Lactivism and disciplining women’s bodies

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With the possible exception of the author Courtney Jung, no one could be more thrilled about attention her book “Lactivism” is receiving than I am. The book has opened the door to the conversation that we need to have about the ways that natural parenting industries manipulate women into buying their products.

As everyone has undoubtedly heard by now, Lactivism rehearses the same arguments advanced by Joan Wolf in Is Breast Best? and Hanna Rosin in her Atlantic piece The Case Against Breast-feeding that the scientific evidence about the benefits of breastfeeding in industrialized countries is weak, conflicting and riddled with confounders. In fact, the only definitive benefits of breastfeeding are a few less colds and gastro-intestinal upsets across the population of infants in their first year.

Lactivism constricts the shape of mothering just as surely as the corset constricted the shape of women’s bodies.

Lactivism has been reviewed by the NYTimes as a:

… riveting exposé of the forces that have turned the simple act of feeding one’s baby into a veritable battlefield, “to breast-feed or not to breast-feed” has become a question with far-reaching implications spanning medicine, politics, religion, feminism, commerce, race and social class.

Jung blames the lactation industry, including lactation consultants and breast pump manufacturers, for the moralization of breastfeeding. Indeed, as I have remarked in the past, the moralization of breastfeeding parallels the monetization of breastfeeding.

But there’s more going on here than merely an industry seeking profits. The unfortunate fact is that lactivism is just the New Age iteration of an age old tendency toward controlling women by disciplining their bodies. Lactivism, in conjunction with the philosophies of natural childbirth and attachment parenting, is the 21st Century equivalent of the corset. They constrict the shape of mothering just as surely as the corset constricts the shape of women’s bodies.

It is a sad fact of history that men have spent a tremendous amount of time policing women’s bodies. And an even sadder fact is that women have often been the prime enforcers in this effort. Natural childbirth was conjured by Grantly Dick-Read to convince white women of the “better” classes to drop efforts for political and economic equality and return home to have more children; La Leche League was created by a group of devout Catholic women who believed that mothers should not work outside the home and that convincing them to breastfeed was a way of keeping them there; and attachment parenting has been aggressively promoted by Bill and Martha Sears as “God’s plan” for ordering the family with the husband at its head and the wife as subservient.

The political, intellectual and economic emancipation of women that occurred in industrialized countries was one of the pivotal developments of the 20th Century. It brought with it tremendous social change, and tremendous social change rarely occurs without backlash. In my view, that backlash has been expressed on the political Right as the rise of religious fundamentalism that automatically relegates women to the home. It’s been expressed on the political Left as the rise of natural parenting (natural childbirth, lactivism, attachment parenting) that, though ostensibly about children and how they are raised, is really about women and what they are supposed to sacrifice when they have them. Lactivism, in company with natural childbirth and attachment parenting, renders women’s needs invisible, and when practiced with full adherence to its principles renders women invisible in the public sphere.

Jung is absolutely correct that lactivists grossly exaggerate the benefits of breastfeeding, and she is also correct that the moralization of breastfeeding has been promoted by the lactivism industry. In so doing, she has started a national conversation about whether a big business has promoted bad policy (it has!). But, in my judgment, that is just the beginning of the conversation we need to have. The real issue at stake is NOT how infants are fed; the real issue is how mothers of infants are supposed to behave in order to qualify for the designation “good mother.”

There is nothing wrong with breastfeeding or unmedicated childbirth or attachment parenting if those are the choices that work best for individual women and their families; I chose to do all of them with my own children. But there is something very wrong with philosophical movements devoted to forcing those choices on other women, essentially disciplining their bodies for every moment of the 9 months of pregnancy, the hours of labor and childbirth, and the years of parenting beyond.

It constricts the shape of mothering and while it may be big business, it is bad for women.

  • Summit County Mom

    I grew up inside the early part (1980’s) of the modern American patriarchal movement my parents were early followers of the same cult leader the Duggar family follows. Attachment parenting was not approved of at all early on regimentation and routine were worshiped and the attachment movement is a reaction to that. Look up “Babywise” if you want to know all about that. Both are extremes that attempt to force parents into a “traditional” mold. I am a SAHM, I breastfed, and I gave birth without pain relief but that is because it worked out well for me. My babies were small and labor was not very painful for me. I naturally have good breastfeeding abilities. My husbands job makes a career for me difficult. These choices were based as they should be on our needs as a family not someones ideology. Though the fact that I don’t have a career is partly because my parents discouraged the kind of education that would have provided a career. Thanks for the post I enjoyed it. Now everyone on both sides of everything quit telling women how to be good women and advocate for choice like this author does.

  • Gatita

    So Brooke has several times accused women who couldn’t breastfeed of wanting to malign the benefits in order to make themselves feel better about their failure. Well, a similar accusation can be made about Brooke: she worked so hard and sacrificed so much to breastfeed that she can’t stand the thought that the benefits were overstated and that she went through all of that for what are ultimately trivial benefits.

    • Gatita

      Also relevant: http://www.honestmidwife.com/justification-part-17/

      People with good self-esteem tend to view themselves in a positive way. I like to think of myself as competent, knowledgeable, educated, sensible, and a maker of good decisions. Therefore, when we make decisions that cause ourselves pain, we are psychologically driven to justify it. “I am a smart person who makes good decisions” and “I just chose to put myself through a lot of pain” are two thoughts that, when entertained in the mind at the same time, produce an uncomfortable state known as “cognitive dissonance.” When we experience cognitive dissonance, our minds immediately find justifications: “It was worth it because…” and we fill in the blanks. It was worth it because I love my baby more for it; it was worth it because my baby is healthier for it, which means I’m a better mother; it was worth it because I didn’t have to have any interventions; it was worth it because now I know I can do anything! My brain distorts my perceptions of the event so that I see only the upsides, and ignore any downsides. The result? I can maintain my sense of self: I’m a smart person who makes good decisions, and if I chose pain, it must have been for very smart and good reasons.

    • Sarah

      She wouldn’t be the first.

    • Tiffany Aching

      What you describe has benn well established in social psychology : the more effort you put into something, the more you tend to value it (sorry for the bad English, I haven’t been able to put it in a better sentence). In my personal experience women who breastfed easily are much less passionate about it.

      • SporkParade

        Yeah, one of the moms’ groups I left had a woman who decided to become an LC after overcoming incredible difficulties in establishing breastfeeding. Her blog leaves no doubt that she thinks that breastfeeding fixes everything (including postpartum depression).

  • yentavegan

    Help me oh freshly minted medical doctor! I am having an ongoing conflict with my fellow lactation network. There is a widely held belief that mothers who are given IV fluids during labor have infants with inflated birth weights due to the extra fluids…and therefore birth weight should be corrected to 24 hours after birth to calculate if baby has regained birth weight by day 14….

    • yentavegan

      I keep insisting that maternal IV fluids do not hyper inflate the newborn’s birthweight and if an infant is below birthweight at day 14 that means real trouble

      • Roadstergal

        That’s crazy – they think that IV fluids make mom and baby swell up like balloons?

        • yentavegan

          yes this is what is believed all over the lactation support community and mothers who have infants that have not regained their birth weight by day 14 are told to recall whether they had iv’s during labor. If the answer is yes then lactavists chime in with “Not to worry”

          • Medwife

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21843338

            It’s this study. Published in the International Breastfeeding Journal, so clearly, a super amazing study.

            People can put on weight from excess IV fluids and diurese for a couple days, but in terms of neonates I don’t know how significantly this would impact expectations of weight gain by 14 days.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Interesting, but since it’s an observational study it’s hard to know how much of the effect is from the IV fluids and how much is because women who have to receive IV fluids are sicker in the first place and therefore have impaired milk production. You would have to do a randomised control trial with liberal and restrictive IV fluid use to be sure.

            Since it’s not clear cut as to how IV fluids affect weight loss, I would think that the safest strategy would be that if in doubt, supplement. But I’m guessing that there are many lactation consultants out there who wouldn’t see it that way.

      • sdsures

        Basically, babies are supposed to grow, not shrink.

    • AgentOrange5

      Wow, one shouldn’t have to be a doctor to know that as long as the kidneys are functioning, what goes in, will go out. I bet they wouldn’t have a problem with a natural childbirth mom drinking however much she wanted during labor. I’m not a doctor, so maybe I’m missing something, but during my L/D, IV’s fluids=needing to go to the bathroom more, there was no “extra” fluid swelling me up.

      • Monkey Professor for a Head

        I did have some swelling after giving birth, enough that my face looked notably different to me the following day. But I think that I likely had a bit more IV fluid than usual due to a PPH.

        IV fluid doesn’t all stay in the intravascular space. A significant portion of it will enter the extra cellular space. So it makes sense to me that IV fluids will cause some initial swelling in the mother. I can’t say whether it would affect the baby or not. Of course women who have required more IV fluids in labour likely had more medically complicated births which may impact on milk supply.

        I don’t know whether IV fluids do cause weight loss to appear artificially exaggerated. But I think it’s likely that there are people out there who will use that as an excuse not to supplement when it would be appropriate.

      • yentavegan

        I agree, even with my limited education, it makes no logical sense to believe that maternal IV fluids during labor artificially inflate the newborns birthweight. Why do so many in the lactavist mov’t hold fast to this as though it were gospel truth?

        • sdsures

          What the…?
          (re IV fluids)

    • araikwao

      I’m sorry for not replying! Despite being on holidays, it’s been a very busy time! My response based on first principles would be that a combination of kidneys working, but the anti-diuretic effect of oxytocin would mean you wouldn’t hold onto extra volume more than a couple of days, which seems to be borne out by the paper referred to below. Clearly I’m not lactivist enough!

  • childfree

    This blog is so true. I am not a mom and thus have been called all sorts of things because I must either be narcissistic or have some mental disorder. God forbid I want a career where being a mom would not be compatible – I must need therapy to “teach” me how to be a “proper” woman. Plus, I don’t really like kids. Sorry all moms and dads – but I have never seen a cute baby. They are all hideous and I run away when someone wants to show me pictures. But I dote on my nephews and my husband’s cousins’ daughters. Then I give them back when they turn bratty 😉

    • Blue Chocobo

      I’ve never understood the drive people seem to have to try to sell childrearing people who DO NOT want kids. It’s like trying to convince someone they really would love onions if they just committed to eating them with every meal for the next few decades, but with much higher stakes.

      • AgentOrange5

        This. There are plenty of people having children–the world is at NO risk of underpopulation. People should be encouraged to have children, or not have children, as they desire.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Semi-OT: I always get a kick out of the “if everyone did it, the human race would die out” argument. My response is, so the he’ll what? Why should I care if, maybe 100 generations from now, the human race becomes insufficient to survive? I don’t support killing anyone, but failure to progenate? I care abouto my ancestors, to a limit, but really don’t care about the human race

          • Blue Chocobo

            I care an awful lot about members of my species as individuals. As a species, though, we could stay or go.

      • AllieFoyle

        There are those people, and then there are the ones who say “if you don’t breastfeed/have a natural birth/SAH then you shouldn’t have children at all. Sometimes it’s even the same people.

    • Montserrat Blanco

      I have a son and I love him to bits, full disclosure first. But I still do not think that the only way of being happy is to have children. I was very happy before having him. I never ever try to convince someone of having children. Never. You should be happy and enjoy your life. I lived alone for almost a decade before meeting my husband and moving in with him and I recall that time as very happy and have great memories of it.

      • Monkey Professor for a Head

        Completely agree. Whilst I love my son, there are lots of sucky things about being a parent and lots of awesome things about not having a kid. I’m glad I’m a parent but it is not the be all and end all in life.

      • Box of Salt

        If our only goal in life is to reproduce, there is no progress.

      • Michelle Singleton

        For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a wife and mom. I knew I’d have twins. I knew that if I didn’t marry someone in the military, at least he’d be a “good christian man”.
        My ex-h was a GCM. He was an abusive ass.
        Superman was Army EOD. I had twin girls. I’m still a SAHM and I homeschool.
        I got my dream…
        When I grow up, I want to have a shoppe like Sally Owen in Practical Magic. Lotions, potions, candles, and soaps…

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      My advice is to tell people who tell you that you must have children to fick off, the sooner the better. IMHO, the ONLY good reason for having a child is that you want a child, think that having a child would add to your happiness, and think that you could give the child a good life. Any other reason for having a child is just silly. The world will survive without your particular genes in the next generation. Heck, depending on what else you do with your life, you may make a substantially greater contribution by not reproducing but doing that instead. And if you do change your mind later in life–not saying you will, but some people do–tell anyone who says “I told you so” that they can eat your placenta. You have every right to make this decision in the way that is best for you and remake the decision if you need or want to in the way that is best for you.

      • sdsures

        Related question: My husband and I have a set of friends who are a married couple, and so far, they’ve made it clear they don’t want to have kids. Fine, whatever their reasons are.

        Would it be wrong to consider asking them to be godparents of our kids when we have them?

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Absolutely!

        • momofone

          I agree with Bofa. I’m sure this depends on multiple factors, but where I live, being a godparent doesn’t automatically mean being a guardian if something happened to the child’s parents. Sometimes parents ask if they would be willing to do both, but they’re two separate roles. Godparents (in my experience) are more about their influence on the child’s life, but not in a custodial way (I’m sure there’s a better way to phrase that), if that makes sense.

          • sdsures

            Thank you for the info.

    • sdsures

      My DH just commented the other day, “Toddlers are right b**tards!” (said with a smile) during a discussion about potty training. Toddler humans can do revenge pee and poops just like cats can. So, we’re taking our cats to the vet for checkup, right? That is the precise moment that they choose to take a massive **** in the carrier. They could have held it. But nooooo.

  • OT: I am going back to work at the New Year. Baby will be 4 months old and has been breastfed so far. We have been trying with very limited success to get him to accept a bottle, which of course he will have to do at daycare. We’ve been giving a bottle a day for about a month and he still resists (he does eventually drink it but I am worried his care providers won’t be able to work with him so long at every feeding). Any advice on helping him get used to the bottle? I mean, advice that doesn’t boil down to “quit your job and nurse your precious baby, you unfeeling monster” has been hard to find. And that’s not an option, as even unfeeling monsters gotta pay rent.

    • demodocus

      This wasn’t an issue for my boy; he started on the occasional bottle when he was a bit jaundiced on day 3. However, i’ve heard that some kids will take bottles from other adults, especially if the mother is away. Some might refuse entirely, and some just need to get hungry enough. Another idea is that at 4 months, he could be ready to have a bit of cereal or puree. (Mine was grabbing at my apples just before he was 4 months old) Of course, results will vary. Good luck!

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      If you’re the one that has been giving him the bottle, he may be rejecting it on the grounds that the real thing is nearby and why should he put up with this plastic crap? It may be easier for the care providers to get him to accept a bottle when he’s hungry and you’re clearly not there. Most care providers who deal with infants know that this sort of thing happens and are ready to take extra time to convince an initially reluctant child to take a bottle. Talk to them about it and see what the status is at the day care. Good luck!

