Contemporary lactivism: ugly, ugly, ugly

Woman Screaming at Anoher Female on White Background

When it comes to discrediting lactivism I get lots of help from an unlikely source, lactivists themselves.

For sheer viciousness, it’s hard to top Kathy Dettwyler, Associate Professor, Supplemental Faculty, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Delaware, Newark, who is known for her cultural work on extended breastfeeding and weaning. You may remember the nasty comment she left on a positive Amazon review of the book Lactivism:

Lactivists can’t identify even a single term baby who suffered brain damage from properly prepared infant formula, yet they’re willing to risk brain damage from insufficient breastmilk.

… Formula fed children definitely WILL BE INFERIOR to how those same individuals would have turned out if they had been breastfed.

Now she’s spewing drivel that is, if possible, even more offensive.

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Ponder: Why so much uproar about the loss of a few IQ points in the children of Flint, Michigan due to lead in the water? The IQ deficit from lead poisoning is about the same as the IQ deficit from infant formula use [rather than breastfeeding]. Yet no one seems to be getting their pantyhose in a twist from infant formula — except those of us who have been doing so for decades. One TV news report tonight was talking about how these kids will have to be followed for years to track their progress, and how $$$$$ will have to be spent on special education services. Uh, why? No one bothers to do that for formula fed children. Serious question.

Note that I am not unsympathetic to the situation in Flint — it’s criminal and immoral and heartbreaking for the families. Just trying to put it in proper perspective…

It’s proper perspective? Yes, let’s put it is its proper perspective.

The effects of lead poisoning on the brain are manifold and include delayed or reversed development, permanent learning disabilities, seizures, coma, and even death.

See? Formula is exactly the same… Oops, guess not. But that doesn’t stop Dettwlyer from exploiting the tiny victims of lead poisoning to further her personal agenda.

Lest you think that the ugliness of lactivism is restricted to clowns like Kathy Dettwyler, consider the actions of Alison Stuebe, MD, a well known professional lactivist.

In a recent piece for the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine blog, Of Goldilocks and neonatal hyponatremia, Dr. Stuebe felt compelled to address a petition that is circulating highlighting the dangers to babies of inadequate breastmilk.

A heart wrenching story has been circulating on social media about an exclusively breastfed baby who suffered brain damage after 4 days of ineffective feeding. The mother shares how she was reassured that all mothers can make milk, and did not realize until she engaged a lactation consultant at 96 hours postpartum that her child was profoundly dehydrated.

…That warning would directly challenge efforts across the US, and around the world, to emphasize the value of exclusive breastfeeding and the risks of unnecessary supplemental feeding.

Yes, just another random mother complaining about a random event…

Not exactly.

I commented on the post:

Dr. Steube, I notice that you display your own credentials prominently, but you disrespectfully ignored Dr. Christie del Castillo-Heygi’s credentials, referring to her as “the mother.” Dr. Castillo-Heygi is a practicing emergency room physician with degrees from Brown and UCSF medical school.

To her credit, after multiple complaints over 24 hours, including my suggestion to edit the piece, Dr. Stuebe did ultimately identify “the mother” and link to her story, but I wonder why Dr. Stuebe neglected to do so in the first place.

It’s not because Dr. Stuebe denies the deadly reality of neonatal hyponatremia; she doesn’t. It appears she didn’t want to give credence to Dr. del Castillo-Heygi’s experience and the lasting impact on her son.

Dr. Stuebe didn’t want to give attention to the risk of PERMANENT BRAIN DAMAGE and DEATH because she’s more concerned about the “risks” of unnecessary supplemental feeding. And what risks would those be? Not brain damage, not death, but the disruption of the breastfeeding relationship.

I suspect that Dr. Stuebe would be hard pressed to identify even a SINGLE term baby who suffered brain damage from properly prepared infant formula, yet she’s willing to risk brain damage from insufficient breastmilk. I suspect that Dr. Stuebe would be hard pressed to identify even a SINGLE term baby who died from properly prepared infant formula, yet she’s willing to risk infant deaths from insufficient breastmilk.

Dr. Stuebe offers a straw man fallacy to defend her point of view:

What, then, of the tragic stories of brain-damaged babies? Wouldn’t it be easier to supplement all babies, rather than redesign our systems of care to identify dyads at risk and ensure early follow-up for every baby?

No one, least of all Dr. del Castillo-Heygi, has ever suggested supplementing all babies.

Amidst the attempts at obfuscation, Dr. Stuebe admits:

We might start by acknowledging, once and for all, that not all mother-baby dyads are able to breastfeed exclusively. Reproductive physiology is not infallible. 10.9% of women have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term. 15 to 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, 10% of infants are born preterm, and 1 in 100 infants are stillborn. Similarly, less than 100% of women can exclusively breastfeed.

Which, of course, has been Dr. del Castillo-Heygi’s point all along. Kudos to her for forcing the lactivist establishment to admit it.

Lactivists, both professionals and lay people, seem to have lost their minds over breastfeeding. The truth is that it’s just not that big of a deal. Breastfeeding has benefits, but in first world countries they are trivial, but the moralization of breastfeeding has paralleled the monetization of breastfeeding and an entire industry now believes that it depends on grossly exaggerating the benefits and misrepresenting the risks.

But it’s not all deadly seriousness. Here’s a tweet I received from a lactivist offended that I criticized the recent Lancet breastfeeding studies:

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Hard to beat that for eloquence!

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    OT, In regard to the new MANA position paper promoting waterbirth:

    • Green Fish

      Well, that explains why some don’t seem to believe that meconium aspiration actually happens to homebirth babies.

      So: They promote certain birth positions so that gravity can help the woman giving birth. But then again they don’t think the baby is effected by gravity while still in the womb…
      Yeah…

      • Megan

        Given how often I have to empty my bladder, my fetus certainly seems to be affected by gravity.

    • Adelaide

      You know gravity can kill. We should start a group to regulate its use on babies.

      • sdsures

        Combine that with allowing natural birth advocates to fly their own airplanes with no training. *grin*

    • Manabanana

      Mind-numbingly stupid. We’re running out of adjectives to describe their stupidity.

    • manabanana

      “We believe that our research has addressed these limitations [described by the 2014 ACOG/AAP waterbirth position statement], and now offers good evidence for the safety of waterbirth.”

      http://mana.org/blogs/midwives-alliance

      No, they’re not joking. They’re idiots.

    • BeatriceC

      I believe a certain Japanese-American uncle might have the only suitable response to this: “Oh, my….”

  • English major wondering

    This may be slightly off-topic, but I was wondering if it’s actually possible to get immunities through breastfeeding? The flu shot, MMR, Tdap, etc. are all injections or nasal. I’ve never gotten an immunization that was oral. It seems to me (admittedly, a humanities major) that the stomach acid would destroy the virus before the immune system got a chance to learn from it. So, is it possible for breast milk or colostrum to transmit immunity?

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Passive antibodies are transmitted through breast feeding and provide transient protection to some diseases. I don’t think that you’d have much luck with innoculating the infant actively, i.e. with actual antigen, though. First, as you mentioned, stomach acid isn’t too kind to protein, though some do get through (see above.) Also, the antigen would have to be present in large enough quantities in the breast milk to stimulate a response, less likely with a vaccine than with a live and unattenuated virus. Finally, if something did survive, it might be present before the baby was able to make reliable antibodies and thus become an infection rather than a vaccine. (An issue for live virus vaccines only.)

      In short, I don’t think it would work and I don’t think it would be a good idea to try it. Sorry.

    • Box of Salt

      The live Polio vaccine (Sabin’s, not Salk’s which is the inactivated one currently used in the US) and rotovirus vaccines are oral.

    • Megan

      Are you asking if mom can transmit antibodies to baby via breastmilk or if vaccines could be given orally to baby to produce an immune response?

    • Rachel

      No. My mother is a Ph.D. from Stanford, and this is what she did her dissertation on. There is trans-placental immunity from vaccines, not through breast milk. This is a misconception that I know for a fact has put babies at risk. My friend’s own doctor told her it was okay to skip the tDap vaccine in her last trimester because the baby would be protected through breast milk. My mother, HER mother and my CDC employed sister yelled flipped out, and I have to say she is lucky everything worked out, she lives next to, and visits often, an area that has seen recent vaccine preventable disease outbreaks! Cow/ ruminant (see, not ALL mammals are the same!) colustrum has been proven to have some antibodies, but NOT human. I could find you some of the papers if you are interested. Do to this fact about immunity, all board certified OB/GYN as of May 2013 were told by the college to administer the tDap vaccine to their pregnant patients in their third trimester. Sorry if I rambled, this is a topic that just breaks my heart!

      • Roadstergal

        Exactly this. IgGs aren’t passed on through breast milk. You get a variable amount of IgAs that might do an unknown amount for mucosal immunity, but you sureashell don’t get VPD immunity.

      • guest

        That’s so irresponsible on the doctor’s part, because even IF there was protection through breastmilk, there’s no guarantee any particular mother/baby dyad can successfully breastfeed.

      • moto_librarian

        My greatest fear about my inability to breastfeed was that he would not be able to get antibodies against H1N1 from my flu vaccination. I am SO PISSED that no one told me that this wouldn’t confer immunity on him. I cried for two solid days, convinced that my baby was going to get H1N1 and die because I was such a failure.

      • fiftyfifty1

        ” not ALL mammals are the same!”

        Exactly. Some time back, a regular poster here (it was a vet I think or an animal breeder) explained this in detail. Some mammals babies receive their “download” of maternal antibodies via the placenta in the last part of pregnancy. Colostrum is not needed. Others receive no such placental download, and instead evolved to receive their download via colostrum, and if they don’t get colostrum they will die. Other mammals have evolved to take a combo approach. Humans and other apes are almost purely placental. You can line animals up along a spectrum from 100% placental to 100% colostrum. The order went something like:
        100% placental; Apes..rodents…dogs…cats…sheep…horses: 100% colostrum

      • realitycheque

        If antibodies are proteins, I would’ve thought they’d just end up being broken down by digestive enzymes? Not just enter a baby’s body and reassume their regular function?

    • demodocus

      One of the baby vaccines comes in an oral form. Milk’s antibodies aren’t as effective as a kid’s own, and the ped told me that the effectiveness wanes a lot by 6 months.

      • Rachel

        Oral vaccines are based on how the immune response should work. They are usually against oral/fecal (rotavirus=diarrhea=passed through this) diseases or airborne (flu). There is no immunity passed through breast milk from a mother being vaccinated.

        • demodocus

          I was thinking more like a couple of the colds we got early on or the one he got that i didn’t. Nothing i’d rely on, though.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        You’re only passing on (some of) the antibodies to the baby, not the WBC that will make antibodies. So once your immunity wanes to the surveillance level and certainly after the baby is weaned, the passive antibody protection slowly wanes and disappears altogether. OTOH, passive antibody transfer can interfere with the effectiveness of active vaccination because the antibodies neutralize the virus before the host’s immune system can react. That’s one reason why there’s a slew of vaccines at 6 months: increased need and increased effectiveness. (If I understand correctly. I’m not an immunologist.)

        • Roadstergal

          As gone into below, the transfer of systemic Ab that are useful against VPDs is through the placenta, so the clock starts ticking on circulating protective antibodies more or less at birth. Ab half-life is reasonably complex (we have a rule of thumb for our therapeutic Ab, but they’re pretty heavily engineered), and the vaccine schedule takes that into account (I’m an immunologist, not a vaccinologist 🙂 ).

          Long-term immunity is through memory T and B cells and long-lived plasma cells, which you generate effectively through vaccination. Antibodies are nifty and have a diverse bunch of functions, but they’re only part of a productive immune response.

