The lactivists at this hospital did what??!!

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After 10 years of writing about this topic, I thought I had heard everything. I was wrong.

I recently received an email from a pediatrician who wrote in regard to the local hospital:

…Last month they tried to put through a new policy not to weigh babies on the first day of life. The reason was so that doctors would not “pull the trigger to start supplemental formula” if they didn’t know the weight and subsequently if the baby had lost too much weight.

I thought I had heard everything. I was wrong.

Yes, that’s right. Lactivists were planning to dispense with newborn weights. No matter that parents want to know a newborn’s weight. No matter that newborn weight is almost certainly required on birth certificates. No matter that newborn weight and changes in weight are important indicators of health and illness. Excessive newborn weight loss (greater than 10%) can be dangerous leading to serious complications like hypernatremia (elevated blood sodium concentration) and even death … and it’s relatively common.

In Breastfeeding-Associated Hypernatremia: Are We Missing the Diagnosis? the authors explain:

In this study, we report on 70 children who developed hypernatremia attributable to insufficient or inadequate breastfeeding during a 5-year period… Nonfatal complications were frequent, the most common being severe hyperbilirubinemia, apnea, and bradycardia. One of 4 children who underwent neuroimaging had subependymal hemorrhage. These data suggest that hypernatremia is a common complication of inadequate milk transfer during breastfeeding in the United States.

In the present study, the 5-year incidence of breastfeeding-associated hypernatremia among all hospitalized term and near-term neonates was 1.9% (70 cases per 3718 admissions), significantly higher than the reported incidence of hypernatremia attributable to all causes among hospitalized children, adults, and elderly subjects (1.1%)…

There is reason to think that the incidence of breastfeeding-associated hypernatremia will increase and that currently the condition is under-recognized… Findings from a recent study revealed that 16% of exclusively breastfed infants born to primiparous women had >10% weight loss by day 3 of life, despite education and support provided by a lactation consultant.23 It is estimated that 10% of breastfed infants develop hypernatremia24 and that ∼33% of breastfed infants with weight loss exceeding 10% have hypernatremia…

Dr. Christie Castillo-Heygi has written eloquently about her son’s experience with hyponatremic dehydration. He was born healthy, weighing 8lb 11oz.

We saw our pediatrician at around 68 hours of life (end of day 3). Despite producing the expected number of wet and dirty diapers, he had lost 1 pound 5 ounces, about 15% of his birth weight. At the time, we were not aware of and were not told the percentage lost … He was jaundiced but no bilirubin was checked. Our pediatrician told us that we had the option of either feeding formula or waiting for my milk to come in at day 4 or 5 of life.

Wanting badly to succeed in breastfeeding him, we went another day unsuccessfully breastfeeding and went to a lactation consultant the next day who weighed his feeding and discovered that he was getting absolutely no milk. When I pumped and manually expressed, I realized I produced nothing. I imagined the four days of torture he experienced and how 2 days of near-continuous breastfeeding encouraged by breastfeeding manuals was a sign of this. We fed him formula after that visit and he finally fell asleep.

Three hours later, we found him unresponsive. We forced milk into his mouth, which made him more alert, but then he seized. We rushed him to the emergency room. He had a barely normal glucose (50 mg/dL), a severe form of dehydration called hypernatremia (157 mEq/L) and severe jaundice (bilirubin 24 mg/dL).

He survived with serious impairments:

At 3 years and 8 months, our son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder with severe language impairment. He has also been diagnosed with ADHD, sensory processing disorder, low IQ, fine and gross motor delays and a seizure disorder associated with injury to the language area of the brain…

Neonatal hypernatremia is notoriously difficult to diagnose until a baby is extremely ill. One of the few ways to diagnose it early (or even prevent it altogether) is by monitoring newborn weight, precisely what the lactivists at this hospital DON’T want to do.

Why do lactivists want to stop weighing babies? Like many natural parenting ideologues, process is more important to them than outcome. Because formula supplementation is anathema to them, they’d rather wait until babies as close as possible to permanent brain injury and death before giving them formula to save their brains and lives.

It’s like turning a lifeguard’s chair to face away from the beach instead of toward it so as not to rescue a drowning person until others are screaming on the theory that rescuing people before they actually inhale water into their lungs might ruin their fun.

Weighing newborn babies is preventive medicine. It helps prevent serious complications like seizures, hyperbilirubinemia and brain damage, rather than waiting until they happen and then rushing to prevent death. There is something very, very wrong with their philosophy if lactivists would rather promote breastfeeding than healthy babies. It is immoral; it is unethical; and it is deadly.

  • sdsures

    I hope this slightly OT post is all right.

    A friend on FB contested (when I posted the other meme about lactivism) that it is wrong for those of us who do not care how the baby gets fed, rather than feeding it period – to call lactivists, lactivists.

    She thinks name-calling is counterproductive even if it comes from either side.

    • Roadstergal

      Activism, according to M-W: “a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue”

      Why is ‘lactivisim’ not a useful term for those who emphasize action that is direct and vigorous (shaming, misinformation, ‘thanks for lactating’ cards and comments, blog posts, BFHI, etc) in the context of lactation?

      I don’t think anyone here would object too much to ‘fedandhappyinfantism’ or the like?

      • sdsures

        Needs to be a bit pithier, don’t you think? But great start!

    • Sue

      “Lactivists” is an appropriate term for activists who promote the ideology of breast milk over and above the evidence, and campaign publicly in an attempt to change behaviour.

      Many of us here would call ourselves activists – against the ideology of radical-NCB and baby-feeding shaming – and we are arguing publicly in an attempt to change behaviour.

      If someone were arguing that all babies should be fed only infant formula and that it was better than breast milk in every circumstance, and that all breasts should be bound and covered, we could call them Nestlevists or something – but I’ve not met any of those.

      • Roadstergal

        Formulactivists.

        • Sue

          Perfect!

    • Charybdis

      It is a portmanteau of “lactation activists”, which is what they are. Calling something by its proper name, or a shorthand version of the proper name is not name calling. I think it becomes name-calling when adjectives are added. “Fugly bullying boob nazi” is namecalling, “Enthusiastic lactivists”, not so much.

    • guest

      I call them that because it is what they call themselves.

      • sdsures

        Good reason.

  • Megan

    I had been on Dr. Castillo-Heygi’s site in the past but just noticed the feeding plan and the weight protocol she has on the sidebar now. They are fantastic and I would encourage anyone with concerns about feeding their newborns in the hospital and supplementing or concerns about weight loss to check them out.
    I will be printing them to at least take to my doctor and discuss so that we are on the same page. After my horrible breastfeeding/jaundice experience last time, my only priority this time is a healthy, well-fed baby, regardless of whether breastmilk meets that demand or not. My hospital is not a BFH per se but they follow many of the 10 principles and I think it’s helpful to be clear on what expectations are.

    • Inmara

      Thank you for notice, this is incredibly useful resource! Interesting that AAP recommends 7% threshold; here the standard is 10% and then the negotiation starts as for what to do. Many women complain that hospital where I gave birth (biggest birthing hospital in country) is not supporting breastfeeding but gives formula as soon as weight loss exceeds 10% (even if mother has milk, is willing to breastfeed but has some minor BF initiation problems or just plain lack of experience). Now I wish that someone had offered to give my baby formula rather than ordering to breastfeed more (I know, I know…), thankfully they gave him IV fluids with glucose and that mitigated the weight loss and threats of dehydration and hypoglycemia. I attributed weight loss and crying to his reflux and following spit-ups (which effectively expelled the impressive amount of colostrum I produced at that time) but maybe it was just not enough milk.

  • Dr Kitty

    Well there are already cases of babies falling out of their exhausted mother’s beds in BFHI settings.
    Any adult hospital bed is at a “neurological height” for a newborn.

    NCB do seem to have buff and turf the wrong way around though, they buff to REDUCE risks so they can keep their patients.

  • Mishimoo

    Did they have the plot in the first place?

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    I suggest that women who are formula feeding and don’t want to be bothered by lactivists wrap a towel around their head when one comes up to them and starts asking obnoxious questions. The lactivist will assume that since the woman can’t see them, they can’t see the woman either and will go away confused.

    What? It makes as much sense as not weighing the baby in the hopes that that will mean it’s not dehydrated.

    • Nick Sanders

      Also works on the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        I’m thinking that they may be using similar logic.

    • Who?

      Wrapping the lactivist’s head in a towel, really firmly, would also be highly effective.

    • Mishimoo

      I prefer a blanket, preferably one with fluffy bunnies on it.

    • Charybdis

      Are you comparing them to the ravenous Bug-Blatter Beast of Traal? So stupid that if you can’t see them, then they can’t see you?

      I think they resemble the Vogons more myself. Ugly, sitting on the backs of the dewy-eyed little creatures to break their backs, smashing the scintillating jeweled crabs with mallets for the hell of it and spouting the worst poetry known to the universe.

      Maybe we all need Babel Fish to understand them….

      • Megan

        My husband feels all toddlers should come with their own babel fish too.

        • guest

          The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the first book I read to my newborns, during nursing sessions.

          • Megan

            The first book I ever read my daughter was Lineup for Yesterday by Ogden Nash. Hitchhiker’s Guide would be a good one too. Maybe I’ll start that for this baby.

          • BeatriceC

            I honestly can’t remember the first books I read to my kids. I know the first two heard a lot of stats, biology and chemistry textbooks as I was preparing to start my Ph.D. program. I’d read them out loud to keep myself awake during those late night feedings.

            On a slightly related topic, Leopold the Senegal Parrot hears a lot of the blog posts and comments here and at SBM, as I just read it out loud to him to give him attention.

          • Roadstergal

            I am now really annoyed that the babysitting scene from 84 Charing Cross Road is not on YouTube, because I want to leave it here.

          • BeatriceC

            I’m not familiar with that, as I don’t watch a lot of TV or movies. Care to summarize the scene for me? I’m curious.

          • Roadstergal

            It’s a scene they put into the movie that wasn’t in the book, but it was delightful enough that I don’t mind. The protagonist is at her wit’s end trying to care for a fussy toddler that she’s agreed to babysit, and finally pulls out her most recent book, a college-level text, and starts to read from it, and the kid is just delighted.

          • CCL (Crazy Cat Lady)

            I do the same thing with my very needy rescue cat. He likes it when I talk or sing to him (and generally wants to be held while I’m at the computer).

          • Roadstergal

            I recently went back and re-read all of the HHGTTG books after a couple of decades off, and I just got even more out of them. Fantastic books.

          • Charybdis

            So Long and Thanks For All The Fish is my favorite one of all.

        • BeatriceC

          Wait till they hit the teen years. It gets worse. More fun in my opinion, but worse.

    • teal

      That’s how my cat handles things. If he hides his face, even if his ass is still sticking out from under the couch, I can’t see him because he can’t see me.

    • meglo91

      Sir Terry would approve.

  • Young CC Prof

    The existing protocols to protect babies from insufficient milk already fail too often, and now they want to dismantle them further?

