Kathy Dettwyler: formula-fed children definitely WILL BE INFERIOR

internet bullying

New motherhood is the last bastion of acceptable bullying and no one believes that more firmly than professional lactivists. Many are incensed by Courtney Jung’s book Lactivism, which shows definitively that the benefit of breastfeeding in industrialized countries has been dramatically overstated. In expressing their outrage they inadvertently demonstrate exactly the ugly, sanctimonious behavior that Jung decries.

Kathy Dettwyler, Associate Professor, Supplemental Faculty, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Delaware, Newark, is known for her cultural work on extended breastfeeding and weaning. What are her medical credentials? She has none, but that doesn’t stop her from pontificating on the benefits of breastmilk or bullying women for making feeding decisions of which she doesn’t approve.

Were you breastfed or bottle fed, Prof. Dettwyler. I’d like to know which is responsible for your viciousness.

Responding to a heartfelt reader review of Lactivism on Amazon, Dettwlyer treats us to a glimpse of professional lactivism in all its malignant ugliness.

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“Peas on Earth,” describes herself as a victim of lactivism. She is among the approximately 5% of women who CAN’T produce enough breastmilk to fully nourish an infant. She writes:

This book is so important, I wish it could be handed out to every woman in the hospital, along with the newborn hat and binkie. Please please read if you’re contemplating breastfeeding. Not because you shouldn’t breastfeed – you absolutely should if it’s the right choice for you and it works. But because in case it doesn’t work, for whatever reason (biological or not), you need to know that your kids will in NO WAY be inferior to breastfed kids, nor would it impact your motherhood “value” in the least. You should NEVER EVER feel guilty or inadequate or depressed about not breastfeeding. It’s just NOT THAT IMPORTANT – it’s a personal parenting choice in the first world, and that’s what this book is all about!

Who could disagree with that?

Kathy Dettwyler could and she publicly excoriates this poor woman:

… [F]ormula-fed children definitely WILL BE INFERIOR to how those same individuals would have turned out if they had been breastfed.

Really, Prof. Dettwyler?

Over the years I’ve read most of the major breastfeeding literature and I NEVER found even a single paper that demonstrated that formula fed children are inferior in any way to breastfed children. I’ve never read a paper from a reputable journal that even dared to advance that claim. Even those who invoke all sorts of unproven health benefits from breastfeeding haven’t thought to suggest that formula fed children are inferior. Even those who claim a tiny increase in IQ acknowledge out that this purported increase has no known impact in industrialized countries.

Here’s a thought, Prof. Dettwyler, how about taking a look at my Harvard yearbook and pointing out for us the formula fed graduates and explaining how much further they would have gone in life if only they had been breastfed? Wait, what? You can’t tell the difference between the formula fed and breastfed graduates? How can that be if formula leads to inferior human beings?

Or, better yet, how about making your ugly claims here on this blog and letting the physicians, scientists and statisticians who are regular readers school you on what the scientific literature actually shows instead of publicly berating a vulnerable mother on Amazon?

Wait, what? You don’t dare appear in any forum where others who know as much or more than you do could call you out for misrepresenting the scientific literature? You’re happy to publicly dish out viciousness but only in places where you can’t be held to account? Quelle surprise!

I’m sorry that Peas on Earth was subject to your viciousness, but I’m actually glad that you left your comment. You have illustrated the need for Jung’s book in a way that mere statistics never could.

I hope that you noticed my comment to you:

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Were you breastfed of bottle fed, Ms. Dettwyler? I’d like to know which is responsible for your viciousness.

  • denise

    I could have become the minister of finance instead of a miserable CPA!!! How could you mother, how could you?????

  • JJ

    My oldest child is 11 and was formula fed when I developed severe PPD. Last year he ran the fastest in his grade, won the spelling bee, and reads grade levels ahead. Detwyller was one of the people that gave me so much anxiety about breastfeeding my next 2 children. I felt like they were doomed and it would be all my fault if anything happened to them. So I nursed both of them a long time. I just had my 4th and I am formula feeding her and she is perfectly healthy. Importantly, I am having the best postpartum health that I ever have. I totally REGRET breastfeeding my other children because the mental and physical toll was so great on me. I blame people like Detwyller for contributing to womens’ needless suffering. Formula has given me the ability to be the happy mother that I always wanted to be and I am truly enjoying my children.

  • Amy

    Maybe I should go back through five years of AP students I’ve had and run a regression on their scores on the exam versus how many months they were breastfed. I’m guessing the scatterplot would look like a big formless cloud.

  • Tosca

    I became disgusted with lactivists almost 25 years ago, when my cousin had her first baby. She wanted to breastfeed but had insufficient supply. Idiot lactivists insisted she needed to drink more water, feed more often etc (fortunately pumping wasn’t a thing at that time). The baby was six weeks old and HADN’T REGAINED HER BIRTH WEIGHT when her mother said “Right, that’s it” and insisted she give the baby a bottle. Of course the poor little mite gulped the whole thing and slept contentedly with a full tummy for the first time in her life. The lactivists (and even her own husband) were prune faced and judgy, but fortunately she was able to resist them and actually, you know, ensure her baby didn’t starve to death.

    Because that’s what these idiots seem to want. And I’m sorry to say that a baby that’s been systematically starved, will definitely grow up “inferior” to one that’s received good nutrition from formula.

    • Azuran

      Right, No one ever seem to care about those baby who failed to thrive. What are the long term repercussion on their health?
      You only get ‘EBF vs formula feeding’ in studies but no one bothers to consider the fact that people who manage to EBF for 6-12 months are usually those lucky ones who have ample supply and an easy time breastfeeding. They are not representative of the average breasfeeder. Where are the combo feeding groups? Where are the ‘failure to thrive’ groups?
      Clearly whatever benefits that baby might have gotten by breastfeeding were totally destroyed by this horrible failure to thrive, and probably got some additional negative effect on top of it.

      • Blue Chocobo

        Like “cesareans cause diabetes”. No, diabetics more often require cesareans, AND diabetics’ children are more likely to eventually be diabetic regardless of birth details.

        The “risks” of formula, assuming it is prepared and served properly, are actually the risks of ineffective breastfeeding, due to maternal (supply, health), infant (latch, digestive), and/or external (lack of resources, poverty, employment) factors. The root cause is underlying health or socioeconomic status, not formula itself. Formula just steps in and helps mitigate the damage of ineffective breastfeeding. Choosing to avoid the potential harms of ineffective breastfeeding and go straight to formula works as well as effective breastfeeding at protecting infant health.

        • Azuran

          And even IF CS caused a higher risk of diabetes, what are we going to do with this information?
          We cannot just arbitrarily decide to lower our c-section rate. They are as low as they can safely be with our current monitoring tools. If the baby is showing immediate sign of potential distress you must act now. You can’t go: well, if we did a section now, he’d have a high risk of diabetes, so let’s wait longer and hope everything turns out ok.

          • Blue Chocobo

            IF (and that is a big fat hypothetical IF) cesareans, completely independently of all other factors, did actually increase diabetes risk (and I’ve seen zero evidence they do), the only ethical change in actual practice would be related to cesareans done for indications that are less risky than potential increase in diabetes decades later.

            Babies in distress, mothers with health issues, placentas having problems with function or position, malpresentations with high disaster rates (any non-vertex), all those would be still much safer with cesarean. This is the overwhelming majority of cesareans, so no, overall rates wouldn’t and shouldn’t change much.

            The difference would be in informed consent counseling for unindicated, purely elective cesareans. These are fairly rare (lack of access being a major and unfair contributor to their rarity), but rates in this group may voluntarily change if diabetes was an actual instead of hypothetical risk. Cesarean by request should still be an option, but I think it would be less popular (by maternal choice, not artificially limited as it is now) if it was riskier.

  • Marie Gregg

    Well, crap. I’d better go tell my mom that she ruined me. And I’d better apologize in advance to any kid I might adopt, ’cause these boobs ain’t made for milking.

    (I had to).

  • nomofear

    Advise the burn unit of Ms. Dettwyler’s impending arrival!

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    Hmmm, I’m not sure whether or not I want to breastfeed. I suppose I will try it out and see how it works…anyone know how I can contact Prof. Dettwyler to see if she approves of my having children or not? I’m DYING to know!!

  • DelphiniumFalcon

    I’d really like this lady to say this to my formula fed multiple gold tournament wins in Brazilian Jujitsu sister. So inferior to her breastfed can’t punch her way out of a wet paper bag sister!

    It’d be funny.

    • Nick Sanders

      Proof formula feeding leads to violent tendencies.

      • DelphiniumFalcon

        Only if threatened. Or you’re her husband and try to lick her face.

        Otherwise if she’s not on the mat, she’s pretty gentle. More likely to stand and take punches until the attacker gets tired and goes away outside it. I’ve seen her do similar things. She has the high pain tolerance trait too. She thinks its funny when people exhaust themselves and she pretends not to notice them.

        So I guess add deranged thinking and dysfunctional pain response to that!

  • araikwao

    So, my 2c are:
    1. What a peculiar fixation Dettwyler has on breastfeeding!
    2. For someone with such a high level of educational attainment, that is dreadful writing.
    I could have come up with more if only I’d been EBF for longer. Oh woe is me, I could have so much better than this..

  • anh

    I’m picturing a messed up parody of “It’s A Wonderful Life” where a man is like “I wish I’d never been breast fed” and then Dettwyler shows up as an angel and shows how life would be different if he’d never been breast fed. He’d have gone to Brown instead of Yale and would be making approximately 200 dollars less a year.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      The plot twist being that if he’d gone to Brown he would have avoided that unfortunate encounter with the Bush family and therefore had a happier and more ethical life and he ends up starring wistfully at the man he might have been if only he hadn’t been breast fed?

      • namaste863

        Excuse me while I clean the tea off my keyboard and computer screen that I sprayed everywhere from laughing so hard.

  • So much attention for such a stupid person…..sigh.

  • LibrarianSarah

    Honestly, the one star reviews of this book are some of the funniest things I’ve read on the internet. Some of my favorites are:

    This book is anti breastfeeding. Here’s more info on why I disagree with everything this book says:

    […]

    Note that I did not cut anything out. This is the review in it’s entirety. Another good one:

    Very poorly written. Even more poorly thought out. Most likely the author was bottlefed. Sad.

    Sigh. If I didn’t know better I would think that one of you was posting these reviews to make lactivists look stupid.

    • T.

      No but I laughed out loud at this one:

      “Very poorly written. Even more poorly thought out. Most likely the author was bottlefed. Sad.”

      It almost sounds like some sort of ironic poetry, does it not?

      “Very poorly written.

      Even more poorly thought out.

      Most likely the author was bottlefed.

      Sad.”

      • OttawaAlison

        Maybe I’ll write some Haiku replies this weekend to the one star reviews!

  • fearlessformulafeeder

    Kat Dettwyler is the worst of the worst when it comes to lactivism. She speaks with complete derision of women who work and bottle feed. I just can’t even, with her.

