What’s the difference between a hospital that won’t inform women about formula feeding and a hospital that won’t inform women about contraception?

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Lactivists believe women don’t understand the risks of formula feeding or the benefits of breastfeeding. New mothers aren’t making informed choices about infant feeding because they aren’t fully informed. If women only knew of the myriad risks of formula, they’d never choose it.

Lactivists are certain that offering information about formula feeding is tantamount to promoting it. That’s why they have been working assiduously to make sure, through the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, that hospital personnel aren’t merely prohibited from counseling women in favor of formula feeding, they are forbidden from mentioning it. Offering formula to new mothers is beyond the pale and under no circumstances should woman receive any gifts from formula companies that might be interpreted to condone the use of formula, even as a supplement to breastfeeding.

Inevitably there has been a backlash against the BFHI but the opponents claim the high ground with the retort: “We are just trying to support breastfeeding!” Lactivists believe they are providing a valuable service limiting information about formula feeding, limiting support for formula feeding and limiting access to formula.

I have a question for the folks at the BFHI:

What’s the difference between the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and a Catholic hospital that bans counseling about contraception?

Both insult women by presuming to decide what is the best way for them to use their bodies.
Both interfere with informed consent by withholding information.
Both violate women’s autonomy by mandating how they must use their body parts.
Both interfere with the free speech rights of healthcare providers.
Both appeal to shoddy science, exaggerating risks and inflating benefits.
Both justify their tactics by reference to what is “natural.”
Both insist that the ends (benefits for women’s infants/benefits for women’s immortal souls) justify the means.

So will someone please explain to me why many women who would be appalled by any effort to deprive women of access to contraception think it’s okay to deprive women of access to infant formula?

I don’t see the difference.

  • Anne Catherine

    Great post again–
    I’m late to this discussion –so forgive me if anyone has already said this –I looked though the comments for a while.

    Informing women about the risk of formula is SO STUPID-first of all they are lie about most of it… Plus there is never any mention about the risks of exclusive breastfeeding–which is actually riskier than formula feeding!!

    —There are risks of dehydration—(if everyone breastfed exclusively–I would put this at about 5%–maybe higher) and 15% would be fussy and hungry and their mothers would be stressed)
    —Mothers who plan to exclusively breastfeed and fail are twice as likely to get PPD
    http://www.nhs.uk/news/2014/08August/Pages/Failing-to-breastfeed-linked-with-postnatal-depression.aspx
    —Mastitis for the mother (I think that this is about 10-20%)
    —Pain and nipple damage for the mother (over 50%)
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24380583

    NONEof this is even mentioned —and all of it is more prevalent than SIDS, childhood cancers, and diabetes (which is supposedly a ‘risk’ for not breastfeeding)

    • demodocus

      and the maternal cancer risks. Apparently, if you have your first kid at 19 and bf, you are at lower risk for breast or ovarian cancer. On the other hand, my mother would have killed me.

    • swbarnes2

      Well, the PPD and breastfeeding link, it could be that the causality is the other way…I guess having your heart set on breastfeeding and not doing it could make PPD worse, but it might also be that the same hormone problems that drive PPD are also messing with milk production. So wanting to breastfeed would not be a risk factor for PPD, it’s the failing at it that means the mom should be more closely monitored, because the same hormone problems that made the milk problems could cause PPD. This would require LCs to admit that there is only so much they can do for women who are struggling with breastfeeding, that a good latch and heroic willpower can only do so much in the face of uncooperative hormones.

  • CSN0116

    If I wrote a book – something to the effect of “The Womanly (no, “Human”) Art of Bottle Feeding” – how many “under the table” copies do you think I’d sell? I’m a formula feeding guru, ya know 😉 I could cover bottle selection, formula selection, how and where to buy, preparation, storage, heating, feeding intervals, supplementation, nipple stages …you freaking name it. I think there’s quite the market of women who would read it in dark ally corners and then deny purchasing the copy if caught 😉

    • MLE

      I think a short, easy to reference guide would sell like hot cakes.

      • Megan

        Like a little fold out card. That’d be great!

    • Esther

      There is something like that. It’s called “Bottlefeeding without Guilt” by Vicki Robin, and last time I checked the Amazon reviews, the lactivists were bashiing it like crazy. I have no idea if it’s still in print.

    • SporkParade

      The Fearless Formula Feeder already has a document to that effect for use by formula feeding support groups.

  • StephanieA

    OT: I know many of you are parents. How did your toddlers react to a new baby? I feel like a terrible mother to my 2 year old. Baby is a week old, and toddler has done great with baby- he’s loving and doesn’t purposely hurt him or act out towards him. But he’s not himself at all. He’s extremely whiny (we did expect this), but has lost interest in playing with toys, goofing around, etc. He seems to only want to want to watch movies, and we give in often because we are tired. He’s normally curious and happy, and it makes me sad that he isn’t acting like his usual self. I don’t know if it’s winter and boredom, or his way of dealing with this big change?

    • BeatriceC

      There’s an adjustment period. It’s normal. Your toddler is used to having you all to himself and now he has to share. That’s not an easy thing for any human to get used to, let alone a toddler. Just keep doing what you’re doing. He’ll come around eventually. Well, sort of. My kids still occasionally try to kill each other* and they’re teens. That’s normal sibling stuff.

      *The second floor of my house is the main floor. The layout is such that they can chase each other in circles around the main floor. At first I was alarmed, but my step-daughters reassured me that they too did this when they were teens.

    • Who?

      Change is hard, and none of it was chosen by the boy nor is it that much fun for him.

      He’ll settle, just be as kind as you can, try not to introduce too many more new things into his life until he’s adjusted a bit, and go easy on yourselves too.

      You’re in for the long haul, and you’ll get there.

    • niteseer

      It might be because he feels a little insecure. Engage him with the things he wants right now; let Dad keep the baby in another room for an hour, and snuggle up with little guy on the bed, watching his favorite movie, and being very interactive during it. “Did you see that? Wow!” “Where are they going now?” What will we watch next?”. See if you can interest him in tickle wrestling, or pillow forts.

      Have Dad take him out for a movie, or to help with chores outside. Have an “un-birthday” for him at McDonalds, with family to make a fuss over him.

      I’m not sure if he is old enough to understand, but showing him pictures of himself when he was a newborn might help, and spend time over the picture books, showing him growing into the big boy he is.

      Remember that these first few weeks are post-partum for the whole family. Everyone is having to learn and adapt to a new family configuration. It should pass in a few weeks. And, it is doubtful he will remember this time. Later he will always remember his brother as having been with him always.

    • fiftyfifty1

      Totally normal. We had grandparents give our first some extra attention. It took about a month for everything to become normal again.

    • Kelly

      My oldest has had a hard time each time. I just have to make sure I give her one-on-one time each day. Right now, she has regressed and I have to completely dress her and I caught her with a pull-up although she is completely potty trained. It will take time but you will find your rhythm again.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Does he have a baby of his own to a take care of?

    • Amy

      My two year old LOVED her baby sister, but even so, she had periods where she was needier and clingier than usual.

      You also have to keep your son’s age in mind. A lot of my friends are dealing with (and that’s the right term) three year olds right now. Two can be rough, closer to three can be REALLY rough even when there isn’t a new baby in the house.

      I remember feeling horribly guilty when I started allowing my daughter to watch movies and PBS. All those screeds about how horrible screen time was, you know. She’s ten now, reads WAY ahead of grade level and is a pretty skilled creative writer and multi-instrumentalist, and is inconsistent in her TV watching. And of course we’re now seeing educational research indicating that some screen time can be beneficial, and after a certain age, NO screen time can hurt kids, who need to build skills with technology nowadays.

      • StephanieA

        I’ve heard 3 is harder than 2 from many people. My son isn’t quite 2.5, so we have lots of fun ahead of us. And he’s so great with the baby, it’s just my husband and me that he is struggling with (especially my husband). Thanks for your reassurance!

    • guest

      I remember being the toddler of a younger sib. One time I punched him in the stomach and ran away when he was only a few weeks old (luckily the punch of a three-year-old is not very strong). When he was about a year old I tried to drown him in a kiddie pool.

      Believe it or not, we are very close now!

      • Kelly

        My middle loves to try and sit or lay on her baby sister. She has also hit and poked her in the eye. So much love.

    • Sarah

      Sounds standard. It’s tough but it doesn’t last forever.

