The Milk Meg and lactivists’ desperate desire to hurt other mothers

Angry woman abusing of another scared one

Whaddya know?

Meg Nagle, the self proclaimed Milk Meg, doesn’t “give a shit” that you feel judged, but she thinks it’s a very big deal when she is judged for her nastiness.

In the wake of my blog post about lactivists’ cruelty and crushing lack of self-esteem, she removed her rant explaining why she couldn’t care less if she hurts your feelings.

I have removed *the* blog post from my blog. There is one reason for doing this and one reason only. I do this work because I love helping women reach their own individual breastfeeding goals. Whether that goal is for 4 minutes or 4 years. Unfortunately this blog post has prompted someone to take the focus off of that and turned it into something completely different. I’m here for the women who are looking for information and support and will continue to do so. Thanks to everyone who have sent me messages!

How can lactivists be superior to other mothers if breastfeeding is merely one of two excellent ways to nourish a child?

So Meg recognized at the very least that her rant was unflattering.

Notice that although she removed the post, she never apologized for its content. She never asked how she might craft her message of “support” without demonizing women who formula feed.

How could she? The crushing lack of self-esteem that impels lactivists to pretend that breastfeeding is some sort of achievement, to grossly exaggerated the benefits of breastfeeding, and to ignore the risks and harms was hardly satisfied by choosing to back down publicly from her obnoxious effort to hurt and shame women who formula feed. How can lactivists be superior to other mothers if breastfeeding is merely one of two excellent ways to nourish a child?

That’s the dirty little secret about contemporary lactivism. It has nothing to do with infant feeding and nothing to do with what is good for babies. It’s about some mothers and their desperate desire to feel superior to other mothers.

Don’t believe me? Check out what Meg wrote in the immediate aftermath of removing her original post:

[L]et’s all write one thing we love about mothering through breastfeeding.

She could have asked for readers to write about what they love about mothering. She could have asked readers to write about what they love about breastfeeding. But she wanted, she needed, to demonstrate her supposed superiority to those lazy, derelict, formula feeders by claiming that breastfeeding adds something more to mothering than simple loving your children.

Mothering through breastfeeding?

I breastfed four children exclusively for a very long time and I can tell you that I did not “mother” them through breastfeeding, I fed them. And had I chosen to formula feed them I would not have been mothering them any differently.

The breath taking, extraordinary, incredibly intense love I have for each of them was reflected in everything I did for them, whether that was sleeping on the floor by their cribs when they were sick, scrimping to save for their college educations or teaching them to navigate their way in the wider world.

It makes me happier than I can express to see them now as adults, professionally successful, independent, involved in loving relationships and surrounded by lots of friends.

If I didn’t write about breastfeeding for my work, I wouldn’t think at all about the fact that I breastfed them. And I can assure you, they never think about how they were fed as infants.

Why not? Because — listen closely — it doesn’t matter!

Meg seems to have entirely missed the point of my blog post even though she took hers down in response.

I wrote that she “didn’t give a shit” that she made others feel bad because I wanted to highlight the cruel behavior of lactivists who act as if their self-esteem rests on tearing down mothers who don’t mirror their own choices back to them. Meg took down that egregious example of cruelty but could not resist replacing it with another cruel snub albeit one more subtle.

A physician writing on Twitter and my Facebook page is puzzled by my stance on breastfeeding.

First he tried this.

Ghaheri tweet

Then he tried the shill gambit:

Dr Tuteur, are you funded by someone to stir the pot? Like, a sponsored troll? What do you charge?

Maybe he writes only what people pay him to write, but I don’t need the money. I write about what the scientific evidence shows.

He responded:

I’m trying to figure out her angle.

It’s very revealing that he thinks I have to have an “angle” beyond conveying what the scientific evidence actually shows and expressing my firm conviction that reducing mothering to breasts, uteri and vaginas is scientifically suspect, deeply anti-feminist and gleefully vicious.

The benefits of breastfeeding for term babies in first world countries are real, but they are trivial. Sure there are many who benefit both psychologically and financially by claiming otherwise, but the scientific evidence does not support them. And it certainly does not justify the vicious efforts by those like Meg who apparently can’t feel good about themselves without cruelly snubbing women who formula feed.

  • Abbey

    You should really not be allowed to practice medicine if you ignore all research indicating the harm of cows milk proteins in babies and children. See Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Dairy based formula is not in any way equal to the milk made from a human for a human. Milk of a cow is to rapidly grow a baby cow. Megs work is important because of poor advice given to the masses by authorities such as yourself.

    • Heidi

      Ah, yes, PCRM, a vegan propaganda machine!

      • myrewyn

        Mmmm, cow’s milk. And thanks to my northern European descent and a little luck, I can still drink the stuff in copious amounts (and so can everyone in my family). I have crunchy “friends” who tell me I am absolutely lactose intolerant and just don’t realize it. I drink extra milk just to spite them.

        • Heidi

          Heh, I discovered the hard way these past weeks that I am almond-intolerant thanks to drinking almond milk. Don’t they know that almond milk is to rapidly grow a baby almond so no wonder?!

          • myrewyn

            I am violently soy-milk intolerant so all those baby soys are safe from me stealing their precious milk.

          • Roadstergal

            After hearing about the demands on water that almond crops place in CA, I have gone right off of almonds. With great sadness.

            I do still like soy milk. And regular milk. And goat milk. All kinds of milk… and cheese…

          • myrewyn

            Cheese is a gift from the gods.

          • Heidi

            I got some 8th Continent soy milk this week to replace in my low-cal lattes and it’s just not the same sadly. It’s okay in coffee drinks but I made the mistake of using it in a tofu mayonnaise based dressing and it ruined that batch. I know the dollar store sells those West Soy shelf stable milks – I’m hoping it’ll be better.

          • Roadstergal

            I like the West Soy! Especially in cereal.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      And if my baby drank human milk in the volume that calves drink their mothers’ milk, she’d get huge fast, too. I’ll let you know when she starts drinking by the gallon rather than the ounce.

    • Roadstergal

      Casein point!

      …that’s all I have for nerdy cow milk protein puns.

      • FallsAngel

        Cute!

    • Heidi_storage

      Ahhh, PCRM, the vegan activists! I participated in one of their studies. Never in the most diehard church have I experienced such fanaticism. Their recommendations might be…uh, shall we say, a bit biased.

  • Tiffany Ford

    This article is disgusting! Megs blog and website is for bf mothers to recieve help and support. Are we not allowed to have a site just for bf moms? Are we not allowed to have a place to go that encourages bf? She is not encouraging formula because breast is best! There is scientific evidence proving this. Yes some mothers cant bf and formula is a good alternative but since her mission is to support bf mothers she will encourage woman to bf! If someone feels judged dont read her articles or posts! I mother through bf all day every day. If my daughter gets hurt, when shes bored or any of the other million reasons, i nurse her. Its not just about feeding! Most formula feeding mothers i see will give their babies a bottle to hold themselves, instead of taking 20 min to hold them and feed them. My daughter is always in my arms, im not too busy to take the time to sit and feed her. Its easy to bash bf moms but its only done out of your own insecurities! If you dont like her message, dont read her posts. Simple as that. Us bf mamas get shamed all the time for pulling our boobs out to feed our babies. Its difficult work and lots of problems come up (mastasis, clogged duct, thrush etc). Any support is appreciated, we are not trying to make other moms feel bad, were trying to support and encourage other moms to stick with it because the benefits are amazing for mom and baby!

    Do some research next time before you start bashing bf and the benefits. Bm really is supierior to formula and anyone who says otherwise is misinformed.

  • GillUK

    LOVE THIS!

    I once challenged this woman as she was moaning about why people were “offended” at her article about “the risks of formula”. I responded to her saying that if she wants to champion breastfeeding then go formit, but it prob wasn’t necessary to be so negative about the alternatives.

    Well, I might as well have said that I was planning to feed my unbirn child crack!!

    The hatred and nastiness that followed was somehing I mever cohld have imagined, fuelled totally by her comments and agreeing with those suggesting that I was uneducated. When she prrsented me with case studies (with the most recent being piblished in 1996), I suggested that her argument may have lost a degree of credibility as surely formula has developed since, but once again I was bombarded with personal accusations of stupidity and ignorance!! (the irony!).

    Anyway, following the incident, I messaged her asking why she allowed such hatred to be targeted st one person simply suggesting that she might not be a total victim and her response basically implied rhat I deserved it!

    I think is dangerous for someone like that to have such a large following.

  • Angie

    The headline that is used here seems very irresponsible to me. I am confident there is no “desperate desire” to hurt anyone. Articles like this are divisive and serve no positive purpose. I’m all for mother’s supporting each other no matter how we feed our babies. Let’s not discourage professionals from promoting the facts around breastfeeding to boost informed choice.

    • Who?

      Is it really irresponsible to suggest that someone who flogs the belief that how a baby gets fed is more important than that a baby gets fed, is hurting the feelings of women who can’t breastfeed, and being very disrespectful of women who choose not to?

      I can see they may not desire it, that they may do it more in sadness than in anger, but that’s not how it sounds when you hear them talk and read what they write.

