Progress ending lactimidation, but there’s still a long way to go

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Kudos to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) for taking a small step toward ending lactimidation, the ongoing lactivist campaign to “encourage” women to breastfeed by shaming and browbeating them into making the choice that the intimidators approve.

In a Practice Bulletin entitled Optimizing Support for Breastfeeding as Part of Obstetric Practice, ACOG states:

Obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers should support each woman’s informed decision about whether to initiate or continue breastfeeding, recognizing that she is uniquely qualified to decide whether exclusive breastfeeding, mixed feeding, or formula feeding is optimal for her and her infant.

Deciding how to use their own breasts is integral to women’s bodily autonomy.

Why are mothers uniquely qualified to make that decision? Because deciding how to use their own breasts is integral to their bodily autonomy.

As Tara Haelle notes in a piece for Forbes:

Such a seemingly simple change — let each individual woman decide the best way to feed her infant — would seem obvious, but it hasn’t been the norm in the medical community for more than a decade. The constant refrain of “breast is best,” whether explicitly stated or only implied, has often ended up a bludgeon to women’s self-confidence and competence as mothers. However well-intentioned, the message that all women should breastfeed or at least want to breastfeed their babies has become a source of shaming and blaming those who don’t.

It’s first step and only a tiny one. Within the same Practice Bulletin that appears to caution against shaming formula feeders, there’s a whole lot of shaming going on:

Breastfeeding is optimal and appropriate for most women.

No, didn’t we just acknowledge that the woman HERSELF decides what is optimal?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (the College) strongly encourages women to breastfeed …

Why is ACOG strongly encouraging women to do something that has only minimal benefits? They don’t “strongly encourage” women to avoid homebirth even though that might kill their babies; why are they strongly encouraging breastfeeding?

Because they are still responding to pressure from the breastfeeding industry.

For example:

The World Health Organization’s “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” should be integrated into maternity care to increase the likelihood that a woman achieves her personal breastfeeding goals.

But those steps, integral to the deliberately named-to-shame “Baby Friendly” Hospital Initiative embrace shaming tactics.

Enabling women to breastfeed is also a public health priority because, on a population level, interruption of lactation is associated with adverse health outcomes for the woman and her child, including higher maternal risks of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, and greater infant risks of infectious disease, sudden infant death syndrome, and metabolic disease.

It shouldn’t be a public health priority because those “benefits” are very small and far from proven.

Clearly, ACOG still has a long, long way to go before rejects the shaming tactics so beloved of lactivists, their organizations, and their allies . For example:

Consider this label, created in what was undoubtedly viewed an act of public service, Pro-Breastfeeding Ads Come With Produce-Style Freshness Stickers for Your Boobs:

Breasts and supermarket produce go well together in advertising lately.

A few month ago, we saw melons in a grocery store made up to look like breasts for a breast cancer awareness campaign. Now, we’ve got the opposite—produce-style freshness stickers that new moms can attach to their boobs as part of a pro-breastfeeding campaign.

BooneOakley in Charlotte, N.C., agency created the campaign, and is handing out the stickers—as well as related wall posters—free of charge to all “baby-friendly” hospitals. (Women and Babies Hospital in Lancaster, Pa., is the first to accept them.) Along with giving info about the health benefits of breastfeeding, the stickers also have a practical purpose—nursing moms can place them on one breast at a time to remind them which breast to feed their baby from next.

The stickers carry a “100% natural” claim, along with the line, “The best nutrition for your baby is you.” They come in three colors, with three different health messages—claiming that breastfeeding reduces a baby’s risk of obesity by 24 percent, of SIDS by 36 percent, and of asthma by 26 percent.

Except that breastfeeding does NOT decrease a baby’s risk of obesity or asthma.

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Another not-so-subtle effort at lactimidation. What’s next? “Good Mother” stickers for their foreheads?

It has given me an idea, though. I’m thinking about making stickers to be affixed by mothers to the doors of their hospital rooms (see above):

My baby, my body, my breasts, my choice … and none of your damn business!

  • Sara Barnson

    Yeah… No thanks on the boob stickers. That’s dumb and directly compares my breasts to a vegetable.

  • Bugsy

    Why the hell would I intentionally put a sticker on my breast? This is one of the dumbest things I’ve heard of…and that’s coming from someone who has a kid happily latched on the boob while I type.

  • Brian Lear

    Well, I have read the responses to my post below. There is a lot of anger and resentment here. I know there are some women who can’t or don’t want to breast feed. You’ve tried before and it didn’t work, etc. Some women just don’t make enough milk (the art of breast milk sharing has been lost in modern culture) As I said, I would never try “shaming” anyone. For women that have tried in the past, sometimes education can do wonders. I work in an area where many women just don’t know what to do. I would just caution people about being so reactionary. Did you know melatonin, the sleep hormone, is present in breast milk because babies brains don’t produce it yet? This is how a mother and baby’s sleep-wake cycle are integrated. Babies who aren’t breast fed have more colic and don’t sleep as well, it’s been well demonstrated. Again, don’t interpret this as shaming, it’s just information.
    Be wary of people with a reactionary message–it isn’t the whole story.
    Brian Lear MD

    • Roadstergal

      “Well, I have read the responses to my post below”

      Doesn’t sound like you did…

      “It would be a sign that they aren’t up to date on the latest medical evidence”

      *turns down gain on irony meter*

      “will be moving to WA state soon”

      Not a bad choice. There’s a lot of BF-uber-alles up there.

      “I’m sorry you feel that way”

      There was a time I’d call him a Poe, but my Poe-meter has undergone a lot of recalibration lately.

    • demodocus

      You’re kind of doing it again, Doc. My MIL and my best friend’s mom both assure me their kids slept pretty well, despite the lack of melatonin from breastmilk.
      I’m going to assume the tone in your head and the one your patients hear is better than the one we’re reading here. We get people in here who think formula is poison, and not just in that Nestle horror story.
      P.S. Pretty sure Megan at least has the same credentials as you.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Babies who aren’t breast fed have more colic and don’t sleep as well, it’s been well demonstrated.

      Hey Brian, we are a pretty educated bunch here. Can you provide a reference?

      I talk to women about it and tell them what I know.

      “It’s not what we don’t know that’s the problem, it’s what we know that isn’t so.”

    • MichLaw

      “Babies who aren’t breast fed have more colic and don’t sleep as well, it’s been well demonstrated. Again, don’t interpret this as shaming, it’s just information.”

      The problem with your information is that you present it as applying to all babies and all mothers. It’s simply not true. My 100% breastfed baby NEVER slept more than 2 hours in a row during his first two months of life. My 100% formula fed baby slept 4 hours in a row beginning when she was a week old.(Yes, I realize that this is anecdotal evidence, but what evidence do you have to make the above statement?) Stop promoting breastfeeding as the perfect answer to almost all problems. It’s deceptive for new mothers trying to make a decision. If half of what some breastfeeding promoters promised was true, all breastfed children would be the best adjusted, healthiest people in human history. It just ain’t so. I understand the need to feel that you’re doing all you can to give your children the best start possible in life, but a lot of life is simply out of our control. Breast milk is not a magic potion that will guarantee perfect health for our children. Please stop pretending it is.

    • Charybdis

      Ahh…Washington will probably be a good fit for you. Plenty of uber-crunchy, breastfeed-until-they wean themselves types up there. You should make a lot of people happy up there.

      As for “up on the latest medical evidence” bit….hasn’t it shown that the difference in breastfeeding and feeding formula is a minor consideration? A couple of fewer GI issues and colds across the population is all? Sounds like a wash. “The art of breastmilk sharing has been lost in modern culture” sounds like the sequel to “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding”. Do you really lament the loss of this so-called “art” or is it just more of the lactivist line of BS used to guilt/shame/berate a woman into using her breasts in a way they deem appropriate?
      I agree with demodocus down there. I’ll be charitable and assume that the tone in your head and what your patients hear in person is different than what comes across in your posting.

    • Who?

      So-breastfeeding is natural, but lots of women need education, as they ‘don’t know what to do’?

      Please do tell much more about ‘the art of breastmilk sharing’. Presumably there is a companion piece about the science of avoiding viruses from anyone any breastfeeding sharing artist has ever had sex with.

      Glad your business is doing well.

    • Blue Chocobo

      “Did you know melatonin, the sleep hormone, is present in breast milk because babies brains don’t produce it yet? This is how a mother and baby’s sleep-wake cycle are integrated. Babies who aren’t breast fed have more colic and don’t sleep as well, it’s been well demonstrated.”

      Citation please. And, before you trot out this recently celebrated (by scientifically illiterate lactivists) study:
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22205210

      Please review the difference between correlation and causation.

      This analysis is just as well, if not better, supported by that evidence:
      https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1024231964285872&id=1020921851283550

      Edited to ensure links worked

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I’m guessing that parents with colicky babies are more likely to quit breastfeeding?

        • Blue Chocobo

          Yup. Which actually makes more sense when looking at the age cohort studied. Now, if they had looked at feeding methods at time of colic ONSET, that might mean something. Still would be genetic and environmental stressors to consider, but much less misleading than waiting for all the colic-stricken breastfeeding pairs to turn to formula to preserve some semblance of sanity before doing a headcount.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Yeah, I would figure a better question is how many have colic at, say, 4 mos considering that they have been EBF for 3 mos or not (adjust the time frame as needed to account for the most significant period for colic).

