeding is that we do not know all of the minute details, but we know it’s good and it is the preferred method of feeding when possible (most would agree.) Maybe we will get irrefutable evidence that some of the benefits are inflated, it is also very likely that we will discover new unknown benefits of breastfeeding that we were previously unaware of. Because breast milk is good I feel it should be encouraged.

          • Cobalt

            We already have studies showing the benefits are inflated. Encouraging women to force sacrifices on themselves and their families because one day we might find out its beneficial is wrong.

            Breastfeeding, as a way to nourish a baby, should be protected as a personal choice available to all mothers who are biologically able to do so. It does not deserve encouragement or promotion.

          • Leah Whitley

            Until The AAP (among others) adopt that stance breastfeeding will be encouraged and promoted. Do you feel breastfeeding is harmful? Usually when people are against something being promoted it is because they feel it is detrimental.

          • Sarah

            The extent to which breastfeeding is encouraged is harmful to some women. Some have contemplated suicide, others have terrible issues with PPD. Some have a hard time bonding with their babies due to their undeserved feelings of failure.

            It also shifts the focus away from the real problem. Every dollar spent on breastfeeding promotion could go towards the factors that actually matter. We could work on closing gaps in incomes, public health, education access, but instead we’re spending money on promoting one form of infant feeding over the other with no real guarantee on a return on investment. If we really wanted to curb childhood obesity and other chronic health problems, we should focus on the factors that have shown time and time again to have a statistically significant correlation with those diseases.

          • Leah Whitley

            Okay.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Usually when people are against something being promoted it is because they feel it is detrimental.

            The problem is, what we are seeing is NOT the promotion of breastfeeding, it’s the demonization of formula.

            When hospitals lock away formula and won’t let anyone have it without a doctor prescription (and even then, nurses fight against doctor’s orders), that’s not “promoting breastfeeding.”

            Everyone here is all for doing things to promote breastfeeding. End shaming of public breastfeeding. Lobby for more support for maternity and family leave. These are great things to do that would promote breastfeeding.

            On the other hand, being anti-formula is not promoting breastfeeding.

          • Leah Whitley

            Although I am not overall opposed to formula being given via doctors prescription, I agree with you that demonizing formula feeding does not promote breastfeeding, and I also do not advocate for public shaming.

          • moto_librarian

            Do you need a prescription from your doctor to buy groceries? Why do you suppose that is? Do you have any idea how ignorant you sound when you claim that you think formula should be via prescription only?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            You do not advocate for public shaming, but calling formula something so bad that only a doctor can prescribe it is NOT demonizing it?

          • Cobalt

            Breastfeeding itself is only rarely truly harmful, assuming it is freely chosen. It is a spectacular infant feeding solution for many, an adequate solution for many others, and undesirable to deadly for still others.

            Breastfeeding PROMOTION, on the other hand, is frequently very harmful. It harms anyone, mother or child, who suffers from the pressure to choose based on anything other than their own best interests.

          • Sarah

            I’m really going to try to be patient here.

            What you’ve just said is basically “I have confirmation bias and won’t believe the studies are overblown and will just wait for the other magical benefits of breastfeeding that are inevitably going to be found as a result of better studies. Breastfeeding has to be better. There’s no way it’s not!”

            You say you like to read scientific studies, but you seem to not understand how scientific studies work and what their results mean when extrapolated at the policy level. Just because “our demographic is diverse” doesn’t mean that we can take a study from a poor country in Africa and have it mean anything for our population. There are far too many factors. For instance, in some cases, even the poorest Americans have better access to things like clean water and rudimentary health care.

            “Maybe we will get irrefutable evidence that some of the benefits are inflated, it is also very likely that we will discover new unknown benefits of breastfeeding that we were previously unaware of. ” And maybe we’ll find out that unicorns really exist and they fart rainbows and jelly beans. What does that have to do with today? Nothing. Public health policy should never reflect future benefits that may or may not exist.

            I know my tone is bad here. These kind of conversations rub me the wrong way, though. It’s this type of “goalpost moving” frame of mind that leads to mothers suffering and crying and contemplating suicide because of their inability to breastfeed. The only thing we should be focusing on are GOOD, sound scientific studies that control for important factors (that likely matter more than how a baby is fed).

            I know the problem here is that if we can show the lack of statistical correlation that breastfeeding may actually not be the preferred method of feeding for everyone. This is the proverbial sacred cow. This is what should be protected at all costs. Even if a study shows that these benefits might be overblown, it’s still natural liquid gold and should be encouraged whether the mother has made a personal decision to breastfeed her children or not. This may or may not be what you actually meant but it is definitely the implication here.

            We have to start making good public policy. We have to start looking at mothers’ livelihoods, NOT at the expense of their families but for the betterment of them. We have to put money into studies that give this most lauded status of breastmilk in the skeptic eye. It’s been put on a pedestal for too long while formula has been demonized at the expense of mother’s mental health.

          • Leah Whitley

            What I was saying is that there are a lot of factors to be taken into consideration and we can learn from studies that are not necessarily from first world nations. Our country has a history of under representing and misrepresenting minorities and that is real and documented.

          • Sarah

            We can and do look at studies not from first world nations. But we shouldn’t extrapolate an entire public policy from those. As far as breastfeeding studies go, access to clean water is a huge factor that really limits how much information can be gathered from a study in a developing country. Dangers of formula (due to water quality and access) in some areas are very real, and that’s going to skew the results substantially with regard to health.

            What would misrepresenting and under representing minorities have to do with breastfeeding studies?

          • Roadstergal

            That is true. Eg, this study suggesting that for Mexican women, higher parity and extended breastfeeding are associated with increased triple-negative breast cancer (the really nasty type). Mexican women are a significant population in CA, where the lactivist message of affluent white women is the dominant one.

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23950213

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Our demographic is so diverse, I think only using studies from developed
            nations is an oversimplification. The beautiful thing about
            breastfeeding is that we do not know all of the minute details, but we
            know it’s good and it is the preferred method of feeding when possible

            Yeah, all things being equal, breastfeeding is probably better.

            BUT

            All things are never equal.

            Moreover, E=even if there are benefits for a population, you can’t apply them to individuals. There are going to be individuals for whom breastfeeding is not best, and so to insist that everyone should do it is misguided. In fact, all that would tell is that more people should breastfeed than don’t. And we already have that.

            So even in a situation where we all agree “breast is best” there is no reason to beat women over the head that they have to do it or are failing if they don’t. Assess everyone’s situation and recognize that breastfeeding is only a small part of the entire picture.

          • Leah Whitley

            I agree, as I have stated before, there are always exceptions to the rule. Every case has to be looked at individually. But, as we have both made clear, most woman will not be an exception to the rule.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            But, as we have both made clear, most woman will not be an exception to the rule.

            Except the ones that are.

            Every woman who decides that, in their situation, formula feeding is better than breastfeeding is an exception to the rule that breast is best.

            And while we can agree that “most” will not be an exception, that says nothing about those who are and even little about how many.

            You can’t assess individual situations by looking at the total population.

          • Megan

            “I feel as though there is ample evidence to support the benefits of breastfeeding. ”

            What was that MilkMeg said? Oh yeah: “feelings aren’t facts.” I thought breastfeeding seemed impressive too until I actually looked at the primary source (not just read the abstract-the methods section is often very telling). Now I know better.

          • Leah Whitley

            I agree. Call me a nerd but I really like reading studies! I could not tell you how much I’ve read. Anyway, when Meg wrote feelings aren’t fact’s I felt she was trying to emphasize the importance of true evidence. Everyone has feelings, and mine are based on the evidence. I must admit, my views have really changed and evolved over the years.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Everyone has feelings, and mine are based on the evidence.

            So your feelings are that there are no significant long-term benefits to breastfeeding for full-term babies in first world countries? Because the evidence on that is pretty clear. Even the WHO acknowledges it.

          • Leah Whitley

            I think there are long term benefits. With extended breastfeeding I feel the benefits can far exceed the physical.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I think there are long term benefits. With extended breastfeeding I feel the benefits can far exceed the physical.

            So much for your feelings being “based on the evidence.”

          • Cobalt

            For who? In what situations? Always or sometimes? Who is in the best position to judge if it is appropriate, beneficial, or harmful in any particular case? Is it any of the public’s business?

          • Leah Whitley

            With extended breastfeeding it is nobodies business but that families. There are a lot of woman in our country that do extended breastfeeding in secrecy because they do not want to have to deal with the backlash. Coming from a culture that sexualities breast, the backlash can be fierce. But I have yet to see a convincing piece of work to show ill effects of extended breastfeeding. It is what it is.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “Call me a nerd but I really like reading studies!”

            What is your take on the discordant sib studies and the PROBIT study? Let’s discuss.

          • Nick Sanders

            Then cough up that evidence.

          • Cobalt

            Studies show that the biggest predictors of adult health issues like obesity and diabetes are childhood factors like eating and lifestyle patterns, genetics, and family income.

            Now look at who breastfeeds in the US. As a group, the families are higher income, healthier, have better access to care, and are more health focused overall. Elective formula feeders are more likely to be poor (with attendant health risks, stressors, care access issues, education access issues, etc), Black (racial disparities in access to resources is alarming and well documented), and/or are choosing formula for maternal health reasons.