  • Sarah

    I suspect Meg is not too interested in helping all women with their breastfeeding goals. Not those of us whose aspirations are zero, anyway.

  • KeeperOfTheBooks

    Teehee! *makes a note for next labor/delivery*

  • Helena Handbasket

    This is completely insane. ‘Lactivists’ have no desire to hurt women, breastfeeding advocacy is advocacy for all women and all babies. For mothers to have truly informed choice and the power to make the choices which are right for their families. For primary and allied health professionals who understand the biological processes of pregnancy, birth and infant feeding, and who can adequately support women who are struggling, For health systems and workplaces which invest time and money in the lives of women and listen to their lives experiences.
    This crusade of yours is divisive and anti-woman. It distorts the truth and creates conflict. Who benefits from this? What do you have to gain from taking aim at the few people willing to dedicate their lives to research and advocacy into lactation – a field few enter precisely because of political arsehattery like this?
    Grow up, Dr Amy. You aren’t helping anyone except yourself.

    • Amazed

      Grow up, Helen. Nowadays, formula is a completely safe and reasonable choice. Sorry but the days breastmilk was sacred are over. And so is the special status of lactivists like yourself who dare claim they advocate for all women and all babies when they mean “we advocate for all women and all babies to make the choice we want them to make” .

      Poor Helen. I suggest you try to make a living out of something other than promoting the sanctity of “biological processes”. Tapping on a keyboard with your nice little fingers isn’t the biological norm.

      • Helena Handbasket

        Seriously? When did I write any of what you have read in to my comment?
        1. Absolutely, formula is a reasonable choice. Safe depends on a variety of factors. But let’s not pretend that every woman has equal access to choosing how they feed their baby or doing so safely.
        2. Breast milk is sacred what now? We’re talking about infant feeding, not religious ritual.
        3. Can you please explain to me what part of advocating for women to have informed choice and the power to make the choice right for them is ‘the choice I want them to make’.
        4. I assume you also are tapping with your fingers? Pot kettle etc

        • Amazed

          1. You seem to think only mothers who want to breastfeed meet impedements on their way. At least that’s what your post implies. Untrue and unfair.

          2. Tell this to Milk Meg. You know, the reason this post came into existence. The one who claimed she doesn’t give a shit if formula feeders were offended by what she wrote about them and then wailed, “Waaaa! I’m offended! Save me! Report this mean doc to Facebook!”

          3. Lactivists do want women to make the same choice they do, by default. That’s why they have “activists” in their name. And you did mention “women who are strugging” alone. What about those who simply don’t want to breastfeed, Helen? What about them?

          4. Right. I tap with my fingers. That’s why I don’t sing amen to biological processes. Unlike you.

          • Helena Handbasket

            What even? Do you want women to be equipped with evidence-based information about their bodies and their children’s health or not? Or would you prefer like ‘Dr’ Amy here to play finger pointing games and ad hominem attacks meanwhile women who want to breastfeed their babies face barriers that don’t need to be there and women who don’t breastfeed their babies feel incessantly shitty about it?
            This is such a waste of time. I’m off to keep working (unpaid, while caring for young children) to level the playing field. If any of y’all here would like to stop shovelling your dirt on the pitch that would be awesome.

          • Who?

            So, that would look like this:
            *the main thing is to feed your baby, so he or she can grow or develop
            *the manner in which you feed your baby should not be the source of your self-esteem
            *both breast and formula feeding can provide all the nutrition your baby needs.
            *breast feeding can be a good choice for many, and should you wish to breastfeed your baby, you can expect some challenges with which you can be helped if you wish; if you wish to stop, be assured formula is an equally good choice.

          • Helena Handbasket

            No. That would look like:
            Formula and breastfeeding are different ways of feeding your baby. Here is some evidence based information about the risks and benefits . Here is where to get some help regarding your individual situation. If you are in a situation where way you end up feeding your baby is not how you wanted to, your feelings are valid and I will not minimise your grief. I wills assume that you are doing the best you can under the circumstances you are experiencing and respect your motherhood.

          • Who?

            But what would that ‘evidence based information’ be? Truthfully, it would tell the reader that there is no difference in outcome for formula fed and breastfed babies.

            It would also mention that mother needs, as an adult, to acknowledge and honour both her feelings about her hopes for feeding, and her feelings about the importance of the care of her child. A starving child is not being well cared for, however hard mother is working to breastfeed.

          • Sue

            “Helena” – do you approve of “Milk Meg’s” original post, which inspired Amy’s previous article, and which she has removed as a result of Amy’s exposure of it?

          • Sue

            “grief”?

            That says it all, Right there.

          • moto_librarian

            Inflating the benefits of breast milk for term babies in developed countries is not evidence-based practice, yet it occurs all the time. The research on breast feeding is littered by confounders, perhaps most notably the inability to control for socioeconomic status. It also fails to determine the role that childcare settings play in regards to communicable illness. If we approached breast feeding from a true evidence-based perspective, there would be very little justification for making it a public health campaign.

          • Daleth

            Inflating the benefits of breast milk for term babies in developed countries is not evidence-based practice, yet it occurs all the time.

            Exactly. That’s the problem, in a nutshell.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Right. For my sample size of one kid, she was mostly formula fed and has had, in her 18 months, exactly one cold. No ear infections, no stomach viruses, nada.
            This had nothing to do with how she was fed (aside from the fact that she had sufficient nutrition) and everything to do with the fact that I’m a SAHM, so when she’s around other kids, it’s at a playdate with other moms who understand that if their kid has a fever, the kid should stay home (and, more to the point, have the resources to keep them at home, rather than worry about losing a job by missing work).

          • Daleth

            Yup. My sample size of two (almost exclusively formula-fed twins) are days away from making it through a year with one cold each (at the same time), no ear infections, no stomach viruses, no diarrhea, etc.

            And it’s because they stay at home with their dad and a part-time mother’s helper (ok father’s helper), got all their shots on time, were not exposed to anyone who wasn’t up to date on immunizations, and were born in the fall in a four-season climate, so we cocooned for like six months. That is the magical way of protecting your kids from illness… and it’s nothing to do with what they eat.

            Although I do credit their excellent formula and excellent appetites for the fact that they went from 40th-ish percentile height/weight to 90th+ height/70th+ weight… and both reached half MY height (and outgrew their baby car seats) by the age of 9.5 months!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Our combo fed older son had only one cold in his first 14 months – which he caught at his baptism.

            Then at 14 mos…he went to daycare. And in the next 4 months, caught up on everything he missed.

            Our younger son, however, caught his first cold at 1 mo, while he was EBF. Caught it from his brother. Who caught it at daycare.

          • Sue

            That’s what everyone misses – THE biggest risk factor for infectious diseases is EXPOSURE.

            But would we say that going to daycare, or having an older sibling, is “dangerous” or even “life-threatening”? That’s what is said about formula feeding, although the increase in risk of minor infections in the first year is miniscule in comparison to the risk factor of having older sibs, or going to group care. Sigh.

          • moto_librarian

            Both of my sons were formula fed. My eldest got ear tubes at ten months after constant ear infections. His left ear had peurile fluid in it which they removed during the surgery. In October, he will be undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured left ear drum that has not healed. I know that some people would blame formula for his ear problems, but given that he failed his newborn hearing screen three times and has continuing problems that appear to be structural, I don’t think breast milk would have done squat. His younger brother is three and has had three ear infections in his whole life. Both have been in daycare since they were infants.

          • Sarah

            Oh fuck, you mentioned car seats…

          • Daleth

            ???

          • Sarah

            Carseats are a bit of a sanctimommy favourite! The sort of person who likes to post on facebook about other people’s unnecessareans and eebil formula is also often to be found congratulating themself for their ability to purchase extremely expensive, uber-safe top of the range seats and berating others for not doing the same.

          • Daleth

            Huh. Well, I had an elective primary c-section and feed my babies formula, but I do have expensive, uber-safe car seats. Have I betrayed the cause?

          • Sarah

            That depends, do you do things like berate poor people for buying second hand car seats when they can’t afford any better? Come out with lines like ‘if you can afford a car you can afford x model carseat’? If the answer to those is no, then of course you haven’t! Any more than you’d be betraying the cause by EBFing but not criticising women who have to go straight back to work and would never get away with demanding a pumping break for using formula.

          • Daleth

            It would be rather silly of me to berate people for buying secondhand car seats when I am about to give one of my babies’ infant seats (which they outgrew at 9.5 months) to my friend who’s expecting…

          • Sarah

            Well there you are then, the answer to your question is clearly no.

          • Hannah

            I fully admit to being a bit of a sanctimommy about second hand seats from someone you do not know. You have no idea what’s been in an accident or thrown around on a plane or whatever, for example. Hand me downs are a totally different ballgame, obviously.

            Brand shaming shits me because people think buying a second hand Clek with no idea about its provenance is better than buying the $39 Cosco at Walmart when the latter is absolutely the safer choice.

          • Sarah

            We will when you do. You can start by not mouthing off about Dr Amy not helping anyone when there are plenty of us here who’ve been very clear she’s done just that. Miss me with that particular disempowerment.