            If they didn’t do that, then I’m not sure what it means.

        • Roadstergal

          Good Facebook summary. “Babies that are difficult to breastfeed are more likely to receive formula, which allows for both excellent infant nutrition AND stress distribution management to improve maternal mental health” The first BF-related study summary I’ve seen that takes stress and mental health as a priority.

    • moto_librarian

      So I’m going to suggest that you either didn’t read all of the replies to your post, or you have a major reading comprehension problem. That you would choose to offer more unsupported information about breastfeeding rather than respond to the comments below is quite telling. Frankly, I don’t think that you are a very good listener, or you would understand why your original statement was problematic. You betrayed your real opinion when you equated breastfeeding with developing an intimate bond with your newborn. This tells me that you think that breastfeeding is closely related to bonding. It’s not, and that idea is both damaging and offensive, not just to women who formula feed, but to fathers/partners, and adoptive parents. I also really want to see some evidence for your claim that breastfed babies suffer less from colic.

    • Arianna Stone

      The art of breast milk sharing, huh?

      Well, for the first four months of my daughters life, I ran myself ragged going to all my donors houses to pick up their extra milk, and stressing myself to tears when my freezer would get low because even on copious amounts of reglan and domperidone and pumping every two hours and SNS devices and nipple shields and IBCLC after IBCLC after IBCLC, I still made no goddamn milk to feed my baby.

      So, desperate, I called the Northwest Mothers Milk Bank. Who wanted to charge me $4.50/oz for donated breast milk. And they say formula is expensive. I had to write a humiliating letter explaining why I couldn’t afford it, along with my husband’s last pay stub and our last years taxes, to get the great gift of 60oz of milk.

      I bought milk, I begged milk, I solicited milk. For four months, I pumped with a hospital grade double electric pump every two hours and produced 1oz every three days. I had to use those little syringes to collect the droplets.

      The “art” of milk sharing is the “art” of humiliation, desperation and futility. How would you feel with a pouch of some other woman’s milk attached to your tit while your infant screams because the tube bothers her and you just can’t feed her like you’re supposed to? 90% of women are supposed to be able to do this, what the fuck is wrong with you and your worthless milk bags? Are you a mammal or aren’t you?

      “Oh, and just so you have some information (not shaming) your baby would sleep better if you nursed. The melatonin, you know.”

      Go fuck yourself.

  • MLE

    I can’t imagine a worse time than just after giving birth for someone to make me feel like my body and life were not my own any longer by giving me a label describing the properties of my body parts that others might find useful.

  • demodocus

    i don’t like stickers on my hand much less on more delicate skin. i get red itchy spots underneath a bit like rugburn

  • Taysha

    Stickers?

    Psh. They should move to branding so no one can ever doubt their commitment.

    /s

  • I haven’t read the thread yet so I’m sure this has been said already, and better, but I can’t help myself.

    They want us to put STICKERS on our BREASTS like we are pieces of fucking FRUIT that is FOR SALE.

    Did nothing about that bother anyone involved in this campaign? Anyone? Bueller?

    • Who?

      I think you have grasped the issue and succinctly expressed the concerns being raised here.

      Tne stickers are just the kind of thing that puts satire at risk. It is hard to believe that serious people-probably with marketing/communication degrees-came up with this idea and apparently nobody in a position of responsibility placed a rocket where it should obviously have gone.

  • Anna

    The very idea of putting some kind of stamp any where near a woman s body part as private as the breast makes me uncomfortable to say the least.Breastfeeding is a subject for debate nowadays because his benefits are overrated and because it is un fortune tel in human nature to fail to accept other people beliefs when they are so distinct.
    Breastfeeding should be considered just a parenting choice among others,it should be no bigger deal than choosing the color of the nursery.

  • PeggySue

    I can’t IMAGINE anyone believing that women are so devoid of resources that they need stickers to mark which breast to feed from next. Words fail.

    • Monkey Professor for a Head

      I just go with the very low tech method of feeling my breasts up to see which ones fuller. Which gets a bit embarrassing when I do it without thinking in public!

      • Mishimoo

        Or whichever hurts the most. (I did the unthinking public groping too)

    • A safety pin on the strap of the nursing bra works just as well.

      • Inmara

        And there’s an app for that!

    • MaineJen

      I used to put a mini binder clip on my bra strap on the side I’d used last. Worked quite well, and it never came loose.

  • Blue Chocobo

    “interruption of lactation is associated with adverse health outcomes for the woman and her child”

    This is entirely plausible. Causation is the crux of the matter. Lactivists swear any negative effect is because breastfeeding stops and more breast milk is the solution.

    I think it’s much more likely that whatever CAUSED the interruption, be it poor supply, maternal physical health problem, infant health problem, depression, stress, exhaustion, unsupportive or even hostile environment, early return to work with attendant logistics and daycare (not that daycare is bad, but exposure to a bunch of other kids means exposure to a bunch of other germs and more frequent illness until the immune system learns all the new pathogens, so short term outcomes are technically negative even if long term ones are not), general dislike of the act of breastfeeding with subsequent feelings of guilt or resentment or inadequacy or frustration, etc, is what causes any downstream negative impact. The solution then is to make breastfeeding easier AND not breastfeeding easier AND stopping breastfeeding when it’s no longer desired easier. This means, of course, that lactivism needs to die.

  • Sue

    Whenever I see “breast is best” these days, I think of the Bofa-ism “all other things being equal”.

    If everything else isn’;t equal, breast may not be best. It;s a simple as that.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      And when you read the first part of the statement in this post, that is EXACTLY what they are saying, that breastfeeding may not be optimal in some situations.

      After that, it goes downhill as Dr T describes.

      • Blue Chocobo

        With a straight face, too.

        ‘Mothers themselves are best qualified to choose what is optimal for their baby…so we reflexively encourage a particular choice as optimal.’

        None of the possible implications of that are good. Not for mothers, not for babies, not for families, not for trust in OB/GYNs.

  • Sue

    OT: a new paper comparing Fentanyl (nasal or subcutaneous injection) with Pethidinie for pain relief in labor.

    Fentanyl is an opioid – like Pethidine and Morphine – but with a neater metabolic pathway, shorter half-life and good aborption by spraying into the nose (we use this for kids with broken bones).

    Having said that, Pethidine isn’t a great drug – so the comparison doesn;t say much. Aus hospitals got rid of Pethidine a few years ago.

    • I got Fentanyl patches to help with the pain before my hip surgery. IMO, the effect was minimal, didn’t really help at all.

    • theadequatemother

      I don’t think nasal fentanyl would be any different from IV fentanyl in terms of action. So marginally effective. Probably not adequate for most women in labour. The formulation likely costs more than IV fentanyl. I think the formulation is great for kids in the ER prior to IV placement for acute pain but avoiding an IV isn’t a situation that should apply to labour.

      • Blue Chocobo

        NCB oriented midwives are raving about the nasal spray. Not in any sensical way, unless they’re not about “nature” but about “anti-effective medicine”.

        Shocking, I know.

  • niteseer

    Wonder how long before a baby nuzzling on a sleepy mom’s breast, swallows one of those stickers. I’ve seen a newborn swallow the little bow from her headband before.

  • guest

    There is no way, no how, in no lifetime that I would EVER want to wear a sticker on my breast. Anyway, I had twins so it was all breasts, all the time.

  • Elizabeth Neely

    I breatfed until I left the hospital because they were so obnoxious about it, when I went home I dryed up my milk and bottle fed.

    • BeatriceC

      This comment really upsets me. On what planet is it okay to force a woman to use her body in a manner she doesn’t wish, even for a few days, just because of some ideology? I’m so sorry you felt the need to do that. Things like that just should never be allowed. Maybe we should start forcing men to allow leeches to be attached to their penises for the duration of a hospital stay because bleeding patients used to be considered sound medical practice, and after all, the way they did things in the olden days is obviously better.

      Wait. Sorry, maybe that was a little harsh. I’m not sure why that after all the horror stories I’ve heard, your story just strikes me to the core and brings out my ire like none of the others. Maybe it’s just the simple and matter of fact way it’s stated, like it’s “just the way things are”. I don’t know.

      • Who?

        I agree. It’s horrifying to me that there is a need for strategies to manage breastfeeding advocates who hassle newly delivered mothers to the point of frustration, or, just doing it to get them out of the room.

        If it was sex those people were insisting the women participate in, and they insisted so aggressively that the women gave in to make them go away, that would surely be rape or something like it.

        Seems there is something very wrong in the state of breastfeeding.

  • Brian Lear

    I advise women to breast feed daily in my practice and never, ever have I used intimidation or shaming to sell it. It kind of sells itself. Most women enjoy breastfeeding and the intimacy with their child it brings.
    Good luck with your crusade,
    Brian Lear MD family medicine

    • Taysha

      What do you advise for women who don’t want to or can’t breastfeed? What is your approach for women with PTSD or PPD triggered by breastfeeding?

      • Sarah

        Trick question, none of those things are real.

    • crazy grad mama

      Well, you missed the point. It often happens when one takes things personally.