    • Dr Kitty

      #1 refused bottles point blank until the first day she was left for 8 hours at the childminder and was finally hungry enough to give it a go.

      #2 will take bottles, but dislikes all the expensive nipples designed for breast fed babies and prefers the fast flow cheap one (probably because I have a strong let down and he is used to having jets of milk squirted into his mouth).

      So, try a few different types of nipples, different people feeding him and bottles at different times of day, but eventually, if there is no other option he’ll work it out for himself.

      Babies have preferences about how they eat, but all of them are pragmatic enough to realise that if the only way to be fed involves a method they dislike they get over it.

      • araikwao

        Yes!! The fast flow teat was the only way my #2 would take a bottle too. Those Medela BF-simulating ones were a waste of money for us.

      • Blue Chocobo

        The cheap bottles, with the standard style nipples, are actually closer to the shape of a human nipple during a feeding anyway. The wide top nipples LOOK like a breast “at rest”, which fools adults but not babies.

        There’s a reason the standard nipples are shaped the way they are and have been forever…that’s what really fits well for most babies.

    • Allie P

      No baby ever starved with a bottle next to him. It sounds harsh, but if he’s hungry, he’ll get used to it, and I’m sure the daycare providers have seen it before. What works best for us is not having the nursing parent give the bottle. If I’m out of the room, she doesn’t expect a boob. But we gave bottles from day one to get her used to it, so…

      • Toni35

        This^. My four month old rarely gets bottles, but even she will take one if I’m gone. But I have to really be gone – if she sees me, hears me, or even smells me, she will refuse. If I am out of the house, my dh can get her to take a bottle after a few minutes of fussing, no problem. Just let your doc provider know what he does when you offer him a bottle (that way they know to allow some extra time) and I imagine 1. They’ve seen it before and are more than able to deal, and 2. They will be more than happy to reassure you by letting you know how he’s doing with taking bottles, especially in that first week or so. My guess- by the end of the first week, he’ll do just fine.

      • Lurker

        Ok, totally anecdotal, but family lore says that I was allergic to cow milk and *absolutely* refused to drink soy milk in my bottle.

        Once I’d lost what was to them a scary amount of weight, my parents started driving 30 miles to a goat farm for milk, and then discovered that I completely thrived on *apple juice*. (I assume this was mixed with formula for nutrition. Wow, that sounds disgusting upon thinking about it.)

        But that was probably a taste/allergy issue, not an anti-bottle preference. Maybe try a few different brands of formula, or at different temperatures?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Our younger guy did not want to take a bottle, and so here’s what we did:
      1) We tried every nipple option we could find, and
      2) We tried every variation of contents

      We discovered that he would only take pre-made formula, and that he wouldn’t drink anything from a bottle if there was as much as a drop of EBM in it

      Unfortunately, it wasn’t cheap going through all the bottle options

    • Guestll

      Have you tried a cup? My daughter went to daycare part-time at 9 months. She never ever took a bottle. She would take a sippy cup of breastmilk, or thawed breastmilk, from a spoon. Good luck.

    • Blue Chocobo

      Just to put this on your radar, “reverse cycling”, where the baby starts doing more feeds evenings and nights and fewer during the day, is a thing.

      Some moms aim for it, because they don’t pump enough (for whatever reason) or use formula (for whatever reason), so they want the baby to do more “from the tap” feedings when they’re together.

      Some moms would really prefer to avoid it, but the baby tries to set up such a schedule themselves. Depends on if the kid waits till they’re really hungry to eat or is truly stubborn and waits for MOM to eat. The baby will be fine (if a little aggravated for a few days), but be ready to brainstorm solutions if the situation arises.

      • Medwife

        I had not heard of reverse cycling until after #1 spontaneously did it. I’m glad it wasn’t a thing I was shooting for. I just steeled myself and knew that my baby was not going to reject a bottle if he was really hungry. He’d reverse cycle as much as possible and when I started 24 hr call shifts, he managed. We both did.

    • Michele

      If your care providers have to dump the bottle after a certain period of time (I think at our day care center it was 1 hour), make sure you send extra bottles at first so that if baby starts the bottle and takes too long to finish it, there will still be enough for him to eat that day. You can always make more bottles of smaller serving sizes until baby gets used to taking a bottle and they don’t have to work with him so long at a feeding.

      • swbarnes2

        If it’s not warmed, I think either breastmik or formula is okay to take out of the fridge for a bit, and then put back if baby doesn’t want it then. So the trick is to get the kid accustomed to drinking cold milk.

        • Michele

          True, I was usually ok with putting it back in the fridge since my kids would take bottles cold, but daycares sometimes have regulations that require bottles be disposed of after a certain time limit after feeding starts, heated or not.

  • SporkParade

    A relatively new mom asked in a parents group I belong to when breastfeeding starts being enjoyable. One of the women wrote that she had mastitis four times, and had to be hospitalized(!!!) one of those times, but it was worth it because now she’s still breastfeeding at 17 months. I didn’t comment, but all I can say internally is, “Ahhh! Ahhh! Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Didn’t they tell you in the hospital to stop?????”

    • Blue Chocobo

      For me, breastfeeding becomes really enjoyable when I only do it when I feel like it. Completely for my own convenience. Combo feeding for the win, for me. Unfortunately, my budget was easier without the regular expense of formula during the first year, so I got about 3/4 of my “love this decision” feelings while passing the baby aisle at the grocery store and not needing to buy anything. Once cheap whole milk was an option, we switched to breastfeeding on MY terms.

  • Kate Berge

    I am a GP (US family physician equivalent) and am also a LC. I find it quite heartbreaking when women come to me and sob as they tell me the stressful, painful time they have had breastfeeding. It has prevented them enjoying their baby and each feed is dreaded. They are really wanting me to give them “permission” to stop BF. I feel so sad that societal expectations are so great that they feel they can’t stop BF until a doctor allows them to do so. We discuss what to say to other people who question why they’re no longer breastfeeding (as that is often what they are most worried about). I suggest a) my doctor told me that I was not to continue breastfeeding under any circumstances b) formula works better for us or c) do fuck off

    • sdsures

      I think I love you.

  • Brooke

    Could you please provide a source for your assertion that breastfeeding is only minimally better than formula feeding? A meta-analysis perhaps?

    Or a source for your attack on the Le Leche League, Dr.Sears etc. I don’t find any references to Catholism or religion at all in their current publications and it seems about as relevant as saying progressive women shouldn’t support Planned Parenthood because Margret Sanger was a racist and believed in eugenics.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      • Amy

        She walked right into that one!

      • Brooke

        Why should I pay $12.99 for one reference?

        I thought all of these groups were just about money but you’re the only one that’s ever asked me or taken the opportunity to plug your book (twice now actually) in response to being asked for your sources.

        • Amy

          Read the website. Plenty of references.

          • Brooke

            Where? If this is the case why didn’t she link to the study in this article?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Only someone who doesn’t understand science would think that an entire field of study could be summed up in a single reference.

          • Brooke

            I’m asking for a specific citation, one that backs up your assertion that breastfeeding is only minimally better than formula feeding. If there is no such study that supports that assertion why do you keep making it?

          • momofone

            And as people are offering information about where you can find multiple citations that address your question, you refuse to accept what they’re saying. You’re nothing if not consistent.

          • Sean Jungian

            I was going to provide multiple links, but honestly, I just didn’t want to help you.

          • Dr Kitty

            Brooke go to pubmed.
            Type in “breastfeeding”.
            See what pops up.
            Then you can evaluate the research for yourself and decide whether or not the benefits of breastfeeding in developed nations for the infants of non-smoking college educated women is actually as great as it is claimed.

            Or read the studies linked to by the commenters above.

            Hint: lots of studies, all with slightly different designs and findings, all showing that AT BEST we’re talking clinically irrelevant findings (3 IQ points won’t be the difference between community college and a Rhodes Scholarship, for example).

          • Daleth

            Let me help: Here is the link for PubMed.

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

            But of course, this morning I posted links to the discordant siblings study and a 2006 study in the British Medical Journal that corrected for maternal intelligence and found that any perceived IQ differences in breastfed vs. nonbreastfed children were due to maternal intelligence, not breastfeeding. Did she click on my links? Doesn’t seem like it.

          • Megan

            Because there are multiple studies and multiple posts on this blog about them. There’s a handy search bar on the right side of this page. Why don’t you try it out? Every time she has a post about a particular study she cites it in said post. Now go away.

          • Brooke

            I’ve looked through her blog and she only links back to herself or other opinion pieces. She didn’t cite herself here now did she? If you don’t like my comments or questions your free to ignore them.

          • Sean Jungian

            Interesting. I only had to do a search of “breastfeeding” here and one of the most recent studies was prominently linked in the post.

            I did a general google search of the paper referenced just to see if it was also generally accepted by a majority of academics. It was. I was able to read several analyses of the paper.

            The entire endeavor took less time that it has taken you to get snippy in the comments.

          • Brooke

            Yet you didn’t include any of that relevant info in your comment. Thank you, you’ve been so helpful.

          • kilda

            Too lazy to take 5 minutes looking it up yourself? I thought you lot were all about Doing Your Research.

          • rosewater7

            You’ve made an awful lot of comments. Why not take time away from commenting and Google some arguments, etc. to support your position? Just a thought.

          • Daleth

            Even when she links back to herself, she’s linking to the studies–because in her posts, she cites the actual studies. See where the words in her posts are blue? Those are links.

        • namaste863

          Translation: My mind is already made up, so don’t confuse me with the facts.

          • Brooke

            What facts? That’s what I’m asking for, the study that supports her assertion that breastfeeding is only minimally better than formula feeding.

        • guest

          If all you want is the reference, you can look at the index online in most cases. No need to pay. Or avail yourself of a public library.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Pffft books. Who needs those when there are oodles of mommy blogs!

    • Mel

      You didn’t look on the Le Leche League site very hard, did you?

      Le Leche League International History site: http://www.llli.org/lllihistory.html

      Click on the first link: Biographic information on the Founders:
      http://www.llli.org/docs/founders_bio1.pdf

      I don’t know your background, but I was raised and am a practicing Catholic. When you read the Founders’ biographies, the majority (i.e., everyone but Edwina) was educated in the Catholic school system, knew each other through the Christian Family Movement -http://www.cfm.org/ – an organization of lay Catholics who encourage NFP, large families and gendered marriage roles – and seemed to all belong to the same parish. Edwina seems to have joined through the NCB movement since Dr. White was willing to do homebirths.

      This took me exactly 5 minutes to find online and 7 minutes to write up while recovering from a brain injury, FYI.

    • Amy
    • yentavegan

      Brooke, you and I are buttered on the same side of the bread. Stay here on this website and keep an open mind. Don’t be discouraged from expanding your world view even if some of the frequent posters here are short tempered with your questions. I know it can feel as though you are walking on shaky ground to have so many of your long held beliefs challenged.

      • Brooke

        I’m not talking about beliefs I’m referring to the actual science here. The science does not reflect her assertion that formula feeding and breastfeeding are comparable.

        • Spamamander

          Search the site. Dr. Amy has posted innumerable links to studies and broken them down.

          • Brooke

            Well if I didn’t have to sift through the bs clickbait I probably could find them a heck of a lot easier.

          • Megan

            Gatita listed two of the studies above. All you’d have to do is google them. Now you’re just being lazy.

          • moto_librarian

            Yawn. Nothing like a sanctimonious, lazy troll.

            Get off your arse and look for it yourself.

          • rosewater7

            Why would that be an issue for someone who clearly feels as passionately about this topic? Isn’t it worth sifting through all the bs, as you put it? Or do you not want to chance that you could be…WRONG?????

        • Gatita

          There’s the PROBIT study, which is one of the best designed and longest running breastfeeding studies around. And the Ohio State University discordant siblings study.

        • AllieFoyle

          Science is not just regurgitating the abstracts of studies that support your already formed conclusions. There are many, many studies on breastfeeding. If you look at the body of research and actually read some of the articles in their entirety, you’ll notice a few things:

          1. Researchers are very motivated to find links between breastfeeding and good health.

          2. With very few exceptions, the results are correlational, with many potential confounders.

          3. The findings are generally equivocal or very small, but positive findings are frequently overstated in the popular press or by the researchers themselves.

          4. Researchers use the overstated results of other studies to bolster their own case that breastfeeding is superior. This sort of circular process leads to the appearance of a preponderance of evidence, but more accurately reflects a shared bias and agenda.

          5. Most research on breastfeeding starts with the assumption that it is a low-cost, positive, public good — very rarely will you find any research that considers the potential costs of breastfeeding (lost income, career opportunities, effect on mental health, reinforcement of gender roles, physiological difficulty, weighing breastfeeding against necessary medications, etc.). The breastfeeding research generally assumes all women can breastfeed, treats women’s time as valueless, and has no regard for the notion of bodily autonomy.

          6. The literature can be interpreted in different ways, but, in my opinion, there is no basis for the current recommendations that women exclusively BF for six months and then continue indefinitely. I see no reason to think that combo-feeding would not be perfectly acceptable, or that weaning before a year would be harmful, especially if doing so would have beneficial effects in other areas. Financial security and maternal mental health are also important for healthy development and good long-term outcomes — probably more so than breastfeeding!

          • Roadstergal

            ^ Vote for Featured Comment.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Seconded!

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            And the discussions here really can change your perception of things and cause your opinions to shift. For the better I think. It sucks to have your beliefs called out and questions but if you honestly think and reflect on what’s being said you may realize your beliefs do more harm than good.

            For example a few months back there was a discussion on what are the basic skills needed when you reach adulthood? Do the ones with laundry skills or know how to use vacuums really have a head start?

            I thought so but then members here, especially Bofa, really made me look at it. I stubbornly defended it but afterwards I reflected on the discussion and what was being said.

            I now have actually changed my stance on thinking children that learn housekeeping skills and such will always have an advantage.

            It’s more like they were trying to point out. Maybe in those initial learning years of being an independent adult there will be a small advantage but the gap is closed very quickly. To the point where in the mid twenties the advantage is gone and most groups have equalized.

            Kind of like breastfeeding. There may be a small, short term advantage. Maybe less mild gastrointestinal upsets. But like the young adult that accidentally shrinks a sweatshirt or two from not following the tag instructions, it has very little bearing on life as a whole. Maybe a few parents have less infant spit up to clean up but you’re going to have to wash your clothes and clean your furniture anyways.

            So it’s worth considering the opinions here, even if you get defensive and pissy at first. Most of the time you’re forgiven if you’re actually contrite about any really nasty comments you may have made. But you do have to strip your own pride armour down before things start to sink in.

        • Daleth

          Here are some links, Brooke:

          “Effect of breast feeding on intelligence in children: prospective study, sibling pairs analysis, and meta-analysis,” published in the British Medical Journal. They measured the mothers’ IQ so that they could correct for that in their results (i.e., so that they could make sure that if any statistically significant IQ difference between the kids existed, it was due to breastfeeding rather than to having a smart mom). But they found that differences were due to having a smart mom, not to breastfeeding.