          • Hannah

            Exactly.

        • Sue

          “Helena”, the thing is, Amy’s blog is all about what you call “evidence based information.”

          The other thing is, Amy, and many other posters here, are trained in evaluating complex medical research.

          Are you?

        • Hannah

          That’s the thing, you only seem interested in informing women about the things that confirm your biases.

    • SuperGDZ

      It’s the “truly informed choice” that’s the rub, isn’t it. If a mother chooses formula, then it’s assumed that her choice isn’t “truly informed” and that she must be informed to death until she makes the right, “truly informed” choice – to breastfeed.

    • Who?

      Women can make all the choices they want. If their bodies won’t work that way, for whatever reason, breastfeeding won’t work.

      Same as childbirth-write a nice long detailed birth plan, but if your body isn’t working that way, or the baby hasn’t taken the opportunity to read it, assistance will be required to acheive a safe outcome.

      • Helena Handbasket

        If a woman experiences difficulties with breastfeeding, attempting to resolve those difficulties is her choice, as is deciding not to. And making those choices she deserves both the best information available, and the support to work out what she wants to do. It’s incredibly patronising and disempowering to reduce a complex and individual health situation to ‘their bodies won’t work that way’.

        • Who?

          And yet that’s the reality for many women.

          If telling them it may not work out, and that their babies will be no worse off in that case, is patronising, then I’m fine with being patronising. I’d call it setting up reasonable expectations and keeping in mind that a fed baby is a well baby.

          Nothing is so disempowering as being lied to about your capacity and then finding out that what you were told was entirely do-able was never likely to be successful.

        • The Computer ate my Nym

          And making those choices she deserves both the best information available

          Indeed. And that information includes the fact that most of the well demonstrated benefits of breastfeeding are short term and of minimal significance in a developed country as well as the fact that breastfeeding has risks to both mother and baby (as does formula feeding.) As far as I know, Dr Tuteur is in favor of doctors and other health care providers making this information known to patients. So I don’t see what you’re complaining about.

        • lawyer jane

          You act like choices occur in a vacuum. They do not – how a woman makes choices is absolutely dependent on the information she is given about the costs and benefits of breastfeeding, and the propaganda surrounding it.

          • Daleth

            I would definitely not have wasted over $600 renting a hospital-grade breast pump for months on end if I had known how trivial and short-term the benefits of breastfeeding are. I also wouldn’t have wasted so much time feeling guilty and so many hours being strapped to the stupid pump while someone else cuddled my babies.

          • Are you nuts

            AMEN!

          • Sarah

            That can’t be right though, because lactivism doesn’t harm women.

        • Sarah

          Whereas primly reprimanding Dr Amy for not helping women, as if you have the right to make that assessment for 3.5 billion people, isn’t patronising at all.

        • Hannah

          I am a breastfeeding ‘success story’. I experienced excruciating pain due to a posterior tongue tie in my daughter that every single LC in the hospital either ignored or missed, that the lovely but expensive LC I hired missed. I spent at least $1500 making breastfeeding happen without accounting for the costs in terms of my time or ability to snuggle with my baby girl because I was attached to a pump for between 6-12 hours a day. It put pressure on my marriage because my husband could see that I was killing myself on the altar of breastmilk.

          The first day in the hospital after my cesarean I was shamed for having said surgery, saying my milk would be slower to come in because it was scheduled even though I was nearly in active labor when time for my appointment came, that babies who aren’t breastfed die of SIDS (even though they knew I was at risk of severe PPA/PPD). The only thing that mattered to them was breastmilk.

          My daughter was four months old and I was still going to breastfeeding support weekly. When I expressed anxiety and said my husband is smart and was formula fed, the lead LC said ‘imagine how much smarter he would be if he was breastfed?’. To a woman who she knew was battling and struggling and in pain. She never once said ‘formula is okay’. Instead she reinforced my anxieties. That isn’t providing choices, it is shaming and instilling fear in mothers who want the best for their babies. Is that giving the ‘best’ information? Hardly.

          In the end, I am weaning now at nearly 15 months. No lactivist wants to hear the ‘it wasn’t worth it’ part of my story. They only want to use my story to pressure other women into trying harder.

          Be honest with yourself for five minutes ‘Helena’. The only thing going to hell in a handbasket is support for new mothers in all choices. And if speaking for every woman in the world without giving two shits about her feelings and individual circumstance isn’t patronizing, I don’t know what is. Dr Amy is helping women like me realize that their voice matters.

          • Roadstergal

            “When I expressed anxiety and said my husband is smart and was formula fed, the lead LC said ‘imagine how much smarter he would be if he was breastfed?’.”

            What a stone cold bitch. So sorry you went through that. 🙁

          • Hannah

            Thanks. It’s only now, nearly a year since we got feeding sorted out, that I have started to really get over it. It was horrible.

    • SporkParade

      “…breastfeeding advocacy is advocacy for all women.” By definition, it isn’t advocacy for women who choose not to breastfeed. In my experience, it isn’t even advocacy for women who *do* choose to breastfeed but not exclusively. If lactivism is about informed choice, then why do lactivists lie and distort medical evidence so frequently?

      • Cobalt

        For what it’s worth, I found breastfeeding advocacy to make breastfeeding MORE difficult, especially when I was exclusively breastfeeding.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          I suspect this isn’t too rare, either. A friend had difficulties breastfeeding her first child, probably in part due to serious stress (crisis pregnancy, living with her vocally disapproving mom, etc) and partly due to the personality of the kid in question (very laid-back, and wasn’t interested in eating if it took much work). Being berated by a LC who walked into her room and grabbed/manipulated her breasts without so much as a by-your-leave shortly after delivery did *not* help, nor did the subsequent lectures about what an awful mom she was for having to use a nipple shield to nurse him.
          With the second kid, she banned the LCs from the room, figured out what worked for her personally as far as upping milk production and maintaining a good supply, and went on to reach her breastfeeding goals with very little difficulty or unpleasantness at all. Win-win for all (ie, mom, baby, family) involved.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      It distorts the truth

      Oh? What has Dr. Tuteur written that you claim is untrue and what is your evidence to back this claim?

    • Francesca Violi

      You claim breastfeeding advocacy is advocacy for all women, but then it seems that breastfeeding advocates don’t actually listen to the women they claim to advocate for.
      Many women say they have been given misleading information on breastfeeding by breastfeeding advocate themselves.

      These women say they were brought to believe breastfeeding has great long term benefits for your baby’s health. This would imply that if you don’t totally commit yourself to this mission your are no good mother. Being there so much at stake, those who had difficulties or did not succeed experienced all sorts of negative feelings: worry, exaustion in trying, self-disappointement; some felt like really failed their babies, and they were inadequate, ashamed, guilty etc.

      Some of these women lately even found out the supposed long term benefits of breast milk is mostly magical thinking backed up by no evidence, and felt pissed off for having bought into it.

      If you really want to advocate for all women, start listening to all women then, especially to the feedback of the many who experienced breastfeeding adovcates rhetoric provided propaganda rather than objective and helpful information.

      • KarenJJ

        “start listening to all women then, especially to the feedback of the many who experienced breastfeeding adovcates rhetoric providing propaganda rather than objective and helpful information.”

        Except the issue is that if we say anything against breastfeeding due to our personal experiences with breastfeeding advocates, we’re not actually being rational human beings with a different opinion and different experiences, but are merely being “offended” and can therefore be dismissed by breastfeeding advocates that are “not giving a shit” who inform us that we should take responsibility for our feelings of inadequacy and failure in the face of the mighty breastfeeders out there.

    • lawyer jane

      YOU don’t speak for all women, understand? Breastfeeding in developed countries provides negligible benefits. Engaging in a campaign to tell women what to do with their breasts is the opposite of feminist.

      Please, save your righteous energy for a crusade that will actually HELP women – the breastfeeding campaign will do nothing at all to address the shameful infant mortality rates and childhood poverty in this country.

    • Daleth

      That’s like claiming that “natural childbirth advocacy is advocacy for all women and all babies.” It’s not, because not all women can safely give birth vaginally, not all women even want to birth vaginally, not all women can get through an unmedicated vaginal birth without trauma, and not all women want to try. (In fact, judging by the stats on epidural use in countries where they’re freely available, the vast majority of women do not want to give birth without pain relief).

      If there are women who don’t want or can’t do the thing you’re advocating for, you’re not advocating for all women. If there are babies who would do equally well on either of two options, or babies who would do worse on breastmilk (for instance, if mom is deficient in vitamin D, a breastfed baby would get rickets), then you’re not advocating for all babies.

      Can you accept that basic fact? That you’re actually only advocating for SOME moms and SOME babies?

      • Hannah

        Exactly.

    • Sarah

      Who on earth do you think you are? She’s helping me. I am someone.

    • carovee

      Before giving birth, I went to a class on breastfeeding, read books on breastfeeding, and got pamphlets on breastfeeding. You know what I never heard in any of those sources? A) that someone women can’t breastfeed or B) that formula feeding was fine if that’s what you wanted. Don’t tell me that lactivists are advocating for all women and babies. They are not.