      What evidence do you have that “most women enjoy breastfeeding”? Why do you believe that breastfeeding brings greater intimacy than formula feeding?

    • LaMont

      If it sells itself, why do you “advise” it? How do you advise it? With which medical facts do you come to your conclusions? If a woman is on the verge of breaking down over her perceived “failures” on this front (my mother has recently started telling me about how this happened to her, despite her being as hard-headed and high-earning back then as ever) how do you respond to her?

      And the “none of your business” mantra displayed here covers that purported “most” of women who want to breastfeed – they get to pick breastfeeding if they want! Nobody here wants to stop them! What a lame “crusade”…

    • Azuran

      Her point is not that you shouldn’t support women who want to breastfeed.
      But if one of your client says ‘I want to formula feed’ than your response should be to provide her with information and support for her to formula feed properly.

    • pandapanda

      And I can have the same intimacy with bottle feeding. The point of this is to trust the mom to be able to choose what works for her. If she wants to breastfeed, great. If she wants to formula feed, great. If she wants to do a little of each, she probably needs to be informed of supply and demand issues that might cause. But each of those moms should be supported 100% by you.

    • Who?

      ‘Most women’ or most of your patients?

      Do they tell you that, unprompted, or do you ask?

      If you ask, do you ask an open question ie ‘how is feeding going’ or a closed question ‘you’re enjoying the breastfeeding, aren’t you?’

      It’s great your happy with your practice, but a little concerning that your complacency might blind you to a different perspective.

      A crusade to see chlldren fed and mothers happy is surely one any ‘family medicine’ practitioner would be delighted to support?

    • Roadstergal

      “I advise women to breast feed daily in my practice”

      I’m not coming to your practice to breastfeed, dude. Certainly not every day.

      • Who?

        I think he meant ‘Daily, In my practice, I advise women…’.

        But considering my apostrophe-related solecism below, I hesitate to correct anyone’s grammar this morning.

      • fiftyfifty1

        Maybe he meant to say “I advise women to breast feed daily, but use formula for the other feeds”.

        • Who?

          Not sure that helps him out with this crowd…

        • Blue Chocobo

          That’s not a bad way to go about it. I could hand off all the night feeds to a partner with a bottle, and just nurse during the day, at my convenience, after I’ve had a full night’s sleep.

          Sold!

      • Sue

        But would daily be enough?

        They could always supplement with formula, I guess.

        • Sue

          Sorry – FiftyFifty beat me to it!

    • Deborah

      The crusade here is not anti-breastfeeding. It is anti-shaming.

    • guest

      I didn’t enjoy it. Did it for six months and didn’t enjoy it a single time.

    • Amazed

      If I lived in the USA or wherever you practice, I would have run the hell away from you before you can say “But breast is… Hey, where are you going?”

      Short answer: away from an incompetent provider who overreaches (my children would have a pediatrician, so no reason for a family medicine doctor to stick his long nose where it doesn’t belong and if I made the mistake to ask, doesn’t refer me to said pediatrician), proselytize how happy breastfeeding should make me, implies that I do not enjoy enough amount of intimacy with my baby and is happy to put my life at risk because he either doesn’t understand or won’t tell me that homebirth can NEVER be as safe as hospital birth, as proved by the systems of the Netherlands, the UK and Canada which he undoubtedly thinks to point out at me as the Holy Lands.

    • Megan

      Since you e implied that breastfeeding is the ticket to bonding, I guess you must not have any intimacy with any of your children since you, as a man can’t breastfeed. How sad for you.

      If breastfeeding sells itself then no one needs your opinion or advice. In my practice, women who are asking my opinion about breastfeeding are usually doing so because they are looking for “permission” not to do it. Usually women who really want to breastfeed or enjoy it don’t ask my opinion at all.

      Good luck with your crusade.
      Another family practitioner

      • Sue

        Touche’

    • demodocus

      Dr. T breastfed all her kids, as did many of the regulars here. We just object to all-encompassing atmosphere that one must breastfeed or else. Even if a particular provider isn’t actually pressuring a soul, it adds up.
      For instance, I breastfed my toddler for 11 months, disliking it the entire time and hating the enforced “intimacy” so much that sometimes i wanted to throw him across the room. Now the thought of bfing my impending child is making thoughts of putting a gun to my head.
      …yes, my ob knows and i’m getting therapy, but it’s only just started…

      • Please, please, bottle feed and don’t throw Jr. across the room or put a gun to your head! I, Antigonos, Certified Nurse Midwife, give you permission, and my total support. You may quote me.

        • demodocus

          Boy Junior didn’t get thrown across the room. I’m 95% sure I’ll exclusively bottle feed Girl Junior.

          • Mishimoo

            Go for it! You already know it’s awesome, and it will hopefully help you out. Two kids are really busy until they get old enough to hang out together and formula means you’ll have a chance to spend time with the eldest, go on dates, have me-time, work, etc. Plus, you’ll be sure that bub is getting enough calories and nutrients.

          • demodocus

            That last part is not a consideration. I could bf the boy completely on one side and pump 5 or 6 oz out of the other. pumped 10 oz one time when I engorged, and didn’t empty that side while kiddo had breakfast off the other (not so engorged) one

          • demodocus

            I’m a freaking dairy cow. 🙁

          • demodocus

            watch out, i both kick and bite.

          • Blue Chocobo

            Outproducing the dairy cow who won the Texas State Fair still wouldn’t be a reason to breastfeed.

            Tall people don’t have to play basketball.
            Smart people don’t have to be rocket surgeons.
            Petite people don’t have to be chimney sweeps.
            People with excellent distance vision do not have to be marksmen.
            People with “sexy” bodies don’t have to be fashion models.
            People with a functioning liver don’t have to donate half of it.
            People with a healthy uterus don’t have to bear children.
            People who copiously lactate don’t have to nurse babies.

          • demodocus

            I know. Its just that i never had to worry boyo was getting enough nutrients and calories, once my milk came in 5 days post partum.
            Just bought first package of (generic) formula.

          • Mishimoo

            Mine were overachievers too, but I still worried about calories and vitamins which is why I tried supplementing with formula for the youngest. He strongly disagreed, which is why I’m not convinced that nipple confusion is a thing. (He was my only dummy/pacifier baby too)

      • Blue Chocobo

        You do NOT have to breastfeed. Not even once, not one drop, not one latch, not even to just “try and see”. No matter what. Even if you feel good about breastfeeding it is still 100% optional and formula is just as good.

        You and your baby are worth so much more than a bit of milk.

        • StephanieA

          Thank you for this. I am 39 weeks and keep going back and forth about breastfeeding. I don’t really want to, but feel that I ‘have ‘ to give it a try. Then I realized that if I do breastfeed this baby, I will feel guilty for not breastfeeding my older child. Does the mom guilt ever end? I told my husband all of this and he looked at me like I was crazy.

          • Roadstergal

            I can’t remember my mom feeding me one way or another. I remember her reading to me, cuddling me, brushing my hair, singing to me, smiling at me, blowing warm breath in my ear when we were waiting to see the doctor about my ear infection…

    • fiftyfifty1

      Many women enjoy breastfeeding, but many don’t. For some it is hell. When women ask my opinion, I tell them that I support them fully in whatever they choose. That the health benefits are so minor, that they are not worth it if it isn’t going well or if it is making anyone miserable.

      Yet another family physician.

    • Kq

      …the implication being that only abnormal, failed mothers don’t “buy” breastfeeding because omg duh of COURSE breastfeeding! There CAN’T be intimacy with baby, or bonding, or ANYTHING without breastfeeding!

    • CSN0116

      So how does that come up in conversation? My children and I all see a PCP instead of a pediatrician, and each time I bring in a new newborn he simply asks me how the child is being fed. I’m not seeing him until the child is several days old and *already* being fed one way or the other. I then tell him what the child is eating, roughly how often, how many wet/dirty diapers, we weight check, etc.

      There is absolutely no point in time in which he would have the appropriate opportunity to “advise” me. He would have to go out of his way to say something …which he doesn’t.

      Like most women, I spend nearly all of my pregnancy with an OB. I only see my PCP while pregnant if I’m sick or happen to need a physical. The OB could “advise” me, I suppose, if he so felt the need… which he doesn’t. But the conversation would at least make sense being prenatal and all.

      So surely you don’t “advise” already breastfeeding moms to breastfeed. That makes no sense; they’re already complying with your advice. Therefore you spend your time “advising” formula feeding moms to breastfeed, or struggling breastfeeding moms to “keep it up”? Awesome.

      And fuck your intimacy theory (disproven 100 times over via adopted children studies). My baby gets to experience the joy of intimacy with all sorts of loving family members due to the miracle of bottle feeding. See Exhibit A:

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        And friends! I love that when a friend has a new kiddo and is FFing, I can say, “Right, you’re exhausted. You’ve slept 2 hours total in the last 24. I’m taking Junior for a few hours while you sleep. How many ounces is he eating right now? When did he eat last? Excellent. GO SLEEP.” Friend gets sleep, and I get snuggles and bonding time with friend’s baby. Win-win!
        (Of course, the offer also stands if kiddo is breastfed, but it’s harder, especially in earlier days, to give mom a decent chunk of sleep time when I can’t very well BF Junior if he gets hungry.)