            These are huge unaccounted for confounders in most breastfeeding studies. The variables between the groups are not just feeding method, but class, education, lifestyle, general health, race, etc. Once you look at discordant sibling studies, where breastfed children are compared to formula fed children with the same genetics in the same environment, all those benefits disappear.

            It’s not the milk, it’s the money.

          • Roadstergal

            “It’s not the milk, it’s the money”

            I am _so_ stealing that.

            A co-worker of mine is having her first baby – uh, any minute now. At the going-away-on-maternity-leave party, she mentioned she’ll be breastfeeding. She’s fairly affluent and works at a company with generous maternity leave. That means two things – one, she’s more likely to be successful breastfeeding, as she will have access to a great deal of support and quality post-partum care, and will have time, rest, and consultation. Two – it means she’s had a lot of prenatal care, will have the ability to afford high-quality food for her kid (with lots of fruits and vegetables), has access to high-quality on-site child care, has access to good schools later, has lots of local outlets for her kid to play and get exercise, doesn’t live near a polluted freeway, and will have coverage and time to have her kid go to all the recommended health visits.

            One of those two things mean the kids is more likely than average to grow up intelligent, healthy, and non-obese. Guess which one.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “Evidence shows that breastfed babies are less likely to be obese and have diabetes as adults. ”

            Yes, uncontrolled observational studies show that breastfed babies are less likely to develop obesity and diabetes, because in out society breastfeeding is highly correlated with income and other advantages.

            Well designed studies, in contrast, do NOT support the claims about obesity and diabetes. For instance the discordant sib studies show no correlation and the Belarus PROBIT study actually shows MORE obesity and overweight for the BREASTfeeding group.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Hey, don’t you dare contradict Leah. She loves reading studies.

          • FormerPhysicist

            That actually makes sense, because my breastfed babies learned to associate food with comfort and while they aren’t quite at disordered eating, it’s not a great thing even 10 years later.

          • Nick Sanders

            You are confusing rates and absolute numbers.

          • JellyCat

            You are talking about premature infants. This has absolutely nothing to do with healthy term newborns. Also, donor human milk used in the hospital setting is technologcally processed and pasteurized, so it’s definitely not the same milk LC’s love to talk about.

          • Leah Whitley

            True, in my post I tried to make clear the destination in small and sick babies from the normal healthy baby. And yes, pasteurized human milk is very different than the biological mothers unpasteurized milk. And both pasteurized and unpasteurized human milk are very different from formula. It is important to look at the whole dyad when making recommendations. But when we are talking about high risk babies like our preemies for example, medically speaking human milk (pasteurized or from mother) is preferable with very few exceptions.

          • Nick Sanders

            But they weren’t talking about high-risk babies. They were talking about the average baby, until you suddenly wrenched the conversation around to high-risk ones.

          • SporkParade

            So then you ought to know first-hand how the insane pressure faced by women of healthy, full-term infants to breastfeed is contributing to a shortage of breastmilk for premature babies because women who OUGHT to be switching to formula are instead using up donor milk.

          • Leah Whitley

            Sorry, but I don’t understand your statement? I am confused by the statement that woman breastfeeding full term babies is related to a shortage of human milk for premature babies?

          • SporkParade

            Until there is enough donated breastmilk available for those who could actually benefit from it (preemies and babies with extreme sensitivities), it is unethical for donated breastmilk to be used for healthy, term infants. However, I have seen women be advised to switch to donor milk rather than formula because they were going back to work after a year on maternity leave.

          • Leah Whitley

            I am not familiar with that practice. All of the milk banks I am familiar with largely require a medical prescription for donor breast milk. due to the shortage of human milk babies with medical needs have priority. I have seen woman attempt to obtain milk bank milk for their healthy infants, but I have not witnessed anyone successful in their attempt. Now the hospital that I worked at operated their own milk bank internally. They screened donors who were exclusively breastfeeding and had additional milk to donate. We also accepted donor milk from bereaved mothers despite the amount if they had a desire to donate. If the hospital was short on milk there were two milk banks it purchased additional milk from. They also made every effort to support woman in expressing their milk for their NICU babies. They offered lactation assistance by LC’s everyday, and there were breast pumps available 24/7.

          • SporkParade

            Right now, there are private milk banks being established that have no criteria for who receives the milk. Women donate to them thinking it’s for a good cause instead of to the hospital milk banks.

          • Cobalt

            Hospital milk banks (for preemies) are competing with private sales on craigslist (for perfectly healthy babies) for donor milk. What drives the demand for donor breast milk for babies that don’t actually need it, reducing availability for those few babies who could really benefit?

            Lactivism.

          • Leah Whitley

            I think I understand your point. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think you are posing the question of what is driving the need for woman with full term healthy babies to seek out donor milk.
            I agree with you that it is unethical to recommend a woman with a full term healthy baby who is not breastfeeding to supplement with expressed donor milk. This is unethical because there is a shortage of milk and at risk babies have a greater need for human milk. The milk banks that I worked with had checks and balances in place to control for this. The hospital I worked at also had protocol as far as when supplementation with human milk or formula was appropriate. I have explained to woman on many occasions why they were not candidates for human milk and recommended formula. Sites such as craigslist who advertise and facilitate purchase of expressed milk is what we refer to as milk sharing opposed to milk banks.

          • Leah Whitley

            Are you talking about milk banks such as Medolc?

          • Roadstergal

            NEC is relevant to preemies. The benefits of some women’s breast milk for NEC (not every women’s breast milk helps – there is a lot of active research into what the preventive factor(s) are) has naught to do with bullying mothers of healthy term infants into making feeding choices that are not their preference, are not compatible with needed medication, or starving their kids in the interest of EBF.

          • Leah Whitley

            Especially when it comes to babies who are at risk, human milk is always preferable to formula. I agree with everything else you stated.

          • Cobalt

            You’re just willing to define “at risk” beyond the borders of babies that are actually at risk. Breast milk for prevention of NEC is useful for only a tiny subset of babies, and not all breast milk (either inherently or due to handling issues) is effective.

            Better to do research to identify, isolate, and reproduce the effective factors, so all at risk babies can receive them. Not just those whose mothers happen to have the right factors, can produce sufficient milk, and can adhere to tricky handling protocols.

          • Leah Whitley

            My point was never that breastfeeding always prevents NEC. But we do know that when babies receive breast milk the likelihood is far less. I brought up this point in response to woman who have never heard of an infant death related to feeding practices.

          • Chi

            But again, you can’t say that the babies who died from NEC did so because they were fed formula and not breast milk. Maybe they wouldn’t have, but then maybe they would still have died. You just CAN’T know.

            So to recap:

            1) You cannot DIRECTLY attribute the deaths of those babies to formula. They died from NEC which doctors are still trying to figure out the cause of.

            2) You are talking about premature babies who generally have a lot of health issues to begin with so yes, breastfeeding them is important I will give you that, but still, if breast milk is unavailable, properly prepared, sterile formula should be just as good.

            3) There have been NO reports that I can find of healthy, full-term babies dying as a DIRECT result of being fed formula. Whereas there ARE reports of children who basically starved to death because of this rabid ‘breast is best, formula is poison’ mentality.

            Conclusion: Formula is NOT poison, formula is a perfectly safe, perfectly acceptable alternative to breast milk and you have NO right to say or imply otherwise, just to fit your lactivist agenda.

          • Roadstergal

            For healthy term infants, human milk is preferable to formula if a woman wants to breastfeed, is comfortable doing it, makes enough milk, makes milk of sufficient quality to nourish the baby, and if the baby can get it out. Otherwise, the trivial short-term benefits and lack of long-term benefits in the developed world, as demonstrated by the PROBIT study and the discordant sibling study, do not justify the excessive pressure we currently have on women to EBF for [6 months, a year, until college, whatever is hip right now].

            We know about NEC. We are discussing healthy term infants, not preemies.

          • mabelcruet

            Yes, I have. NEC is not caused by formula feeding, and it is not cured by breast feeding. You are either deluded, misinformed or scaremongering.

          • Leah Whitley

            A newborn has large junctures in their gut. The composition of formula is such that it attracts white blood cells leading to inflammation. With the inflammation harmful bacteria and infection can set in like NEC for example. Breastmilk does not have the same effect, actually it has a lot of antibodies that combat infections. This is part of the reason why breastfed babies are far less likely to develop NEC for example. Obviously most babies will not have to worry about such extreme medical issues, but for our small and sick babies this is a real concern. I brought this up because some woman have not heard of these sort of situations and as a result feel as though formula has no such harmful effects. But we have to remember that there are fundamental differences and for some babies the choice can have a huge impact

          • Chi

            See, I don’t like the way you throw around the word ‘harmful’ with formula. Formula is not harmful and saying so is fearmongering.

          • Leah Whitley

            In my post I was attempting to explain how a newborns gut differs, and how the the effect of formula primes the gut in such a way harmful bacteria can infiltrate. Here in the US with clean water, the formula itself usually does not introduce the bacteria. It is not a scare tactics or “fear ingesting.” I don’t believe in that, it’s just science.

          • Chi

            So now you’re a gastroenterologist? There is still PLENTY that isn’t known about the microbiome inside a baby’s gut. Who are you to say what does or doesn’t ‘prime’ a baby’s gut for bad bacteria?