  • ladyloki

    Thanks a lot, MilkMeg, for yet again forgetting about adoptive parents. I never mothered my children through breastfeeding, as they were older foster kids (you’re not allowed to give foster children breastmilk except in very rare cases when the birthmother is allowed to pump and/or breastfeed). But you can be damn sure I’ve mothered them plenty without ever putting one of my boobs in their mouth.

  • Allie

    I intend, immediately, to try your suggested method on my husband : )

    He, along with my in-laws, my sister-in-law, and others who have shown my daughter care, compassion and kindness (go figure!), whether avec or sans boob, have bonded with her quite well. But I won’t let that stop me from trying your suggested method anyway…

  • Anne Catherine

    Another great post, Dr Tuteur.

    Unless you haven’t seen it—–Here is a new way to shame mothers who do not breastfeed exclusively for a year.

    I just read about this —-there is a new initiative called the “Breastfeeding-Family-Friendly City Designation”. (1)

    There are several steps involved (2)–one includes having pamphlets on the benefits of breastfeeding available wherever formula is sold–so a mother who has chosen not to, or failed at breastfeeding, is to be reminded of the ‘fact’ that she is putting her child is at risk for all kinds of problems each times she buys food for her baby.

    And get this! The spokeswomen for this project, Miriam Labbock, says that, “…She doesn’t expect all stores to stop selling formula after the launch of the initiative because of the regulations regarding chain grocery stores”

    What???–does Dr Labbock think (and hope) that stores should stop selling formula???

    So women need to travel far and wide to get formula to feed their babies? Is this their punishment for not sticking with , choosing not to, or being unable to breastfeed?

    (1) Press Release

    http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2015/08/fed-your-babies-says-chapel-hill-carrboro

    (2) Initiative (PDF)
    https://sph.unc.edu/files/2015/08/labbok_breastfeeding-friendly-city-criteria.pdf

    • Cobalt

      Ridiculous.

    • Megan

      That is sickening. They get a big “F%#* off” from me! What’s next? Pamphlets describing the risk when I buy donuts at the grocery store? Formula is just food for babies, and much healthier than many things sold in the store at that! This has gone waaaay too far. These people need to back off!!

      • Daleth

        Formula is the closest thing to breastmilk on this earth. Ask any lactivist this: “Is there any substance on this earth that is more similar to breastmilk than formula?” It tends to blow their minds.

      • Chi

        Not to mention by law (at least here in NZ anyway), ALL formula cans MUST display a label saying that breast is best and you shouldn’t use their product without first consulting with your child’s doctor.

        Seriously, why the HELL would you need pamphlets on top of that? Oh right, double the shaming. Nuff said.

    • Hannah

      So they want babies to literally starve on the altar of breastmilk at this point?

  • Mel

    Sheep and most other ungulates who live in herds and have young that are mobile very soon after birth have a very short critical period for acceptance of their young after birth that is partially related to nursing the neonate. It’s an evolutionary crutch to prevent feeding an unrelated calf/lamb/kid while yours starves.

    Since humans are born with sad locamotion skills and women don’t all give birth in a short window of time, we have a very different set of bonding needs than sheep. We bond as effectively with unrelated infants that are adopted as we do with birthed infants. We also tend small animals of other species as if they were human babies as my husband pointed out as I used baby talk to convince a calf to eat.

    • GuestWho

      My husband and I have cats. We rear our fuzzy sociopaths as though they were treasured offspring. We make up full emotion worlds for them out of whole cloth imagination.

      And I only breastfed them for a couple months. Imagine if I had gone full term. 🙂

    • ladyloki

      My cat is having some respiratory issues yesterday and I was singing to him and cuddling him to make him feel better. My husband and kids took turns with the cuddling and also read to him. He loves to be swaddled and given attention and held so he was a happy little booger.

      I also have two adopted kids whom I am very bonded to, adopting them at ages 5 and 7. I had no desire to biologically reproduce. Maybe I detect that I’m defective genetically? Both my husband and I are gingers, so that might be the reason 😉

      • Daleth

        I have a couple of friends (i.e. friends who are a couple) who are both gingers. They married recently and mentioned they’re not planning on having kids. I was sad precisely because they would’ve had GUARANTEED GINGERS and that would’ve been so cool! Especially if they were as ginger as she is–her hair’s the color of an autumn leaf and her eyes are actually, naturally, sapphire blue.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Awwww, I loved reading this!
        Very loosely related, but when I read your post I thought about my local library. They’ve recently started a program to help encourage kids who are having difficulties reading. How? By, I kid you not, bringing in a couple of dogs every afternoon who love being read to, and who, of course, will never laugh if a kid misreads a word, or reads slowly. You sign your child up for a time slot, the kiddo comes in with a book of choice and snuggles down in a comfy chair to read to a golden retriever mix who’s all THERE’S A KID READING TO ME MY LIFE IS COMPLETE. It sounds brilliant to me. The child gets to practice reading to the ultimate non-judgmental audience, and the dog gets an unlimited supply of children to spend time with.

        • Daleth

          That is SUCH A COOL IDEA! I’ll suggest it at our local library!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Do it!

        • ladyloki

          There is a local program with kids reading to shelter animals, but my children are not allowed to do it. I’d be bringing home every freaking animal they read to.

          But reading to the cats was one of the things that helped them settle in. We were just another home that was going to reject them in their eyes, and our two cats each attached themselves to one of the kids and was their constant companions when the kids were home. They read to them, cuddled them, talked to them. Cats are awesome.

  • Dr Kitty

    Ugh- unfortunately today wasn’t great.
    I was feeling good, so I decided to cut back on the pain relief, at the same time that my son decided that sleeping for four hours is the new normal, but forgot to tell my breasts.
    Oversupply/ engorgement with a happily sleeping, well fed infant who doesn’t want to wake to feed. Fun times.
    Anyway, I just upped the pain killers and sucked it up with ice and heat and fed him as much as he wanted. Hopefully things will improve over the next 48hrs.

    Multi-Mam nipple compresses (kept in the fridge) are my new favourite thing, because when this boy feeds, he goes all out for 25 minutes at a time, and he sucks like a Dyson, so I’m a bit tender.

    Even when you have a great eater, with a perfect latch, who sleeps like an angel and a really good supply, breast feeding can still be painful, inconvenient (what mother of small children finds enforced sitting still for 30 minute blocks convenient?) and bloody hard work.

    I’m ok carrying on, provided things get better, because I want to, but I’m fully expecting things to improve quickly- I have no intention of martyring myself to the lactivist deities.

    My mothering activities today included cleaning cat vomit off a rug so my kid wouldn’t step in it, organising a grocery delivery so we can all eat, cooking dinner, supervising homework and tooth brushing, and reading a bedtime story. All of which were more pleasant and rewarding than breast feeding today- yes, even the vomit cleanup.

    • Amazed

      Good luck Dr Kitty! With everything, from breastfeeding to vomit cleanups.

      ET: Recently, I’ve found out that if I pray to different deities, they tend to hear me. I’ve prayed to the god of races, the god of traffic jam, the goddess of pizza and the deity of being late… Should I insert a prayer to the goddess of breastfeeding for you? Just tell me EXACTLY what you need because sometimes, deities tend to OVERhear me and I don’t mean overhear me.

      • Dr Kitty

        Things seem better this morning.
        All I want is for my nipples to heal up, my baby to sleep and eat and grow, and any supply/demand mismatch to resolve quickly.

        Really, I can’t complain. One week post CS and the worst I’ve dealt with are some afterpains (thankfully gone now) and a bit of engorgement. I have been blessed so far with another easy baby who barely cries, settles easily and sleeps for good stretches of time.

        Anyway, since the boychik just fell asleep after his breakfast feed, I reckon I should do likewise, so that I can be rested and organised for when my MIL calls around later.

        • yentavegan

          Sending hugs your way…

        • Amazed

          I am so happy for you and your family. You seem to have drawn the lottery in offspring and recovery department.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          I love hearing about happy, content babies and relatively smooth recoveries for their moms! Hurray for all of you!

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        • Sarah

          Look after yourselves.

        • Sue

          Great to read your updates – thanks for keeping us in touch!

      • Try Ganesha. He is the Hindu god whose job is to remove obstacles. A very useful god.

        • Amazed

          Thanks. I’ll keep him handy. He sounds great.

          Anyone else having flashbacks of Help! There’s a god in my head? Yes, I do read Rick Riordan, despite being twice the age of his intended readers.

      • MaineJen

        Goddess of pizza? This is a thing? Maybe I need to rethink this whole atheism thing…

        • Amazed

          Abso-freaking-lutely. They all are. Just think of it: about an hour ago, I was galloping for the bank, praying to the god of being late. And voila! when I arrived there, it turned out that the end of their working time was an HOUR later than I thought! What do you make of it?

          • MaineJen

            You can’t explain that.

          • Amazed

            That’s your atheist heart speaking! I know it was the god of being late! Or perhaps Ganesha.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          I’m pretty stubbornly Catholic, but I might have to change that if there’s a pizza-based religion. Especially one with bacon and mushrooms. And a beer alongside.
          Mmmm, now I’m hungry.