          “Conclusions Breast feeding has little or no effect on intelligence in children. While breast feeding has many advantages for the child and mother, enhancement of the child’s intelligence is unlikely to be among them.”
          http://www.bmj.com/content/333/7575/945

          And here’s the discordant siblings study out of Ohio State University, which is recent enough that the full study is still behind a pay wall. What they did was look at several thousand sibling pairs where one was breastfed and the other was not. The point of doing that was to make sure that if differences were found, it was due to breastfeeding and not to breastfed kids being from richer/better educated families, having smarter moms, etc.

          And what they found was that there were NO statistically significant health or IQ differences between breastfed and non-breastfed siblings–except that the breastfed ones had higher rates of asthma!

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

          Since all but the abstract is behind a paywall, here are several articles about it:
          http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/sibbreast.htm

          http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/02/27/breast_feeding_study_benefits_of_breast_over_bottle_have_been_exaggerated.html

          http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/04/is-breast-feeding-really-better

      • Megan

        No offense to you yenta, but I feel no obligation to be kind to someone who insults women who are infertile. Perhaps you missed that a few days back.

        • Brooke

          I said she didn’t have the privilege of receiving treatment in a hospital. Whoa what an insult.

          • momofone

            “As you’re unable to bear children you haven’t had the privilege of being exposed to the so called ‘best’ care during pregnancy, labor and delivery.” Brooke, in response to the poster who mentioned her infertility.

          • Amazed

            And after the post following it, by someone who was struggling with infertility, all the asshole had to say was, “Sensitive much?” The thing’s complacency just reeked through the PC screen.

          • momofone

            I’d forgotten that. Thank you for the necessary, unpleasant reminder. What a piece of work.

          • Sarah

            Complacency is a very positive word to use for it. I have a number of others.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            As do I, but they’re generally not acceptable in polite company.

          • Gatita

            Wow! That’s one of the nastiest comments I’ve read here and that’s saying something.

          • Medwife

            What the hell.

          • Amazed

            Wow, poor memory, eh, thingy? Looks like your mommy’s milk didn’t do wonders. It couldn’t overcome the vastly inferior genes that made you stupid, heartless, and cruel.

          • Montserrat Blanco

            It was awful to read, heartless, disrespectful and tactless.

          • Brooke

            Only if you’re completely insane and assume every comment is meant as an insult.

          • Montserrat Blanco

            Completely insane! Lovely, lovely from you to call me that.

            Now that we are on first-name basis I will tell you what I exactly think about you. You are an ignorant, egocentric and scientifically illiterate person. You feel entitled to tell other people what to do with their lifes when you have no idea whatsoever how their lifes are.

        • yentavegan

          yikes. I did miss that post. Just goes to show some people are ideologues and eugenicists and are immune to intellectual growth.Carry on….

          • Sarah

            There’ve been a few posts of yours I really haven’t agreed with in your time here. But I’ve certainly never seen you be nasty or hurtful to anyone. I should think it would be a cold day in hell before you’d throw someone’s infertility in their face.

      • Who?

        You’re nothing like Brooke. Brooke is a nasty piece of work. You’re not unkind.

      • Amazed

        Careful here, yenta. I don’t always agree with you but I really don’t remember you stooping to the Brooke thing level, ever. She’s pure nastiness and I think, not someone you’ll feel comfortable being associated with.

    • crazy grad mama
    • swbarnes2

      As opposed to the hours you’ve been on this thread, it took 5 minutes to find this on pubmed:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24698713

      When you search this site with “breastfeeding siblings” it’s the first link.

      “When we more fully account for unobserved heterogeneity between children who are breastfed and those who are not, we are forced to reconsider the notion that breastfeeding unequivocally results in improved childhood health and wellbeing. In fact, our findings provide preliminary evidence to the contrary. When comparing results from between- to within-family estimates, coefficients for 10 of the 11 outcomes are substantially attenuated toward zero and none reach statistical significance (p < 0.05). Moreover, the signs of some of the regression coefficients actually change direction suggesting that, for some outcomes, breastfed children may actually be worse off than children who were not breastfed."

      • Brooke

        THIS is cherry picking.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Um, looking to the best carried out studies and relying on them is NOT cherry-picking.

        • swbarnes2

          How, exactly? This study does a very good job of correcting for maternal education and family income, because it compares siblings in the same family, have you cited a SINGLE study that does that?

          • Roadstergal

            And even the sibling study probably overstates the role of breast milk – since there is usually a reason for going from breast to formula. Maybe a negative change in family income that means mom has to go to work – and SES affects outcomes, and that might also mean baby had to go to daycare, where you get more infections. Basically, even the minor benefits seen in the sibling study might not be down to the milk.

    • Montserrat Blanco
      • Brooke

        ” Based on current meta-analyses results, 14% to 19% of all childhood leukemia cases may be prevented by breastfeeding for 6 months or more.”
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26030516

        “For infants, not being breastfed is associated with an increased incidence of infectious morbidity, as well as elevated risks of childhood obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, leukemia, and sudden infant death syndrome.”
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2812877/

        “Among postmenopausal women, increased duration of lactation was associated with a lower prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and cardiovascular disease.”
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19384111

        I don’t know shall we?

        I can understand finding comfort in the idea that breastfeeding is being oversold if you are a parent that chose not to or couldn’t breastfeed. That doesn’t change the science though.

        • moto_librarian

          Do you still not grasp that the vast majority of studies on breastfeeding are riddled with confounders? If you bother to read the PROBIT study (arguably among the best designed of any breastfeeding studies), you will find that they found a lowered incidence of gastrointestinal illness and eczema in the first year of life. That’s it. No impact on obesity, IQ, cancer, SIDS, etc. When you only look at correlation rather than causation and fail to properly control for confounders (like socioeconomic status, maternal IQ, genetic predisposition to certain illnesses, etc.) you get erroneous results. But please, keep handing out the bibliographic salad while refusing to address the real concerns with these studies.

          • Brooke

            It didn’t look at all of those factors.

          • Montserrat Blanco

            And this answers what? Parroting again.

            Come on, explain to us why the PROBIT study is badly designed and how it does not answer any important question, please do tear apart some stats, I really want to have an interesting afternoon talking about clinical trial design, ethics issues and so on.

          • Daleth

            What “factors”?

        • AllieFoyle

          Do you see the words “associated with” in each of those statements?

          There is an association between ice cream purchases and shark bites, but that doesn’t mean that one causes the other.

          There are lots of studies on breastfeeding and health outcomes — many of them conflicting. In the end though, it’s very hard to find causality in any of them. Are people who breastfeed statistically different in some ways that might also have an effect on those same outcomes? Are FF infants more likely to go to daycare and be exposed to viral illness, for instance? Are BF mothers more likely to be affluent or especially health conscious in ways that might affect health? PROBIT is one of the few studies that gets at that.

          I think BF does have some advantages, and I did it myself, BUT, when I look at the data, I do find the claims to be exaggerated. For instance, the JAMA leukemia study you cite issued corrections twice. It’s a meta-analysis — basically a big salad bowl of other studies (all with the same problem of being correlational and not having a way to correct for potential confounders) where they run the numbers together. They found no effect on likelihood of AML, AND of the four largest studies they used, only ONE found a significant inverse association between BF and leukemia risk. One was borderline and the others found no association. Not exactly the slam dunk that their claims imply.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            “All else equal, breastfeeding is probably better. But all else is never equal. ” ‘ someone wise

          • Brooke

            I quoted the studies themselves so that the claims were not overstated. If you’re going to claim that generally the benefits of breastfeeding are overstated it would be helpful to say whose overstating those benefits and in what context. There are many more studies that show positive outcomes that I’m sure you’ve come across while looking up studies showing less significant differences between breastfeeding and formula feeding. More importantly science is starting to look at the mechanisms behind breastfeeding benefits. It becomes more difficult to say that breastmilk and formula are equal when we know the mechanisms that make breastfeeding superior.

          • Valerie

            “Science” doesn’t look at anything- scientists do. I think the general public (and even those of us who do research) do not understand how much our own biases can skew the data and how much things get blown out of proportion by the time it gets to the popular media. It doesn’t have to be conscious, but it is insidious, and intrinsic to how we do experiments and publish the results. I kid you not: I spent months investigating the mechanisms of an effect that did not exist. It turned out to be artifact, as far as I could measure it, but had I continued, I may have published the mechanism for a nonexistent phenomenon. This kind of thing happens all the time, and it has to do with the fact that there is a ton of variability in biology- that the majority of our hypotheses are going to be incorrect, but 1/20 will be accepted as true by chance. That we cannot rule out cofounders, even if you use all the fancy stats to try. It’s just difficult to explain to lay people who fetishize science and nature all of the problems that lead to the publishing of spurious results, not to mention that the “interesting” parts that end up in the media are often completely speculative.

          • AllieFoyle

            Oh, but researchers routinely overstate their own findings! It’s part of the game in science.

            If you want to advance your career you need to maximize publications, citations, funding… Researchers have a lot of motivation to report significant and important results. Ideally, negative or equivocal results would be given just as much attention, but it just doesn’t work that way. Then there’s the consideration of why people choose to research certain subjects in the first place. Lots of people are invested in breastfeeding being positive pubic health measure. Not many people are interested in staking their professional careers on research on why breastfeeding is fine but not really that much better than formula feeding. Who would employ or fund them? Much more funding available for people who want to show what is already believed.

            I’m also not sure what you mean when you say that the mechanisms that make breastfeeding superior are known. What I see is a bunch of correlational research and an endless cycles of studies saying “breastfeeding is better because everyone says so….and here’s another correlational study to add to the pile.” The leukemia study (the only one you linked that I’ve had time to read yet) sounds really impressive, right? But when you look at their data, it just is not. It’s a meta-analysis. They just took a bunch of studies and combined the data and analyzed it as a whole, essentially. Some of those studies found no association at all, but one large one did find an association. In the end they came up with an increased relative risk of, uh, I don’t remember exactly, 16% or something like that. That sounds like a lot. Wow, 16% less childhood leukemia! Who wouldn’t be all for that? But that number just comes from the different risks they calculate for each group. Maybe their math showed BF children have a 1% chance of leukemia and FF children 1.16%. The real incidence of leukemia is lower, so we’re talking about very small numbers. Is the difference due to a real, causal relationship, or methodological error, confounders, or statistical noise? Considering that JAMA has issued two corrections for false and misleading data already, I would take the claims that breastfeeding could prevent a substantial proportion of childhood leukemia cases with a huge grain of salt.

        • Montserrat Blanco

          Would you actually mind commenting what I have posted and not posting a salad of cherry picked studies in response???? Just so that we can have a conversation and it is not just me answering your questions and you reciting what you have read on a lactivist webpage. Comment and analyze what I have posted, which is what you asked for, find statistical flaws on it, find design flaws on it.

          Or remain as a parrot, which is exactly what you look like, someone just repeating information without the ability to read it critically and enough scientific and statistic knowledge to write an informed opinion about it.

          • Brooke

            What would you like me to comment in regards to those studies? That they are not relevant because there are other more important health outcomes or more important studies? The ones I picked BTW included more than just one study to show that the important WAS NOT cherry picked.

          • Montserrat Blanco

            No, I would like you to tell me why the studies I posted are not relevant. Why the design of the ones you posted is better and why you should confide more in the results of the studies you posted than the ones I posted.

            Thank you.

        • swbarnes2

          Did you notice in your last paper (I’m looking at table 5, which says it corrects for education and income) that only 2 conditions have a p-value <0.05? And that that for half of those conditions, data shows that breastfeeding for longer than 2 years is actually worse than stopping earlier? Doesn't that last bit strike you as strange? Doesn't that hint that there is something ELSE besides breastfeeding going on there?

          Also note that this study relied on self-reporting when it came to family history? We already have plenty of data telling us that CVD and related conditions are heavily influenced by genetics, so if people were under-reporting family history, that's going to screw up the results. Doesn't it strike you as likely that these people, the youngest of whom were born in 1944, might not know the cholesterol levels of their uncles and aunts and grandparents?

        • Sarah

          The problem here is that you’re looking at the words, not the numbers…

    • Sarah

      You’re hardly one to be asking for sources, since you still haven’t provided us with any for your claim that the section rate should be 5%. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed seeing the information that fellow commentators provided for you. But they’re doing you a courtesy you’ve not bothered to extend to any of us.

    • demodocus

      Well, anecdotally, my sibs and I were all breastfed. We’re all obese, we all have allergies, I have asthma, and both my sibs were have learning disabilities. Its almost like there’s a post-infancy component.

      • Medwife

        People want so desperately to find simple answers to these questions. They just don’t exist.

    • AllieFoyle

      It’s useful to know the historical and philosophical underpinnings of things, don’t you think? If I felt that PP was acting in accordance with some sort of racist or eugenicist ideology, I’d not choose to go there. Same with LLL and Dr. Sears — I’d have appreciated knowing more about the ideas and beliefs informing their positions.

      But anyway, and more to the point — what did you think of the references so kindly provided below? The PROBIT study is pretty good, no?

      • Roadstergal

        “But anyway, and more to the point — what did you think of the references so kindly provided below?”

        Meh. She’s quick to talk nasty, not so quick to respond when provided with science that conflicts with her beliefs.

        • DelphiniumFalcon

          Or when called out on being an atrocious human being.

          • Brooke

            For an online comment? Wow. Get yourself together.

          • momofone

            Oh, ok, so it only counts if you’re atrocious to other people in person?

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Hey I’m not the one looking down on people for not being vegan, non-pet owning, vagina birthing, breastfeeding individuals and then screeching about people needing to be able to make their own choices when the least bit criticized.

            I have other shit to do instead of police people’s eating habits and . Like play Mass Effect again. While my dog sits on my feet enjoying boiled turkey giblets. She’s a little spoiled. Seems to dislike Collectors when they show up on screen though. But it’s okay. I destroy them quickly.

            Mmmm… Sweet, sweet Collector Base destruction. Imma go abort the Reaper-Fetus to save humanity, bbl.

          • Roadstergal

            I suppose our rescue dogs _would_ have been better off just left in that cardboard box where they were found.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Yeah, how dare we domesticate a canid and provide it shelter, food, longer lifespan than in the wild, and mutual companionship! *shakes fist*

            And poor puppies. 🙁 I’m glad you found them and gave them the proper kind of home.

          • Roadstergal

            I know puppies are always cute, but Latte (the white one) was ridiculous. This is her after a few months at home; they’re turning 2 this month.

          • Roadstergal

            Now, they get daily outings at the dog park and once a week, they go to Fort Funston to tear around at the offleash beach.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Awww! What happy puppy! They must have been so confused and happy to have all this positive attention suddenly. It’s nice to see them forget any prior abandonment or abuse the longer you take care of them. You just hope you get enough time with them that they won’t forever be marked by it.

            I’m weird, too, though. I’m not the biggest fan of puppies. I like a young dog but not 8 weeks old young. It’s nice when they’re already done teething, potty trained, and a little less prone to destruction. And the shelters are full of “adult” dogs that need adopting where I’m at so the best choice for the dogs here and for me was adopting one of them.