        • CSN0116

          I have a picture of my bestie giving one of my babes his second bottle ever, still in the hospital. So precious! 🙂

        • Blue Chocobo

          Another way the vilification of combo feeding and relief bottles (“just one drop”) hurts mothers and babies by making it unnecessarily difficult to get help! Skipping one feed will only affect the most fragile of milk supplies…and if your supply is THAT fragile then you need the freedom to evaluate if you want the fuss of maintaining it.

        • AirPlant

          I know nursing in bed isn’t ideal, but I have watched breastfed babies while mom slept and waking mom up for a quick feed in bed and then I take the baby away has actually worked ok. I keep an eye that suffocation doesn’t happen and most of the time mom is tired enough that without having to get up to change the diaper she can crash again pretty quick and get two big sleep chunks which is better than nothing. Bottles are for sure easier, but asking mom to pump or having her wake up engorged and in pain with a fully fed baby isn’t as helpful as you would hope.

      • Amazed

        They’re adorable!
        Never got this kind of intimacy with the Intruder since in the beginning, he was, you know, a newborn and then my mom started recovering from her NDE (Near Death Experience) and turned into a veritable milk factory. He still enjoys good relationships with both her and me. One would almost think that the way he was fed doesn’t matter!
        They’re such cute, cute cookies! Mmm, I feel hungry just by looking at them – and I don’t mean the bottle part of the picture. Milk is vile. They only managed to coax me to accept it when I was a baby and didn’t know any better.

      • Roadstergal

        Look at that smile!

    • There is a huge difference between “most” and “all”.

    • Sarah

      #that’snicedear

    • SporkParade

      If my family doctor advised me to breastfeed, I would change doctors immediately. The last time a medical professional told me to breastfeed, it put both my child and me in mortal danger. I’d sooner never breastfeed again than try exclusively breastfeeding.

      • Blue Chocobo

        And that choice to never breastfeed again, it is an act of LOVE. Love for the baby and love for yourself (which you absolutely deserve and benefits your baby, too).

        It’s not greedy or lazy or selfish or stupid. It is acting with love to choose what is BEST for YOUR baby.

    • Amy M

      I’ve been wondering–is the supposed extra intimacy that goes along with breastfeeding because the mother sticks a body part into the baby? I didn’t breastfeed, but my fingers ended up in my babies’ mouths a lot, so that should count and even dads could gain greater intimacy with their children that way! My children are in grade school now, but they are always, intimately, coughing and sneezing in my face and sharing their bodily secretions with me, despite the fact that I withheld mine (breastmilk) from them. We “strengthen” our immune systems together, as we pass colds around the house which is also fairly intimate in my opinion.

    • Charybdis

      Aww….bless your little heart. *pats head*

    • Commander30

      “It kind of sells itself. Most women enjoy breastfeeding and the intimacy with their child it brings.”

      But you see, that right there is kind of shaming, whether you realize it or not. You’re implying that, well, you don’t have to force people to do it, but why SHOULD you? Breastfeeding is awesome and why wouldn’t women want that “unique bonding experience”?

      I thankfully never heard anything like that from any doctors or medical professionals (not even the lactation consultant that saw me in the hospital), but I did from all of the reading materials I got, and let me tell you, it hurt. It made me feel like shit. I didn’t want to keep trying but I felt like I HAD to. It was awful and I only kept at it for three weeks before seeing clearly enough that it wasn’t worth it and throwing in the towel. I can’t imagine pressing on, attempting to breastfeed, with that mindset for MONTHS like some others have.

    • Charybdis

      “Most women”…did they enthusiastically volunteer the information, such as: “I absolutely adore the breastfeeding! It’s so convenient, always available and I get to hold and snuggle my baby for hours on end! I NEVER dreamed it would be like this; it’s great and I LOVE it!” or was it more like “Ummm, yeah. The breastfeeding is going okay. I wonder if Baby is getting enough sometimes.”

      Here’s a little secret: Those of us who have tried breastfeeding and have quit for one reason (REASON, not excuse) or another, have repeated that “Breast is best! Everyone can breastfeed and everyone just loves the HELL out of doing so” mantra to ourselves until we are driven to distraction, wondering what is wrong with us that we don’t enjoy it and the enforced intimacy it brings. A lot of us LIE about enjoying breastfeeding, because of the stigma not doing so and loving it brings. And we feel doubly ashamed for disliking breastfeeding and then lying to cover that up, because we are clearly failing at motherhood if we admit to not loving breastfeeding.

      And it is such a sensitive, hot-button topic that if a woman tentatively asks her doctor/LC/IBCLC about it, the doctor/LC/IBCLC (most of the time) takes that as a request for help to CONTINUE breastfeeding, and then starts recommending medications, pumping schedules, lactation tea/cookies/whatever to increase supply. She is most likely wanting someone “in authority” to tell her it is okay to stop, But we are afraid to come right out and say it, because of the avalanche of “helpful suggestions” to continue nursing, the constant bombardment of “Breast is best!” and the implication that breastfeeding = best mother ever.

    • ukdoc

      Yes well far from enjoying the intimacy with my child, breastfeeding made me want to throw her at the wall, but I’m glad a man has come along to set me right …….

  • Spooby

    I’m so pissed that the hospital I will be delivering at in June just went “baby friendly” last month. I have no intention whatsoever of initiating breast feeding; I will be EFF from the the get-go. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can prepare myself for the onslaught of shaming as well as exhaustion I expect to be dealing with? Some pithy, concise, not-too-snarky answer I can give when questioned about my feeding choice? FWIW, I’m a FTM who will be having an MRCS, and I also anticipate getting attitude from the nursing staff about that, even though my OB is 100% supportive of my decision. I know I should probably bring my own formula when I go in, but any other tips would be greatly appreciated. Should my husband plan on being there the entire time, so he can take care of the baby while I’m recovering/sleeping, since I won’t have the respite of the nursery anymore.

    • Inmara

      Definitely take your husband with you, and let him deal with busybodies too. Most probably you’ll be exhausted and hormonal to muster a concise reply if anyone budges you about CS or formula whereas your husband can keep his calm. Somehow I think that the sole presence of a man and support from him will make shaming attempts less likely to happen.

      • demodocus

        sad to say, but probably true. sigh

      • Amy M

        I always got the impression that the LC/lactivist bullies’ goal was to make a new mom cry—and then feel like she’d done her job, because the mom felt guilty. (and then the lactivist would turn around and say “no one can make you feel guilty without your consent, you must have already felt like a terrrible mom before I spoke with you!” but that’s beside the point). Anyway, the actual point is that between hormones, exhaustion and frustration, its pretty easy to make a new mom cry, and most of the time, its nothing to do with guilt. So those lactivists should get over themselves, because crying when you feel like no one is listening to you is very different than crying because you “failed” at breastfeeding.

        • demodocus

          what? pretty trees don’t make people cry normally?

          • Amy M

            I made the mistake of going to see the movie “Up,” 3 weeks post-partum. After a struggle with infertility, no less.

        • guest

          Ha. A nurse made me cry within two hours of giving birth via c-section. She must feel like a real success.

        • Inmara

          I was crying 3 days postpartum when baby had lost more than 10% weight and pediatrician ordered us to stay in hospital longer. Actually, I was furious because if someone had listened to my concerns about his spit-up and devoted more than 15 minutes a day to us, he would have been much better, but I simply couldn’t say anything, just bawled (and pediatrician barked: “Don’t stress, your milk will dry up!”) It was hormones and exhaustion indeed, I got myself together soon but only then I understood fully the vulnerability of a new mom.

    • Charybdis

      Have you chosen a pediatrician yet? If so, contact them and have them write an order for formula feeding and you pick it up. That way, there is a “doctor’s order” already in with your chart. If you pick up the order from the pediatrician, then YOU have the original and can make copies (as many as necessary) to provide to the nurses/LC’s who might claim that the order has been “lost”. Make a lot of copies. Have one ready to hand to anyone who starts with the “just try” nonsense.

      Have some 2 oz nursette bottles of your formula choice in with your stuff, but don’t volunteer that you have them. You have a doctor’s order, right? Then the hospital should provide the necessary formula.

      Contact the nurse manager/head nurse/supervisor, whatever their title is, and make it clear that you will be feeding formula from the get-go. Your OB is on board, your pediatrician is on board and, by the way, here is a copy of the pediatrician’s order for formula. Tell them that you *understand* that they have to preach the party line, but that you WILL NOT be initiating breastfeeding and that fact should be noted in your chart. In red ink, in capital letters.

      Write “NOT BREASTFEEDING” on the white board in your room as soon as you get there. Make a sign that says the same to put on your door, and include a NO LC REQUESTED on the door sign.

      I would be tempted to write “NO BREASTFEEDING” across my actual breasts in black sharpie, in case someone tries to sneak a latch while you are sleeping. You can’t make these things too clear.

      Try and find an ally/allies in the nursing staff. Not all of them are contaminated by the woo and if you know there are a couple that will assist you with no backtalk, that helps tremendously.

      That’s about all I can think of . Start early, get your docs on board, get the formula order and make lots of copies so they cannot go *missing* each time it is time to feed the baby. Talk with the nursing supervisor and tell them firmly that you will be formula feeding, end of story. Any and all breastfeeding requests/pressure will not be tolerated.

