La Leche League’s response to claims of overselling breastfeeding is both pathetic and bullying

Bullying

Way to go La Leche League! Thanks for proving Courtney Jung’s points for her.

In advance of the publication of her new book Lactivism, Jung wrote an op-ed in the NYTimes, Overselling Breast-Feeding.

The benefits associated with breast-feeding just don’t seem to warrant the scrutiny and interventions surrounding American infant feeding practices.

What are those benefits? In countries with clean water supplies, the benefits of breastfeeding for term infants amount to nothing more than a few less colds and episodes of diarrheal illnesses across the population in the first year of life.

Total fail when it comes to refuting Jung, but, fear not. It is a masterpiece of bullying.

Not surprisingly, La Leche League, the organization that has led the charge in overselling the benefits of breastfeeding and encouraging the moralization of infant feeding was angered by the piece and issued a press release in response.

They insist that the benefits of breastfeeding aren’t oversold.

Before we look at what they said, let’s think about what they’d need to show.

The claims on their website are remarkably expansive:

Breastfeeding has been shown to be protective against many illnesses, including painful ear infections, upper and lower respiratory ailments, allergies, intestinal disorders, colds, viruses, staph, strep and e coli infections, diabetes, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, many childhood cancers, meningitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, salmonella, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome(SIDS) as well as lifetime protection from Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, some lymphomas, insulin dependent diabetes …

So the first thing LLL ought to show is the dramatic increase in breastfeeding initiation in the past 30 years has led to a commensurate decrease in all the illnesses that breastfeeding is supposed to prevent.

But LLL can’t show that, because with the exception of colds and mild diarrheal illness, breastfeeding has had no measurable effect on any of these ailments.

Furthermore, the increase in breastfeeding rates has had no impact on infant mortality, no impact on life expectancy and no impact on population IQ. And, contrary to the claims of lactivists that breastfeeding could save billions of dollars in healthcare costs, breastfeeding has had no discernible impact on healthcare costs.

What evidence did LLL offer for the benefits of breastfeeding? Their response can be summed up simply: because we said so.

[B]reastfeeding has been shown to have definite health risks and consequences…

This deepening understanding of the importance and value of human milk for human babies from an immunological, physiological, and psychological standpoint is a result of an ever-increasing, vast, and incontrovertible body of research.

What are those definite health risks? LLL doesn’t dare say.

What is this incontrovertible evidence? LLL doesn’t say.

Where is the proof that breastfeeding has any impact on infant mortality, life expectancy and healthcare savings? LLL doesn’t offer it because it doesn’t exist.

So the press release is a total fail when it comes to refuting Jung, but, fear not. It is a masterpiece of bullying and shaming:

Likening breastfeeding to tobacco smoking:

When our organization began nearly sixty years ago, most babies were not breastfed and a significant portion of the population smoked. Just as research has shown that smoking has a serious negative effect on health … not breastfeeding has been shown to have definite health risks and consequences …

Classy, huh?

Slamming women who bottle feed as abnormal:

…[B]reastfeeding is now clearly understood to be the normal way to feed a human baby.

Implying that women who don’t breastfeed are ignorant:

There isn’t any pressure in our society that could force intelligent women to do something that doesn’t make sense.

But no one is claiming that breastfeeding doesn’t make sense or that women are being forced to breastfeed. What Jung has claimed is that women have been tricked into breastfeeding by organizations like LLL that have dramatically oversold the benefits.

LLL ends with a flourish of nonsense:

We’re also hormonally driven and biologically hard-wired to breastfeed and be breastfed.

We’re also hormonally driven and biologically hard-wired to begin reproducing at age 16 or so, but we don’t, do we? We’re hormonally driven and biologically hard-wired to have no control over the number of children we have, but we ignore that, don’t we? We are not animals; we are people and our lives are much safer, healthier and more comfortable because we can and do exercise control over them.

And just in case they hadn’t shamed formula feeders enough:

We’re mammals. Lactation and breastfeeding is the normal behavior and food for human mothers and babies.

Eating raw meat on the hoof is also normal behavior and food for mammals. Should we do that, too?

The bottom line is that the La Leche League response to the claims that the benefits of breastfeeding have been oversold is pathetic, reflecting the complete dearth of evidence that breastfeeding term babies in first world countries has any major impact on health.

In the absence of evidence, LLL falls back on their favorite tactic: bullying mothers who don’t follow their prescription for motherhood.

That’s just nasty.

  • ANJ

    I am chronically ill and my mom has told me numerous times she wishes she would have breastfed me on the small chance it would have changed things.

    There is no evidence this is true, but due to the common belief of breastfeeding being overwhelmingly superior, she feels this.

    Misinformation is never a good thing.

  • Allie P

    Speaking as a woman who currently feeds my baby from the secretions of my mammary glands, I’d like to send a message to all the “normalize breastfeeding” folks out there: please stop congratulating me when you see me feeding my baby in an airport or at any other public space. Would you be congratulating me if I gave her a bottle of enfamil? I do not deserve praise for feeding my hungry child, no more than I deserve praise for handing a packet of crackers to the toddler sitting next to me. I’m not doing it as a statement. I’m not doing it to “normalize” anything. My baby is hungry, my breast has food in it. I know you mean well, but I’m not doing this for anyone but my baby.

    • Bugsy

      Yes, yes, yes. Back in the breastfeeding class I took before #1, the LC asked us individually what scared us about breastfeeding. “Becoming a BF nazi,” was my reply, thinking about my friend Crazy Lactivist. The LC informed me that breastfeeding didn’t mean I would become an extreme lactivist, but I should at least congratulate other women I saw breastfeeding in public.

      WTF? Even without having nursed at that point, her reply ticked me off. Why should I congratulate a breastfeeding mother but otherwise ignore my formula-feeding fellow mommies?

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      Not to mention, (and this is just me), but if random strangers came up to me and started talking about how I was feeding my kid I would be extremely creeped out….It wouldn’t even matter if they were complementing or berating me

    • Kq

      Amen to this!

  • Amazed

    FT again: flu mission completed. Big Pharma won whole 6 dollars from me. Big Docta won whole 2 dollars (almost) for placing it. I feel so cheated.

    P.P. My GP wasn’t there today, so it was her partner who gave me the shot. Afterwards, she explained briefly what I should do, what reactions I can reasonably expect and handed me the insert, “Just so you know what may happen.” I said, “Thanks but no, thanks, I am not interested in reading everything that happened to 1 in 10 millions of people who got the short. I have even smaller interest in reading what people THINK happened to them after getting the shot.” She threw the insert into the bin. Her expression was so delighted!

  • Anna

    They have a passion for wildlife and prehistoric tribes. Why don’t they all go live in a cave somewhere? That would be so normal and most importantly natural for human beings driven by their instincts alone. But hell no, they use Internet, they drive cars, they benefit from the achievements of modern medicine but when it comes to reproduction and infant feeding they suddenly remeber about Mother Nature.

