Jamie Oliver and lactivists who lie

Man fingers crossed behind a backside

See what happens when you let men out of the kitchen where they belong? They start pontificating about subjects that they know nothing about and making fools of themselves in the process.

Take celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, for example. Oliver, whose US school lunch program designed to decrease obesity was a total failure because kids didn’t like the food, now turns his attention to breastfeeding.

For many women, breastfeeding is NOT easy, and it is NOT convenient.

Acting as a spokesperson for a British nutrition charity, he made a promotional video where he actually uttered the words:

It’s the next big thing. Breastfeeding is easy and convenient.

No, Jamie, it’s not the next big thing. It’s a very old, and very imperfect thing.

Women have been breastfeeding since the beginning of time and infant mortality rates have been hideous since the beginning of time (until the advent of modern medicine and, dare I say it, infant formula).

How could breastfeeding, “nature’s way” for feeding babies, be imperfect?

In the exact same way that pregnancy, nature’s way of making babies, is imperfect. We’ve all seen nature shows about turtles. Female turtles laboriously haul themselves out of the sand to lay and bury millions of eggs on a beach. Those eggs hatch at roughly the same time and the baby turtles have to scrabble to the water in order to survive. Only a fraction of them make it; the rest are eaten by predators waiting patiently for a feast.

Human reproduction, like turtle reproductions, like all animal reproduction is terribly wasteful. Consider that women produce millions of ova (eggs) that they never use and men produce billions of sperm that will never fertilize an ovum. Even when conception does occur, the carnage continues. Approximately 20% of established pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Death on a grand scale is inevitable in reproduction and breastfeeding is a part of reproduction.

At least 5% of women, perhaps more, cannot produce enough milk to fully nourish an infant. In the good old days when everyone was breastfed, those babies simply died. Just as miscarriage is the specter that haunts every newly pregnant woman, infant death from dehydration or failure to thrive used to be the specter that haunted new motherhood. Breastfeeding is so imperfect that the ONLY societies that have low infant mortality are societies where formula is readily available and readily used.

Oliver might be forgiven his ignorance of the entirely natural death toll of breastfeeding, but his claim that breastfeeding is “easy and convenient” is completely unforgivable. In facts, it’s the classic, self-serving lie of the lactivist movement.

Let me say this loud and clear so there’s no confusion on this issue:

For many women, breastfeeding is NOT easy, and it is NOT convenient.

Lactivists like to pretend that women stop breastfeeding because of lack of education, because hospitals give out formula, because of lack of professional support, because of lack of peer support, etc. etc. etc. All this pretending reflects the profound unwillingness of the breastfeeding industry to acknowledge  the real reasons that women stop breastfeeding or fail to start in the first place. The dirty little secret about breastfeeding is that starting is hard, painful, frustrating and inconvenient. And continuing breastfeeding is hard, sometimes painful, and incredibly inconvenient especially for women who work, which in 2016 is most women.

Why do lactivists lie about the reality of breastfeeding? Why do they sugarcoat it with little maxims like “breast milk is always available,” breast milk is always the perfect temperature,” and “breast feeding saves money.” Why does the breastfeeding industry (lactation consultants, manufacturers of breastfeeding supplies like pumps) ignore the very real challenges in initiating and maintaining breastfeeding?

They lie because they think they have a right to police women’s bodies. They fear that women will not attempt breastfeeding if they are informed honestly about the difficulties. Yet it seems that the opposite is true. By not acknowledging these difficulties up front, the breastfeeding industry sets women up for failure, guilt and possibly postpartum depression, when those women encounter the “normal” pain, frustration and inconvenience of breastfeeding.

Women are telling the breastfeeding industry that the way information on breastfeeding is presented has made them feel awful. It is the height of arrogance to tell a woman that what is hurting her is not really hurting her. When mothers tell lactivists that breastfeeding is often painful and often inconvenient, it is arrogant to tell them that breastfeeding is “easy and convenient.” When mothers tell lactivists that aggressive breastfeeding promotion leads fo crushing feelings of failure and inferiority, it is arrogant to tell them that it doesn’t.

This is the central paradox of contemporary lactivism. If breastfeeding is so easy and convenient, why do lactivists need to recruit Jamie Oliver to tell women that it is easy and convenient? Because it isn’t really easy and convenient; they know it and lie about it anyway.