      I probably would keep a log of some sort, with names, dates, times and other pertinent information when anyone broaches the breastfeeding issue. Keeping track of things like “Nurse Jones refused to provide formula for my baby. 9:30 pm, Thursday June 22. Requested formula 3x and had to contact the supervisor on duty to receive food for my baby.” I would then send a copy of the log, along with the facts that you were recovering from a CS and had little to no support from the staff, EVEN THOUGH YOU HAD A DOCTOR’S ORDER FOR FORMULA FEEDING and that is unacceptable, to the hospital administrators and state that sort of “treatment” is not the way you treat patients.

      That’s all I’ve got….

      • Spooby

        Thanks, that’s a lot to ponder. Hope things don’t come to that, but its good to be prepared.

      • BeatriceC

        I’m horrified that we’ve arrived at a place where advise like this is necessary.

      • Spooby

        If some LC attempts to grab my boobs when I’m sleeping, I swear to the Flying Spaghetti Monster I will cut someone!

        • Chi

          If your hubby can stay while you’re sleeping, I would recommend he do so. Having him in the room would greatly reduce the likelihood of LC’s trying that sort of shenanigan.

          • BeatriceC

            Maybe those of us fighting for women’s choice and the end to shaming should organize efforts to provide a “back up squad” for formula feeding mothers while they’re in the hospital. I certainly have no issues getting pushy with medical staff after almost 20 years of being in and out of hospitals (between my own medically complex pregnancies, sick babies and children with a genetic bone disease, I’ve been forced to go up against doctors, hospital staff and administration more times than I care to count.) I’m sure there’s other people out there who would be willing to help. I wouldn’t even think about charging for my time.

          • Charybdis

            Ooh, I like that idea. Do we need some sort of silent identifier, like the lactivists and their flower hair garlands?

          • Blue Chocobo

            REAL postpartum doulas! There for the woman, not the woo. I love it!

          • Roadstergal

            That’s actually a fantastic idea. I would be on board in the Bay Area.

          • BeatriceC

            I’m way down on the other end of the state. Thankfully not all the hospitals have gone BFHI, but the Kaiser system has, and they’re pretty big. I wonder how something like that could be organized. I was half joking/half serious when I posted that, but I honestly think there’s a real need here.

          • Roadstergal

            I agree. There’s a lot of Baby Friendly up here.

        • demodocus

          yeah, I’d probably hit her before i was even fully awake. Just ask my husband.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Certainly seems reasonable to me!
            As a side-but-related note, if you spend much time in health care you’ll usually, eventually, have as a patient at least one armed services veteran who’s been to hell and back and who, even some fifty years later, will apologetically ask you to please not touch him to wake him up, as he’s liable to strike out first and ask questions later due to his history and training. Based on that, I figure it’s not at all unlikely that somewhere a rape or molestation victim might have some idiot LC grab her boobs while she’s sleeping, and I really, REALLY hope she punches the fool’s lights out in the process of waking up. Hell, depending on the person and her history, it might be slightly therapeutic!
            This, of course, is NOT to make light of rape or molestation, merely a hope that something very, very bad might have one halfway decent outcome. A young relative who was abused by a pedophile for a long time would have sort of waking terrors almost nightly for years: she would appear to be awake, but was actually totally out of it, and any attempt to touch or reassure her was met with physical resistance and violence while she screamed hysterically “Don’t touch me! Get off of me! Keep him away!” (This, according to her idiot parents, was “totally normal,” and not at all a sign that something bad was going on, but I digress.)
            Having been on the receiving end of some of those kicks and punches when I’d take care of her, I can think of few people I’d wish ’em more on than someone who didn’t respect a woman’s bodily autonomy, if not quite, of course, to the extent that her molester did. It would seem rather fitting, in a way.

      • Amazed

        Tries to sneak latch while WHAT? And I thought I had seen it all when the LC made her grand entrance grabbing my friend’s boobs after a C-section with her awake and me being there.
        Interesting thing is, buddy wasn’t quite sure she hadn’t imagined her. When I told her that I’d visited and we’d talked for two hours, she asked about the LC and I confirmed that yes, she was real OK.

        Good thing buddy didn’t need her. Do you think she would have memorized the precious directions LC would have given her?

    • Gatita

      “I don’t need any help, thank you.” Repeat calmly until they get the point.

    • DaisyGrrl

      In addition to what’s been said, have the Patient Advocate (or patient satisfaction liaison or whatever they’re called) on speed dial.
      At the first hint of pushback, ask for the person’s name and call the number for the patient advocate’s office. These people should be concerned about your satisfaction with the quality of care you receive since so much rests on satisfaction scores, etc.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        This x10000.
        When I had DD, there was a patient advocate in my room every day til I left, making sure I was happy. It would have been slightly annoying–I mostly wanted to be left alone as much as possible, and people kept coming in for good reasons but allllll the time–if he wasn’t an adorably friendly and incredibly campy gay guy who came bearing chocolate he made certain to distribute only *after* I’d given him my opinion of the care that day.
        Next time, I’m making sure I have his number well in advance, and any sass about breastfeeding will lead to a chat with him about my OB and kiddo’s ped being fine with formula, bodily autonomy, and the wisdom of nursing staff who mind their own damn business about things that aren’t urgent medical issues.

    • pandapanda

      On your paperwork that you fill out make sure you note on there about formula feeding. I too had to deliver in a BFH and I made sure that my paperwork all said I was FF, it was in my (very short) birth plan, and there was a sign on the door that stated I was formula feeding, and saying one word about breastfeeding to me would result in me putting my fingers into my ears and ignoring them. And my husband told everyone that they would respect my wishes or we would report them as far up as we could.

      I had no issues, and one of the nurses even smuggled me a ton of RTF bottles. Between that and the ones friends and family had bought me, I didn’t have to mix formula for two months. Great for a FTM.

    • Allie P

      The nursing staff should have nothing to say about your c section except how to deal with the incision, pain, etc. If they do, write them up!

    • HappyMom

      Have your husband there if not, they will insist you do it. I had twins last year with a MRCS, and was EFF. They insisted, even though I had some big bleeding issues, and wasn’t allowed to go without the catheter -and- IV pole for more than 24hrs after. But I was expected to FF two babies. They were arses. So yes, have your dh there or your mother there. It was a nightmare.

      • HappyMom

        Sorry nursing staff were arses. Babies were splendid! 🙂

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      I assume your OB and ped are cool with FF? If that’s the case, I suggest having something in your chart to the effect of “I will be exclusively formula feeding Baby’s Name per my discussion with Dr. Smith. Should you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact Dr. Smith.”
      This is unfortunately probably even more effective if Dr. Smith is a man who can get away rather more easily with basically telling a pushy nurse or IBCLC to go fly a kite, rather than a woman who is expected to be less…direct. Idiotic, I know, but there ya have it. Even if you do have a woman OB, though, include this in the chart, and then if they bring it up, say something like “I have discussed this already with Dr. Smith, and we decided I am going to formula feed.” And then keep repeating that with appropriate emphasis on the more important words–“Already,” “we,” and so on until they buzz off. Say it nicely the first time (it’s always possible that they missed the info in the chart, and might reply “Oh, okay! Sorry! Any preferences on formula brand?”), but then get progressively sterner as time goes on.
      One thing, though: bad though many “baby friendly” hospitals are, not all of them are too dreadful. Mine also got that designation recently, and I’m also due in June. The lactivists were bad enough last time that I was pretty freaked out when I called the hospital to see what I could expect. However, if they’re carrying it out the way the charge nurse to whom I spoke described, it actually seems pretty reasonable. Yes, they encourage breastfeeding…but *if* mom wants to. Tell them breast, bottle, or combo on admission, and they respect your choice. Room-sharing is encouraged, but not required, and they do have a nursery moms can use on request. You needn’t talk to a LC unless you want to. Etc.
      Honestly, if you haven’t already, I strongly suggest a) calling the hospital and talking to the L&D charge nurse to get a solid picture of that particular hospital’s setup, and b) talking to your OB, who’s also no doubt familiar with it. It might be pretty bad, but it also might be like mine at least claims to be, and be pretty good.
      Good luck to you!

  • CSN0116

    I think OB offices should start posting stickers – if they so choose – stating something like:

    “This Practice Supports Womens’ Feeding Preferences”

    “This Practice Supports a Woman’s Right to Choose”

    “This Practice Supports ALL Feeding Preferences”

    Alongside the given slogan would be a picture of a bottle right next to “the international sign” for a nursing mother.

    It could become like a social movement. Maybe practices would feel pressured to jump on board and post stickers on the exam room walls, right next to where I can read about all the community resources available to me if I choose to breastfeed. My OB, who has become such a good friend, has told me repeatedly that he sees newly postpartum mothers extremely anxious and depressed over breastfeeding. He wishes they would just quit instead of compromising their physical and mental health, but they won’t (we know why). He is someone who would hang such a sticker in 2 seconds. He knows how damaging it can be to women (sometimes) and how they need to feel supported to opt out or quit.

    • Valerie

      Hm. I think maybe the wording should be careful. There are a number of feeding preferences that are unsafe and fairly common, like very early weaning, adding cereal to the bottle, and force-feeding. I guess it’s hard to be pithy and make it clear.