    • Dinolindor

      I sympathize. So much is easier the second time around, and yet….Not sure if this is helpful or not, but the tied to the couch feeling is the same with bottle or breast. (My second took her damn time with every feeding, so every single one was 45 minutes at a minimum and more likely an entire hour.) It gets better as the second gets older, just the same as with the first!

      • MaineJen

        Ugh I remember…this was my son, when he ate, he ATE. For up to 40 minutes at a time. God help you if you tried to un-latch him before he was ready. Good thing he was my first, because I was not leaving that couch for up to an hour at a time, every 3 hours. Hardly convenient.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          DD was much like this. I’ve said I’m willing to consider breastfeeding a subsequent kid, but ONLY if it goes well from the start, and only if that kid eats a lot faster than she did. I mean, I can’t imagine being glued to a couch for 60-75 minutes every 2.5-3 hours with a toddler to chase, too. The mind boggles.

          • MaineJen

            Luckily my second kid was tiny (6 lbs at birth) and ate like a bird, 5 minutes at a time every two hours, and slept well too. Otherwise that would have gotten ridiculous real quick.

    • Megan

      I hope things get better. I’m sure they will as they usually do with time. I’m not looking forward to the tied-to-the-couch phase again. I’m glad to hear your experiences though. It prepares me for having two! Hang in there!

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Ugh, what fun that doesn’t sound! I do hope things improve for you, and that at some point someone rallied ’round with a cup of tea and some cake or something while you were glued to the couch.
      (Also, words fail to describe my extreme jealousy when it comes to grocery delivery. No such thing in my area, and believe you me, I’d happily pay a surcharge for it while wrangling a newborn!)

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    Isn’t it ironic that the same people who insist that women are “perfectly designed” to breastfeed, and we “wouldn’t be here” if breastfeeding didn’t work are quick to insist that their breastfeeding problems are caused by babies whose tongues are “broken” and need to be treated with surgery? Why aren’t babies perfectly designed to breastfeed?

    • Cobalt

      They seem to have a very unique definition of “perfect”.

      I wouldn’t call any process that required 24 hour a day tedious and painful labor, surgery, professional consultations, supplements, extensive routines of mechanical assistance, and got no better results than the “inferior” method, “perfect”.

      But maybe my priorities are just in the right place.

      • AirPlant

        If the whole system can be thrown off forever by a plastic nook it cannot be terribly robust.

        • Daleth

          HAHAHAHA omg I’m totally stealing that. 🙂

    • Amazed

      As I said in the comment section of the previous post, women who are perfectly designed to breastfeed should not need help, be it from a doctor or a LC. Nature should be able to take care of everything.

    • Susan

      Some babies are meant to starve….

    • Sue

      ANd what is it with the “we wouldn’t be here” myth?

      Before modern obstetrics and midwifery, immunisation and antibiotics, humanity had a huge toll of dead babies, infants and mothers, just like the rest of the animal kingdom. Humanity survived by having lots of children, also like the rest of the animal kindgom.

      • Cobalt

        The “we wouldn’t be here” myth discounts the billions of us that aren’t here because of biological failures in pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and early development.

        We don’t need seatbelts or car seats or traffic rules…If car accidents were a real cause of death we wouldn’t be here.
        http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812137.pdf

        We don’t need agriculture…If food was naturally truly scarce we wouldn’t be here.
        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/jan/18/east-africa-drought-disaster-report

        We don’t need aqueducts, reservoirs, or water treatment systems…If water wasn’t naturally abundant and safe we wouldn’t be here.
        http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/

        We don’t need antibiotics and vaccines…If diseases were deadly we wouldn’t be here.
        http://www.who.int/gho/immunization/en/

        • Daleth

          The thing they always miss is that evolution in no way needs all of us to be here. If even 50% of each generation reaches maturity and reproduces, we’re good–the species will not just survive, but grow.

      • swbarnes2

        Evolution just doesn’t do “perfect”. it does “good enough”. That means most women make enough milk to feed most babies, but lots fall through the cracks. I also wonder if the social structures that humans have lived in for most of our evolution might have cushioned that somewhat; I thought I read that modern hunter-gatherers are a lot more communal about child rearing, and if most of the women are nursing, because they nurse for a long time, someone else can supplement if required.

      • Roadstergal

        By having ‘extra’ children. Back in the days before modern obstetrics, women had litters of 10-15+ kids as the norm. As we got better at Keeping Babies And Kids From Dying, family sizes naturally shrunk in the developed world. 4-5 seemed more the norm when I was little, and pretty much all of my child-having friends these days have 1-2. Less waste. It’s a good thing in general, 100x more so when you’re talking human lives.

  • KBCme

    What’s Dr. Tuteur’s angle? It’s advocating for mothers everywhere who make decisions that are best for them and their families; it’s the beacon of science-based sanity in the stormy sea of woo; it’s the calling out of shaming mothers for their every decision, be it a c-section, hospital birth, formula feeding. The medical community knows about the dangers of home birth, but chooses to stay mostly silent. Dr. Amy is the one who is shouting loud and clear to let any and all who will hear it how dangerous home birth is.

    • Roadstergal

      “it’s the beacon of science-based sanity in the stormy sea of woo”

      “But oh! shipmates! on the starboard hand of every woe, there is a sure delight; and higher the top of that delight, than the bottom of the woo is deep… Delight is to her—a far, far upward, and inward delight—who against the proud lactivists and NCBers of this earth, ever stands forth her own inexorable self. Delight is to her whose strong arms yet support her, when the ship of this base treacherous woo has gone down beneath her. Delight is to her, who gives no quarter in the truth, and kills, burns, and destroys all woo though she pluck it out from under the robes of Naturopaths and CPMs. Delight,—top-gallant delight is to her, who acknowledges no law or lord, but the laws of nature, and is only a patriot to science.”

      Sorry, you put me in mind of Moby Dick.

    • Zen

      Sorry, but I totally read that as “bacon of science-based sanity”.

      Mmmmmm…bacon.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Bacon IS (food) science-based sanity! Also, all that is Good, True, and Right. Especially, as mentioned above, when on a pizza.

  • AirPlant

    So speaking of mothering through breastfeeding, what on the earth is the deal with this weird obsession with nursing to sleep? Is that a big thing? Like enough of a thing that there is a reason for her to talk about it nearly constantly? Is this an actual big deal or is this just her stuff, beause not gonna lie, its kinda weirding me out. Like nurse to sleep if you want, night nurse forever if that is your thing, its your dental bill not mine, just maybe switch it up now and then, talk about latch or tongue ties or something. I don’t want to be off topic but this has been burning in my brain for some time now and I need an adult to tell me how to feel.

    • Charybdis

      I’m with you on the nurse to sleep thing. It kind of makes my skin crawl a little. That and the tantrum ending, fussy baby curing, mood altering “comfort nursing”. Toddler having a meltdown? Stick your boob in their mouth. Baby fussing when you put them down for a nap? Stick your boob in their mouth. They fell down and scraped a knee? Stick your boob in their mouth. I *get* that Mom is a comforting person/presence, but whipping out a boob and providing breastmilk in a non-hunger situation seems a bit crazy. Isn’t soothing yourself with food considered a poor choice these days? Why is it fine for babies & toddlers (if mom breastfeeds)?

      • Cobalt

        I have the same philosophy on comfort nursing as I do on comfort bottles as I do on comfort solids:

        Things have to be pretty damn desperate to justify using food to address issues that are unrelated to hunger.

        Food =/= Love

        • fiftyfifty1

          “Things have to be pretty damn desperate for me to justify using food to address issues that are unrelated to hunger.”

          Oh, you make non-hunger eating out to be so pathological! It can be perfectly normal to eat for reasons other than hunger. We eat at celebratory parties, food is served after funerals, etc. And giving food can be one of many healthy ways we show love. Treating non-hunger eating as if it is somehow dangerous or wrong or something to be desperately avoided is its own form of orthorexia.

          So until there is some proof that comfort nursing causes some measurable harm, I’m not going to get worked up about it.

          • Cobalt

            I have zero concern if other people do it (hence the “for me”), or when my kids develop it as a cultural response as they grow up and already have baseline healthy eating habits long since established. And cultural eating isn’t the same as not-a-hunger-problem eating. A shared meal can be a bonding experience, but reflexive snacking won’t fix actual problems.

            If you have a basically healthy diet generally, you usually have a lot of leeway on any given occasion. If you generally eat like it’s a special occasion, you’re more likely to run into trouble.

            It’s not inherently pathological, but can lead to habits that can cause trouble later (with all the weight of a pile of “ifs”). It’s still easier (again, for me) to avoid creating the habit when other options are available.

        • Sue

          The other problem with comfort-feeding is that it can become a requirement for going off to sleep, including during the night. Self-settling can ba a very convenient talent for a baby to learn.

      • AirPlant

        You are right, it doesn’t feel like a healthy kind of thing to me. Like maybe try a hug first? I mean, if I offered my kid an M&M each time they fell in the playground I am guessing I would get some side eye, right? I know breastmilk is nutritionally better than candy, but it isn’t like the kid knows that, they just like the sweet. I do try to live and let live, so I am not going to go around and say that people are parenting wrong, it just seems a little off to me that this blogger in particular has this laserlike focus on night feeding and feeding to sleep when that seems like just one small part of the breastfeeding world.