            How big have they gotten? This one looks like a growth spurt was in the future.

            Also here is my Nailah a few weeks ago. Before I jumped her for a deep clean and brush.

          • Roadstergal

            We actually weren’t even planning to adopt just yet – we had gotten our house ready, and decided to swing by on a whim. We were open to older dogs, but these two girls were in two calm little balls amid the noise in the back, and we just… had to.

            Latte grew into a fine-sized dog, ~35lb and seems to be done around there. Look up ‘dog’ in the dictionary, and there’s a picture of her. Mocha is a runt, and a little genetically weird – she has dew claws on the back, a quarter blue eye, and a lot of derp. But they’re both very loving and attentive. They potty-trained easily, and they never destroy our stuff (we do give them plenty of toys and chews to allow them to Be Dogs without chewing on anything unacceptable). They do hate baths. As long as water is full of salt and fish poop, they love it, but when it’s clean, no way.

            Re-post that pic of your girl – I want to see it, and it didn’t seem to come through…

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            They’re like the perfect dream puppies! Lol If only they all were such good minders. Less abandoned dogs.

            That’s such a good story. They found you and it was just the right time at the right place with the right beings. And now they’re all warm and happy and destroying intimate toys!

          • Roadstergal

            Oh god, you’re right, that’s the ONE time they ate something Unapproved. Seriously. I’m blocking it out… My husband said it’s because it smells like me and they like my smell, which is logical if a bit gross.

            Latte is my shadow. She follows me everywhere, and if she can’t follow me, she stares at where I went and waits for me to get back. She’s also ridiculously smart – she learned to open the baby gate into our room, which requires raising a latch while pulling on the gate, and also learned that we react better if she doesn’t do that before my alarm goes off. Can you imagine how much smarter and more bonded she’d be if I had breastfed her?

          • Roadstergal

            Oh, now I see her! What a lovely snow-dog! *head rubs*

          • Michelle Singleton

            OMG! Puppy belly! When we got Abney I wanted a chi or a min-pin. Then the lady at the rescue showed us a tiny puppy. His belly was sooo fat! He had dug a small hole that would fit his belly so that he could lay “flat”. The belly is why we adopted him… Four years later he still does it…

          • Brooke

            Yes, I’m in the habit of finger wagging at everyone else….the plus side is I’m developed an extremely strong index finger. I don’t even own pets. Wtf are you talking about?

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            If you don’t want people to see how condescending and nasty you are, maybe you should make your posting history private.

            Nice try to play innocent “I don’t think I’m better than anyone else” because your posting history suggests otherwise.

            You’re not that good at this internet thing, are you?

          • Poogles

            Seriously…what I would give to trade lives with one of my family’s dogs, lol!

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Right?!

            I was brushing my girl yesterday (Great Pyrenees, weather finally stayed consistent enough for her body to grow her winter coat and blow the summer coat) and she haaaaaaates it. Tries to steal the brush out of my hands, do the submissive licking thing on any extremity she can reach on me, and sitting on her tail. But she needed it badly or she’d get some nasty mats. So I talk to my dog, as the crazy person I am, and tell her “Hey, girl, you’re lucky your owner has long hair too. You get a treat after this. I got ‘hold still and stop screaming’ when my hair got brushed*. And I’m gentler!”

            She still gave me the “you’re killing meeeeee!” look. And then totally forgot about it when I pulled out the bacon treats. And then lounged around pawing a squeaky toy all evening.

            I wanna be a dog…

            *The screaming wasn’t because of pain or anything. I just didn’t like my hair being brushed and made a scene. But I loved having long hair. I didn’t understand the connection between unmatted, clean hair and keeping long hair for way too long.

          • Roadstergal

            “I didn’t understand the connection between unmatted, clean hair and keeping long hair for way too long.”

            Ditto! (And ditto the screaming when my hair was brushed, I just made a fuss because I didn’t like it.) And then when I found it out, buzz cuts for the rest of my life, plz. :p

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Some people can pull off the buzzed look. Natalie Portman, that Deltan lady in Star Trek the Motion Picture, Jack in Mass Effect 2.

            I’m not one of them. Even short hair makes me look way too much like my dad when he was younger. And my facial proportions get messed up. Long hair helps hide what genetics wasn’t mind enough to make perfect!

            And it did finally start to behave in my mid twenties. I don’t know if shampoo technology improved or what but it’s much easier to manage.

          • BeatriceC

            I look terrible with short hair. Right now it’s about mid-back and I think it’s too short, but I cut about a foot off it in October because the ends were getting dry and brittle. When I was a kid I wasn’t allowed to cut my hair, and I got desperate enough to “accidentally on purpose” set it on fire. I got really, really lucky that I didn’t cause any major harm to myself. Anyway, I discovered at that point that I look awful with short hair, and willingly keep it very long these days. It’s gotten a little easier to care for in the last few years because it’s gotten quite a bit thinner.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Ah, you’re another “my ends were gross so I lopped six inches off” people lol. It sounds like a lot but when you’re both tall and your hair is long, its not nearly as much as people thing. And it’s nice to donate it to wigs for kids if you decide to chop enough off. I’ve been moody enough about my hair to have made several donations now.

            But now I’m older, hair dye costs a lot for my hair because despite looking thin its more that my hair is babyfine and there is A LOT of it. I have to tell new stylists every time to mix up about a half to twice as much more as they think they’re going to need. They never listen and always end up having to run to mix more color. So the cost goes up a bit because it’s like doing two very long dye jobs. I’ve had just about every natural hair color there is.

            So now instead of spending $60-$80 on a cut and dye, I try to get ahead on bills. I hadn’t been my natural hair color all over since I was fourteen. It finally decided to not be this awful mousy dirty dishwater blonde color and settled into a nice golden brown. About time, stupid hair!!!

          • BeatriceC

            The one unexpected thing that happened when I cut it all off is that it got really curly again; like almost the old Shirley Temple curls I used to have. I guess the weight from the old length was pulling the curls out. And I completely understand the cost of dye. My hair went white (not even grey, but white) while I was pregnant with my middle son (the roots that grew in during that time had zero color). I’ve been dying it ever since because at 25 then, and 40 now, I’m not ready to give up my identity as a redhead!

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Ha, that’s what mine does too when I chop it off. Big corkscrew curls!

            And oh wow, 25! My mom went gray early too but not white and not at 25! But at least when you’re “old”, whatever old is these days, you’ve got that nice white color instead of the kind of dull grey. Does the white make it easier to dye at all?

            For now my hair is about mid back. It’s a nice, manageable length but still long. And when it’s long it naturally falls into beach waves so I think I’ll hang on to it for a while. I like it and so does my husband. He makes it worth keeping my hair long lol.

            I love being a redhead! But the matainance is so high… One big reason I stopped dying. Red is my favorite but between how fast my hair grows and how fast red fades I couldn’t keep up with it time and finance wise.

          • BeatriceC

            I’ve considered letting the roots grow out and dying it rainbow colors. There are some advantages to white.

          • Dr Kitty

            We had a Pyreenean when I was little.
            Sweet, but dumb and stubborn.

            Jumped *through* plate glass windows because she was excited to greet people, more than once. Glass just bounced off her coat, so she didn’t injure herself.

            Would decide that a walk wasn’t over and would just turn around and walk away from the car, knowing that our choices were limited to “longer walk” or “dislocated shoulder”.

            Would sit beside the pram and guard the baby (back in the days when prays were too big to fit into shops and you had to leave them on the pavement).

            Kids loved her, we always had a crowd when mum would bring her to school for the walk home.

            My mum collected her winter coat and had a friend spin it into yarn. It wasn’t strong enough for a whole garment, but she made us sweaters with fluffy white accents (snowmen and snowflakes IIRC) which we loved.

            Great dog. Happy memories.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Oh they are stubborn as hell but so is the rest of my family so it works lol.

            Pyrs are my favorite breed. We had a mix when I was a kid that took after her Pyr side quite a bit. That dog never let anything happen to my sister and I. Or the cats. She was a thirteen year old, arthritis, slightly senile old dog when a rottie thought it would be a good idea to chase our cats. Dog broke her teacher, chase down the rottie to beat the hell out of it. Then came home and went back to the decrepit old dog look. I have massive arm and shoulder staying power from learning to anchor myself after she took me for drags instead of walks until I was twelve. No dog gets loose from me now!

            This one I adopted July 2014 was at the shelter for months after being dumped in the desert with another dog. She was so matted her coat came off in one piece after taking the horse clippers to it. Her side was full of foxtails so they had to put her under to get them all out.

            I wasn’t sure if I was going to get her when I saw her on the pet shelter Facebook page since I wasn’t sure if my husband would like her. It was good she was already mostly full grown because I didn’t have time for a puppy. Then I went and met her and there was no way I could leave her there. Out she came, rolled on her back and stared up at me with those big brown eyes and i could say no. So i brought my husband to convince him to get her. Out she came again, trotted over to him and then put her paws on his shoulders and gave him the most pathetic puppy eyes. Then he couldn’t say no. She has the sweetest personality of any dog I’ve have. I can’t believe someone just dumped her. She’s not naughty. She dug out of the yard a few times before we cemented those areas up but that’s just a pyr being a pyr. They’re programmed to roam and she was going to do it! She had a chewing problem at first but she only did it when she was inside and we were gone so it was a separation anxiety problem. Once we got her dog house built and made sure she stayed warm/cool she never had another shoe chewing episode.

            She adores kids and her ears perk up as soon as she hears a voice in that pitch range. The happiest I ever saw her was when about five six year olds asked if they could pet her at the park and they all hugged her at once.

            My favorite time was when I was walking her to the park near our house and this kid locked eyes on her from atop the play set and yelled at the top of her lungs “IS THAT A POLAR BEAR?!”

            She’s mine now and I’m not going to let anyone hurt her again. She’s got an insulated dog house in a big back yard that’s all hers for when we’re not home in the day and a warm bed to sleep in inside our bedroom at night. And her extra fur gets shoved down prarie dog and mole holes so they don’t come back. It’s a great deterant. Her fur has finally started filling out right after being shaved.

            …if it wasn’t obvious I love my big, fluffy doofus.

          • Dr Kitty

            Oh yeah, it’s a special breed alright!

            Ours would basically launch herself at hedges and fences until they gave way, roam for a mile or two and then come home.

            Also sat on a German Shepherd that tried to attack my sister. Like, just threw herself in front of it and when it bounced off her, sat on its head, let it up and walked back to us for treats.

            The funny thing is that my mother actually did a lot of research and wanted a *Bernese*, but my dad got the breed wrong and bought the wrong puppy…it worked out.

            I was four when we got her. I used to use her like a furry beanbag and lean against her to read. She was bigger than me.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Ha! My sister was a Bernese actually! That’s too funny!

            We got our pyr mix on accident too and I’m glad we did.

            And you gotta love how they know they can throw their considerable weight around to end conflicts. Sisters fighting? Sit on one of them. Another dog being obnoxious? Sit on it. Want to hide evidence of stealing food off the table? Lick up all the crumbs and sit on the bag.

            We got our mix when I was four too! I did the same thing with using her as a nice beanbag to lean on. We have so many pictures of my sister just lounging on her as a toddler. And that dog would do anything for my little sister.

            They have the goofiest personalities when they’re not being used as working dogs and have to be serious. But even then they working dogs have their moments.

            We had some guests over a while back when we first got the pyr I have now. One was a guy about 6’7″. Well Nailah thought this guy had the perfect sized lap and tried to crawl into it all sneaky like. Which because she’s a pyr isn’t sneaky at all. Thank goodness he thought it was cute…

          • Michelle Singleton

            Mumble thinks he’s a chihuahua and therefore a lapdog. His head is bigger than my lap.. His BFF is our bug guy. Larry will come to spray and Mumble will turn all “guard puppy”. Larry is the only person who isn’t family that has met Mumble and let’s him give hugs and actually takes the time to tell M he’s a good guard dog…
            Mumble’s hips are getting worse. Sadly because hip dysplasia is so common in Pyrs there is nothing we can do… Between the 2 of us, our family knows when the jet stream changes.

          • BeatriceC

            Both Jake (the 175lb St. Bernard/Japanese Akita mix) and Baxter (the 150lb Brazilian Mastiff) thought they were teeny tiny lap puppies. They didn’t understand that they were bigger than me. Well, Baxter weighed less, but he was taller when standing on his hind legs.

          • BeatriceC

            Reminds me of the dog I had in my teens and 20’s. He was a St. Bernard/Japanese Akita mix. 175 pounds of extremely loyal but sometimes stupid mutt. When my oldest was a toddler, and the dog was getting up there in years, the child somehow got out of the house without me noticing. It was one of those situations where there was a ton of family visiting and every adult thought some other adult was watching the child. Anyway, when I realized the child was not in the house, I went outside to find the dog “herding” the toddler back to the house. When the dog noticed me, he shot me this “what took you so long” look. Another time, when he was younger, he got going so fast when he heard my car coming down the drive that he couldn’t stop or change course once he realized he was on a collision course with my car. My car sported a St. Bernard skull sized dent for years. I shouldn’t laugh, but since he was fine, it’s funny.

          • Michelle Singleton

            We have a Pyr! We got him as a puppy 5 years ago after Superman died. His name is Mumble because my girls’ favorite movie at the time was Happy Feet.
            We have a pit named Idris (Bad Wolf!) lol We also have a basset/dachshund mix. His name is Abney after the steampunk band Abney Park.
            Then there’s the 6 cats. The 3rd one was the gateway to Full Crazy Cat Lady status… Cpt Jack O’Lantern Sparrow, Sholto, Kheldar (Kheldy), Bainsey, Verbena (Bean), and the last baby that showed up at the house starving on March 24th – ButterBeer (or ButtTurd when his gingerness makes him an ass..)…

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Awww! I love it when other people have a zoo like I did growing up. There’s certainly never a dull moment!

            Most of our cars are foundlings as well. We only have the two at my parents’ house now since the others have since passed away from age, autoimmune diseases or coyotes. Stupid coyotes… But the one we have left is my Dad’s that just showed up on our porch one day, emaciated and dehydrated. We usually chase stray cats off because they attract raccoons but my dad felt sorry for this one because he looked so lost and miserable. So I stopped chasing him off and finally caught him, brought him to Dad in his lazy boy, and dumped him in my dad’s lap. “Yours now!”

            Thank goodness we did take him in. He was so hungry and dehydrated that the vet said (we got him in immediately so he could get tested for FIV and such) he probably only had a couple days left in him if he was left to the wild. Poor cat basically slept for three days straight in an old banana chair. Had to wake him up to eat and drink.

            Now about seven years later he’s such a pampered little cry baby lol. Has to tell everyone about his day in the morning, gets to come and go as he pleases but usually just suns himself on the deck with the outside cat. And bawl when he needs a boost up to the bathroom counter to survey his domain. Best cat we’ve ever had. Doesn’t pee on stuff, claw up furniture, take swipes at people aiming for blood, or bite.