    I will never ever forget watching a team of nurses try to get a line into my newborn’s collapsed veins. I will never stop being grateful that he survived without lasting harm. And I won’t stop talking about it as long as it keeps happening to other children.

  • Mad Hatter

    I’m thinking BF babies should get weighed in the hospital before and after feeding before being discharged. You know, just so we know if they got anything to eat or not! Mine was .5 oz from loosing 10% of his birthweight when he was weighed at his first check up at 5 days. (there was a weekend in there or we would have gone in at 3 days) My milk didn’t come in until 4 days and I thought everything would be fine, because COLOSTRUM! Um, if I had a clue, I would have supplemented and probably would have got more sleep! He did fine after that, but the idea that he was hungry was traumatizing.

  • Charlotte

    I have a huge fear that I was starved my first baby. He was very fussy from 8-16 weeks, especially at night. He was pretty calm in the day though. I never supplemented until we went to combo feeding at six months-he was so happy with that first bottle of formula.

    I would have known if I’d been ‘starving’ him, right? First thing I’ll do in the morning is dig out his newborn growth charts. It was never flagged as an issue by his paediatrician/ health visitor (we moved from the US to the UK when he was 4 months old….)..but still, looking back now (especially now I have #2) I have this nagging feeling he was just not getting enough.

    He seems a healthy little boy now but, still. That nagging feeling though!

    • CSN0116

      There’s a difference between starving and not being satisfied. I think that if a previously unsettled/fussy/not sleeping well baby suddenly mellows and rests after his first or second formula bottle (or breastfeeding top off), then it’s pretty clear that he just needed more.

      **I have no idea if that was your scenario. I’m being hypothetical based off of situations I’ve seen 100 times over.

      • Charlotte

        Thanks….yes he was probably at times unsatisfied, but not starving. Wish I’d supplemented all along though…..

        • CSN0116

          I think that a lot of this could be mitigated if the “new standard” wasn’t to delay solids for months upon months upon months.

          It has been my understanding that, historically, breast fed babies were started on solids far sooner than the “4-6 months, wait I’m EBF so I’m totally waiting the full 6 months, wait eff that I’m baby led weaning so that kid can wait for solids til it can handle a medium-well steak…”

          Shit, even as of 25 years ago babies were spoon fed at mere weeks old. I have pictures of myself doing it lol!

          Today’s breastfeeding mom isn’t allowed to let formula grace the lips of her baby ever (ideally), and no other food can enter either. If lactivists wanted the poison that is formula to stay at bay, but they wanted satisfied, happy babies with happy mommies who were happy to keep nursing, it might be a good addition to the agenda to swap in the “solids” (i.e. cereals or what have you).

          But that depletes the magic in the breast milk and kills supply… or some shit. Sigh…

          • Who?

            My now 24 year old started solids around 5 months, didn’t mention it to health visitors as the deal was absolutely no solids before 6 mths at the earliest.

            He’s okay.

            We were all started on solids ie rice cereal at 6 weeks.

          • CSN0116

            Yes. In 1986 I am photographed spoon feeding from my grandma, propped on the couch, at 2 months old, with a Christmas tree in the background 😉 Scandalous!

          • Who?

            How did you survive? Early solids is another nail in the coffin of the ‘truism’ that most women have enough milk. Why bother with that palaver if baby is otherwise full and happy?

          • Young CC Prof

            Well, back in the day, the labor of a woman of childbearing age was too valuable to be lost for long. By a couple months old, you’d want a grandmother or nine-year-old doing most of the baby care so Mom could get back to feeding chickens and churning butter and wading in the rice paddies. Hence, porridge.

          • Young CC Prof

            6 months is the latest solids should be introduced, since that’s when the newborn iron stores run out. I have no idea who decided to turn that around to the earliest, but I’d like to smack this person.

          • Who?

            Back in the early nineties, no one (not in the bit of the world where I was child bearing anyway) was in favour of solids before 6 months at the very earliest.

            Being a rebel, and bored to death with incessantly feeding a hungry baby, I started rice cereal and some fruit around 5 months.

          • Ceridwen

            I don’t know but it’s frustrating. I’m on WIC right now and have to lie about whether the baby is getting solid food. He’s almost 5 months and we haven’t done anything but let him taste a rice cake and some chicken broth because he’s had a cough and I’m nervous about him choking if we introduce them while he has it. He’s interested though, and was quite upset that I didn’t let him have at the rice cake. But WIC is adamant than he can’t have anything but breastmilk until 6 months, while I strongly prefer to start adding solids in before than, both for iron and because of the research on allergies that suggests that window is probably a good time.

            I liked my pediatrician’s approach. At the 4 month visit he discussed solid food with us and recommended waiting a little longer until his head was more stable and then said we could go for it. I think there’s some logic to waiting for the baby to be able to hold themselves up reasonably well. But this attitude of “the longer you can wait the better” that seems to be common in mommy groups is really bizarre to me.

          • Young CC Prof

            When I had stomach surgery, I had to live on a pure-liquid diet for two weeks. I was able to have unlimited whole milk and even denser liquid nutrients, but no matter how much I drank, even if I got enough calories, I never stopped feeling hungry!

            Newborn bellies are filled and satisfied with milk alone. Older babies aren’t.

          • Inmara

            This! I’ve seen so much BLW crap of “baby is getting everything he needs from breastmilk so delay solids as long as he’s capable of feeding himself”. The fact that baby is not getting iron from breastmilk AT ALL is never mentioned.
            Ironically, formula fed babies are suggested to start solids at 4 months (I suspect that it has been due to early formulas which were indeed inferior to breastmilk) while actually they could be EFF longer than their breastfed peers because of iron and D vitamin supply (I guess that D vitamin is routinely prescribed to all infants nowadays so it’s not that big concern as iron).

          • Bugsy

            Yep. Speaking from experience here…i totally bought into the “baby has everything he needs” mantra- he wasn’t interested in solids much and relied heavily on my milk until well after his first birthday. Guess who developed iron deficiency and needed to increase his stores even a year later? It took first-hand experience for me to learn that the stuff I’d heard from lactivists wasn’t just nonsense, but was actually harmful to my child.

          • Sue

            Iron deficiency is relatively common in toddlers who like milk and won;t eat solids – especially of they are given cows’ milk, but also exclusive BF, where the mother’s iron stores are marginal.

          • Dr Kitty

            Iron deficiency is surprisingly common in toddlers.
            As I discovered working in a children’s hospital where an iron profile was done as part of every single child’s admission bloods. I’d say about 50% of them went home with prescriptions for iron supplements.

            Typically, the only iron containing foods an average toddler in that population ate were bread, breakfast cereal, baked beans and chicken nuggets or cheap sausages, usually washed down with large quantities of milk or fruit cordial (if we were very lucky it was iron enriched follow-on formula, if we were unlucky it was sweet milky tea). None of those foods were eaten in sufficient quantities to prevent iron deficiency.

            Even if the parents had tried to do the right thing and buy vitamin supplements, OTC kiddie vits here don’t contain iron, due to risk of overdose.

            Irish children tend to be pale anyway, so anaemia can easily go unnoticed, especially now that most of them are covered in high factor suncream from March to October and practically glow in the dark.

          • Joy

            My baby loves tea. But not sweetened, just some decaf tea with lots of milk. We are giving her Big Milk. It is fortified with iron, VitD and some others, but otherwise is just plain milk.

          • Dr Kitty

            West Belfast grannies tend towards Barry’s tea, brewed strongly, with three teaspoons of sugar, a bit of skimmed milk and *maybe* a spoon or two of baby rice, in a bottle.

            It’s like a 4-in-1 recipe for hyperactivity, obesity, tooth decay and iron deficiency!

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Mini monkey was trying to steal my Barry’s tea earlier today – I was having none of it! I must admit to being way too excited to find that my local supermarket here in Oz stocks it in the international aisle, there’s no way I’m sharing!

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Minimonkey’s iron intake is definitely a worry for me – he’s a bit hit and miss with solids still, and between a PPH and coeliacs, I’ve had problems with iron deficiency myself. It’s one of the reasons that I haven’t embraced baby led weaning, at least I know baby cereals are iron fortified.

          • tariqata

            I’m curious if the various recipes out there for muffins, teething biscuits, etc. made with infant cereals are adequate, in combination with meat and other iron-rich foods. I like the BLW approach to complementary feeding in a lot of ways and have been giving my son our foods for the most part (suitably modified – no salt on his roast veggies or chicken!), though we have offered infant cereal and some puréed foods as well. He clearly prefers to feed himself rather than be spoonfed, but I’ve struggled with iron deficiency since I was a teenager and it only got worse while I was pregnant, so I’m trying to make sure his bases are covered.

            On the other hand, I’m one of those semi-crunchy people; I’m happy to embrace letting my son explore finger foods and take the lead in determining how much to eat, but also offering purees and cereal when it makes sense. And we started trying solids at about 4.5 months.

          • Old Lady

            I hear this sort of comment often, “my baby preferred feeding himself” so it makes me wonder if my kids were just odd or something. They did feed themselves, but they fed themselves baby cereal and purée. We started around 5 months though so it was on the later side but I never really spoon fed them. I was planning on baby led weaning, much like I was planning on exclusive breastfeeding and baby wearing. I didn’t end up doing much of any of that. They just didn’t seem ready for real foods just yet when I tried.

          • Madtowngirl

            But breast milk is the perfect food!!!!!! PERFECT!!!!!1111111one

          • guest

            I started solids right at four months (with ped approval!) and it made all our lives so much better. I was successful but unhappy with breastfeeding – they wanted to be fed every hour and a half most of the time! Not sleeping through the night by any definition, etc. We started solids and boom: babies start to sleep for five hours stretches (not the first week or two of solids, but once they got the hang of it and were really taking in some extra calories). They cut back on nursing and my nipples stop hurting so much. I start to be able to have fun feeding them. I continued to breastfeed because this is when it got easier. I had a ton of milk, but if the whole foremilk/hindmilk thing isn’t complete lactivist woo, I think that may have been what left mine so hungry all the time. Or the were just hungry. Either way, I love early solids.

          • Charlotte

            Agreed!

            So much woo surrounding pregnancy, birth and child rearing!! Ridiculous. A lot of my friends in my US moms group used the ridiculous rhyme:

            Food before one is just for fun.

            Try telling that to my first son!. At six months we started solids, within two weeks he was on three ‘meals’ a day, and at his first Christmas (age 9 months) he ate a full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings! This eating was serious business and certainly not just for ‘fun’.

          • demodocus

            My boy was trying to steal my apples the week before he turned 4 months. Food’s serious to him, too

          • StephanieA

            And then there’s my son, who did not like solids at first. I tried at 5 months, he gagged and spit everything out. He didn’t truly enjoy solids until he was 8-9 months old. He’s 2 now and eats very well.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Mine didn’t go for solids in any serious way until about 9 months, at which time she started stealing food from our plates. She never did go for “baby food”, possibly concluding that if it were real food her parents would be eating it and since we weren’t it should be treated with deep suspicion. Or maybe it was just the taste of the baby food. She hasn’t yet starved.