        • Daleth

          BM may be nutritionally better than M&M’s, but I doubt it’s any better for your kid’s dental bills.

      • Amy M

        Yeah, I never offered a bottle of formula for every bump, bruise and cry. My children did become quite attached to their “loveys” (security blankets), but the great thing about that was that it was not attached to another autonomous being.

        • Roadstergal

          OMG, I still have my security blankie (and I’m almost 40). It’s blue on one side and has firefighters on the other. I somehow managed to keep it stuffed in a convenient box across all my moves. Blankies were wonderful! You could put it over your shoulders and have it be a cape when you played superhero, or over your head for when you played monk… so versatile. I’ll have to dig it out and find a new use for it. :p

          • demodocus

            my lovies were a doll and a stuffed pony. The pony’s in my room and my son has acquired the doll.

          • AirPlant

            My mom tried like hell to get me to for an emotional bond with a comfort object, but I was actually the perfect attachment parenting child. I followed her room to room, clinging to her whenever possible and laughed in the face of every blanket or doll that came my way.

            I was also, coincidentally formula fed exclusively after the first month when my dear mother discovered that breastfeeding made her horribly claustrophobic. She held out until my dad got a raise and called formula her lifestyle bump.

          • Kelly

            Agh, my bottle fed children follow me around even if I specifically tell the four year old I am going upstairs and to not follow me. What do I find when I opened my door after picking up my phone? Well, both of my children looking at me wide eyed and innocent. I wonder what it would be like if I breastfed them. Maybe I would have to surgically cut them off my body.

          • AirPlant

            Nah, they are following you around to let you know how alienated they are by the lack of breast milk.

            Obviously.

          • Amazed

            My childhood love was my half-human – half-cat. He was… I don’t know how to say it, he was the Cat-Who-Read-People-To-Sleep (He’s a character in many Russian tales). My father brought him from the Soviet Union when I was four and in our stores, there was nothing, nothing… I couldn’t start kindergarten because they couldn’t find me the white slippers requited. Kitty and the Intruder arrived in my life basically at the same time and Kitty was the bigger one!

            Another love was Anna-Maria the orange bear, the first toy I chose myself when I was three. Poor bear got her head cut off by accident so my dad got to play the surgeon.

            There’s a lovely poem about dolls and fluffy toys who were the author’s companions through childhood. I’m sorry I cannot translate it for you, it’s beautiful. I doubt anyone could write such a thing about their mom’s boob.

          • demodocus

            I’m pretty sure that if they could, something is very, very wrong. And Oedipal.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Oh, I love the sound of that Cat-Who-Read-People-To-Sleep, and I love folk tales and want to pass them on to DD! Were his stories ever translated into English?

          • Amazed

            I don’t know. I only ever read those folk tales translated FROM Russian. I don’t know if they were ever done in English. I remember the one where Andrey the Bowman had to take the Cat-Who-Reads-People-to-Sleep to the tsar who sent him to this mission hoping he’d die because he desired the bowman’s wife. The Cat started getting Andrey to sleep while he was a few miles away yet and when he fought sleep off – barely! – he started telling him stories, singing him songs and basically getting him to sleep again.

            I know the stories of Pavel Bajov were translated in English, though. They’re truly unique. Bajov was born (or long lived) in the Ural Mountains, where the best malachite in the world used to be. He wrote amazing tales about the Lady of the Malachite Mountain, about the Stone Heart and other stories from and about Ural miners. I recommend heartily!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            May I ask what language they were originally written in? Apologies for the assumption about the original language being Russian–I was typing in a hurry and with DD squirming on my lap. 🙂
            I am DEFINITELY ordering some Bajov stories, as much for me as for DD. Thank you so much for the recommendation!!! I love discovering this sort of thing!

          • Amazed

            They were written in Russian. I read them in Bulgarian. Sorry, I now realize you might not know. My first language is Bulgarian. Communism ,Eastern Europe and of course, many Russian tales.

            That’s Bajov for you. For now, I think your DD is too young for him but I think *you* will enjoy him thanks to the specific direction of his works.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavel_Bazhov

          • Amazed

            Hey, look what I have for you! I take no responsibility for the quality of the translations but the tales are lovely. Some of my favourites are:

            Fenist the Falcon
            The Seven Symeons – Seven Brave Workers
            Marya Morevna
            Tsarevitch Ivan and the Grey Wolf
            Emelya and the Pike

            Aaaand… the Cat is there! In Go I Know Not Where, Fetch I Know Not What

            http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/65r.pdf

            And here…

            The Firebird and Princess Vasilisa (Not the same as a phoenix!)
            Baba Yaga (she’s a very popular vilain!)
            Sadko

            http://russian-crafts.com/tales.html

            Enjoy!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Oh my goodness, thank you so much!!! Those look marvelous!
            When I was a little girl, I had an older book which was part of a children’s folktales series which I LOVED. It was called “Tales of a Korean Grandmother.” The author would research folk stories from a certain country, and then tell them by framing each story in another, book-long arc about a family in which the grandmother is telling the stories to her grandchildren, with a little of the country’s history and such thrown in. It was marvelous, and I can’t wait to pass it, and the others in the series, on to DD. If you ever come across them–I suspect they’re out of print, but probably available used–you may enjoy them very much. 🙂

          • Amazed

            Korean? Sounds great! I’ve read some Chinese and Japanese tales but very few Korean. A few years ago, we got a series of World Myths Books published here – some myths, some philosophy behind mythology, some history… Joy to my heart.

            I grew up with tales from the Soviet Union republics, being a good little citizen of a good Communist country, mostly. There were some English tales, as well, because my mom is an English teacher. Some French tales and brother Grimms, the usual things. But the Soviet tales, particularly from the republics that were distinctly different from us, were particularly fascinating. They were inhabited by khans and viziers, archery competitions where the price was the khan’s robe, and the Goat with Curly Feet was a great favourite (a version of the Wolf and the Seven Young Kids).

            And myths, of course. I am addicted to myths. Started by chance when I was 6. I saw a book with a prince and princess on the cover. Turned out it was Orpheus and Euridice and it was a mythology book. It greatly influenced my life and choices. So do read to your DD, you never know what will influence her.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Here’s the Korean grandmother book. (I’m not sure where you’re living now, so don’t know if Amazon is available there, but at least you’ll know the book I’m talking about.) If you get an older edition, the illustrations are stunning–think gorgeous watercolors on lovely, heavy paper. I particularly liked about it that it had both the traditional tales and a little information about what life was like in Korea back when the book was published originally (late 1940s, maybe?). http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Korean-Grandmother-Traditional-Books/dp/0804810435/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1441306550&sr=8-1&keywords=tales+korean+grandmother
            I adored D’aulaires Greek myths as a kid, and also Roger Lancellyn Green’s retellings of Greek, Roman, and Egyptian myths and history, ditto some English legends (Robin Hood, King Arthur, etc.) I didn’t find out until I was an adult that RLG was actually a close friend of both Tolkien and C.S. Lewis!
            A family friend sent me Bullfinch’s Mythology when I was about 9, and I dipped into it on and off until I was old enough to appreciate all of it, and read it cover-to-cover. (Having books around that are a bit too much for kids is actually great–it encouraged me to branch out a bit without feeling pressured to.) Ovid’s Metamorphosis was a favorite, too.
            When my DH first came to my apartment when we started dating, he looked around my living room in shock and said, “You’re the first person I ever met with more books than I have!” DD will be surrounded by books all her childhood; I hope she learns to love them as much as we do.

          • Amazed

            Thank you so much! It looks lovely and so Korean or at least my idea of Korean. We do have Amazon shipping services here but they’re quite expensive. Still, I do make purchases from time to time. If I’m really lucky, I get to recommend certain books to publishing houses and sometimes I even get to translate them!

            It’s curious, what you say about the illustrations. The books from my mom’s childhood all had gorgeous illustrations but the ones that got published when I was a little girl… I think they chose the book cover artists by holding a competition in non-painting. Whoever managed to produce the ugliest illustration won! Fortunately, my imagination was capable of “redrawing” them to better fit my idea of the characters.

            I swear by Nikolay Kun. And Ovid. And Lancellyn Green’s King Arthur started my love for English legends. I was 9 when I first read it; at 11, I was already reading Le Morte d’Arthur. And when I borrowed the Illiad from the library, the librarians laughed at my eagerness, assuring me that I wouldn’t understand anything and I’d get bored pretty much immediately. When I returned it, they started asking me questions and were astounded that I had read the whole thing, minus Song 2 (I STILL cannot make it through all those ships) and actually UNDERSTOOD it. I beg your pardon? I wasn’t an idiot, I was just 9. That’s different.