            We think he got loose from a tourist’s camper and got lost and they never found him or belonged to someone who passed away. No one ever came looking for him and he didn’t have a collar.

            And I love the name Mumble for a pyr! So cute! Does her try to herd your kids and cats around with his body? I loved that about our pyr. If we had to babysit a kid and when we were kids she knew where we weren’t supposed to be and she’d lean on us until we got the idea that we weren’t going in that direction as long as she had a say.

          • Michelle Singleton

            He doesn’t herd much. He’s more into thinking he’s actually a chihuahua and is a lap dog. When he does herd it’s only with one of my girls and he basically forms a horseshoe around her body with his. We’ve had him for 5 years and he’s done it since day 1. She’s basically his human. On a funny side note, his favorite people food are sour patch kids. The yellow ones. It’s hilarious to watch him eat them. He’s a gentle as can be. Like really gentle, until he gets into “I’m an itty bitty puppy” mode and jumps and runs through the house… We got him 3 weeks after Superman died. He was who the girls cried on, cuddled with, and talked to as they were dealing with their grief. The heart hurts that they couldn’t tell me, he heard.

          • Bombshellrisa

            I have a Samoyed and he thinks he knows when it’s time to stop brushing. Of course, once he realizes he is looking better, he struts around and shows off. Then watches tv, gets a chewy and sleeps on a handmade blanket in our room. The upkeep is hard but he is gorgeous.

          • Amazed

            Oh my, how do you keep him safe? The owners of a Samoyed nearby stopped taking him to the park because there are, like, 3 playgrounds and the poor thing was always surrounded by children who tried to pet him, hug him, push their hands into his mouth… I mean, one or two kids would be fine but that was a massive assault from all sides. Had he been mine, I would have put a “PROTECT ME FROM YOUR KIDS” sign straight on his chest.

          • Bombshellrisa

            It’s hard. We take him to the off leash dog park and he gets lots of attention despite the fact that we have a Samoyed group that meets there. We took him to Niagara Falls (Canadian side) on Victoria weekend when he was 12 weeks old. There were tons of people who stopped us and took pictures. He gets so annoyed getting a lot of attention. He is ok with attention if it comes from girls age 5-12 other than that he ignores people and dodges their hands.

          • BeatriceC

            I drove across the country with a Brazilian mastiff. I swear he was the most photographed dog in the world that week. Luckily, he wasn’t as bad as most in his breed about stranger anxiety. Quite the opposite, he took great offense if a passing stranger didn’t want to pet him. I miss that dog.

          • Bombshellrisa

            That must have been an awesome experience! I love all dogs, best friends I have ever had. There is a brother and sister Samoyed whose lives are chronicled on Facebook (Jamie Samoyed) and they are quite photogenic and know it. I have met them IRL and the girl is quite a princess. She can’t believe anyone wouldn’t want to hug her and isn’t immediately happy when they see her.

          • BeatriceC

            I should go look them up. I love all dogs, and Samoyeds are gorgeous, even though I clearly have a soft spot for the giant breeds. I know I don’t have any electronic photos of Jake, but I should hunt down some of the pictures of Baxter so everybody can see how gorgeous he was (no shameless self-promotion here. Not at all. 🙂 )

          • Bombshellrisa

            Mastiffs are a special kind of gorgeous!
            The breeder we got our Samoyed from was a labor and delivery nurse and she had us sign a contract prior to the birth of the puppies that had me terrified. She talked about every possible bad scenario and the likelyhood of them happening. No “nature is perfect” for her.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            It’s hilarious that after all the torture is done they know they look good and have to show everyone. Even the person inflicting the “torture” five minutes ago.

            My girl was so upset when she had to be shaved before being adopted out. She’d only wag her poor, shaved tail near the floor and wouldn’t curl it over her back. The absolute second longer fur had filled in on her tail, it was in everyone’s faces. “Look at my magnificent tail! Isn’t it glorious? Surely there has never been such a perfectly puffy tail as this!”

            She is very proud of it. Admittedly, it is quite pretty.

          • BeatriceC

            Not quite the same, but the Evil Attack Parrot ™ goes bananas when new feathers are trying to sprout. If we pinch the bud, they sprout more easily, but he hates it and tries to perform a home amputation of the offender’s phalanges. However, if you distract him with cheese, he forgives you instantly. The bird will do anything for cheese.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            I have never heard of a cheese eating bird but that sounds amazing.

            And the horrible torture they think we’re inflicting on them when really we’re just trying to help. Poor pets.

          • BeatriceC

            Yeah, it’s sad because they just don’t have the power of higher order thinking to understand that This Is Good For Them. But yeah, I’ve never heard of a cheese eating bird before this one, but it’s apparently not too uncommon. It’s really funny when he thinks you have cheese for him. He does the parrot happy dance on his perch hoping you’ll give it to him.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Parrot happy dances are the best. I don’t have the patience for a parrot but I do love seeing them. I have sound sensitivities and I was turned off to macaws after a friend’s pair just screamed all day. I don’t know how many times I nearly had a meltdown at her house.

            I think cockatiels are about as big as I go!

          • BeatriceC

            Macaws are notoriously loud. The Evil Attack Parrot ™, is a yellow nape Amazon, and is actually fairly quiet. He mutters under his breath a fair amount, but if you’re in a different room, you can’t hear him. Occasionally he sings the song of his people, but I’d say less than 20 minutes per week.

          • BeatriceC

            We don’t have dogs anymore, but I’d gladly trade lives with the Evil Attack Parrot ™. That bird is the most spoiled animal on the planet.

          • LibrarianSarah

            You throw someone’s infertility in their face and you are an atrocious human being. It doesn’t matter if you do it in an online comment or to their face. The only difference between the two is that everyone can see what a terrible person you are and call you out on it when you do it online.

      • Brooke

        Do I know you from Twitter? The PROBIT study shows that breastfeeding reduces instances of gastrointestinal infections. Now you tell me well that’s not a big deal because babies in the US don’t die from those.

        • Gatita

          That’s the only well-established benefit of breastfeeding study and no that’s not a big deal. Also, the number needed to treat is fairly high–25 babies have to be breastfed to prevent one case of GI illness.

          • Roadstergal

            And from what I understand, what counted as mammary-preventable GI illness wasn’t serious shite like rotavirus?

          • Gatita

            I did some googling and per the CDC and the Journal of Family Practice, BF doesn’t prevent rotavirus but it does make it less severe. Of course, you should be vaccinating against rotavirus anyway.

          • Roadstergal

            Totally – I was more thinking about the non-VPD GI illnesses it can mitigate – those are short-term non-lethal sorts?

          • Sarah

            Another issue is that we don’t have a reliable way of knowing how much of the GI illness in formula fed babies is caused by incorrect preparation and use.

        • AllieFoyle

          It’s not up to me to determine if it’s a big deal, but I suppose if I were considering breastfeeding I might find the difficulty not really worthwhile for a small reduction in GI infection risk. The long term benefits seem pretty minimal, while the personal cost of breastfeeding can be quite high.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Are you actually suggesting giving women accurate information and letting them make their own conclusions? Good heavens, if we don’t tell these women that breast feeding is the most important thing ever with no downsides at all, then they might not make the choices we want them to make. Can’t be having that now.

          • Brooke

            Funny how I’m asking for accurate information, as a breastfeeding parent and I’m mostly getting people’s bitchy attitudes.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Bexcuse they know you. They know full well that your “asking for accurate information ” is disingenuous

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Really? You find that bitchy? But when people take offends to you dismissing another woman’s opinion because she’s infertile, they’re just being overly sensitive.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Offense not offends. Damn autocorrect!

          • Megan

            Your own words:

            “Only if you’re completely insane and assume every comment is meant as an insult.”

            “For an online comment? Wow. Get yourself together.”

            “I said she didn’t have the privilege of receiving treatment in a hospital. whoa what an insult.”

            “Sensitive much?”

            Seems you’re much better at dishing criticism and dismissing others, not so good at taking other people’s “bitchy attitudes.” You told me I was free to ignore your comments if I didn’t like them. You’re free to do the same, yet here you are still whining.

          • momofone

            Seems to me you’re looking for information that confirms what you already believe to be true, not necessarily “accurate information.”

          • Brooke

            If that were the case why would I come here when I could just go to pro- breastfeeding blogs?

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Perhaps because you think you can prove everyone here wrong and then lord it over us. Good luck with that.

            If you were genuinely looking for information then I would expect your tone to be far less adversarial.

          • momofone

            I’m guessing because you like the payoff you get from coming here and being rude.

          • AllieFoyle

            If you’re sincerely just seeking information, why are you so hostile when people respond? You don’t seem interested in any of the studies that have been offered or discussing the literature as a whole. You offer your own experience as worth consideration, but dismiss the importance of what other women say about their own experiences. I’m not really sure what you’re trying to accomplish, but it doesn’t appear that you’re just looking for information.

          • Sarah

            The time to whine about bitchy attitudes was before you threw someone’s infertility in their face.

          • Brooke

            How can the “personal cost of breastfeeding be quite high” are you referring to the actual monetary cost or other possible costs? The PROBIT study was not intended to look at all the pros versus cons of breastfeeding over a long period of time but if promoting breastfeeding worked to help get women to initiate breastfeeding and continue breastfeeding long term. It was successful in that regard.

          • AllieFoyle

            Primarily I’m thinking of the time involved. Exclusively breastfeeding for six months and then continuing for an extended time, perhaps years, does take up a substantial amount of time — and I believe that women’s time has value. In order to make it work, a woman must either drop out of the workforce, reduce her hours, or pump while at work. Some women manage pumping at work, but it isn’t possible or desirable for others. I used to work in a male-dominated field, and I would not have felt comfortable pumping in my office, even with the door closed. Women did it, but it was not considered professional, and I think negatively affected their careers in subtle ways.

            I can’t imagine expecting a woman with a less secure job, long shifts, little privacy, or more hostile working environment to manage it. A lot of women are struggling to get by, and I think adding a huge extra pressure like exclusive breastfeeding is likely to be harmful.

            I worry a lot that maternal mental health is not well addressed, even though it is something that has been shown to have an important effect on developmental outcomes. Having only one person able to feed the baby contributes to sleep deprivation and keeps mom fairly tethered to baby — factors which I think contribute to depression. Mothers taking medications must also weigh the benefits and risks of discontinuing medications that they need but may be harmful to the baby. So many moms here have relayed the difficulty they had breastfeeding, and the pressure they felt to succeed no matter what. It seems like a common experience, but so unnecessary.

          • Brooke

            So…basically because breastfeeding isn’t widely supported in the workplace and we do not have the studies to know which medications are incompatible with breastfeeding, we shouldn’t promote breastfeeding so that businesses as a matter of public health change their attitudes and policies or so that more/better studies are done on medications and breastfeeding? That means that instead of women getting a choice to breastfeed their forced to formula feed by economic circumstances, not just now but forever and always?

            Also bottle fed babies wake just as often at night, so how is formula feeding a solution to sleepless nights?

          • Charybdis

            See, I think that they do have a choice, and they make a choice based on what will work best for them and the rest of their family. Many make a choice you don’t approve of and you don’t like that. This is not Burger King…you cannot “have it your way” all the time.

          • Brooke

            So by choosing to breastfeed which is a choice I made, I’m looking down on other mother’s who choose not to? Um no, trust me, when I was in the hospital with bleeding nipples and I had nothing to put on them because the hospital gave me lanolin which I’m allergic to I wasn’t thinking was “those freaking formula feeders, how dare they!” In fact you might be surprised by how little (OK never) formula feeding mothers come into my thoughts at all. Again no one is parenting at you and no one cares what choices you made.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            I breastfeed and I’m pretty sure no one here would think that I’m looking down on formula feeding mothers by doing so. And I don’t see anyone here claiming that you are looking down on anyone by breastfeeding.

            But there are many women out there who have been shamed for formula feeding. Just because you weren’t personally involved doesn’t mean that their experiences are invalid.

          • Charybdis

            Then why are you trying your damnedest to convince us that breastfeeding is *free* and *best*. Your attempt at non-judgemental tone is failing miserably. The formula feeders/bottle users of the world are having a hard time coexisting with the lactivists. We really and truly do not give a rat’s ass how you feed your baby, nor do we wish to hear about your trials and tribulations with breastfeeding, how hard it is and how you have persevered through bleeding nipples, thrush, latch issues, and how you breastfeed barefoot and uphill in the snow. Detach yourself from the Mommy Martyrdom cross and stop expecting accolades from the masses for feeding your baby.
            Feel smugly superior if you wish, but keep the self-congratulations to an internal monologue.

          • Gatita

            You’re the person who made snide comments on another thread about mothers who don’t breastfeed because they don’t want to ruin their boobs. And then you made that nasty crack directed at someone struggling with infertility. The hell you aren’t judging other women.

            Also, you do realize that there are many women here who breastfed, including Amy herself. In fact, based on comments it may be the majority of women here. Yet you’re the one getting a bug up her ass because folks here are calling out the overselling of BF benefits.

          • Montserrat Blanco

            Please, do not tell her that! She will be shocked that women that are currently breastfeeding/have breastfed are agaisnt her!!!! We should all be a lovely sisterhood!!!! What??? That “completely insane” woman spent months attached to a pump to breastfeed her son?????

          • fiftyfifty1

            “Also bottle fed babies wake just as often at night, so how is formula feeding a solution to sleepless nights?”

            Well it depends. First off, breastfed babies wake as seldom as bottlefed ones if, and only if, their mothers have abundant carrying capacities. For women with low supply and/or low carrying capacities, their babies will need to feed quite often at night, even after the newborn period. The other obvious factor is that lots of different people potentially can give a bottle (dad/partner, grandma, older sib, au pair, etc). But only mom can give the breast. So if a baby is feeding every 2 hours at night, mom must wake every 2 hours. But if bottle feeding, and grandma is visiting, and there is a dad/partner, then each adult gets at least a 6 hour uninterrupted stretch. Sweet, sweet, uninterrupted slumber. Ah……..

          • Brooke

            I guess I’m assuming that most parents would sleep in close proximity to their babies so mom would hear the baby scream anyways/or hear the same baby monitor that dad is listening to and wake up? Technically a breastfeeding mom could pump during her last two feeds of the night and have a bottle ready for someone else.

          • Sarah

            That’s an incorrect assumption then. It’s quite possible to sleep through the feed when the other parent’s on duty, and I’m a fairly light sleeper if anything. Also the key is not to leave them until they’re screaming. This, incidentally, is how the pumping mother you mention would also be able to get some more sleep. Assuming her supply can take it of course.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “most parents would sleep in close proximity to their babies so mom would hear the baby scream”

            Actually one way that works really well is if the baby sleeps close to the person who is due to get up next, NOT close to the person who is getting protected sleep. For instance the baby sleeps in a bassinet in grandma’s room rather than in mom’s room. But even in cases where the house is tiny so everyone can hear, the mother may wake for a second when the baby cries, but she can immediately fall back to sleep because she knows she is not “on” for another 6 hours.