          When you get a booster shot, you ramp up Ab production (if you want to be able to visualize circulating plasmablasts, eg as a positive control, a good place to go is someone who has just gotten their flu vax). So late-in-pregnancy boosters would be a good way to get a bolus into circulation to pass to the kid.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Thanks! I must admit that the differences in placental versus milk transfer of antibodies in different species comes under the category of things I totally did not know.

          • sdsures

            Is that how the abx for GBS work?

    • Joy
  • Manabanana

    OT: MANA just released a position statement on the “safety” of waterbirth, and it’s one hot mess.

    http://mana.org/pdfs/Waterbirth_Position_Statement.pdf

    • Daleth

      Has MANA ever done anything that’s NOT a hot mess?

      • Manabanana

        Good point.

    • Megan

      There are so many things wrong with this document, from the statement that water birth can fix racial disparity in healthcare to the statement that babies don’t breathe until they “experience gravity” (maybe they do really believe the babies are not Earthside until they are delivered? I’m pretty sure my fetus is already on Earth and experiencing gravity – I experience her gravity all the time!). I just don’t even know where to start.

      • Roadstergal

        The woomeisters just love to say that their woo of choice solves racism, don’t they?

      • MaineJen

        Babies don’t breathe…until they experience…gravity…my head hurts

        • Charybdis

          How in the world can anyone take anything they say or endorse seriously?

          So would babies born on the Space Station never breathe?

          • MaineJen

            Not to mention the fact that…they DO “breathe” when they are still gestating. They breathe in and swallow amniotic fluid. It actually helps their lungs to develop, I believe. If I know this as a lay person, how do people whose profession it is to deliver babies not know this???

          • Charybdis

            Right? Maybe they don’t consider it breathing until actual air is involved? Or something. The way they insist that a newborn does NOT need to breathe air immediately because of the placenta and the fact that oxygenated blood is still being delivered via the umbilical cord, why are they now claiming that gravity is necessary for breathing to commence?

          • That sounds like the premise for a dystopian sci fi story: for nefarious purposes (population control, racism, etc.), lower class pregnant women are sent to space to deliver. Their babies are never allowed to “experience gravity” and therefore don’t need to breathe, meaning they can be warehoused indefinitely in a pre-born zero G stasis, leaving the precious (water/clean air/whatever resource is in dispute) for the children of those with more power/privilege.

            I don’t mean to be flip about something so appalling – will delete if this offends.

      • AllieFoyle

        At least they are upfront about their priorities:

        Midwives in home and birth center settings focus on supporting and safeguarding normal physiologic birth processes.

        It’s all about preserving a process that they can preside over, not the woman or the baby or health or safety or anything that might matter to a normal person.

    • AllieFoyle

      I figured it would be stupid, but wow.

      Research has demonstrated significant differences in birth outcomes for nonwhite populations
      69; for example, African Americans are four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related 68,
      complications 70, two times more likely to experience preterm birth
      71and three times more likely 2 71 to give birth to a low birth weight infant

      Given the persistent disparities in health outcomes regarding

      increased maternal morbidity and mortality in communities of color in the US, water labor and

      birth provide another important tool that reduces the likelihood of interventions. Therefore,

      laboring and birthing in water can lead to improved outcomes by reducing unnecessary

      procedures and supporting physiologic birth, a potential lifesaver for women of color and their

      babies.”

      73

      The International Center for Traditional Childbearing further advises that “Women of color experience disproportionate rates of infant mortality, regardless of their educational and economic status. Contributing causes include the higher rate of stress that women of color experience. Laboring and birthing in water can create a calming effect and reduce anxiety. Therefore, women of color should be offered and supported in their choice to labor and birth in water.”

      That’s so stupid it’s actually offensive.

      • Megan

        Thank you for posting the actual text. I couldn’t get it to copy and paste. Must be a problem with PDF’s for me.

      • MaineJen

        Oh. Oh my god, the stupid. Where is this drivel published?

        • AllieFoyle

          It’s their position paper, from their website. I don’t think it’s published in a journal or anything.

          • Manabanana

            The position paper was written on the heels of this rubbish:

            http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jmwh.12394/abstract

            An article by Melissa Cheyney and her friends. Complete, utter, craptastic rubbish. I don’t know if the JMWH is hurting for content or what, because I can’t think of any reason why they would accept it otherwise.

      • Manabanana

        Offensively stupid. Agreed.

      • swbarnes2

        Do any modern hunter-gatherers/indigenous people actually birth in water? Is this really anyone’s tradition?

      • BeatriceC

        I’ve seen a lot of things discussed on this blog that have angered me, but this has to be in the top three, if not the most offensive thing I’ve ever read. And I’m a upper middle class white woman! The thought that they could so callously endanger the lives of women of color and their babies just sinks to a whole new low.

    • Sue

      They may not have any knowledge or interest in outcomes or safety, but at least they have their ideology sorted out:

      “: A note on language: we use the terms “mother” and “woman” throughout this document despite the fact that people who do not identify as women or mothers also give birth. This is because the studies referred to here did not control for gender or maternal identity, and those researchers were studying mothers and women, in particular. Where it was logical or could be extrapolated from the research, gender neutral phrasing has been used.”

      You might be injured or die in their hands, but your gender identity sensitivities will be respected.

    • Sue

      “Better oxygenation during labor”???

      I. Don’t. Think. So.

      • Sue

        Oh – and their first reference for that statement is from a paper that says:

        ” there is no evidence that immersion in water during the first stage of labor otherwise improves perinatal outcomes, and it should not prevent or inhibit other elements of care. The safety and efficacy of immersion in water during the second stage of labor have not been established, and immersion in water during the second stage of labor has not been associated with maternal or fetal benefit. Given these facts and case reports of rare but serious adverse effects in the newborn, the practice of immersion in the second stage of labor (underwater delivery) should be considered an experimental procedure that only should be performed within the context of an appropriately designed clinical trial with informed consent.”

        So, no.

      • Manabanana

        Yeah, that nugget was pulled right outta their arse.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    OT: Did the zika thread break the internet or did Dr. Tuteur just get tired of it dominating the blog and close it?

    • demodocus

      I think the former. Other people were able to respond after I was getting an error sign. She could have just closed the comments section and it still be readable. They do that on SBM after a while.

  • Megan

    OT but hoping someone has ideas: my 16 month old has been having problems with car sickness recently. We have a pretty bumpy/twisty ride to daycare and she has vomited on the way there most mornings since we got her in her new convertible car seat last week. She is still rear acing and I have lots of friends and family telling me to change her to front facing but I know that’s neither the recommendation nor the safest thing for her. I don’t think it’s illness because she vomited last week on the way, was fine all weekend and then vomited on the way again this week. Has been fine during the day. Usually she falls asleep on the way home so she doesn’t get sick then. She gets it honestly; I get carsick too. Anyone have any ideas?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      “All else equal rear facing is better.”

      But all else is not always equal.

      Front facing might help, but it might not.

      • CSN0116

        My one twin suffers from severe car sickness. Like, we haven’t been able to drive more than 45 minutes (with her in the car) since she was born. No flights, trains, boats either :/ She is seven now and after consulting with multiple doctors, and running an array of my own experiments, I have learned sooooo much over the years. I am a car puke guru 😉 I can successfully multi-layer garbage bags over a car seat so she can puke, tear off, puke again, repeat.

        My advice: You need to for forward face her. Rear facing would make my daughter puke in a mere 10 minutes versus 40 when forward facing. As someone who suffers myself, rear facing is incredibly difficult and literally painful.

        If you have three seats in a row in the back (not a bucket seat thing going on) put her in the middle so she can gaze up and out through the front windshield.

        What works even better than middle seating for us is putting her behind a seat with a DVD/TV installed. She gets distracted by the show and wanting to watch it *forces* her to keep her head up and out, because looking down is the worst thing for the condition.

        Keep the car cold and crack the window.
        Let her munch on dry cheerios or saltine crackers. I’m no food crazy with my kids’ diet, but only clean foods before a car ride, no preservatives.

        Flat ginger ale helps (-flat).

        Driving slow, accelerating and breaking slow, and using caution with bumps and turns always helps too.

        Our neurologist put us on an antihistamine regimen at one point. It’s a cumulative effect and must be given in super small doses every day. It did work, but it made her groggy, even the low dose. Actually, she became mellow and complacent, so it was tempting to keep it up lol, but when we saw the behavioral change we stopped. That’s not say it would happen to your little one though. It’s a legitimate treatment, especially for kids who HAVE to travel every day and don’t have a choice. Babies can’t be vomiting daily 🙁

        Hope this helps! I have been there more times than I can count and it started right around 15-18 months for us too :/ GL!

        • Megan

          Thank you! I think I will try decreasing the temp in the car and giving her a small amount of cereal before we go and see if that helps. If not, I’ll try turning the seat around. If we do end up front facing, we do have a DVD player that would keep her distracted and looking forward. I also realized something I’ve been doing that’s really dumb (especially as a fellow carsickness sufferer myself): She usually has a toy to keep her occupied while we drive and duh, that will cause her to look down and not out the window. I know that would make me sick, so I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before now. But anyway, I will stop giving her a toy to play with too.

          • guest

            I had a puke-y twin too, although not as much experience since we don’t own a car. Dramamine helped us IMMENSELY. The drawback is that is makes most people drowsy too, which isn’t ideal for daycare. But definitely give it a try for when you need to make longer trips. Forward facing didn’t make a difference with my son..

        • Amy M

          Mine have a tendency toward car sickness as well. I would second everything CSN said here, but also include having a puke kit in the car. Buy extra car seat covers if you can, so if one gets soiled, you can bag it up and have a clean one on for the ride. Always have a bucket, plastic bags, and wipes in the car, and possible a change of clothes. (mine are old enough now that they hit the bucket, so we don’t generally do the clothing thing anymore)

    • Who?

      I don’t mean to be rude, but could it be she doesn’t care for daycare? For instance, does she vomit on the way anywhere else with a similar trip?

      And does she hate getting in the car every time?

      My son was a shocker for carsickness on any but the straightest, smoothest rides, at 24 still is, unless he’s driving. It helps him to have cold air blowing on him-not possible with the rear facing . But being safe is way more important, leave that experiment until she’s old enough.

      Sitting in the front was better than the back, again not much use for years yet. He also liked to have something to listen to, perhaps a talking book, which seemed to take his mind off things.

      As he got older he was better if he knew it was coming, which seems strange, but there it is. We’d talk about how long it would take, and then keep talking and keep him posted, and have regular breaks.

      Once she’s old enough to manage herself it gets easier. We carried either those nifty disposable emesis bags, or an old icrecream container and plastic rubbish bags, unscented wipes (not that the smell bothered him, but then if he smelt it somewhere else later back would come the nausea) water and hard lollies to suck, for years.

      If she’s a happy feeder, perhaps give her something for breakfast that doesn’t taste too horrid coming back up!

      Good luck!

      • Megan

        She actually adores daycare so I don’t think it’s that. She doesnt love being in the car for long periods of time and in her old seat hated it every time we stopped. Since getting the new seat, we haven’t had that issue and I think she’s more comfortable as far as padding/fit goes but that’s when we started having more carsickness. She doesn’t seem to have a problem with straight flat roads but our drive to daycare is over a mountain and on a road with lots of bumps (“belly lifters” we call them). I try my best to take it easy but it only makes a little difference. In our van we do have vents that can blow right on her so maybe I will try a cooler setting and increase the fan speed. I also wondered if giving her some cereal beforehand might actually help (normally she just gets a morning bottle and eats breakfast at daycare), maybe just some plain cheerios or something bland..