            In the vein of the last posts, I feel that I just HAVE to tell you about our great folk hero King Marco. He was possessed of great, inhuman strenght and got it by being breastfed by a samodiva as a baby. They inhabit local myths and are something akin to both Artemis and sirens. Drop dead gorgeous and sometimes, quite deadly. Anyway, when you read this, give me a sign, so I can delete it. Just imagine what may happen if a lactivist finds it! It might end up like the next piece of anecdotal evidence, for all we know.

            Anyway, unfortunately, when King Marco neglected his calling to see to the weak and oppressed, he lost his strenght. And even when he repented and assumed his duties once again, little could be done because the samodiva who had nursed him once OF COURSE didn’t have milk anymore. She didn’t have a baby. I suppose she found teaching her daughter to sing and dance, hunt and heal was more satisfying to her, so she presumably didn’t even try to maintain supply into the girl’s late childhood.

          • D/

            Too late! Can’t dangle your King Marco around with so many personalized just for me enticements (along with a hurry-up-or-you’ll-miss-it ultimatum) … and not expect me to run straight to him 😉

          • Amazed

            Damn it, that was quick! But well, you aren’t a lactivist in my book. You’re just a lactation consultant who’s trying to do her job and not expanding her reach over those who aren’t interested. So I suppose you can have our legendary hero. I even give you his equally legendary horse (one with a human voice, of course!) Ain’t I generous?

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            The ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s here seemed to spawn a huge number of really well-written and beautifully-illustrated children’s books. Probably why I tend to collect heavily from that period; the publishers didn’t just want to put out a book, they wanted to make it beautiful, too.
            I just googled Prince Marco, and my word, from what I read in ten minutes or so…what. a. story. Reminds me a lot of the UK’s King Arthur.
            Re your Iliad story: ha! I’d been homeschooled until my last two years of high school, when I started attending the local public school. Naturally, my first stop was the library. I should add this was a very small farm town, and no one was especially interested in books. When I brought a stack up to the librarian to check out, she looked through them carefully before doing so because she thought it much more likely that I was somehow using them to deal drugs than that a student might like to read. *sigh* (Also, I’m not entirely certain that anyone has actually made it through Song 2. Personally, I suspect that Homer got hired to sing at a massive, multi-month party and got paid all the booze he could drink, and so decided that everyone who chipped into the beer/wine fund should get an ancestor mentioned in that bit. And he succeeded, to the irritation of every classics student out there. That, or also not unlike a classics student, he wasn’t quite sure what to say next so he just started listing things.)
            Lastly, I’m now having a delightful image of a particularly obnoxious lactivist telling an Artemis-like creature that she really should have practiced extended breastfeeding. That could be hilarious, if not especially so for the lactivist…

          • Amazed

            A friend’s daughter DID make it through Song 2. She’s 16 and she’s very careful in picking books to read because she always finishes them, ground teeth and whatnot. Song 2 WAS a trial and I do agree that the story behind it was something like what you describe.

            It isn’t funny at all, is it, that a librarian would think a student would rather trade books for drugs than read them. It’s pretty terrible.

            And now, I feel I have to leave the Prince Marco part just because of the image your comment created. Lactivists are so pure of heart that they won’t let a many-winged deer with great horns and a snake for whip (samodivas’ usual ride. Marco’s milk sister got the twelve-winged one) dissuade them from standing for what is RIGHT.

            It’s strange, isn’t it, how in different parts of the world myths resemble each other.

          • D/

            I have no doubt now that I will be guided along the straight and narrow by a flying samodiva as I’m working with mothers at the let-it-go stage 😉

            I am so thankful to have had a librarian in elementary school who fed my need to read. She knew me best of any of my teachers and always made sure I never went without. Even going so far as letting me check out shopping bags of books for the summer, bringing books just for me from the middle school’s library and even loaning me personal books of her own! I am not willing to even imagine how different my life would have been without her!

          • D/

            Oh my, I’d definitely love to be your LC … In fact I’d even be willing to just trade out services in story hour readings to the littles afterwards while you napped 🙂

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            You’re hired! For that level of service, I’d totally thaw out some made-beforehand-and-frozen-for-when-baby-comes brownies, too. 😀 Is there anything more lovely than a cup of coffee (or tea), something chocolatey, and a wonderful book?

          • D/

            Coffee (definitely), chocolate, and a good book … with a nice view from all-weather lounging options and you have my vacation trifecta! How DO you know me so well?!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Alas, I wish I could offer the view…but three out of four ain’t bad! 🙂
            To be fair, how could any sane person *not* love having all of the above?!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I still have my stuffed lamb with whom I slept from the time I was a baby until I got married. When DH goes on a month-long business trip, Wooly Lamb still gets snuck into bed for a night or two. *looks sheepish* *realizes pun* *groans deeply, but lets it stand*

        • D/

          Mine were a grey, stuffed kitten with green glass eyes who by life’s end had completely had the plush worn to the canvas from all the love of being drug around for more years than I’ll admit … and a state fair sock monkey I named “Boogie” and fully intended to marry when I grew up 😉

      • Megan

        It reminds me of the part in Dr Sears book when they talk about how formula feeding moms will need more “mothering tools” and ways to soothe their babies than breastfeeding moms. As if learning multiple ways to soothe your baby besides feeding is a bad thing?

        • AirPlant

          Almost like there some situations where feeding is appropriate, but there are others where redirection or snuggles might be best.

          This parenting thing is complicated. Is it too late to get a nice fern?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I WISH feeding were an option these days….more on that later.

            I remember when my younger guy got Hand/Foot/Mouth. His comfort was milk in a sippy cup. I’ll never forget when his mouth hurt, and he took a big swig of milk, and SCREAMED in pain. He wasn’t breastfeeding at the time, but it wasn’t going to help him if he was. It only made things worse. That’s when you have to think about parenting.

            But then there was today. Let’s see…Younger and I go over to pick up Offspring the Elder at school before dance/gymnastics. He comes out with his first grade class and is all excited because he lost a tooth. Wonderful! Except he is expecting the Tooth Fairy to come tonight, but I have absolutely no cash. Fortunately, DanceMoms feel pity on me and spare me a couple of bucks. Crisis averted.

            Meanwhile, he goes into the bathroom to change into his gymnastics singlet and slips and falls on his elbows, coming out of the bathroom bawling his eyes out. A little ice and TLC and he’s off and tapping.

            After 3 hours of dance and gymnastics, we are about to rush home, and I notice a huge bruise on Elder’s bicep. What happened there, I ask? Oh, he says, that’s what happens when you suck on your skin! LOL! Dude, you gave yourself a hickey! #facepalm

            We get home and the boys take turns in the shower and eating butter sandwiches and fried eggs for a light second dinner. Elder tops off his great day by accidentally putting on two pair of underwear. Younger has an itch behind his ear that hurts when he scratches.

            We Skype with Mom, who’s out of town, and after singing a couple of Wizard of Oz songs, we’re finally in bed.

            Even with extended breastfeeding, the time where you can comfort breastfeed is fleeting, and a trivial part of your children’s lives. You aren’t dealing with fussiness and crying for long, you are dealing with all sorts of things that you could never imagine. Self-inflicted hickeys! Double underwear! The desperate state of having no cash on hand when the Tooth Fairy has to come! Shoving a boob in their mouth isn’t going to help.

          • Sue

            Thanks for that touch of reality, Bofa.

            So, what do parents who get their self-esteem out of lactating do when the kid reaches high school?

            Maybe they start lactivist blogs.

          • Daleth

            I notice a huge bruise on Elder’s bicep. What happened there, I ask? Oh, he says, that’s what happens when you suck on your skin! LOL! Dude, you gave yourself a hickey! #facepalm

            I feel you! One of my babies bit his own arm yesterday and left tooth marks that were still there several hours later.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Yeah, but his hickey wasn’t an accident.

          • LovleAnjel

            Want to know what soothes my toddler? Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Works every time.

        • Cobalt

          The more tools you have, the better! It not only makes your life easier, but also improves the baby’s quality of life- comfort is MORE available when it can come in many forms and from many providers.

          There is also something to be said for modeling this kind of practical behavior for your children. If you show them how to be creative, flexible, and discerning by being able to gather, create, choose, and implement a variety of tools and methods to better achieve your goals, they are more likely to have those skills themselves as adults.

        • ladyloki

          …and yet again, the “lazy” formula feeding mothers show that their supposed laziness is a myth, if they have to develop more soothing techniques.

          Add honestly, don’t all parents need to develop multiple soothing techniques? I mean, my nine year old still needs to be soothed here and there and I highly doubt the majority of moms are going to pop a boob in a 9 year old’s mouth to sooth her.

          • Daleth

            I also highly doubt a 9-year-old would be at all soothed by having a boob popped in her mouth!

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          And formula-feeding moms can have other people use those tools to soothe their babies rather than being the sole source of comfort. Not really seeing a problem here…

      • Daleth

        Exactly, and the other problem with it is that NO ONE BUT MOM can ever comfort the child. What if she’s cooking dinner? What if she’s got 3 or more small children and they’re all upset at the same time?

        IMHO this is why binkies exist: so that whoever is nearby can pop it in the baby’s mouth, or the baby can pop it in her own mouth, and voila, baby is happy again. Surely it is kinder to make it easy for anyone (including the baby) to soothe the baby, rather than making her totally dependent on mom.