    • namaste863

      What about Allison Dixley?

      • AirPlant

        SHHH. I hear that if you say her name three times she might come back.

        • namaste863

          allisondixleyallisondixleyallisondixley!

          • AirPlant

            WHY
            IS THERE THAT LITTLE HATE READING IN YOUR LIFE?

          • namaste863

            Because the world needs loonies for the sane people to make fun of!

          • Michelle Singleton

            Cheap entertainment. My current favorite pastime is reading the Sanctimommy FB page. ChowBabe, SciBabe and Dihydrogen Monoxide Awareness are favorites as well… Although the derp is so strong you sometimes end up hoping it’s Poe.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Some people just want to watch the world burn.

          • namaste863

            I’ve got to get my entertainment from somewhere!

          • namaste863

            In all seriousness, let me go on record as saying Allison Dixley is a completely vile piece of work.

          • Blue Chocobo

            I agree on “vile”. She also published a book and then dropped off the radar entirely. I do wonder what happened.

          • namaste863

            Oh, and I wanted empirical evidence to test your claim.

      • Esther

        She’s a huge fan (Dettwyler of Dixley, that is). I can’t forget her lovely post on Allison’s page that mentioned, among many other canards, the horrible damage done by hatting. Lemme see if I can find it.

        • Esther

          Here it is:

          “I was motivated to write this in response to the “moth” post and its comments. Feel free to remove.

          Reasonable people understand that “in nature,” without intervention, sometimes mothers and babies die, who could have been saved if they’d had access to modern medical care. They also understand that Western medicine has gone way beyond “medically necessary” interventions to the point that modern ob/gyn/labor&delivery care now causes as much – if not more — damage than it does good. One of the problems with a rational evaluation of the topic is that it’s easy to say “A child’s life was saved by intervention” and place some sort of value on that. It’s not so easy to place a value on the hundreds of thousands [millions?] of children whose lives were permanently harmed by unnecessary c-sections, unnecessary separation from mother, unnecessary interventions such as routine fetal heart monitoring, epidurals, early cord cutting, suctioning, hatting, swaddling, vigorous scrubbing baths, immediate eye drops, immediate circumcision, formula supplementation, etc. etc. etc. How does one begin to do the math? If we harm 10,000 children to various degrees, is that worth it to save the life of one child? What if we harm 100,000 children through our interventions, but save the life of one child? There is no way to compare the outcomes. But there is no shame is asking medical professionals to rethink how they approach childbirth, to dial back the interventions and use them only when medically necessary or when proven to be helpful, rather than harmful. “Evidence-based medicine” that relies on current research tells us that all of the interventions mentioned above (routine fetal heart monitoring, epidurals, early cord cutting, etc.) do NOT lead to improved outcomes in terms of maternal-child health. On the contrary, they are harmful. Yet they too often remain part of “traditional Western childbirth practice” – even against the mother’s wishes.”

        • Esther
        • namaste863

          At this time I would like to register my astonishment that there are people out there who get their panties in a wad over a hat.

  • BeatriceC

    So something has been bothering me beyond what we normally say about this whole topic for a while and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. What was troubling me didn’t quite seem to fit into the discussion about how women’s needs are important and how formula feeding provides nutrition just as good as breastmilk and how in developed countries there’s not really a statically significant benefit. Those are all true, but they didn’t seem to assuage what was nagging me. It dawned on me what was troubling me when I posted a comment about “my adopted, formula fed siblings.” These “arguments” about breast is best and formula fed babies being inferior creates an entire class of inferior beings simply by the fact that they were adopted. That’s a horrifying realization. I wonder if the lactivists ever think of that?

    • Poogles

      ” These “arguments” about breast is best and formula fed babies being inferior creates an entire class of inferior beings simply by the fact that they were adopted. That’s a horrifying realization. I wonder if the lactivists ever think of that?”

      Yep, at least to the extent that they insist adoptive mothers need to re-lactate or, at the very least, find donor breastmilk to feed their adopted babies if they “really love them and want the best for them”. Ugh.

      • BeatriceC

        One of my adopted siblings did eat donor milk. That particular sibling is a few months younger than my youngest son. My parents got custody of the son of woman who was the ex-wife of a man they went to church with (did you follow that? lol), who’d been taken into CPS custody for testing positive for cocaine at birth. The mother, in the only decent thing she ever did for the child, noticed that he was failing to thrive, and convinced my parents to take custody of the child at 4 months old. The child was delivered to their house in the middle of a party they were having, so his first few hours in my parents house were actually spent with me. This kid was still a pound below his birth weight and in bad shape all around. I tried to feed him the formula he came with, but that got puked right back up. I called my pediatrician (old family friend, so I had his home number), after a few hours of trying to feed him tiny amounts to keep anything down. He had me put the kid on the baby scale and told me what dosage of zantac to give him (I had it for my kid), and then asked me if I had enough stored breastmilk to see if he could hold that down better while we waited for the ped to get to the house. Since we were desperate for anything, I tried that. Lo and behold, it worked. I had an over supply problem, and at the time had a large commercial deep freezer that had nothing but expressed breast milk in it, which was far more than my kid would ever eat. My body apparently thought I’d given birth to a football team. Anyway, since it was working and I had plenty, he spent the first few months he was in my parents custody eating my “extra” breast milk. He did keep it down better than the formula he was originally brought to my parents with, but he’d have probably been fine on a different formula as well. I had it on hand, so it wasn’t a big deal. In good news, that child eventually thrived and is now a typically pain in the butt teenager.

    • Zornorph

      I had at least two people push for me to use donor breast milk for my son given that I do not hath breasts. It would have involved flying it in on an international flight, if you please.

      • BeatriceC

        Because obviously the extreme expense of flying in donor milk wouldn’t have any impact on your ability to financially support the kid, and we all know those studies linking poverty to poor outcomes are just a sham. Granted, I don’t know anything about your finances, but unless you’re a multimillionaire, and expense like that is going to put enough of a strain on your budget to have an significant impact in other areas.

        • Roadstergal

          I sometimes wonder if poor women would do better for their children if they fed them formula and sold their breast milk at a premium to rich women, thereby increasing their SES… “Thanks to that extra income, we no longer have to live right next to the freeway.”

          • BeatriceC

            I recall reading about some effort to get poor women to sell their milk to milk banks. There was all sorts of outcry about racism and discrimination. You really can’t win. Ugh.

          • Gatita

            It is pretty gross. Rich ladies siphoning off so-called “liquid gold” from poor children so their already vastly privileged children can get even more of an advantage. Visions of 19th century wet nurses whose own children died from starvation.

          • Blue Chocobo

            The thought crossed my mind, frequently. Pump 50 ounces a day, sell for $3 an ounce, laugh all the way to the bank.

            But…ethics. I cannot support lactivism, not even for my own ludicrous profits. And the fetish market just isn’t THAT big.

          • BeatriceC

            I could have made a mint selling my breast milk. I had an over-supply with all of them, but it was the worst with the last one. I could literally lean over and pour out 6-8oz without even pumping. I could regularly pump 10-12 oz per breast in a 10 minute session, and sometimes even more. Even now, with my youngest child being 13, a particularly upset newborn in my earshot can cause a let-down and a bit of a mess for me. I may have had trouble staying pregnant long enough to deliver a living child, but my body seemed to have decided to make up for it by being being Bessie the Milk Cow.

            ETA: Maybe trying not to drown while nursing is one of the reasons why the youngest never got the hang of nursing.

          • Nick Sanders

            Reading your edit, I got the image of a baby leaning in to suckle only to suddenly start being sprayed by a cartoonish firehose of milk.

          • BeatriceC

            You wouldn’t be too far off from the truth with that image. While not a firehose, the milk did flow freely with no need for suction for the first minute or so after let-down.

          • It might not be a realistic option, but did you ever think of contacting a local hospital with an NICU to find out whether they might want donor breast milk? I remember, in my days working in one, that not-infrequently we badly needed more breast milk than the premie mothers could supply. And, if donated to a hospital, concerns about adulteration or contamination are at a minimum. Just a thought.

          • BeatriceC

            My “baby” is 13 now. I don’t think they did milk banks back then. It would have been a good thought, though. I mentioned up thread that my excess milk did, in fact get used. My parents took custody of a baby taken from his parents at birth and had initially been placed in a family that didn’t recognize FTT, and when they got him he weighed a pound under his birthweight. A lot was going on the night they got him, but the end result is he was fed my extra for several months. The details are in another post in this discussion.

          • As a matter of fact, there were hospital milk banks in Israel 35 years ago. But it was only meant as a suggestion. I was almost the opposite of you — never had let down, never managed to produce more than 50 cc per feed. Which just goes to show that, as with so much else in life, One Size Doesn’t Fit All.

          • Gatita

            Good on your parents and good on you!

          • FEDUP MD

            Fire hose is not too far off. I still find random stain spots on the wall across the room from when the baby popped off and I weaned the youngest a good 8 months ago.

          • Bugsy

            That’s what happens with my 6-week-old and one side for me. Starts drinking and gets assaulted with a spray of milk. And sadly, that’s nothing compared to the oversupply I had with #1.

          • Amy M

            I think some women (not necessarily poor) do that. And in some cases, dilute it with formula or cow’s milk. It’s just like how whenever placenta eating comes up, we talk about filling some capsules with dirt and selling them to unsuspecting people. I wouldn’t do that, but it wouldn’t shock me that its been done.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            My uncle has considered capsuling grass clippings and selling them as “Organic Chlorophyll” supplements.

            He likes to see stupid people buy stupid, harmless things for an inordinate amount of money because it sounds all natural so it must be good! He and I are rather close (both in age and friendship) so I’m sure you can see his influence seep in to my posts every now and again.

            In the 90s he also considered marketing charcoal pack bottom underwear that also releases the scent of choice essential oils when it detects methane. “Why, is that lavender I smell? How fresh!”

          • Charybdis

            They have that now….Seriously.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Yeah, he was so miffed when he saw that Deluth commercial. So sad he didn’t market it when he had the chance.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            While I can sympathize with your uncle, I do have ethical concerns about fleecing the clueless

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Yeah, I think the only thing stopping him from sliding into super villain or being like that one pharmaceutical rep that just got busted is that he does have a very strong sense of what is actually ethical to keep his more sinister thoughts in check. If he did it not even five minutes later he’d be out trying to buy it all back. So it stays in the realm of theoretical. Fortunately. He has a brilliant mind but also a very bad case of imposter Syndrome coupled with daily destroyed self esteem. My grandmother, the same one that emotionally abused me, has done a number on him. We’d have to pull a kq scenario to get him out of that situation…

            But on his ethical sense he couldn’t even lie when what he thought were abandoned cinder blocks as a kid with some friends. He broke down and confessed immediately when the group was confronted because the person who owned it looked so hurt and offered to buy new ones.

            He’s devious with theoreticals but he can’t even trip over the cat and not start apologizing profusely to an animal that was already over it when it saw something shiny.

            So there will be no grass clipping capsule today. From him at least.