  • Madtowngirl

    I always laugh when I see this extensive list of aliments that you supposedly are protecting a baby from by breastfeeding. My sister and I were both breastfed. Our whole family has intestinal issues – my sister has UC, one of those problems that she shouldn’t have because she was breastfed! I mean, surely genetics isn’t a bigger factor here. I had tons of ear infections, several UTIS, strep, pneumonia, and all sorts of illnesses as a child. I was a pretty sick kid! Sure, it’s antecdotal, but shouldn’t I have been sooooo much healthier, since I was breastfed?

    • demodocus

      Nah, u wood have bin sooo much sicker on te ebil formula, natch!

      • AirPlant

        There was some study that came out a bit back saying that breastfed babies had a higher likelihood of obesity over combo fed infants. It was not a robust study and I pretty much shrugged my shoulders and moved on, but you should have seen the internet lactivists lose their damn mind. All caps yelling how people obviously hated breastfeeding and there was no way that they would ever believe that breastmilk was anything but perfect and how dare they etc.
        The lengths people go to see breastmilk as holy perfecting is utterly bewildering.

  • GiddyUpGo123

    I somehow got myself wrapped up in a debate on The Atlantic … remember that article “The Case Against Breast-Feeding” from a few years ago? She responded to some post I made back when the article was published and seems to be saying that you will never be able to pass laws that support breastfeeding women (especially pumping in the workplace) if you admit that breastfeeding really isn’t much better than formula. In other words, lie about the benefits, ignore the facts and shame and blame formula moms as much as you like because the rights of breastfeeding moms are more important than the rights of everyone else. It’s a really baffling world view and a very specific sort of sociopathy–instead of having no empathy for anyone at all, you have no empathy for anyone who doesn’t live their life exactly the way you do. It seems to me like it comes from the same place that racism and sexism come from: my group is better than yours, therefore any thing I can do to further the cause of my group is perfectly acceptable because your group doesn’t matter.

    And she persists in this despite the fact that I’m essentially on her side–I think women should be allowed to pump in the workplace but I don’t think lying and rejecting research and bullying women who don’t breastfeed is the way to accomplish that.

  • Gatita

    OT from the NY Times (last item):

    12. Lastly, a 32-year-old orangutan living at Zoo Atlanta has proven to be a great mother, though she’s never had offspring of her own. Handlers say Madu has taken well to her fourth adopted baby, this seven-month-old who arrived in October from a Wisconsin zoo. Madu is helping pick up the slack for first-time orangutan mothers, who often have less than model nurturing skills.

    So get out of here with the bullshit idea that the first moments after birth have to be perfect or mothers and babies won’t bond. P.S. I love that Madu is trained to hand over the baby to keepers for feeding but does everything else to take care of it.

    • Kelly

      I like how even first time animal mothers don’t always know how to be good mothers.

  • yentavegan

    and as I have tried explaining to my LLL peers..formula wasn’t invented to usurp breastfeeding..it was invented because so many women had difficulties breastfeeding.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Do they accept it?

      You are correct, of course.

      • yentavegan

        It is hard to undo the influence from reading the “Polotics of Breastmilk”

    • Sue

      Of course. The word “formula” originally meant “recipe” – as in a recipe for breast milk substitute.

      There have always been women who either couldn’t, or didn;t want to, berast feed. The wealthy had wet nurses. The poor used goats milk, or some other home-made substitute, or the baby died.

      Commercialised “formula” is just a commercialised product, replacing what individual mothers used to make up at home.

    • Sarah

      Or just didn’t want to, or had other more pressing concerns to attend to such as working to feed the other children of the family.

    • PInky

      No. It was invented by doctors trying to make a fast buck on the back of the idea that fragile, rich women in the late 19th century were considered to be too delicate to breast feed their own baby so they developed individual “formulae” as an alternative to wet nurses. It was pseudo science and some babies survived. Poor women couldn’t afford doctors, so would nurse each other’s babies if there were problems.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        Really? Prove it.

      • Nick Sanders

        Even if that were true, it wouldn’t invalidate the data demonstrating that breastfeeding has no decisive benefits over modern formulas in a first world country.

  • yentavegan

    Breastfeeding is a life style choice. Not every women can or even chooses to breastfeed. I have become less of a lactavist after watching my relatives and friends raise wonderful productive children and I can not tell who was or wasn’t breastfed.

  • Gatita

    We’re also hormonally driven and biologically hard-wired to breastfeed and be breastfed.

    I hate this shit. I’m also hardwired to think and reason but no one talks about a woman’s biological imperative to go to college.

    • RMY

      I agree, nobody talks about how men are biologically wired, except when excusing bad behavior, i.e. he couldn’t turn down the woman who wanted to have an affair with him.

      • Roadstergal

        Or more frequently, when they’re putting things into a woman who does not want to participate. “Oh, boys will be boys.”

    • namaste863

      Unfortunately, throughout history a female’s only worth has been in her ability to produce males. We like to think we’ve moved beyond that. We haven’t.

    • Sarah

      Except when we’re not, obviously.

    • Madtowngirl

      I hate that shit, too. Interestingly, after all of the problems I had with breastfeeding, I now find myself incredibly uncomfortable when anyone tries to touch my breasts, including my husband. The thought of putting another baby to my breast freaks me out. If a #2 is in our future, I can promise I will flip a table if someone tells me I’m “hard-wired” to breastfeed.

  • Megan

    Slightly OT but this review found little evidence for nipple confusion as associated with pacifiers, only with bottles (and the authors made sure to point out that this is correlation only and the bottle itself may not be the causative factor).

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26181720

  • Monkey Professor for a Head

    “This deepening understanding of the importance and value of human milk for human babies from an immunological, physiological, and psychological standpoint is a result of an ever-increasing, vast, and incontrovertible body of research.”

    Is there actually even research (even poor quality) that shows psychological benefits to babies from breastmilk? Or are they pulling that out of their arse?

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      psychological? really ? so are they saying my daughter might have been damaged psychologically because she was never breastfed….o_O

      • Monkey Professor for a Head

        Ok, quick google search for “pubmed breastfeeding psychological” gives me a few hits.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/18310164/
        Effects of prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding on child behavior and maternal adjustment: evidence from a large, randomized trial.
        Randomized controlled trial
        Kramer MS, et al. Pediatrics. 2008.
        Follow up of the PROBIT study patients – no difference at 6.5 years

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25183753/
        RESULTS: Compared with children who were never breastfed, those who were breastfed for ≥6 months and exclusively breastfed for ≥3 months had decreased odds of difficulties with emotional symptoms (odds ratio [OR]: 0.52; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.27-0.99), conduct problems (OR: 0.24; 95% CI: 0.10-0.54), and total difficulties (OR: 0.39; 95% CI: 0.18-0.85) before adjustment. These associations were no longer significant after adjustment.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/24116864/
        A cohort study on full breastfeeding and child neuropsychological development: the role of maternal social, psychological, and nutritional factors.
        Julvez J, et al. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2014.