      • CSN0116

        I hadn’t thought of less common practices. But honestly, simplicity and clear language is necessary here. I’d operate on the assumption that nobody would ever “go there” lol.

        • Valerie

          Yeah, I guess anything can be misinterpreted. As long as the safety information gets out. I just heard from a number of new moms recently that well-meaning relatives told them to put cereal in the bottle for their newborns so they sleep more at night, but don’t tell the doctor. And there was also that baby who got scurvy from eating essentially only almond milk.

      • Roadstergal

        “This practice supports healthy mothers and babies”?

        Because BF-at-all-costs can be unhealthy for either or both.

  • Roadstergal

    So, aren’t you supposed to knock on them while listening to see if they’re ripe? I’m getting punched a lot.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      If they are peaches, you check to see if they are firm and smell them.

      Yeah….still getting punched a lot.

  • Gatita

    OT but since I figure a lot of you are NDT fans: Neil deGrasse Tyson Shuts Down Rapper’s Flat-Earth Nonsense

    @bobatl Duude — to be clear: Being five centuries regressed in your reasoning doesn’t mean we all can’t still like your music— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) January 25, 2016

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      This rapper is trolling us all. Right? Right?!?

      • Gatita

        What’s amazing is that rapper put out a dis rap against Tyson that references Holocaust denialism. You can’t make this shit up.

  • Gatita

    That sticker picture almost gave me a stroke. Stickers are for preschoolers you fucks. And putting a sticker on a woman’s breast like she’s produce is beyond fucked up. Although at least it is a good illustration of what they think of a woman’s worth. Assholes.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      At least around here, stickers are used to label the item with a number for pricing, not anything else.

      • Gatita

        My son’s teachers use sticker charts to reward behavior. How incredibly insulting and infantalizing is it to do the same with a grown woman?

        • demodocus

          but he gets cool ones. That sticker is soo boooring

    • Madtowngirl

      It looks like the stickers they put on bananas! A breast is not a banana!

      • Erin

        It had me thinking of melons, in fact I added watermelons to my shopping list for tomorrow after reading this. Although that might be a reflection on my breasts 🙁

      • guest

        That’s right – the banana stickers go on the penis.

    • Zornorph

      Wouldn’t you need a whole lot of stickers if you were using them to remember what boob was next? Would they stick that well to skin, anyway?

      • guest

        You’d have to use a fresh sticker each time, right? Because I’m thinking reusing one would lessen the adhesive which could ultimately turn it into a choking hazard for the baby.

  • Glia

    No to stickers. No no no. I say no. I am not “nutrition”. I am not produce. I am not a cow. I am not an incubator or a baby aquarium when I am pregnant, and I am not an elaborate transport system for a pair of boobs when I am breastfeeding. The way I feed my baby is not an indictment of how other people feed their babies. I am a grown up, and I do not need a gold star on my chart, or a smiley face, or special sparkly pencil from the treasure chest for my good behavior either, thank you very much.

    • tariqata

      Amen. I like breastfeeding and it’s great for me and my family. I don’t need a pat on the head for doing what works best for me, or to try to use my breasts to shame other women for doing what works best for them.

  • Mel

    I am amazed at how little the idea of sticking a sticker on my breast – FOR ANY REASON – appeals to me.

    • AirPlant

      Nipple covering so you can go topless at a pride parade. Hell to remove but totally worth it in my misspent youth.

      • Roadstergal

        Ah, the joy of getting electrical tape off of a pierced nipple.

        • AirPlant

          Ooh! I just had the trouble with sweat de-adhering the stickers, not the other way around. Somewhere there lives a very sweet elderly gay couple who got full view of leftie.

          • Roadstergal

            I hope it made their day. 🙂

          • AirPlant

            My early 20s bosom in its full glory would have made anybody’s day no matter how gay.
            My floppy tummy is a different, sadder story.

          • Roadstergal

            Bosomy glory makes my day. We all have the tummy below, it just pokes out more if you’re sporting As. :

          • AirPlant

            When I get insecure about my body my husband’s go to line is “But baby, why would I be looking at you hair/legs/tummy/face/bottom when I could be looking at your boobs?
            I have to admit it is a fair point.

          • BeatriceC

            I read this comment to MrC and he whole heartedly agrees (with my boobs, not yours). Along with impish grins and slurping noises to indicate his pleasure with boobs.

        • BeatriceC

          Key West Fantasy Fest. G-string and pasties to cover the nipples, plus flip flops to protect the feet. This is the most “clothing” I wore in the evenings on Duval Street.

          • Roadstergal

            I’ve only been to Key West once (other side of the country), but OMG Duval Street was amazing. Every night we were there.

          • BeatriceC

            I grew up in South Dade County, in Homestead, which is the last bit of civilization on the mainland. I used to go to Key West a lot. As an adult, while still living there, I went as often as possible. A dear friend of mine lives in Key West, and always offered me couch space if I wanted to spend the night, which made it much more affordable. I couldn’t go as often when the kids were little, but once they got old enough to spend a weekend with a friend (who loved having them), I’d make it down once every few months. Now I live in California. I miss Key West.

        • Zornorph

          How very Wendy O. Williams.

      • Mel

        I’d have to think about that one. I like the idea of going topless, but I worry that I’d get an allergic reaction.

        • AirPlant

          If bandaids don’t give you issues they are a pretty popular alternative. They don’t stick to the nipple parts!

    • Charybdis

      What? You don’t give the cows stickers each time they get milked?

      • Mel

        No. Please don’t tell the cows about stickers. My mom-in-law once had a 4H cow that would refuse to leave the milking parlor until my mom-in-law personally thanked the cow for giving milk. That was a real pain…and we don’t want cows refusing to leave the parlor because we ran out of stickers or because they wanted a balloon sticker and all we have are stars. 😛

        • Charybdis

          The one who doesn’t get a sticker gets to stand next to the dog,.

          • Mel

            Alas, cows don’t believe in alternate rewards. They would stand there until you got them the sticker they wanted. Imagine the stubbornness of a toddler who can’t tell you what they want placed into a 2,000 pound body.

  • jhr

    Sadly, Just read that the famous Johns Hopkins Hospital is certified as “Baby-Friendly” with all that this implies… Also Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)

    • Gene

      I’m no fan of baby friendly. My hospital is and it’s stupid for a long list of reasons. But I went to a conference at CHOP while pumping and I have to say the staff bent over backwards to help me pump. And the lactation rooms were fantastic. They had pumps, fridges, sinks, bottles, a tv, magazines, everything. It was awesome. My hospital…no lactation room at all…

      • Dr Kitty

        Can you use an on call room?
        That’s what I did.
        In the hospital I was working in they were single en suite bedrooms with lockable doors which were empty during the day, and were mine to use anyway if I was doing a night shift. They were also right beside the doctor’s kitchen, so I just put my well-labelled breast milk in the fridge there.

        • Gene

          Not near the ED. I used the family bereavement room as it was the closest room to the ED with a lock. There are call room on other floors. But since we are single attending coverage in the ED, I couldn’t be far away. And since we don’t even get meal breaks (or bathroom breaks!), the sadness room it was!

      • BeatriceC

        A hospital can be lactation friendly without the horrible rules of BFHI. At one point during my youngest child’s NICU stay, my oldest got admitted to a different hospital (this would be the first of several times I’d be split between two hospitals like that). I was pumping for the baby in the NICU. I had to spend more time with the oldest, since he was a toddler, and the nurse to patient ratio wasn’t as good in a regular peds unit as in a NICU, so I needed to be able to pump while I was there. The hospital made it very easy for me to do so, even though I wasn’t pumping for the child that was their patient. They provided me with a pump and even rummaged up some supplies when I ran low. They provided storage space until I could deliver the milk to the other hospital. They classified me as a nursing mother, even though I wasn’t nursing their patient, so that I could get discounts on food within the hospital. I couldn’t have asked for a more friendly place, and every one of my needs were met, and then some. This was almost 14 years ago, so long before BFHI.

        • An Actual Attorney

          My dad had surgery at Johns Hopkins about 5 years ago. I was nursing at the time. I have to say, staff were very accommodating while we were waiting for him to get out of surgery, which was an all day affair. In fact, all the staff there were super awesome generally. I often joked about traveling there for delivery next time. I’m sad to hear it’s gone the bfhi way.

      • theadequatemother

        We are so busy at night we don’t even have a call room. But the residents do (contractual obligation) so I pumped in there. I was always very worried one of them would complain. I tried to pump in the locker room shower once and had about 12 different nurses poking their heads in wondering what I was doing.

    • cookiebaker

      My local hospital just went baby friendly within the last year. When I was in labor with my 6th, I asked the labor nurse if there was still a nursery and she said no. I fussed at her that it wasn’t very mother friendly (inreally didn’t like her). I was very worried about how my stay would go. After delivery, my husband has to go home and take care of the rest of our kids. However, when I got to the mother/baby unit, they assured me they would take care of the baby when mom needed sleep or if she didn’t have a support person to help her. At least some of the staff still care about the mom!

      I’d always breastfed in the hospital, but my last 2 babies were spectacular breastfeeding failures and both ended up FF after the usual nursing, pumping, supplementing hell. Not planning another baby, but if we did have another one, I don’t want to BF again. My body just doesn’t do it anymore and I’m very concerned how a BFHI hospital will treat a FF mother.