            “a breastfeeding mom could pump during her last two feeds of the night and have a bottle ready for someone else.”

            Ha, once again you are assuming the woman has an abundant carrying capacity. Babies who need to feed every 2 hours often do so specifically because because their mothers *don’t* have a good carrying capacity. The mother doesn’t have the ability to pump extra during the last 2 feeds, because the baby is drinking all her milk at every feed.

          • Sarah

            Where are your studies showing that bottle fed babies wake just as much as night? There was one relating to 6-12 month olds recently, but of course the term ‘baby’ doesn’t just include people in that age range.

          • AllieFoyle

            I don’t know how you got from my comment to that, but realistically, breastfeeding does have a cost to women that is rarely accounted for in the scientific literature or public health promotion efforts. I am all for better family leave policies and supportive workplaces, but not specifically because they facilitate breastfeeding — more because they promote stronger parent-child relationships, reduce family stress, and support parental mental health. Maybe promoting breastfeeding would make sense if we lived in a world where it wasn’t an onerous or impractical proposition for so many women — but right now it absolutely is.

            As far as studies about medication safety, some do exist; others are hard to do for ethical or practical reasons, but my $0.02 is that women are pressured to breastfeed while on medications when there really isn’t adequate information about safety or long term consequences, and I just don’t think it makes sense in many cases given that the benefits of BF are so modest. And many mothers do not take beneficial or necessary medications in order to BF — I’m not sure that’s ideal either.

            I think sleep deprivation is a serious concern for new parents, and no, I don’t think having a breastfeeding mom pump more is a great solution.

          • Brooke

            Its not at all an ideal solution or even practical, but as a BFing mom my first child always slept 6 hours a night, my son wakes up every two hours but I actually don’t feel too sleep deprived because I seem to make up those hours by taking a nap (he’s three months so this should taper off soon).

            It wouldn’t be unethical to see how much medication was going through breastmilk, the beliefs that doctors previously had in regards to no medications/alcohol are changing. Obviously if someone is taking life saving medications they should continue doing so as opposed to breastfeeding. However that is not all or even most women.

            My issue is that the so called costs are exasperated by a lack of a supportive environment. We wouldn’t have the things we do today such as pumping rooms being required by ACA without the lactvists that this blog is so against.

          • AllieFoyle

            My kids were the reverse: a frequent waker (still wakes frequently and has trouble falling off to sleep even now), followed by a more solid sleeper. I stayed home because it seemed to be the right thing for us (and I could), but I was a zombie for a long time, and of course it was a financial hit and career setback. I can’t imagine how I would have been able to function if I’d been working then too. My life would have been breastfeed, drive, work, pump, work, drive, breastfeed, pump, breastfeed, no sleep, etc.

            I do agree that breastfeeding should be accepted and supported, but I think the pendulum has swung too far in terms of expecting women to exclusively BF for 6 months and then into toddlerhood, with no real understanding of or attempt to address the factors that make it difficult or undesirable. I see it as a sort of unfunded mandate for all mothers — society wants you to breastfeed, but is not at all concerned about how you’ll manage it financially, career-wise, physically, or psychologically.

            I think, as far as long term effects, our time and money is better spent promoting maternal mental health, positive child-caregiver relationships, and family stress reduction/financial stability. Breastfeeding is an easy target, but it just becomes one more stress we add to the plates of women trying their best to balance the demands of childrearing with the rest of life.

          • AllieFoyle

            RE: medications, it really isn’t easy to do those studies. There are ethical issues around giving medications that could be harmful, and especially so with infants, where any medication could potentially have unforeseen developmental effects. It’s also hard to tease apart the effects of the medication from prenatal exposures, genetics, consequences of the condition necessitating the medication, etc.

            I was encouraged to take medication through pregnancy and while breastfeeding, but after looking at the literature, I didn’t feel that the evidence was such that you could assume it was a totally benign thing to do. And this was a relatively common medication with a good safety profile. I see more and more, people are urging women to breastfeed while taking all sorts of drugs, when the effects on the baby are really not known. I just don’t see that it’s worth it when the benefits of BF are modest and FF is available. And of course, women choosing to go off desperately needed medications in order to breastfeed is a nightmare that can have very serious consequences.

          • Charybdis

            The personal cost can be quite high, in both the actual monetary sense and the personal costs. Formula was by far less expensive than my pump rental, storage bags, pump parts, collection bottles, flanges, pillows, nursing bras and attire, etc for the actual monetary side. Personally, it was MUCH higher. PPD, change of meds FOR the PPD, resenting my baby, wanting to slam him against the wall each time I had to feed him, loss of sleep, loss of bodily autonomy, feeling like a human pacifier, loathing the fact that I was the *only* person who could feed the baby, ever and hating my boob ornament. I would (and did) think the $30-35 dollars a week I spent on formula was well worth the switch. It was money better spent.

          • Brooke

            For you. That was money better spent for you. That doesn’t mean that most, many or all women had the same experience.

          • Charybdis

            True, and I have no problem accepting that. It’s those who are the “breastfeed at all costs” type, like yourself, that have trouble accepting other people’s choices if they do not match yours or mirror your own mindset back to you. You asked for clarification of the “personal cost of breastfeeding can be quite high” and I was responding to your plea for information. I may be on the far end of the “no breastfeeding for me” continuum, but I have no problem accepting that there will be the militant breastfeeders out there who will proudly walk around with a boob ornament for years. I think they are barking mad, but hey, whatever floats your boat. The rabid breastfeeders, however, do not extend the non-breastfeeders the same courtesy. They want to get all up in your jammy about why breastfeeding is *BEST* and if they harangue you enough, you will cave to their superior (ha) knowledge. They get louder and louder, shriller and shriller and damn near apoplectic if you do not agree with them and their agenda. I don’t agree, not by a long shot. But then, it is their body, their breasts and their kid. I can live and let live, but they apparently cannot bear to do the same.

          • Brooke

            Women are not breastfeeding to make you feel like shit because you had PPD and couldn’t or did not want to breastfeed or wake up all hours of the night to breastfeed your child. No one is saying that because you didn’t breastfeed your child you’re a shitty parent/mother or that you didn’t love your child or did not nurture your child in numerous other ways. You can categorize all women who breastfeed and encourage others to do so as ugly monsters that are silently judging you or you can try to accept the reality that were all just trying to do the best we can with the knowledge we have and the situations we have to deal with

          • Charybdis

            I don’t think I said that at all. I just said that different people make different choices and SOME of those who make the breastfeeding choice are not happy that others are making a different choice than they have, and they are the ones who tend to run on and on about the “miracle of breastmilk” and it’s AMAZING SUPERPOWERS. And yeah, I didn’t go out of my way to wave the bottle/formula feeding flag to anyone. I was, however, approached several different times by women who wished to *educate* me about the dangers of bottle feeding. So I think the vocal, in-your-face hubris of the lactivists edutacking (education + attacking) a bottle feeding mother is the more common scenario.

          • Sarah

            Actually, there are shitloads of people saying just that Brooke. Don’t get me wrong, I give no fucks, but if you’re going to tell women what other people think about them not breastfeeding, familiarise yourself with the landscape. You can start with The Alpha Parent.

          • Dinolindor

            Here’s what I don’t get too – so what if the breast is best folk do convince you that you made a grave mistake to use formula – well NOW WHAT? Are you going to spontaneously lactate again for your baby who is now older than a 3-day-old newborn? When your milk dried up weeks or months ago? (Similar to, well the C Section made it hard to establish breastfeeding, if only I didn’t cave to the epidural, if only I didn’t get induced, if only blah blah blah. Even if those things mattered when it comes to breastfeeding or any other care for a baby, what the hell can you do about it anyway? We’re in the here and now, and the baby is hungry. FEED THE BABY.)

          • fiftyfifty1

            Where does she ever claim that her experience is universal?! She specifically states it was HER experience. She uses the words “I”, “my” and “personally” for a combined 8 times. She uses the words “you” “every woman” and “Brooke” exactly zero times.

          • Brooke

            Right. But I was referring to in general terms if formula was more expensive financially and time wise. Remember I’m looking for statistical/scientific data here not personal anadotes.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “I was referring to in general terms if formula was more expensive financially and time wise. Remember I’m looking for statistical/scientific data here not personal anadotes.”

            What can you possibly mean by demanding “scientific data” that would show if formula is more expensive in “general terms”? LOL!!! That’s like demanding “scientific data” to show whether a ticket to Denver or a ticket to Atlanta is more expensive in “general terms”.

            (Hint: Which ticket is more expensive will depend on where an individual lives. Believe it or not, a ticket that is very expensive for Brooke may be inexpensive for fiftyfifty and vice versa. Did that blow your mind or what?)

          • PeggySue

            And whassan anadote?
            Sorry, sorry, the devil makes me ask these questions.

          • Who?

            I may die laughing.

            So much nonsense packed into only 4 lines.

          • Azuran

            You won’t find any statistical/scientific valid data on whether formula or breastfeeding is more expensive because it will vary immensely between women. There is no straight answer and a scientific study of which one is more expensive ‘on average’ would be totally useless.
            It will depend on how much formula you need, what brand you pick, where you buy it. How many accessories you need to breastfeed/bottle feed properly. (pillows, bottles, nipple shield, lactation consultant, tongue tie repair, pump etc), do you have paid maternity leave? how much do you earn? Do you need to pump at work? how many pump breaks do you need per day? Are you paid during those breaks? How much does it cost you in additional food to produce all this breast milk?

            Each woman needs to figure this out for herself.

          • Box of Salt

            It’s also going to be difficult to quantify scientifically the impact of lost career advancement opportunities and potential earnings, as these will also vary widely from woman to woman.

            A young woman earning low wages sacrifices less to taking time away from paid work to breastfeed than a woman who has put time and effort into establishing herself in a career.

            As you said, Azuran: each woman needs to figure out for herself for herself what it’s really worth.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Not to mention that the woman might be carrying the health insurance for the family with her job, while the income might be the less important part.

          • Sony2282

            Could you link us a study that says that breastfeeding IS preferable to formula feeding in the developed world? You come and demand from us but I don’t see you providing meta-analysis research for the opposite.

          • Azuran

            And that’s actually the whole point we are trying to make. We are not against breastfeeding. We totally support anyone who wants to breastfeed. We are simply saying the the actually benefits of breastfeeding are not worth shaming women who cannot or do not want to breastfeed.
            There are so many different things that will affect the outcome of your baby, breast milk will be a drop in the ocean. So women should be able to make whatever choice is better for them based on their personal need and experience without being shamed or being told that they are hurting their babies. Formula and breastmilk, either exclusive or in combo feeding, directly from the breast or pumped are all perfectly fine ways to feed your baby.
            We support feeding your baby.

          • Sarah

            Which is kind of the point. The personal cost of breastfeeding CAN be quite high. And it’s also possible that it ISN’T. Because different women have different experiences when it comes to the financial and physical impact. Duh.

          • AllieFoyle

            If only there was some research exploring this, instead of twelve million correlational studies showing associations between breastfeeding and everything under the sun, no matter how plausible.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “The PROBIT study was not intended to look at all the pros versus cons of breastfeeding over a long period of time but if promoting breastfeeding worked to help get women to initiate breastfeeding and continue breastfeeding long term.”

            What you say is false. The PROBIT study was NOT a study to see if they could get women to initiate or maintain breastfeeding. Pilot studies had already shown them that was possible. No, PROBIT was specifically designed to study breastfeeding over a long period of time for important outcomes such as obesity, asthma rates, IQ, etc. The most recent update was studying the cohorts at age 11, and it shows….that breastfeeding gets you a whole lot of not much. Overweight/obesity is actually MORE common in the breastfeeding group.

          • Brooke

            The PROBIT study released in JAMA that’s been repeatedly cited here does not include this cohort data so please provide a link.

          • Box of Salt

            Brooke,
            they’re continuing followup, for example:
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23471837
            The JAMA study linked in an earlier comment was analysis after the first year (baby’s life).

            This is why you need to become familiar with the body of research, not just a study here and there.

            Science is a process. Unless one manages to disprove a major hypothesis, there’s always more research which could be done.

          • KarenJJ

            Wow. 2 days later and she’s been so busy reading and analysing she’s not been back to update everyone on her findings. Brooke sure is a busy person.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Brooke, you claim you educated yourself on breastfeeding but you haven’t even read the PROBIT papers? You can’t even FIND the papers?! These papers (including the initial study and all follow up studies) have been repeatedly discussed and linked on this blog. I’ll give you a clue. The paper’s author is KRAMER, the study is PROBIT. Put those 2 words into Google and you will find the original and all the follow up papers.

          • Brooke

            Provide a link. I’m not downloading a dozen PDF files to figure out which paper you’re referring to.

          • Melissaxxxx

            Didn’t you ever get taught manners? PLEASE and THANKYOU are typical when you demand others to do work for you

          • fiftyfifty1

            Oh, it doesn’t matter how polite she gets with me. I’m not giving her the link because I want it to be obvious to anyone who reads this what an incapable poser she is. She wants us to believe she is educated on the literature, but she had never even heard of PROBIT before coming here, and she can’t even find it when given the key word, journal name and author. The first 3 installments (2001, 2008, 2014) are widely cited throughout the literature, but she’s helpless to even find them. What a scholar!

          • Brooke

            No one is “doing work for me” if you make a assertion it’s considered PART OF THE JOB to cite your sources.

          • Sarah

            And yet you seem to consider it optional. We’ve had nothing from you about the 5% section rate. Nor any evidence that formula fed babies per se wake up as often as breastfed babies per se (as opposed to simply those aged 6-12 months as per the recent Swansea research, which you didn’t even bother linking to either). If you think proving your assertions is part of the job, why don’t you start doing it?

          • Charybdis

            So what’s keeping you from citing your sources?

          • Sarah

            Doesn’t have any.

          • Who?

            Like the downloading is the tricky part.

            You’d then have to read them, understand them, and think about them.

            Not areas in which you’re strong, I’m guessing.

          • Brooke

            You do realize that its part of any high school biology class to learn how to read and analyse studies right? Why people act like this is sacred knowledge written in Sanskrit or something is beyond me.

          • momofone

            Then why are you refusing to do it unless someone presents you with a bound copy? You’ve been given author, name of study, and journal. What else do you need?

          • Azuran

            Because regardless of whether or not it was thought in high school biology class or not (it wasn’t in mine) the majority of people do not have idea idea how to read a study. It’s not ‘sacred’ knowledge, but it’s not ‘general knowledge’ either.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “You do realize that its part of any high school biology class to learn how to read and analyse studies right?”

            Ha ha ha ha! You have got to be kidding! You think that if you take high school biology you are competent to analyse studies?! Yep, and high school is where you learn to drive and so I guess that means you’re ready for the Indy 500.

            Oh do I ever wish there were an annual Dunning Kruger award ceremony!

          • Who?

            Well if you’ve been to high school you should also know that showing some initiative, and being prepared to back your own statements, is considered part of the class.