        INTERPRETATION: Very long-term full breastfeeding was independently associated with neuropsychological functions of children at 4 years of age. Maternal indicators of intelligence, psychopathology, and colostrum n3 fatty acids did not explain this association.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/20004910/
        RESULTS: Breastfeeding for less than 6 months compared with 6 months or longer was an independent predictor of mental health problems through childhood and into adolescence. This relationship was supported by the random effects models (increase in total CBCL score: 1.45; 95% confidence interval 0.59, 2.30) and generalized estimating equation models (odds ratio for CBCL morbidity: 1.33; 95% confidence interval 1.09, 1.62) showing increased behavioral problems with shorter breastfeeding duration.

        So some studies show a possible correlation, other studies show no relationship. Hardly incontrovertible scientific proof.

        • Amy M

          And perhaps there is a relationship there, but I think an important question would be: is the breastmilk, the breastfeeding, or something else that happens when there is breastfeeding? We already know there’s a strong correlation of overall better health when one is higher on the SE scale, and also that women who are more privileged are more likely to breastfeed.

        • Sarah

          Nothing to do with breastfeeding mothers having so very many other advantages, of course. It’s not like there’s a correlation between poverty and poor mental health!

    • Sue

      The only good quality reseach on BF in developed communities shows a small inpact on minor infections in the first year of life.

      The only “immunological” impact of BM is passive immunity (passage of maternal antibodies), which wanes rapidly. For active, long-lasting immunity, you need to be either infected or vaccinated.

      • Amy M

        I ended up explaining that (with citations) to a good friend who was convinced she was damning her daughter to lots of disease because the baby wouldn’t get immunity via breastmilk. Once she realized that though, she settled down and didn’t feel so bad about switching to formula. I don’t know about LLL, but Kellymom definitely suggests that immunity via breastmilk `1)lasts as long as the kid is breastfed and 2)provides immunity to everything. I wish they would be more accurate with their info, but I guess it would be harder to guilt and shame women if they understood the limited passive immunity thing.

        • Roadstergal

          Honestly, can’t the answer to any formula concerns be ‘The ’70s?’ I mean, ~70% of us born then weren’t bedridden diseased weaklings. You won’t see a spike in VPDs until the recent anti-vaccination times, when the BF rates are in the 80% range.

          • Who?

            I was born in the 60s and fed on carnation brand canned milk: while I wouldn’t say it’s great food, I’m by no means a bedridden diseased weakling either. Maybe keeping the baby alive is the trick after all.

          • StephanieA

            My dad was born in 1963, and my grandma said she bottle fed him some kind of mixture of canned milk and karo syrup? It sounds insane to us now, but 60s and 70s babies clearly thrived.

          • Who?

            Sounds about right. I was born in 1963 as well, but yes calories are likely to be key.

          • More to the point, perhaps, is that breastfeeding rates were quite low in the 30s and40s. How many of us who were born in the immediate post-war period, like myself, were bottle fed, and how many of us had children (who began reproducing in the 60s and 70s) after having been “poisoned” by formula, are currently enjoying good health and have given birth to healthy children, have sufficient intelligence to have attained university degrees and/or gone on to have careers in major professions? Those of us who were bottle fed are the living proof that formula hasn’t ruined us. (And remember, back when we were babies, there weren’t the enriched “designer” formulas of today)

          • StephanieA

            Exactly. I just remembered that my mom told me that my grandmother almost died as a baby (she was born in 1933) because her mother could not breastfeed and she was allergic to cow’s milk, and that’s all that was available. They were very poor. I’m not sure what she ended up being fed, but she’s 82 now with lots of great grand kids.

        • Sue

          Interestingly, I have an anti-vaxer twisting themselves in knots over on a FB site: They love to argue that the presence of antibodies is no proof of immunity. To this I respond “So, mothers can’t confer any immunity to their babies through best milk, then…”.

          So, there is Mr or Ms Anti-Vax, hopping between anti-vax and pro-BF, not knowing what to say. Ha.

      • Roadstergal

        And very specifically, mucosal antibodies, not systemic IgGs. That stuff, which provides transient protection against the diseases we actually care about, is transmitted via the placenta.

  • Chi

    Quick edit point:

    “So the press release is a total fail when it comes to refuting Jung, but, fear not. It is a masterpiece of bullying and shaming:

    Likening breastfeeding to tobacco smoking:”

    Shouldn’t it be ‘Likening NOT breastfeeding (aka formula feeding) to tobacco smoking’?

    And likewise above that, “Breastfeeding has been shown to have definite health risks and consequences”. In the original release it says: “NOT breastfeeding has definite health risks and consequences.”

    End edit, begin rant:

    I read that travesty of a press release and the part that currently has me rolling around on the ground laughing hysterically:

    “Understanding and valuing strong scientific evidence is not morality. It is
    rational, logical, and essential to any society that seeks to optimize its citizens’ health and wellbeing.”

    These guys wouldn’t know science if it set their asses on fire. Because if they TRULY understood the science, they would realize that Dr Amy is correct and that the studies SHOW that in 1st world countries with clean water, the benefits of breastfeeding are TRIVIAL. There is NO “Strong scientific evidence” that supports their moralistic fervor, frothing at the mouth, ALL women MUST breastfeed mentality.

    And also, the sheer hypocrisy of that statement has to be addressed. Breastfeeding is essential for a society that seeks to optimize its citizens health and well-being? And what praytell about the health of the mothers? When LLL and lactivists basically reduce a mother’s sole PURPOSE into that of a milk factory, they COMPLETELY disregard her as a PERSON with completely valid needs.

    Nipples hurting? Cracked and bleeding? Suck it up, baby needs to be fed.

    Postpartum depression? Stop making excuses and feed the baby.

    Low milk supply? Pump more! Take fenugreek and domperidone! NEVER EVER supplement with evil formula because that will tank your supply even more!

    Low milk quality? Bullshit, mothers in 3rd world countries who don’t eat as much as you can still nourish their babies (except they can’t as Dr Amy pointed out a short while ago with the story about the twins).

    I got a lot of the above attitudes when I made the mistake of asking a local milk sharing community for help. I was hormonal, sleep deprived and felt like labor had shattered me into a million pieces. And although I’d mostly been pieced back together there seemed to be some pieces still missing and some stuck in the wrong places. I didn’t know who *I* was any more and to top it off, I had this needy little creature that wanted to be attatched to my boob 40 minutes out of every 60, so I wasn’t getting space to BREATHE and figure out who the hell I was supposed to be now. And I was starting to resent the hell out of her.

    But apparently that attitude was ‘selfish’ as it wasn’t about me, it was about my baby who was NOW my ENTIRE universe. And how could I hate her while breastfeeding because it’s just SOOOOO magical???

    Formula saved my mental health. It helped me stop hating her, helped my appreciate her as a tiny little person. But mostly it helped HER thrive.

    So yes, I have a VERY low tolerance for lactivists and their bullying tactics.

    • Valerie

      “Understanding and valuing strong scientific evidence is not morality. It is rational, logical, and essential to any society that seeks to optimize its citizens’ health and wellbeing.”