    • SL27

      I’m in the same boat. My almost 3 year old daughter watched Cinderella 3 times today. She loves the new baby, loves to bring me diapers or read baby books, but also asks me to hold her whenever she sees me holding the new baby, which isn’t usually possible (feeding or trying to get to sleep). I’m trying to give her extra love and cuddle time when I can, but it is hard as I am tired and recovering and it is frustrating to see her regress in asking me to do things she can do for herself.

      • StephanieA

        Thinking about you. I’ve realized that the newborn is insanely easy (feed, change, repeat). But the toddler- wow. Our movie of choice has been Finding Nemo- I think we watched it 4 times yesterday. Thankfully toddler is at grandma’s getting spoiled today, which he needs!

        • SL27

          I hope getting spoiled by grandma helps! My mom stayed with us last week, and while the toddler still preferred me to anyone else, she had been more needy this week now that there is no one else during the day. I agree, the toddler is much harder than the newborn. Hopefully the adjustment period goes by quickly for both of us.

    • OBPI Mama

      I have 5 kiddos and had them close together, but am no expert. My Mom (who had many more children than I) and I both agree that the first 3 months of adding a new baby to the family is a HUGE adjustment to everyone… mom, dad, siblings. It’s a short window of time, so do what you must.. I let my kids watch a lot more tv when a new baby is born (typically we have a no screen rule Mon-Fri, but that goes out the window!). Not only are you and your husband tired, but your toddler probably is too. A new baby is taxing on everyone, though it’s a special time. I put together an activity box (prior to a new baby coming) and fill it up with dollar tree, thrift store, homemade fun stuff… whether it’s snacks, activities, small toys, books, used dvds. When I need to rest or your toddler feels like he needs something special to do, you can have them pick one thing out from there (or you can get it out of there). This is a HUGE hit everytime I have a baby (infact, I get “can you have another baby?” requests quite frequently from my older children because of these boxes! haha). Anyway, take heart. He will adjust just fine. Every now and then, snuggle up together and watch a cartoon and ask him questions about it. You might find that he just needed that 10 minutes of cuddle time and he’ll go off and play 20 minutes by himself after that. 🙂

      • Kelly

        That is such a great idea. I might do that now even though the baby is five months since the oldest is struggling.

    • Amy M

      I have twins, so not an authority on this, because my children don’t know what its like to be alone. However: I have a younger sibling, and many friends with more than one child, that aren’t multiples. So the good news is that your 2yr old eventually will not remember a time before baby sibling. I think its totally normal for toddlers/even older kids to go through an adjustment period when a new sibling comes. It’s a huge deal in their world, but that’s fine. Toddler will learn to share, and empathy and yes, there will be bickering, or the toddler showing some obnoxious behaviors. But, it will work out, and everything will be fine, just be patient. It’s not terrible parenting to have more than one child. Yes, its true you can no longer give 100% of the attention to the older one, however, he still gets teh same amount of love, because there’s always enough love to go around. Maybe try to arrange some special one-on-one time with older child, to help teach him that he isn’t being replaced, but he’ll be ok.

      • StephanieA

        I keep telling myself this. My sister and I are 2 years apart, and I have zero recollection of life before her, and we wer but very close growing up.

    • demodocus

      My mother-in-law tells me Mr. D told them to take the little brother back to the hospital when E was a few days old and D was 3. He got over it. I’ve also heard that it takes toddlers some time to adjust after any serious change. Our poor boy is also two, we have to move next month and his little sister is due in June.

    • guest

      We let our oldest watch unlimited TV when the youngest was born and I figured out how to get us all cuddled on the couch together. Also, cereal became a staple in our diet for about a month. Once you get the hang of the new baby, as long as they are being held, they don’t really require much of your attention and you can focus again on your oldest. I found that just commenting on the TV shows or what he was playing with was enough for him. We kept our expectations low about his reaction to a new sibling and pointed out to him that we used to do all the same things for him when he was a newborn. Also, newborns can really suck, so we acknowledged the huge change in our lives in a matter of fact way to our son as well. As time passes, you get into a routine with both kids and things return to a new normal. As soon as the youngest started interacting with the oldest, the oldest forgot all about his jealousy and has been on a serious campaign to turn her to his side. They are very close and he always wants her around.

      • StephanieA

        We’ve quickly realized how easy the baby is compared to the toddler! It helps that this baby doesn’t mind sitting in his bouncer for awhile and is pretty easy going.

      • Kelly

        One thing that really helped was to comment every time the baby smiled or even looked at my oldest. I kept telling her that she was the best at getting the baby to smile and how much the baby loved her. It helped make my oldest feel special and created a positive interaction between them.

    • Dinolindor

      The fact that you are worried about his happiness and notice how his behavior is a bit different these days show that you are a GOOD mother. I had the same feelings when my 2nd was about a week old and I expected my 1st would relish every chance to get one-on-one moments with me, and it just did not unfold that way at all. I think because he still didn’t understand “the new normal” of having a baby sister. I would expect you two will have extra tv/movie time than normal for the next few weeks or a couple months and then you’ll all settle and figure out how to do more interactive things again. Also, in the context of even just your 2 year old’s life so far, not even counting his future years, a few weeks and months of extra tv and being withdrawn is quite short. Don’t worry!

    • Bombshellrisa

      He sounds like a normal kid reacting to a huge change in his family and his life!

    • Megan

      You’ll have to keep us posted how things turn out. I’m sure he’ll be fine and just needs some time to adjust. I have not experienced this yet but I soon will. I admit, one of my biggest (if not the biggest) worries about my baby on the way is how my daughter will handle the change. She will be 17-18 months old when her sister arrives. Up until now, she’s had all of my attention and is the light of my life. Logically I know she will be fine and in the end, having a sibling will likely be a great thing for her, but it will be a tough transition for all of us!

      • StephanieA

        I had a few good cries the week before I went into labor. I feel like as joyful as a new baby is, I felt a sense of loss too, in that our little family of three would never be the same. Our little guy was our entire world for more than 2 years, and it was hard to fathom being able to split our attention. We’re taking it a day at a time (today hasn’t been good so I’m not very positive at the moment).

        • Megan

          My doctor also told me that for her the hardest part of adjusting was the emotional part of learning to split her time between two children. I think it’s tough on everyone but I hear you eventually find your groove and it gets easier. I think all you can do now is give extra cuddles when you can and it will get easier. (Now, maybe someone can remind me of this in a few weeks when I’m posting the same thing!)

          • Daleth

            Haha omg. I can’t even imagine this, having gone from 0 kids to identical twins.

          • guest

            I went from planning to be one and done to having two, but it was still hard emotionally in the beginning, worrying about whether each infant was getting enough attention, whether I was unconsciously favoring one, etc. The babies don’t have any adjusting to do, but the parents still do.

  • LaMont

    OT re: quackery: A friend of mine who I’m not super close to, but who I see on a regular basis, wrote a long piece on social media praising a quack therapist they’re seeing. I am horrified at the money she’s losing (she gives gifts of way more money than her extortionate hourly rate) and the worse things she stands to lose if she continues down this road (I’m a psychic – let me predict that she’s perfect prey to homebirthers and anti-vaxxers). She believes in astrology and auras and more (“Storm” times a million). She’s a truly lovely person and I hate to see her get taken for a ride like this. She is only ever affirmed in her beliefs (17 likes and one affirming comment!), both by other hardcore woo-meisters and in general people who love the idea of “holistic, spiritual” lifestyles. If I say nothing, she never hears the other side. If I say something, it can only backfire. I can’t even quite wrap my head around how to make this come off as anything other than concern trolling/condescension in practice. Any ideas?

    • CSN0116

      I would troll the shit out if it and thoroughly enjoy the backfire part 😉

    • Daleth

      She’s giving cash gifts to her therapist? Is this a licensed therapist in her state? I bet accepting cash gifts is against the ethical rules for therapists. Might be worth reporting.

      • LaMont

        Not a licensed psychological therapist, a cranio-sacral therapist who probably doesn’t claim to be credentialed. I don’t know why I felt compelled to leave that detail out, maybe too potentially identifying? Well, it’s relevant so here it is.

    • Michelle Singleton

      What I’m about to say isn’t going to be popular, but it’s my experience. I’m also probably not going to make a whole lot of sense because my brain hurts (migraine and sinus infection). But work with me, ok?