          • StephanieA

            Mine wasn’t big on the jarred foods, either. After I tasted the beef I completely understood.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I tasted every baby food that I gave to the kids. The meats were all awful. Other than that, I liked them. At least, they tasted exactly like the food. Peas tasted like peas, etc. I loved the prunes.

          • demodocus

            I agree. But then, who is a big fan of plain boiled/steamed meat? They *need* some herbs or roasting or something.

          • BeatriceC

            I liked the fruits. The meats and veggies were kind of awful.

          • Inmara

            Introducing solids before 4 months is not a good idea as there is evidence that can lead to worse outcomes long-term, like atopic dermatitis, celiac and T1 diabetes. However, introducing between 4 and 6 months can reduce risks of allergies later as well as it’s a good start to avoid iron deficiency after 6 months (as Young CC Prof notes below). So if baby is not getting enough food before 4 months, supplementation with formula is the way to go (and we should fight this “formula is poison” propaganda instead of getting back to not that great ways of supplementation as cereal or cow/goat milk).

          • CSN0116

            I’m a total conspiracy theorist with this. In my totally unscientific, macro to macro comparison, kids are more overweight, more allergic, more emotionally, physically and cognitively compromised than ever before – every other friend has an OT, PT, speech, etc. for their kid – when back I’m the day everyone just chilled the fuck out and rolled with it. Obviously a lot of that is due to broader definitions, increased screenings, and the like – but today’s kids still seem more “sickly” than those of past generations.

            And with these “early solids causes X, Y, Z” studies I always wonder about the sample population. The kids at lowest risk for many of these issues from the get-go are going to be the kids with the better educated, better off parents – a population primed to be up-to-date and compliant with medical standards… meaning those kids won’t be getting fed the solids early for inclusion in the study.

            Then there’s a less well-off population whose kids are already behind the health eight ball from womb status. These parents have something like a 1 in 4 rate of putting soda pop in a baby bottle. They are far less likely to be medically compliant and thus feed early solids… granting them study inclusion.

            Unless the researchers are telling groups what to feed their babies, even if it bucks AAP standards, which I doubt they are (IRB much? lol).

            So that leaves my conspiracy that if the 33-year-old, married, privately insured pharmacist, living in upper suburbia, received prenatal care, getting baby pediatric care, exclusively breastfeeding, reading little three-month-old Sue 10 books before bedtime – goes on to give Sue 3 tablespoons of Earth’s Best Organic Oatmeal a day …Sue has no increased likelihood of your abovementioned diagnoses.

            But this is only my conspiracy theory 😉

          • Grace Adieu

            I was going through some old documents and found my own baby charts from the 70s, complete with note that porridge had been introduced at 10 weeks (I was breastfed).

          • Allie P

            Oh, it’s even worse. Some lactivists are fond of chanting “food before one is just for fun” as if all the baby is supposed to do is fingerpaint with oatmeal until their first birthday. My kid started grabbing adult food out of my hands and eating it at five months. We took her cue and started feeding her.

          • Toni35

            For all their “watch the baby not the clock” crap, you would think they would understand it as it applies to starting solids (I guess it would be “watch the baby not the calendar” for solids, but same idea). Sure some babies can probably wait until 6 months to start, and then take it very slowly. Other babies will be ready weeks, if not months, earlier and will want significantly more intake from solids. I nursed my three older children until age 2-2 1/2, but they were definitely ready for solids by about 5-5 1/2 months… Making them wait would have been pointless. My six month old is currently nursing and started solids about three weeks ago, and eats them with gusto! They all had different levels of interest in solids, and proceeded at different rates (almost like they are different people, ha!), I can’t imagine limiting a hungry baby’s intake for no other reason than mommy cred. Wtf is wrong with these people.

          • BeatriceC

            Mine were all six months or older, however, they were all preemies. Adjusting for gestational age, they all started grabbing for food off my plate around an adjusted 5-6 months, and I took their cues.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I’ve told the story previously of my (now 95 yo ) aunt, who told me how with her kids, she gave them mashed potatoes when they were 1 week old

          • Daleth

            My Spanish grandmother, at her own 90th birthday party, dipped her finger into her glass of champagne and then offered her fingertip to my 3-month-old niece, who happily took her up on the offer. Grandma’s explanation: “All things in moderation, dear.”

          • StephanieA

            Haha! My 83 year old grandmother dipped my 5 week old son’s pacifier in the candied yam juice at thanksgiving because he was fussing.

          • Sue

            My late father told the story of infants in Sthn Italy early last century being given a little cloth bundle of poppy extract to suck. I guess they cried less and slept more!

          • Who?

            Aren’t there a lot of stories about babies in Victorian times have a little drop of gin in their nighttime drink, to sooth them into a deep sleep?

          • Roadstergal

            I wouldn’t be surprised. I mean, little kids were given alcohol, and I would think some of that would be because the water wasn’t that great…

            Also, kids of my generation were sometimes given a little codeine cold syrup for long car journeys…

          • Angharad

            I’ve seen a recommendation to add a tablespoon of vanilla to a baby’s bottle at night, with the caveat that it has to be real vanilla extract, not artificial.

          • Sue

            Lovely!

          • BeatriceC

            I draw the line at Oreo cookies. My mother tried to smuggle Oreos into the NICU when my youngest was a couple months old. She succeeded in getting them into the unit, but when she tried to get the baby to lick some of the center filling off her finger, a nurse caught her and went ape shit. She lost her visiting privileges that day.

          • Daleth

            Ew! Oreos in the NICU?! What the hell!?!

          • Chione

            There’s a family story that when my mother was born her mother became quite ill and had to be taken to the doctor. My mother stayed behind, and her grandmother (i.e. my grandfather’s mother) fed her – for reasons best known to herself – gruel. She ate, and then slept for hours. Okay, it was a fairly poor farm in March, so it’s entirely possible that there was no milk available, but still. Anyhow, mum survived and has had a long, still ongoing and healthy life.

      • StephanieA

        We gave my 2 week old 4 oz of formula last night (not all at once) because he was on my breast nonstop from 7-11pm and wasn’t relaxing with feedings. Holy crap he slept 5 hours! He definitely was satisfied with the formula and we got our longest stretch of interrupted sleep so far!

  • Gatita

    OT: Period pain can be as bad as a heart attack. So why aren’t we doing more to treat it: http://qz.com/611774/period-pain-can-be-as-bad-as-a-heart-attack-so-why-arent-we-researching-how-to-treat-it/?utm_source=atlfb

    This reminds me of the idiots who blast that pregnancy isn’t a disease and labor pain is productive pain. Screw that noise.

    • Sue

      Yep. Yet another physiological process that isn;t “designed” very well (sarcasm font).

    • Mishimoo

      I desperately want a hysterectomy. My period pain and bleeding got better for a bit after having kids, but it’s gradually getting worse again. I don’t really have the option to return to 7 days in bed per month with the added bonuses of vomiting and diarrhea, and hormonal birth control doesn’t work well for me. Argh!

      • Who?

        That’s miserable, hope you can find a good solution, and soon. I was similarly afflicted, but with a longer cycle and the lovely addition of mid cycle pain of the fainting variety; luckily for me the hormonal things worked a treat.

      • Dr Kitty

        Have you considered the less drastic surgical options?
        TCRE or balloon ablation or similar? Some women get excellent results and the down time from the procedure is much less. Mirena and Nexplanon tend to be first choice for DUB and gynaecologists seem to be doing fewer of those procedures, but if hormones aren’t and option it might be worth considering.

        • Mishimoo

          I’m only 27, so I haven’t discussed it with my current GP yet other than giving up on hormonal options because of the whole “We won’t do anything until you’re 35” thing which I had from the ob/gyn when I was 13.

          I have been reading about the various procedures, but since my body likes to be weird, I’d rather just get it over and done with instead of being disappointed when things don’t work. What I want is a partial hysterectomy, leaving the cervix intact (if possible) and fixing up any obstetric injuries (I have a diagnosed mild prolapse with no incontinence, and I also suspect a mild rectocyle.) while also leaving the ovaries behind because they’re in good condition and I don’t want to go into surgical menopause. I’m not emotionally attached to my uterus and I think my quality of life would be improved by it’s removal. Which is basically what I’m going to say to my doctor at my next review when I ask for a referral.

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            A partial hysterectomy was what I wanted but I could not find a Gyn that would agree, “Let’s try something less drastic!” Umm why? I don’t want more kids and I don’t want to go back on the Pill or Depo Provera again. I had my tubes tied but could not get the hysterectomy…

            Thankfully menopause happened…

      • Gatita

        I know two women who had a procedure to remove the lining of the uterus. Less drastic than a hysterectomy. You should talk to your OB about it.

        I was just astounded by the descriptions of PMS in the comments. I have what I thought was bad PMS but man it’s nothing compared to those stories. Those poor women.

        • Roadstergal

          Before I got on hormonal BC, my period pain was excruciating – I couldn’t stand up, I could only curl up on the ground and writhe a little. I’ve had to walk on a freshly broken ankle and drive with a freshly broken collarbone, and both of those were less painful.

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            I took my daughter in at 14 for period pain so bad it made her pass out every month, my mom and I both had the same problem, very heavy very painful periods. The Pill was awesome in at least controlling some of the symptoms. Every time someone says “It’s just cramps, what a wimp” I want to punch them…

          • Roadstergal

            I love not having periods. The cramps are most of it, of course, but on top of that is the simple happiness of wearing whatever clothes I want whenever I want, swimming whenever I want, going on a trip without having to pack emergency tampons and pads… I have a lot of love for modern medicine.

          • Gatita

            ;__;

          • Gatita

            I used to get mittelschmerz and I still get bloated, cranky and headachey PMS but aside from annoying cramping the first day I don’t have pain. That sounds nightmarish.

        • FormerPhysicist

          I had a super-thorough ablation when I had my tubes tied. It was awesome. So awesome. No periods, but still cycles. No period pain, and no bleeding. Well, one spotting period in 5 years. I had it done because of extremely heavy periods that trapped me in the house after kid #3.

          Now I’ve had my ovaries removed, and that’s okay except for the night sweats. I <3 my remote controlled fan.

          • Gatita

            My night sweats went away on a low dose SNRI, just sayin’. Well worth trying it if you can’t sleep well.

    • indigosky

      Yes it can be. Nothing helped, not even the Pill, until I got on Nexplanon which shut off my periods. It has been a glorious year, where I can actually do things without wondering if this period is going to be The One that makes me end up in a fetal position for days. I love my little implant, it makes my life complete.

      • Dr Kitty

        I apparently ovulate, but do not menstruate, with Mirena. It was great for period pains, less good for endometriosis and ovarian cysts.