        • Who?

          Good luck with it. It’s miserable for everyone. She’s too little yet to talk through it, so just getting it done asap is probably the best idea.

          A word on the cereal-I tried that with the boy when he was about 18 months, on a flight. We were in the air longer than anticipated, and had a bumpy approach and landing, and he vomitted all over me before we landed. At least we could scrape most of it off, and I took my clothes to the drycleaner-my Franglish trying to explain what had happened was pretty amusing.

          Happy times.

    • fiftyfifty1

      My advice is to keep the car absolutely as cold as you can tolerate, and dress very lightly. Cold wind in the face also helps, although that will be hard to get facing backwards.

      • Megan

        I’m beginning to wonder if I am keeping it too warm for her. It won’t be an issue for me to do as I usually like it cooler personally, especially while pregnant.

    • Megan

      No barf this morning! Yay! Now, granted I drove like a total grandma but we also made some other adjustments. I gave her some cereal while I got ready for work so she had more than just milk in her tummy. I also skipped putting her coat on and just put a blanket over her in the car. I also kept the temperature cool and had cool air blow on her face. I left the toy out of the seat and she mostly looked out the side window (the only one she can see). We also noticed this morning that, although we thought we had her sitting up at the highest position possible, we actually did not, so we sat her up some more. She still looked miserable on the ride TBH, so I’m not sure if these strategies will continue to work but I figured if I could find a way to keep her rear facing and not get sick, I would. If these things don’t work though, we’ll try front facing.

      • Who?

        A win’s a win!

        That’s great.

  • fiftyfifty1

    “Dr. Stuebe offers a straw man fallacy to defend her point of view:
    …[…]…
    No one, least of all Dr. del Castillo-Heygi, has ever suggested supplementing all babies.”

    It’s true that nobody within Western medicine has ever suggested supplementing all babies, but many cultures worldwide do indeed supplement every newborn, and it seems to work out well for them. I trained in a hospital with 2 major immigrant groups and both groups routinely supplemented. One group would put the newborn to the breast, but would then “top off” after every feed. The other group traditionally didn’t even put their babies to the breast at all until the milk was in, believing colostrum to be harmful. Both viewed the use of formula as an obvious good: “The baby is hungry. It will get weak and sick if we starve it while we are waiting for the milk”.

    After the milk comes in, both groups typically stop the formula feeds, preferring breastfeeding because it is more economical for them as SAHMs are the norm during infancy. Both groups go on to have very high long-term exclusive breastfeeding rates. And best of all? Readmissions for jaundice are much lower and readmissions for hypernatremic dehydration are unheard of.

    Heck, let me be the first medical professional to suggest it: maybe we really ought to consider routine supplementation to all newborns.

    • guest

      Let’s do it! We just have to all believe that newborns won’t keep eating after they aren’t hungry. As a woman with oversupply, I can’t picture my babies ever taking a top-off bottle (and that includes the first time I pumped after their birth. I’m just a cow) – but there wouldn’t have been any harm in offering it.

      • CSN0116

        I had this discussion on another post, but my babies are all formula fed within minutes of being born. My September 2015 baby (I use the example because I recall it the best haha) drank 2 oz in recovery 20 minutes after being born. No spitting up, no troubles, she just fell into a deep sleep and woke four hours later to do it again.

        I never understood the “their stomach is THIS tiny…” babble. Then how can my babies “fit it” all? How does it make them happy instead of sick?

        • Amy M

          Maybe it starts that small, but stretches? I think those LCs don’t take that into account.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Yes, they intentionally quote the size of the *empty* stomach, when everyone knows that stomachs are organs whose very purpose is to act as expandable holding bags. The size of an adult stomach (empty) is about the same as your fist, but that doesn’t mean that once you’ve eaten an apple you are done. The adult stomach stretches to easily hold a liter or more.

          • guest

            I know that the NICU nurses where really strict about the amount the babies could drink on the assumption that they could only handle so much at a time. Now, preemies are different, but those who were able to breastfeed weren’t being measured in the same way. I don’t know.

        • Daleth

          The stomach size thing is nonsense. An adult’s stomach is the size of their clenched fist, but that doesn’t mean all we need to be fully nourished and satisfied is an apple or a cup of cereal or whatever else is the size of our fist. The human stomach is designed to EXPAND when you put food into it.

    • Gene

      I’ve heard that as well. I see new babies in the ED all the time with dehydration and difficulty feeding (some with low blood glucose) and tend to mention this.

      • fiftyfifty1

        Gene, how often would you say you see it? That is a neonate in the ER due to some feeding problem? And how often exclusively breastfed vs. other?

        • Megan

          I’m genuinely curious about this as well. I’ve heard from our nursery/PP nurses that there has been an increase in readmissions for jaundice since the push for EBF has happened. Most of those are direct admits from the office though (which is how my daughter got readmitted for her jaundice/FTT).

          • swbarnes2

            There are some papers about this…(open on my work desktop, not here) I think I might have gotten to the link directly or indirectly from the Steube lady from the other day…something like 15% of women with full lactation support had babies losing 10% of their weight, (AAP recommends careful monitoring if more than 7% is lost) a third of those had hyponatremia. Some other paper shows that taking at least 2 oz of formula in the first three days really, really dropped the “lost between 7% and 10% of their weight” numbers, and I think studies show that that does not hinder later breastfeeding, which sounds like the experiences of a few people here with cultures that routinely do that.
            My guess, if lactivists had hard numbers like this, could show that 15% of formula feeders had measurably bad stats that lead to hospitalizations, had even tiny studies showing worse outcomes for kids so hospitalized later in life, they’d never stop screaming about it.

        • Gene

          Couple of times a month (for me). And since I only work 15shifts a month… 99% are exclusively BF. The rare one formula fed is a big deal (can be a sign of sepsis). The vast majority of the BF ones will usually happily suck down a bottle of formula, burp, and snuggle down to sleep.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      A local immigrant population does the same thing here. Mom breastfeeds some but not a whole lot until her milk comes in, and basically spends most of her time resting in bed while other women take care of the baby and house for her. Once her milk comes in, baby nurses a lot more and formula feeds are decreased until they’re nonexistent, and then mom nurses for 18-14 months with problems being very rare indeed. Drives the local LCs mad because we all know that JUST ONE BOTTLE will RUIN all breastfeeding relationships, don’tcha know. Sigh.
      My personal guess is that having all that support plus mom getting off on the right foot physically with resting appropriately/getting lots of sleep without worrying about other kids, the house, et all post-delivery means that her body can relax and focus more on milk production than on dealing with stress, healing, and so forth.

      • Megan

        That sounds lovely. I wonder how important it really is to breastfeed super frequently before your milk comes in? I mean, theoretically lactogenesis II happens because of a drop in progesterone levels and should occur regardless of what you do and then afterwards local control takes over and it’s supply and demand. I have seen studies that say that frequent breastfeeding helps milk come in in higher quantity, though I would have to dig to find the study and I’m not sure how good it was.

        • Inmara

          After all, there are women who have chosen not to breastfeed at all but they still have to deal with engorgement for a few days until milk “dries out”.

          • Anne Catherine

            I know a woman who was out of formula when her baby was a few days old. She asked her boyfriend to go buy some and he suggested that she breastfeed the baby because she was leaking and engorged. –she did and continued to breastfeed for quite some time.

      • fiftyfifty1

        “with problems being very rare indeed.”

        Problems are rare in our 2 groups as well. I’ve spent some time pondering why that is and have come up with the following ideas:

        1. Exactly what you said about mom. She is able to spend the first 3-4 days resting and recovering rather than becoming sleep deprived nursing every 2 hours around the clock.

        2. Baby has a stronger, more efficient suck because it spends the first 3-4 days getting excellent nutrition, while the breastfed babies spend those days in prolonged, often fruitless, attempts at feeds while becoming dehydrated.

        3. Occasional relief bottles are not stigmatized. So, for example, if a woman is developing sore nipples, she can sub a feed or 2 with formula to give her some extra healing time before those nipples go from being sore to being bloody.

        4. The demographics of the immigrant groups. Being an over 30 primip is a huge risk factor for delayed and reduced milk production. So is needing fertility treatments due to PCOS and other hormonal problems. In our 2 main immigrant groups, normal age of first baby is in the late teens or early 20s. And very few have used fertility treatments (mainly because they can’t afford them and/or less likely to need them because they are younger).

        5. You hear less about the failures. I will occasionally (rarely) meet a woman from one of these groups who is exclusively formula feeding. When I ask, the answer is that her milk just never came in, or that she produced very little. They will often note that it happened with their other babies too, so it probably represents that certain small fixed percentage of women who can never make much milk. But they don’t seem to sweat it. If you ask, they will say it is “inconvenient” that they can’t breastfeed. But nobody from their cultures beats them up about it. They don’t see formula as a failure.

      • StephanieA

        Ha, reminds me of a population I take care of. They breast and bottle feed in the hospital after birth, because milk isn’t in yet. They then almost always exclusively breastfeed at home. It drives the LCs crazy, because it works. As much as they push the no bottles ever message, nipple confusion seems to be pretty rare. Your comment makes another point about the ridiculousness of baby friendly; moms aren’t offered any relief after delivery to help promote optimal conditions for BFing. On another note, my 83 year old grandmother was appalled that I had to change my baby’s diapers in the hospital. She couldn’t believe that he didn’t go to the nursery at all so that I could rest. Nope, you’re up laboring all night? Doesn’t matter, good luck with your baby that won’t sleep in the hospital bassinet.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Plus the bassinet a) is higher than the bed can go and b) is on non-locking wheels, so you can’t actually get the baby or put her into the bassinet without getting out of bed. While holding the baby. Totally feasible when you’ve just given birth. (That last was sarcasm, needless to say.)

      • Old Lady

        I really wish I could have this for breastfeeding support rather than the feed every two hours and pump when not feeding. It was exhausting, I can’t imagine hunter gatherers depriving themselves of sleep as much as mothers are encouraged to here. And for why really? How much non woo science has gone into learning about how breastfeeding really works? As a pregnant mother who had trouble last time making enough among other things, I really wish there was more information on good combo feeding methods since it’s a high possibility I won’t make enough. Although maybe I will, it’s hard to know exactly why I had trouble and I only have one baby and not two this time.

        • Monkey Professor for a Head

          I’ve also wondered whether supporting women in getting adequate sleep and food during those first few days of parenthood would be far more effective in increasing milk supply than the 2 hourly feed-pump-bottle-repeat cycle that seems to be the standard LC recommendation. I just can’t imagine that putting the body under that much stress (both physical and emotional) is conducive to milk production.

          • StephanieA

            Plus, I might be wrong, but the body will produce milk regardless of frequent early feeding, right? My friend that EFF straight away had to wrap her breasts and wear tight sports bras for a few days. From what I understand they won’t give the shot anymore that prevents lactation.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Oh, believe me, much though I detested breastfeeding, if giving it a try would mean I got that kind of support, I actually would give it a shot again. Alternately, I’m looking at getting adopted into a family of that background as an adult, but have had little success so far. :p
          Insofar as combo feeding, you might try posting in the comments of a recent post here and asking for suggestions. A fair number of moms here have done it, some due to supply issues, others due to work requirements. (If you’re an ER nurse, you can’t really say “Mr. Smith, I know I’m doing CPR on you right now, but would you mind if I stopped to step out and pump for twenty minutes?”) I considered doing so with this kid, though I’ve decided to just FF, and got some good info here about it–and with no judgment at that, which is really nice. 🙂

    • Roadstergal

      But that’s impossible! Nipple confusion always happens, and they refuse the breast if they see a single bottle! :p

      • Megan

        They don’t even have to see it! Mom just has to think about preparing a bottle and they will refuse the breast forever!!