      I am Pagan. I see all of us and connected to Gaia/Mother Earth & Father Sky/Greenman. I do feel that amethyst helps with mental clarity and protection. I do feel that hematite helps with some joint pain. I also personally know the benefits of EOs. Lavender for relaxation, peppermint for headaches, pain, and even to counter hot flushes. That’s just the things I can recall off hand that people have “bitched” about on threads I follow. I hate woo but also hate people discounting my spiritual beliefs.
      As for the bitching. Just because you, personally, think it’s “woo” doesn’t mean it’s bad. Hell, science doesn’t either, but the different fields of science agree that we came to understand herbs & EOs and how they work. I mean studying willow bark is how aspirin was developed. Can some of it be placebo? Sure. But don’t discount anyone’s belief system. UNLESS she is being supremely stupid and putting lives in danger. I may get that willow bark can help my headaches and that belladonna can help me sleep, but I’m not stupid enough to take them without true understanding. I also know that my sinus infection isn’t going to get any better if I keep taking sudafed and sniffing peppermint tea. I’m going to HAVE to go to the Dr to get a z-pack.
      I am a scientist at heart. I wanted to be a genetic microbiologist and study ebola and hoped to find a way to GE it to make it work for commercial purposes. I also have a thing for rocks. I used to be able to identify a good 20 stones by sight (not a big deal, but for a middle schooler I thought it was awesome). I was also top in my class in Biology and Physics. I was scouted (somewhat) by MIT (they asked me to apply after my teacher wrote a recommendation letter). My mother decided to tell me I was “to stupid” for her to “waste” her money on me like that. So I wasn’t even allowed to apply.
      Could this woman be naive? Sure. I was too until a little over year ago. (As of today I’m 38.) My last shred of “humanity is inherently decent” thinking was cut when I found out that the man who killed my husband was only sentenced to 18 mo in prison, with 5 years probation. Victim’s services called and asked if I would be ok with him writing a letter to me. I honestly thought he would do it because it was the “right” thing to do. No. It’s not. If he writes the letter it looks good with the parole board.
      Could your friend be open to suggestion because of her naiveté? Yes. So much yes.
      Tell her the truth. (That the therapist is a huckster.) She may not listen now, but she will. And hopefully before harm comes to her and her family. But if her religious bent means she believes in things you think are “silly”, let her be. Please.

      Again. Understand where I’m coming from. (Even if I sound incoherent.) Don’t hate on me or decide I need to be dressed down. I’m who I am and I believe what I believe. Just as you are.

  • Erin

    The difference to me is that despite being a very lapsed Catholic myself I could avoid a Catholic hospital (not actually sure we have any in the UK) and I’m guessing the same is true in the US if I was pregnant. I could also source information and contraceptives elsewhere or never have sex again. I would have options regardless of how unattractive I found those options. However given I have in the somewhat un-politically correct language of the Doctor who delivered my son the “pelvis of a pygmy”, I can not avoid Baby Friendly hospitals if I want more babies (unless home c-sections become a thing).

    On a side note I was looking at the Baby Friendly Initiative UK page, where I came across this:

    “Discussing the importance of using first or new-born milks until the baby is a year old and responsiveness for bottle feeding (e.g. limiting the people who feed the baby with mother giving most feeds herself in the early weeks, pacing feeds and not overfeeding, making feeds up one at a time, etc.) will give a realistic picture of bottle feeding and so aid informed decision making”

    Someone please tell me I’m reading it wrong and they’re not saying that telling women that the “effort” of making bottles up and having to feed them to their own babies will make them see the “light” and stick them on the breast.

    • Roadstergal

      Sadly, a lot of women in the US have a Catholic hospital as the only reasonably close option. It’s a bad, bad situation. Also, businesses have sued successfully for the right not to cover contraception in employees’ insurance plans, because it conflicts with the moral beliefs of… the business.
      I read that excerpt as “Tell families that the only proper way to bottlefeed is in the most inconvenient way possible, to make breastfeeding seem better.” And I read ‘realistic’ as ‘FFS don’t let families conclude there might exist a method that’s straightforward for them.’

      • Erin

        And of course I bet those same “moral” businesses would happily sack any woman who dares to fall pregnant because she couldn’t afford contraception…

        • Roadstergal

          The Slacktivist is very good at regularly harping on organizations that are ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-family’ and fail to support actual, in-process legislation to protect pregnant women in the workforce.

          Because they don’t want women in the workforce.

          • Madtowngirl

            Ding ding ding! I really didn’t realize how damn sexist this country still is until I got pregnant.

          • SporkParade

            I was disappointed to find out how sexist mainstream feminism in the US after I got pregnant. It’s like bodily autonomy only applies to women who don’t reproduce. Abortion access is sacrosanct, drinking while not on contraception is sacrosanct, but insisting that women be physically attached to their babies by the breast for six months is a non-issue.

      • Commander30

        Exactly what I got from that except. I guess since a lot of the appeal of bottle/formula feeding is that Dad (or anyone else) can have equal feeding duties, that needs to be completely ignored or even pushed aside to make sure that Mom’s still the one doing all the work and not give her any incentive to not breastfeed.

        I love that my husband, or parents, or anyone else can feed my baby just as well as I can. Chew on THAT, Baby Friendly Initiative UK.

    • Amy M

      Except you don’t have to make the feeds one at a time. You can make a pitcher or stock bottle and leave it in the fridge and pour out as needed.

      • Erin

        That’s one thing which has had me curious since I had a baby. Why can you leave breast milk in the fridge for 5 (I’m sure it was five) days but made up formula has to be destroyed (according to the label) after 2 hours? Does it destabilize and explode if left or is it just another anti-convenience thing. Is there any science behind breast milk not going off for 5 days in the fridge and formula going off after a couple of hours.

        • Amy M

          What? I never even heard that. Though we went through the formula fast enough that it didn’t actually stay in the fridge for 5 days anyway. Usually we made up enough stock for 3 or 4 feedings, about 2x/day. I think I wouldn’t use formula that was left out for several hours, but in the fridge? If you are using clean water, and clean bottles/dishes, it shouldn’t be any riskier for contamination than any other food.

          • Erin

            The formula I gave my son when I couldn’t stand breastfeeding any more definitely had “destroy after 2 hours” or words to that effect on the back of the tin. Think it was right next to the big lettering saying “Breast is Best”. Next they’ll be suggesting you use those glove boxes they handle nuclear materials through to make the stuff up.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            The instructions on my sons baby cereal say to use cooled boiled water and to discard any uneaten cereal straightaway. Seeing as I have caught mini monkey licking shoes and the floor, and he regularly tries to drink swimming pool water without any harm, I use water out of the tap and don’t worry about it.

          • Roadstergal

            I’m sure there’s a lot of CYA involved in any product that goes into a baby.

          • Elizabeth A

            My children’s first solid food was gunk they found in the carpet. Some of which may have been ancient rice cereal for the second baby…

          • BeatriceC

            We called my middle child a “bottom feeder” because he’d crawl around looking for food that had been dropped and missed by either the broom or the dog when the floors were swept.

          • Chi

            Well the reason you need to discard it if the baby has been drinking it (so anything left in the bottle after the feed) I think has less to do with the ingredients in the formula and more what’s in the baby’s saliva.

            Saliva would introduce bacteria that would likely thrive in the delicious sugary goodness of formula and thus put delicate tummies at risk of bugs. Breast milk is magical and antibiotic (sarcasm here folks) so that’s why it keeps better. To tell the truth though I would throw out any breast milk left in the bottle too.

            Hubby and I would always make up the night feeds before we went to bed and leave them in the fridge. That way when little one woke, it was just a heat n eat scenario, which was MUCH more convenient. Helped that every couple of nights, hubby would get up and do them and I got to sleep all the way through.

          • SporkParade

            It’s 2 hours at room temperature. Much more convenient if you’re doing a short errand with a newborn in tow than making the formula up on the spot.

        • Joy

          If you read the NHS website you can now keep made up formula in the fridge for 24 hours. As long as the baby doesn’t drink directly from it, of course.

        • Liz Leyden

          Prepared formula can sit in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Once baby drinks from a bottle, the bottle has to be empty within 2 hours because of the risk of bacterial growth.