          • Leah Whitley

            I don’t say that. I just go by the evidence from the doctors and researchers who do

          • During the period in which I worked in NICU, we had to stop using breast milk for babies with NEC. The babies actually did better on formula, which was sterile. The breast milk, even from the mothers of their own babies, had bacterial contamination issues, due to the length of time from pumping at home to delivery to the hospital. Milk from milk banks was even more problematic. Sterilization destroyed any antibody benefit. This went against accepted theory, and the Head of Pediatrics was seriously contemplating doing a study when he left to take up a teaching position overseas.

          • Leah Whitley

            That is awful. Did your facility have any assistance to store milk for mothers or help them properly transport milk to prevent contamination? What pasteurization method was being used? We’re fortifiers being used?

          • Nehimomma

            Dr. Amy has made it clear the health advantages of TERM babies is basically non existent in first world countries. Term babies don’t get NEC and feeding infants in third world countries is problematic no matter what because if something is wrong with the mother, and a wet nurse is unavailable to be found, or the infant can’t nurse properly they just die.

            You will not see her dispute that whenever possible, excepting things like lactose intolerance/metabolic disorders ect…preterm babies should get breastmilk to avoid the risk of NEC. If the mother’s breastmilk is unavailable, donated breast milk should be used.

            Her issue is the lactivists ignore medical evidence and instead use shame, fear, and bullying to make breastmilk the only acceptable way to feed a term infant, which is nonsense. That can’t be backed up. You can’t use third world issues, or NEC/preemie concern and shove them down moms of term infants as “science”. They are hogwash.

          • mabelcruet

            I am a paediatric pathologist. I spend my days carrying out autopses on baabies who have died. I examine their tissues using a microscope to look at individual cells to diagnose disease processes .I have no idea what you mean by ‘large junctures’ in their gut, unless you are talking about cell adhesion. I think you’re getting confused with ‘leaky gut’. This is an explanation that the neonatologists will use to help parents understand NEC, but actually it is a very poor representation of the actual physiological and pathological process that occurs. The rest of your paragraph makes no medical, anatomical or pathological sense.

          • moto_librarian

            I don’t think that anyone here disputes that breast milk is best for premature infants precisely because it can prevent NEC. When we are talking about term infants, the benefits of breast feeding are truly miniscule.

          • Leah Whitley

            I am not referring to a singular study. There are many.

          • Nick Sanders

            So provide some links.

          • moto_librarian

            The PROBIT study has a robust sample size. It found extremely trivial benefits to breastfeeding term infants in the developed world. You can’t substantiate your claim that formula feeding costs us billions of dollars. It’s past time for the APA and ACOG to end this obsession with breast feeding. Focusing on paid parental leave would be far more valuable to the long-term health of our children.

          • Leah Whitley

            I am so confused, you are using the PROBIT study to justify your stance?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Just to be clear, what do you think her “stance” is?

          • Nick Sanders

            A large sample is only one aspect of making a study good. By itself it does not make a study “valid”.

      • momofone

        I’m curious too about how formula fed babies cost “us” billions of dollars each year. My breastfed baby had one pediatrician visit due to illness his first year, so by that example breastfeeding is the bomb! My breastfed nephew had 40 visits for illness his first year. It would be interesting to see how many billions breastfed babies cost “us.”

        • Cobalt

          Breastfeeding my older son cost a few grand a week in medical expenses. Good thing we put a stop to that early!

        • Daleth

          In their first year my formula-fed twins had one cold (each, but at the same time) which didn’t require a doctor visit, and one bout of chicken pox, which did, but had nothing to do with how they were fed. Oh, and zero ear infections and zero incidents of diarrhea.

        • Sarah

          She probably believes all those bullshit claims about it being possible to control for confounders as well.

      • Roadstergal

        I bet what costs some serious coin is babies being re-admitted to the hospital for jaundice or rehydration because moms had been told that formula was an evil to be avoided at any cost. And then, when they finally give their starving baby formula, their baby is considered a ‘formula-fed’ baby, and any negative effects of starvation, and associated costs and downstream outcomes, are used by lactivists as a warning of ‘the dangers of formula’.

        I wonder what the health care cost is for a baby who gets a bacterial infection from Craigslist donor milk.

    • Roxie Turner

      I don’t agree. Nurses and pediatricians get virtually no education on breastfeeding.

      • Ash

        yentavegan said in conjunction with a healthcare related field…for example, a RN or registered dietician with lactation specialty training will be more useful than someone who has taken just a myopic course on breastfeeding and nothing else.

        • Leah Whitley

          I agree, no person with a “myopic course” on breastfeeing is equipped to assist mothers with their breastfeeding needs. Fortunately for us IBCLC’s do not fall under this category. They have extensive training in breastfeeding.

          • Cobalt

            Any medical training? Lactation is one thing, medical issues (and their treatment s) that impact or are impacted by lactation or consuming breast milk are another thing entirely.

            I would rather have a doctor for my baby’s or my health than an LC to just make the mechanics of lactation run better.

          • Leah Whitley

            In situations like that usually a combination is best. Lactation Consultants and doctors need to work closely together with complicated cases. Each one is going to have a piece of information and a part of the puzzle needed. Kind of like when Pediatricians and OBGYN’s have to come together toke a health plan for mother and baby.

          • SporkParade

            Or they could just suggest formula for complicated cases. Breastfeeding doesn’t have any long-term health benefits. Women are entitled to hear that the time has come for them to consider whether the aggravation is really worth it.

          • Leah Whitley

            Every mother has to make her own decisions about what will work best for her family. This is true with infant feeding, and everything else parenthood has to offer!

          • Who?

            It’s interesting how this is exactly what homebirth midwives say when homebirth doesn’t go well-hands off, nothing to do with me, you made your own decision.

          • Leah Whitley

            People may sometimes say this flippantly, but I feel it is true. There are those people out there who make life harder for us, and there are those that help us. But at the end of the day we are the only one living our life and walking in our shoes. We have to deal with all of the grief delt us, figure out how to navigate it and move on. It’ s not always easy, but what else can we do?

          • Cobalt

            We can fight those who would interfere with a mother giving truly informed consent and making her own choices. Those who would aggrieve her for doing what works best for her family, those who artificially inflate the costs of choices they don’t like, those who lie about risks to line their own pockets or inflate their own egos.

          • Leah Whitley

            We should not fight with a woman who gives informed consent. There are people who “artificially inflate the cost of choices” and ” lie about risk to line their own pockets” but I think these people overall are in the minority and I personally don’t know if any in the breastfeeding community.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            There are people who “artificially inflate the cost of choices” and ”
            lie about risk to line their own pockets” but I think these people
            overall are in the minority

            If they were really in the minority, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. No, they are far, far, far too common.

          • Leah Whitley

            They may be more common than I am aware, that is possible. But I seriously do feel as though these people are largely not represented in the overall breastfeeding community.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            You are so in the “overall breastfeeding community” that you don’t recognize it.

          • Cobalt

            You’re one of them.

            Tell me again how breast milk has many significant (yet invisible in studies that control for confounders) benefits that make it worth applying any pressure to influence a mother’s free choice.

          • Sarah

            And require them to have prescriptions for formula. That’s insane and puts a significant burden on lower income mothers who have low supplies.

          • Sarah

            And would just about bring down the NHS and similar, in countries with socialized systems.

          • moto_librarian

            Perhaps you should try taking a look in the mirror…

          • Cobalt

            Every mother has to make her own decisions about what will work best for her family, but we should have a public campaign to promote a particular “best” choice without referring to all the ways in which it might not be best for family?

            Do you see the problem here?

          • Nick Sanders

            Maybe, maybe not. But even is this is so, that choice should be properly informed and uncoerced, not surrounded with woo and emotional manipulation.

          • Daleth

            Kind of like when Pediatricians and OBGYN’s have to come together to make health plan for mother and baby.

            Or kind of like when they DON’T, because the person qualified to give the type of care you’re describing is a maternal-fetal medicine specialist.

          • Sue

            I agree, Cobalt. Most doctors would not claim to compete with LCs on the mechanics and practicality of breastfeeding, much as they wouldn’t compete with physios for delivering musculoskeletal therapy or podiatrists for managing toenails.

            The silliness of Kerryn’s indignation is that she has sailed in to attack a particular doctor who DOES happen to know a lot about lactation – both medically AND practically.

          • JellyCat

            I don’t understand how you can dissociate lactation from anatomy and physiology.

          • Leah Whitley

            I’m sorry, I don’t understand your comment.

          • Leah Whitley

            Cerified LC’s are required to take A&P as well as other science courses. Back in the day I think they offered an option where if you had hundreds of more clinical hours you could bypass some of the sciences, but if I am correct I believe that has been null and void for a while.

          • SporkParade

            I am not impressed with the medical training of the IBCLC’s I’ve come across at all.

          • Leah Whitley

            If you are not impressed the the training if IBCLC’s you certainly do not want to approach a nurse or pediatrician for hands on support!

          • SporkParade

            Really? Because both my pediatrician and the certified nurse midwife I hired as my LC were fantastic.