        Got Nexplanon at Halloween. Now, I don’t know if it was because it was inserted at 8 weeks postpartum, or because I’m BF or what, but no bleeding, no acne, no mood swings, no weight changes…
        Nothing except a mark on my arm, an implant I don’t notice unless I poke it and the occasional twinge in my left armpit. If my periods don’t return when I stop BF (likely another few months off) it will be amazing, and officially my favourite thing ever.

        Between Mirena, Nexplanon, pregnancy and BF I’ve had fewer than 12 periods in the last 10 years, and all have been when I’ve been actively TTC. Thankfully I conceive easily.

        Which is good, because I’m only functional with a combination of opioids, anti-emetics and NSAIDs if I have my period. I had periods that were worse than unmedicated post op pain.

        • MaineJen

          I had an ovarian cyst last month…luckily I knew what it was (it was around ovulation time, and this has been happening to me since I was 14 or so) so I didn’t run to the ER thinking it was my appendix. I was at work, so I just sweated in a bathroom stall until it was over…I felt a distinct “pop” in my lower abdomen and the pain faded away. Whole thing lasted about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes.

          God, women’s bodies are awful sometimes.

          • Who?

            That sounds terrible.

            Is it okay to have popping cysts on your ovaries-apart from the pain, nausea, sweating etc of course-could it bleed too much for safety or otherwise create mayhem?

          • Dr Kitty

            Normal ovulatory cysts and mid cycle pain are fine.
            Big cysts can be a different ball of wax.
            They can bleed or tort where the cyst twists the ovary, cutting off the blood supply, which eventually can lead to ovarian necrosis if untreated.

            My surgeon didn’t know if I was so sick because there was some torsion before the rupture, or if all the gunk floating about in my abdomen just set off an inflammatory reaction. I lean towards the latter explanation, because the first symptom I got was fever, not pain.

          • Dr Kitty

            When I had an ovarian cyst I stuck it out for 36hrs until I had localised right iliac fossa pain with rebound and guarding, a fever of 39C and I was tachycardic and hypotensive with all the signs of a ruptured appendix and peritonitis. Enough to convince a general surgeon to get me into theatre ASAP without waiting for any imaging, and for the A&E doc to give me 10mg of IV morphine and all the sepsis protocol antibiotics within 5minutes if laying eyes on me. When I get sick I don’t do it by halves.

            They removed about 300mls of bloody fluid from my abdomen (and my appendix)- clearly a large ovarian endometrioma had gone rogue after brewing for some time while I had been oblivious due to lack of bleeding.

            It was on a completely different scale from any mittelschmertz. I do not recommend the experience, although I felt about a million times better after the surgery as was back to work 10 days later.

    • Gatita

      I revisited this story and this jumped out at me: Around half a dozen friends told me that they’d had similarly frustrating experiences—that they’d been shoved on birth control indefinitely, been prescribed Prozac to deal with their monthly bouts of depression, suffered through migraines and even vomiting whenever they had their period.

      What’s wrong with birth control and Prozac to treat symptoms? Of course if they don’t work that sucks. But I’m on a low dose of Cymbalta to treat my perimenopause hot flashes and migraines and it works great. It’s also helped with my rosacea symptoms. Yes, please shove me toward effective drugs whenever possible

      • Dr Kitty

        If it is PMMD/severe PMS then SSRI is an effective, evidence based treatment. There is no “test” that will diagnose it.!

        If you only get one or two menstrual migraines a month, it might be better to take painkillers, Triptans and anti-emetics when you have pain, rather than take a daily prophylactic migraine medication and deal with the associated side effects.

        Primary dysmenorrhea, which is the cause of most period pain doesn’t require a lot of investigations. You would probably do thyroid tests, blood count and iron levels, a pelvic exam, smear and STI screen, but if the history is “all the women in my family have horrible period pain from their first period” and symptoms improve with hormonal birth control, that is both diagnosis made and treatment given.

        Diagnostic laparoscopy and ultrasound are appropriate IF symptoms suggest another pathology (PCOS, endometriosis, ovarian cysts) or treatment fails to help.

        It isn’t that doctors aren’t offering appropriate testing and treatments. They are, but the tests are either basic (blood count), often inconclusive (ultrasound) or invasive (laparoscopy) and treatments really are limited to painkillers, hormones, SSRI or surgery (for endometriosis, fibroids etc).

        Patients want magic wands. There aren’t any.

        • Gatita

          Triptans don’t work for me (and I’ve tried all of them) and I’ve never been able to tolerate hormones. I was getting daily migraines so prophylactics were absolutely necessary. It took three tries to find the right meds–the first two antidepressants worked on my headaches but the side-effects were intolerable (I loved Zoloft until it gave me constant diarrhea, ugh). It was a PITA to spend months getting to the right med and dose (I had to step down with Cymbalta since the higher dose made me too fatigued) but worth it to prevent daily migraines and anxiety.

  • guest

    How stupid can lactivists get? Birth weight is a very important measure, it gives you a baseline to monitor health. My own IBCLC used a scale to check whether my babies were getting any milk from nursing. That is sensible. Not weighing a newborn at all to avoid knowing when they aren’t getting enough to eat? Criminal.

  • Jules B

    I am not being snarky or doubting Dr. Christie, just a bit confused, so maybe someone more in the know about breastfeeding can clarify for me? How did her son produce wet/dirty diapers if he was getting zero milk? I ask because my daughter lost 9% of her birthweight due to jaundice and being very sleepy at the breast, and my milk taking a long time to come in, yet whenever I talked to LCs and/or the public health nurses about supplementing at that point, they always asked me about her wet/dirty diapers – and because she was producing the expected amount, that seemed to reassure them totally. Now it just occurs to me that maybe she WAS starving those first few days??

    • Who?

      I wondered this too-it’s such an obvious sign, but not, apparently, infallible.

    • Azuran

      Probably because dehydrated people or people who don’t drink enough will usually pee less. It’s probably a good indicator of a problem if the baby is not peeing normally. But you probably shouldn’t rule out dehydration just because a baby is peeing. I know nothing about newborn medicine, but I do know that there are a lot of things that can make dehydrated animals pee like crazy. So most likely, if pee production is abnormal, there is probably something wrong, but if it’s normal, you shouldn’t completely rule out dehydration or poor feeding, especially if there are other signs such as jaundice or weight loss.

    • Madtowngirl

      One of the indicators of dehydration in a newborn is a diaper with reddish-brownish crystals. My daughter had them, and we mistook it for blood at first, which is why the nurse tried to convince me it was normal (small amounts of blood is common in girls).

      • Inmara

        I was told that those crystals are normal for very first diapers (and they indeed disappeared after a day). Fortunately, my baby was not THAT starved to have such symptoms though he didn’t get enough milk until we started supplementing (and picked it up only by pre/post feeding weighs, weighing all diapers and controlling total weight gain.

    • Young CC Prof

      In a newborn, lack of wet diapers is a late sign of dehydration, not a good early warning sign. The current protocol is to say things are OK as long as baby is peeing, but that might not be entirely true. My son was peeing with a 14% weight loss and scary sodium numbers.

      So their reassurance may have been unwarranted, but it sounds like your baby was OK anyway.

      • cookiebaker

        With my last baby, everything looked good on the surface. She had wet and poopy diapers, her bili levels were super low, she was nursing the right frequency, latch was great, I could hear her swallowing, but I still didn’t feel things were right. She was too cranky and I didn’t feel her wet diapers were wet enough. I had her weighed and I was right, she’d lost 10oz.

        I didn’t bother consulting a LC, I just topped her up with formula or expressed milk after ever feed. By her 2 week appt, she was 5 oz over her birth weight, so Dr was happy.

        Ultimately, I did see a LC and we found out baby was unable to transfer milk when she nursed. It was the same problem I had with my 5th. No one has been able tell me why it happens or why my other children could nurse, but not the last 2. They latched perfectly, no tongue or lip ties, but the babies couldn’t draw out any milk, even though there was milk there when I pumped. I switched them both to formula. I was not interested in pumping and bottle feeding. My supply was pitiful.

        Not planning any more kids, but if we did have a 7th, I’m just going to formula feed from the start, which should be interesting since our hospital has gone to BFHI within the last year.

    • Megan

      My daughter produced plenty of wet diapers with almost zero milk intake (which we learned from eventual weighed feedings) and a bilirubin level of 21.5. I don’t know what her sodium levels were offhand. Dirty diapers and “signs” baby aren’t getting enough are indeed late indicators. This is why weights and bili checks are done routinely and why taking away routine weights is asinine.

      • Megan

        Oh and she had a 12% weight loss by day 3 unbeknownst to me and 18% loss by day 8.

    • disqus_uLNFcC5pwa

      Although number of wet diapers is one of the most commonly utilized measures for assessing intake in the newborn, it is not particularly accurate especially in the immediate period after birth for a few reasons: 1) Newborns have a limited ability to concentration urine in response to dehydration. The loss of this compensation mechanism makes urine a somewhat less reliable indicator until output decreases dramatically/stops entirely. 2) This is the more important reason – a physiological postnatal diuresus occurs, typically between 12 and 48 hours of age (may be delayed in preterms and/or RDS). During this diuresis a large amount of urine output will occur, regardless of hydration status. For this reason % weight loss is considered to be the most reliable indicator of hydration status in the immediate newborn period with 10% generally considered the upper acceptable limit for term newborns and slightly higher for preterms (they have a higher percentage of total body water and will lose more as well as experience increased insensible losses). Hope that helps clear this up!

  • JJ

    Maybe lactivists should experience starvation before they so easily subject helpless babies to it! I mean starvation is natural. This is so ABUSIVE; Don’t collect data (weight) so you cannot see that anything is wrong. Maybe they have other ways of knowing. Can you imagine if social workers/CPS did things like this!?

    • demodocus

      Better yet, since the empty adult stomach is the size of a fist, only enough food to fill *that* volume

  • Amy

    That is outrageous. I’d almost think it was satire, but then I thought the same thing about that newborn hats nonsense and isn’t there a contingent of ultra-crunchies who are anti-hat, too?

    • BeatriceC

      Newborn hats? I must have missed that one. Can you link to something that explains please? I’m morbidly curious.

      • Amy
        • BeatriceC

          The stupid. It burns. Seriously. I was in enough disbelief that I let the gravy overheat, spill over and burn to the drip pan on the stove.

          But the circular logic amazes me. Newborn hats aren’t effective at keeping baby warm, but wait! They’ll make the baby too warm. Seems those two statements are mutually exclusive.

        • Inmara

          OMG, I did it all wrong! I didn’t sniff my baby’s head and I damn sure was not able to recognize him by smell! Actually, he had a bit of unwashed blood on his head (standard practice here is to wipe babies after birth and wash them only next day) so I was not willing to smell that even if he hadn’t a hat.
          (And that paragraph about skin-to-skin with blanket over both mom and baby… disaster waiting to happen.)

    • CSN0116

      And don’t forget that the vernix needs to be left on for hours, wait —days. Wiping it off will harm the skin. It’s all natural, ya know.