      Does anybody else get annoyed by the use of the term “optimize” here? For optimization, you have to have a clearly defined thing to measure. It makes no sense to claim to optimize something as nebulous, subjective, and personal as “wellbeing.” Even if you can imagine some measure of health and wellness, you would have to take into account the parents and the child(ren)- eg, n ear infections equal m cases of mastitis, x risk reduction in breast cancer equals y hours of nipple pain, sterilizing bottles vs taking a longer leave from work, etc. The relative weights of these risks and benefits can only be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the people affected. And, even if this wellbeing criteria unambiguously indicated breastfeeding, parents are under no obligation to “optimize” themselves or their children. I have the same gripes about the “optimal” CS rate.

      • Chi

        Agreed. A LOT of their stuff is a ‘one size fits all’ mentality. The first lactation consultant I saw in the hospital came into my room and then proceeded to show me a POSTER that had step-by-step instructions on ‘correct latching position’.

        She never ONCE asked to see me latch and dismissed me when I told her my nipples were inverted.

        But ALL women can breastfeed! Well no, no they CAN’T. And they have the right to decide not to do so without being made to feel that they are a selfish, sub-par mother.

  • swbarnes2

    I thought at a decease in SIDS was another real protective effect of breastfeeding? That it’s even dose dependent (babies breastfed longer are more protected).

    • Roadstergal

      What’s the protective effect of BF vs pacifier? I would be interested to know how the effect sizes compare – I honestly don’t know. I know that the SIDS prevention effects of the latter is not something that LLL ever discusses.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        IIRC, the found benefits of the pacifier are much, much higher.

        I even have heard an LC admit that, but that still don’t do it because breastfeeding.

        • swbarnes2

          This seems to show that the ORs are similar between breastfeeding and pacifiers

          http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/128/5/e1341.full

          • Sarah

            And of course pacifier use wouldn’t give us any problems with thrush, mastitis, nipple pain et al. Gosh, I wonder why that’s not being promoted…

        • NoLongerCrunching

          Source?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            My head.

            If I had a source, I wouldn’t have to rely on my recollection.

    • fiftyfifty1

      It’s correlated sure, but there is zero evidence it’s causative. The groups most likely to formula feed are also most likely to have baby sleep in an unsafe sleep environment (on a couch or armchair, with a sibling, with an intoxicated adult).

      • Sarah

        Because those things are all associated with poverty, just as formula feeding is.

  • Amazed

    OT: I just bought my flu vaccine. The shot isn’t popular at all here and a measly 2% of the population gets it but I am doing it to protect my soon to be born niece without thinking twice. Tomorrow, I am off to my GP to assault my… bloodstream? Or brain cells? What do vaccines destroy again?

    I am no mammal and I admit it with great sadness. Causing the pain of a shot to oneself is a decidedly un-mammalian behavior. So is painting one’s nails (I just got my LA Girl 3D-Effects Electric Coral and I can’t wait to apply it.)

    Come to think of it, using internet to proclaim what is mammalian and what not is EXTREMELY un-mammalian. Shame on LLL!

    • Amy M

      What country/area are you in? I got my shot free, through work and I think it was free for my children to get it through their doctor. I do not understand why the flu shot is so unpopular—I can only imagine that most people have no idea how bad flu can be. Even people who are on board with all other vaccines avoid the flu shot sometimes, which just baffles me.

      • Megan

        I agree with you. Most people just don’t get how bad flu can be. They think it’s like a cold or they confuse it with a stomach bug.

        • Amazed

          Oh, I definitely catch myself thinking that flu is not as serious as others vaccine-preventable diseases. Couple this with my personal circumstances, and you’ve got the lazy-ass who knows what’s right, intends to do it, but somehow can’t fit it into this week’s schedule. Or the other week. Or the one after it. A very wrong mindset.

        • Roadstergal

          A lot of folk will tell me they had the flu and it wasn’t so bad, then describe symptoms of the common cold. If you’re not flattened out and miserable and barely able to crawl to the bathroom to puke, you probably don’t have the flu.

          • Amy M

            I had the flu 5yrs ago (despite a flu shot). Actually, the flu itself was fairly mild (perhaps due to the flu shot?), but the subsequent pneumonia/sinus infection/ear infection/pleurisy was hell and was the sickest I’ve ever been in my life. Since then, every minor cold I catch turns into a sinus infection. At any rate, I get the shot, get my kids the shot and nag my husband to get it too, because I don’t want any of us to end up like that again.

          • Megan

            I usually jokingly tell patients that if I ask “Do you feel like you’ve been hit by a Mack truck?” and they say “Just one?” I think flu. Though I have seen people with milder cases, usually people who were vaccinated.
            Two years ago I got the flu despite being vaccinated and I missed a week of work (and that’s a really big deal for me!) I try to warn people that the flu is no joke, but the flu shot remains pretty unpopular, except among my elderly patients. I only rarely can convince moms to give it to their children.

          • CCL (Crazy Cat Lady)

            I have a lung condition and my doctor starts every conversation with, “Hi, how are you? Did you get a flu shot?” so I am compliant and usually get it the week it is available.

            It’s generally 35-year-old me and a room full of 70+ seniors at the flu shot clinic. It amuses me every time.

          • Mishimoo

            My nan-in-law’s doctor is trying to convince her that she’s too old for vaccines. Nan had to go to the chemist’s flu shot clinic to get this year’s one, and her doctor has refused her a DTaP booster (last one was in the 90’s) and a pneumococcal disease vaccination based on age. She’s 87, wtf?

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            That sounds like exactly the kind of person who should be vaccinated!

          • Mishimoo

            Especially since she likes to garden and a simple cold knocks her around badly. We’re trying to convince her to change to our pro-vax doctor, but I really don’t understand why her current doctor is saying she’s too old to be vaccinated.

          • Megan

            Um, yeah. I’d be pushing vaccines for her.

          • AirPlant

            I have never thrown up with the flu, but I get crazy high fevers. I guess my line is when I get the upper respiratory infection, plus fever, plus my body hurts in the everything and I can’t walk then I call it a flu. I am an asthmatic so I am religious about getting a flu shot so these infections tend to pass quickly, but due to the asthma I inevitably get to ride the sinus infection, bronchitis, asthma attacks all night every night train for a solid month after and that just sucks.

          • AirPlant

            Seriously though, medical professionals, I get this every year and I feel like it should be classified as a cold because it is short and I am a whiner, but everything on the internet says fever and achiness= FLU. That’s a flu, right? Like can’t eat, can’t sleep, your life is a misery for three days, the fever breaks and you are still wiped out for the better part of a month with upper respiratory nonsense? I don’t want to overstate my symptoms and be that girl who calls a two Tylenol headache a migraine, but all my internet reading says flu. Except for WebMD who said cancer.

      • Amazed

        Eastern Europe. Here, people doesn’t take the flu shot as seriously as the other vaccines. (Truth be told, I don’t take it as seriously either because this mindset has rubbed off on me. More importantly, I have almost no contacts with vulnerable people during the flu season. I work at home, so I am not so exposed myself. Sometimes, it just looks like too much bother, too time-consuming.) Even my down-to-earth mom doesn’t take my warning to take it seriously. For years, she’d been out of the school system but now she’s back. She’ll be in contact with hundreds of kids this winter. It isn’t safe for her, let alone the baby! But she doesn’t take me this seriously.