        • AirPlant

          I have totally let a baby suck on my fingers if mom isn’t available. My friends baby would do this adorable thing where she would sit up while holding on to my hands and alternate using one for balance and the other for comfort sucking. She giggled during the tradeoff.

        • Sarah

          And because they’re associated with a reduction in SIDS, of course.

          • Daleth

            Apparently some people feel that breastfeeding is not just so delicate and precarious that it can be thrown off by a binkie, but also that breastfeeding is so important that it’s worth foregoing a proven reducer of SIDS risk.

    • Bombshellrisa

      Supposedly it’s got something to do with the oxytocin and helping the baby be relaxed and sleep better. At least, that was the explanation I was given by someone. She kept saying that the hormones made the baby’s sleep more beneficial for growth. I have no idea what she meant.

    • Linden

      In lots of cultures, nursing to sleep is the norm. But then again, in lots of cultures co-sleeping is the norm.
      My little one is a terrible sleeper, and sleeps much less than expected for his age. I’ve nursed/fed to sleep because I’ve had to, and I need some sleep myself. Believe me, we’ve still not sorted that one out. I am worried about his teeth. 🙁

      • AirPlant

        I am a full and vibrant proponant of doing what works for your family. If you are coming from a loving place and your kid is happy, healthy, and growing then as far as I am concerned you are super-mom. Sleep is very important and even if in the worst case they have dental problems, they will get a new set of teeth. You can’t get back the sleep that you and they lose. Where my confusion comes from is that Milk Meg blogs almost daily about nursing to sleep and through the night. As a lactation consultent I would expect for her to talk about those subjects, but only as one of many issues encompassed within her umberella. Nursing to sleep doesn’t feel particularly controversial, I am not sure why it is given so much emphasis on her page…

  • NoLongerCrunching

    Bobby Ghaheri is a quack who attributes almost every breastfeeding problem to tongue tie. In fact when there is a visible tongue tie but baby is breastfeeding well, he still sees it as a ticking time bomb.

    • Ash

      Do we even know how many babies have a significant improvement in BFing after these procedures? I have no idea.

      • NoLongerCrunching

        Unsurprisingly, no we do not. At least not a quality study that compares frenotomy with plain old tincture of time. I only recommend that mothers have their babies evaluated when the frenulum significantly restricts elevation, lateralization, or extension of the tongue or when the mother is having pain in her nipples that is not fixed by standard procedures. I recently saw a baby put under by gas up for a posterior tongue tie procedure. Beyond just the risks associated with anesthesia in babies, the baby was in pain for the rest of the day.

        Somehow, the same people who seem to think circumcision is barbaric are more than happy to believe that a huge percentage of babies are born with abnormal tongues and need to go under the knife. I say this as a mom whose third child did have a posterior tongue tie but breastfed just fine. Also, now that she is eight, her frenulum has stretched and functions normally. No speech issues, no dental issues, swallowing or any other issues that are supposedly the result of untreated tongue-tie.

        • Megan

          I was swayed to treat my daughter’s tongue tie and let me mention how awful the aftercare is. I had to sweep under her tongue two to three times a day to rip the surgical site open so it did not heal closed. She screamed every time we did it and eventually screamed just when we got her in position. It was horrible and felt so cruel. I will not do it again. I feel so horrible I did it at all. I will forever carry the memories of her screaming in my husband’s lap. While I’m sure she doesn’t remember it, I will never forget. It amazes me that this is promoted as being routine for this reason alone. Oh and my daughter’s tongue tie still reattached anyway… It helped us breastfeed for a week. That’s it.

          • Dinolindor

            Megan, I had the exact same thing happen with our son. Also done by Dr. Kotlow, as you mention somewhere else. I feel exactly the same way as you do about any future children, and I wish I never went to him at all. The after care was sickening, and what’s worse, completely and utterly worthless since it reattached anyway. Oh yeah and I can’t even recall how long breastfeeding worked after that because it was such a short period (certainly no more than a week and I think it was more likely a day or 2).

          • Megan

            I’m sorry you had a bad experience too. I admit I’m glad to know I’m not the only one though. It really was horrible and I won’t do it again. I know now there’s just no reason to do it. Dr kotlow is a good dentist/surgeon but I wish it was better publicized on the interwebz that frenectomy doesn’t always work and the aftercare is just cruel. When we went back the second time it had really reattached and he basically said, “you’re not trying to open it hard enough” and ripped it open again as my daughter screamed. At that point it hit me just how crazy it was. Ugh… I shudder even remembering it. Thanks for sharing your story. He kind of made me feel like it would’ve been fine if I’d done the aftercare “properly” and it was my fault even though he never out and out said that.

          • Dinolindor

            When he showed me how to open the site, and I freaked out about it because holy hell my poor baby, his lack of sympathy was particularly jarring.

            Also, the feeling is mutual on having someone else who went through this. I don’t post too much on here, but when you said his name I had to jump in. Of all the regrets I’ve had with raising my firstborn, that one is pretty high on the list.

          • Chi

            I had the same thing. My daughter wasn’t latching and my boobs were paying the price. Cracked, bleeding, painful. And the 3rd lactation consultant I saw diagnosed a tongue tie. Which made sense because once she pointed it out I noticed that my daughter couldn’t poke her tongue out past her lips.

            So I had it released. Fortunately the doctor who did it for me was nowhere NEAR as brutal as that. I was basically told to just lift my daughter’s tongue to the roof of her mouth a few times a day and that would help prevent reattachment.

            While it helped initially, for a little bit, ultimately the same issues kept cropping up and it led to vasospasm/Raynauds which was incredibly painful.

            THEN in complete desperation, I went to an osteopath who did cranial manipulation and suggested a course of probiotics. What made me realize the osteo was full of shit was when she told me I needed to give up caffeine. How was caffeine affecting my kid’s latch?

            Plus the probiotics just made my kid puke.

            It was at that point that I called it quits and went exclusively to formula. Much better for everyone.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            That’s awful. I’m so sorry. Thank you for sharing this, though–all you ever hear is about how it’s not really painful, the kid is happy and eating afterwards, etc. It’s good to hear a different perspective.

          • Hannah

            I went to the head of pediatric ENT at Oakland Children’s to have our daughter’s posterior tie corrected. He said he thinks laser is unnecessary in almost every case, that stretches afterwards beyond a quick sweep are also unnecessary. I am so thankful my husband refused to see Ghaheri after looking at his website.

            In my case, our issues with vasospasm etc resolved but our doctor said it wasn’t guaranteed and that formula is great if it doesn’t work. He was no nonsense but also caring.

            I have said before that it really was no big deal for us other than a day/night improvement with feeding but I am Jewish and thus immune to the suffering of babies because circumcision.

        • Cobalt

          The frenectomy=good, circumcision=bad thing is a particularly glaring example of the lack of integrity of the natural parenting crowd.

          Frenectomy (which prevents very few issues and is nearly exclusively a breastfed baby’s problem- bottle feeding would resolve the need for the overwhelming majority of revisions) is appropriate for even the slightest indication of possible breastfeeding trouble, but circumcision (which has proven benefits in long term health and prevents some common troubles completely) requires extensive issues and multiple failed alternative treatments to be justified.

          Are narrow margin health benefits a justification for very low risk surgery or not?

    • Houston Mom
      • NoLongerCrunching

        Hmm. I wonder what he (a dentist) thinks about direct entry dentists?

        • Houston Mom

          He’s an MD – ear, nose & throat I think.

    • Trixie

      I’m curious what he charges for that and how often the parents must pay out of pocket.

      • Megan

        With Dr Kotlow we paid $600 out of pocket.

        So much for breastfeeding being “free”…

        • Megan

          ETA: And there’s no profit to be made from breastfeeding promotion either. (Sarcasm)

          Dr Kotlow did the procedure in 10 minutes. Our consultation was a video and then he answered questions. He could easily do 4 an hour. That’s a lot of money. The laser does cost him a pretty penny but still…

      • Sue

        If you can bear to watch it, this video shows how simple the release of baby tongue-tie can be.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm3xGBCC71o

        • Trixie

          I can’t watch it.

    • D/

      I punctuated this with a full volume, Nelson-quality “Ha Ha” … in the medical library.

    • Sue

      “Breastfeeding Medicine”?? The guy’s an ENT surgeon!

      Oh – but he has additional quals: “personal experiences, where both of his daughters had significant problems breastfeeding”

      • Sarah

        Ah yes, another one who thinks because a woman in his immediate family has breastfed, he totally gets it.

        NEWMANITIS.

  • sdsures

    Predictably, he’s going for the sexist approach. I want a hug, too!

  • MLE

    That deluge of Meg supporters on your Facebook page was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. My favorite was how calmly everyone responded to them, which demonstrates how many times we have heard these types of attacks, which in turn demonstrates that the “shaming” and “bullying” they were up in arms about is so common for formula feeders that we can’t even muster any outrage!

    • MLE

      I guess that’s really one point, but I’m tired from working all night and making bottles for my community college baby while my Harvard-bound breast fed kid slept superiorly (go with it) in the other room.