            So do link to some studies that show why 5% is the optimum cs rate, and how breastfed kids are healthier, glossier and more loved than others.

            Or whatever it is you’re claiming this morning.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Oh yes, this is the person who claimed that the c section rate should be 5%, told everyone to google it when they asked for the source of that figure (no one asked to be spoon fed the direct link, we just couldn’t figure out where the hell it came from), and then made vague allusions to WHO. When it was pointed out that WHO don’t endorse a 5% c section rate she finally said it was based off the c section rate in 1974 or some such random year.

            I’m not sure if this is major cognitive dissonance. Or perhaps that experience has inspired Brooke to take asking for sources to an extreme because she thinks that she can “win” the conversation that way. Doesn’t seem to be working out for her.

          • Who?

            It must be hard to move out of an environment where people always agree with you, into one where people who don’t agree, challenge.

            Learning to manage yourself while being challenged can be really difficult, particularly if there isn’t the training or experience or even temperament there to understand that being challenged isn’t the end of the world. Many of us learn by being challenged, hopefully before we do too much harm in the world.

            Graciously acknowledging error/misunderstanding or misinterpretation-all of which Brooke had shared with us over the last few days-is another step.

            Much easier for her if we are alternately ‘wrong’, ‘mean’ or otherwise in need of her life lessons but unable to take them in.

          • Montserrat Blanco

            “its part of any high school biology class to learn how to read and analyse studies right?”

            I do not know your high school. Mine certainly did not have months of useful lessons on clinical trials design, clinical trials results analysis, advanced statistics and how to critically read a scientific paper.

            And yes, I have received months of lessons on those topics both during my medical degree and for years after, I have worked in some of those topics even!

            And I still do not think I am a worldclass expert on this.

          • demodocus

            You must have had some high school. Mine didn’t do this either.

          • Box of Salt

            Brooke,
            you do realize that scientific papers are not usually written at a 9th grade (the grade we took biology back when I was in high school) reading level, right?

            Here’s a suggestion: stop posting about how easy it is understand scientific research, and try reading some.

            Pick any of the links already posted on this thread – some of them are actually available for free – and, re-linking it, report back to us what you think it demonstrates.

          • Charybdis

            So you had a problem with high school biology, then? Did you ask the other kids to do your research and take your tests for you as well?

          • Sarah

            I think you don’t realise that people think you’re not capable of high school level biology…

          • Sue

            Wow – the ignorance is astounding! I am a medical specialist who has published researsch, evaluated original research for awards, assessed trainees’research and who reviews for medical journals. I still have to attend formal training at least yearly to keep up my critical review skills.

            And yet “Brooke” can master it all in high school?

            What did I do wrong? Oh, I know. Insight. Gets me every time.

          • PrimaryCareDoc

            Seriously. We had multiple classes in med school in how to read and evaluated studies. And I STILL review this info and the EBM Toolbox on a regular basis.

          • momofone

            “Provide a link.” Does this usually work for you? You’re the one who wants the study, you get the link!

          • Brooke

            You cannot cite a study without a supporting link. That’s not how life works.

          • momofone

            While I am deeply grateful for your life lesson, I think you may have a few to learn about how this works. And they include looking things up for yourself.

          • yugaya

            We need a download doula for Brooke. 🙂

          • Anne Catherine

            Again –I’m late to this discussion—-

            But here are some links to the probit study:

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18310164
            “we found no evidence of risks or benefits of prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding for child and maternal behavior.”

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18065591
            ,”…. yet it (breastfeeding) did not reduce the measures of adiposity, increase stature, or reduce blood pressure at age 6.5 y in the experimental group”

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17855282
            “These results do not support a protective effect of prolonged and exclusive breast feeding on asthma or allergy”

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24639438
            “intervention to promote breastfeeding slightly widened socioeconomic inequalities in breastfeeding but not those in child cognitive ability”

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17878730
            “provide no evidence of beneficial or harmful effects of prolonged and exclusive breast-feeding on dental caries at early school age.

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18458209
            ‘strong evidence that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding improves children’s cognitive development.”

            (I really don’t agree with the last result, but the PROBIT trial did conclude the BF improved IQ.)

            Here’s a new one out of Harvard on IQ
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26651091

          • swbarnes2

            See this reply to that second-to-last last one…partial quote

            “First, it is not supported by the other effects, which are all much smaller and have confidence intervals that include zero (ie, no impact). It is not even consistent with the other measures of verbal ability. The difference in verbal IQ estimated from the audit (quality control) sample is only 2.8, less than a fifth of a standard deviation, and the difference in teacher ratings for reading and writing are both around a 10th of a standard deviation. In all 3 cases, the confidence intervals include zero. In short, the study as a whole gives little support for an effect of breastfeeding.

            Second, there could be an important effect of language. The IQ test was administered in Russian, but for some children, Russian was not their first language. Some spoke Belarusian at home and others, Polish. Moreover, a large proportion of these children will have been of preschool age (preschool children being the largest component of the difference in sample size between the main results and the teacher ratings). The validity of a verbal IQ test administered in a second language to preschool children is questionable at best.

            Third, the effect of language may have compounded problems with bias. Those administering the test could have made differential allowance for Russian not being the first language. It is worth recalling that the main assessments were not blind; the assessors were the same pediatricians who delivered the intervention. The audit results, in contrast, were blind and the teacher ratings were likely to have been effectively blind. This might explain why the verbal IQ difference reduces dramatically between the main assessment and the audit result but the performance IQ does not.

            In summary, this study found a range of different effect sizes. Only the largest of these offers support for the authors’ conclusion, but this is also the least credible finding. The teacher ratings are the most credible, as they are less clustered and less likely to be affected by rater biases and by language differences. The effects suggested by these are very small (equivalent to between 1-1.5 IQ points), and all their confidence intervals include zero. Contrary to the authors’ assertion, the study offers little support for an effect of breastfeeding on IQ.”

            http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=482895

          • Anne Catherine

            Thanks for the information—-I had not seen this publication….I’ll put this on my list!

          • yugaya

            “How can the “personal cost of breastfeeding be quite high” are you referring to the actual monetary cost or other possible costs?”

            Breastfeeding is the cheaper option only if you place no value at all on a woman’s time and efforts. Breastfeeding can often be the more expensive choice when you factor in things like loss of income due to accepting lower paid job that will accommodate it.

    • moto_librarian

      Oh Brooke, still dropping by and demanding to be spoon-fed information? You might try using the search box for this blog.

      • Brooke

        Why don’t you do that yourself? You won’t find any blog post referencing a study supporting this claim.

        • moto_librarian

          Are you unable to click on the links that Dr. Amy provides to the actual research studies that she discusses? Here’s a link to the PROBIT Study (which took me all of 5 seconds to find on Google): http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=193490

          Instead of acting like a spoiled child, actually read some of the stuff people have suggested and then try engaging with the other commenters. If you’re just going to come here and behave like an ass, why not find somewhere else to go?

          • Brooke

            Maybe you should try actually READING studies before you post them? “Our experimental intervention increased the duration and degree (exclusivity) of breastfeeding and decreased the risk of gastrointestinal tract infection and atopic eczema in the first year of life. These results provide a solid scientific underpinning for future interventions to promote breastfeeding.”

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            If anecdata is all that matters well here’s my n=1.

            Between my little sister and I, I was breastfed and she was formula fed. I had bottles but it was expressed breast milk if I remember right.

            Still had and still have issues with eczema along with other skin and scalp issues. My sister on the other hand has practically flawless skin.

            Genetics trumped breastfeeding and formula feeding in this case. My dad has terrible eczema, especially on his scalp. He’s had it all his life and we can tell when he’s especially stressed or he’s in a great deal of pain because it flares up terribly with some angry looking red patches instead of just the flaking and itching.

            Sometimes no matter what you do, you can’t fix what nature gave you with behavior modification and diet. My poor thirteen year old cousin has triglycerides and LDL levels off the scale. He’s always eaten well and participates heavily in tae kwon do. He’s also homozygous for familial hypercholesterolemia. So he’s been on statins since he was nine. He can’t fix that with diet and excersize even if he ran until he dropped from exhaustion. His body just can’t process cholesterol properly. Even on a vegan diet he’d still be in the risky high levels.

            Sometimes you drawn the short straw on genetics and there’s nothing you can do about it if the gene is on and already turned up as high as it can go when you’re born. Shaming people over things they can’t control (inadequate breast tissue, hormone disorders) doesn’t help anyone.

          • Poogles

            No one has claimed that there are absolutely NO benefits to breastmilk – only that they are slight. So, yes, posting a study that found a small decrease in things like gastrointestinal illnesses is completely in line with what commenters here have been claiming. Maybe you’re the one who needs to work on their reading?

          • Anne Catherine

            Really, there isn’t anything recent to support the breastfeeding/eczema reduction link. The PROBIT study was from 2007. I know I posted some of these studies above but here are some recent studies on BF and eczema. Some studies actually find an increase in eczema with breastfeeding….

            Personally, I think that exclusive breastfeeding and no solids post 6 months isn’t the best idea –not enough gut-diveristy might make for more atopic conditions– But that’s just my theory….

            Eczema
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25845445 2015 A

            http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/12/3/2501 2015

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25622761 2015

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21883137 2014
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24342028 2013

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24342028 2013 .
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24313809 2013
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23083457 2012
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22822349
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20236698 2010

        • Poogles

          “Could you please provide a source for your assertion that breastfeeding is only minimally better than formula feeding?”
          “You won’t find any blog post referencing a study supporting this claim. ”

          Oh really? I typed “breastfeeding siblings” in the search box for this blog and the 1st result is:
          http://www.skepticalob.com/2014/02/hold-the-guil-new-study-finds-benefits-of-breastfeeding-dramatically-overstated.html

          And in that blog post Dr. Amy links to the study (as she usually does): http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953614000549

    • Anne Catherine

      Hi Brooke,

      I’m kind of late in replying to this. Sorry!!

      I have spent quite a bit of time looking at studies about breastfeeding’s benefits. Really–at best the studies are inconclusive–and most studies do not find much of a difference between breastfed babies and formula fed ones, when variables (income education etc) are taken into account. If you fact check any BF publication/website you will be suprised –the references are pretty weak on the benefits

      I hate to take up so much space, but I will since this post is a little older.

      I’m not saying breastfeeding is bad–many women really enjoy it and it can be convenient and free–but only if it works well… It can help with GI issues in infancy and it is definitely helpful in 3rd world countries with questionable water supplies.

      Sibling study –found no difference in siblings except for more asthma in BF subjects
      http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/sibbreast.htm

      WHO report (found some associations, but not causal relationships)
      http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/79198/1/9789241505307_eng.pdf?ua=1

      More studies….
      Obesity
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25894857 2015
      http://link.springer.com/journal/13679#page-1 2015
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25291239 2014
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24170411 2013
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22924637 2012

      Diabetes
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26202843 2015
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22837371 2012
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20852257 2010
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20507546
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19183310

      Cancer
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24083735 2013
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16263987
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15986434 2005
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16052219 2005

      Eczema
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25845445 2015
      http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/12/3/2501 2015
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25622761 2015
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21883137 2014

      Asthma
      http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/sibbreast.htm 2014 (asthma, obesity, IQ)
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22373843 2012
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24298900 2014
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21980940 2011
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18769191 2008 Breastfeeding and allergies (and asthma): Time for a change in paradigm?

      • Gatita

        This is excellent! Saving this for future reference.

  • AirPlant

    I have always kind of had a feeling that our society accepts so many different acceptable ways to be a man but can only stomach one or two paths to acceptable womanhood. Men can be engineers or doctors, or construction workers, but all women will be most fulfilled by being a SAHM. Men can be handsome or not, stylish or not, charismatic or not and still be considered acceptable by society, but women need to be all three in a very narrow window of what each of those things entails or they ace castigated as not trying hard enough.
    It makes sense that motherhood would be no different. If we can’t accept that individual women are not a monolith and in fact have individual wants and needs, then we cannot accept that mothering would come differently to different women.

    • Madtowngirl

      Agreed. I used to work, but am now a SAHM. It was my own decision. The job I was working at would never have paid our bills, and it would barely have covered day care costs in my area. Not to mention, I was already at the top of the ladder, so it was already a dead end. In the end, it was the right decision for my family (although I somewhat regret it, since my husband was laid off last week).

      But when I started sharing that I had made this decision, I was quite appalled by the reactions of people. The number of, “I’m so glad you can stay home/it’s sad that other people pay others to raise their children/that’s what God intended” comments I got were incredible. Had I really loved my job, or had it made financial sense for me to stay, I would have continued working. There’s no one right path for fulfillment, but some people sure as hell try to make us think there is!

      • BeatriceC

        I get the trope that a “real feminist” wouldn’t want to stay home. I kinda thought the point of feminism was to allow me to make the decisions that were best for me and my family, within the specific needs and circumstances of my life. I was a single working mother for a long time before I met MrC, but now that I don’t absolutely have to work, I like the fact that I can stay home. Two of the three boys have major medical issues (genetic bone disease inherited from the first MrC), so for me, it’s nicer to be able to stay home and manage the household and medical stuff. But apparently I’m not a real feminist since I don’t work outside the home.

        • Kelly

          I have done both and I have gotten both sides of the comments. I enjoy staying home and I feel like I am living my dream. I am still taking a class to renew my license just in case though. I am a realist and know that dreams and life changes.

        • The point is, all of our choices are subject to scrutiny, and none of them can ever be “right.” Ugh.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          *gasp* The next thing you’ll know, you’ll be saying that (horrors!) different families are different, what works for one might not work as well for another, and that part of a parent’s job is figuring out what works best for a given family unit at a given time and doing it.
          Madness, I tell you! Madness!
          /sarcasm, needless to say

  • BeatriceC

    I recall getting told by a random stranger in Walmart that it was obvious I didn’t love my kid since he was eating from a bottle. Never mind that the kid had just spent 6 months in the NICU fighting for his life, that I’d tried, but he never learned to latch property, and that he was eating expressed breast milk from that bottle (supply was most definitely not one of my problems), but the fact that the bottle existed was definitive proof I didn’t love my kid.

    • Burgundy

      wow, what a big jerk!

    • demodocus

      Ugh. Someone needs to learn manners at the very least. Glad your boy’s well enough to go to walmart, though. 🙂

      • BeatriceC

        That boy is 13 these days. 🙂 He does have some health problems; some related to prematurity, but most having to do with a genetic bone disease inherited from his father. The old adage “boys will be boys” still applies, even when they use wheelchairs. This is the child that invented the now-banned-in-my-home sport of wheelchair jousting.

        • Kelly

          I’m sorry the image in my head of that is hilarious.

          • BeatriceC

            It is hilarious, albeit rather dangerous. Wheelchair Jousting, for the record, is when you take a cane/broomstick/etc and use zip ties or something similar to attach it to your chair. Then you back up to one end of the longest hallway in the house and propel your chair forward as fast as you can while aiming for one of your brothers in an attempt to mow him down. Given that the longest hallway in my house has stairs at one end, not to mention the other dangers of ramming into your brothers with a stick, the sport is banned. Gotta give him credit for creativity though.