        • Inmara

          I’m in Northeastern Europe and here flu shot coverage is pathetic too (no wonder if you can get it only with your GP and not in any pharmacy like in US). And we don’t get TDaP boosters in pregnancy, almost nobody had heard of such option.
          Going to get flu shot tomorrow – I haven’t had it since childhood and never got flu but with a baby I just can’t afford to risk it anymore.

          • Amazed

            Pathetic is the word. But today, I got a good idea of just how pathetic the reasoning behind it is. My SIL is sick. She’s been put on antibiotics. Everyone is so worried about her and the baby – and everyone thinks I’m being overzealous with this stupid flu shot. It is as if there are two babies that we’re talking about – one that is so precious that she merits all concern in the world and another one who just won’t get the flu because well, no one around will get it. And flu isn’t this bad anyway. Of course, when the first symptoms show, people will stop visiting the baby, Easy-peasy!

            With such reasoning, I am not surprised that the coverage is what it is. I wish you a quick and easy visit to the GP. No waiting at all!

      • Roadstergal

        It was free for me through work, and $5 through insurance for my husband. I wonder if our work tracks the uptake…

        • Amazed

          It’s private here. About 6 dollars for the vaccine itself. Tomorrow. I’ll see how much the placing costs.

      • Valerie

        FYI for anybody in America- under the Affordable Care Act, all health care plans (unless they have grandfathered status) must cover flu shots with no cost-sharing. So if your insurance is trying to charge you a co-pay, call and complain. There might be some loophole for going out-of-network or something, but there has to be a way on your plan to get preventative care, including flu shots, without a co-pay.

        • Sarah

          Which is great. You can only get it free in the UK if you’re in one of certain vulnerable groups: pregnant women, elderly, young children etc. We have to get it done privately otherwise. I am fortunate that £8 each for my husband and I is money we can easily afford, and we won’t need to choose between eating and vaccination the week we get it done. Many are not so lucky.

    • demodocus

      We’ve already gotten our flu shots. They’ll be giving me a dtap/tdap/whatever in a few months.
      Think they’ll want toddler boy to get a refresher? He’s gotten the full series for littles already.

      • Amazed

        No idea. With our 2% of flu vaccination, I struggle to even believe that it’s so important, although, intelectually, I KNOW it is.

        Good luck with your flu-protected pregnancy!

      • Dinolindor

        I bet not, except for the flu shot since that’s annual anyway. No one recommended that for my son when my daughter was born (he was 3.5 when she was born, also fully up to date). They said the vaccines should be good until he’s due for the next series at his 5 year appointment. I’d be surprised if that’s not standard. I think they have adults update their boosters because they’re more likely to have let it lapse, plus for the mom it’s supposed to give the newborn a little immunity.

        • demodocus

          I’m not worried about the flu shot; s/he’s due in June. Next fall’s a bit worrying, though. Kiddo will be first in line when the doc’s office gets them, though.

      • Hilary

        Nope, your toddler should still have immunity from his dtap series. They give the boosters to pregnant moms because it gives the newborn some passive immunity, not for the mother’s immunity necessarily. At least that’s how it was explained to me.

      • Megan

        You will get a Tdap, usually done after 28 weeks so that you will pass along passive immunity to your newborn. It will also benefit you in giving you a booster too. Your toddler will not need any extra shots so long as his are already up to date. I would recommend that any grandparents, partners, etc. (anyone who will be in close ocntact with your baby) get a Tdap booster if they haven’t had one.

        • Megan

          Sorry, that was a slip of the fingertip on the keyboard. That should say after 27 weeks (and I’ll add, ideally before 36 weeks).

          • demodocus

            I think they gave it to me last time at about 30 weeks; that was only 2 years ago. We do have to double check when the tall one last got his booster, though.

          • Megan

            The current recommendation is Tdap every pregnancy. I just read a study last week showing no increase in adverse reactions for pregnant women following this strategy, even if it had been less than two years since the last one. So they’ll likely recommend it for you again.

          • Megan

            (My Tdap’s will only be 1.5 years apart since my pregnancies were so closely spaced.)

          • demodocus

            Me I knew about, just wasn’t sure about shortstuff

          • seekingbalance

            agreed on all counts. I usually try to give it in the earlyish 30s of weeks, but it depends on how reliable the woman is (to come back to her next prenatal appt on recommended timeline) and if she has a history of on-the-early-side delivery. ideal timing is about five weeks before delivery, if you can get lucky enough to guess it (or anticipate a planned cesarean and unlikely to go early), but any time in the third trimester (28w+) is good. and yes, I recommend it for every pregnancy even if they’re spaced very closely (per new CDC rec circa 2012)….

    • Bombshellrisa

      Oh no! You mean you didn’t do your research? What about mixing pineapple, garlic, lemon, cayenne and ginger and taking Nature’s Flu Shot? What about shedding?
      You are already a spectacular auntie if you care enough about your niece to want to protect her.

      • Amazed

        Damn it, I’m 6 dollars poorer. After I read your research, I decided that I won’t take it after all. 6 dollars down the drain.

        Thanks! I am waiting for her and yes, I am ready to do whatever it takes to lessen the risk for her. It’s just a shot, for god’s sake, no one told me to cut off chocolate forever… I am not sure I would do this. In fact, I know I won’t.

        I’ll think of it again when she arrives. I suspect I might change my mind once I see her!

        P.P. Today, I bought the first present for her! A bath sponge with a singing animal. It’s so sweet that I think perhaps I should keep it for myself.

        • Bombshellrisa

          A whole six dollars! There isn’t a homeopathic remedy that works at all, and all the ones I used to purchase cost so much more than that. Never ceases to amaze me that people complain about big pharma when they have to do a co-pay, but will gladly shell out $68 at a natural food store for a bunch of magic water.
          That bath sponge sounds precious!

          • Sue

            Not only a bottle of magic water, but infinitely dilutable magic water, for which there is no proof that what is written on the label is actually present in the water.

            Where is consumer protection?

      • demodocus

        Add some tomatoes and you’ve got a tasty topping for your salmon 🙂

    • Dinolindor

      Thank you for being so considerate. My friend who had recently moved much closer to us when my 2nd was born decided to get her Tdap updated and everything before meeting my new one. My MIL and FIL couldn’t be bothered and while I try not to hang onto grudges, that one is really hard to let go of.

      • Amazed

        Makes sense that it would be. Definitely grudge-worthy.

      • Bombshellrisa

        It is hard to let go of! You don’t want your baby getting sick and anyone who doesn’t value your baby’s health and views it as no big deal that they could be endangering that baby doesn’t deserve to be easily forgiven. Like my SIL, who doesn’t get the flu shot or dtap boosters and decided to come and visit me and late preterm born son in the hospital. She didn’t understand why I wasn’t letting anyone hold him and told everyone I was “paranoid”.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          You don’t want your baby getting sick and anyone who doesn’t value your baby’s health and views it as no big deal that they could be endangering that baby doesn’t deserve to be easily forgiven.