            Now my mom’s other brothers… It’s a good thing they don’t wander into the same theoretical realms.

          • Eater of Worlds

            They now sell underpants with the charcoal in the bottom, and this guy sells a pill that makes your farts smell like roses. He should have acted on it!

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            I need to tell him about the pills! I don’t think he’d believe me and the look on his face would be priceless.

          • T.

            Which is how wet nursing began once upon a time, more or less

        • Zornorph

          They seemed to think that since I had enough money to pay for a surrogate mother, I should not blink at paying to fly in frozen breast milk. I told them that I wasn’t about to risk the stuff unfreezing on a flight or in a customs warehouse and then ignored them.

          • BeatriceC

            Yes, of course. Since it wouldn’t have been possible that you used all your expendable income (and then some) to pay for said surrogate. Your money tree must have had a bumper crop that year.

            ETA: Just to be clear, I’m generalizing. I know a several families who saved for years to be able to afford adoption, and simply would not have had any room in the budget for any extreme expenses, in spite of the fact that they’d paid 10’s of thousands of dollars for the adoption. That’s the where my thought process was coming from.

          • demodocus

            True for us, certainly. We blew most of our savings just to have this second embryo transfer.

          • Tiffany Aching

            Well, who wouldn’t want to choose the less sanitary, more expensive option ?

      • yentavegan

        i thought you doth not have breasts..

        • Zornorph

          Good point. I tend to get that phrasing from Song of Solomon 8:8 but ‘doth’ would be the best verbage.

          • yentavegan

            So thou dost not hast breasts?

          • LaMont

            Thou dost not have breasts, or thou hast no breasts, either works 🙂

            (I am so sorry if that was rhetorical/not-serious, reading tone into text is hard, especially when I’m nerding out over Shakespeare-style language! But at least it’s not as hard as keeping one’s cool with crazy lactivists!)

          • Siri Dennis

            Zornorph HATHETH NOTH BREASTHSTH. Will you never learn to thpeak thenthibly??

          • demodocus

            took me 12 years to not talk like that, actually, lol

          • Siri Dennis

            No shame in being a lispian! 😉

          • BeatriceC

            And now I have bits from Strauss’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” running through my head.

          • Blue Chocobo

            Moment of silence for Sir Terry…

        • LaMont

          Since we’re talking early modern grammar (I’d say I hate being that guy, but I just *am* that guy): it’s just “I do not have,” the “doth”/”hath” is only for third person. “Dost”/”hast”/etc. would be for “thou” only, not “you”.

      • Eater of Worlds

        I know of someone who was somewhat trying to get donor breast milk for her sister’s baby. Her sister just broke her neck and was now quadriplegic. Her baby was around 11 months old. I thought she was bizarre for trying to get donor milk for a baby that old, given that the baby could easily be weaned to milk at that age.

        • Zornorph

          You would have thought they had more important things to worry about at that point.

          • Eater of Worlds

            She was in one of those fundamental Christian families that don’t value women. Her sisters are identical twins, and they were both introduced to this guy and he was told pick one to court so he picked one of the twins and married her. The woman had a recent video and she said on it, “This is what broken neck twin used to look like” because the able-bodied twin was standing next to her doing the video. The one who said that is weird and likes all the attention and is shocked that the disabled twin’s husband still loves her and stays with his wife, especially since she’s unlikely to have kids again. While woman with quadriplegia can have children, they have 6 already, and not having more kids diminishes her worth in the weird sister’s eyes and in her particular brand of religion, and that’s another reason she’s shocked that the disabled twin’s husband still loves her.

          • Zornorph

            That is all kinds of messed up. Sounds like the wrong sister broke their neck.

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      I had a similar realization, as I posted below that I don’t see anybody bothering gay couples for not being able to breastfeed their babies! If the situation really is as dire as lactivists would have people believe, I don’t know how they justify ignoring whole demographics of parents.

    • Megan

      I would fall in that class. I’d like to think I turned out ok.

    • Sarah

      Some adoptive mothers are able to induce lactation, so they absolve themselves from any further thinking on the issue. Shut up, nobody ever adopts older babies who are already used to the bottle.

      • Daleth

        Very, very few adoptive mothers even try to induce lactation, much less succeed at it well enough to exclusively breast feed. The only drug I know of that effectively induces lactation is banned in the US because it can cause sudden cardiac death, which the FDA wisely determined was a much worse problem than some kids not getting breastfed.

        • Sarah

          Well yes. Even the WHO acknowledge that relactation is more likely to be successful in a woman who’s already breastfed. Which of course women adopting children have often not had been in a position to do, for obvious reasons.

  • arealanthropologist

    There are many words I want to use here, but they are inappropriate for polite discussion. I am an archaeologist/anthropologist. I have archaeological proof that babies were fed from bottles and fed all sorts of things that were not breastmilk. They still are nowadays in these “noble savage” cultures that people like this moron worship in their racist tropes. Moms have to nurse the babies of others, they feed goat or camel’s milk. I don’t know what world this woman is living in, but she’s an idiot.

    Please don’t judge all anthropologists on the bleatings of this imbecile. Or maybe because I was formula fed I am inferior and can’t understand her existential reasoning.

    • Tiffany Aching

      Hell, even Zeus was fed goat milk 🙂 !

      • arealanthropologist

        Romulus and Remus were fed from a wolf 🙂

        • T.

          Little interesting fact: “lupa” (literally she-wolf) is in Latin more often associated with a female sex worker (“lupanare” or “the place of she-wolves” means literally brothel).

          So… who knows what the legend means 😛

          In any case, ancient Roman did feed newborn anything at all, expecially the children who were abandoned and then taken up to be, typically, slaves. Richer people would probably use a slave as a wet nurse.

          • Roadstergal

            Wow, I’ve known the Romulus and Remus story for a while, but didn’t know the sex worker angle – interesting!

          • Amazed

            Makes an interesting correlation with the way Romulus acquired women for himself and his men. He needed them, so he killed their husbands and fathers and stole them. A clean job!

            Hmm, perhaps it’s causation, after all. If he had grown up seeing women “working”, makes sense that he’d steal workers for his own need.

          • Tiffany Aching

            «Lupanar» still means brothel in French slang, but I didn’t know where it came from. Thanks !

  • Madtowngirl

    A bit OT, but inspired by this nasty woman’s comments:

    Why do lactivists insist that breast milk is the “perfect” food for babies? When I was trying to breastfeed, I had to take various supplements, including iron, and vitamin D, to ensure my daughter would get enough. If breast milk is “perfect,” shouldn’t it already provide these nutrients? Oddly enough, my daughter doesn’t need supplements on formula.

    Breastfeeding is great if that’s what you want to do, don’t get me wrong. I’m just tired of hearing that it’s so “perfect.”

    • Kelly

      Those Vitamin D supplements are not cheap either.

      • nomofear

        Ooooh oooh oooh but! The little gelcaps are, and they don’t taste like anything! I keep a safety pin with the bottle, poke a hole in it, squeeze it into baby’s food – or, sometimes, straight into her mouth. The baby drops were terribly expensive, and tasted horrible.

    • wookie130

      I read something yesterday about a small study conducted in Sweden at some point during the past year, which examined how a vitamin D deficiency MAY correlate with autism. I immediately throught of the whole low-vitamin D/breastmilk thing upon reading this, but yeah. Breastmilk is rarely ever perfect, I’m sure. It’s probably just “good enough”, much like formula.

      • Nihil

        Not exactly, breastmilk contains stem cells and changes specifically with season and age which formula will never do. Breastmilk will always be far superior, it will just be downplayed as to not make formula feeding mothers feel bad, but maybe someone should spare a thought for the children not the mothers as formula fed children have a higher risk of illness and cancer.
        Formula fed babies may look just fine, although my paediatrician testified to always being able to tell how a baby is fed. A breastfed baby always looks healthier, better skin, have a sparkle in their eye and boys will develop a better facial structure and more developed jaw.

        • Nick Sanders

          And girls will be blessed by the fairies so that on their 18th birthday, their true love will appear to take them off to live in a castle by the sea.

          • Heidi_storage

            Yeah, I was about to note that my breastmilk-fed baby had lousy skin until we figured out that he was allergic to eggs, but your response is more appropriate. I love the “facial structure” comment, though; that’s a new one on me.

          • Nick Sanders

            I wonder why it’s only for boys?

          • Heidi_storage

            Well, breastfeeding probably helps girls develop into lovely women, so we can’t have their jaws being too strong-looking.

          • MaineJen

            Yeah, there’s no way facial structure is influenced by genetics or anything. It’s all breastmilk. You can totally tell just by looking at them.

            I’ll have whatever this one is smoking.

          • Nihil

            How on earth is that relevant to this?
            Formula is more inferior than people ever thought, the more that scientists discover. This should be more widely known to increase breastfeeding rates.

            “αlpha lactalbumin: the
            main protein in human milk, making up 10-20% of total protein. Perhaps
            the most exciting discovery of 2010 is that researchers discovered it causes cell suicide in over forty types of cancer.
            The team were exploring the antibiotic properties of breast milk when a
            researcher noticed that cancerous lung cells in a test tube died on
            contact with breast milk. They discovered that when alphalactalbumin was
            mixed with acid (as also found in breastmilk and the stomach of
            breastfed infants) a compound named HAMLET was formed (human
            alphalactalbumin made lethal to tumour cells)

            T cells:
            are a sub-group of lymphocytes that play an important role in
            establishing and maximizing the capabilities of the immune system. These
            cells are unusual in that cannot kill infected host cells or pathogens,
            and without other immune cells they would usually be considered useless
            against an infection. However they have an important role to
            play activating and directing other immune cells.”

            Growth factors: including epidermal, insulin-like
            and transforming growth factor; these promote gastrointestinal
            maturation in the infant. Epidermal growth factor leves are highest in
            the milk of mums who have premature infants, which dramatically reduces
            the rate of necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) & intestinal
            inflammation. There is also theory these factors may play a role in
            “early life programming” which suggests that the adult
            individual’s physiology (eg obesity) and potential morbidity (eg cancer)
            is predetermined early in life.”
            NONE of these are in formula!

            http://www.analyticalarmadillo.co.uk/2010/10/ask-armadillo-whats-in-breastmilk-but.html

            “One of the easiest places to see the difference between breast and
            bottle fed children is Kindergarten pictures. It is quite obvious to see
            the full symmetrical facial features of the breastfed children while
            standing next to them is the underdeveloped mouth of the bottle fed
            children. The mouth and jaw are out of proportion to the face and head”

            https://sotinfo.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/the-importance-of-breastfeeding-a-craniopathic-perspective/

            http://www.brianpalmerdds.com/bfeed_oralcavity.htm

          • Nick Sanders

            Well, it’s relevant because I thought it was fairy tale time.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Nonsense. It’s freaking milk, not a special elixir from the gods.

          • MaineJen

            Oh please, educate me more about T cells. *leans forward eagerly*

          • Heidi_storage

            Oh, DANG. I bottlefed my oldest two expressed breastmilk. I guess they’re doomed to have sickly, troglodyte features. Other people comment on how lovely they are; I just assumed that was my magical boob juice, but it turns out I was failing them by bottlefeeding.