      • Kelly

        I fill each of the bottles with 6 oz and then put the formula in a pre-measured formula dispenser. When I need to make a bottle, I just pour and mix. I hate warming up milk which is why I won’t pre make it but my friend did it and it worked for her. I am just trying to say that there are super efficient ways of making formula. I also put it back in the fridge and use it later if she does not drink it all. We do break all sorts of rules within reason and have never had a problem. People make it seem like you need a MD in order to use formula.

        • Amy M

          Oh I agree completely! My boys are 7 now, but we always tried for the most efficient way of doing things. Sometimes we did the “leave the water out and the premeasured scoop near it” thing too. 🙂

    • BeatriceC

      Agreeing with Roadstergal here. There are many, many areas of the US where the only hospital available is a Catholic hospital. The women who are forced to use them often receive substandard care.

      • Erin

        That’s horrible. Religion and Medicine, especially not Catholicism do not go hand in hand.

        • BeatriceC

          On the flip side, without the Catholic Church, there would be *no* medical care in those areas. The Catholic Church often provides services in extremely poor area and operate at a substantial loss (funded by archdiocesan funds) to provide any care at all. I can’t condemn them completely.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            That’s a steep price to pay for medical care, though.

          • BeatriceC

            It is, and I’m not saying it’s okay, but they are doing good things in areas other than women’s reproductive care. It’s not a black and white issue. Note I said “I can’t condemn them completely” and not “can’t condemn them at all.”

          • Erin

            Only on their attitude towards women’s health. That’s partly why I’m lapsed. When I was 14, a girl in Ireland wanted to come to the UK for an abortion after rape. She was also 14 and my Father said the Irish Government were doing the right thing by stopping her. When I asked him would he feel the same if it were me, he looked me in the eye and said yes. Never quite looked at religion the same again since.

          • BeatriceC

            Oh, I’m completely lapsed and a declared atheist over the Catholic attitudes towards women’s health and reproduction. The reason my OB history is so horrifying is because of my former Catholic beliefs. I began my break with the church when I was told I was a whore for even considering a tubal ligation after the birth of my last child nearly killed both of us.

          • Amy

            I remember that story! I was also 14 then and still in CCD, where they were indoctrinating us with pro-life stuff all the time. That same year, an ultra-Catholic young man in Boston went on a shooting rampage in 1 or 2 abortion clinics and killed at least one young woman who was working as a receptionist.

            I stayed in the church another ten years or so, mainly because I loved music ministry, but I completely tuned out all their teachings on sex and reproduction. Then after the sex abuse scandal went public at the same time the church was abusing its tax-exempt status to collect anti-gay-marriage petition signatures during Mass, I left and haven’t regretted it for a second.

          • demodocus

            My particular congregation is so liberal our pastor married a gay couple a few years ago (She did get reprimanded by her superiors). Funny how people use the same book to justify wildly different viewpoints.
            ETA: she also was okay with us having a Buddhist, a fundamentalist Baptist, and an agnostic/atheist ex-Catholic as godparents for our kid. That woman is certainly a rarity.

          • Madtowngirl

            It’s rare, but probably not as rare as people want to think. I went to a Catholic university, and the religious people there were incredibly progressive. One of the nuns had a lesbian niece, and she was so proud of her. She ended up presiding over her niece’s union ceremony (gay marriage was not yet legal). Social justice was a big thing there, so they were supportive of women’s rights, contraception, etc. Of course, they were also pro-life, but acknowledged that abortion needed to stay legal.

            The Catholic Church is deeply flawed, but there are some people with sense in it. Too bad they are drowned out by the crazies.

          • Phoenix Fourleaf

            There is a strong progressive movement in the Catholic Church. I lack religion myself, but I can’t help but have tremendous respect for people who have devoted their lives to peace and justice. These are people who actually work to help the poor instead of just shaming them.

          • Amy

            My denomination technically leaves it up to each individual congregation whether or not to be “open and affirming,” but in practice, every single one is. Open table at communion (the church teaching is that Jesus doesn’t discriminate, so neither do we), any godparents you want, very very focused on outreach to the poor and on social justice. I feel challenged to be a better person and a better Christian every time I set foot in the place.

          • indigosky

            Not 100% true everywhere. We had several non-Catholic hospitals in our area and they were doing well. Then the Catholics came in and bought them all, and made them sub-standard to what they were before. So now all of the hospitals withing 45 minutes of me are run by them, when none were 5 years ago. It’s very scary to see the downfall. I have several medical issues that require a visit to the ER 3-6 times a year and I have watched them deteriorate during that time.

          • BeatriceC

            Good point. I was thinking about areas where they’ve been the only hospital in memory. The scenario you describe is horrifying to me.

          • Liz Leyden

            Not too long ago, states were sterilizing women without their consent. My relatives in the segregated South preferred Catholic hospitals because they wouldn’t sterilize patients.

    • An Actual Attorney

      What actual reason could there be for limiting bottle feeds to mom? Besides sexism / lactivism, which I reject.

      • Roadstergal

        If the household has two moms, does that mean they can share bottle feeding?

        • An Actual Attorney

          My experience with that particular set of sanctimommy, as a woman in a 2 mom family, is that only the mom who have birth counts. As I happily had a CS, we just were lost anyway.

          • BeatriceC

            And obviously a newborn in the care of a two dad family are just doomed from birth. Honestly, I think there’s also a little bit of homophobia in the undercurrent of the lactivist thought.

          • An Actual Attorney

            More than a little. But it does make me glad the ped we picked randomly is a gay man with a kid a few months older than ours. He was wonderfully reasonable. And is a great doc.

          • Madtowngirl

            This would support that hypothesis, although it is a two mom family.

            https://weforgotthesperm.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/jaundice-admission-and-bressure/

          • BeatriceC

            Holy Cow! I wanted to throw my phone across the room so many times while reading that.

        • Sarah

          Trick question. The mother who didn’t give birth would by then have induced lactation. Obviously.

      • Monkey Professor for a Head

        Mothers cannot possibly bond with their children unless they jump through certain hoops. Fathers don’t matter.

        I’m really not sure which gender should be more offended.

      • Charybdis

        Why would mom need bottle feeding? Unless the bottle contained vodka or other alcohol of choice. ;P

    • niteseer

      The only level III NICU in our area of the state was a Catholic hospital. I had to deliver there because I was high risk. I definitely wanted a tubal afterwards, having no wish to risk my health or a baby’s health on another pregnancy. Of course, I could not have the tubal there. My fear was that I would have to have a C-section, when it would be so easy to do a tubal, and be refused one. As it was, I had to be discharged from the hospital, and have a tubal several weeks later in a different hospital. While still in the throes of physical recovery, hormonal swings, breast feeding issues, sleep deprivation, add in general anesthesia and abdominal surgery that could have been avoided, not to mention the risk of complications and death from surgery that I faced.

      A huge issue, in my eyes, was that the hospital was a teaching hospital, so that was where the OB residents trained, and they were the ones who saw most of the Medicaid and indigent population of the area: a group that statistically has the highest risk, the greatest number of unplanned and teen pregnancy, the oldest and youngest mothers, addicted mothers, etc. The population who most needed information and access to birth control, and the opportunity to decide if they don’t wish to have any more children.

      • BeatriceC

        My doctors had privileges at three hospitals, one of which was a Catholic hospital (and the one I was born at, for what it’s worth). The other two were run by the Baptist health system. I worried that the doctor on call whenever I delivered would be the staunchly Catholic one. I worried so much that I had everything in writing with my primary maternal-fetal specialist that under no circumstances would I step foot inside the Catholic hospital and under no circumstances barring a threat to my life would a tubal not be performed after the birth of the last baby. Turns out that the last baby nearly did kill both of us, but I was stable enough for them to do the tubal. I was nearly ostracized by the people at my church for that, and that started my separation from the church. One priest did actually agree with my decision, which is why the separation was a process and not immediate.

        • demodocus

          I like priests with sense.

          • BeatriceC

            This one is pretty awesome. He’s actually a monsignor, not a parish priest, but he still prefers the title “Father” instead of the uppity title. He’s this huge, 6 foot 6 giant of a man who’s just as cuddly as a teddy bear. He’s so awesome that my youngest son is actually named after him.