          • Leah Whitley

            I’m glad they worked out for you. There are always exceptions to the rule when it comes to who is best to care for you but as a general rule of thumb I recommend IBCLC’s because they have more formal training in breastfeeding than nurses (even CNM’s) and pediatricians. So generally speaking, if your support was helpful how helpful could a person with even more education and clinical lactation hours could be for others mothers!
            Kind of like dietitians and nutritionist. Some nutritionist may be better at their job than some dietitians. But dietitians have a lot more formal training! So if I had a medical issue and needed to be placed on a specialized diet I would begin by searching dietitians.

      • JellyCat

        I also don’t agree that nurses have virtually no education on breastfeeding. University educated RN’s get a lot of education on breastfeeding.

        • SuperGDZ

          Yes, but lactivists grossly overestimate the depth of the field.

        • Roxie Turner

          I think it’s like everything else, there are those who seek out extra training and those who don’t. Perhaps now days nurses are given more training, but not a single nurse on the OB floor could get my first born to latch. Not a single one mentioned my bleeding nipples (within 12 hours of birth) or the incredibly thick frenulum keeping my son’s tongue from lifting or his upper lip from lifting. Those same nurses pushed formula from the moment he was born. They gave him a pacie without my permission, essentially sabotaging breastfeeding before it could really get started. My pediatrician recieved less than 24 hours of training on breastfeeding (her words, not mine). According to my pediatric dentist that amount of training is average. He only sought out more education after his child had a tongue tie. Perhaps not all women need LCs, but many of us do.

        • sdsures

          Yep, they do. But they can’t make a low supply magically get better.

      • Some do, some don’t. A lot of misinformation, with no science to back it up, gets spread around. My daughter was told, by a nursing instructor with a gaggle of students in tow, that the way to treat engorgement , for a breast-feeding mother, was to use COLD compresses on her breasts.

        I corrected her, then and there, after identifying myself, in front of her students (to cause her maximum embarrassment) and later reported her. I have no patience with things like that.

        • fiftyfifty1

          “My daughter was told, by a nursing instructor with a gaggle of students in tow, that the way to treat engorgement , for a breast-feeding mother, was to use COLD compresses on her breasts.
          I corrected her, then and there,”

          Corrected her? Why? The breastfeeding literature is scanty and weak when it comes to engorgement (just as it’s weak on just about every breastfeeding topic). But what studies we do have on cold vs. warm compresses for engorgement tend to favor cold, wouldn’t you agree?

          • Leah Whitley

            When engorgement most recommend warm compresses as they elicit a milk ejection reflex and release some of the milk contributing to the engorgement. Afterwards, or between feeds one may recommend cold compresses. Although cold compresses inhibit a milk ejection reflex initially when woman become engorged it’s usually not only milk but partly inflammation. The cold can improve the inflammation.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “engorged it’s usually not only milk but partly inflammation.”

            Actually the MAIN component is thought to be inflammation.

            The (scanty) literature supports that women report more symptomatic relief from cold than from warm, which they often reports causes painful throbbing.

            Bottom line is that recommending cold compresses is not something that needs to be “corrected”.

            Personally what I tell my patients is that most women prefer cold, some prefer warm and some like to alternate, and that they can feel free to experiment. But most of all don’t be afraid to take pain relievers.

          • Cobalt

            Ibuprofen for the win! And coming from me, that’s an unusually bold personal endorsement.

          • Roxie Turner

            Yes! Generally seaking I’m anti-NSAID,but Ibuprofen was all that would help me.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Why are you anti-NSAID?

          • Roxie Turner

            The negative effects on liver. They’re also contra-indicated on folks with IBS. In the past I’ve had a pretty awful reaction to them. 🙁

          • Roadstergal

            It’s acetaminophen/paracetamol that has a negative effect on the liver. It’s a tough tradeoff. Acetaminophen/paracetamol has no anti-inflammatory effect, which is a plus in some ways and a minus in others. It’ll hammer your liver if you OD, not if you don’t. NSAIDs are, as the name suggests, anti-inflammatory, but have a worse side effect profile at the recommended dose, including negative GI and kidney effects.

          • Roxie Turner

            Aha. Thank you. 🙂

          • Sue

            Just to clarify – it’s actually quite hard to OD on Paracetamol/Acetaminophen – approx ten grams (twenty 500 mg tablets) in a healthy adult. So, yes, can damage the liver in major overdose, but very very safe for the number of doses taken worldwide every days – especially for kids.

          • Fallow

            Huh, I thought NSAIDs were rougher on the kidneys than the liver? Not that I’m a pharmacist or anything; that’s just what I’d heard.

          • Roxie Turner

            Pretty sure my doc and dietitian said liver, but I’m so tired right now that I just can’t be sure, lol.

          • Leah Whitley

            Thanks for sharing 🙂

          • Medwife

            Mmhmm, ibuprofen above all, and I personally preferred cold. My boobs were making plenty of heat on their own. Ow.

          • sdsures

            I’m not even pregnant, and this is making my boobs hurt just thinking about it!

          • Sarah

            What’s crazy is there was a time when I would have killed for my boobs to hurt. I never got engorged, after two babies. I never produced enough milk to feel that way.

          • sdsures

            Guess that happens sometimes. I have breast pain, but for non-kiddlet related reasons. It’s not fun. I periodically ask hubby if we can chop them off, but he’s loathe to part with them. 😛

          • Sarah

            I’m sorry for your pain! I hope you find some relief soon. (My husband would probably have mine bronzed and placed on a pedestal if we had to part with them, so I know the struggle.)

          • Megan

            I felt the same way. I never felt my milk “come in,” never leaked, never got engorged. And when I finally quit pumping my measly 8 oz a day? My breasts didn’t even so much as put up a fight, they just retreated quietly without pain or anything. I know you’ve said before that you have IGT. I probably do too. But you know, according to LC’s we don’t really exist.

          • moto_librarian

            Never felt engorgement or let-down either. Tried nursing two babies.

          • Sarah

            In the thread on the FB page, I had someone (who was tagged for the sole purpose of ganging up on me) tell me that the only way a woman doesn’t produce enough is if the baby isn’t at the breast enough. I breastfed almost all day at the request of LC’s. I sat, watched tv, ate, and breastfed for almost an entire day. I took fenugreek. I smelled like maple syrup, felt fat and lazy, and still didn’t produce enough milk for my son. The kind of advice some are giving could really put babies lives in danger. If I hadn’t supplemented, my son probably would have been admitted.

          • Montserrat Blanco

            I am so so so happy I did not have to listen to all that nonsense. My preemie needed more milk than I produced at about two weeks old. I pumped and pumped and pubmed exclusively for weeks. When he finally got to breastfeed directo y I loved it… Until he started crying for more once he finished with both breasts. He was dos garfee on combo feeding and that was OK for both of us until my milk dried up.

            I do not exist, because “”almost every woman has enough milk to feed a baby”. Well, I did not. And now, 11 months old… Let me tell you, It does not matter at all how he was fed. He is thriving and doing very well and has had about two colds with minimal symptoms.

            I am so grateful about what one of his neonatologists said to me when he was still at the NICU when I told her I did not have enough milk: he is not going to die of hunger. Don’t worry. It does not matter that much. apparently if the first feed is of breastmilk then it does not matter.

            And she was right. It did not matter.
            It would have mattered if he was not fed enough food though.

          • yentavegan

            and here is where a yenta like me could have helped you. Mothers who never experience that whoosh of their milk coming in are red flag indicators of a biological limitation of milk production. Supplementation is the preferred method of infant feeding rather than excess pumping, herbs or off label medications. But a trained IBCLC would never admit that.

          • Annie Schimpff VerSteeg Ibclc

            I would and do admit that

          • Roxie Turner

            I too was taught to use the warm compresses during breastfeeding to help release the milk, cold between feedings to get some relief. Also cold for mastitis and plugged ducts.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Release the milk from where? My wife used warm compresses to promote let down. If the milk is already let down but engorged, warm compresses promoting milk let down wouldn’t help that.

            If you are engorged, the solution is to get the milk out, not put more milk in.

          • fiftyfifty1

            She means Letdown as in the response that gets the milk pumping out.

    • SuperGDZ

      I don’t understand why something that is soooooo natural and which virtually any woman can do (apparently) requires all this specialist training and education..

    • Sue

      My only experience with lactation consultants is with specialised nurses. Similarly with early childhood nurses. It makes sense that this role should be taken by a specialised health care provider.

      Volunteers who man advice-lines may be a different animal.

    • Sarah

      Au contraire, I would have the greatest degree of respect and admiration for anyone making a living from eating pies. And envy, if I’m honest.

  • lilin

    “However your ego has no place in a discussion on Facebook.”

    This made me laugh and laugh. Seriously, Meg? A social media platform that lets you post entirely about your life and create a personal network of friends is no place for personal ego? It’s no place to think of yourself as important? Of course it is.

    “It’s exhausting and frustrating to navigate.”

    Yes, it is. For you. Why can’t you just admit that? Why can’t you just say, “I don’t like hearing about the exceptions to every post I make on Facebook. It tires me out and frustrates me to go through them.”? Because that’s clearly what’s happening. You don’t like one aspect of a social media platform. I don’t blame you, because it sucks scrolling through a bunch of entries of people reacting negatively to what you’ve said. But don’t make it everyone else’s problem. You want to make public statements–the public will make them back.