      • Mad Hatter

        Whatever you do, don’t wash that vernix off!!!!

        • CSN0116

          If you can get through it. I’ve had too many babies and began laughing too hard…

          http://raisingnaturalkids.com/wait-dont-wash-that-newborn/

          • Mad Hatter

            Love the woo! They wiped mine down pretty good and his daddy gave him a bath the next day. Guess we waited 12 hours? No particular reason except it we were tired and wanted to be there for his first bath. The nurse offered to take him to the nursery to bath him, but said he was fine if we wanted to wait. Next time I’ll be like I want to sleep, so take him and don’t bring him back until he’s hungry! lol

          • BeatriceC

            I seem to recall my youngest still having quite a bit of vernix still on him the first time I saw him. As soon I was out of post-op they made a detour and wheeled the stretcher through the NICU (standard practice at that hospital…it would be a few hours until he was stabilized enough to transfer to a Level 3 NICU a few minutes away). I was still a little out of it from everything, so I could be wrong. I would assume that cleaning him was less important than keeping him alive though. This was the 24 week, 504g preemie.

          • CSN0116

            Three of my 5 were delayed baths due to body temp regulation issues. A stigmatizing tag on the baby bassinet “Stop! Don’t bathe me!” remained present for a day or two LOL.

          • BeatriceC

            I don’t remember tags like that, but my pork chop 32 weeker had no problems regulating body temperature at first, and was actually in really good shape for his gestational age. He did have some problems due to being large for gestational age, including body temperature regulation, but not immediately after birth. He was 5lbs 4oz, so he was a giant.

          • CSN0116

            My singletons all topped 9 lbs …but somehow that built-in insulation wasn’t enough? Damn confused chunky dunkers (which is the antithesis of skinny dippers, btw).

          • BeatriceC

            Those darned chunk-butts. At the time, the doctor explained that difficulty regulating temperature is a common issue for LGA babies. I don’t know if that holds true for term babies though. I never had a term baby.

          • guest

            I always wondered if the NICU ever bathed my babies. They weren’t slimy or bloody, so clearly they were at least wiped down. But their hair was pretty matted the whole time.

          • Allie

            Um, babies are not born dirty? Yeah, except for the blood, excrement and vaginal secretions. Definitely don’t scrub ’em down with a hard brush and lye, but a gentle rinsing with a mild cleanser for sure.

          • BeatriceC

            It’s even more fun if you go down the rabbit hole in the comments.

        • Azuran

          Wait, you have to leave it? I thought we were supposed to lick it off. All those natural fads are so confusing.

          • Mad Hatter

            I thought it was the placenta we were supposed to eat! But guess since its natural, licking the vernix has got to be good for us too, right?!

          • Azuran

            Nah, you have to leave the placenta attached until it dries and rot and eventually fall off on it’s own(then it’s unclear if you are supposed to still eat it)

            Eating the vernix is probably good for bonding. You need to taste your baby to love it.

        • Madtowngirl

          Haha, what? This is a new one for me. My daughter had her first bath maybe 3 hours after she was born.

        • Monkey Professor for a Head

          We delayed minimonkey’s first bath for a day, mainly because I was too weak and exhausted to even think about it (he was 6 days overdue, so no vernix). Which meant we had to put a hat on him to hide all the blood (mine) that was matted in his hair. I wonder which would be considered worse – a hat or a bath.

          • Allie

            I’m sure that beautiful. precious and sacred woman blood protected him from any ill hat effects : )

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            He also spat up my blood and amniotic fluid for the first day of his life. Probably gave him super powers or something, right?

        • pandapanda

          That was my big ew thing. I told them that the baby better be washed before they even showed her to me or I would puke. I am disgusted by bodily fluids. They tried to push her on me while coated in disgust and I indeed puked all over the delivery room floor, an impressive amount seeing as I had not eaten in over a day. They hurriedly went to clean her up and clean up the floor.

          • MaineJen

            LOL…my daughter was a 37 weeker and was literally coated in vernix when I first held her. I ended up with that stuff all over my chest and arms. Fun fact: it’s really hard to wipe off if it dries onto your skin. Good times…

  • Nick Sanders

    OT: I just want to say, thanks to all you jerks on this blog, Google AdSense now constantly bombards me with advertisements for Pedia-Lax and Bordeaux’s Butt Paste. It’s all your fault.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      My job here is done.

    • Megan

      Hey, you’ll never have a diaper rash, right? 😉

      • Nick Sanders

        I’ll have you know I’ve been wearing big boy pants for almost a year now!

        • Roadstergal

          You really should take them off and wash them.

          • Nick Sanders

            But then I won’t get the golden underpants trophy with chocolate diamond skidmarks!

          • Gatita

            Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

          • Bugsy

            Well there goes my appetite!

    • demodocus

      Better than the supposedly syphallitic penis i saw in the ads on Respectful Insolence.

      • Roadstergal

        Oh, I’m glad it wasn’t just me.

        • Who?

          Thanks goodness for adblock.

        • Bugsy

          Me, too.

  • Gretta

    WTF. Their premise is not even true. I supplemented with a little formula when my boys weight dropped and just made a big effort to breastfeed more frequently and successfully breastfed for over a year! My boys didn’t turn into gremlins….and my milk didn’t dry up. More importantly, they were healthy and satisfied and I wasn’t a stressed out mess.

    • Nick Sanders

      Gremlins only happen if you formula feed after midnight. The rest of the time it just causes snaggletoothed, mentally deficient, asthmatic criminals.

    • SporkParade

      Then there are the folks like me, who respond to medical professionals withholding information to avoid formula supplementation by saying, “Well, I clearly can’t trust these turkeys; I’ll just have to never attempt to exclusively breastfeed every again, and then I’ll know for sure my baby’s had enough to eat.”

  • CSN0116

    OT

    Probably the most disgusting example of abuse via the “formula is poison” mantra up close and on TV. This is the same couple who attempted an unassisted home birth and wound up transferred on the TLC show “Rattled,” which is nothing short of dangerous, by the way. Now mom is starving the baby into jaundice and blood sugars so low that brain damage is impending. But dad, whose lactation consultant mom phones in frequently, says “hell no” to any and all formula. Watch from 24:45 to the end, fast forwarding to the “Marsadie and Doug” portions of the show. It will blow your mind.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Po1Ess_dY80

    • BeatriceC

      Maybe watching a baby die or become severely brain damaged on national tv will cause people to rethink the party line they’re being spoon fed. That sounds cold and vile, but I’m honestly not sure what else is going to get through to some people.

      • CSN0116

        But it’s all part of becoming a “real mom.” If you don’t struggle, then that shit isn’t earned and it’s not “real.”

        I have seen a woman breastfeed twins every hour at five months of age because they had only gained 2 lbs since birth.

        I have seen breastfed babies so hungry that they are never still enough to sleep. I mean they never sleep, seriously.

        I have seen a mom buy breast milk on the Internet and cup feed it as not to offer a bottle.

        I have seen mothers cry their fucking eyes out as they feed formula and watch their kids drift off to sleep for four hours.

        It’s a sick, sick world, yo. The damage is so pervasive.

      • swbarnes2

        Unless it turns out that the TV show was urging the parents to be extreme to make better TV…

    • Megan

      That poor poor baby. I still feel immense guilt that my daughter was starving for days and I didn’t even know it. These people are being told flat out that their baby is starving and are still willing to sacrifice her brain at the altar of EBF? Unreal…

      • mythsayer

        Me, too. My daughter lost close to 15% of her body weight and starved for at least a day. I still feel horrible, nearly six years later.

    • Who?

      Devastating. Was dad relenting towards the end? He seems to be okay with leaving the baby and trying to support his (apparently much younger) wife, while still not quite being able to keep his mother in check. We can be grateful mother wasn’t there, at least.

      Also interesting how much less disrespectful he was to the older male doctor than the young female one-how much of that is him, how much is editing, can’t say.

      Wanna take Sophia home? Let’s start by giving her a bottle.

      • BeatriceC

        I can’t watch it. I’m already too pissed at the whole topic.

      • CSN0116

        “It’s about liability, isn’t it?”

        “No. It’s about her brain.”

        I don’t even know how that doc bit her tongue. And lactation consultant mommy egging him on the whole time. I know decent LCs exist, but shit, most seem fucking nuts.

        • Who?

          Mother was a piece of work. Not able to see/handle the baby, but knew all about what she needed, why doctors were wrong, etc.

          Wonder how this went down on her facebook page?

        • BeatriceC

          I really liked that nurse. She sounded about 12, but she was really amazing. She came across as caring and not condescending at all, but still remained factual about the very real risks involved.

          • CSN0116

            I assumed doc from how she presented herself and the info she was giving. I **REFUSE** to go back and re-watch. Sorry 😛

          • BeatriceC

            Now that you mention it, yeah, she did comport herself more like a doctor, but a master’s level (or higher) nurse could also be that way.

          • Who?

            I thought she was a doctor, just from her comportment-she needed the authority of no one to assert that the hospital was keeping that baby.

            Dad was a jackass to her, and she didn’t flinch.

          • BeatriceC

            In my greater than average experience in hospitals, I can definitively say that there are nurses that are like that, but also concede that they’re rare. I’m more than willing to admit that my assumption that she was a nurse was based on how young she looked and how child-like her voice was (in my defense, MrC, who couldn’t see the screen wondered aloud why a 13 year old would talk like that). I’m more than willing to be wrong. One of my comments still stands: doctor or nurse, she was incredible. I would be thrilled if one of my future daughters-in-law had her or somebody just like her as a physician.

            As for the father; what an ass. I’d love to see what a lawyer would say if he really did call one.

          • Who?

            She was fabulous. And good on her. I thought I detected catching a frustrated sigh, but I may have been projecting.

            She was that baby’s advocate, and she didn’t step out.

            Who knows, there are crackpot lawyers as in all walks of life. Sitting in a room listening to someone arguing feeding preferences as their human right while their baby lay ill in hospital would be an odd day at the office.

          • Who?

            Also meant to say that as a very small woman, with a young voice, I noticed she practices some of what I do to keep difficult conversations on track-remain standing, adopt a steady stance with feet apart, keep the voice down, keep the body and hands very still, keep the communication concise. Don’t be drawn into argument, particularly with loud men who, despite apparently knowing everything, are not at all humble or modest. I know the end is near when they start blustering about how they are going to bring in their bigger, smarter friend to see me off. Have yet to meet that guy.

          • demodocus

            could be, (i didn’t watch it) heaven knows the last resident i saw could have passed as a high schooler.

    • guest

      Just give the baby a bottle! Nipple confusion, my ass.

      • CSN0116

        Dad goes so far as to say “hell, no” to formula 😉

        And I love their feeble attempt at syringe feeding. They make it look 100 times more difficult than it actually is… though I may be partial in that I’ve developed so much rage towards these idiots that I can no longer be an ounce of rational while observing them.