    • fiftyfifty1

      “Someone please tell me I’m reading it wrong… ”

      Yes, it seems to me that they are advocating making bottle feeding as scary sounding and complicated as possible so that if women do try it, they won’t find it easy. In other words, insist that it’s harmful if adults other than mother give the bottle, issue dire warnings about how easy it is to “overfeed” a baby with a bottle and have them do paced feeds (which consist of pulling the bottle out of the baby’s mouth every 3 sucks). Insist that making up a batch of formula at the beginning of the day and keeping it in the fridge will cause illness. Whatever lie you can dream up to make bottle feeding inconvenient.

    • Amy

      Unfortunately for women in the US, you’re very wrong. Even in progressive states, a lot of hospitals are Catholic. Worse, due to mergers, there are now increasing numbers of hospital chains, and a lot of those are Catholic. Almost anything with “Saint Somebody” in the name is going to be Catholic. There’s the Caritas Christi health system. And then of course we have large portions of the country that are sparsely populated with no choice in hospital for giving birth or accessing contraception, say, in the case of a rape. Add to that the number of fundamentalist/evangelical Protestants who populate the southeast, the interior of California, and the prairie and mountain states, and the number of those states who’ve passed “religious freedom” laws that allow pharmacists to refuse to fill contraception prescriptions…….well, we’re talking about a LOT of women with little to no reproductive freedom.

      • Erin

        I’m absolutely horrified to be honest. Apparently 639 hospitals in the U.S are Catholic and they claim 1 in every 6 patients is treated by them.

        —–
        3. In accord with its mission, Catholic health care should distinguish itself by service to and advocacy for those people whose social condition puts them at the margins of our society
        and makes them particularly vulnerable to discrimination: the poor; the uninsured and the underinsured; children and the unborn;

        —-

        Guess the last word says it all.
        From (http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/upload/Ethical-Religious-Directives-Catholic-Health-Care-Services-fifth-edition-2009.pdf)

        Makes me wish I hadn’t given up biscuits and chocolate for Lent.

        • attitude devant

          not too late to give up mopping and vacuuming instead….

          • Erin

            Oddly enough, I gave those up when I had my section and even now, whilst I suspect there is zero chance my scar will re-open should I decide to do a spot of vacuuming it seems safer to let my husband do it. Just in case… after all they told me to be careful.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Get a Roomba. Easier for everyone.

    • indigosky

      All of the hospitals within at least a 45 minute radius of me have been purchased by the Catholics. So I am screwed when it comes to that. And I’m in a large metropolitan area.

    • Sarah

      Bag of shite as well. Baby getting bottle feeds from lots of other family members is great, particularly if those are people they’re going to see a lot of. I’m an extremely lapsed but culturally pretty strong Catholic too. We have the steretypical extended family malarkey (Irish descent, working class etc) and relatives spending a lot of time with the babies has been a big feature of both of my children’s lives. I really think that ‘advice’ completely fails to take into account the cultural background some of us have. Many of us feel that a baby belongs to our whole family and don’t require exclusive performance of bottlefeeding in order to reassure ourselves that the baby is adequately bonded to the main carer. I don’t denigrate those whose families and lives work differently, but it would be nice to have some understanding of my cultural norms from those purporting to know what’s best for my baby.

  • Brooke

    The difference is IMO that let’s say a woman walked into her OB/GYN office and wanted to know about the fertility awareness method or pulling out as methods of contraception. Any OB/GYN would probably inform that woman that those methods are not very effective and would probably decline to educate her about how to use them effectively, if the OB/GYN knew this woman was having sex with multiple partners she’d probably also tell her the best thing to do would be to use condoms in combination with hormonal contraception. When a mom says to the staff at a hospital that she’s formula feeding she isn’t making a neutral choice but one that studies have repeatedly shown is not as good for her baby as breastfeeding. So any responsible hospital staff is going to encourage her to breastfeed over formula feeding. Not to mention, unlike contraception formula is sold over the counter WITH INSTRUCTIONS and most formula companies have 1-800 numbers. Isn’t one of the “benefits” of formula supposed to be that it’s easier?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      They found they had entered a square courtyard, from which an entrance led into the main building of the castle. No person had appeared to greet them so far, although a gaudy peacock perched upon the wall cackled with laughter and said in its sharp, shrill voice, “Poor fools! Poor fools!”

      • CSN0116

        You’re the best with this shit >.<

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Lost Princess of Oz is a lot more interesting than Brooke. And probably more realistic than what she says

    • Megan

      ” she isn’t making a neutral choice but one that studies have repeatedly shown is not as good for her baby as breastfeeding”
      This sounds like a great opportunity for you to tell us about your analysis of the PROBIT study. We’ve been waiting for a while to hear it.

    • LaMont

      Well why not just tell her to remain abstinent, that having sex with all those partners is the only truly effective way to avoid pregnancy? Why stop at the mid-way between abstinence and the grossly-less-effective methods like pull-out and fertility awareness? Is it because when used properly, hormonal contraception and/or barrier methods are effective and safe? Just like how when used properly, formula is effective and safe? Do you really think that teaching people *proper use* of both contraception and formula is the problem here?

    • Gatita

      Any OB/GYN would probably inform that woman that those methods are not very effective and would probably decline to educate her about how to use them effectively

      Do you really think OBs aren’t counseling women on NFP? http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq024.pdf

      • Madtowngirl

        Exactly. At my 6 week postpartum check up, I was given a very comprehensive lecture on the various forms of birth control – including NFP.

        • demodocus

          My ob started one, until i reminded him that we cannot have children without help from a 3rd party.

    • Madtowngirl

      Wow, so many citations needed. But I know you’ve already flounced from this conversation.

    • guest

      Condoms aren’t sold over the counter with instructions?

      • Roadstergal

        Withdrawal doesn’t even require you to buy anything. (Although it can be done over a counter.)

        (Yes, not the ideal method, but there’s a lot of situations where breastfeeding isn’t ideal either.)

        • Valerie

          There are plenty of people who use pulling out as their primary method, not just out of necessity. For some women it just wins the risk-benefit analysis, even in consultation with her doctor.

          • Rachele Willoughby

            I had really good luck using withdrawal as my primary form of contraception for several years. Anecdotally, it was the only form of birthcontrol (and boy did I try plenty) on which I never conceived.

            Heck, when used correctly every time, it’s 96% effective. That’s better than a diaphragm (according to Planned Parenthood’s website).

          • Rachele Willoughby

            Though, to be fair, we used it to space our babies, not because we were done having them. So the risk of me getting pregnant a little earlier than planned was not such a big deal. Once we decided we were actually done, I went and got a tubal ligation.

        • An Actual Attorney

          Did you mean withdrawal isn’t ideal, or over a counter isn’t ideal. Both really depend on the circumstances

          • Roadstergal

            I was thinking of ‘ideal’ as ‘best for all people,’ so I suppose both fit the bill.

        • BeatriceC

          I laughed so hard reading this that my bird fell off my arm. Now I have to go grovel for Leo’s forgiveness.

          • BeatriceC

            And one sunflower seed later, all is good.

        • guest

          True, but you don’t get an instruction sheet with withdrawal. I am really not sure what Brooke was trying to say there.

          • BeatriceC

            We’re never sure of what Brooke is trying to say. Or if she’s even an adult and not a bored, homeschooled teenager who thinks she knows everything.

        • Sue

          Withdrawal can be done over a counter?

          Yes, and also at the ATM.

          • guest

            Ha! Thanks for that laugh.

    • Azuran

      You really don’t know how health care work. If I go to my OB/GYN saying I want to use the calendar method, she won’t be saying ‘nah, use this pill’ and refuse to explain it to me. She will be saying: Here’s how it works and here is the success rate when used properly. And then she would show me multiple alternative option, how they work and what are their success rate and then discuss with me what would be the best option for my situation. (Which could, BTW, be the calendar method, not everyone can take hormonal contraception).
      As I’ve already told you before: My pills also come with instructions. My doctor still explained to me how to take them. And somehow I have the feeling that formula feeding is a lot harder than taking 1 pill every day at the same time.
      But yea, we all know you just fly over, say whatever stupid thing you have to say and then leave without ever taking the time to read what people reply to you.

      • Liz Leyden

        When I went to get birth control for the first time, the NP at my college’s health center did something very similar. I said I wanted to use a certain method, she replied “No you don’t”, with no real explanation of why, or discussion of alternatives. She was very old, so she may have trained in the days of doctors as gods. I left without birth control and made an appointment at Planned Parenthood. I never saw her again.