          When I was doing Dad’s Boot Camp, we always said how you should have no qualms asking anyone who comes to visit the baby to wash their hands first. No one ever has any problem with that, right?

          In fact, someone knew someone that did. Someone got all pissy because the parents asked them to wash their hands before holding the baby!!!

          As you say, anyone who doesn’t value the baby’s health enough to do something like that doesn’t deserve to be easily forgiven.

          • Montserrat Blanco

            I still tell everybody entering the house to wash their hands. I only got one friend complaining when a) my son is over 1 year old and b) he was sleeping and she was not going inside his room. I might be overzealous but… washing your hands?????? Are you seriously complaining about that?????

          • Amazed

            When I go to someone’s house, the first thing I do, literally, is wash my hands. I don’t drive but by the time I get somewhere I’ve touched public transport vehicles, money and whatnot. Why on eath anyone would want to touch a baby without washing their hands first is beyond me.

          • Mishimoo

            I also had a rule of “No hot beverages near the baby” which was upsetting for my inlaws, but it only takes a second of clumsiness with a freshly made cuppa to burn a baby badly.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            My husband is rotating through paeds surgery at the moment and apparently burns from hot tea are pretty common.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            That happened to me when I was a youngling. Pot of hot coffee. Mom and Dad’s

          • MLE

            Yep, bowl of chili over here.

      • Daleth

        It’s too late for this now, of course, but why create a grudge you can hold onto instead of simply telling them, nope, sorry, you can’t meet the baby until you get your shots? That’s what we did.

        The result, sadly, was that two grandparents (a couple) didn’t meet them until they were over a year old, because they got the shots when the kids were 6 months, had to cancel a trip they had been planning to make to see the babies when I told them that it takes two weeks for the shots to be effective so getting the shots the day before didn’t cut it, and then weren’t able to find the time to come see them for another 6+ months. Unfortunate, but a whole lot less unfortunate than having babies with pertussis or the flu.

        • Dinolindor

          I mean, that’s what we did and basically there’s no way to make it better when you’re dealing with people who don’t agree. I didn’t want them to visit the baby until either they or she had the TDaP/DTaP. They felt I was overreacting, and couldn’t be bothered to simply pick up the phone to check with their doctors if they could get the TDaP. They just assumed their health conditions meant they shouldn’t get the booster. If they had actually called up their doctors and confirmed they shouldn’t get the booster then no grudge. But they couldn’t be bothered, couldn’t hide their contempt for my simple request, and so here we are. I try to look at it as 1) they aren’t around babies or kids except the few times of year that they’re with mine, so they’ve forgotten what the day-to-day is like with a sick kid, and 2) they raised their kids well before the anti-vaxx thing became popular, don’t keep up with that part of what’s going on in the country today, and so don’t see why a parent might be worried about their baby getting a VPD. But in the end I still see it as lazy and selfish that they didn’t even try to find out if they could get boosters at their son and DIL’s request.

          • Chi

            I totally made everyone who was planning on having contact with my newborn baby in her first 9 weeks of life (6 weeks is when she got her first booster but I wanted to allow time for it to confer a bit of immunity) get a pertussis booster.

            And you know what? None of them argued. My parents and my husbands parents all got them without a single “why?”. My brother would have gotten one too, but he legitimately can’t have the pertussis shot as he has bad reactions to it.

            So glad I live in a family that understands the value of preventative medicine.

          • StephanieA

            Anyone know if there is any link to vaccines and autoimmune disease? My mom refuses to get the dtap because her quack doctor told her that vaccines may have caused her colitis. She didn’t get it when I was pregnant with our son, and this baby is due in February and I doubt she’ll get one this time. My MIL on the other hand saw a commercial on tv about the dangers of pertussis and told us that she would get one (I got so lucky as far as in laws go).

          • Chi

            I’m pretty sure there’s no credible scientific research linking any vaccine to autoimmune disorders. Many anti-HPV proponents have claimed that Gardasil causes autoimmune disease but that has been debunked.

            As far as I’m aware, the most common cause of autoimmune is SOMETHING causing the immune system to WAY overreact to something else. I don’t think vaccines can do that unless the person is already severely immunocompromised anyway and that’s probably why most who are can’t get vaccines anyway. So they probably don’t CAUSE it, but they can probably aggravate it if it’s already there, if that makes sense?

            BUT don’t take my word entirely for it because I’m a layperson and I may not always completely grasp the science.

          • SporkParade

            Any chance of saying, “Well, you already have colitis, so you might as well just get the vaccine?”

          • StephanieA

            Her colitis is under control now, she’s afraid it will flare up if she gets more vaccines. I want to tell her to get one, but then I would look like an ass if she did get a flare up. Maybe I’ll do some pubmed searching and ask my OB.

          • Kelly

            My mom put up a fuss but she eventually got it. I nagged her to get her flu shot as she almost died twice this year from health issues. She now has shingles. My dad got his shingles shot a few months ago. She is now looking into if she still needs to get the shingles shot. I think she is finally getting why it is so important to keep up to date on shots.

          • Amy M

            My mom had shingles…maybe 10yr ago? I don’t think the shot was available then….can a person get shingles more than once? If so, I’ll tell her to get the shot, and my dad too, he must have had chicken pox at some point.

          • Kelly

            Someone she knew got it three times. She was going to ask her doctor the next time she went in to find out if she should or not. It is just the fact that my mom was even willing to be proactive and ask about a shot is a different attitude than two years ago when she fought me on the booster shot.

          • Kelly

            WebMd says it is rare to get it a second time.

          • Megan

            Yes, you can get shingles more than once.

      • Suzi Screendoor

        We’re still arguing with my MIL about getting the DTaP booster before our second baby arrives. I was unaware that adults can be carriers when my first was born, so she was flummoxed that we would ask her now. She compared it to when her husband’s cancer doctors asked her to get a flu shot while he was having chemo… Outrageous!

        Plus, she gets a homeopathic flu shot every year and she only eats organic food, so she’s super healthy.

    • Sarah

      Vaccines destroy your soul.

  • Amy M

    I think that’s “NOT breastfeeding has definite health risks.” (according to LLL of course)

    • Amy M

      Sorry, didn’t see NLC’s comment below

  • NoLongerCrunching

    Should the paragraph below refer to NOT breastfeeding?

    “Likening breastfeeding to tobacco smoking:
    When our organization began nearly sixty years ago, most babies were not breastfed and a significant portion of the population smoked. Just as research has shown that smoking has a serious negative effect on health … breastfeeding has been shown to have definite health risks and consequences …”

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Yes. Sorry about that. Fixed it.