          • Azuran

            it’s because they missed on magical ‘winter’ breastmilk. It’s like, the best breastmilk. Not like Fall breastmilk, Fall breastmilk sucks.

          • kilda

            I would actually love to see a study on this supposed difference in facial features. Is there actually a study somewhere, anywhere, that shows a trained observer can tell the difference between breastfed and bottlefed children in pictures of them, with a reasonable degree of accuracy?

            because if not, then shut up.

          • Heidi_storage

            Absolutely! It’s published in the same journal that examines why the touch of menstruating women kills flowers.

          • You do realize that dropping all those lovely T-cells into the stomach (now referred to as Acid Pit o’ Doom) means they get disintegrated quickly, right? They don’t actually do anything, because, well, Acid Pit.

            The link to the blog you gave doesn’t have any journal citations or evidence of her claims. I tried to follow the αlpha lactalbumin link to see where it led- Page Not Found. So I’m going to wait for some actual evidence on that one.

            I’m also going to call BS on the kindergarten claim. You absolutely cannot tell who is breastfed and who is formula-fed.

            The only thing you’ve said that rings true at all is that breastmilk is very helpful for preemies in preventing NEC. That’s a true thing. So you’re 1 for 4! That’s a better average than most.

          • Amazed

            Voting this up because it’s a gem of idiocy and self-aggrandizing.

            Let’s see:

            1) The blog of a person who is careful to note that everything in is just their personal opinion and not medical advice and if their other blogs are something to go by, gobbles money by selling “natural” and of course, breastfeeding;

            2) A chiropractor’s blog;

            3) The blog of a dentist who sings LCs praises.

            Not a single MD. Not a single scientist.

            I am not impressed.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Are you really that so stupid and gullible that you believe that?

          • maidmarian555

            Why am I unsurprised you’ve posted a link to what is essentially an advert for baby-twisting? I hadn’t realised they’ve now started claiming that if you don’t have your baby’s neck twisted by an unqualified quack (and what could *possibly* go wrong with that?!) that they’ll turn into ugly little trolls with tiny jaws. Which is apparently more scary than the actual risk of a broken neck…..

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          Ridiculous. A significant number of your pediatrician’s classmates and colleagues were formula fed. And my FF kid has better skin than her BF brother. He inherited my dry skin and she inherited their father’s normal skin.

          • Heidi

            My kid has beautiful skin and sparkly eyes (and so far has yet to be sick)! Has a fairy been sneaking in his bedroom in the middle of night and breastfeeding him?!

        • MaineJen

          Are you kidding me?

        • Azuran

          Funny. My breastfed mother is obese, diabetic and hyperactive. Her also breastfed brother is also obese, has terrible eczema and allergies to basically every kind of animal and plants in the world, his two brestfed kids are also obese and one of them also has terrible asthma and allergies. Two of my breastfed siblings also have hyperactivity. One of them is also obese.
          I’m the only formula fed one. No allergies, no illness, healthy weight, highest level of education of my direct family. I’m also the only woman of my entire family up all the way to my grandmother’s generation to not have migraines.
          So much for breastmilk being all magical.
          Also, IF your doctor told you he could see a difference, he’s nothing but a freaking liar.

        • Azuran

          BTW. If difference in breastmilk composition are changing with seasons and age and those changes are actually important. Why aren’t breastmilk bank storing and distributing they donated breastmilk according to the season and age of the baby?

          Does my body decided to make ‘spring breastmilk’ because I conciously know it’s spring? Or is it using or temperature? Because I’m kinda living way up north. It’s still cold AF out there and we still have about 4 ft of snow on the ground, but I’m spending all my time inside in a heated house. Should I go outside and expose myself to the cold to keep making winter breastmilk? Should I go naked to feel the extra cold?
          Or perhaps it’s using lenght of day. But then, I’d be making spring breastmilk despite the winter temperature, how is that affecting my baby? And we just moved to daylight saving time…….AND we use artificial lighting inside the house. What if I am making SUMMER breastmilk? Will that hurt my baby?

          • Nick Sanders

            It’s based on diet. You know, like cows. Once you get off winter feed and go back out and start grassing on fresh field grasses again, your milk will quickly change to spring milk.

        • Amazed

          My SIL says hi. Her baby was exclusively breastfed for eight months. Since she went on solids and formula, she hasn’t been sick a day in her life while before, she had to take antibiotics three times in her short life.

          Breastmilk will become steadily inferior because there is a limit to what nature can do while we can always better scientific results as science grows. So you can get the fuck off your high horse and face reality. Oh, and tell your pediatrician that he/she is a moron. I am not surprised that a sanctimommy like you managed to find the moron.

          In short, fuck you. If my brother were here, you’d hear a lot how people like you should not play scientists. He’s still ticked off by all the promises of your mommiest mommies and periatricianest pediatricians of all those magical benefits that went past their exclusively breastfed child. Just the other day, he was in a rant how people should be responsible and not play scientists and write books about childrearing as if they knew what they were droining about.

        • Amazed

          Out of curiosity, why did you decide to drop a post in the middle of a long, old thread? Don’t you want everyone to see you patting yourself on your mommiest bosom, oh mommiest mommy? This way, you only have those of us in a certain time zone see your bragging.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          If it’s superior then surely you can show us objective evidence that it has an impact on anything besides colds and GI illnesses.

          It doesn’t matter what’s in breastmilk if it has no measurable impact on outcomes.

        • Dr Kitty

          I can almost always tell that the scrawny, underfed looking babies are exclusively breastfed by women who have poor supply, but other than that, nope, can’t tell how they were fed.

          Certainly can’t tell feeding methods from looking at a group of 5 year olds.
          Or adults….

        • myrewyn

          “A breastfed baby always looks healthier, better skin, have a sparkle in their eye and boys will develop a better facial structure and more developed jaw.”

          I call BS.

          • Roadstergal

            I call mostly BS with a side order of correlation vs causation confusion. A kid with issues with their jaw/palate is more likely to struggle or fail to breastfeed successfully. Formula allows them to live and thrive.

          • Heidi_storage

            Absolutely. It’s plausible, I suppose, that breastfeeding might develop jaws more than bottlefeeding–maybe–but IF this is the case, and this is totally hypothetical, I would expect such a “benefit” to be short-term. And frankly, 3-month-old babies don’t particularly need massively well-developed jaws, since they won’t be tackling steaks for quite a while.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            my kids have been known to chew nipples. Which is another reason why #2 uses the artificial sort.

          • Amazed

            Hehe, Amazing Niece got weaned cold turkey. I was a little surprised – and then I saw the holes she had cut in the nipples of her bottles. Can’t say I’m surprised her mom was reluctant to share their fate. Plus, I know babies are little vampires who love to suck other people’s energy but really, do they need to draw literal blood to breastfeed?

            Nikkilee comes to mind. I guess Amazing Niece would have agreed with her that human milk was cousin to human blood, given her obvious desire to get her hands – well, mouth – to the second one while sucking away at the first.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            bloodthirsty has a new meaning

          • Nick Sanders

            Quit depriving those poor infants! #TBonesforTots

          • Roadstergal

            Steaks before one are just for fun!

        • swbarnes2

          Holy cow, you are full of horseshit. No, you can’t tell by looking at a baby how they are fed. No one is downplaying the benefits of breastfeeding, they really aren’t there:

          http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2017/03/23/peds.2016-1848

          “Before matching, breastfeeding was associated with better development on almost every outcome. After matching and adjustment for multiple testing, only 1 of the 13 outcomes remained statistically significant: children’s hyperactivity (difference score, –0.84; 95% confidence interval, –1.33 to –0.35) at age 3 years for children who were breastfed for at least 6 months. No statistically significant differences were observed postmatching on any outcome at age 5 years.”

          “Despite these limitations, the results of this study add to the growing literature by showing that some statistically significant positive noncognitive benefits may result from longer durations of breastfeeding.”

          The authors just have to add that, even though their benefit is at best, small and transient, and almost certainly illusory.

          • Nihil

            The study you cited is only cognitive, so proves nothing as you have to follow these people around to adulthood to find anything conclusive. And if you didnt notice stats from ireland where almost none on the chart have breastfed for a sizable duration. Although even by giving colostrum, babies will have great immunological benefits crucial to this age over formula fed babies. Cognitive ability lay in genetics, breastfeeding helps fulfill genetic potential.

            Also you cant deny science on ingredients and their properties, breastmilk can do these things that people like you would rather deny.

          • Sarah

            Prove your claims.

            We all know that some of the ingredients are different, but if you want to tell us that the ones in breastmilk can do certain things and have particular impacts, you need evidence.

          • Who?

            So I take it you disapprove of sharing breastmilk, since if it is so sensitive the breastmilk of anyone other than the mother won’t do the baby any good, and might just transmit an illness the baby hasn’t already been exposed to.

          • yugaya

            “Cognitive ability lay in genetics, breastfeeding helps fulfill genetic potential.”

            Citation needed.

          • Roadstergal

            Biological plausibility needed.

          • swbarnes2

            1) Of course it’s just cognitive, I never said otherwise. But it’s a study that shows nothing. There are other studies that show nothing in other areas

            2) If nothing showed up in childhood, then you aren’t going to be able to show anything decades later, when the kid has had a million and 1 other influences on their cognitive abilities.

            3) If your best argument is “Of course you don’t see anything unless you breastfeed forever” then you’ve pretty much lost the argument. And that means it’s up to YOU to show studies that show these great effects. Simply asserting that they exist without those citations is dishonest sh*t.

            So citations, of well-controlled studies (No horsesh*t where the breastfeeding cohort is richer and better educated, or where the formula feeding arm is feeding goatsmilk thickened with cornstarch, or other crap like that), now, or you prove yourself to be a liar.

            The “great science” on the properties of breastmilk are meaningless without great clinical benefits. Show your well-controlled citations showing those great benefits, or you are a dishonest liar.

    • Roadstergal

      It can’t be repeated enough – evolution never does ‘perfect.’ It does ‘good enough to fit some niche with enough of a survival rate to keep the species alive.’

      • Siri Dennis

        Evolution doesn’t ‘do’ anything; it just happens. Species become extinct all.the.time.

    • Sue

      It’s the typical naturalistic fallacy, which assumes that natural is somehow “best”. Nope – we don’t evolve to be “ideal” – we just evolve to survive as a species.

      How did humans survive before modern technology, health care, shelter and transport? By having lots of kids, like the rest of the animal kingdom. Nature wastes a lot.

    • Gatita

      Plenty of lactivist websites warn women against the supplements and instead recommend taking your child naked outside in the sun.

  • Bugsy

    Beautiful reply to her, Dr. Amy. I hope the original reviewer notices replies like yours supporting her.

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    I don’t know what else to call this than pure misogyny. I don’t see anyone giving gay men a hard time for not being able to breastfeed their babies.