        • fiftyfifty1

          It’s true! Babies are so wise but simultaneously so stupid. If a baby is 3 weeks late, it’s ok because “babies know when to be born”. You should trust their wisdom. On the other hand, if a baby is given a single suck of formula it will be irreversibly tricked into preferring the “poison” that is “chemical milk replacer”. You can’t trust them for an instant!

        • Joy

          Don’t even think about some free samples!

    • Adelaide

      Small study, but the results are really interesting…. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/05/08/peds.2012-2809 Improved breastfeeding with early limited formula.

  • StephanieA

    OT: I had my baby yesterday! He’s happy and healthy and we are thrilled. My labor came on very fast, with extremely painful contractions every 1-2 minutes. Baby was in OP position, and I thought I was going to die. At one point I begged for a c section or general anesthesia because the pain was so bad. Thank god I had time for an epidural, but it made me think, screw those people who say that labor pain is not real, or that it’s just ‘fear’ that can be overcome with the right mindset. It also made me really feel for women who don’t have access to safe pain relief during labor. I really think I would have PTSD from that labor if not for the epidural!

    • Inmara

      Woohoo! Congratulations!

    • Monkey Professor for a Head

      Congratulations! I had an OP labour too, and yup it suuucked! But thankfully epidurals are magical :).

    • Bugsy

      Congratulations! My epidural with #2 didn’t have time to take effect before the kiddo was born…labour pain definitely isn’t fun. So glad you’re both doing well.

    • Megan

      Congratulations!! My daughter was OP and I agree, it was excruciating. I couldn’t get an epidural to work for me and had a CS but I’m so glad it worked out for you! I wish you many snuggles and a good sleeper!

    • crazy grad mama

      Congratulations! Glad everyone is healthy and hooray for pain relief during labor!

    • BeatriceC

      Congrats!

    • An Actual Attorney

      Congratulations! Welcome little baby!

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Congratulations!

    • Daleth

      Congratulations! Welcome, baby! So glad you got your epidural, Stephanie!

    • moto_librarian

      Congratulations on the new baby! Yay for epidurals!

    • sdsures

      Congratulations!

  • SporkParade

    Lactivist drivel story time! I was recently told that the dehydration my baby suffered in the hospital (he lost over 10% of birth weight), which was ignored by the nurses in favor of bullying me into exclusive breastfeeding, was all in my mind because “medical professionals would never risk a baby’s life.” Not only that, but I should consider myself lucky because at least they didn’t “force formula down your baby’s throat.”

    • Sarah

      Doubtless there’s an overlap between them and the people who think medical professionals risk babies lives all the time with unnecessary birth interventions.

      • Christy

        I was just thinking about that this morning. Why is it that interventions are evil when it comes to birth, but every and all intervention known should be tried with breastfeeding?

        • Sarah

          Nachrel

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    I will one to say it, if the only problem with chronic lead poisoning was a couple of points of IQ, no, it would NOT be a major issue. But, unfortunately, that isn’t anywhere close to what the problem is.

    From kidshealth.org, here are the effects of long term lead poisoning

    Effects of Long-Term Lead Poisoning

    Lead poisoning can lead to a variety of health problems in kids, including:
    decreased bone and muscle growth
    poor muscle coordination
    damage to the nervous system, kidneys, and/or hearing
    speech and language problems
    developmental delay
    seizures and unconsciousness (in cases of extremely high lead levels)

    Hmmm, I don’t see anything in there about “a few points of IQ.” The closest effect listed would be developmental delay.

    Also

    And lead can cause harm wherever it lands in the body. In the bloodstream, for example, it can damage red blood cells and limit their ability to carry oxygen to the organs and tissues that need it, thus causing anemia.

    Most lead ends up in the bone, where it causes even more problems. Lead can interfere with the production of blood cells and the absorption of calcium that bones need to grow healthy and strong. Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth, muscle contraction, and nerve and blood vessel function.

    Nothing there about IQ, either.

    The concern over lead poisoning is NOT about IQ. It’s about health.

    • Megan

      Meanwhile, when others brought up to Kathy Dettwyler that lead poisoning is about much more than “a few IQ points,” she just said she was focusing on the IQ points because “that’s what she keeps hearing about in the media.” Nice backpedaling on her part.

      • demodocus

        What the hell media is she listening to? All our local channels had docs from Cleveland Clinic, University, or Metro hospitals (our big 3) going into detail.

        • Megan

          Who knows? I’m sure she just realized what she said was disgusting and is trying to make it look better. Of course, most of her commenters were all in agreement with her. They kept mentioning about how dangerous formula was and how little lead gets through into breastmilk. They really ought to be suggesting to breastfeeding moms that they get their lead levels checked because the concentration of lead in the water in Flint was quite high (some samples over 100ppb or even over 1000ppb) and according to the CDC if mom’s lead level is above 40, they should not be breastfeeding. But who cares about safety when it might threaten your ideology?

      • Who?

        Perhaps she’s a few points light herself.

        Sometimes I wonder whether people who say things like that have any filter or other device between their brain and their mouth.

    • Mel

      The speech, language and developmental delays can be very severe. The first school I worked in had several students who had documented lead poisoning as children and – not to put too sharp a point on it – it pickled their brains.

      I can’t pick out which teenagers had been breastfed or formula fed, but a large dose of lead at critical developmental periods creates bad outcomes.

    • fiftyfifty1

      My first job after medical school was at a tiny clinic in a poor part of town with old housing stock. One of my patients was a nice lady who could never learn how to tell time using a regular clock. She lived a normal life in some ways, but not in others. She had been a patient at the clinic since the 1970s when she was a child, and the paper chart was filled with multiple hand-written lab slips from the old days documenting her atrocious lead levels and doctors’ notes detailing their too-late attempts at remediation.

      A couple of IQ points? No, more like 20 probably.

    • seekingbalance

      good summary. agreed on all that. what the argument of “a few IQ points” hinges on is the population-level issue. this is a classic way that people can try to manipulate or deceive with statistics–or sometimes they don’t even realize the fallacies they’re falling into when confusing effects on individuals with effects on populations. lead exposure overall (as in a slight elevation in blood lead levels, not lead poisoning) is believed to bring the population’s IQ down “just a few points.” a given individual may experience any of the (sometimes severe, sometime minor) complications listed here and elsewhere. there will be many individuals who are affected more than “just a few points.” BUT, more to the point, at the population level, one can easily argue that even a so-called modest effect is dire, because… math–the bell curve. if the IQ of a population is roughly normally distributed along a bell curve, and you subtract 5 points from everyone on that curve, you probably wouldn’t notice a difference if you selected out any given individual and could magically talk to him/+lead and then him/-lead. but if we think about the whole population, this 5-point shift down the curve is going to move many more people into categories that will require special support and move many people out of categories considered gifted. in public health, effects that look nearly inconsequential for an individual can have huge repercussions for a community.

  • Dr Kitty

    OT:
    #2 at five months is rolling front to back and back to front, has located his feet and p
    enjoys sucking his toes and is trying to pull himself to sit.

    He’s also on two spoon feeds a day and has so far had no issues with gluten, cow’s milk or any of the fruit and veggies he’s tried ( although he hates mango and peas).

    We’ve had to move him out of the Moses’ basket into a cot for safety, and are now trying to organise his nursery (formerly the home office) so we can get him into it.

    I have to admit I’m not looking forward to changing from an 11pm “take him to bed with us, 3am lift out of cot, straight into bed for a feed, back into cot” to “proper bed time at 8pm, dream feed at 11pm, actually having to get out of bed and feed him at 3am”. Yuck.

    On the plus side, I’ve got the choice of season two of The Bridge or reading The Magus on my kindle to get me through…

    • meglo91

      Any day he should, with any luck, totally drop the 3 am feed. And then YOU will also have to learn to sleep through the night!

      • BeatriceC

        Sleep through the night? Is that possible? I still partially wake several times a night, and my kids are teens. Granted I don’t wake up to the point of getting out of bed, just enough to be conscious of being awake and then I roll over and go back to sleep.

        • meglo91

          Yeah, I do this too, though mine are still littles. But at least I don’t have to actually get my butt out of bed and attend to someone else’s needs. Unless one of the littles is scared, or needs a drink of water, or has a nightmare, or — well, you get the idea.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          I call it “Sleeping with one eye open”

          The kids aren’t the problem as much these days, it’s that damn dog….

          • BeatriceC

            Thankfully the Evil Attack Parrot ™ sleeps through the night quite soundly. On the other hand, delaying his breakfast past 7:30AM is likely to result in getting an earful of angry parrot squawking.

          • Roadstergal

            We have hardwood floors. 6am every morning, I hear the Latte sound of trotting over to our door, sitting, and wagging her tail – click-click-click-click, pause, thump-thump-thump…

          • Suzi Screendoor

            This is the worst. My next house will have carpet!!!

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Oh, man, I hear you. I only have the one toddler thus far, and she usually sleeps all the way through, of course, but I just don’t sleep as well as I used to. I didn’t realize how true that was until I recently had a night away at a hotel by myself. I think my “mommy radar” shut off because I wasn’t near DD and knew she was in good hands. Slept for only 7 hours, but I woke up feeling like I’d slept the clock ’round because it was such a lovely, deep, uninterrupted sleep!

      • Dr Kitty

        Oh no, the 3am feed is new. He appears to need the extra calories since he’s moving about more. He was sleeping from 11 to 6.

        #1 was starting to talk at six months, but didn’t start crawling until almost a year or walk until almost 14 months and she sleeps like the dead in 12-14 hour stretches and has done since she was tiny.

        #2 cat naps, is a very light sleeper and while he’ll smile and shout for attention, seems much keener to move than to talk.
        He’s still a very easy, contented, placid little soul, but I think things will be different this time…

    • CSN0116

      Well at least you have a plan to get you through 🙂

      My youngest is nearly 5 months and I find her at all ends and corners of her crib these days 😉

      • Megan

        I call it “making the rounds.” Some nights I wonder how my daughter will ever learn to sleep in a real bed.

        • BeatriceC

          Middle son is quickly approaching the six foot mark. He’d had a twin bed forever, and I started looking to upgrade him to a full or a queen. I happened to run into somebody giving away a brand new king sized bed, so that’s what he has now. I always find him in different corners or stretch across different parts of the bed when I wake him for school in the morning.

        • Inmara

          “Making the rounds” describes it perfectly, my little boy does the same. A month ago I could put my arm on him and hold in place while he squirmed a bit and then fell asleep, it took some 10 minutes. Now the proper way is to let him squirm and roll for half an hour and only then he’s finally ready to sleep. I don’t blame the baby, unlike my husband I have difficulties to fall asleep and sometimes it takes an hour or more. Fortunately, baby is not crying or fussing while doing it, he just has to dissipate leftover energy.

    • Inmara

      You have advanced so far with solids! My baby is almost 6mo and we started solids 2 weeks ago, still nibbling couple of tablespoons at a time. I want to introduce various tastes and then proceed to finger foods as soon as he’ll be sitting upright by himself. Added pinch of wheat flour to his cereal and seems that there was no allergic reaction, now would be time to test eggs but I’m a bit reluctant. And apparently we’re stuck with 3-4 AM feeding for upcoming months but that is covered by husband, yay!

      • Dr Kitty

        This one is greedy.
        He likes a thicker consistency than most of the jars, so I’m adding a tablespoon of baby rice or half a crumbled rusk to get it to the wallpaper paste texture he seems to like. Doesn’t seem to have impacted much on my milk supply as yet.