        • Azuran

          There are bad people everywhere. But that’s not a good standard of practice and no one should have to stand for such shitty service from a health provider.

    • FEDUP MD

      No, no reasonably ethical OB would do that. We physicians believe in autonomy and providing information to patients to make their own decisions. We don’t block information from them because we don’t agree with it. A woman may have very valid personal reasons for wanting to do natural family planning, among them religious, and it would not be my place to tell her I think she should do another form without a really good reason (like, I think another pregnancy might kill her, type reason). Do you think Catholic doctors refuse to tell their patients about the pill? If a woman asked to be told about natural family planning any reasonable doctor would tell her how to do it, with the understanding of failure rates. We wouldn’t bully her into doing what we thought was best.

    • fiftyfifty1

      Total bullshit Brooke. You have no idea what you are talking about. I absolutely have counseled women who refuse other forms of contraception about fertility awareness methods and withdrawl. Including women not in monogamous relationships. I never “decline to educate” anyone.

    • CSN0116

      Question: What’s the difference between a hospital that won’t inform women about formula feeding and a hospital that won’t inform women about contraception?

      You: Something about OBs not respecting women who prefer NFP -> something about OBs suggesting that women with multiple sexual partners should use condoms and hormonal contraception -> a formula feeding mom isn’t making a neutral choice -> formula feeding is bad so staff has to tell her that -> formula comes with instructions and a 1-800 number -> some condescending remark about how easy it is (or isn’t?) to formula feed.

      What the fuck? What the actual fuck?

      At what point do you even answer the original question? You actually seem to say that the two scenarios are the same, not different (NFP is bad for health and preventing pregnancy, and formula is bad for health). And all contraceptives come with instructions. And all formula comes with instructions. So again, we’re in the *sameness* category, not the *different* one. And why is benefits in quotations as if you’re being sarcastic? In order to establish sarcasm you would have had to be negating a previous statement in the paragraph which would have stated something to the effect that formula feeding is “hard.”

      You are literally the worst troll. Ever.

      You may fear for my five formula fed children, but the seven-year-olds already possess better writing and critical thinking skills than you. And I know that sounds like it’s intentionally insulting but it’s totally true. I get embarrassed for you every time you post. And, sadly, you’re probably some intellectual goddess in the dumb ass circles you run.

    • indigosky

      Wow, you know nothing do you? My OB/GYN is the one who taught me about the FAM. I wanted to go off BC for a year before we started TTC and I am not a fan of condoms, so she suggested reading Take Charge of Your Fertility and where to buy the best BBT.

    • Megan

      Oh the irony: You’re telling a community with lots of doctors “what doctors do.” Quaint.

      • demodocus

        You mean you might know what doctors do? That’s just crazy talk, Dr. Megan!

        • Megan

          Not just me, quite a few of us here!

          • demodocus

            😉

    • Sue

      If someone asked a doctor who is knowledgeable about contraceptive methods, they would outline all the various methods, including pros and cons, success rates, and what maximises success for each. They would then respect the patient’s informed choice.

      Similarly, if someone asked a doctor about baby-feeding, an evidence-based doctor would explain that, in wealthy societies, the benefits of breast milk are largely confined to the first year, and include a minor reduction in gastro and respiratory infections, all other things being equal. They would also explain that the main determinants of respiratory infections in the first year are infectious contacts (like siblings, family members, child care) and household smoking. Again, they would then respect the patient;s informed choice.

      “Brooke”‘s comment appears to reflect a poor insight into how evidence-based health advice works.

    • Sarah

      You think an OB/GYN would decline to educate a woman about optimum NFP usage? What planet is this on, the same one where anything more than a 5% section rate is dangerous? You should go back there.

    • Bombshellrisa

      The 800 number connects you to lactation consultants (got bored once and read the can while nursing my son)

    • demodocus

      My condoms and my formula both come with instructions. The first sentence on the condoms is not “Abstinence is best” in bold, unlike the formula’s first sentence “Breast is best.”

  • Megan
  • Inmara

    /shrug/ If I was to see only leaflets given in prenatal classes and hospital, I would have believed wholeheartedly that giving baby formula will make him sick, dumb and obese. There was almost no mention of formula in any reading materials in hospital (and, of course, no formula samples – I guess it haven’t been a thing in our hospitals at all). If baby would lose weight rapidly, nurses would give formula (thanks for that at least!) but moms who have been convinced that formula is almost poison are very upset about it. Hell, if I haven’t read various internet sources before birth, I could have easily been among moms who try to delay supplementation as long as possible (while cheered by LCs) because they think that even insufficient breastmilk is better than supplementing with formula.

    We can rant here while blue in the face but people who could actually make a difference are neonatologists and pediatricians because they are first to see the damage by this intentional lack of information. For every re-admission with jaundice and dehydration, for every FTT because mom refuses to supplement for weeks, there should have been outcry in professional organisations and then it finally could reach the guideline-making level (as it has with ACOG).

    • Madtowngirl

      With the growing outcry from professionals against vaccination refusal, I do wonder why so few speak out against BFHI.

      • Roadstergal

        It’s been so hard to get any kind of outcry against anti-vax pediatricians, though. As is often mentioned on skeptic blogs, Jay Gordon and Bob Sears are both FAAP. And vaccination is about as clear a public and individual good as you will find… I don’t hold out much hope for a lot of pushback against BFHI from the medical profession.

        Honestly, I think the only way it would happen is if duration of breastfeeding is taken as the outcome rather than EBF at discharge, and the data comes out to show that BFHI decreases the former. With this ‘certainty’ in the public mind that formula feeding is Mountain Dew in a bottle, it’s going to be a long road any other way.

        • Madtowngirl

          That is a good point. My quite-intelligent sister-in-law gave me a Dr. Sears book. Thankfully it was long enough after my baby was born that his emotionally manipulative language didn’t get to me. I can’t stand that quack.

    • guest

      My pediatrician supports formula and breastfeeding. When people on the local list-serv ask for ped recommendations, he takes a lot of shit from lactivists. They tell parents to stay away from him because “nearly half” of his patients formula feed. I don’t bother arguing with them, because I figure at least they are getting the word out that he’s formula friendly.

      • Roadstergal

        It really is a religion. If he’s supportive of BF, why not go to him? It’s a purity test. He shuns the FF, or he’s a bad pediatrician.

        It’d be like a straight couple refusing to go to a pediatrician because ‘nearly half’ of his clients were gay. Something that is perfectly fine in the first place, and has zero to do with the other clients in the second place.

        • guest

          I don’t really get the hatred of him in the neighborhood. Sure, he’s not for everyone. The “holistic” doctors that encourage bullshit home remedies are not for me (I hate spending money on sugar pills). But unless they are actively endangering patients, I don’t go around warning people away from them. Another local peds office is abundantly loved, but they push sleep training at 12 weeks pretty hard. Not for me, but find for others!

  • ArmyChick

    When my daughter was born I told the nurses I was formula feeding from the get go. I was never told anything about formula from the staff: how to prepare it, how often, etc etc. I had to figure things out on my own. But if a woman chooses to breastfeed the hospital has a lactation consultant available 24/7, breast pumps, literature. You name it.

    There is no support for formula feeding moms anywhere. I am sick of hearing about normalizing breastfeeding as it if weren’t normalized already. Formula feeding moms are left out. All the time. It pisses me off to no end.

    • Inmara

      Stupid question – don’t you have preparation information on formula cans? At least brand I use has very detailed precautions about sterilization, water preparation and handling of leftover formula, as well as rough guide of daily amount. Haven’t looked at other brands closely but I suspect that it’s the same. Of course, there are some nuances that are left out but at least there’s basic safety instructions.

      • guest

        Preparation instructions, yes. But the ones I had did not discuss how to clean/sterilize bottles, and did not have different instructions for different-aged babies. Neonates might be best on boiled, cooled water or bottled water and sterilized bottles, but older babies do not need the same precautions. Etc. But they do tell you how to measure the formula, how much water to add, and what temperature water should be.

      • Liz Leyden

        In the hospital, I got pre-made bottles of formula- just open, attach a nipple, and fed. I was sent home with pre-made bottles.