    • Inmara

      Well, if this woman is an anthropologist and trying to force her observations from traditional cultures into modern lifestyles, then possibility that gay men could have babies is not even on her radar (and I suppose that’s the case with many other promoters of breastfeeding as a woman’s “natural role”).

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        That makes it all the more misogynistic in my mind. If it was *really* about what was best for babies and not about policing the choices women make, gay couples would be on their radar.

  • Trixie

    This is the lady who concluded that human natural weaning age is 4-7 years, based on when dolphins get teeth, right?

    • crazy grad mama

      Is that where that comes from? I’ve always been so confused by that number. Lactivists love to throw it around, but it doesn’t seem at all compatible with what human cultures around the world actually do.

      • demodocus

        some alchemy involving other mammals’ relative development to weaning

      • Azuran

        Why dolphins?
        If we are going to base our decision on other animals, shouldn’t we at least look at other primates?

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Cos dolphins is magical mystical creatures; chimpanzees, not so much. Duh!

          • Azuran

            Come on, if you want to go mystical creature, at least go narwhals. Those things are basically marine unicorn!

        • Roadstergal

          Because they’re smarter than humans? (If not as smart as mice.)

          …you know, I’m a big le Guin fan, and I enjoyed the (IMO) underrated Roccanon’s World. There’s a great bit where they come across these beautiful, angelic beings that create stunningly complex architecture, and Roccanon spends time trying to communicate with them until he discovers that they’re basically oversized insects. It’s a pretty chilling bit, and it did make me stop and think about how we define ‘intelligence.’

          • Amy M

            So long and thanks for all the breast milk?

      • Trixie

        Yep.

    • Valerie

      It looks like in her chapter “A time to wean: the hominid blueprint for the natural age of weaning in modern human populations” in “Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives” goes through a list of biological characteristics of primates (eg. birth weight, length of gestation) that can be used to estimate a “natural” weaning age. One problem is that what is “natural” for humans to do is irrelevant to what we should do- we don’t live anything like our nearest primate relatives. It’s also based on studies of cultures around the globe that live in poorer conditions with less technology. In my brief skimming of this chapter, I found it interesting that there is a need to limit study to only “nondairying” societies (that don’t drink milk from domesticated cows/camels/goats etc) to estimate natural human weaning, because apparently the first thing people do when they have domesticated animals is to wean earlier and feed babies/children the milk of other animals.

      In any case anybody is interested, here’s the link. A good portion of the chapter is showing up in google books as a preview, for me at least.
      https://books.google.com/books?id=uEylIbDr5RgC&lpg=PA39&ots=dwrMU0LXOI&dq=Dettwyler%20KA.%20A%20time%20to%20wean%3A%20the%20hominid%20blueprint%20for%20the%20natural%20age%20of%20weaning%20in%20modern%20human%20populations&lr&pg=PA53#v=onepage&q&f=false

    • Daleth

      This is the lady who concluded that human natural weaning age is 4-7 years, based on when dolphins get teeth, right?

      What, like you have a better way to determine when human babies should wean?

      Hahahahahahaha

  • Allie P

    So since my first daughter was combo fed, does that mean she’s only half as inferior? Oh, wait, gotta watch what I type, since she reads and she only just turned five. Guess she would have read at two had I been able to fully breastfeed.

    Give me a break. I’m a fan of breastfeeding. I’m actually breastfeeding this very second. There has to be a way to support mom’s who can and want to breastfeed without demonizing moms who can’t or don’t.

  • OttawaAlison

    As much as I hated the bullying, what I always always hated more, was the notion that my child was now less than because of how I fed her. That she was now lesser and not as good. That was the most painful thing to me. Here was this girl who was well loved and taken care of. A girl who walked early. A girl rolled over early and met many milestones early (just not reading and spelling, but she has a very good brain and is very bright), that how I fed her meant she wasn’t as good or that she was damaged. That stuff hurt me the most as a new mother.

  • Madtowngirl

    Whatever, Ms. Dettwyler. My formula -fed baby is meeting all of her milestones early, or on time. The only way she is “inferior” is that she’s small for her age because…..dun dun dun…… she was preterm. But you go ahead and throw your vicious judgment around. I don’t have time to waste on nasty people like you.

    • OttawaAlison

      My daughter is small for her age. I was about her height at her age, I just grew 13 inches from the time I was 9 until I was an adult. Im 5’6″ now.

    • Azuran

      Maybe your baby was preterm because you formula fed her, did you think about that :p

      • Roadstergal

        The negative effects of formula feeding are definitely sturdy enough to go backwards in time.

    • BeatriceC

      You must have walked through the formula aisle at the grocery store too often while you were pregnant, which caused you to deliver early and your baby to be small.

  • Rita Rippetoe

    It would be interesting to survey Mensa members to find out what percentage were BF.

    • fearlessformulafeeder

      I have ALWAYS wanted to do a study like this. Or do what Dr. Amy suggested and poll a class of Harvard grads. (Dr. A – you should totally do this…!)

    • Valerie

      One problem (among many) is that even if you did find that there were more adults that were breastfed (relative to the population averages), you still have all the correlation vs. causation problems with all the various cofounders. For example, mothers who had the resources to breastfeed also had the resources for better medical care and educational opportunities for their kids.

      It would be nice to show the haters that formula-fed babies can end up intelligent/successful/happy- I’m sure there are plenty of people on here who fall into that category. There is probably a whole generation of MIT grads/NASA engineers/Ivy leaguers/etc who were bottle-fed when that was the norm.

      • Amy M

        Most people born in America from at least the 40s-70s/early 80s were formula fed. That’s a couple of generations, and it doesn’t seem like all of us are drooling idiots. These are the people who invented computers and then the internet, cell phones, more fuel efficient cars, microwaves, fetal survival surgery, organ transplants, and all the other brilliant advances that were made over the last 70 years or so.

        • StephanieA

          I have always liked this argument- that an entire generation was bottle fed and don’t seem any worse for it. My intelligent, CEO father was fed canned milk. It doesn’t seem to have hurt him any.

          • OttawaAlison

            My dad had a Very high IQ, a brilliant man, but he was fed evaporated milk as an infant.

        • Roadstergal

          And the incidence of obesity, chronic diseases, and autism have all gone up since the ’70s. You’d think that would be very clear evidence that either there is no protective effect of breast milk, or it’s so minor that pretty much any other factor can overwhelm it.

  • OttawaAlison

    I called her ableist last year, because she is. She didn’t reply.

    • OttawaAlison
      • Sarah

        Ooh, bitch said this:

        ‘There is a simple solution to the conundrum of women who know ahead of time that they don’t want to breastfeed. Don’t have children. No one is forcing you to have children. If you don’t have the time, energy, and commitment to breastfeed, then please don’t get pregnant.’

        There’s a simple solution to the conundrum of you thinking yourself entitled to tell other women what to do with their bodies Kathy. You can fuck off.

        • OttawaAlison

          I had the time, energy and commitment, my body said “too bad, no full supply for you”. Regardless, formula is great!

          • Roadstergal

            Formula is indeed the ‘simple solution’ to the conundrum of women who know ahead of time that they don’t want to breastfeed.

        • Valerie

          I really don’t even understand the argument here- what is the difference between breast- and bottle-fed children that leads her to say that? Does she think bottle-fed children inherently suffering because they eat from a bottle instead of a breast? Or does the institution of breastfeeding itself just trump any other human experience?

          Even if her estimations of the “risks” of formula feeding were true, telling people not to reproduce because their children are at a higher risk of a health problem sounds a lot like eugenics to me. As in, “don’t have a baby because formula feeding would give him a higher chance of having asthma” is more or less the same as “don’t have a baby because your genes would give him a higher chance of having asthma.”

          • Sarah

            The use of the word ‘think’ is the problem here. She doesn’t appear to be doing any of that.

          • Azuran

            By her logic, no one would probably be allowed to have children. If the effect of formula feeding are so bad that you shouldn’t even have kids, then obviously, no one who is not 100% in everything shouldn’t have children.
            Diabetes? asthma?, obesity? No children for you.
            You need glasses? hearing aids? no kids.
            Mental health problems? Depression? Autism? ADHD? sorry, no kids for you.
            Not rich? Not in a stable relationship? forget it.
            Over 35 years old? Don’t make me laugh.

          • Valerie

            After looking through a book chapter she wrote on weaning, I’m not sure that’s her logic. It appears she is just stuck on the naturalistic fallacy- that it’s natural, therefore it is what should be done. As in, she researches breastfeeding to understand “how far modern humans have strayed from the hominid blueprint for optimal physical, cognitive, and emotional infant health, developed over millions of years of evolution as bipedal hominids foraging on the East African savannah…”

            I get the impression that she believes breastfeeding is crucial to a person’s long-term wellbeing- that defying nature will lead to all kinds of negative consequences that we will find if we just look hard enough for them. But yeah, all this talk of “optimizing” still smells like eugenics.

          • Roadstergal

            I think the naturalistic fallacy and eugenics make cozy bedfellows.

          • Blue Chocobo

            Nature IS eugenics.

          • Azuran

            She did say that women who know they cannot breastfeed simply should no have children at all.

          • Valerie

            Right- but she didn’t elaborate. Is it because she believes they are selfish people who don’t deserve to procreate? Is it because she believes that human milk directly from the breast is the only way to meet a child’s psychological needs, so bottle-feeding is abuse? Is it akin, in her twisted mind, to saying “don’t have children if you are a pedophile?” I’m just speculating on what led her to make such an extreme statement. I’m not sure it comes down to ableism, but it’s pretty nasty, however you look at it.

          • Azuran

            well, if you think that bottle feeding is abusive, then clearly, having a child when you know you carry any kind of genetic defect that might be transmitted to your kid, or having kid when you are poor, or if you don’t have a perfectly stable environment for it is also child abuse.

          • Valerie

            I think she believes that extended breastfeeding has enormous, far-reaching emotional/cognitive benefits for children that we have yet to study and statistically verify, and breastfeeding is just so important that it trumps every other aspect of childrearing. I don’t know, she’d have to chime in about what she thinks about “inferior” people reproducing- if she envisions a world where only the “optimal” have families, or if she just wants her own utopia where all children nurse until they decide they have outgrown it. I’m not even sure if there is an interpretation of her stance that is logically consistent with itself.

          • momofone

            I wonder what that would mean for my situation. I breastfed for almost two years–obviously at that point I loved my child–but several years later I had bilateral mastectomies (clearly I became totally selfish and without concern for his well-being). We had long been done breastfeeding, but since breasts are clearly such an important parenting tool, I wonder if I’m qualified to continue?