  • Who?

    Just to up the offence-o-meter, a different take on new motherhood and its effect on women’s careers from the Katering Show crew. You’ll never feel the same about coconut oil again:

    https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1902165043341325

    • lilin

      I love this show. And that baby is super cute. But “Millie”? Did they name her Millicent or Mildred? Is there an alternate “millie” name in Australia?

      • Who?

        Probably Amelia. Lots of Amelias are Milly/Millie around here.

        She is a cutie.

        • lilin

          That’s a nice name!

      • Mattie

        I’m in the UK and Milly/Millie is often used as a name all by itself, not a shortening of a name 🙂

  • Amazed

    MAUDEDELMAR: What does epigenetics have to do with the fact that none of the studies
    blowing the horn of the long-term superiority of breastfeeding have
    controlled for maternal IQ?

    Why is the post I am answering to not active, BTW? Is it because of the two links?

    • MaudedelMar

      I can’t find my original post in comments anymore so I assume “Dr” Amy removed my original reply to your post even though I didn’t disparage anyone with choice words like “cows” for instance.

      • Amazed

        No, you’re for subtle bullying, aren’t you? You’re Mommy Milky Meggy’s valiant warrior when this gentle creature could not possibly withstand the offence of her disgusting post being exposed for what it is, so she ran bawling to the rest of them milking cows for support.

        Subtlenesss is the soul of it! You can offend and disregard people all you want, as long as you do it in what you think is a witty way of long-suffering benefactor of humanity. And when not everyone agrees, you get to cry like a hungry baby and wail, “Save me!”

  • Amazed

    You have it, folks. We’ve got the brainpower of humanity condensed in this single post: breast will always be the best option, including if the mother have HIV. Straight there, on Dr Amy’s page.

    I’ve now seen it all.

    • Sarah

      Yeahhhhhhh, I’m done with that argument.

      • Amazed

        Oh, they’re getting classier by the moment. One of them is telling a mother who formula fed that she will not know what detrimental effects formula had had on her kids until they’re adults.

        So supportive of all women, just like the great Meg!

        • Sarah

          That was probably me. I blocked them, because they were getting increasingly combative and I had only been civil.

          • Amazed

            Oh! I guess you’ll spend the next days worrying over your poor doomed kids. Love and light to you mama!

          • Sarah

            I’ll just send the therapist bill.

            And a picture of the face my therapist makes when I tell her what the problem is.

        • broomrider

          I’m almost 35 and waiting for those detrimental effects to appear…100% formula fed here. Can anyone give me an approximate age when they might appear? /sarcasm

  • Gatita

    OT: Helping Mexico’s Poorest Women Survive Childbirth

    The story in Chiapas is much like that in other impoverished regions around the world. Wherever maternal deaths are high, the main reason is the same: not enough doctors, nurses and medically trained and equipped midwives to help deliver babies.

  • Amazed

    Am I supposed to be impressed by the smart way Meg taught her son to deal with bullying, whatever that means? Because I can tell you immediately what happened when the Intruder had bigger and stronger kids insulting and taking it out on him (he was two grades ahead in school and got mocked for his average performance in sports classes and some things done to his textbooks and person, both verbal and not. I caught four of those lovelies tearing his workbook apart. And since he knew I had gotten isolated by always going to the teacher to solve my problems (I still cannot imagine what was my mother thinking, teaching me that under no circumstances should I respond to physical violence like for like. It was freaking dangerous, we kids would turn everything into weapon), he didn’t want to tell on them. I resolved the problem in about 10 seconds: I grabbed the biggest kid for his t-shirt, looked at him straight in the eye and said, “Don’t you dare do this again, because I don’t know if you can imagine what will happen to you.” The boys stopped! And as far as I know, they never tried again.

    Perhaps we should try advertize this way of dealing with bullies? Since it, by chance, worked?

    • Mattie

      I think that’s risky, an eye for an eye is not a good strategy, if the members of staff at school are not doing enough to stop the bullying then parents need to go further up the chain, or consider alternative schools if they are available. I mean, obviously it worked for you, but it’s not the best thing to teach =/

      • Amazed

        You’re talking to the adult me who mostly agrees. The 10 year old me would have told you to go away, very nicely.

        And I don’t agree entirely. What? The bullied kid goes away and the bullies keep going their merry way, expecting the next younger kid to arrive so they can bully him for getting the learning material faster than them? Only as an absolutely last resort.

        Still, not everyone has an older kid who happened to witness the whole thing by accident. So no, not something to be recommended anyway.

        • Mattie

          Oh yeh, I am not for changing schools as a first response thing, in fact ideally the school would act appropriately and if needed ask the bullies to leave…not the victim, but sometimes a situation gets so intense (especially in secondary school) where a fresh start is easier for the bully victim than remaining at the school.

          Bullying is the worst and it makes me so angry and sad to see it.

      • Kelly

        My husband ended up beating up his bully and it worked. Thankfully, he was not at school and he did not get in trouble. I agree that violence is risky but I think that sometimes it is the only way. The zero tolerance is hurting some of our good kids. In the school I worked at, if you were involved in a fight but were not the instigator, you would still be suspended for ten days. We had a situation where one girls said something innocently and got pummelled by a crazy girl who just snapped. She did not fight back and it was witnessed by the entire class and the teacher and she still got a ten day suspension. It eventually got reduced for three days but she should have never been suspended as she was completely innocent.

  • Roxie Turner

    I gotta say that I didn’t for one moment feel bullied or hated on Milk Meg’s blog. I’m really grateful for her help on a gazillion different topics when it comes to being a Mom. I desperately wish she’d been around when I had my first born. I couldn’t nurse him for more than 6 months thanks to some pretty terrible tongue ties and lip ties and had zero support from family or medical personnel. As a result I suffered from post-partum depression. I’m able to nurse my 2nd child thanks to blogs like Megs. Being a Mom is hard enough without all the judging. People like Milk Meg make it just a little bit easier. And no, I’m not a hater. I’ve used both formula and breastmilk for my boys. Have friends who have done only formula. And yes, I’ll care if y’all make fun of me. And call me a milking cow like the commenter below. But then, it’s comments like those that are exactly why Meg wrote that article.

    • Amazed

      Why do you care what I call you? I thought it was all in one’s head? If you choose to be a milking cow and passive bullying supporter (because that was what Meg did in this particular article), that’s your choice. You can simply be a breastfeeder and you chose not to be. Yet you defend Meg bullying other people. But special you, you care if a stranger makes fun of you in the internet.

      I don’t give a shit what you use. Use formula for day one or run to school to breastfeed between classes for all I care. But when you defend bullying posts just because they’re made by someone you admire and then whine about being bullied, then I do care.

      • Roxie Turner

        I didn’t see anything that looked like bullying to me on Meg’s site. That was the point of my post. I’ve been in both situations and would never condone bullying. Meg has had multiple posts about women who chose either method to feed their baby and has been nothing but supportive. The only double standard I saw was on here.

        • Sarah

          To be honest, this may be true. But it doesn’t really address what was in this particular blog post that Dr Amy is referencing. The reason she saw this blog post and not others is that it was shared to her on her FB page. Even if everything else Meg has said has been really nice, this blog post deserves to be addressed for its contents alone. It’s the kind of thing formula moms come in contact with on places like FB and mother forums a lot. We only feel guilty because we’re allowing ourselves to. Not because someone just said that I was selfish and will only know the damage of formula when my kids are grown up.

          Maybe Meg doesn’t regularly demonstrate this double standard, but some of her followers do if the comments on Dr Amy’s page are any indication at all. And this can have severe impacts on women who are trying to breastfeed but can’t deal with the struggles of it, who don’t have the support to exclusively breastfeed and work (which is something that I agree needs to be addressed), or who don’t want to breastfeed because of previous abuse. Some have contemplated suicide or slipped further into PPD. Some have bonding issues because of their will to breastfeed, when breastfeeding is lauded as strengthening the bond between mother and child.

          I am really really happy that you found the help you needed and were able to make the choice that was best for your family. Everyone should be empowered to make their best choice. Dr Amy wants that to be equally true on both sides of the feeding spectrum. It’s true she’s a bit of a lightning rod, but there has been an overwhelming shift in child care that is almost actively working against some formula feeding mothers that I believe she’s just gotten a bit frustrated.

          • Roxie Turner

            Well said! Though as a formula feeding mom I never once felt judged by anyone. It’s only been since breastfeeding my youngest that I’ve felt judged. Comments like “when are you going to give him a bottle, you’re still breastfeeding?!” (he was only 6 months at the time!), that sort of thing.

          • Sarah

            It’s crazy how judgmental people can be. I don’t think I really recognized it until I had kids. I hold my kids as much as they want, and I never would have thought this was at all controversial. I even had a delivery guy tell me the reason my son didn’t walk at 12 months was because I was holding him too much. A delivery guy! It’s so weird that people think they can give you advice you didn’t ask for just because you have a small kid nearby.

          • Megan

            Yeah I got the whole “you hold your kid too much” from my father from the time my daughter was a newborn. He is always harping on me about “spoiling” her, even when she was only days old. I think its a generational thing.