        The only instruction I got about preparing formula was in a book I got about twin pregnancy and the first year. Ironically, PPD over nursing led the author to exclusive pumping. The book basically said “follow the instructions on the can exactly.” I found out how to warm a bottle from a woman who happened to be in the kitchen when I was preparing a bottle for my son. Hubby and I figured out night feeds on our own. I got more detailed instructions on preparing my daughter’s bottles because she needed a custom recipe.

      • ArmyChick

        Yes but I had no idea how to sterilize them. Also the different types of formula were never brought up. Or the different types of bottles. It took three tries to find the right formula for her too.

        • demodocus

          boil in a big pot of water for what to my 10 year old self assumed was a century.

    • guest

      I wasn’t taught how to wash and store bottles for pumped milk either. There’s an assumption that everyone knows how to use bottles, but when you’re talking about do I need to sterilize this and how long can it sit on the shelf afterwards before I use it, people don’t know.

    • Kelly

      I wasn’t either. With this last one, it was the first time I was formula feeding from the start. They forgot to inform me that the second day I could feed her more.

  • Susan

    I think the problems with Baby Friendly are more nuanced than that. I had to do the Baby Friendly Staff education and I confess I learned more about how assist a formula feeding mom than I knew prior. Really. We always had very few formula feeders and I confess I still get out a reference for how much to offer at each feeding. But I learned a lot about safe formula preparation I never knew as part of the Baby Friendly. There is no doubt in my mind that the BFHI chooses language that frames formula as a risk, that labels breastfeeding as normal. I don’t believe that the language they choose to use isn’t meant to create guilt. But they do at least say, if a mom is informed and educated and still makes a choice to formula feed that decision and family is to be respected and given the same respectful care. They do allow the hospital to provide formula that the hospital purchases.
    They need to do two things to stop the ugliness that goes on in their name..
    One- state clearly that a family that makes an informed decision to formula feed should never be made to feel shame. Ever. Not even a little. That shame has no place in education or care of the new family.
    Two- that rooming in and skin to skin while optimal for most people are not optimal for all people. That if a mother is unable to get out of bed, or heavily medicated, that it is Baby Friendly to keep that baby safe with common sense measures that can include taking a baby to a nursery if the baby cannot be safely cared for by the mother or a family member. That the BFHI is not an excuse for unsafe staffing.
    If they had the guts to do these two things it would diffuse a lot of this.

    • Madtowngirl

      Unfortunately, I doubt many hospitals will have the guts to do this until they are slapped with some heavy lawsuits.

      • Susan

        I wish I didn’t agree with you. Would be interesting though if BFHI would be seen as having liability if I baby suffocated when left in bed with a post op medicated mom. That would change more behavior than suing the hospital alone.

    • CSN0116

      In order for moms to make an informed decision BFHI would actually have to admit that breast milk is no liquid gold. They would have to state the facts as they sit, not as they want them presented.

      Then, how would the “informed” part come down? Sure as shit shouldn’t be mirroring the Texas(?) push to force a woman to look at her baby on ultrasound before electing an abortion, so that she can “be informed about what she’s about to do.”

  • Megan

    If it’s true informed consent, why are we not hearing about the risks of breastfeeding and the benefits of formula feeding (or for that matter risks OR benefits of combo feeding, which is never mentioned at all)? Isn’t informed consent about risks AND benefits of ALL the options?

    • SporkParade

      Because they’re hypocrites. I actually left a mommy group after I got savaged for saying, “The risks of formula you just listed are all risks of not preparing formula correctly; meanwhile, here are the risks of exclusive breastfeeding.”

      • Roadstergal

        It’s just like ‘informed consent’ for C/S vs VB. We’ve already decided for you which one is better.

    • Brooke

      Combination feeding isn’t a thing. It’s called supplementing. You cannot combination feed without reducing your milk supply and eventually having to switch to formula completely.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        “Ugu the Shoemaker is not only a common man, but he’s a wicked man and a cruel man and deserves to be conquered. We mustn’t have any mercy on him till Ozma is set free. So let’s go to his castle as the Frogman says and see what the place looks like.”

      • Charybdis

        It is too a thing. And if your body only will make a portion of what the baby needs for proper nutrition, you have to make up the calories somewhere. And combo feeding, doing both breastfeeding and formula feeding is how you do that.

        Unless you are willing to sacrifice your baby’s growth and well being on the altar of “EBF”. Plenty of people are satisfied with their combo feeding routine.

        • Roadstergal

          I really think my lactivist friend would be happier combo feeding. But the Brookebitches have been yelling at her for so many years that you can’t do that, nipple confusion, just one drop, WHO, etc etc etc.

        • Amy M

          I know a number of people who combo-fed. Especially among working mothers—they nurse when home, and baby gets formula when mom is at work. I would believe that after a few weeks or months of that routine that the breasts would make less milk than for an EBF baby, but there would still be demand, so milk should be produced on the level that baby is extracting it. That’s what the lactivists say anyway—that breasts always “know” how much milk to make, supply will match demand and breasts tailor the milk toward a given baby. I guess if baby gets formula 4x/day and nursed 2x/day, you could say you are supplementing with breastmilk, but who cares about the terminology? If that works for a given mom and baby, why shouldn’t she do it?

      • Megan

        If breastfeeding is based on supply and demand and I “demand” of my breasts that they produce a full supply minus one bottle given daily, how would I further lose my supply unless I purposefully and continually demand less and less of my breasts?
        And by the way, care to cite anything for your claim that you can’t combo feed without losing your supply completely, or should we add this to the list of things you claim but can’t back up, like your ideal CS rate of 5%?

      • Monkey Professor for a Head

        Then how come womencancontinue to breastfeed for years after introducing solids? Shouldn’t that destroy supply as well?

        • Glia

          Oh, no, it is totally true! I started “supplementing” with solids, and now, a mere 9 months later, my supply has dramatically reduced! At this rate, I may have to switch completely to formula by the time he’s in kindergarten! 😉

        • SporkParade

          Introducing solids destroyed supply for me. My kid loved solids. He was on 3 solid meals a day within 6 weeks. No way was I going to make it to a year.

      • Madtowngirl

        Bullshit. It’s definitely a thing.

      • Jules B

        Weird, because after my daughter rejected the breast at 6 weeks because my supply tanked to about half of what she needed (long story as to why, but I saw four different LC’s and one finally admitted I had unfixable supply issues), I managed to keep pumping at that same 50/50 level for nearly a year after that. My daughter is the perfect definition of combo-fed because from 6 weeks on, she got half breastmilk and half formula in every bottle (I mixed them, even). She is now 3.5, hardly ever gets sick, has never had an ear infection and will literally eat anything.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        Wrong! Combination feeding is often the perfect choice for working mothers. They can reduce pumping at work and nurse extra at night. It’s also an awesome choice for women who have reached the natural limit of their breastmilk supply.

      • Zoey

        Really? I must not exist then. I “supplemented” my son with formula for a month and my daughter for about 3-4 days before switching back to breastmilk only. And breastmilk supply was never an issue for me, except possibly having too bloody much of the stuff.

      • Joy

        Really? I did it for 14 months until my baby both bit me with all her teeth, because she was doing reflexively while vomiting. Many Hispanic mothers practice Las Dos and they have the longest rates of bfing in the US. Soooo….

      • guest

        Who are you to speak for the combo feeders? That’s what they call themselves, and that’s what it’s called. You don’t get to say there’s “no such thing.”

        One can even mix breast milk and formula IN THE SAME BOTTLE. *gasp*

        • demodocus

          I’ve done that, actually, even with my oversupply.

      • Deborah

        For goodness sake Brooke. You can’t just come in and make sweeping, generalising, incorrect and ridiculous pronouncements.
        Oh, but you just did.

      • Elizabeth A

        Combination feeding my daughter was the best decision I ever made. It made working so much easier.

        She nursed nights and weekends until she was 13 months old, by which time she was able to get most of her nutrition from solids, plus the occasional bottle. So I guess we *did* briefly switch to formula completely, if you don’t count yogurt, scrambled eggs, and chicken tikka masala.

      • Krista

        I combo fed after returning to school around 5 months. Baby got formula during the day when I was in school and I breastfed mornings, evenings and weekends. I didn’t bother with pumping during the day and my supply did not go down at all. I know that might not work for everyone, but it most definitely worked for me, so it actually is a real option for some women (and a really good one at that)

      • Sue

        “A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry.”

        GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, Maxims for Revolutionists

      • Who?

        So what?