          • Linden

            What if you have a child and find you cannot breastfeed? Does she think that the child should be taken into adoption then? Of course, any couple without an actively lactating woman as one party would automatically be ruled out as the adopting family.
            Yeah, I’m sure that wouldn’t be problematic in the least. *gags*

          • BeatriceC

            That would totally deprive me and MrC of one of our favorite play arguments: Who’s family’s orphan disease is “better”. My ex passed on a genetic bone disease with an incidence of 1:50,000, making it just barely qualify as “rare”. MrC’s family carries a kidney related disease that’s been reported in only 400 families in the US. The bone disease is less rare and never fatal, but can cause extreme disability and nearly always causes chronic pain of varying severity. The kidney disease is definitely more rare, but doesn’t normally cause problems until adulthood and can be missed entirely, but can often times be fatal. We sometimes play-argue about who’s family has it worse. Sometimes you have to laugh or you go insane, really.

          • Allie

            I believe in technical terms what she is trying to say is “nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, I’m better than you are”

        • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

          What an absurd idea! It’s better that a child NOT EXIST than not be breastfed?!

        • Squillo

          The healthiest countries in the world, according to various metrics, are Singapore, Qatar, Australia and Italy. If you don’t already live there, move. Or don’t get pregnant. ‘Cause unless you plan to provide the very best, you have no right to have a child. Right?

          • Sarah

            You should particularly not have a child if you’re from an ethnic and/or socio-economic background that makes you unlikely to breastfeed. Totes not a bigot though.

          • Squillo

            Well, it goes without saying that if you are black, brown, or not rich, you should have yourself sterilized as soon as possible.

          • Sarah

            Although it’s ok to be the right sort of poor black or brown woman, ie ones that breastfeed so we can use them in our noble savage narratives. Ideally they should be doing it in a field.

        • Tiffany Aching

          Oh god. What a turd. The sad thing is she probably too dumb to make the connection between what she says and the worst late 19th century eugenicists.

        • Sara N.

          Well thank god I don’t live by her ideals. Because my formula fed kids are fucking AWESOME. How sad for her to want to live in a world without them. I don’t care if they are such drooling formula-fed idiots that I have to help them find their shoes every single morning, they are the best part of life on earth. I guess what she’s *really* saying is that I should just kill myself, because I’d much rather share the planet with my kids than with her. And clearly it’s HER planet.

      • Erin

        Love her take your child to work solution. Fair enough I quit when I got pregnant but I’m pretty sure exposing my child to some of things I saw at work, lots of drugs, at least two penises belonging to complete strangers, Staffies (who are mostly lovely dogs but I wouldn’t want them all over my small child) and a ton of people smoking a variety of substances would be far more dangerous to them than me giving them formula.

        • BeatriceC

          When my kids were little my full time job was middle school math teacher, but I also taught as an adjunct at a community college at night. I often times had no babysitting at night, as my winner of a husband decided that he couldn’t handle family life when I got pregnant with the youngest, so I was on my own. Anyway, the full time professors at the college were awesome and on those nights when I had no babysitting, they took turns watching the boys. I’m somewhat convinced that their smart-alec tendencies* and expansive vocabularies are, in part, caused by hanging out with a bunch of professors during their early years.

          *My oldest kid has been suspended for skipping math class in order to hide in the library and read books and my middle kid got sent to the office in the 5th grade for telling a teacher he wasn’t lazy, just obeying the laws of thermodynamics: all matter wants to be in the lowest energy state possible. Youngest kid once replied to my exasperated “You’re impossible!” with “I’m not impossible, just highly improbable.” They’re all firecrackers when they want to be.

          • Kelly

            It is funny because they are not my kids.

          • BeatriceC

            Oh, it’s funny even though they’re my kids. I’ve perfected the discipline poker face over the years, as it’s become increasingly more difficult to dive into another room to keep the kid from seeing me laugh when I should be fussing at them.

          • Kelly

            We need to work on that. Our middle one is starting to become a bit of a terror and she is funny but we are not very good at discouraging it through our expressions.

          • Kelly

            Just wanted to share that she just completely destroyed the nice picture frame over the crib after her nap. It is in pieces but thankfully there wasn’t any glass. She might be getting coal from Santa.

          • BeatriceC

            Most of my stories from the boys’ toddler days start with “well, I had to go to the bathroom…” The most memorable one was from when middle child was about 14 months old. He still couldn’t walk, but he could pull himself up and stand, and take a couple steps as long as he was holding on to something. I went to the bathroom, and when I came out the kid had vaulted the gate between the living room and the kitchen, overturned a 5 gallon bucket that had been in the kitchen, shoved it up to the counter and used it to climb on the counter, then climbed on top of the microwave, which was sitting on the counter next to the refrigerator, and was caught in the act of trying to hoist himself from the microwave to the top of the refrigerator, where I was storing the cookie jar.

          • Dr Kitty

            FWIW from an Internet stranger, you’re winning at parenting. Your sons sound like wonderful human beings.
            Wheelchair jousting, smart alec, amazing humans.

          • BeatriceC

            Thank you. You honestly have no idea how much I needed that today. Life with teenagers is sometimes difficult and we had a very bad night last night that had me doubting everything.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Not every family can bear having children with disabilities gracefully. It shouldn’t be expected for someone to do so but for those that are somehow able to do it they must be some kind of super human.

            From what you’ve shared you haven’t treated your boys like fine china about to shatter at any moment and cloistered them away. Takes a lot of bravery to do that knowing they could be hurt easier than a child without their conditions.

            Moms like you never give yourself enough credit. I think we can all agree that you deserve more than a few brownie points.

          • BeatriceC

            Awwww. *blush* I just try to be the best mom I can be. I have some good moments and some not so good moments. I have days when I hit it out of the park and other days that are just colossal failures. I think that describes most parents. I try to give my boys as close to a normal life as their abilities allow. Sometimes, like last night, it all gets to be too much. The middle kid, who’s physically healthy sometimes feels ignored because his brothers take up so much time. That’s what the meltdown was about at its core. I do my best and have to hope that in the end that will be good enough. Sometimes though, it’s nice to hear encouraging words. Thanks! 🙂

          • Dr Kitty

            Parenting sometimes has a lot in common with Socialism.
            “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
            It’s hard when your kids have different needs, but all you can do is keep giving to the best of your ability.

          • Charybdis

            It’s tough to be the “normal” one in the family. My brother has Asperger’s, although growing up it was categorized as “PDD-NOS”. A *lot* of time and energy was spent in dealing with him, his different appointments, school issues, medications, therapy, etc. I sort of got what was left over, which sometimes wasn’t much. I remember my mom missing my kindergarten spring program, because my brother had an appointment or some such. I wound up skipping down the aisle with the rest of my classmates , singing our little song, “A May Day, a May Day, I rose up at daybreak and went out to gather a basket of May” and presenting my little bouquet to my teacher instead of my mother, unlike my classmates whose mothers were in attendance. You’ve seen “Rainman”? I’ve been Tom Cruise’s character more times than I care to count.
            I understood the reasons why things were the way they were, hell, I didn’t know anything else, as my brother is older than I am. But intellectually knowing the reasons and facts involved in the way things are is WAY, WAY different than the way it feels emotionally. You want to be noticed and valued for who you are and to feel as if you are the most important sometimes. That your wants,needs, dreams and desires are not being glossed over or ignored because of some issue going on with a sibling.
            I forgot where I was going with this, other than to say that he’ll be okay in the long run. Everybody has their dark, selfish moments and scars/callouses from growing up.

          • BeatriceC

            Thank you for sharing your experience. I really do feel bad for him sometimes. Especially during those single mom years, he really did get the short end of the stick far more frequently than could ever be considered fair. He’s a good kid at heart, so I’m sure he’ll get through this eventually. The teen years suck when things are great, so that all just compounds things.

          • Charybdis

            Oh yeah, the teen angst thing makes everything worse. Sometimes you just want to wallow in the misery for a bit and have a huge pity party. Then, that boy (or girl) calls or passes you a note in class (is that even a thing anymore, what with cell phones and all?) or Mom made your favorite lasagna for supper, or you got to the shower first and had ALL the hot water, and things are good to go again.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            You’re welcome. 🙂

            And it is hard for the “normal” kid. I got scared a lot when I was younger that my little sister resented me because I got a lot of attention in my teens battling treatment resistant depression combined with a lot of health issues. She said that she sometimes felt like she was ignored at the time but looking back she feels like she was being overdramatic about it.

            It seems to go that way with a lot of families with this dynamic from what we’ve seen. So hopefully he realizes that he wasn’t loved less, like my sister did, and realize that she just didn’t have the same problems that needed some extra attention. He’ll probably understand better when he’s older. Doesn’t make the now more tolerable but there’s likely a light at the end of the tunnel.

    • OttawaAlison

      Hard to read though, my daughter was still alive when I wrote it (and no she did not die due to formula).

      My older daughter at the age of 9.5 is still an empathetic, compassionate, smart, athletic kid who had a great immune system. She sucks at spelling though, was that the formula?

      • Commander30

        So sorry for your loss.

        Edited to add that I read her comments on the article you linked and my jaw dropped. How can a person be so hurtful and delusional?

  • Zornorph

    “This book is so important, I wish it could be handed out to every woman in the hospital, along with the newborn hat and binkie”
    Has anybody pointed out that lactavists would be equally horrified by hospitals handing out a binkie? (and some the hat, too).

    • Commander30

      Shoot, my daughter’s first binkie was given to her by the lactation consultant who visited us in the hospital. My daughter was crying and flailing around, and the LC told us “she’s not going to learn how to breastfeed if she’s not calm. Give her this to calm down. Don’t worry about nipple confusion; it’s a myth.”

      I ultimately switched to formula full-time when it was clear I wasn’t producing enough milk (and I didn’t really enjoy breastfeeding), but I wouldn’t have lasted even one day breastfeeding without that LC. Thank god not all of them are cuckoo.

  • Commander30

    That whole mindset of “formula is subpar and anyone who drinks it will be subpar” I give a double middle finger to. I wasn’t even totally devoted to breastfeeding my baby (ie, I understood that it may not work out and that formula was an acceptable substitute) and still, it was this kind of attitude that had be me feeling like a failure when, guess what, it didn’t work out. Luckily I got over it by realizing that my brothers and I were all formula fed and we’re all intelligent, successful, and have no allergies and have never had any major illnesses (and are also all close to our mother).

    I’m sure plenty of this women’s colleagues were formula-fed, and/or have children who were/are formula fed. Would she find it acceptable to say this to their faces? Part of me wants to say it’s the “hiding behind a screen” aspect of the internet that makes her justify it, but on the other hand I know there are plenty of people who would say this kind of thing out loud, too.

    • Inmara

      She would, for sure. In my prenatal class, one of teachers (a man, no less, and without any medical degree or education) said “Mother who doesn’t breastfeed is not a true mother.” It was too much even for attendants who had been swallowing several NCB myths without a question previously, and other teacher, a midwife, backpedaled immediately with “Formula fed babies turn out just fine, don’t worry!”

  • LizzieSt

    Funny. I don’t feel inferior.

    Though maybe this lady is right. If I had been breastfed, I could have become an electrical engineer, the way my parents always wanted (Never mind that I have no passion for color-coded resistors). But now I’m just a social worker. Thanks for nothing, formula!