        I figured I’d start with jars until I work out what he likes (rather than waste entire ice cube trays full of homemade purée or carefully prepared finger foods he won’t touch, the way I did with my daughter).

        My daughter was a pickier and less hungry baby, and definitely wouldn’t have been ready for solids at 4months,, when he was literally sitting in his chair screaming for more.

        Scrambled eggs is next on the list, scheduled for lunchtime on a day when DH is working from home, because food allergies run in the family.

        • Inmara

          We don’t have known food allergies in family (only thing I know of is my maternal grandmother who had asthma from cat fur) so I hoped that baby will escape this annoyance. Unfortunately, seems that eggs are not safe for him – just mixed a bit of hard boiled egg yolk with vegetable puree and (warning – poop talk ahead!) result was loose and stinky stool within half an hour of eating. Going to look for a good allergist to make appointment and discuss our further plans (not that easy of a task because many allergists here are infested with woo, homeopathy in particular).

      • Toni35

        Mine will be six months tomorrow and we started about two weeks ago as well (I hate spoon feeding, after four kids I am just so over it), and she takes a couple tbsp at dinner time. I’m holding off doing brekkie for a few more weeks. I’d like her self feeding asap. I skip the cereal, as it just seems to constipate my kiddos, but she’s loving carrots, applesauce, bananas, sweet potatoes, chicken, and even some (homemade, the store bought is just too salty) chicken stock in a sippy cup; really, just stuff we are eating; I’ll buy some jars for convenience and variety soon enough. Was planning to give egg yolks soon (hard boiled about a dozen today to give it a whirl tomorrow). Did I mention I can’t wait till she can feed herself, lol. She naps like crap (boo) but she does sleep through the night, so I’ll take it :). I know they are now saying to introduce the “allergy” foods earlier, but it was so drilled into my head with my previous children to wait, wait, wait, that I’m nervous about it. I’d love to give her some full fat plain Greek yogurt I have in the fridge, but, well, I worry (omg dairy before age one, eek! lol). Will probably wait to try those kinds of things til she’s a tad older…

        • seekingbalance

          yogurt and cheese are generally ok before age one–certainly after nine months for most kids. it’s the switching babies to cow’s milk (rather than formula or breastmilk) that is strongly advised against due to baby’s ongoing needs for things in baby milk (of either ilk) that aren’t in cow’s milk. 🙂

        • Inmara

          I want to encourage baby to self feed because it should set healthy eating habits from the very beginning. Even put four figures towards set of dining table and chairs so we can sit down for a family dinner every day – otherwise our meals happen either in kitchen with laptops in front of us or on the couch while watching TV. Not the best example to show a kid, right?
          I have some eggs (from free range hens, no less) in fridge too – after re-reading article about possible benefits of introducing eggs before 6 months I’ll have to find a courage and give them a try. So far his only (possible) allergic reaction has been eczema (and it can be not related to food at all) but I’m dreading of some serious reactions, like vomiting or swelling (there is no family history, though).

        • Dr Kitty

          Fire away with yoghurt and cheese!
          The advice is only to wait to give plain cow’s milk until six months and a a main drink until a year. Foods made from milk are fine from 4-6 months.

          I made a rusk/ fruit purée too thick, but not thick enough to make defrosting 4oz of EBM worthwhile and too thick to be bothered hand expressing some breast milk. So I just mixed 3 tbsp of full fat cow’s milk into it. He was fine.

          All the evidence I’ve seen is that six months is the ceiling for introducing allergens you’re worried about, not the floor, unless you child is actually allergic.

          • Toni35

            Im glad thanks Dr. Kitty! I’m glad to hear that. I think she’ll really enjoy it and it’ll be nice to have one more option for those days when our dinner isn’t exactly baby friendly 🙂

    • Monkey Professor for a Head

      Sounds like he’s doing great! I really need to get mini monkey eating more solids. We were travelling for a month in December/January and I think that’s delayed us a bit. He’ll happily eat rice cereal/porridge, fruit and sweet vegetables but not always in great quantities – sometimes he’ll gobble it down, other times he won’t and then he’ll wake up every few hours at night looking for milk. Plus I need to start him on more savoury foods too. I might do what you’re doing and start with jarred foods – I don’t want to make a load of baby food and then have to throw it away.

      I’m happy to introduce him to allergens early on but I’m a little torn about giving him too much wheat as I have a super strong family history of coeliacs (my mum, three siblings and myself). As far as I can see, there’s no definitive answer as to when to introduce wheat and nothing you can do will impact whether your child will get it, but I don’t want to cause malabsorption at this age. For now I’m not exactly avoiding wheat but I’m not giving it everyday or in large amounts.

      • StephanieA

        My older son wasn’t big on solids until he was 8 months. We tried to 5 and 6 months, but he really didn’t like it. He’s two now and is a pretty good eater, as far as toddlers go.

  • mostlyclueless

    Is there anything that can be done about this Dettwyler monster? Can we write to her dean or something?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      You can, but the dean will just laugh it off, and rightfully so.

      Push back against her has to come from the academic community. Unfortunately, anthropology seems to have a lot of folks that will eat it up.

      • CSN0116

        I had no idea how preoccupied anthropologists were with lactivism until I got my first professor gig at a college with some vocal, female anthropologists. Yikes…

    • guest

      She makes me ashamed to have a PhD, she’s that awful. You can write to her dean, but public opinion is not supposed to sway hiring and firing decisions in academia. I fully support tenure for the academic freedom it provides, but unfortunately it also provides protection to whackadoos like Dettwyler when they get in.

      Not sure exactly how it work with the more science-y stuff, though. Academic Freedom isn’t supposed to cover intentionally misleading people and causing public harm.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        She makes me ashamed to have a PhD

        I feel you. Carson has an MD and I am so endlessly embarrassed about that.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          I think it was in the Onion where they said, the great thing about Ben Carson is that he shows that you don’t have to be a genius to be a neurosurgeon.

  • CSN0116

    Funny story, I attended a policy meething this morning. I oversee a school district as an elected trustee and it came to my attention that a couple of our nursing mom-employees are not being given sufficient pump space or time. They are also not being respected by fellow colleagues (90% of whom are female and the vast majority of that percentage are mothers).

    So what is this exclusive formula feeding mom of five doing about it?

    Hand writing a new policy myself, allocating thousands of dollars to re-vamp and make “pretty” designated pumping spaces in all of our buildings, creating literature to dispense to mothers exiting on maternity leave, re-vamping HR, and giving a stern talk to the obnoxious disrespecting fellow “women” trying to shame their conterparts.

    Why? Because I support federal law, but more importantly a woman’s RIGHT to feed her baby as she chooses and not take shit for it. Would my fellow lactivists grant me the same courtesy? HA!

    • Megan

      Good for you. And you’re right, a lactivist would never extend the same courtesy.

    • Laura

      The Lactivists would say that the nursing mothers should quit their jobs and stay home because that is their duty and that formula feeding moms would get no maternity leave because they aren’t nursing.

      I’m a breastfeeding stay-at-home mom, but not a lactivist. I support moms, and clearly you do too 🙂

      • CSN0116

        I recently finished Jung’s “Lactivism” book where I learned that a lot of this (LLL’s role specifically) was born from staunch Catholicism.

        And the practices that you listed, like staying home, align with the whole Madonna “total mother” stuff. I just don’t understand how, in 2016, middle-class professional women are comfortable with *any* person or set of ideologies that force them into antiquated living situations, while stripping their bodily autonomy. It’s one thing to choose to be a SAHM; it’s another to have it imposed upon you.

        The whole thing is totally contradictory to all other women’s rights issues with which I am familiar.

        • crazy grad mama

          It’s odd, isn’t it? And yet I’ve seen people claim it’s “feminist” and “revolutionary” to wear your baby all the time and never let them cry.

          • Roadstergal

            My lactivist friend actually said once that it’s ‘anti-feminist’ to say that women can have careers and a baby. I still can’t parse that one.

          • CSN0116

            Uh huh. I’m at a loss.

          • Roadstergal

            I wasn’t around at the time, but my dad told me that my mom tried the SAH thing for my oldest sister, and was profoundly unhappy. I remember her as a scientist in no more or less a way than she was my mom; complementary, two things that were very much _her_. She would have not been the person she wanted to be if she weren’t both.

            Again, the choice to do one or the other is one that a: you’re in a fortunate situation if it’s a choice you can make and b: is indeed up to the choice of the person in question, according to his or her own values (I have co-worker mothers with SAH/WFH dads).

          • BeatriceC

            Exactly. I love teaching. I love mathematics. I love statistics. For a long time I didn’t have a choice, but I was extremely lucky in that I loved my job. These days I do have a choice, and my choice is to stay home. The way I definite feminism is that it gives me the ability to make the best choices for me and my family. If that means I go to work, then I should be able to do so with out judgement. Same for staying home. The reality is that I was judged harshly for working and judged even more harshly for staying home. Women simply can’t win sometimes.

          • CSN0116

            I watched a doumentary one time where they interviewed former members of the Bloods and the Crips. Now stay with me. The film was about gang inception; it was quite fascinating.

            One of the “old guys” who got out of gang life was there during all the LA race riots, racial segregation, etc. He makes this quote which I always thought dual applies to lactivism. He says something to the effect of, “You know that you have reached the epitome of oppression when you can convince an oppressed population to actually turn on itself and begin oppressing one another.”

            Women in our society have always been oppressed, marginaized and discriminated against. Perhaps an epitome has been reached – though it may not outwardly look like one – where the “powers at be” have oppressed in such a way that we have now turned on one another. Perhaps there is no freedom whatsoever, just oppression masking itself as freedom.

            OK weird rant over lol.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I’m really curious–do you happen to remember the name of the documentary? Sounds like something I’d enjoy.

          • CSN0116

            It’s called “Made in America: Crips and Bloods”. It’s available for free on YouTube 🙂 There are several parts and I believe this quote is found in the beginning, Part I, as they’re recalling the history of the gang.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Oooh, thanks!

          • BeatriceC

            And yet I get disparaged for being a SAHM. I guess now that my kids are teens it’s time to go to work. I worked when the kids are little, as I had no choice. Now that I have a choice, I love staying home. It makes mornings like today easier to deal with.

            An a somewhat related topic, I love my city’s police department. They’re really super awesome.

          • Sarah

            You’re a woman. Everything you do is up for comment, and nothing you do is good enough.

          • Valerie

            Some people believe that fewer women should leave (or take time off from) STEM … so that there will be more women in STEM. It’s kind of like women in STEM is the goal, which requires female role models, encouraging girls to get into it, women sticking with STEM careers, etc, so there is “more equality.” One problem with this is that it ignores the reasons that women leave in the first place, like family non-friendly policies and expectations. I got a lot of “what a shame, we need more women in this field” when I switched over to something more biological and less computational, and I found it pretty obnoxious- like it’s my job to personally correct the gender imbalance so the progressive men can feel more righteous. I don’t know if this is the tone of the disparagement you experienced, but I know other moms who chose to be SAHMs who’ve heard this kind of talk.

          • BeatriceC

            I have a little experience on both sides of this. My education is pure mathematics, and I got into teaching at the middle school level purely by accident (it started out as what was supposed to be a two month long favor to a friend). So while my field of education/training is male dominated, I worked in a female dominated profession, though by middle school you see more and more male teachers in the math and science classrooms.

            I have been on the receiving end of comments like you described, chastising me because “we need more female role models”, and other comments chastising me for “depending on a man”. I’ve also been on the receiving end of negative comments for going into teaching, since it’s not a “real” career. I did work in analytics for a major bank for a while, but then the comments were that I was “letting my kids raise themselves, and how could I do that to them?” Like it was my fault my ex-husband decided to disappear (I get a paltry amount of child support, <$100/mo/kid, only because the state garnishes they guy's wages).