        • guest

          It was the scenes of syringe feeding that provoked my outburst. If it can be done more easily than that, then by all means do it if it suits you. But that just looked like torture for everyone – for exhausted new parents so stressed about getting everything “right,” and for that poor, starving baby getting little trickles of milk in a way that just seemed confusing to her. A bottle nipple makes sense to an infant. If breastfeeding isn’t working yet, give the poor thing a good, easy meal and try again. Sheesh. (I am aware that nipple confusion may occur in some cases, but I truly think it’s overblown.)

          • BeatriceC

            I tried. I really, really tried. Sure, artificial nipples aren’t exactly the same as the breast, but on what planet is a syringe *less* confusing. At least with the artificial nipple the baby uses that “all natural” suckling reflect to get milk. Looks like a syringe is far more confusing to the baby (and that baby looked really confused) than any bottle nipple ever could be.

            On another note, I like to read historical fiction and “daily life” type nonfiction, particularly around medieval England and Europe. In so many scenes in both the nonfiction and fiction, they talk about dipping a rag into goats milk, or whatever the milk substitute is, to let the baby suckle. They even recognized back then that the actual suckling was an important part of the process.

          • swbarnes2

            I’m not sure that the mouth motions of sucking on a bottle are the same as suckling a breast. I think that would be the alleged source of “confusion”, so the point of the syringe would be to not have the kid be trying to learn sucking and suckling at the same time.

          • Inmara

            From my observations, feeding with bottle emphasizes pressing tongue upwards and there is not that much of actual sucking (at least that was the case with Avent bottles). My baby didn’t have “confusion” though and could switch from breast to bottle and back withoyt issues but he clearly preferred the predictable milk flow from bottle over on/off flow from breast (especially when I finally got a real letdown reflex which happened around 2 month mark). We somehow managed until 3 months with some fussing during the day but then baby went into nursing strike mode and continued to nurse only during nighttime.

          • BeatriceC

            They’re not, but at least the bottle satisfies the suckling reflex and is closer to the action of suckling from the breast than trying to swallow liquid delivered by a syringe. That’s my point, not that they’re the same.

          • Who?

            Poor little spud looked like she was drowning.

          • BeatriceC

            But people need to start putting things in more realistic terms.

            “Your baby is really sick. It’s your choice, of course, but would you rather bottle feed or buy a tiny coffin?”

        • Who?

          Is it bad that the speaker in that cartoon could well be me?

          I only know a couple of people that lead to that reaction, but it is overwhelming.

          • Roadstergal

            Oh, it’s absolutely a thing that happens. Burning rage at someone shuffling papers.

        • Sue

          “And I love their feeble attempt at syringe feeding. ”

          SO much for skin-to-skin, looking lovingly into each other’s eyes and “bonding”!

    • BeatriceC

      Okay, I saw in one scene where they were giving one of the advent bottles, so apparently at some point they did agree to give her something in a bottle.

      So here’s where I have a question. They admitted the baby because of jaundice and a blood sugar of 37. In the teaser at the end the nurse on the phone call says the sugar is down to 15.7. I think it was the sugar. Maybe the bilirubin was lowering? But that wouldn’t cause the mother to break down, I wouldn’t think. Anyway, would the day or two of inadequate nutrition cause long term problems like that, or is it possible that something unrelated to feeding issues is going on? I’m only really familiar with issues my own kids had, and while all my kids were jaundiced at some point in their NICU stays, none of them stayed under the lights for more than two days (and that was the 24 weeker.) Also, none of them had any blood sugar problems, so I’m out of my element here.

      • CSN0116

        Ahhhh, yes. We need to wait for Episode 2 for sure. However, the way I saw it was the baby was never discharged. Everything in Episode 1 is them still inpatient from the botched home birth. They are keeping baby. The teaser hints that she is finally released but probably has to do some follow-up blood work the next day at the pediatrician’s and the numbers prompt a readmission… thus the breaking down from mom. My guess for this series of events would be due to the fact that mom still has no milk, or too little; dad is stressing her to shit and she won’t produce; baby is stressing her to shit and she won’t produce; they can’t get black market breast milk at home; they refuse to feed formula; so they go home with no breast milk, baby starves as it has been, baby’s blood work reflects that, and the hospital wants readmission.

        • BeatriceC

          I thought the mother was discharged and the baby stayed. I assumed the teaser was a NICU nurse calling with an update. Granted, I wasn’t paying that much attention at that point.

          I just don’t understand. I really don’t. “Natural” is great, if you happen to be one of the lucky ones. Mothers and babies have been dying from pregnancy/birth/neonatal complications throughout the entirety of human history. Humans have attempted to feed babies when maternal breastfeeding was not an option for that long as well. All these heartbreaking stories are just an illustration of why nature isn’t perfect.

          Another random ramble: On the scale of natural to artificial, I would think at least maintaining the suckling reflex would be more natural than a syringe, don’t you think?

          Sorry. Night time brain wanderings, ahoy!

          • CSN0116

            Awww shit now I’m confused on the plot too. Whatev.

            As for the rest of what you said — YES!

      • guest

        I got the sense that that mother breaks down at the drop of a pin, frankly.

        • BeatriceC

          Possibly, or she could just be the whole situation. New mom hormones, the stress of childbirth, a demanding mother in law with no boundaries, a authoritarian, almost paternalistic husband who won’t confront his mother even when the health of his baby is at stake. Who knows what she’s thinking. Being the child of a narcissist, I can easily believe an alternate view of the mother: one where she really didn’t want all this “natural” stuff, but puts on that face to the world all the while wanting to scream at the top of her lungs that This. Isn’t. Right. Is that the case? I don’t know, but it’s a possible explanation.

          • Kelly

            I really feel that she is putting pushed into this with her husband and mother in law. She is not the one that is adamant about it. She just does not want to leave her baby. Her husband is a dick and only cares about not disappointing his mother.

    • Sue

      Cos having the Dad lie the baby on a cushion and squirt donor milk in its mouth with a syringe is great for “bonding”, right?

  • Gatita

    OT: I’ve been reading that some scientists believe that a pesticide is responsible for microcephaly in Brazil, not Zika. The reason it’s correlated with Zika infection is because the pesticide is used in areas with large concentrations of mosquitos. This seems like it could be plausible but I’m not finding any credible sites covering this. Does anyone know more or is it just a nutbag plot to blame Monsanto?

  • Megan

    I can’t think of a policy that would make me want to breastfeed less. If my hospital told me they wouldn’t be weighing my baby I’d just straight up formula feed and not even take the chance on my milk supply.

  • Brooke

    They did WHAT! Actually we have no idea what the actual policy was that they wanted to get through because this is heresay. Remember that old game of telephone? That is what this is, I’m not even going to guess what they were trying to get through.

    Like many stories on the internet Dr. Christie Castillo-Heygi’s seems pretty far feteched.

    • Mel

      Dr. Castillo-Heygi’s credentials are as follows: “I am a American Board of Emergency Medicine-certified emergency physician. I am an adjunct faculty member at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. I studied newborn ischemic brain injury at Brown University. Then I did HIV Immunology research at the National Institutes of Health. I graduated from University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. Trained in Emergency Medicine at the University of New Mexico.”

      Remind me what your credentials are, Brooke?

    • DaisyGrrl

      Are you accusing Dr. Castillo-Heygi of lying about the injuries her son sustained? Because that’s how I’m reading your comment.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      With this, he jumped upon the back of the Sawhorse again, and the quaint steed, which never tired, dashed away at full speed. The three girls were very much disturbed in mind. Even the Patchwork Girl seemed to realize that a great calamity had overtaken them all.

    • cookiebaker

      Regardless if you believe Dr. Castillo-Heygi’s experience or not, hyponeutremic dehydration is a real thing and has very serious consequences. Your disbelief doesn’t make it less so.

    • Charybdis

      Hon, there are two separate things being said here. One is that a pediatrician had mentioned that lactavists had tried to get a policy that did not weigh newborns/record their birth weight in a deliberate attempt to keep any formula supplementation from occurring.

      Second, Dr. Christie Castillo-Heygi has written about her son’s serious impairments that stem from the fact that he was not supplemented as he needed to be because of the almighty BREASTFEED AT ALL COSTS mindset that seems to be so prevalent these days.

    • CSN0116

      It’s a fucking question mark after the “WHAT,” Brooke.
      Question mark.

    • lilin

      I think you mean “hearsay.”

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Maybe she meant heresy?

        • CSN0116

          And I think she meant fetish too 😉 because “feteched” isn’t a word.

          Either she’s dumb as shit (plausible), or gets so angry when reading these blogs that her nimble little fingers can’t keep up with what she has to say 😛

        • Sarah

          Maybe she meant Probit.

      • Sue

        “Heresay”. You heard it first HERE, folks.

    • Monkey Professor for a Head

      Just because you make stuff up, doesn’t mean everyone else does.

      But please, tell us more about why the c sectio rate should be 5%.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Just because you make stuff up, doesn’t mean everyone else does.

        I think you have identified the issue…

    • monojo

      What about Dr. Castillo-Heygi’s story seems far fetched to you? That’s a very cruel thing to say.

      • moto_librarian

        Brooke probably has MD-envy.

    • indigosky

      Really? Than how is it that I know a child with a milder, but still very bad developmental delays that six different specialists have attributed to lack of nutrition? That a good friend was tricked into continuing to breastfeed only as her newborn slowly starved, because her pediatrician told her that one drop of formula would equal disease and suffering and death? That he ended up in the NICU and nearly died?

      But please, tell me how my story is fabricated and that it was really vaccines, chemtrails or red dye that caused the brain damage.

      • demodocus

        OMG! My husband’s blind because he was bottle fed…or was it vaccinated? IDK, but it simply *can’t* be congenital rubella like the mean “allopaths” said.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Thank you, Brooke, for helpfully illustrating how cognitive dissonance works. It is so important to your self image to believe that breastfeeding is perfect that you insist that anything that doesn’t comport with what you need to believe must perforce be untrue.

    • Sarah

      Far fetched like a claim that a section rate above 5% is dangerous?

    • mythsayer

      Heresy??? Lol!

      Did you mean hearsay? Typo or wrong word…either way it was kind of funny.

    • mythsayer

      You are aware of the severe things dehydration can do, right?

      Let me ask you this…is there possible harm due to a non-vaginal birth or an induction?yes, you say?

      Then why could something like this not cause the damage she said?

      Also, welcome to our world, where we shake our heads at alleged damage from things like c-sections despite the mom having a 40 hour labor with a dried up placenta (I made that up just FYI…not a real story…just an analogy). No, in those cases, it’s always the evil CS. Could never be the long labor or old placenta….

      Things that you agree with (like pushing breastfeeding) can cause damage, too. Or do you think you know the right way for all things? Because if not, you may have to accept that some things you agree with might not be as great as you think. Conversely, things you don’t agree with might end up being the better way of handling things. The world doesn’t bend itself to your beliefs. Like gravity…some things are true no matter what, whether you believe it or not. And a starving baby is a…let’s all say it together…a BAD THING.