          • Roxie Turner

            I’ve gotten it to. 🙁 My youngest was going through the 9 month stranger anxiety thing and didn’t want anyone but my husband and I to hold him. But it was my fault for not giving him more time with the grandparents, taking him often enough, etc. *rolls eyes* I had No idea how critical people could be.

          • Fallow

            I think that people’s social groups vary wildly on this issue.

            I never told many of my friends that we were combo-feeding, because they’d subjected me to nonstop evangelizing for breastfeeding. I did mostly breastfeed our baby for 8 months, but these are people who live for breastfeeding. Their primary achievement in life has been breastfeeding. They weren’t going to think combo-feeding was good enough, and they’d have damned well let me know. They’d already judged me enough for not eating my placenta, for giving birth in a hospital, etc.

            OTOH most of my friends who breastfed past 9 months or so, have been subjected to very rude comments from their families. Typically their mothers or mothers-in-law. And open interference with breastfeeding. My own mother tried to stop me from the breastfeeding I did. It was weird and uncalled for.

          • Roxie Turner

            I don’t understand the home birth thing. Or the placenta tbh. But then I was high risk, both pregnancies. I wasn’t about to be away from the hospital. Wow. That’s awful!!!

        • Amazed

          I am not talking about Meg’s site. I am talking about this particular post.

          “Women LOVE to be offended and feel judged on Facebook and in their
          comments on websites and blogs. Women love to make every comment and
          post that they scroll through all about THEM and their own situations.
          They love to see their world from the lens of the victim…and I’m
          SO.TIRED. of it.”

          Which women? Formula-feeders, of course! Those are her examples. Those whiners who embarrass her great self by making her write things like “Breast is best but all that matters is the baby being fed!” It takes about 15 seconds of Great Meg’s very precious time!

          A decent human being should care who they offend. This post was incredibly offensive, passive-agressive, arrogant and showing that Meg was above such things as caring about what she does to others.

          Where’s the double standard on this site you’re talking about? Is it because you associate breastfeeding only with the clowns defending their deity in such a ridiculous way? Surprise: Dr Amy herself was a breastfeeder. There is a difference. Not every woman who breastfed wants to be associated with attitude like that of Milk Meg.

          • Roxie Turner

            Honestly, I took that as a commentary about the mommy wars in general. Something I understand Dr. Amy would agree with.

          • Amazed

            I would have taken it this way as well if she hadn’t followed it immediately with an onslaught of rage about those hyper-sensitive formula feeding women. And preceded it with explanation that disparaged them as not being worthy of 15 seconds of her time.

            Mind you, I do understand her reluctance to say the same thing over and over again. That’s one of the reasons I don’t keep a busy facebook page (I only use it for professional contacts). It’s exhausting. Annoying. But it’s one of the things that you need to keep doing if you hold such power over women looking for help. By the tone of her post, I think her true sentiments came out.

            And yes, Dr Amy is definitely against mommy wars.

          • Roxie Turner

            So I went back and re-read her post. I still don’t see the bullying y’all mention, but it must be in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps its familiarity with the poster that allows one to see the op in the vein in which it was intended? I do however see it here, in Dr. Amy’s post, and yours where you pick on breastfeeding mamas. And yet you say a decent person should care about who they offend. I agree. We just disagree about where the bullying is. Fair enough.

          • Cobalt

            It’s not breastfeeding mothers (probably half of us here that are mothers are breastfeeding mothers), it’s lactivists.

            Women who are choosing to breastfeed because it’s what works for them are fully supported, as are women who choose to formula feed and for the same reasons: each mother, child, and family is different and are the best and only people who should be deciding what is right for them. Not the government, not employers, not the public, no one should be making these choices for them.

            Lactivists want to take away that choice. Through social pressure and shaming, they seek create an “upper class” of mothers- mothers who breastfeed instead of feeding “inferior, risky, artificial” formulas. The benefits of breast milk get wildly exaggerated or wholely fabricated, and no “excuse” for formula feeding is ever really good enough.

            Bottom line: if you are breastfeeding, or supporting breastfeeding, because it’s a nutritious way to feed a baby that works for you or might work for someone else, that’s wonderful. If you are breastfeeding, or supporting breastfeeding, as a way to make a statement about other people’s choices, you’re in it for the wrong reasons and should get a hobby where infant and maternal health don’t hang in the balance.

          • Amazed

            And I’m supposed to think the milky woman’s followers are intelligent women? I am done with explaining myself to you. Run to your idol and cry about that mean poster who disparages breastfeeding “mamas”.
            I’ll just shake my head at the self-conceit of some people who think they speak for all people who share a trait, occupation, or something else with them.

        • MaudedelMar

          Yeah and “Dr” Amy deleted my original post as a reply to “Superior Genes” Amazed poster with links to World Health Organization endorsement of breastfeeding as optimal for infants. http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/breastfeeding/facts/en/

          • Amazed

            Dr Amy doesn’t delete posts because the posters are as smart as to threaten her position as you flatter yourself. Disqus sometimes do it when there is more than one link in a post. Sometimes, it doesn’t.

          • MaudedelMar

            screenshot

    • Who?

      I’m sorry you went through ppd, that is a terrible thing for anyone.

      Can I ask though, do you think your family and friends were not supporting your efforts to breastfeed because it was making you sick and miserable and would have no measurable benefit for the baby-assuming, that is, you live where there is reliable clean water with which to make formula?

      Assuming your family and friends love and support you generally, is that not a possible interpretation-worry for you, not judgment about your parenting decisions?

      Everything feels personal in those early months of new parenthood, and the most well-meaning people don’t always find the right words to say what they want to.

      • Roxie Turner

        Thank you! My first son was the first and only grandbaby in our family (until my second). Mostly the grandparents were just excited about the baby, and not concerned about any of the actual caretaking, lol. My mom did her best, but she is very ill and can do very little for herself, let alone a new mom who was allergic to her pain meds after a nasty emergency c section with a husband who had to go back to work a few days after coming home from the hospital. It was just a difficult situation all around.

        I was the first in two generations to attempt to breastfeed my baby. No one new anything about it, so even if they’d wanted too, they wouldn’t have been much help. There’s clean water for formula (except during the hurricane that came through later that year, feeding my upset that I couldn’t just feed my baby naturally). I just felt that breastfeeding was the healthiest option for my baby, and because of our family medical history I wanted to give him the best chance to avoid health issues that seem to plague us.

        You are so right. Everything feels personal and new parenthood is the hardest, but best thing I’ve ever done. We just had a rough start, lol.

    • staceyjw

      Im sure you could have learned how to BF and gotten support from other places that have less hate.
      (I thought PPD was caused by hormonal fluctuations and stuff like that, not a failure to BF.)

      • Megan

        Actually there are studies showing that “failure” to breastfeed (hate that term) when one really had hoped to is a risk factor for PPD. And vice versa; if you don’t want to breastfeed but are pushed into it, that is a risk factor as well. Women who want to breastfeed and who are successful have a lower risk as do those who do not want to breastfeed and don’t.

        • Roxie Turner

          Yes, exactly!

      • Roxie Turner

        Our local hospital LCs don’t even have an office, lol. They only do phone consults. Apparently back then no one knew about tongue ties or lip ties. My son had both. I was pretty ignorant back then about breastfeeding and didn’t have many resources. Recovering from a horrific emergency c section after three days of labor, etc. with no family but my hubby to help made the situation much worse. Like I said, I’ve been in both situations, breastfeeding and formula feeding. I felt no judgement at Meg’s. I believe her sister uses formula. Possibly her best friend, but my memory is hazy on that one. As for the ppd no one believed that I was depressed. They thought I was just tired. I definitely had the rollercoaster hormones that cause ppd, but not being able to breastfeed and adequately feed my baby was probably the worst offender. He had jaundice and had to be monitored, on a biliblanket. I was told he’s not gaining weight fast enough, you aren’t feeding him enough (my bleeding nipples disagreed), you aren’t trying hard enough, just give him formula, etc. I felt like a failure as a Mom. I came through it, I’m stronger and more educated, partly because of breastfeeding blogs, one of which is Meg’s.

        • Karen in SC

          But you could have been happier, faster, and your child fed and also happy, had you used formula. Which is a find food for babies, It worked great to feed me.

          • Roxie Turner

            I’m glad formula worked great for you. My poor baby had a hard time with it.

    • Fallow

      My PPD almost entirely disappeared as soon as I weaned. All those people encouraging me and pressuring me to keep breastfeeding? They made my PPD a million times worse. Fucking Kellymom, fucking LLL, fucking lactavists everywhere.

      • Roxie Turner

        I’m so sorry you felt pressured to breastfeed and had ppd. It’s awful, I know. Mine didn’t resolve for close to a year. 🙁

        • Fallow

          IT IS THE WORST. If I never have a baby again, it’ll be in part because I can’t deal with PPD again.

          • Roxie Turner

            I felt like I was literally going insane. I had bonding issues too. I lived my first born, but half the time I couldn’t wait to get away from him. Sometimes nursing him just made my skin crawl. Horrible feeling. 🙁

          • Chi

            I had the same. I began resenting my beautiful little girl because of how much time she spent on me, on my boobs (which were incredibly cracked and sore) and I just wanted to BREATHE because I couldn’t put her down for more than 20 minutes at a time without her starting to fuss and cry. So I totally get it. I’m glad you got through it.