      • CSN0116

        I plan on writing the president of the hospital where I delivered all 5 of my babies and telling him, in detail, how AWESOME the mother-baby uint is AS IS (non baby friendly).

    • BeatriceC

      CHOP, along with Boston Children’s and the hospital where I live now were the three hospitals I was deciding between when I made the decision to move to a place where my boys could get more complete care. My kids are far from babies, but it makes me a little happy that I didn’t choose CHOP now. That’s not the actual reason I didn’t go with them (and to be honest, they were really always the third choice, so the decision was mostly between this one and Boston), but I’m still glad not to support such a horrible initiative. The children’s hospital I use is baby *and* family friendly.

  • pandapanda

    I laugh, because both my OB and my ped are female, and both of them chose formula from the get-go. One has two children, the other has three. All five kids were exclusively formula fed by doctors. They both thought breastfeeding was great for those who wanted to, but they too questioned the supposed magical benefits. And I live in a very crunchy area of southern CA.

    • Inmara

      I know a GP with 3 children. Her first was BF until 10 months, she had long maternity leave and no problems with BF. Second was put to formula at 1,5 months because baby slept 7 hr stretches through the night and mom got plugged milk ducts 3 times in a row; not worth the hassle. Her third refused breast at 7 months and they switched to solids plus formula or fortified milk. All cases very matter-of-factly and according to actual needs of mother and baby. I rest assured that her patients will be advised according to THEIR unique situations and not some rigid breast-is-best propaganda.

      • Sue

        Yep – nothing like direct experience of different things to make you less rigid about choices.

        • BeatriceC

          Exactly. Each of my three surviving children had completely different feeding experiences. It’s all good. The babies were adequately nourished and are now healthy* teenagers.

          *Two have physical disabilities that have to do with a mutant allele inherited from their father, not from anything having to do with how they were fed.

  • MaineJen

    Stickers, really? Stickers for your boobies? I know my first grader would be thrilled, but I’m a grownup, thanks.

    • Megan

      Maybe it’s appropriate given that those who advocate stupid stuff like this probably have less understanding of the actual scientific literature regarding breastfeeding than your first grader.

    • BeatriceC

      I have a sneaking suspicion that somebody thought of the roaring success of the “I voted today!” stickers that are given out across the country during presidential elections (and other elections in some districts) when they conceived of this horrible idea. The voting stickers are a roaring success, so boob stickers should be too! Ugh. They fail to grasp the not so subtle differences in the two situations.

      • Roadstergal

        Voting in local elections will probably have a bigger effect on the long-term health of children, come to think.

      • demodocus

        They gave my kid extra ones last time This pleased him. 🙂

      • Amy M

        Even if so, then the boob stickers should be worn on the outside of the shirt, so EVERYONE could know what an awesome mom the woman was because she breastfed. 😛

  • prudent planner

    I have a question.

    I’m getting ready to do a night-supplement with formula for a baby that’s over 6 months old. I think I make enough milk per 24 hours, but it’s avaliable at the ‘wrong times’. If he is going to sleep though the night, he needs at least 3 oz. of bottled milk before bed. I’ve used up my freezer stash and now there is a can of formula on my counter… it’s staring at me. I could just wake at night… I could pump extra during the day…. I’m sure I could increase my milk production but I don’t want to.

    I hoped he would be eating ‘food’ by now so that ‘formula is a type of food’ would be my logic…. but he is not ready for food yet, he’s only sampling a little here & there.

    Will a 3-5 oz bottle at 11pm totally derail my production? Have any of you done this for your kids?

    • yentavegan

      No. A bottle of formula at night will not derail your milk production because in a very short period of time your baby will probably be ready for eating mushed up variations of your food. Your milk supply will adjust to meet whatever demands you make of it.

    • cookiebaker

      If you’d always given a bottle of expressed milk from your freezer stash before bed and nursed other times, then giving a bottle of formula at the same time wouldn’t affect your supply. You’re not changing anything about your routine except what’s in the bottle.

    • Gene

      My milk supply decreased dramatically when my kids finally slept through the night. My sister used to, when her twins were sleeping through the night, wake up at 1-2am just to pump and dump because she otherwise wouldn’t make enough during the day (NOT my choice, but was important to her).

      So your supply may decrease if you start using formula. But as I don’t consider formula poison and I value my sleep and sanity, I’d support your idea to supplement.

  • AirPlant

    Is anyone else just so over infant nutrition as a topic? There are literally only two acceptable food choices. They maybe used singularly or in concert. Mothers may have a preference, or babies may have health conditions to be taken into account and this could impact the type of nutrition that the child receives, but that still doesn’t make it any more or less complicated than picking out cellphone service. How are people able to keep talking about this? I have only been exposed for the past couple years and I am already in teen eyeroll territory.

    • Brooke

      It remains a topic because there’s a group of women who ferl maternal guilt for not being able to breastfeed and another group of women who feel passionate perhaps even a little bit self righteous about their “decision” to breastfeed so blog posts, news articles etc get a lot of hits online. Plus, boobs. Boobs always draw attention lol.

  • PrimaryCareDoc

    That sticker idea is incredibly stupid.

    • Megan

      That was my thought too. Really lame.

    • Roadstergal

      I’m trying to decide if it’s the stupidity or the offensiveness that most stands out. Treating women like cows was too much autonomy – let’s treat them like fruit…

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Hey, not any fruit, but MELONS!!!!!

        • Roadstergal

          Would you like a sticker for your cucumber?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            OK, so I have to post it again.
            https://youtu.be/p9ZjOCSLYlc

          • Roadstergal

            Seriously, tho. A sticker for the peen, describing the benefits.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            More like a warning sticker…

          • Charybdis

            Careful! It spits.

  • KeeperOfTheBooks

    Aaaaaand this is why I love my OB. (Okay, not the only reason, but…)
    I tried to BF DD, I really did. It never went well, and I finally threw in the towel at 4 months, but dear Lord did I try! And my OB supported me 100% of the way: he had the OR nurse set her up to breastfeed while he was closing me up, and told me not to stop nursing her during my 6-week checkup and pap because, as he reasonably pointed out, that wasn’t the end he needed access to. 😉 However, he also said “You are the only person who can decide when to stop,” and that helped me later on when I realized that all I was doing was making myself sicker and sicker by doing so.
    This time around, he asked what I was thinking on feeding, and I explained that since last time ’round BFing was a huge PPD trigger, it never worked, and I kept getting infections/abscesses/plugged ducts/mastitis while producing all of a quarter ounce over 40+ minutes of pumping total, it seemed ridiculous to get on that carousel again. He said, “No problem,” and pointed out that DD is gorgeous, intelligent, and obviously did perfectly well on formula. He also said that I should be aware that different babies do feed differently, so that if I thought I might like to give BFing a go with this one there’s a possibility that things might go much better, but that it was entirely up to me, period, full stop, end of sentence, and why don’t I focus on enjoying my baby rather than stressing myself into PPD over what my breasts did or didn’t do. Which is exactly what I plan on doing.
    You know, once I decided to FF this kid, I stopped feeling horrible dread in the pit of my stomach in thinking about his infancy, and started thinking “hey, I’m pregnant! Cute baby on the way! No worries about if he’s getting enough food or how to go see a doc to get a breast abscess lanced, I can just snuggle him and feed him and enjoy him! Yay, baby!” Which surely is as it should be? DD’s infancy was hell on earth for me: I didn’t enjoy it at all, and I spent most of her first year out of my mind with depression and suicidal thoughts. No thanks. And when I described what that first year was like, we put together a plan of formula feeding, dad helps out a lot more (because of formula), I start antidepressants in the hospital, and if I start feeling suicidal, I call ASAP, day or night, and I’ll get help.
    Huh. It’s almost like my OB listens to his patients or something and realizes that one size does not, in fact, fit all. Radical!

    • Megan

      You know, I wish I had your resolve. I just keep being fed the “Every pregnancy and baby is different. Why don’t you see how it goes?” line and, given some positive signs that my breasts might actually cooperate more this time around, I have tentatively decided to combo feed and go to EFF if things don’t work out; in other words, I guess I’m giving it a try. Yesterday though I was thinking maybe I don’t even want to try after I get home. I just don’t know. Why is the pull of breastfeeding rhetoric so strong, even when you know better?

      • moto_librarian

        I went through the same thing. There was the possibility that my milk failed to come in the first time due to the severity of the pph. If I had been truly honest with myself, I would have admitted that the main reason I tried the second time was because I still believed that being a good mom meant at least attempting to breastfeed. I even went through the hassle of renting a hospital-grade pump a second time, only to have the same results. And while it was really easy for me to supplement and ultimately quit attempting to breastfeed the second time, I didn’t really want to do it again but felt like I should.

        • Megan

          That sounds a lot like my situation. I had a large PPH and I was borderline anemic even before that so I feel like that is being labeled as the cause for my difficulties but honestly, I don’t think that is the whole story for me. I think I have some real metabolic reasons for having trouble (though I admit they are better controlled now) and possibly a component of IGT.