    • Susan

      It’s absolutely the same in some people’s eyes, smoking and formula feeding. Not only that, what has been successful in decreasing smoking? Shaming smokers. Making it something that lower classes do. Making it uncool and dirty. That’s the genesis of the lets frame formula as a “risk” instead of a choice. Let’s “tell the truth” that breastfeeding is normal and formula is then… abnormal. The people making these decisions about how to best promote breastfeeding do truly believe this. The fact that mothers who formula feed feel shamed by the term “baby friendly” is purposeful. That’s what make me furious. Not one of my three ever had formula and they were breastfeeding still as toddlers. I would do that again. But I have no need to pretend that they would be very different if they were formula fed or to inflict guilt on women who make different choices. Sometimes, I think this tactic by the lactivists is why there still are problems encountered by breastfeeding moms. By shaming others, framing formula as risk, and making breastfeeding the moral decision all GOOD mothers should make they make themselves ridiculous. I really used to be someone who would call myself a lactivist. But I feel the more important “cause” right now is supporting compassion for new moms and babies which means putting this choice in perspective and dumping any hint of shaming when discussing infant feeding. New moms are so vulnerable and it’s such a really special time in life. Having seen a few friends who “failed” at breastfeeding struggle with shame and having felt with at least one of them that I could have given her permission to stop breastfeeding and be a happy new mom sooner I have seen up close how damaging framing as “risk” is.

  • Dr Kitty

    OT: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34764882

    Happy news from Africa.
    In five years deaths from Meningitis A almost entirely eliminated due to vaccination.

  • RaineyDay

    Formula is a processed man made food. Some people try to stay away from processed food for health reasons and good nutrition. I was a LLL leader and we did not try to convince anyone to breastfeed, but rather we tried to encourage women who WANTED to breastfeed through bumpy times. There was no one else doing this for them. Doctors were quick to recommend formula. Lactation consultants were few and far between at the time. My experience was that if a woman wanted to breastfeed, she would, regardless of any struggles. And if a woman really didn’t want to, she would not, even with encouragement.

    • somethingobscure

      Sure — but lots of women “wanted” to breastfeed simply because the benefits were oversold to them. Many women continue to “want” to breastfeed because they were so convinced breastmilk was undoubtedly going to make their kids smarter and healthier, live longer, etc, even though breastfeeding wasn’t working for them. Lots of women feel tremendous guilt when they aren’t able to nurse or stop breastfeeding solely because they fear missing out on the tremendously oversold “benefits” of breastfeeding. Women deserve accurate Information when making decisions about their lives and families.

      • mythsayer

        I wasn’t oversold. I only tried it because I figured “why not try?” And then it turned out it would’ve been better for her (see my post to raineyday above for why), I really wanted to. But I couldn’t EBF so I dutifully bought prescription formula. And never once felt guilty. Women who obsess over it I think usually are misinformed, I agree.

      • Sarah

        Yeah, this. Women make decisions during pregnancy based on the information given to them, which in most cases is over slanted towards breastfeeding. Many then change their minds when confronted with the reality. The same is true of birth choices, of course.

    • Roadstergal

      “Some people try to stay away from processed food for health reasons and good nutrition”

      I don’t get how that helps with good nutrition? The nutritional content of formula is basically identical to breast milk. It’s not Twinkies in a bottle.

    • Megan

      “My experience was that if a woman wanted to breastfeed, she would, regardless of any struggles.”
      I really wanted to breastfeed, had many struggles I tried to overcome but could not. So I stopped breastfeeding. The world is not as black and white as you make it out to be. I then started giving my baby “man made processed food” and she finally thrived and we were all happier. But I guess I should fel guilty I didn’t provide her with “good nutrition.”

      • moto_librarian

        She probably thinks that IGT is a figment of my imagination. Or that low supply is also a myth.

    • mostlyclueless

      Just out of curiosity, is there any amount of processing that you consider acceptable? Is it ok to cut a vegetable? To steam it? To cook meat? To salt it? To smoke it?

      What’s ok processing and what’s not-ok processing?

    • demodocus

      Funny, my docs are all pushing it like it was THE ONLY THING GOOD PARENTS FEED THEIR INFANT and to NOT do so MAKES YOU A BAD PERSON. Even while I’m telling them I *hate* it. Formula is not the equivalent of Coca Cola, for the love of little green apples.

      • demodocus

        On a related note, they’ve changed the hospital they want me to go to. It really brags about its birthing center and hydrotherapy. The ob I was talking to said it was so much closer. For her maybe. Same distance by car and an extra 30 minutes by bus and more walking for me. But if the little one needs a nicu, they can transfer to the best one in the region! ugh.

        • Amy M

          Can you switch doctors, to one that has hospital privileges in your preferred hospital?

          • demodocus

            Our insurance is also our provider. We’d have to change insurance companies.

          • Amy M

            Dang!

          • demodocus

            The blind one is going to check out other insurance companies soon. He’s frustrated too, especially since he’s not pleased with the new ophthalmologists they want him to see.

      • Megan

        Yeah, even when I told my doc that I basically have PTSD from my struggle to berastfeed and that I was seriously considering EFF from the start she still said to me, “Well you should at least try.”

        • Amy M

          That’s lame and really disrespectful.

          • Megan

            I know she didn’t mean it the way it came out, but it was kind of hurtful. I think she meant it as “Things might go better for you this time” but it’s like she didn’t hear when I said that part of me didn’t want to go there at all for fear of being sucked back down the rabbit hole.

          • Amy M

            Yeah, that’s what I meant–that it comes across as dismissive. Did you tell her that? I’m sorry you had/are having such a hard time wrt breastfeeding. People can be such jerks.

          • Megan

            We haven’t breastfed for a few months now and DD is old enough to be off of formula at this point. I didn’t mention to her that it felt dismissive; I didn’t really know how to say it without feeling silly. But at least now I do feel comfortable making whatever decision I want regardless of what anyone else thinks. At this point, my plan is to give as much colostrum as I can when I’m in the hospital (supplementing if needed) and if breastfeeding miraculously comes easily this time, I’ll do it, but if it doesn’t or if it seems like it will make my life with two under two more stressful, I will happily switch to formula. And regardless, I will give a relief bottle once a day at least so hubby can feed the little lady and I can have some one-on-one time with my older daughter.

          • Amy M

            Sounds like an excellent plan! When I was pregnant, I had a similar plan: give breastfeeding a shot, with the intention to combo-feed. If it doesn’t work out, all formula. As I mentioned above, my boys did just fine on all formula (minus the few ounces of breastmilk they got in the first 4 weeks) and are healthy, normal, gross little boys today.

          • Megan

            Hooray for healthy and normal! Extra points for gross!!

      • Roadstergal

        My OBGYN’s office seems fairly un-pushy, from the stories I’ve heard here. And yet the screen saver on the computer advertises a free breastfeeding support group at the hospital. Not an infant feeding support group – if you’re bottle or combo, good luck, fuckers, no support for you.

    • mythsayer

      Uhhhhhhh….even supply issues? Because once I realized my daughter had a fairly severe milk protein allergy but was good on breastmilk, I tried everything under the sun to EBF. But I never made enough milk and if I’d refused her formula, she’d have gotten really sick. So I really wanted to BF because otherwise it was expensive prescription formula. But ultimately we could only supplement.