      Now you know our skepticism. Maybe someday you’ll direct it at the right culprit, however.

      • moto_librarian

        I’m beginning to think that Brooke didn’t receive adequate nutrition as an infant.

    • mythsayer

      Also, is it hearsay that baby friendly hospitals lock up formula? Or do you believe that one because you support such actions to encourage breastfeeding (I don’t know if you do…I know you’re not completely out there like some people…you’ve convinced me you hold some mainstream beliefs).

    • LibrarianSarah

      I’m curious Brooke. It seems like every few posts you come in here, post something shitty and then disappear into the ether. Why? What is your end game here? What is the point? If it were to have an actual discussion, to troll, or try to convince us that you are right you wouldn’t just post once every few days and then scatter off without responding to anyone. Do you do it for the attention? Are you just bored? What is your deal?

      • Monkey Professor for a Head

        I think she thinks that she’s doing the equivalent of tossing in a grenade and running away laughing. Or maybe she thinks that if she doesn’t see anyone disagree with her then she’s won the argument. A kind of “Lalala, I’m not listening” tactic.

      • BeatriceC

        I’m pretty sure she’s a bored homeschooled high school student.

    • MaineJen

      Funny how people will believe every rosy homebirth/breastfeeding story on the internet, but will balk at an actual doctor’s actual verifiable experience.

    • Gene

      Far fetched? Tell me, do you even know what kernicteris is???

  • sdsures

    Horrific.

  • indigosky

    What happened to Dr. Castillo-Heygi’s child is the same thing that happened to a child of a friend of mine. Was not as severe, but her son now has multiple issues that doctors chalk up to her pretty much starving her baby for a month and not knowing it.

  • namaste863

    I’m waiting for these people come out with another cutesy rhyme to match “Breast is best” only this time it’ll be “Better dead than bottle fed.” Honestly, anyone who wastes so much time getting their panties in a wad over someone else’s infant feeding choices needs to get a life. In a major way.

    • indigosky

      They already chant “better dead than autistic” when it comes to vaccines, so this would not surprise me one bit.

      • Charybdis

        But that doesn’t rhyme…not even a little bit. They need to work on that.

        • indigosky

          These are anti-vaxxers. When they all share one brain cell, it’s hard to come up with rhymes.

          • Charybdis

            Sort of like the Graeae, the Stygian Witches who shared one eye and one tooth among the three of them?

          • Nick Sanders

            Greco-Roman props.

      • Roadstergal

        Where the hell did this All Or Nothing ideal come from? Formula is a liquid that is almost identical to optimal breast milk. How is giving a kid some a controversial act? Even a notable act?

        • Daleth

          Formula is a liquid that is almost identical to optimal breast milk.

          Exactly!!!!! I have reduced lactivists to silent puzzlement by asking them to name anything on earth that is MORE similar to breastmilk than formula is. Or to name anything, other than breastmilk, that is healthier for babies to live on than formula is.

      • guest

        That is just so insulting. I teach college kids who are on the spectrum sometimes. They are often my favorite students. And did I mention they are IN COLLEGE? Hardly “better off dead.”

        • indigosky

          My BIL as Aspergers and I was diagnosed as mildly autistic at the age of 29. I function quite easily in business settings but suck at social ones. So they are insulting me as well. They are just jealous I had my Masters before I could legally drink in this country. *humblebrag*

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Sorry, I’ve already trademarked “Better dead than formula fed.”

      • namaste863

        My apologies. And here I thought it was so original.

      • namaste863

        On the other hand, “Bottle fed” can include expressed milk, since apparently the pump sucks out its magic sparkles or some such nonsense.

        • BeatriceC

          Well I obviously didn’t love my kids because my youngest ate from a bottle, and the judge and jury didn’t even bother to stop and ascertain what liquid was in the bottle.

          Expressed breast milk, for the record, not that it matters.

          • guest

            Mine had bottles of pumped milk and formula, breast, OG tube, and nipple shields in their infancy. Oh, and lots of pacifiers and thumb sucking. Variety is the spice of life, I always say.

    • BeatriceC

      These people, I swear. If they think that just one drop of formula makes you a bad parent, wait until you send your kid to school because you think he’s faking it only to have the nurse call you 10 minutes after the first bell to tell you he really is actually very sick.

      Wanna guess what I did this morning?

      • namaste863

        Don’t worry. Anyone who’s seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off knows that kids fake illnesses to get out of school. It’s a perfectly reasonable hypothesis. Hope he feels better soon!

      • Rachele Willoughby

        Or until you send your kid to school with organic Bento boxes every day only to find that they’ve eaten nothing but bartered Doritos for the last six weeks.

        • Kelly

          I used to throw away my sandwiches as a child. I still hate cold lunches. I need something that I can heat up or at least keep in a refrigerator.

          • SporkParade

            That was my problem. The only foods I would agree to eat at room temperature were jam sandwiches, chocolate milk, and a snack (I traded fruit for Twinkies, though). That was lunch literally every day of K-12.

      • Who?

        But did your child go and snuggle up to the teacher because he wasn’t feeling well and then throw up all over her?

        • BeatriceC

          Well, he’s 14, so no snuggling. He went to the nurse with an obviously sore throat (it was fine when I looked!) and a 101F fever (he didn’t feel at all warm when I dropped him off at the trolley station!).

          • Who?

            Poor guy, hope he feels better soon.

            The teacher said she carried a full change of clothes for just such events. I gave her flowers.

          • BeatriceC

            Thanks. He’s currently sleeping on the living room floor. The kid has this super comfy king size bed and he’s on the floor. Typical. His throat just looks al little red, and he’s not complaining of the normal strep symptoms, so I’m hoping it’s just viral. If his symptoms change or his fever gets much worse, we’ll see the doctor. The kid’ pediatrician has open office hours from 7-9AM and from 5-8PM every day (well, the group does…you might not see your actual doctor, but you’ll see somebody in the group.) Getting a same day appointment outside of those times is darned near impossible, so I’m just keeping an eye on it until open hours start.

          • Who?

            Hope he pulls up okay and you don’t need an appt; or if you do you can get him in quickly. Bad throat is miserable and can go really bad so fast.

            And yes, they will always want some public spot when they’re sick. Our floors are timber and really hard, but we have a couple of very large sofas that get taken over when anyone’s unwell.

          • Mishimoo

            Hope it’s something mild and that he gets better soon!

          • Charybdis

            Right……you mean mom! (Joking, I really am).

            Did the same thing once with DS when he was in kindergarten. Turned out he had H1N1.

            Yeah, I felt just GREAT after that.

          • Mishimoo

            My 9 year old did the same last week. Seemed fine in the morning even though she didn’t want to go to school, came home with a 38.7 fever and sore throat/stomach 3 hours later.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            He may well not have had a fever when you dropped him off. Fevers come and go, even in the midst of an acute illness and this one sounds like it was just starting to manifest. Don’t spend too much time kicking yourself for the mistake. These things happen.

  • Madtowngirl

    Pardon the language. But for fuck’s sake this needs to stop. Breast milk is not this holy liquid that will fix all of society’s problems. This pseudoscience movement filled with bullshit about “natural” being some magic, ideal lifestyle is harmful, immoral, and downright cruel.

    • sdsures

      Can I like your post a thousand times?

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Liking your comment is the equivalent of doing a thousand likes of Madtowngirl’s

        • Charybdis

          Comment homeopathy?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Just a scalar, that’s all

          • Roadstergal

            I think that’s when you like a comment MadTownGirl made in the past in order to get a stronger Like for a comment many comments removed?

  • Amy M

    I would think that supplementing in the early days of life has been a thing LONG before the invention of formula. Surely it was recognized that milk doesn’t always come in on Day 1, or even by Day 5 for some? Even without weighing babies, it would have been clear that they were becoming lethargic and yellow and stopped peeing. I imagine that if another lactating woman was available, she might have stepped in, at least temporarily and if there was no other woman with milk, perhaps animal milk would have been substituted? This idea that “one drop of formula” will ruin the breastfeeding and the baby has got to go.

    • Roadstergal

      Dr T has mentioned in the past that formula didn’t replace breast milk, it replaced less safe substitutes… and starving babies…

      • Amy M

        Yes, and likely less safe substitutes have been around since the dawn of time.

    • teal

      Supplementing has been happening since the dawn of humankind. The newborn used to be fed by the other women of the group at the beginning, for up to its first week of life to give the mother time to recover. As women of childbearing age were always nursing a child, this was not hard to accomplish. This is still practiced in societies from South America to Papua New Guinea and places in Africa.

    • BeatriceC

      Ironically, the cohorts in the US with the highest rates of long term breastfeeding are the ones where the cultural norm is to supplement for a few days to let the mother recover and allow her milk to come in, then transition to exclusive breastfeeding. Somebody posted a link to the stats a while back, but I can’t find it now.

    • Brooke

      Obviously if a baby isn’t peeing or has lost weight or is lethargic, crying non-stop or the mother has not experienced engorgment or experience the let down reflex obviously it is time to introduce some formula or donor milk, that is why SNS systems etc exist. The thing is that most moms can and do produce enough milk for their babies. Even when it is clear that a mother is producing milk and her baby is getting enough milk some doctors and nurses still insist that they should supplement with formula or make a suggestion that the mother “isn’t producing enough milk” because the baby lost a normal amount of weight or is eating too frequently or whatever reason they can come up with.

      • LaMont

        You’ve outlined the harms of not supplementing (losing weight, lethargy, etc.), but what are the harms of supplementing when a child is losing (a “normal amount” of) weight, exactly? The only reason for objecting to supplementation is if you are fighting the “breastfeeding” fight, not the “protect babies’ health” fight. It doesn’t seem that you have any real tragic stories of overtreatment here. “Oh no, a nurse let a mother formula feed” doesn’t quite rise to the level of “health professionals let a mother starve her baby nearly to death”.

        • Roadstergal

          Let’s go at it from a CDC alcohol perspective. Has a ‘safe amount’ of weight loss for a newborn ever been proven? :p

        • tariqata

          I can see an argument against recommending supplementation just because the baby is nursing ‘often’, when the mother wants to breastfeed, baby appears healthy and is nursing well, not losing more than 10% of birth weight in the first day or so after birth and showing weight gain after the first couple days, and having plenty of wet/soiled diapers. But that does require that someone actually be paying attention to the indicators of the baby’s wellbeing, like weight.

          Edited to add: doesn’t mean doctors/nurses shouldn’t suggest it as an option, just that I can see not making it a routine recommendation provided that the only concern is that the baby is nursing very frequently.

          • Gatita

            I know you’re not arguing this, but wanted to point out that moms can want to breastfeed and also choose to supplement/replace a feed with formula so their partners and relatives can also feed the baby and mom can get some rest. It’s not all or nothing.

          • tariqata

            Oh absolutely – edited to hopefully clarify.