          • Kelly

            It reminds me of my three brothers growing up. I wonder how they ever survived childhood.

          • BeatriceC

            There are days when I wonder if these boys will survive to adulthood. The last time nobody in my house was sporting a cast was early June. Middle kid decided to test the theory of human flight using a very steep hill and a skateboard, then oldest and youngest have had surgery to correct skeletal deformities. Those weren’t their faults, but oldest is having some trouble healing because he’s done things like fight back when somebody tired to steal his wallet, forgetting that his dominant arm was being held together with pins and plates, and falling through the benches in the bleachers at his school football stadium. We might have to go back in for bone graft surgery as the ends simply aren’t healing, possibly due to things beyond his control, but also possibly due to the fact that he makes the standard teenage idiotic decisions.

          • Mel

            I’ve read your comments to my husband who is nodding along happily because it sounds like stuff he and his brothers used to pull. In fact, he’s a bit sad that they never tried bicycle jousting which is the closest equivalent to wheelchair jousting he can think of…

          • BeatriceC

            MrC just rolls his eyes. He’s a lab scientist and rather stereotypical of the breed, so his crazy stunts involve blowing things up and not physical stunts, so he just doesn’t get that part of it.

          • demodocus

            My boy turned 2 last month and he’s already done some alarming things. Case in point, I just saw him jump off something for the first time. Not tall, but it won’t be long…

          • Amazed

            Jumping off the upper bed was a favourite activity in our room as well! The Intruder and I, and all of our young guests… we competed who’d end up farthest off the bed. The neighbours below didn’t like us very much… wonder why that was.

            When the Intruder was 2, my parents removed the ladder so he could not climb up there. I didn’t need it so it was all peachy… until he discovered the wonders of the chair sitting against the wall, next to the lower bed. Climb on it, climb on its back, swing a foot in the air, and up you are! Just like Big Sis!

          • demodocus

            I never used the ladder either, lol.

          • Amazed

            I had the bad habit of lying on the lower bed and kicking up the mattress of the upper one while reading. You can guess what took place one day. As they say, the Lord protects mentally ill and children… He must have loved me that day. I came off unscathed.

          • AirPlant

            That happened to my brother and I and I was on the top bunk. It was late and my brother liked to scare me by lifting up the mattress and then dropping me and that time he pushed so hard that the whole top bunk came unlatched and fell down. Our parents came running in terrified and then the terror turned into rage and it never happened again.

          • demodocus

            Boy child managed to pull my dresser over last week. Scared the crap out of himself, but not so much as a scuff mark on him. His father was dressing and couldn’t actually tell what shortstuff was up to.
            Been scaring him off the bookcases ever since with the memory, though.

          • BeatriceC

            Just wait. It’ll happen. I had to rescue middle kid off the roof of the house when he was two. That was also the last time my father was allowed to babysit.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Mine will be 2 in a couple weeks and jumping off things is common. I told my husband today that I am terrified of next big thing he does. He figured out how to unlock and open the front door today from the inside, I know it only gets scarier from here.

          • Kelly

            At one point I had two brothers in a cast at a time. One kicked a rock when he meant to kick a soccer ball in anger and the other one had a rock hit his growth plate. Later on that year my third brother fell down the stairs and broke his knee and sprained the other one. The best part is that I was the one who was into sports and I have never broken a bone or had a major injury. They just did so many stupid things. Maybe this is the point at which I am thankful I only have girls.

          • BeatriceC

            For ten years my primary, full time job was middle school math teacher (and adjunct community college professor…I would later leave teaching for the corporate world, and then leave the workforce entirely). Anyway, there were days when my boys were little that I would come home and thank them for being male. Boys might do some stupid things as far as taking physical risks, but girls have a tendency to use emotional warfare against each other. Generalizing here, of course, but the trends are pretty strong. While I don’t think the problems that are typical of girls vs boys are worse for one gender or the other, I think my temperament is far better suited to raising boys.

          • Kelly

            I agree. I was going to add that girls bring their unique set of problems. I grew up with four brothers and so I really feel like I have no idea how to deal with girls or sisters or girl stuff in general although I am female. I try to not be involved in drama and so maybe I am suited to be the mother of girls. I don’t know, it scared me pretty badly when we found out we were having our second girl and our third girl but now I think it would be weird to have a boy. I just thought I was suited to have boys since I had brothers and was a tom boy.

          • Dr Kitty

            I have sisters, my husband has sisters and # 1 is a girly girl who likes music and arts and crafts and can happily and safely entertain herself for hours.

            #2 isn’t even four months old and already his favourite activities involve being shaken, bounced or thrown, the rougher the better (within reason).

            I don’t think I’m ready for this.

          • Amazed

            I was a bit of a tomboy. My grandmother still remembers the day she looked at me and saw that my previously white T-shirt was now red with blood because I had climbed a tree in the garden after a rain, slipped and cut myself quite badly on a few nails. Of course, I didn’t inform anyone because I had been forbidden to go there. I still have scars on my fingers. But I also liked to make tea for my dolls. I loved walking the Teddy Kitty and the Intruder together in my doll pram. I also made tea for Furry Bear (NOT a teddy bear at all!)

            When Furry arrived at our house, the Intruder was exactly 2 year old (and not a day older!) He was thrilled… until Furry started roaring. Thus, Furry went to the cabinet and sometimes, when the Intruder was feeling particularly brave, we took Furry out so they could wrestle.

            Yeah. Go wrestle with a bear that you’re deadly afraid of. Boys will be boys.

          • BeatriceC

            Several months ago the oldest walked into the house and in a completely bored and uninterested tone informed me that he needed a new case for his phone. When I asked why he informed me just as nonchalantly that he’d been hit by a pick up truck while crossing the street (truck ran the red light…security footage shows the kid had the right of way), and that the phone was fine but the case was in a couple pieces. He didn’t quite understand why I didn’t really care about the phone at that point. He was fine, for the record. His orthopedist read him the riot act, but honestly there was nothing he could have done to prevent what happened. As an aside, I’ll shamelessly plug OtterBox smart phone cases at this point. While the case did indeed break into several pieces, the $600 iPhone inside came through without a scratch. Anyway, the point being that boys don’t seem to have the same danger filter as girls do. It never dawned on the kid that maybe he should make sure that *he* was fine. Ugh.

          • FrequentFlyer

            I often wonder the same thing about my boys. It has been a few months since our last trip to the ER so I’m afraid we might be due. I shudder to think what hair brained stunts they will try over their Christmas break.:)

          • BeatriceC

            The single best piece of advise I got for raising boys: You can’t tell them not to swing on the rope. Instead, tell them to tie a knot in the rope so they have a more stable place to grab onto. Generalizing from there, this philosophy has served me well.

          • Mishimoo

            Or in my case, tying the rope more securely. No broken arms from an impromptu flying lesson, but my brother did test the hardness of his head against the strength of a pole.

        • demodocus

          lol, yeah, I may have seen that one. Especially fun when one of the participants is visually impaired. Dorm halls are pretty durable, thankfully

          • BeatriceC

            Oh, dear FSM, I don’t even want to know how crazy it gets if you add visual impairment to the mix!

        • namaste863

          Hell, can I try wheelchair jousting? That sounds awesome!

          • BeatriceC

            Only if you relieve me of any and all liability for any death or dismemberment that might happen. Or any other injury.

          • namaste863

            Done! I’ll add it to my bucket list, right along with the emergency evacuation slides on planes!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Death, dismemberment, accidental demolishing of one’s house…

          • BeatriceC

            Yeah, that too.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Wheelchair jousting?!?!
          He sounds as though he must be related to my DH’s family. Of course, that was the bunch (six boys, all pretty close in age) who developed the “space program” involving various toys tied to actual, ‘splodey fireworks. *groans dismally*

          • BeatriceC

            Oh, now I might have thought of that, but one of my dad’s hobbies was shooting professional fireworks displays for one of the largest companies in the US. We were playing with really big “‘splody” things by the time we were in elementary school. The little stuff didn’t hold much allure. On the other hand, have I ever told you about the time my father blew up my teddy bear?

    • Claire

      Always some nutter at Walmart.

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      What is with random strangers making pronouncements about other peoples kids?
      OT For some reason this discussion reminds me of a part of the movie Away we Go with Maya Rudolph. Her character is pregnant and she and the baby’s father are traveling around the U.S. trying to find the perfect place to raise a family. They stop to visit the husband’s old college friend as she is a professor in a college town, just to see what life there is like. The old friend has a toddler and a new baby and I think the couple brought an stroller as a baby gift. Well the old friend is an AP mom and the visit gets very interesting from there “you can’t use a stroller! you are pushing your baby away!” Maggie Gyllenhaal plays the old friend and she was awesome.

      • BeatriceC

        Didn’t you know that the second you get pregnant every decision you make is open for criticism? This lasts until your grandchildren are born, apparently.

        • nomofear

          Oh no! Then you get to tell your children what they should do with your grands!

          • BeatriceC

            So far the only discussion I’ve had with my boys about potential future grands is an ethics discussion about IVF and pre-implantation genetic screening for the bone disease that they have. It’s dominant gene, so the non-affected child doesn’t have to worry about passing it down, but the two who have the disease have a 50% chance of of passing it to each child they have. I’ve told them they “should” search their hearts and decide what’s best for them and their future spouses.

        • Then your grandchildren begin to criticize your parenting choices and those of their parents. I can still remember my mother catching me reading Dr Spock when I was a child “in order to discover if they were raising me properly”.

          • Amazed

            Antigonos for the win! Antigonos wins the internet!

      • Poogles

        “I think the couple brought an stroller as a baby gift.”

        Yes. Hilariously, they buy her the stroller because when they ask a mother pushing her baby in a stroller on the campus for directions to LN’s (yes, LN, as in “Ellen”) office, she says “Yeah. She’ll be the mom without the stroller” in a tone that makes it clear there is some history/friction there. They assume that LN must not be able to afford a stroller or something, if she doesn’t have one, so they buy one to be kind, not realizing it’s a “thing” to not use strollers. LN has a pearl-clutching moment where she looks like she’s going to faint until they remove the stroller not only from her sight but from her home, “I looove my babies! Why would I want to PUSH them away from me?!”

        The LN scenes are by far my favorite parts of the movie, lol.

        • Roadstergal

          I might have to see this. I’ve generally liked Maggie Gyllenhaal in movies…

          • Daleth

            It’s hilarious.

    • StephanieA

      Dear god how rude! I think I may have gotten lucky that no one commented on my bottle feeding my son (with formula). The people who did give me a hard time were nurses and a doctor at the hospital he was born at. No one else seemed to bat an eye.

    • Megan

      I had a random stranger chastise me for giving a bottle in a restaurant too. I was so flabbergasted I didn’t know what to say. There was formula in my bottle so I had no “defense.” I hope you thought on your feet better than I did and gave them the finger! People truly need to get a life!!

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        “Is that at least breastmilk in there?”
        “No, it’s a White Russian.”
        “Why, would you like some?:
        In tones of polite regret, “I’m so sorry; I only brought enough for baby. I hadn’t realized anyone else would like some.”
        I am a bad, bad person, and one who has developed an even lesser tolerance for fools over the two years of parenthood I now have under my belt, so take all that with a grain of salt. 😉

      • BeatriceC

        Thing is, you don’t really need a defense, but yet we’re all prone to doing it. Even in my post I can see where I’m “defending” the bottle by saying it had breast milk in it. But you know what? It doesn’t bloody matter what’s in it as long as the kid is receiving adequate nutrition. As for my response, I was stunned silent, though the icy glare and complete silence did take the wind out of her sails, so maybe that was the best response.

        • Roadstergal

          I’ve mentioned this before, but I remember being at a breakfast before a work offsite, and one of my co-workers mentioned something about one of her babies being fine on regular formula, and the other needing soy. I realized this was the only time I had ever heard a woman talk about using formula without an immediately tacked-on explanation/excuse as to why.

          This woman does not typically take any sort of shit from anyone, but it’s sad that it’s an n=1 in my experience.

    • Allie P

      What a sad, angry person that stranger must be, to say something like that. Bless her heart.

      • BeatriceC

        Yeah, that was pretty much my response once I had time to think about it. In the moment I had no response other than an icy glare and complete silence.

    • Bombshellrisa

      I hate it when strangers think my choices are a democracy and they get to have a say.

  • Roadstergal

    Isn’t it funny that there’s a strong degree of overlap between the ‘you can’t tell me what’s best for me and my family’ anti-vaccinationists and ‘bottle-feeding is abuse, we should shame all women into EBF’ lactivists?

    And it does all come down to increasing women’s ‘quantity’ time, which is, as Dr T notes, a way of controlling women. That woman who let her kids get pertussis expressed it best, with her sneering comment that only women who drug their kids get sleep.

    • LaMont

      Oh god that article almost made me cry at my desk at work. The logical leap of “caring for someone when they’re sick is a loving thing to do” all the way to “preventing/curing the illness cuts down on my chances to be loving” just seems like Munschausen’s by Proxy. God I hope that legal proceedings are still in the works for those poor kids.

    • Madtowngirl

      It is, and I’m always amazed by the cognitive dissonance in these people. “Don’t tell me what to do, but how dare you make a choice I disagree with!”

    • LizzieSt

      Yep, that’s one of my favorites. From one corner of the mouth, “How dare you tell me to follow the recommended vaccination schedule, you pro-vaccine zealot.” From the other corner “You have to breastfeed or your kid will be fat and sick and dumb, you terrible mother!”

    • Dr Kitty

      I’ve spent the last four nights with a coughing, whinging child on one side (just a virus) and a growing hungry baby looking to feed on the other. My husband has decamped to the spare room. My mother has come today so I can sleep for a couple of hours. Which is what I’m going to do now.

      Anyone who prefers spending 120 days with three coughing, vomiting, sick and cranky kids over vaccination needs their head examined. I averaged 2hours sleep and that was with #1 getting all that modern medicine has to offer.

    • Angharad

      Tangentially related, but it really bothers me that these people always refer to any use of medication as being “drugged,” even when the medications in question don’t have any effect on cognitive processes. I wasn’t in pain once I got my epidural, but I didn’t experience any sort of high. My daughter and I both have a cold at the moment, and I took some Tylenol this morning and gave her some because my throat hurts and I assume hers does too. I wouldn’t say either of us is now drugged up, just a little more comfortable.

      • Roadstergal

        That’s a really good point. Any pharmacological relief from pain is derided as ‘drugged up,’ from epidurals to, as you say, OTC painkillers. Despite the fact that modern pain control gives many good options for pain control without an altered state, and many ‘natural’ remedies – not to mention uncontrolled pain and sleep deprivation!! – mess with your brain.

  • namaste863

    Not to mention it’s just plain rude. How one chooses to feed their kid is nobody else’s damn business, and quite frankly, those who spend so much time fretting over other people’s parenting choices need to get a life.