Jamie Oliver should get back in the kitchen were he belongs and leave the hard work of nourishing infants to their mothers who love them, want what’s healthiest for them, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that breast is NOT always best.

  • Froggggggg

    Jamie Oliver needs to stop lecturing people, and especially mothers. It seems that he’ll try anything to stay relevant. I am SO over him. So over seeing his smug face on dozens of overpriced products at the supermarket (don’t tell me he’s not doing this for the money!), so over him being a sanctimonious twat. Just go back to dousing things in olive oil, Jamie. I liked you a lot better back then.

    • mishabear

      He’s been dead to me since I saw him drizzle olive oil on guacamole. WTF.

  • Puffin

    I have lots of firsthand experience with how bodies are imperfect when it comes to babies. I’ve had eight first trimester losses because my body just doesn’t do pregnancy well. My current pregnancy was initially thought to be another ectopic but to the immense surprise of myself and my fertility specialist, it appears this pregnancy is intrauterine and viable. My body is so bad at keeping babies alive that I’m actually surprised when it does. Thanks, Mother Nature, you jerk.

    This one probably won’t be breastfed for any length of time because it’s just not realistic time-wise. My two kids were each breastfed for two years and the first month and a half was REALLY hard with each of them. This time around, I’m only taking a couple weeks off after delivery because I start clerkship – the hospital rotations part of my medical training – less than a month after I’ll deliver. My husband will be staying home with the baby and when I’m doing 60-80 hours a week of training in the hospital, I won’t have time to pump. Clerks barely have time to eat or pee let alone take 3-4 half hour breaks during a shift to go pump. I’ll be starting with a ‘lighter’ rotation so I won’t have a super intense schedule until the baby is 8 weeks old or so, but breastfeeding beyond that is probably going to be impossible.

    Breastfeeding is definitely not convenient once you’re not home full time with the baby.

    • CSN0116

      But the **beautiful** news?

      You furthering your education, and assumedly also increasing your salary (eventually lol), means that you’re doing things that are proven to increase the health and intelligence (and every other bullshit thing people like to state breastfeeding CAUSES) of your baby 😀

      These efforts will benefit your baby 1,000,000 x more than breastfeeding ever could have, because, you know, they’re REAL predictors of outcome 😉

      GL!

      • Puffin

        Oh yes, absolutely, the fact that I’m furthering my education is a really big deal to us. My husband and I have always been low income and we struggled a lot to get me through undergrad but every step of the way, it’s been worth it. Since I’m going into family med, it’s only a two year residency (here) and so I’ll be earning a physician income in four years. It’s why I’m choosing not to take a year off with the baby, even though I have that option.

        My kids will have access to opportunities and resources that they never would have had had I not pursued a professional career, and so keeping that timeline as compact as possible benefits everyone. The strongest predictor of future health is the socioeconomic status of your parents, not whether or not you are breastfed, so you’re totally right that my schooling is the best thing we can do for our kids. We should be focusing our collective efforts on alleviating child poverty, not bullying women into using their bodies a particular way.

        • CSN0116

          AMEN!

        • Sarah

          Alleviating child poverty might be expensive and take a lot of effort, though. Berating poor women is easy, and gives you that nice glow afterwards.

      • Deborah

        I exclusively breastfed all of my eight children but this is what I had to do to increase the opportunities for them:
        1. Leave my abusive husband
        2. Move interstate
        3.Put the children into school and daycare
        4. Return to school myself (at age 34)
        5. Work my backside off – working and studying
        6. Make a clean break from the sub culture I was involved in for many years
        7. Begin to really live and enjoy my life
        I am 100% certain that if I had remained in my situation: homebirthing every two years, constant breastfeeding and homeschooling, my children would not have become the competent, successful, wonderfully self aware people they are today. And what is more gratifying is that, they themselves, recognise and attribute their own success to watching what I had to do to get it.

        • CSN0116

          Oh, my. You’ve overcome a lot. Congratulations!

          This is totally none of my business, but was your previous lifestyle religiously-influenced? How young were you when you had your first? What gave you the courage to totally 180 yourself/what was the breaking point?

          Forgive me, I’m fascinated and impressed!