            Then I met MrC and over time we decided together that me staying home was the best option for our family. Yet somehow that makes me a bad person.

          • crazy grad mama

            I had to deal with a lot of guilt around that when deciding or not to pursue an academic career after my PhD (or whether I just wanted to quit my PhD right then and there, ha). I don’t think anyone’s specifically said anything to me, but I’m already feeling a lot of stereotype threat for having a baby in grad school, and it feels like the Women in STEM groups have written me off.

          • CSN0116

            I started grad school with infant twins; birthed a third baby second year; and defended my dissertation 7 weeks pregnant with my fourth (almost puked during the but not due to nerves lol).

            People gawked at me. I turned my department on its fucking head 😉

            Long live multi-tasking and long live women exercising their right to make their own choices 😉

            Are you still in school?

          • crazy grad mama

            Dang, you kicked a**!

            I’m still in school. At this rate it’s going to be another year before I defend. It’s a terrible environment for my depression, but I’ve decided that I would regret it if I left at this point. Not going on in academia after that, though.

          • BeatriceC

            I dropped out of my program long before I got to that point. I got pregnant with number three. Useless ex-husband took off. I was trying to work a full time and part time jobs. Wound up going on leave at part time job, pregnancy turned high risk. Baby was born at 24 weeks, tried to maintain both jobs with 2 year old and 11mo old still at home while pumping for baby in hospital, and getting absolutely no help from the ex. Something had to give. It was the Ph.D. program. I still regret not going back.

          • CSN0116

            That sounds unfathomably difficult. You sound like an astounding mother! Sometimes our dreams get put on hold. I love that I frequently lecture to grad students in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Hell, I’ve even had 1 or 2 in their 70’s. Never rule it out completely if it’s something you still long for.

            I would very much like to go to medical school. My life does not permit that right now, but it’s far from off the table for my future. I have a 10-year plan for working towards it. Never give up. Nevahhhh! 😉

          • BeatriceC

            I was thinking about doing an MD/PhD program after the youngest graduates from high school. In undergrad I’d been debating between grad school for math and med school (I wanted to be a radiologist). I’m serious enough that I looked into admissions requirements. My old grades are fine (4.0GPA…never made less than an A in my life, though I almost got an A- in topology. Man I hate that subject), however, I would need to retake all the required science courses as they are more than 10 years old. I might start doing that in the next couple years, just to keep my options open.

            As for age; I was a community college professor. I can’t tell you how many mothers and grandmothers I had enroll right along with their kids/grandkids to show them “if I can do it, so can you!” I had many, many other older students, as is common with that type of school. My favorite student ever was a woman who enrolled for her GED in her late 80’s. She was 90-something by the time she finished her GED, and then her two year degree, then had the chutzpa to enroll in the local university. She graduated with her BA shortly after her 100th birthday.

          • CSN0116

            What a lovely story! Good for her!

            I will need to re-take my sciences as well. Right now they would still qualify but they’ll be too old by the time I’m ready to apply. But the most brilliant thing is that *myself* and my immediate family can receive free 4-year tuition at the institution where I am employed. They also “partner” with numerous colleges and universities around the US. But I could leave my own lecture and enter another to “re-learn” all those sciences for myself, for free! At that rate, why not fulfill my dream?! Well that’s the way I see it 😉

          • BeatriceC

            Do you need a 40 year old adopted daughter? Free tuition would be awesome!

          • CSN0116

            If I can semi-abuse you as “the older sister who has to watch her little siblings from time to time, and cook, and do more shit too” then maybe just maybe there’s a place for you. The twins keep a trundle tucked under their bunk beds! It’s a hell of an offer, really.

          • BeatriceC

            We might possibly have a deal. My new little sisters would even have older nephews to play with/annoy. Though the one minor blip might be wheelchair access.

          • CSN0116

            Single story house!!! (And the elderly woman who lived here before us had many things put in place to aid her mobility issues.) See dreams can = reality.

          • BeatriceC

            Very promising indeed!

            I have a three story house. Let me tell you how fun it can get. The kid is a pro at scooting around on his butt and using his arms to bump up and down stairs when necessary (he can walk a little bit, but not very far or very often).

          • demodocus

            Or two? I’m even an orphan already 😉

          • BeatriceC

            I’m an “orphan by choice”. I cut off all contact with my family of origin two years ago. Does that count?

          • demodocus

            I should think so.

          • BeatriceC

            Funny story from those days:

            I was fairly committed to providing expressed breast milk for the kiddo in the NICU. I had an oversupply, so pumping was pretty easy. The trouble came with finding time to actually do it. I solved this problem by buying a power adapter for the breast pump that would fit in my car. When I left my teaching job, I headed to the bathroom first, where I rigged the pump collection bottles to fit inside of my bra and stay put without the aid of my hands. When I got to my car, I hooked them up to the pump, started the car and then started the pump. I then proceeded to drive from work to the hospital with the pump running, turning it off when the bottles were full. When I got to the hospital I parked in a dark area and disassembled the whole set up, and then delivered the milk to the NICU.

            I shudder to think what a cop might have thought if I ever got pulled over.

          • CSN0116

            That’s an amazing amount of commitment, seriously.

            While I have never breast fed and never felt a desire to even try, I always told myself that I would forego “ME” and temporarily pump to provide for a preterm NICU baby, if I ever had one. I understand the benefits of breast milk during that crucial time period. Then I’d quit and go to high calorie formula lol. But in all seriousness your story is funny (to picture) but very admirable 🙂 Kuddos! Is your 24 weeker well today? Were there any long-lasting effects. Not that you have to share. I’m just amazed at what science can do.

          • BeatriceC

            He’s doing extremely well. There are few lasting effects of prematurity. He’s got neuro-sensory issues (cannot handle loud environments/chaos very well at all), and some autistic-like personality quirks (but screened for and ruled out as autistic), has asthma, a minor heart murmur, and is a little small for his age, but nothing else related to the prematurity. This is the kid that uses a wheelchair, but that’s because in addition to his rough start in life, he lost the genetic lottery and inherited the mutated allele from my ex-husband that causes MHE, the bone disease I sometimes refer to.

            And I don’t think I would have gone that far for a full term baby. My other kiddos were preemies as well, but not nearly as early (36 and 32 weeks), and both of them breastfed fairly easily (oldest required some supplemental formula while we got his latch sorted out and middle was fed via NG tube for a few weeks, but latched like a pro from the first time he was ever put to the breast, and only weaned because I was pregnant with number 3).

          • Megan

            I can’t count how many times I pumped in the car. I always wondered what a cop would say too, though fortunately, I never had to find out. I think more of us do it than we’d like to admit.

          • BeatriceC

            Can I tell you how much I appreciate knowing I’m not the only one who did that? I always thought I was kind of crazy.

          • Megan

            Definitely not crazy. It’s an efficient use of time!

          • Who?

            I was thinking the same thing about the potential pull over as I read the description. Would have been a first for the cop, I’m sure-you would have gone down in local folklore!

          • crazy grad mama

            That sounds like a ton of rough stuff crashing down all at the same time. Sorry you had to go through that.

          • BeatriceC

            Thanks. There’s a whole lot to that phrase “what doesn’t kill you just makes you stronger”. I’ve had a lot of crap happen in my life, but every single experience has left me better off in the end. I find I’m a far better teacher, mother, wife and neighbor because of what I’ve learned through my life trials.

          • CSN0116

            Full disclosure: I had an INCREDIBLE amount of help and support. I am married to someone 10 years my senior (I like my men vintage 😉 who was well-established which financially enabled me to go to school. I worked part-time through most of it as well, because I wanted to, and I wanted to build my resume. I also live mere miles from ALL of my family as well as my in-law family. My grandmother was/is so committed to my success that she stepped in as a “third parent” (as we call her) for many of those years, which was lovely for the children and my pursuits.

            The dissertation writing was very overwhelming. I avoided online courses throughout nine years of schooling because I know I lack discipline lol. Dissertation writing is like a open ocean that you must navigate all alone. Nobody gives a shit if you fail except you.

            Some things that helped me were a ridiculously thorough outline (and sub outline) with due dates attached. I also only ever wrote outside of my home. Four hours of a babysitter and library writing bought me 12 hours worth of at-home writing. I also listened to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” on repeat, specifically the “success is my only motherfucking option, failure’s not” portion 😉 And I brought pics of my kids and the subjects which I was writing about (I looked morbidity and mortality rates of a certain devastating disease) and focused on them when tempted to get up from my desk for anything other than to pee.

            Good luck, friend. DON’T QUIT! “It isn’t supposed to be easy. If it were easy everyone would do it.” -Tom Hanks, “A League of Their Own

          • BeatriceC

            “I am married to someone 10 years my senior (I like my men vintage 😉 ”

            MrC is 22 years my senior. I’m with you on the vintage men thing.

          • demodocus

            I apparently go for the new but made to look vintage type, lol. Poor D. People regularly think he’s my father, and he’s barely a full year older than me.

          • BeatriceC

            Funny, we sometimes have the opposite experience. Either I look really old or MrC looks really young in spite of the full head of solid grey hair. People have assumed we’re the same age. Maybe it’s because in those cases we presented as a couple so people saw what they wanted to see. Other times we’ve gotten funny looks, but who cares. We’re happy with each other, so people who judge can go stuff it.

          • Who?

            Maybe you just look ridiculously, improbably, almost inappropriately(!) young, fresh and pretty.

          • demodocus

            lol, that too. At 34, security guards and teachers at my first student teaching school would ask for my hall pass.

          • Who?

            I got similar for years too.

            My late forties caught up with me though 🙁

          • crazy grad mama

            Thanks for the encouragement! 🙂 We have zero local family, but I too married a vintage man (nearly 10 years older), and I get a little bit of a stipend, so we’ve been able to afford a nice daycare.

          • BeatriceC

            A cousin defended her dissertation after checking herself out of the hospital AMA the day after she gave birth to a premature baby with down syndrome. There was no way she was going to miss that defense. As crazy as it sounds, I think anybody who’s done a Ph.D. or has been around enough people who’ve done them wouldn’t blame her.

          • Roadstergal

            “I got a lot of “what a shame, we need more women in this field” when I switched over to something more biological and less computational”

            I hear a lot about biology being a ‘softer’ science, which I don’t get – there’s plenty of math, statistics, computation, chemistry, etc (I’m a chemistry and math minor). As far as I can tell, it’s considered ‘softer’ because more women are in it, and have successfully lobbied in many places for better work/life balance (which, incidentally, helps everyone).

          • Valerie

            Yeah, I think you are right about the ‘soft’ sciences. I’m still “computational,” but the area I left has particularly few female PIs (I have some ideas as to why). Work-life balance is definitely not universal- I just heard of a lab in my field where the boss insists everybody physically be in the lab at minimum from 7am to 7pm in addition to the experiments they might have to do in the middle of the night. Not family-friendly, or really friendly to anybody who wants to maintain some level of mental health.

          • Megan

            That sounds a lot like the characterization of the different medical specialties. You know, FP, peds and OB are “soft” specialties and for women and ortho and surgery are for men. I have to say, it has made my life easier starting a family while being in a more family-friendly specialty (FP) but it is silly that they aren’t all that way. And the “soft” specialties aren’t easier, and I agree are characterized that way because more women are in them and they’re more family friendly (though OB can be an exception).

          • BeatriceC

            Your background is similar to mine. I had a double major in math/biology and minors in chemistry/English lit (that last one was a bit of an accident). My masters is just mathematics with the stats concentration. I’d started a Ph.D. in biostatistics, but never finished.