    • Sarah

      See, I was ebf myself and I must admit I do occasionally enjoy feeling superior to others. In fact I’d go so far as to say I’m basically perfection. I wonder whether I ought to embrace the learned Ms Dettwyler’s perspective, despite having formula fed through choice with my own children? It’s a toughie.

      • Roadstergal

        I read that far too quickly as you saying you EBF-ed yourself. Now those are some mommy points.

        • Sarah

          I wasn’t going to waste my liquid gold on the rugrats now, was I?

  • Zornorph

    If somebody were to make a comment like that about my formula-fed son, I would simply laugh at them. I mean, it comes across like ‘My daddy can beat up your daddy’ only in reverse. I do occasionally get comments from people – always unsolicited – that suggest that since I clearly lack Mama-wisdom that I might want to hearken to some that they are eager to share. I can usually tell in the first few seconds if it’s crap or something that might be worth listening to. But I certainly don’t pay any attention to those who try to get me to change something that I’ve already thought about and decided on just because it’s the way THEY think parenting must be done.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      “Trust your instincts, they are usually right. Unless they are different from mine, in which case it’s because you are uneducated. Bless your heart for trying”

      • crazy grad mama

        I wish I could give this 1000 upvotes.

  • Amazed

    What’s up with anthropologists and woo? Missy “War on Data” Cheyney, now this Kathy “War on Evil Formula, Hail Eugenics” Dettwyler… Is this kind of gate to woo?

    • demodocus

      you should have seen my anthropology prof. Nice man, complete looney.

      • Amazed

        Mine as well. Not this much, though. But come to think of it, HE didn’t have a stake in the whole birthy/feedy thing, being a he.

        The one I had when getting my master degree? An asshole (Is this the gender neutral for “what a fucking bitch”?). She refused to take my grade from the bachelor degree as enough to get me a pass with the same grade without making me attend her classes, although the rest of my fellow students had to start from zero with her. Her reasoning? The NAME of the course was slightly different. So I attended all her lectures, read everything she demanded rolling my eyes with boredom because I’ve had three TIMES the requisite number of lectures already… and when I went to sit for the exam, she just had a look at my first grade and wrote it down.

        For the record: at the time, I was ovewhelmed with studying for two degrees at the same time (bad, BAD idea). Time was precious to me. I had forgotten what a full night of sleep looked like, I got to bed early in the morning and then I couldn’t hear my alarm. It wouldn’t have killed her to recognize that grade… but she disliked the other professor, so… Technically, though, I have to admit, she was within her rights.

        • Sarah

          Oh I dunno, the ones whose male bodies prevent them from having a stake in the birth and feeding malarkey often find ways to be just as bad.

  • mabelcruet

    Its been deleted now. Shame-it means all the comments criticising her read like they are criticising Peas on Earth now. Isn’t there any overview on university professors bringing their institution into disrepute? I know in the UK that if an academic posted something so blatantly offensive, bullying and grossly ignorant in a public forum, using their own name in a way in which they could be easily identified, we’d be up with the Dean and doing some explaining.

    • Poogles

      “Its been deleted now”

      I don’t think it has been – when I look, it is “hidden” with the phrase “Customers don’t think this post adds to the discussion”, but you can select to unhide it so you can read it.

  • PeggySue

    Well, so, I have not yet had coffee, but I don’t read Ms Dettweiler saying that formula fed children are inferior to other children but rather to how those same children would have turned out if breastfed. Which is absurd in itself because it compares a living person to a fantasy–the same person, breastfed, does not exist–except in cases like the writer above, whose body would not produce milk and whose child would presumably have starved. So, I as formula fed, no matter what I do, will never be as good as I’d have been if I’d been breastfed. Even though I wouldn’t have survived. That’s lunacy, but she’s not comparing me to her breastfed children, at least not here. Going to get coffee now.

    • mythsayer

      And it really isn’t much better than the BF babies are inherently better because it implies I personally damaged my child.

    • Erin

      Clearly being breastfed and thus ALL KNOWING she’s managed to engineer some sort of machine which allows her to see into multiple possible time lines and to see how much more awesome you and I and all the other formula fed kids could have turned out if only our Mothers had breastfed.

      Or not…

      Personally without formula I would have starved because my Mother didn’t produce a drop despite being told by various midwives she wasn’t trying hard enough.

      I also hate the idea that my Mother is responsible for anything which is wrong with me.. because that takes away personal responsibility. I’m not as thin as I should be but that’s not due to the lack of breastmilk, it’s more to do with the fact that I’ve just made a Gingerbread house and forest for the Toddler Christmas Party and tasted every last element to make sure it’s just right… (and that tends to happen with everything else I make.. a bit of baking for my husband to take to work.. need to taste it.. making dried apples dipped in chocolate for Christmas presents .. need to taste it etc etc), unless of course being breastfed gives you self discipline?

      • AirPlant

        The formula that I was given as a baby may or may not have damaged me but honestly? My mother weaned me because she was crying through every feeding. Despite breastfeeding working out physically, she hated it and quit as soon as our family could afford the cost of formula.

        I love my mother, and the idea of her going through that pain breaks my heart. I will gladly and freely give up those three IQ points for the mental health and peace that formula gave to her. I would even be willing to bet that our relationship is better because she made the switch. It is just a guess, but I am pretty sure that a miserable and constantly crying mother doesn’t do much for the maternal child bond.

      • BeatriceC

        I was breastfed and carry around a few extra pounds for much the same reason. I’m pretty sure I ingest more sugar taste testing batter (did you see my brownie recipe a few days ago?) and making sure the finished products turned out okay. Not to mention the mindless munching that happens all day. I totally lack self-discipline in the baked goods department despite being breastfed.

      • Azuran

        Breastmilk landed me in the hospital twice with severe allergic reactions. I spent days in the hospital covered in bandages with part of my skin literally falling off.
        But clearly my mom should have just kept feeding me that liquid gold anyway, because I am now permanently damaged by formula and only a shadow of what I could have been.

    • Angharad

      It’s extra impossible because there were typically reasons that babies were weaned or switched to formula. So the fantasy you’re comparing your real person to wouldn’t even have had everything else exactly the same with the exception of what they ate. Being breasted may have meant a more stressed out/less happy mother, or a mother without a job, or with a different job, or the baby having allergic reactions to breastmilk all the time, or whatever. And who can say whether any of those may have an effect, and what the effect may have been? You can go crazy second-guessing decisions you made and trying to figure out what-ifs, but in the end you have to accept that you made the best decision with the circumstances and information available at the time.

  • Mel

    A child who gets insufficient nutrition from breastmilk and suffers from failure to thrive will end up with a better outcome than the same child on formula?

    How do you poke holes in logic when there is no logic?

    • Valerie

      I get the impression lactivists believe that a woman who cannot breastfeed (for one of the very few reasons they accept) should rely a friend who happens to have an abundant supply to feed her child. It all makes sense to them because they believe that insufficient supply is truly rare. They envision a world where every woman waits for her kids to ween themselves at ~5 years or so, so there would be a lot more women breastfeeding at any point in time to hand your baby off to if you are failing as a mother.

      • Roadstergal

        IOW, they envision a world where everyone is upper-middle to upper-class, and where every woman is a SAHM and happy to be so.

        In addition to all the ‘biology is almost always perfect when it comes to birthing/feeding’ and ‘your nipples are only sensitive/sexual because patriarchy.’

        • Valerie

          You are misinterpreting what nipple stimulation feels like- it’s only to facilitate bonding you to your baby. How beautiful.

      • swbarnes2

        That’s probably how people did do it a thousand years ago, and there are likely places on earth where people still do that, but in the first world, it’s not feasible, or necessary.

        • Sarah

          I think it’s also worth pointing out here that widespread wet nursing predated the existence of HIV. People do have some awareness now of the nasties that can be transmitted through breastmilk. It’s one thing trusting that a breastfeeding woman wouldn’t knowingly expose her child to that risk, I know there are documented cases of it happening but am guessing it’s pretty rare. It’s quite another to trust her sexual partner/s since last being tested have stayed away from sex with other partners, intravenous drug use etc.

          • Roadstergal

            “I think it’s also worth pointing out here that widespread wet nursing predated the existence of HIV”

            And predated infant mortality rates our privileged selves would consider acceptable.

        • fiftyfifty1

          “That’s probably how people did do it a thousand years ago”

          Or the babies just starved to death.

          • Inmara

            Or they were supplemented with various not-so-perfect-for-infant foods, like oat cereal, cow milk etc. Some survived but their development could be indeed impeded by inappropriate nutrition.
            I’m so lucky, living in a time and place where formula is available and carefully designed to meet infant’s needs. To be honest, without contemporary medicine I wouldn’t have even procreated, so my inability to produce enough milk is only secondary problem, but I digress.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Even if it were true that, at a population level, breastfed babies turn out better by various metrics, that cannot be applied to individuals, and definitely not “definitely.” At best, what she could say in that case is that it is “likely” or “probably” or “more likely than not.” And that’s even granting the premise that there is a meaningful difference

    • Allie

      Think of the holes as pre-poked : )

  • NoLongerCrunching

    Anyone know what units scientists use when they measure inferiority?

    • Mel

      Erg-pound-feet-femtos. 😛

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Parsecs

      Everything can be measured in parsecs

      • Roadstergal

        I had such an inferior Kessel run.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          More than twelve parsecs, huh? Tsk, tsk. Must’ve been formula-fed.

          • Roadstergal

            If I had been breastfed, it would have been much lower in inferiority. Maybe only five parsecs!

    • lilin

      Guiltiliters?

      • Roadstergal

        Not breastfeeding is being measured in kilo- to tera-guiltiliters, when femto would be more apropos.

  • 123abc

    I went to college with Kathy Dettwyler’s daughter. The woo…..dear God, the woo.

  • Sarah

    Ooh, this turd of a woman also thinks she gets to decide whether the gap between other women’s pregnancies is accepable or not. See her sentence ‘having kids too close together’ at the link below:

    http://lactationmatters.org/2015/06/17/qa-with-ilca15-speaker-katherine-dettwyler/

    You think well of yourself Kathy don’t you!

    • Tiffany Aching

      Wow, the “feeding practices transition” she talks about in this interview, comparing it to demographic transition, is utter BS. She says herself that she has no hard data about the feeding practices around the world, just the few field studies she did. She totally pulled it out of her ass. I just can’t believe that she can keep an academic job at a university, being so unscientific in her approach. It is remarkable though that many proponents of woo have a background in anthropology – a discipline where, unlike sociolgoy, the narrative is often considered more important than the quantitative data.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Maybe she was a student with Missy Cheney? I don’t have my resources to look it up right now (aloha!)

      • Charybdis

        Her ass must be another Tardis, then. The amount of made up “facts” she pulls out of it and the regularity with which she does it leads one to believe that her ass is bigger on the inside.

        • Tiffany Aching

          I think you just solved the mystery of people who don’t seem to ever stop pulling crap theories out of their rears.

    • Poogles

      From the link: “Not to mention female mammary mutilation (breast augmentation surgery), which is analogous to female genital mutilation in so many ways.”