    • Amy M

      I care about good health and good nutrition. That’s why I fed my [twins] Similac—it’s good nutrition for infants. At their current age of 6, I try to give them a variety of foods in adequate amounts. They are growing at a normal rate and apart from the occasional virus they pick up from public school, they are healthy. In order to further support good health, they see a dentist 2x/year, a doctor once/year for well visits (more if needed for sick visits) and have been fully vaccinated. I fail to see how what they ate as babies has any bearing on their current health, or on how much I (and their dad) care about their health in general.

    • Amazed

      Of course she would, regardless of any struggles (passive-aggressive much?) When your lofty organization puts it like, “That’s what good mothers do”, how would they not?

      Who cares about the price for the mother, eh? PPD, severe exhaustion, malnutrition because “baby doesn’t agree with this or that”, not taking medicine that is incompatible with breastfeeding but absolutely needed for the mother… I won’t even go into insignificant details like lost wages and so. None of this matters.

      • Sarah

        B-but breastfeeding is so good for women!

    • Susan

      I would agree that LLL served an important purpose providing information and support for breastfeeding when it was a rather unusual choice. My older kids are in their thirties. I might have agreed with your statement before I saw up close and personal that no, there really are women that try very hard to breastfeed and can’t. It isn’t a matter of will or desire. That attitude is more toxic than any processed man made food ever was.

    • CharlotteB

      Just pointing out–breastmilk is processed, (wo)man made food.

      • Bombshellrisa

        Processed and variable. Formula is consistent in content.

        • CharlotteB

          It’s also full of toxins and chemicals. Pretty sure there’s no trace amounts jet fuel in formula!

          • Roadstergal

            I’m guessing that for your average Jane, the methylmercury content of breastmilk exceeds what would be allowed in formula.

          • Megan

            Don’t forget PCB’s. I hear breastfeeding is a great way to “detox” from industrial pollutants. That, and placental transfer.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Loads of dihydrogen monoxide too!

    • Vanessa

      Well guess what, my babies thrived on formula. They are growing up healthy and strong. They have no health issues and have very strong immune systems. They are also very intelligent and at the top of their class. Obviously formula was excellent nutrion and healthy too.

    • Hilary

      I went to LLL meetings for almost a year, and so did several of my mom friends. Our experience was that ideology trumped support.

      For instance, if you weren’t cosleeping, no one would give you any help or advice for sleep or night feedings. The advice was “Cosleep.” If you were having trouble getting enough milk from pumping, the advice was “Don’t pump.” If your baby wouldn’t take a bottle when you went out, the advice was, “You shouldn’t be giving him a bottle because it will destroy your breastfeeding relationship. Give him a cup, or better yet, don’t ever leave him with anyone else.” If he wouldn’t take a pacifier, the advice was “Why would you want your child to be comforted by an object?” If you wanted to wean or at least limit feedings before your child was 4 years old, no one had any advice for how to do it. I know this may not reflect every LLL group, but it does reflect the attitude of the organization as a whole.

      Let me tell you what kind of breastfeeding support group *I* would like to go to. One where different parenting choices are respected, and individual circumstances, whether medical or social or emotional, are recognized. A group where you can get real, useful information on pumping and storing breast milk, on supplementing with formula, introducing bottles and pacifiers, and handling night feedings when your baby sleeps in a crib. A group where you can wean at any time without being judged. THIS is what breastfeeding looks like for most women today. Of course cosleeping extended EBF moms need support too, but why can’t we all come together and support each other and share our knowledge without all the BS?

      LLL also needs to stop demonizing doctors and realize that pediatricians today are not against breastfeeding. If a doctor is recommending formula supplementation, giving thickened bottle feeds, etc, it is most likely because there is an actual medical problem that cannot be solved by just continuing breastfeeding and talking about how wonderful breastfeeding is. I understand that things were different a few decades ago, but I think LLL is stuck in the past on this point.

      Breastfeeding and combo-feeding moms need REAL support, not ideology and judgment.

      • Dr Kitty

        For refluxy EBF infants, I usually advise PPI, not thickeners, simply because it is easier to get omeprazole granules into a baby once a day than it is to spoon feed them EBM mixed with carob or alginates with every feed…

        Kiddo#2 is still feeding every two hours during the day, but sleeping 11pm to 7am, and growing like a weed, so I can’t complain.
        I’m planning to introduce solids at 4 months with him though, whereas I waited until 5 months with #1, because he’s hungry and I would really like to stretch out the time between feeds a bit.

        I had to leave #2 in his car seat in the hallway while I changed the bulb in my headlight (it was dark and raining, I had to pick up his sister from daycare so there wasn’t an alternative). He cried for five minutes, but by the time the bulb was fitted he was asleep, and woke with smiles later. I’ve probably broken him already. 🙂

        I just think you do whatever works, and if it isn’t working, try something else until you find something that does. No judgement from me, as long as it’s not actually dangerous.

        • Hilary

          My son’s reflux symptoms were not controlled by a PPI and he also had mild dysphagia. We ended up thickening (in additioin to PPI) on the recommendation of his GI specialist and pediatrician after we had tried everything else, and it made a significant improvement. Although his reflux is still not fully controlled so we are looking at more testing and possibly at some point surgery, although I’m still hoping he will outgrow it by 2.

          ETA: I almost cried with relief when GI said to try thickening. I had asked other doctors about it and been brushed off. I don’t think it should be the first solution but it should be a legitimate option.

          • Dr Kitty

            Thickening is my first solution before PPI with FF infants, second option after PPI with BF infants, then we’ll try two weeks of extensively hydrolysed formula (FF) or dairy free diet for mum(BF) in case it is CMPA and if none of that works I refer to the infant feeding clinic, who are awesome.

            I’m lucky that we have very good local guidance on FTT, reflux and CMPA.

            My bugbear is with “diarrhoea” and “reflux” that are no such thing, just normal liquid breast milk stools and possetting. It’s nice to tell people that their happy, smiling, thriving infant doesn’t have anything wrong with them, and that all babies spew sometimes will have poop explosions without underlying pathology, but not everyone believes you…

            Glad you’ve got something that works for your little guy. Hopefully with the right treatments and Speech and Language Therapy input he’ll thrive.

          • Hilary

            I was combo-feeding, so thickening meant going to all bottle feeds and expressing milk. That was why some doctors and one SLP discouraged me. But he wasn’t very good at breastfeeding anyway, although he likes it so much I wasn’t able to cut him off completely. I had also already tried going dairy-free, with no improvement.

          • Dr Kitty

            You did all you could.
            That’s enough.

    • yentavegan

      I have stayed active in LLL even though it has changed drastically. There are so many widely held “truths” among LLL leaders that are unfounded and unscientific. I see too many LLLleaders blaming a newborns weight loss on mother’s IV’s during labor, I see too many leaders blaming poor latch on epidurals, I see nipple pain diagnosed as torticollis /lip/tongue tie and too many LLL advising moms to bring their baby’s for chiropractic adjustments.