          • Who?

            This business of people suggesting thot others should be role models for whoever it is the first lot are championing is Bad Thinking in my view.

            For one thing, if a group needs championing, do something yourself to support it rather than co-opting others, who may or may not identify with the group you’re talking about, to do it.

            Then, why assume that anyone has ‘done it tough’ and therefore has lessons to share? Or that if they did have lessons to share they would be the chocolate coated ones the do-gooders are imagining.

            And why assume that someone else wants mini-mes in the hallways. I’ve certainly met several women who pulled the ladder up behind them, preferring to be the unique person in the room.

          • sdsures

            Do tell!

          • SporkParade

            Didn’t you know that feminism is all about harassing women into making the same life choices as you? Emma Goldman (the anarchist leader) complained about this in a 1911 essay called “The Tragedy of Women’s Emancipation.”

          • CSN0116

            I think that a lot of these well-educated women get caught up in initiating breastfeeding from the (assumed) quanitfiable health facts that have been touted regarding it. They are already successes (got the degree, got the man, got the job, got the house, got the Lexus SUV), so they need to succeed here too. They are hard-core conformists because they bought into the system and the system worked for them, generally speaking. Breastfeeding is a continuation of the system, so off they go.

            But then something happens. Lactivists are not born 3 hours post the birth of their first baby. It’s a process. There’s some sort of mental breakdown/superiority complex/need to rationalize an otherwise negative experience (if breastfeeding isn’t easy). And it’s not allowed to be a private process. The breakdown must go public and be put on display.

            I don’t know, it’s that ^ process that I want and need to know more about. I get how it starts; I get how it ends. I want to categorize the middle.

          • swbarnes2

            I think lot of it is some kind of fallacy (kind of like sunk cost) where they think that doing more HAS to be better. Formula is easy, breastfeeding is hard, so it must be better. Attachment parenting is more effort, so it must be better. Birth without pain meds hurts more, so it must be better. Following the recommended vaccine schedule is easy (and what the poors do) so if I take the time to “research”, I can find a safer, more effective one. These are families with lots of money and time and resources to spend, and lots of people will happily tell them that buying what they are selling is better than the easy, cheap thing, even if the facts don’t support that.

          • AirPlant

            Straightening your curly hair and curling your straight hair.

          • crazy grad mama

            Yup. And I think there’s a self-justification / ego aspect of that, too: if they freely chose to do something, and it turned out to be hard, that must mean hard is better, right? Because they would never choose to do the *wrong* thing. So all those women taking easier routes must be lazy and un-“educated.”

            Plus, parenting advice is so heavily guilt-based that it’s hard to get out of once you’re in it. If you’re immersed in attachment parenting and everyone is telling you that of course it’s instinctual to want to hold your baby 100% of the time, you’re not going to let yourself admit that you want to put him down some of the time.

          • BeatriceC

            I would add to that the women who must justify the amount of trouble they went through in order to exclusively breastfeed, stay home, etc. They have to convince themselves that it was actually worth all that effort, because if it wasn’t, then why did they, the well-educated, intelligent women they are, put themselves through it.

          • Rachele Willoughby

            And it must be feminist because, well, they’re feminist and *they’re* doing it.

          • J.B.

            I went to a la leche meeting for latch advice and most of the women were complaining about co-sleeping and being climbed on. Umm…you know that’s not a requirement right?

          • AirPlant

            It is a requirement if you want to keep bragging rights…

          • Roadstergal

            We already have lactivists saying even one drop of formula means you didn’t ‘really’ breastfeed, and Dr T posted something a while ago where some lactivists were saying that feeding expressed milk in a bottle means you didn’t ‘really’ breastfeed. I’m sure co-sleeping is next. If the kid slept in a crib and didn’t have 24/7 access to your body, you didn’t ‘really’ breastfeed.

          • Who?

            They may have been humble bragging, it can be hard to spot but once you crack the code, you can’t miss it.

          • sdsures

            *eyeroll*

        • Dr Kitty

          I’m going back to work soon.
          Everyone assumes I’m dreading it, but honestly I can’t wait.
          It actually feels like my brain cells have been dying from disuse.

          I enjoy spending time with my infant, but intellectually stimulating it is not.

          Fair play if you opt to be a SAHM and find that a daily crossword or Sudoku is enough for you, but I’m afraid it isn’t for me.

          • BeatriceC

            Why do you think I spend so much time on this blog, SBM and other, similar websites?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Fair play if you opt to be a SAHM and find that a daily crossword or Sudoku is enough for you, but I’m afraid it isn’t for me.

            Sudoku is SO 2005.

            Today it’s Candy Crush.

          • Dr Kitty

            Frozen Free Fall… Almost exactly the same concept with nicer graphics and less pressure to buy content. I’m about 700 levels in without spending a penny on it. Don’t judge.

          • Amy M

            I found one called Hungry Babies—its adorable. The baby animals dress up for all the holidays too. I haven’t spent any money on it.

          • BeatriceC

            Oldest son plays one that you have to raise dragons. He says the baby dragons are adorable. They grow. A lot. Middle son plays a game with the same theme except it’s cows. Not sure what either game is called, but both boys spend a lot of time feeding and caring for their electronic critters.

          • Roadstergal

            Dragon Mania Legends? I love that one. The baby dragons are indeed adorable.

          • BeatriceC

            That might be the one. I’m not going to disturb him at school to ask though. I already disturbed him once to ask if a particular stuffed giraffe was acceptable (the older two boys have a $20 valentines day budget for their girlfriends). Yes, I’m *that* mom. I’m terrible, but he’s good at only looking at text messages between classes or at lunch, plus the school itself does things like tells parents to text their kids to get them out of class if we need to pick them up early instead of getting the kids themselves, so I absolve myself of all guilt.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            There are probably a dozen Candy Crush ripoffs. Cookie Jam, and a new one with gems I have.

            Same old, same old.

          • Roadstergal

            Candy Crush was already a ripoff of matching games and Tetris, after all.

          • sdsures

            I love Tetris! I’d love to get my hands on the olde timey style of player and cartridge I had as a kid. I don’t do so well with computer-based things. I’m a button-pusher (thankfully not the Ina May variety!!!).

          • Sue

            Yep – for us older adults….the teens have moved on.

            (Candy crush is SOOOO addictive).

          • sdsures

            Can anyone recommend some games to me that would be less migraine-triggering? I do love Sudoku because it doesn’t have moving bits all over the screen. Moving things and graphics are hard for me to tolerate.

          • crazy grad mama

            Oh thank goodness you said it. I love my toddler, but whole days with him get awfully boring. Because I’m an adult and not a one-year-old.

          • BeatriceC

            That was part of the reason I kept my adjunct position at the community college. I had little kids at home and worked with middle schoolers during the day. The few evenings a week when I got to hang out with real adults (my colleagues and some of the older students), were a a welcome break from all-kids-all-the-time.

          • sdsures

            Get some adult colouring books?

          • crazy grad mama

            I can’t tell if this is snarky or not, but assuming it’s not—why yes, I do keep a sketchbook around as one of the things that I can do with frequent interruption.

          • sdsures

            Not snarky.

          • crazy grad mama

            Oh good. 🙂 I have a very sensitive snark-o-meter and sometimes it overreacts.

            “Spending all day with a toddler is boring” goes deeper than not having stuff to do. It’s that it’s hard to do anything that requires any kind of attention because my kiddo needs routine attention. Plus there’s the mommy guilt telling me I *should* just be doing activities with him all day.

          • Megan

            Actually, I am happy I’m going to be out for a shorter time period with this baby than with my daughter. I didn’t realize just how much I’d lost until I went back. I really don’t want that to happen again. Plus, now that I’m working somewhere I like, I really enjoy the balance of part time work and a few days at home.

          • Montserrat Blanco

            It also happened to me!!!

          • Who?

            I completely understand that.

            I was at work part-time for most of my children’s childhoods, then had my own business, and am now looking to go back to work as they are both moving well away for their jobs.

            Working for myself has been great, but is very lonely and I do miss having a team and colleagues. Some of that gap was filled by university age kids and their friends through the house, in between contract jobs, but now I want the regular contact again.

            The job market has changed a lot since I was last interviewed-2004-so it’s a slightly wild ride, but will be worth it.

            Good luck with the transition!

          • demodocus

            i’m with you. not working is definitely contributing to my mental state. Not everybody is cut out for stay at home parenting.

          • Madtowngirl

            Same here! Although, to be fair, my previous job was not exactly mentally stimulating. But I belong outside of the home.

          • HappyMom

            I’m a long-time reader, and mostly a lurker. Asked questions in 2014 when I was having mc/da twins and having trouble getting a MRCS, and EBF. You helped me and answered some of those questions. Dr. Kitty, I always enjoy your posts, as you seem to be so down-to-earth and never arrogant. This was however. Dr. Amy chose to be a SAHM and frankly, I think she’s amazing, and hasn’t “had brain cells dying” from being understimulated. Your brain cells are dying because you aren’t getting enough rest, it’s the brain fog associated with getting up at night with an infant. Some women stay home with their children, and are amazing women.

          • HappyMom

            Sorry, I meant EFF not EBF. I formula fed my babies.

          • anh

            I actually got decent sleep when I was on maternity leave. Nonetheless, I know exactly what Dr. Kitty is talking about. I got severely depressed when I didn’t have the constant intellectual stimulation my job provides. It was a giant relief to return to work. I don’t think this makes me arrogant. I don’t think I’m better than anyone else. I just know for ME, being a SAHM is impossible if I want to be a functional happy person. Dr. Amy was able to keep up with research which I’m sure was awesome for her. I personally lack that kind of self motivation and while I could have been reading amazing literature instead I was watching Jersey Shore. I needed the structure that work provided. That’s just me. And I’m fairly certain Dr. Kitty was just sharing her personal experience, not extrapolating about anyone else.

          • HappyMom

            I think it was the comment where she said “fair play if Soduku or crossword….” …Is stimulating enough for you. It doesn’t sound that way to you of course because you agree with her and the large number of commenters here who essentially agreed. so I pointed out that Dr. Amy successfully made the choice to SAH, and wasn’t ruined.

            All started because one commenter said she was a SAHM and ebf’ed. Nobody said everyone should stay home. Then one commenter said it was unfeminist, and she couldn’t understand how anyone who was a professional could SAH, etc….

          • Megan

            Where did anyone say that they didn’t understand how anyone who was a professional could SAH? I’m not finding it.

          • Old Lady

            Since I never had stimulating work, I have no other choice than to find hobbies to keep myself mentally engaged. I fully support women going back to work, if I was a doctor I would probably have wanted to go back to work too. There is an arrogance to the assumption that it’s a choice to stay home or have intellectually stimulating work. Most mothers work because they can’t afford not because they enjoy the work. Many stay at home mothers stay home because they can’t afford to work, not because they don’t want to and most people have to find their own intellectual stimulation because they’re not upper middle class with an education and a career. Saying someone is satisfied with the mental stimulation of crossword puzzles or sudoku while staying home only comes from these kinds of privilged assumptions.

          • Old Lady

            But most people don’t have intellectually stimulating jobs either. I missed the pride of being a “real ” adult but that is a result of cultural ideas of worth through work. Even when I was working I wished I had intellectually stimulating work that was meaningful to me.