      WTF?!

      • Sarah

        No breast reconstruction after your mastectomy for you, bitch!

      • LaMont

        I’m fairly new here – is it frowned upon or impossible to post GIFs? Because there’s a spit-take GIF I felt moved to respond with after this but I’ll hold off and stay at this emotional level until someone rules on the GIF question.

        • Blue Chocobo

          GIFs happen, but are infrequent. Overuse interrupts the flow of conversation so we typically restrain ourselves, but occasionally one is just too good a fit to hold back on.

      • Amy M

        Would reduction surgery also count as mutilation? What about nipple piercing?

        ETA: How can she associate breasts with genitals if, according to her: “Cultural beliefs that breasts are sex objects. They are not. They are mammary glands, but cultural beliefs about the breasts as sex objects are very powerful in a tiny minority of cultures around the world”

        • Roadstergal

          Since they both potentially interfere with BF, they’re both equally unconscionable, I’m sure.

          I’m sure adoption and surrogacy are Right Out.

        • BeatriceC

          I considered having a reduction done in my late teens, as I used to joke around that my boobs entered a room three minutes before I did. I couldn’t buy bras in a regular store and had to have them custom made, as they were that big. I held off because I did want to be able to breastfeed any future kids. I lost three cup sizes by the time I stopped nursing/pumping, leaving me at a 34G cup. I’m still considering that reduction. In some ways, I wish I’d gone ahead and done it. I have some spinal issues as a result, and getting rid of some of that weight in my teens might have prevented that.

          • Linden

            Having gone *up* to 34G during breastfeeding, I have nothing but sympathy for you. I can’t imagine being 3 cups larger than that. The back/neck ache would be horrible.

      • anh

        holy crap.
        because spending a very large sum of money for a completely elective procedure with purely cosmetic benefits is the same as having your clitoris removed by a sharp piece of broken glass and nearly dying of infection. totes the same.

      • Dr Kitty

        Don’t think she’s considered the breast augmentations done for severe asymmetry or absent glandular tissue.

        Breast development is not always perfect.

        • AirPlant

          If I have learned anything from this blog it is that breasts develop and function perfectly 100% of the time and any issues can be resolved by telling someone to just try harder.
          That’s just science really.

    • Kelly

      For someone who “knows” she says “I don’t know” a lot.

    • BeatriceC

      I suppose I’m just terrible. My youngest two are 11 months apart, though the younger one was born at 24 weeks, so it should have been 16 months. Still too close together, I suppose. *eyeroll*

  • guest

    The whole idea that any group of human beings is “inferior” to another group is disgusting. Yes, there are better and worse health outcomes, but their worth as human beings is the same. This fetishization of IQ points is sick.

    • demodocus

      Right?!? So, if MIL had a lactating friend who was able to share, DH would have actually scored genius rather than just below it. So sad. I mean, just think about it. He looses his glasses at least twice a week and forgot to bring his eyedrops to work yesterday! If he was just a bit smarter, he wouldn’t be that ditzy. /sarcasm

      • guest

        If my mother had only breastfed me, maybe I would have had the sense NOT to get a PhD. Alas, alack, the story of my life is tragic.

  • Sarah

    People who score slightly lower in racist, sexist IQ tests are inferior to people who score a couple of points higher. That has no problematic undertones at all.

    • Angharad

      She also has said her child with Down’s syndrome self-weaned at four months. I really really really hope she doesn’t believe or treat him as inferior because of that, but how can she not see what she’s implying?

  • lilin

    What a nasty piece of work.

  • RMY

    Geez, heaven forbid anyone feel okay with making different food choices than the one Kathy Dettwyler thinks is best.

  • Zoey

    Talk about an un-provable assertion. How would you go about scientifically testing whether formula fed children actually are “inferior” to the same children if they had been breastfed? Assuming you could even come up with some sort of empirical definition of “inferior” (based on what? grades, social acceptance, career success, longevity?), how would you actually study that barring the discovery an accessible alternative universe or a very likely unethical study of identical twins?

    She’s obviously someone that has made a name and career for herself in promoting the anthropological “benefits” of long-term breastfeeding. This is just her bias and value judgement on display for everyone to see.

    • Roadstergal

      ” How would you go about scientifically testing whether formula fed children actually are “inferior” to the same children if they had been breastfed?”

      The closest we could probably get would be to look at siblings of the same parents in the same household who were fed differently… oh, wait!

      • Cartman36

        My brother was breast fed and I was formula fed. Want to guess which one of us has a higher IQ, higher level of education, and a more lucrative career?

        • Sarah

          Whichever one was born vaginally, obviously.

          • Cartman36

            LOL!

          • BeatriceC

            Wait, so how do we account for my kids:

            Kid 1: born vaginally at 36wks. Slight SD, short NICU stay. Breastfed until 13mo.

            Kid 2: Born c-section 32 weeks, short TPN feedings, followed by tube feedings of expressed breast milk followed by successful breastfeeding until approx 8 months when I got pregnant again and (much to his extreme displeasure) I switched him to formula.

            Kid 3: Emergency c-section at 24 weeks. Never got the hang of nursing at the breast. As supply was nowhere close to a problem, he ate expressed breast milk until about 14 months, but from a bottle.

            They’re all too smart for their own good, but kid 2 is the genius. He’s a talented athlete and excels at whatever sport he decides to do (used to be a competitive figure skater, then did ballet, and is now on the football team) and is taking all honors/AP classes as a freshman. The other two are just “regular” smart kids.

          • Dr Kitty

            Can I just say, I love that your son wnjoys figure skating and ballet and football. Which suggests that not only is he smart, but that he has serious DGAF attitude about the expectations of others. Good for him.

          • BeatriceC

            It runs in the family. My grandmother was an airplane mechanic in the Army Air Corps, back when they called it that, and not in any special woman’s unit, but in the regular units, daring anybody to question if she belonged. My father was a flute/piccolo player in the marching and concert bands in high school. Though not as spectacular, I worked in a male dominated field and do most of my own work on my car and home myself. My son comes from a long line of people who DGAF about what anybody else thinks. This is a good thing. On a side note, when discussing him with his football coaches, one of them remarked how amazing his agility was. I pointed out that he’d been a ballet dancer for years and figure skated for much of that time. The coach’s response was “that probably explains it. Maybe we should make all the boys take ballet”.

          • Sarah

            LIES. DOES NOT COMPUTE.

        • Amy M

          It’s the same in my family. Now we have N=2! 🙂

      • Sarah

        You formula shill you.

        • Roadstergal

          I’m eating gluten and refined sugar right now.

          • Blue Chocobo

            Frosted Flakes for the win! With ice cold pasteurized, homogenized, processed milk.

          • BeatriceC

            Fruit Loops for breakfast here. With *gasp* non-organic whole milk.

    • fiftyfifty1

      “She’s obviously someone that has made a name and career for herself in promoting the anthropological “benefits” of long-term breastfeeding.”

      Yep. She reminds me of the physician I know who left a general OB/Gyn practice to become an “expert” in Hormone Replacement Therapy. Besides a thriving private consultative practice, she also had a lucrative side gig giving medical/pharmaceutical talks. Boy was it funny (sad?) to watch when the WHI study came back showing the dangers of HRT. Boy did she twist herself into pretzels trying to argue that her beloved HRT was beyond reproach.

    • fiftyfifty1

      “How would you go about scientifically testing whether formula fed children actually are “inferior” to the same children if they had been breastfed? ”

      I’ve heard that throwing them into the river to see if they drown is a foolproof test.

      • Zoey

        Or how about throwing them off a cliff? Children that were breastfed for long enough are so superior that they can fly right?

        • fiftyfifty1

          A cliff might work, but I still recommend the river. The drowning test has a fine tradition of foolproof use dating back to the 1600s. I’m sure it is just the thing to ferret out who was breastfed and who not. I can’t think of any downside.

          • Megan

            This makes me think of the Monty Python scene where they decide if a woman is a witch based on if she floats or not.

          • Michele

            What else floats?

            Very small rocks!

  • rosewater7

    I was bottle fed. So was my brother. My mom didn’t want to breast feed. Both of us are intelligent, functioning adults. Both of us are close to our mom and to each other as well. My brother has 4 beautiful children of his own. And did I mention we were both bottle fed?

    In other words…bite me, bitch. Your callous words show how little humanity you have. You want to see inferior? Look in a mirror.

    • mythsayer

      But you’d have been so much better BF’ed. So would I. /sarcasm

      • rosewater7

        Maybe if my mom had breastfed me I’dve passed Algebra II without cheating. Clearly bottle feeding ruined my math skills and left me with no moral fiber.

        • BeatriceC

          Oh, so that’s why so many of my students struggled! Silly me. I blamed it on poverty, poor English, lack of solid educational foundation, etc*., and did what I could to help them through those problems. I wish I knew it was hopeless because it all had to do with whether or not they were breastfed when they were babies. It would have saved me a lot of effort! /end sarcasm.

          *I taught in an inner city, immigrant rich school. Many of my students were recent immigrants (some as recent as a week or two), who were illiterate in their native language and had never stepped foot in a classroom in their lives before moving to the US. Others suffered from more typical urban poverty problems. I adored them all.

    • BeatriceC

      “Both of us are close to our mom ”

      Yet my breastfed sibling and I can’t stand our mother. Neither can our adopted, formula fed siblings. My adult siblings (I have siblings that are still minors) maintain limited contact with our parents whereas I decided that my sanity was best served by moving nearly 3000 miles and cutting off all contact. So much for breastfeeding fostering close relationships.

      • Amazed

        Well, when I was a kid, breastfeeding created a dangerous situation for the Intruder. I asked my mom what he was doing and she said, “Eating.” Then, she made the mistake of explaining that he was eating milk, at which point I took pity of the poor darling and took the first chance I had to feed him a delicious bun. Clearly, breastfeeding (and I was breastfed) didn’t make me a superior person to the smart kid I was supposed to be, undetstanding that the baby was getting some liquid gold.

  • Krista

    ZIIIIIING!!!! God I love this blog.

  • UNCDave

    “What are her medical credentials? She has none…”

    To be (overly) fair, the same can be said of Professor Jung as well. Not that I agree with Dettwyler at all, I just don’t think this is an effective argument.

    • LaMont

      I 100% agree – nor is lack of credentials an excuse. Even without credentials, it is possible to gather information out there in the world and come to compassionate, sensible conclusions. We are *all* operating without the depth of information that experts have, yet we all have to be ultimately responsible our own health, finances, etc (with proper professional help where needed). This hateful woman managed to miss the boat in an inexcusable way.

      Also, to dive in on Amy’s Harvard point – I went to a top school, but several of my closest friends there went on to PhD programs while I didn’t. Guess they were the breast-fed ones? I was a combo-fed/slightly-preemie baby, maybe that was the difference! I should ask!! Hell I’m a weird-ass nerd with a stats education, they’d probably oblige me for science. 🙂

  • AirPlant

    Well that amazon review distribution is always a good sign…