      • Megan

        I don’t think I ever really had PPD but I came very very close for the same reasons you describe. May I add: fucking breast pump!

      • broomrider

        I had PPD because I was told I was selfish for being on a medicine that was keeping me alive instead of going off of it and breastfeeding until I died. I never went outside because every effing time I did with my baby, some disgusting creature told me I was a bad mother for formula feeding. I was called horrible names and screamed at by strangers.

  • sami

    That was 5 minutes of my life that I’ll mever get back. This article is a waste of space.

    • staceyjw

      And yet, here you are commenting…

    • Megan

      Surely you aren’t offended?

  • yugaya

    “MilkMeg”? Seriously?

    • Amazed

      Oh yes. The milking cows are all over Dr T’s page, waving gushing boobs, ah, hands in indignant protest. If I didn’t know better, I’d say they were offended on their heifer leader’s behalf.

      • Roadstergal

        Wow, I just took a peek over at FB, and the cows have indeed come home to roost.

        • Amazed

          Anyone feel free to quote me there. I invite them to come here and argue their points with me.

          Why do I have the feeling that they’ll be offended by being called milking cows, despite the fact that they are?

      • Sarah

        Oh goodness, you’re right. That is an insane brigade.

        “She’s such a hypocrite!”
        “she’s missing the point!”
        “Meg supports ALL women!”

        Yet none of them are responding to the blog post that is being referenced here. There is NOTHING supportive in that post. It is divisive and belittling towards people who don’t breastfeed. There isn’t any other way to read it. I’m sure if all she did was offer advice about breastfeeding, Dr Tuteur wouldn’t have bothered writing about it.

        • Amazed

          It becomes even better… Now Meg herself had shown up, thanking to her supporters as they fawn over her and toast her with breastmilk.

          • Sarah

            Hahahahaha. So “I don’t care if you’re offended!” basically gets countered with “You should!” and they all counter with “Waaaaaah! We’re offended!”

          • Amazed

            They’re hilarious. I really need to stop clicking over there for a new portion of good laugh. I do have this last page to work on… the policeman is just waiting for the witness to arrive and I keep going back to the cows.

          • Funny , but you talk about her belittling formula feeders yet here you are belittling breastfeeders. Hmmmm….

          • Amazed

            Not breastfeeders, sweetheart. Just milking cows, like yourself. There is a difference but I guess you won’t be able to catch it. Your mommy’s milk wasn’t that helpful against genetics.

            ETA: Milking cows in a bullying cult.

          • You seem very angry. Must not have been breastfed as a baby. 😉

          • Who?

            Amazed is probably lying on the floor in a heap crying uncontrollably now that you’ve said something about a trait over which she had no control-whether or not she was breastfed.

            I assume you’re equally cavalier in your judgements around race, and other characteristics an individual can’t control? Nice.

          • bahahahaha That moment someone can’t read sarcasm.

          • Who?

            So you were ‘only joking’? The last refuge of the moron.

            You know, if it wasn’t for the silly laugh I’d have taken that half-arsed apology and be happy with it. Because I always try to find the best in everyone, life’s easier-if sometimes a bit disappointing-that way.

            If it was intended as sarcasm, it failed.

          • Amazed

            … Am I missing something? Is it an American thing? I thought she was just paying me with my own coin. I got angry with their bullshit on the FB page (their claiming that a mother should just wait until her kids are grown up to see what failures they are because of FF was the worst, I think, but there were terrible post to share liberally into nastiness) , so I lashed out here. Why should I be offended by being called angry? Or is this an insinuation that I’ll… err… grow old into a mass murderer?

          • Who?

            Anger is such a maligned emotion. We all get angry, it’s how we respond to our emotions, and to what triggered them, that is the problem.

            The natural childbirth and raising movement really struggles with anger, because they perceive it as negative and maybe even violent. Per the ‘projecting’ thing, perhaps they are angry at the way they feel about their lives, and project that on to anyone who is ‘challenging’ them by not doing exactly the same.

            Therefore, if you’re not agreeing with a smile on your face, you are, by definition, angry.

          • Amazed

            Thanks! Makes sense.

          • Fallow

            I don’t think Kristy knows what “sarcasm” is. Sarcasm is often used malevolently. You can’t just say “I was being sarcastic” to get off scot-free for a nasty statement. It doesn’t mean the same thing as “I was just kidding” or “I was just joking”. Sarcastic statements ARE nasty. Her taunting follow-up proves she did mean to be an asshole.

            Kristy, you can’t sidestep culpability for saying a shitty/idiotic thing, by implying your conversational partners are stupid if they can’t recognize sarcasm over the internet. That tacit is, quite literally, for six graders.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Oh, I don’t think she was serious (I got the sarcasm) but she’s a victim of Poe’s law.

          • Who?

            Interesting, I didn’t get the sarcasm, and the winky face confused me. Maybe it is cultural?

          • MaudedelMar

            Voice of reason always welcome but have you judged “Amazed” reference of breastfeeders as cows to be shitty/idiotic also? or is there a double standard here.

          • Fallow

            I was a breastfeeder, too. Maybe I wasn’t a “pure enough” breastfeeder to lactivists, because I supplemented. But hey, that’s what a massive PPH can do to your supply.

            I can’t help but wonder: Did you notice that I didn’t say anything about Amazed at all? Or Amazed’s statement about cows vs breastfeeders?

            But I’ll comment on it now: I’m not insulted by what Amazed said. Maybe because I have never derived my self-worth from my ability to perform biological functions.

            I absolutely know lactivists who see their biggest achievement in life, as their ability to produce milk, talk about breastmilk, hoard breastmilk, extend breastfeeding practically into grade school, and lord it over women who don’t share their pathology. No, I don’t have any respect for that position. It’s retrograde, anti-feminist horseshit.

          • Amazed

            Indeed, my intention was never to insult breastfeeders. What do I care how someone feeds their children, as long as real feeding occurs? But I find it interesting how the posters arriving here to defend Meg insist on erasing the distinction. As if one cannot be a breastfeeder without closing their eyes to their leader’s missteps.

          • Amazed

            Amazed is indeed doing just that. Fortunately, my parents’ superior genes managed to make up for the lost benefits. Poor Kristy Kemp only had breastmilk but it wasn’t enough to make up for her genetic disadvantages.

            Actually, my mom won the breastfeeding award both times, including this one where the milk came through after she almost bled out during birth. A month later. She breastfed even when she couldn’t hold the baby because she was so weak. But her breasts worked like champs. Not like those weaklings Kristy Kemp advices and supports, those ninnies who cannot make it right although they have the entire household wait on them hand and foot while they’re lying around like queens in their beds trying to nursing and failing because they were not real women so at the end they needed someone like Meg and Kristy Kemp to advice them and relieve them of their redundant money because they were such failures that they couldn’t achieve what women have achieved for millions of years.

          • Kq

            Fuck you.

          • staceyjw

            Why are we calling ANY women cows?

          • Amazed

            Not cows. Milking cows. There is a difference. They think the world is breastmilk and defend this stance to death, through bullying, insinuations, and fawning over their goddess. And a milking cow is the general image of successful milk production. (Not one of my grandfather’s, though. Not a drop of milk. The calf was bottlefed. And its birth was very hard. The heifer must have been defective.)

          • Renee Martin

            Gotcha. Thanks for the explanation.
            I really like cows though, and wouldn’t want to offend them 🙂

          • Amazed

            For myself, I think goats are really underrated. Amaltea did nourish baby Zeus but apart from a few ancient images, the image of the mother goat is all but forgotten.

            I don’t have a horse in this race so I’m completely honest, I don’t drink milk, cow OR goat.

          • MaudedelMar

            I think “Amazed” is one of Rush Limbaugh’s “handles” here on disqus or maybe it’s just his equally toxic and misogynistic soul sister.

  • Amy

    She doesn’t give a shit to the extent that she has to write a long incoherent blog post about how much she doesn’t give a shit. That makes sense.

    She left out a third category of people reading her comments, and it’s the category into which I, Dr. Amy, and I’m sure many others reading this fall: those of us who DID successfully breastfeed but are offended by the idea that doing so defines us as mothers.

    • LibrarianSarah

      Then there are those of us who don’t even have kids but are offended by the idea that doing so defines us as women. Or those of us who were bottle fed and are offended that we are somehow inferior because of it. Or those who’s wives/girlfriends/sisters/mothers nearly came apart trying to breastfeed.

      Like most issues, there’s a lot more than 2 sides to this story.

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    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      She doesn’t give a shit to the extent that she has to write a long incoherent blog post about how much she doesn’t give a shit. That makes sense.

      She apparently didn’t take any literature classes.

      “Methinks the lady doth protest too much”

  • Megan

    Surely Meg and her cronies won’t be offended by this post written about her…

    • Fallow

      Well, she’s already calling this post “public shaming” on Twitter. Pretty cool statement after she’s made it so clear that public shaming is kind of her thing.

      But hey, her tits behave in a way which gives her unearned self-esteem! All she has to do is belittle other women, and she can coast for the rest of her life without ever actually doing something worthy of praise.