          • sdsures

            My sister doesn’t have a job outside the home, but when her twins were 7 weeks old when we visited them, she did comment on boring it could be. They were relatively trouble-free. Cute little 5-year-olds now.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          And the weirdest thing is this: nobody knows, of course, exactly how Mary and Joseph lived their day-to-day lives, but if Joseph was a carpenter/laborer, it doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable that Mary would have been working, too–quite the opposite. Maybe she cleaned houses, or baked for the neighbors, or sewed clothes or wove fabric or what-have-you, but she was almost certainly *not* sitting at home with nothing to do but nurse her Son.
          This is especially true if you think about the fact that they were in an area for the first bit of His life where they wouldn’t have had family support, what with the whole flight to Egypt thing. They’d have been recent immigrants, Joseph wouldn’t have had the clientele/business contacts he would have had in Nazareth from knowing everyone there since he was a kid, so if anything, it’s *more* likely than not that Mary would have had to have held down some sort of job, whether outside the home or a cottage industry, just to help the family keep going. Not really a middle-class woman of luxury, Mary.

        • HappyMom

          I think Dr. Amy was a SAHM. I am a SAHM. I love it. It’s challenging. To each her own, eh?

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Nothing at all wrong with choosing to be a SAHM. Or a SAHD. If it’s the right choice for you, great! The problem comes when people start saying things like “If you’re not a SAHM you don’t love your baby and don’t care if s/he loses IQ points and becomes antisocial” that there’s a problem. The choice of how to raise and feed one’s offspring should rest (within certain limits) with the parents. Even worse is the movement that is trying to force women to breast feed (and make it harder for them to continue to work) by taking away options.

            My sis was a SAHM when her kids were younger. I continued working. Both of us have pretty good kids, IMHO. It can work either way.

        • sdsures

          “I recently finished Jung’s “Lactivism” book where I learned that a lot of this (LLL’s role specifically) was born from staunch Catholicism.”

          Why doesn’t this surprise me, as Catholicism (and religions in general) tend not to have a very high opinion of women? The least LLL could do is drag their brand of Caholicism into the 21st century. Kicking and screaming and shoving if they must.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          I mentioned this elsewhere, but I’ll say it again because IMNSHO it’s worth repeating. Mary, in all likelihood, wasn’t that middle/upper class total mother that the LLL leaders envisioned. She was married to a craftsman, granted, but first she had her baby far away from family, and then they promptly left the freaking country for 2-3 years in order to escape Herrod. Joseph wouldn’t have had the business contacts in Egypt that he had back in Nazareth, and he’d have the added stigma of being foreign and Jewish. We can’t know for sure, of course, but it seems much more likely than not that Mary was also a working mom, whether in a cottage industry or in cleaning houses or something, in order to help her husband put food on the table in a very difficult economic and social situation. At the very least, she wouldn’t have been spending all day lying in bed and nursing; she didn’t have the support that most moms did back then–no local family, remember? She’d have been doing the backbreaking work of keeping a house, doing laundry, cooking, etc without any modern conveniences, and as I said, probably holding down a job as well.
          Totally different from your mid-20th or early-21st century breastfeeding SAHM, and I don’t mean to knock them, either–aside from the breastfeeding bit, I are one, and yep, it’s hard, but washing my laundry by beating it with a rock would objectively be a LOT harder than tossing it into the washing machine with some detergent and remembering to rotate it to the drier an hour later.

    • Sarah

      They’d concern troll you and presume you can’t possibly have made an informed decision.

  • Monkey Professor for a Head

    No one is suggesting supplementing every baby. But it seems to me that since the consequences of starvation are worse than the consequences of a bottle of formula, if you’re unsure as to whether a baby is getting adequate nutrition then it’s better to err on the side of supplementation. This “not eve one drop of formula ” nonsense is dangerous.

    • Roadstergal

      I really don’t get the ‘not even one drop,’ not at all. Again, it seems only relevant to living in a situation where the formula is mixed with water, and the water is so severely contaminated that it cannot be trusted. Otherwise, well, kids get stuff in their mouths. Formula is probably the cleanest and safest thing that could end up there. :p

  • demodocus

    OT: cool, we’re breaking Discus over there on the Zika post. It won’t let me on anymore.

    • BeatriceC

      That post got way out of control. Though there were some very amusing moments.

      • demodocus

        oh, i agree. Mostly, i’ve been reading the last couple days, or adding to our own silliness. 😉

        • BeatriceC

          I tend not to reply directly to trolls, just add to what other commenters are saying. I’ve got enough on my plate and responding directly stresses me out too much. The whole thing about all of us being the same person was a hoot. I read certain bits to MrC and he was roaring with laughter.

          • demodocus

            Mr.D found that part funny too. They wander in here and accuse *us* of being trolls attacking poor innocent commenters..

    • Megan

      They are almost shocking in their craziness, willful ignorance and lack of basic reading and science comprehension. What bothers me most though is their tactic of quoting random stuff without posting a source for everyone to evaluate. I mean, we push them for real citations but I wonder if anyone else does.

      • crazy grad mama

        My hope with that post is that they’ve gone so completely off the rails that it’s obvious to any lurkers that they’re just nuts.

        • Megan

          I really hope so. That’s the only reason I respond. It’s obvious you can’t change their minds but I maintain a glimmer of hope that maybe someone somewhere with an actual brain is reading and might learn something and vaccinate themselves and/or their children.

          • BeatriceC

            That’s pretty much what I told MrC when he asked why we didn’t ignore the trolls. I told him the point wasn’t to change the minds of the trolls, but to refute what they’re saying so that anybody else who’s reading can see them for what they are.

    • BeatriceC

      It won’t even let me load the post at all now, let alone see the comments.

  • Madtowngirl

    In a previous life, I was a kindergarten teacher. We had a student that needed testing to see if he was special needs. It had been discovered that he had elevated levels of lead in his blood.

    Funny how we never had to test any children because they were formula fed. And since I was a teacher at a school with a high level of poverty, many of our students had probably been formula fed.

    • Amy M

      Based on my age, the vast majority of my classmates all through school had been formula fed as babies, at least in part. Despite this, people managed to graduate and get into a variety of colleges, including Ivy League. If the formula were equivalent to lead poisoning, my entire generation would single-handedly bring down the average (American) IQ.

      • Roadstergal

        Exactly this. If formula caused all of the ills that lactivists say it does, my generation would be stupid, allergic to everything, asthmatic, and morbidly obese. I think we do pretty well, when compared to more recent, majority-breastfed generations.

        • CSN0116

          Oddly, in the last 10 years – “lactivism years” – the US has dropped in global academic performance, children with allergies have gone through the roof, and obesity has also risen. Damn.

    • BeatriceC

      I taught middle school in a very rough neighborhood is a major US city. We had a combination of “regular” impoverished students and recent and not so recent immigrants from extremely poor countries. I’ve seen a few students with suspected lead poisoning issues. It’s sad.

    • Megan

      One of my rotations in medical school was in community health and I got to spend a day with the lead inspector investigating the homes of children with high lead levels and devising mitigation plans for them. It was very enlightening not only from the science viewpoint but also to see the home environments where these kids came from. As a resident I also did home health visiting families that still have dirt floors and barely functional plumbing. This is not in a third world country. This is in the US. It amazes me that lactivists think that breastmilk matters more than that. If they really wanted to improve those kids’ lives, they’d be decrying poverty and poor living conditions. But I guess it’s much easier to just say, “breastfeed more!”

  • demodocus

    Jeez. I learned from a book that lead could cause severe brain damage or death as a middle schooler. Not every 11 year old has my reading habits, but an adult should be aware that lead is way more dangerous than formula (presuming it’s uncontaminated by bad water or something)

    • sdsures

      I remember an SVU episode about a mentally challenged man who shot someone to death because he’d called him a mean name.

      Turned out the shooter had pica and had been chewing the lead paint off his Hot Wheels cards for decades.

      • Megan

        Wasn’t that supposed to be what was wrong with Caligula (not the hot wheels, of course, but the lead poisoning)? Or maybe it was Nero? Or both? I can’t remember. Where is my history degree toting husband when I need him?

        • swbarnes2

          Nero wasn’t crazy, just adolescent. I hadn’t heard lead poisoning for Caligula, but yeah, he was probably crazy. (Like the kid in the SVU episode, he had a bout of sickness, and came out of it way worse than he went in) Making a horse consel could be interpreted as not insane, but a deliberate insult to the senatorial class, but having the legions bring back sea shells from the Normandy coast declaring that spoils from a war against Neptune…if that’s really how it went down, that’s kinda nuts.

        • demodocus

          i think these days a lot of people suggest Caligula was bipolar. Something was definitely wrong with that cat, anyway.

    • Roadstergal
  • sdsures

    Dettwyler is an anthropologist, right? How far does she have to make comments or speak up about breastfeeding to be considered practicing outside her field of expertise? Can she be held accountable legally if someone’s baby is hurt or killed because the parent followed Dettwyler’s advice?

    In other words, I don’t get my dental checkups done by my car mechanic, even though they may both be highly skilled in using delicate tools.

    Dr Steube’s phrase “unnecessary supplemental feeding” with regard to babies getting enough to eat sends chills down my spine. How could anyone NOT want to make sure their baby is thriving and getting enough to eat??

    • Anonymous

      She doesn’t. That’s the point. She’s hiding behind her degree like so many of these people do.

      Hell, I wouldn’t let my gastroenterologist perform dental work on me, despite having the same level of training.

      • sdsures

        It wouldn’t be as big a surprise when you barf on the gastroenterologist, though. *grin* I’ve had many neurosurgeries, and I’m still afraid of the dentist!

    • demodocus

      and we don’t have our dentists check our cars.

      • BeatriceC

        I have a biophysicist working on my car at the moment.

        Of course, said scientist is MrC and he took over because I’ve been busy dealing with kid issues (it’s been a looooooong morning, and it’s only 9:27). We’re both “shade tree” mechanics and usually work on our own cars.

        • demodocus

          True. SOme stuff i can do, too, and others my FIL or brother have a pretty good handle on, but i have no idea if Dr. Beer knows more than putting gas in his.

          • BeatriceC

            We’re gremlin hunting. My car has been down for a couple weeks now. We’ve got all sorts of fancy tools and technology for diagnostics (my OBD II reader feeds into a computer over wifi/bluetooth and we have a couple different programs that track various functions), and every time we think we’ve identified the problem and then replace the relevant parts, the gremlin jumps somewhere else.

          • BeatriceC

            I would like to report that we may have slain the gremlin. All symptoms appear to be gone. MrC is taking my car on his errands to put it under a heavier load than the short test drive, but I might have a working car again.

      • Roadstergal

        As per the discussion below, it’s actually a good parallel. A dentist might be able to check a car, but it’s not requisite for the title, and s/he might not know jack. Similarly, an anthropologist might know about infant health, but it’s not requisite for the job, the way a CPM might know… well, much of anything about birth, but it’s not requisite for the job. It’s always preferable to go to someone who is not allowed to have a certain job title without knowing something about what you need help with.

    • Exactly. After a few weeks of day care the baby who hated bottles is now reconciled to their necessity. It’s becoming clear that he wants more than I can pump, and I will be out of “freezer stash” in a week or less.

      But if you look at kellymom or other breastfeeding resources, you’d think that giving him more would be “unnecessary supplemental feeding.” Babies are only “supposed” to need 1 to 1.5 ounces per hour at day care according to those sites. Well, we’re way past that and my kid is hungry. Not fussy, not overfed, not improperly soothed. Hungry.

      We’re going to start supplementing, after I thought about it and decided it wasn’t worth it to me to try to squeeze in more pumping sessions each day. Know what was never an option? Letting him go hungry. Good lord.

      • meglo91

        You probably don’t need to hear it, but: you’re a good mom. Good for you for ignoring the bs and doing what’s right for your baby. My giant hungry babies always wanted more than that as well. They are not noticeably fat or dumb.