          • CSN0116

            A few of my BFFs refuse to breastfeed at night. From day one they nurse all day and do formula at night. Supply and demand is a beautiful thing. Their bodies never get used to the nighttime feeds, therefore they’re able to rest and defer those feedings to someone else while they sleep 😉

      • Nick Sanders

        Obviously if a baby… has lost weight

        And how are you going to know that if the baby isn’t weighed?

        • Kelly

          I half starved my one child for about two days before she got weighed. She was only getting about half of what she needed. I would feed her and then she would sleep peacefully. Well, once I got a full feed in her, I suddenly did not need to wake her up to feed her. She starting waking up and crying when she was hungry. This was my second child. I just thought she was a peaceful child. Now that she is two, I now know that I was completely and utterly wrong and that she is my wild child. I could not tell that she had lost weight. We never had any problems after that but I shudder to think that if I had gone longer without being able to go to a doctor’s appointment, that I would not have known that I was slowly starving her.

      • Amazed

        How is it clear, thingy? Who are you to know that “isn’t producing enough milk” should be put in quote marks? Oh but I forgot. You are just a thingy with a Google master degree.

        Thanks for making your priorities clear. Exclusive breastfeeding matters more than babies’ health. You’re ready to risk the latter but not the first.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        All this time our friends had been getting farther up the hill and nearer to the wicker castle. Now, continuing their advance, they expected something else to oppose their way, but to their astonishment nothing happened and presently they arrived at the wicker gates, which stood wide open, and boldly entered the domain of Ugu the Shoemaker.

        • canaduck

          Ah I need to get my Oz books out again…thank you.

          • Roadstergal

            Ah, the first genderqueer character I came across, even before the word was around –

            “I hope none of you will care less for me than you did before. I’m just the same Tip, you know; only — only —”

            “Only you’re different!”

      • Monkey Professor for a Head

        Given that the risks of a bad outcome from starvation are higher than the risks from a couple of ounces of formula, surely if there’s any doubt as to whether a baby is getting enough milk the default position should be to supplement?

      • teal

        So you prefer a baby possibly starve than be supplemented. I personally would rather my baby be getting a bit too much to eat, than not enough.

        • Kelly

          If they get too much to eat, the body has this amazing response called spit up.

          • demodocus

            jeez, the spit up we had after. every. nursing. session. lets just say i’m ready for the dairy herd. 🙁

          • BeatriceC

            I’ll join you. I overproduced with all of them but it got worse with each pregnancy. By the time the youngest was born, my body thought I was trying to provide enough calories to sustain an entire NFL team during preseason training, not a 504g micro preemie.

          • teal

            Exactly. Too much comes back out. Too little kills. Personally, spitting up a bit after each feeding reassured me that she was getting enough. Nasty and messy, but reassuring.

      • Who?

        If your default position is that it’s rare for mother to not have enough milk at all times for each and every baby she produces, then are you happy for the exceptions to be hungry, or starved to the point where they are damaged?

        Is it the same line as the homebirthers’ ‘what’s a few dead babies’?

        • D/

          I don’t work at huge hospitals, but using the low-end guesstimate that only 2% of women “really” can’t produce enough milk means I am personally caring for 2-3 of these women every month. I doubt it’s as rare as 2% … but even so that’s not rare at all in my book!

          • Who?

            Sometimes things are rare and really hard to detect and fix, and in those cases sensible conversations can and should be had about the costs and benefits of the necessary investigations and interventions.

            Low milk production isn’t one of those things. And giving a bit of formula is surely better than not, when in doubt.

      • Deborah

        Your comment clearly identifies the issue at stake for you Brooke and that is your fixed belief that doctors and nurses are out to sabotage breastfeeding.
        In my 13 years as a midwife I have never seen a colleague, whether paediatrician, obstetrician or midwife suggest a mother give formula to a baby who does not require it.
        Obviously, you don’t know what you are talking about.

      • guest

        Where’s your evidence that A) doctors and nurses do this in large numbers, and B) that it matters in any way whatsoever as far as infant health and successful future breastfeeding go?

      • SporkParade

        My baby was lethargic, not peeing, and constantly hungry, and the hospital staff told me everything was fine and refused to give me any information or advice on supplementation despite being directly asked for it. But it doesn’t fit into your lactivist victimization narrative, so I guess I must be making it up, just like you accused Dr. Castillo-Heygi of doing.

      • Tiffany Aching

        “whatever reason they can come up with.”
        because obviously most pediatricians went to med school and work long hours in a hospital just to fulfill their secret, long nurtured goal : stopping women from breastfeeding. Thus they will completely make up reasons that have nothing to do with the baby’s health. Because a pediatrician couldn’t care less about children’s health, right ?

    • guest

      I think it was a full seven days before my milk came in. I was producing massive quantities of colostrum, to the point where I assumed my milk must have come in. But no – on day seven I woke up engorged for the first time and realized what milk coming in really meant. It took a few more weeks for the milk to become more white than yellow. I’m a freaking milk cow, lucky me – but before I knew that, the NICU staff had been informed to first use up whatever colostrum I sent them, then use formula to make sure the babies had enough. I had read some pretty woo stuff trying to prepare, but it never EVER made sense to me to not feed a baby until it was full, however you had to do it.

    • Daleth

      I would think that supplementing in the early days of life has been a thing LONG before the invention of formula.

      Totally! Human beings did not evolve in nuclear families with only one lactating woman in the house. For all but about the last 100-ish years of human history, most people lived in extended family households, tribes, or in some cases (wealthy Europeans and Americans) family households, extended or not, that were full of female servants. It was probably the norm throughout nearly all of human history that female relatives/tribe members/friends/servants fed the baby from their own breasts for a couple of days while mama rested up after childbirth, and then mama took over when she’d gotten some sleep and her milk came in. THAT is the “optimal” situation for which we evolved.

      And if that’s true, which I personally would bet $1000 it is, then the fact that women’s milk doesn’t come in until somewhere between day 2 and day 5 does NOT mean–as many lactivists insist it does–that babies don’t need milk until somewhere between day 2 and day 5.

  • Are you nuts

    Why are lactation consultants in a position to even recommend a policy change?!?!

  • BeatriceC

    I’m speechless. I’m trying really hard here to understand the logic. Do they *want* babies to die? Is that their end goal?

    • Nick Sanders

      Well, some of the anti-vaccine nutjobs misapply natural selection, I don’t see why other woomeisters couldn’t as well.

      • Roadstergal

        They never seem to appreciate the reality of frailty, for lack of a better term. If you eat the right things and do the right things, you will always make enough milk. If you feed your children the right foods and keep them away from EMFs, they will always be able to conquer VPDs. That sort of thing.

        • Nick Sanders

          I’ve actually seen quotes from anti-vaccine people about letting diseases “weed out the weak”, which is what I was referring to.

          • Who?

            Curiously they are insanely confident that won’t include them or anyone inside their magic circle.

          • Roadstergal

            Because they do the magic organic non-GMO spells.

  • Roadstergal

    It’s the ‘logical’ next step from the whole ‘IV fluids for mom inflate babies like little balloons, of course they lose weight’ deal.

    • AA

      I recall that commenter Margo Woozealand suggested pushing weight loss to 12% as long as baby had wet diapers.

      • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

        I do not understand any of this. The baby is hungry, they are not calming, not sleeping, are obviously hungry. F’ing feed the baby.

    • MaineJen

      IV fluids may have saved me from needing a c section with my 2nd…when I went in, my water had been leaking and I didn’t realize it. Amniotic fluid was low and baby was tachycardic. IV fluids cleared that up right quick, and delivery was fast and easy. This is my own perfect example of a small, simple intervention like an IV being used to prevent a bigger intervention, like a c section.

      P.S. She was a skinny baby at 6 lbs 2 oz, and remains a skinny kid…very far from being inflated like a balloon.

  • demodocus

    We supplemented (under a nurse practitioner’s advice) from Day 3 when he’d lost 11 or 12% of his weight and was getting a bit jaundiced. Turns out my milk didn’t come in for 5 days, and then when my nipples cracked badly (as in there’s still a scar) we kept supplementing a bit to give them a rest. We supplemented perhaps a month all told, then he drank only milk for months.
    Clearly, the formula destroyed our spiffy relationship. /sarcasm

    • BeatriceC

      I’ve said it before, but supplementing in the first few days of my oldest son’s life not only salvaged that “breastfeeding relationship” (I hate that term), but probably allowed the younger to to breastfeed/eat expressed breastmilk as well. Had I failed with the oldest, I almost definitely would not have tried with the second. I may have pumped with the third because of how early he was, but I may not have. It’s hard to say.

    • Amy M

      There was no question about supplementing my boys from their first feeding on. They were pre-term and little, and didn’t have much weight to lose. The doctors and nurses didn’t even discuss it with me (or at least I don’t remember that), which didn’t bother me at all because I expected them to be supplemented. It didn’t need to be said. I would have been shocked if they’d tried to avoid supplementation. As a result, they only lost 7-8% of their birth weight. I didn’t go on to breast feed, but that was due to a number of factors, none of which included supplementation.

    • Megan

      I wish I had known how much weight my daughter had lost when we were discharged on day 3 (12%) but no one told me and our first appointment was a full 5 days after that. By that time she’d lost 18% and had to be readmitted for jaundice. I never found out that she’d already lost more than 10% by discharge until I got her records in order to demonstrate to a resident how to do the NEWT calculator. I was pretty unhappy. I even asked in the hospital about her weights while we were in the hospital and no one would ever give me a straight answer, just blew me off saying they’d find out and get back to me (which they never did). I was too worn out and hormonal to push or remember to keep asking.

      • demodocus

        sheesh.

      • Kelly

        That is awful. The hospital with my first child sat me down and told me my daughter’s weight at the time of discharge, at what weight would it be 10% lost, what to look out for in terms of jaundice. I think every hospital needs to do this. Of course this means more time and money for each patient but it would save in time and money in admitting them back in for lost weight and jaundice.

        • Megan

          Ironically, for a bili of 21.5, my daughter looked less yellow than I or her doctor would’ve guessed. We were both surprised how high the level was. Just goes to show you needs weights and bili levels; you can’t just rely on looking for signs baby isn’t eating like wet/dirty diapers and skin color. Unlike what the lactivists proposing stopping newborn weights would have you believe.

          • Kelly

            I completely agree. Especially for newborns, when you see definite signs that something is wrong, it is almost too late. Plus, I really like preventative medicine. It makes going to the doctor easier for me and my kids because it is not as traumatic.

      • NoLongerCrunching

        That is just mind boggling and infuriating. Eighteen percent???

        • Megan

          Yup. And you’d better believe that this time I will be told her weights and I will supplement if this baby is hungry. My devotion to “breastfeed at all costs” is over.

  • lilin

    Are the lactivists in question general loonies or actual members of the hospital staff?

  • AA

    Please tell me “tried” is the operative word here and it didn’t go through?