      • ……and this is why combo feeding isn’t talked about more. This ridiculous emphasis on “exclusive” breastfeeding means that babies who get even a little formula, for even a little while, somehow don’t count. Because magic milk supply virgin gut nipple confusion something something.

        I guess my kid won’t win the spelling bee or something because he got a bottle of formula in the NICU, right? And yet I somehow don’t care because he’s, you know, alive and healthy thanks to said NICU. And yes, once we got out of the hospital I breastfed him and no, those bottles in the first week didn’t hurt my supply. /anecdata

      • SporkParade

        I combo fed for two months, breastfed exclusively for another two months, then went back to combo feeding because my baby outgrew my supply despite me EBFing. You know what killed my supply to the point I had to switch completely to formula? Introducing solids.

      • demodocus

        Soda isn’t a thing in my new region. They call that carbonated beverage “pop”. I’m almost used to it

        • Megan

          Sounds like Pixburgh

      • moto_librarian

        Aren’t the SATs coming up? Really, you should probably get back to those math problems, Brooke.

  • guest

    I’ve always found it shocking that midwives and nurses in some places are prohibited from providing formula feeding instructions, or recommending formula use even when it is clearly indicated to them. I don’t see how that’s not neglect of the infant’s health.

  • Charybdis

    There are many, many forms of contraception available: various implants/IUD’s, various types of birth control pill, barrier methods (diaphragm, cervical cap, condoms, both male and female), spermicides, natural family planning (rhythm method), tubal ligation and vasectomy. So if you are opposed to one type of birth control, you surely can find another one that will work for you and your beliefs.

    However, there are only 2 basic ways to feed a baby: bottle and breast. You have to pick one, since society in general takes a dim view of not feeding your baby. They want you to pick their favorite method, even if that method can have some “non-natural” elements to it. SNS for one.

    There are also less than optimal feeding methods (cup feeding, syringes, spoon-feeding and SNS) that are an EBFer’s dirty little secret. They are “EBFing for sure! But my SO will cup feed the baby my breastmiilk so I can take a shower/nap/go poop. But EBF!!!

    By their own definitions, doesn’t the cup/SNS/spoon-feeding remove them from the EBF brigade? Because NONE of those options are “natural”.

    • Commander30

      “By their own definitions, doesn’t the cup/SNS/spoon-feeding remove them from the EBF brigade? Because NONE of those options are “natural”.”

      Pretty much, I would think. I mean these are the people who think pumped breast milk, even if that’s all the baby is getting without any supplemental formula, is STILL inferior to straight out of the tap.

      • Brooke

        Literally no one thinks that.

        • Roadstergal

          You are literally wrong.

          • Amy M

            Yeah, haven’t we heard about the “4 levels of infant feeding?” Breast milk from the tap is most superior, breast milk from a bottle is 2nd best, donor milk 3rd and formula feeding a distant 4th. They’d probably make it 10th best if they could come up with another 6 or 7 ways to get breast milk into a baby. I can make up a few–how about wet nurse is superior to donor milk in a bottle, mom’s milk via sns is superior to wet nurse, goat milk is superior to formula, as is homemade formula…how many is that?
            /sarcasm

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            You forgot 4) goat’s milk and 5) camel’s milk.

            So it’s at least 6th

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Add in the homemade baby formula made from bone broth and liver.

          • Roadstergal

            Is it better to get goat’s milk straight from the goat’s teat, or SNS it in?

          • Sue

            No, silly Bofa. Unicorn milk comes next.

          • Sarah

            Then lactivist tears mixed with fried placenta juice.

          • demodocus

            …and here i thought my morning sickness was past. urgh

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          “Perhaps,” said Toto as the animals lay grouped together for the night, “this Shoemaker who stole my growl and who stole Ozma has also stolen Button-Bright.”

        • BeatriceC

          Yeah, you’re completely wrong on that point. I’ve been told that I’m a bad mother because none of my kids were EBF. Lets look at how they were fed:

          #1: Born at 36 week, fed by an NG tube for a couple days. Had a difficult time latching onto breasts that were literally bigger than he was. I was a 32J before pregnancy and they got much bigger when my milk came in. I supplemented for about two weeks while we figured that out. Giving him about 1/4 ounce of formula at first (then expressed milk after the first few days) allowed him to calm down as he became frantic when he was hungry and couldn’t latch. That small amount of formula allowed him to learn to latch. From about 2 weeks onward he nursed only from the breast until he decided a cup was more efficient at around 13 months.

          #2: Took to nursing right away from the first time he was put to the breast at about 3 weeks old. Was born at 32 weeks, so had been fed via TPN then NG tube until then. Was weaned at about 6 months old because I was pregnant again and due to the high risk nature of my pregnancies, my choice was to switch to formula or loose the pregnancy.

          #3: Born at 24 weeks. TPN, NG tube until about 3 months. Never got the hang of nursing from the breast. I have an over supply problem so the contents of the NG tube feedings and the bottle feedings were expressed breast milk.

          I have been told repeatedly that I’m a bad mother and that my babies weren’t really breast fed. But my personal experiences, along with the experiences of thousands of other women don’t count because you believe that “nobody thinks that”.

    • Roadstergal

      Nursing pillows, nursing bras, mothers’ milk tea, you name it – all unnatural. But that’s okay unnatural.

      • Megan

        Goat’s rue, domperidone, nipple shields…

      • demodocus

        maternal depression treated with moar nursing and placenta

    • guest

      I used to say my kids were EBF. To me, it meant they were only eating breast milk. (And I only mentioned it because doctors would ask in various follow-up appointments checking up on post-NICU weight gain).

      I continued to use the term after they started solids. It just meant breast milk and not formula to me. It was only later that I learned there are women who are proud of delaying solids for up to a year. Around the time I discovered them I said fuck this shit and switched to formula.

      • Brooke

        I don’t get that either, the LLL says you can wait up to a year to introduce solid foods but I always thought that was more of a guideline so that parents don’t feel the need to rush or push solid foods before babies are ready.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          While he considered this perplexing question and the others stood looking at him as their leader, a queer thing happened. The floor of the great circular hall on which they were standing suddenly began to tip. Instead of being flat and level, it became a slant, and the slant grew steeper and steeper until none of the party could manage to stand upon it. Presently they all slid down to the wall, which was now under them, and then it became evident that the whole vast room was slowly turning upside down! Only Ugu the Shoemaker, kept in place by the bars of his golden cage, remained in his former position, and the wicked magician seemed to enjoy the surprise of his victims immensely.

        • guest

          You can also leave your baby at home with only the family dog for three days, but that doesn’t make it good advice no matter who it comes from.

        • Monkey Professor for a Head

          Given that evidence is emerging that delayed introduction of potential allergens increases the risk of developing allergies, I wonder if LLL will be revising that position.

          Given that it would involve admitting that breastfeeding is not 100% perfect, I suspect they may not.

        • FEDUP MD

          The American Academy of Pediatrics disagrees with this, as breast fed infants past 4-6 months require additional iron to avoid deficiency. And early food introduction is associated with lower risk of food allergies. And historically most societies have given babies some form of supplemental food around that age too. But hey, let’s ignore the scientific professionals who study whole infant health with actual data behind them in favor of a bunch of lay people who only promote breastfeeding. I am sure the latter has a fuller picture of overall infant health.

    • Brooke

      And here I thought our dirty little secret was wine (to maintain our sanity).

      These are not dirty little secrets but common knowledge. A baby who only gets breastmilk is exclusively breastfed regardless of how that milk is given to them. These are not “inferior feeding methods”. Honestly when people say things like this you just push the goal post even further into unrealistic territory because now moms think its not REALLY breastfeeding if I pump or did SNS with my preemie. Its actually sickening.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        No one now living except Ugu knew of the powers of the Magic Dishpan, so after long study, the shoemaker decided that if he could manage to secure the dishpan, he could by its means rob Ozma and Glinda and the Wizard of Oz of all their magic, thus becoming himself the most powerful person in all the land. His first act was to go away from the City of Herku and build for himself the Wicker Castle in the hills. Here he carried his books and instruments of magic, and here for a full year he diligently practiced all the magical arts learned from his ancestors. At the end of that time, he could do a good many wonderful things.

        • T.

          This book looks awfully interesting. I really have to read it…

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Available for free on-line via multiple resources (including Project Gutenberg)