          One thing I did draw the line at was the pumping. I Will. Not. Do. That. Again. I wasted my daughter’s infancy pumping for a shitty supply and it was not worth it. It’s one thing to pump at work if your supply allows you to space them out during your workday, but another thing to pump while your child cries for you. Insanity. So anyway, my guess is I’ll end up formula feeding again but the question becomes how hard do I try? And if I make more milk than last time but not a full supply, is it still worth continuing? In some ways “trying” makes the decision to stop harder I think, and that’s probably why it’s advocated.

          • moto_librarian

            I’m pretty certain that I’ve got IGT. I have never once experienced the feeling of let-down or engorgement. I would feel a bit sore when I needed to pump, but I quit cold turkey before leaving for a trip to my parents and had no pain from it.

          • Inmara

            Letdown is weird. I experienced it only when baby was about 2 months old, before that it was just milk coming out if sucked/pumped but not by its own. And then – boom – I finally understood how it is when baby cries and you got a spot on your shirt. A while later, letdown disappeared again and it was really hard to express milk. Stopped BF few weeks ago, recently baby was crying during the night and in the morning I realized that my shirt is wet from milk – apparently his crying triggered letdown which I didn’t notice. Did I say that it’s weird?

          • Megan

            Yeah, with my first daughter I never really felt let down more than a handful of times and my breasts only softened after feeding/pumping. My milk didn’t come in for a full week and even then it kind of trickled in and slowly increased when I started domperidone (another thing I refuse to do again). I also experienced very few breast changes in my first pregnancy. This time I’ve had more breast changes and actually have been leaking small amounts of colostrum since 24 weeks when I made no colostrum during my first pregnancy. It just confuses the issue and makes it hard to know whether it’s worth a try or not.

            I hate that I’m so conflicted about this. I feel like I ought to be “over it.” Sorry you guys keep hearing about it!

          • Megan

            *Softened marginally

          • Kelly

            I obsessed about it each time I was pregnant. Even when I made the decision to just start with formula, I still thought about just trying to breastfeed. I would then have to think over all the reasons I had chosen not to try again. Even when I was trying to dry up, I had thoughts that I still had time to try. Once I realized that I would have to pull my breast out set up the baby to try, I would realized how much I hated it again. So what I am saying is that, it is ok to keep talking about it. You are making a decision that is very hard for you. Once you make a decision, your brain may not be settled until you have the baby and that is ok. My brain still likes to play tricks on me and try to tell me that I am pregnant again.

          • Inmara

            From my experience of combo feeding, having a boob to stick in baby’s mouth has some advantages, even if you don’t provide full supply. For example, during the night I was nursing while husband got to the kitchen and prepared bottle so baby was not crying, also we could switch night wakings for us (one full feeding by me and then the next would be husband giving him bottle while I happily snuggled into pillow and fell asleep). Nursing as soothing method is powerful, especially baby is colicky (you would have to hold him in hands/rock/bounce anyway so there is not that much difference if he’s nursing too). If you don’t have the pressure to increase your supply and nurse as much as possible, you’ll have a lot of flexibility to find optimal nursing/formula feeding schedule according to your supply and other circumstances. And I agree, pumping is the worst, I tried it a bit and felt miserable because it deprived me of daytime naps and didn’t do much to increase supply anyway. When baby refused to nurse during the day, I got to few pumpings but gradually decreased them and finally stopped BF altogether at 5 months. So it’s all up to you and how you will feel after birth.

          • BeatriceC

            I liked breastfeeding because it was so darned easy! My oldest took a few weeks to get the hang of it, but my middle child took to it right away (the little one never did successfully nurse from the breast). I didn’t really have any problems other than working out how to position everybody so the baby could latch on a boob that was bigger than he was, but once that was sorted out, it was easy going for me. I loved just being able to shove a boob in the kid’s mouth, without having to worry about bottles and cleaning and everything else. Packing a diaper bag was so much easier. I was more than a little bummed when I had to quit nursing the middle one because I got pregnant with the youngest, and my body couldn’t handle both.

            However, even with all of that, I’m not an idiot and realize that not all women are me, and not all babies are those specific babies, and what worked for me isn’t going to work for everybody. I’d never even consider attempting to make another woman feel less than wonderful if breastfeeding just isn’t for her, for whatever reason she wants. And that includes “I just don’t feel like it.” I think a happy mother is far more important than the nutrition source.

      • Charybdis

        Do they not realize that makes them sound incredibly nanny-ish/ mother-ish? “Just try the broccoli, you might like it”. “Just try the kale salad. Just try the casserole. That’s all I’m asking, for you to just try it.” “You have to try a bite of everything on your plate before you can have dessert.” That sort of drivel,.
        It sounds *so* reasonable, hey, just try it. It’s not a commitment or anything. You might like it. But it’s not. It is wheedling, begging, pressuring and condescending, especially if you HAVE tried it before and didn’t like it or it didn’t work out. All couched as reasonable, hell, even understandable concern. But it implies that you have no thought process of your own, which is insulting and patronizing.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          “Just try the broccoli, you might like it”.

          You have to try it 10 times before you can decide you don’t like it.

          For the record, our 5 yo’s favorite dish at Panda Express is the Beef and Broccoli. And he eats the broccoli. Of course, Riley Anderson has broccoli as one of her deepest fears (“Way to go, San Francisco, you’ve ruined pizza! First Hawaii, now you!”)

          • Gene

            I was sad about that scene. My kids all love broccoli. Oldest says salad is her fav veg, broc is second. Middle loves broc best. Youngest shovels it in. Kids think that scene is funny though. Middle constantly walks around saying “These are my kind of people”. The “volcano man” is his favorite character. Gotta love Lewis Black.

          • MaineJen

            I enjoy Disgust’s take on broccoli…”Wait a second guys…this is not rainbow colored or shaped like a dinosaur. I just saved our lives. You’re welcome!”

          • BeatriceC

            Your five year old and I agree on Panda Express. Of course, broccoli is my favorite food, so I’m biased.

        • BeatriceC

          I think that a statement of fact like KeeperoftheBooks’ doctor made is a good thing. I’m a huge fan of making decisions with the most information possible, and stating factually that “all babies are different, so the nursing experience could also be different”, in a nonjudgmental, non-condescending tone is simply imparting information with which the mother can use to make her decision. It’s a relevant bit of information, and as long as it’s being imparted as such, and not being used as a sledge hammer, I have no problem with it.

          • Charybdis

            True, a non-condescending, “just imparting some information for you” tone can make all the difference. As long as it stays that way, I have no quarrel with that. But sometimes it doesn’t stay that way.

      • Dinolindor

        I thought I had a similar plan as you for the second, and if I recall correctly we had similar issues with our first’s feeding issues and “lovely” tongue tie procedures at the same place. For the second, I had intense anxiety every time there was a question of how well she was really breastfeeding (our first wasn’t feeding well, but it wasn’t until after we were released back home for a whole day that we realized what we were seeing). After a couple days of uncertainty leading to panic with #2, I realized I had to stop and switch to formula, which I knew would be totally fine – it was for my son! But at the 6 weeks check up, the kind nurse asked how breastfeeding was going, I told her the deal and she said yeah sometimes it just doesn’t happen, no worries. The OB did his exam, asked how I was feeling emotionally and I broke down. I hadn’t felt the baby blues once I stopped breastfeeding. But after being asked about it and admitting I couldn’t handle the guesswork that goes with breastfeeding, I was an emotional wreck. And I knew I made the right choice! And I followed my plan – the moment I didn’t think my baby was getting enough, the moment I didn’t think it was working, I would switch to formula. No pumping nonsense, no tongue tie “correction,” just go over to formula. The rhetoric for breastfeeding, even when you know it’s just a social or educational status marker rather than a health or “good mom” marker, is insidious. I wish you the best and the clarity to assess your needs when it comes to feeding your second baby. And you know what? Reading here helped me come to terms with why I felt any guilt, and why it was unfounded. Whatever happens, you have a lot more information and true, knowledgeable support than the first time around.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        This is a total guess from a random and non-scientifically-educated stranger on the internet, so take it for what it’s worth.
        I suspect part of it is instinctual/evolutionary. After all, for a very, very long time, if you didn’t pick up your newborn and put him to your breast early and often, he’d die. Period. As a result, I think a lot of women still have the breastfeeding instinct. Problem being, of course, that Mother Nature is a right bitch, and doesn’t particularly care if you or your baby lives or dies, so strictly on a physical level, there are all sorts of reasons why breastfeeding might not work out for a particular mother/baby dyad (PPH, for example, or IGT, or a severe tongue tie, or a cleft palate, or…), and again, Mother Nature don’t care, but she also doesn’t take that into account while handing out those instincts that do preserve the species. Note that’s the *species*, not the individual.
        I still have a bit of that pull sometimes: I see a mom for whom it’s working beautifully, and I get all soft and fuzzy and “eh, maybe I’ll give it a try,”–and then I tell myself rather sternly that I was damned lucky that both baby and I survived the last attempt, and that though it might work this time, it also might not, and one of the things I promised myself and my husband last time was that I would never, EVER put us or our kid(s) through that again. I might do one delivery-room nursing for colostrum and snuggles because I loved that with DD. On the other hand, I might not, because my brain is just plain crazy when it comes to breastfeeding, and I don’t want to spend that hour thinking “this is the only time I’ll ever BF DS, sniffle, sob, how sad!” when in reality, it isn’t.