      • Roadstergal

        She really needs to learn to take the phrase, “I’m offended” and start focusing on being in charge of her own happiness and feelings … instead of putting it in other people’s hands.

        Heh.

      • Megan

        Public shaming? Ha. I am not surprised. That’s exactly why I wrote what I wrote. I knew she would react that way. Bullying is fine as long as it’s not directed at her or her agenda…

      • Amazed

        Really? She’s sniveling on Twitter? Strong Meg?

        Astonishing.

  • Cartman36

    Her motto is “keep on boobin”. Enough said.

    • LibrarianSarah

      What does that even mean? Wait no I don’t want to know.

      • AirPlant

        Breastfeed. Forever.

        • LibrarianSarah

          But I don’t even have kids! Am I supposed to breastfeed my cat? I can’t even get her to sit on my lap. 🙁

          Also: DAMN YOU I SAID I DIDN’T WANT TO KNOW!

          • AirPlant

            You are lucky. My cat seems to believe that if she kneeds my boobs long enough milk will come out and is RELENTLESS.

          • Sarah

            My cat did this to my husband last night. I laughed. He didn’t. It was a good night. :p

          • AirPlant

            Cats are such sweet creatures. Just the other day my sweet girl bit my dear husband on the nipple. His crime was not getting out of bed to feed her.

  • mostlyclueless

    A degree in psychology? Let me guess…a BA? Literally the most common major at every university I’ve taught at? Excellent credentials for analyzing scientific literature. So impressive. So remarkable.

  • AirPlant

    Generally speaking I think that the Milk Meg is ok as far as lactivists go. She is super into breastfeeding, but that is kind of her job, and I have not felt the same sour judgement coming off of her that I have seen in others in the field. I give her a bit of respect for keeping things in a mostly positive place (this piece excepted) when so many do not. Where she loses me is her complete disregard for science and her utter lack of critical thinking skills. She is coming from a place where she was able to easily and joyfully breastfeed her children into toddlerhood. Her road was easy, and happy and it makes sense that she would project that into breastfeeding being like that for all women, and that is where she loses me. She wrote a piece a long time ago now where I think she was going for some kind of sisterhood I support you vibe, but in it she maintained this almost fanatical level of “I have never experienced this particular breastfeeding difficulty, but I promise that I am here to tell you how you can keep breastfeeding through it” and there were just not enough eyerolls in all the world. That plus her “Please, momma, please pick up your crying baby” piece and her weird obsession with nursing children to sleep just sealed the deal for me. I find her to be an overly emotional myopic flutterbrain whose only redeaming quality is that she doesn’t seem to be actively vindictive towards formula feeders as a group. But even though I don’t agree with her, it isn’t like she is Alpha Parent spewing bile wherever she goes, she is just a woman that I disagree with and there are plenty of those in the world.

  • sdsures

    Meg wrote two statements. See if you can tell me what’s wrong here. 🙂

    We want to scream!! “SOMEONE LISTEN TO ME AND MY IMPORTANT STORY!” “SOMEONE MUST UNDERSTAND THAT MY STORY IS DIFFERENT!”

    and

    You are not special…because we are all special.

    • Sarah

      “Everyone’s special, Dash.”

      “Which is another way of saying no one is.”

      One of my favorite Incredibles quotes. The fact that all of these mommy bloggers exist completely undermines what “Milk Meg” is trying to say. I mean, look at the name of her blog. She’s put her name, part of her identity, next to what she considers to be an identifying characteristic about herself. Why on earth would you place your self worth on a biological function? I get that feeding your kid is important. We definitely shouldn’t let them starve or anything. But I never called myself “IGT Sarah” or “Regular, thanks to my love of salads, Sarah.” Clearly she thinks that her lactation is something to celebrate and that is an “interesting story” worth telling that makes her “different” from the other moms who couldn’t. Otherwise, her blog is pointless.

      How we feed our kids has so little to do with the parents we are. One of the comments on that particular blog post was pretty great (and went relatively unnoticed for its subtlety). “You know what’s great? Babies turn into toddler, toddlers turn into kids and then mothers just don’t give a shit about any of this stuff anymore. They turn back into nice people who don’t feel the need to bore everyone senseless with crap about breastfeeding and parenting styles.”

  • sdsures

    How did she pass all of the reqired courses in a psych degree and still end up so clueless?

    Most people who take an undergrad psych degree, or at least try out an intro course (usually to fulfil the undergrad science requirement in an Arts degree), do so in part because they want to understand themselves and other people better. At least, that was partly my motivation, as well as an interest in various subspecialties like abnormal, behavioural (rewards and punishments, motivations, behavioural change, etc) and physiological psychology (what parts of our brains do what, lesion studies, neurological disorders, etc).

    I never got to complete the degree because I became ill. My interests have since shifted to other topics, but I still enjoy reading psych-related stuff. It’s also why any mention of “attachment parenting” by the woo brigade drives me nuts, because it bears no resemblance whatsoever to attachment theory as taught in psychology courses.

    You CANNOT study psychology, for as long as it takes to get a degree in it (undergrad or post-grad), and NOT realize that certain behaviours you have could do with a little work. That’s how humans mature.

    Not only should Meg recognize projection, she should recognize that her behaviour (in this case exemplified by her writing) has an effect on others, and in this case, a negative effect.

    She ought to be able to recognize that what she says and writes may have a serious and negative effect on millions of people she will never meet.

    She should recognize that what she says imposes on her a grave responsibility that, in extreme cases, lactivism has led to women becoming so depressed and/or psychotic that they contemplate suicide. (I’m thinking of Charlotte Bevan and Anrea Yates.)

    But I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon.

  • Sarah

    “Own your feelings” is just a way of giving bullies carte blanche to say whatever they want. You’re offended? It doesn’t have anything to do with the fact I said you were a lazy parent who makes the wrong choices. You chose to take offense. Tact is hard.

    • SporkParade

      I don’t mind when people are offensive. I DO mind when they are hostile, vindictive, threatening, hurtful, or otherwise intended to cause harm to other people.

    • Renee Martin

      Agreed. Anytime I hear that nonsense “Only YOU can make yourself hurt” I think of gas lighting. Yes, words CAN hurt. No one is in complete control of their emotions, and bullying DOES hurt.
      Its all so easy when its not YOU with the problem.

      • sdsures

        “No one is in complete control of their emotions, and bullying DOES hurt.”

        Indeed, but as an adult, I have been working to bring out my inner Vulcan. LLAP!

    • broomrider

      Does that mean I can run someone over with my car, and tell them it’s their fault because they chose to hurt from their injuries?

      But seriously, that’s what these people sound like sometimes. They think it gives them free rein to be jerks.

  • GiddyUpGo123

    By that logic, racism should be ok, too. Since we all need to be in charge of our own happiness and feelings, that means everyone else should be free to say whatever ignorant, racist bullshit they want to because hey, ultimately no one can hurt you unless you let them.

  • demodocus

    Dear Meg, It’s hard to tell your bullies not to talk to you like that when they have you on the ground with your face in a snow bank. But thanks for telling me I failed at childhood.

    • Roadstergal

      Has there been a single bully in the history of bullydom who has ever taken any comment hinting at self-esteem on the part of the victim as a sign to back off rather than double down?

      I give the whole idea a Nelson “Haa-haa.”

      • demodocus

        Nope.
        I’m guessing the “bully” was another kindergartener who didn’t realize that asking why Meg’s son was wearing a home made upcycled sandals might be considered mean.

        • Cartman36

          LMAO!

      • LibrarianSarah

        THANK YOU. I find it far more likely that either:
        a: The “bullying” was really to friends teasing each other rather than actual bullying
        or
        b. The bullying continued but her son lied to her when it became clear that her advice did not work

        Because I am pretty sure the press would be notified if a bully stopped just because he/she was told to. Because it would be the first time in history that has ever happened.

        To be fair parental advice on this topic tends to suck really hard. My mom’s advice was “be nice.” Now those words trigger a storm of rage inside me.

        • lilin

          Hey, it could be that that was exactly what happened, but she fails to learn the exact same lesson from this situation that she fails to learn from her own: Just because you succeeded a certain way doesn’t mean everyone else can. People are different. Situations are different.

      • Cobalt

        If the hint at self-esteem is coupled with giving the impression that the victim can and is completely willing to out-crazy the bully, yes.

        It takes an animalistic level of commitment to defending one’s territory and psyching out challengers.

        It is NOT polite. I call it being an “unreliable victim”. In some situations, it works.

        • Roadstergal

          It didn’t work for Bruce Wayne. :p

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OufCgFZCyU

          • Cobalt

            I didn’t say it was easy or guaranteed. Just sometimes the right tool for the job.

            Occasionally you hear a news story about a failed child abduction. I’ve never seen one where the criminal had a change of heart after the child politely but assertively said “You may not abduct me.” I have seen several where the plot was abandoned when the child immediately went full banshee: screaming, kicking, biting, flailing, etc. Same theory, lower stakes.

            If you are more willing break the social contract and misbehave than they are, you just might beat them at their own game.

      • GiddyUpGo123

        I rolled my eyes when I read that too. In fact it wasn’t that long ago that I heard (on NPR I think it was) about a study that found that many playground bullies do not, in fact have self-esteem issues, they’re just assholes.