          • Deborah

            Lol thankyou so much! I must admit I cried after I wrote that as I haven’t written it down like that before and certainly not publicly!
            Yes it was religious. Christian Fundamentalism. I was 17 years old when I “got saved” and then followed 30 years of hell lol. Married at 18 – no counselling, no questioning at all as to how I was faring in the relationship, but we couldn’t continue to live in sin, could we? First baby at 19. I was already quite alternative at that stage, more through my association with the remnants of the late 70’s hippy culture, so my experience of Christianity was flavoured by that.
            I don’t think all Christianity is bad but I will never, ever, ever, place myself under the power of others again, will never set foot in another church, and I thank God every day that I saw the light and was able to break free. I think for me, even though I described it above as “a clean break” it was more a gradual awakening and growing up process, and going back to uni really helped start that process. Also, one of my sons is transgender, and when that came to light it raised all sorts of doubts and questions as to everything I’d been taught in the church. He definately did not choose to be transgender and was definately not exposed to “that lifestyle” and did nothing to cause it and yet there it was.
            So that is pretty much it. If someone had told me in my 20’s or even 30’s that I would walk away from the church and basically my life, I never would have believed them in a million years. But that is the power of education. I think that’s why it irks me when I see and hear people attribute all these wonders to the simple ideas of place of birth and whether one breastfeeds or not. I have lived it and experiencd it and I can attest that they actually amount to very little in the grand scheme of things.
            Thankyou again for your interest. It feels very weird indeed to put these thoughts down on paper. X

          • Gatita

            That is really inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

          • Box of Salt

            “But that is the power of education”

            And there it is. Thank you, Deborah, for sharing your story.
            I hope that others are inspired by it.

          • BeatriceC

            Deborah, you and I have a lot in common! My story is very different, but there’s a few common threads. I also packed up my kids and disappeared in the middle of the night, though my abusers were my parents who took advantage of a perfect storm of issues to get me back under their control. It was rough going there for a little bit, but my kids had one thing that a lot of kids who’s mothers flee abuse don’t have: a highly educated mother. This allowed me to land on my feet much faster than others, though I won’t pretend it was all roses. There was a short time where we lived in a homeless shelter.

            I breastfed my kids (mostly), but I’m sure they’re getting a whole lot more from my educational and income level (which only got higher when MrC came into the picture), than any amount of breastmilk ever could.

          • Deborah

            I’m so glad things worked out for you ok – I’m sure we would have loads to talk about if we ever met in person lol. I consider myself extremely fortunate that I was able to sort my life out – still waiting for my own MrC though but I have met someone recently who is shaping up pretty well 🙂

        • Sue

          How inspiring! I suspect your children have become wonderful competent self-aware ppl because you brought them up that way, and they take after you.

          • Deborah

            Awww thankyou 🙂
            Either that, or they were determined not to make any of the same mistakes their mother did!

    • demodocus

      So glad for you that this one looks viable. Good luck with the pregnancy and the studies

  • sdsures

    Some time ago on FB, a “friend” living in France blithely snapped at me that “formula feeding is selfish”.

    :-/

    • Irène Delse

      Ouch. Some friend, indeed. And sadly, we do have our share of sanctimommies in France. As women get paid maternity leave, it’s even easier for crunchy people to go into the EFB, full time baby-wearing and so on. And become judgmental of any mom not doing the same.

  • Megan

    You know, I have not one, but two breast pumps sitting in storage that probably won’t be used again. One for Jamie and one for Dr Newman. I think that before they get to preach to us they should get to experience “triple feeding” every 2 hours for a few weeks. Then if they have an opinion on breastfeeding, I *might* listen. Plus, I still haven’t gotten the pump yet that I could’ve gotten for this pregnancy. I’m sure I could find another sanctodad (thanks to the commenter below for that term) to hook up, maybe that pediatric surgeon who commented here a while back. I’m happy to donate my breast pumps for the cause. After all, these dads obviously just need more “support and education.”

    Sorry, feeling a bit snarky after being up nursing literally all night.

    • sdsures

      I’m a night owl in the UK if you ever need to talk. *hug* Have you got any formula? You really sound like you need a break!!

      • Megan

        Oh she’s getting formula supplementation already, but the only thing that soothes her at night for more than 5 minutes is the breast. She doesn’t even want her bottle. It’s ironic really. With my first daughter, all
        I wanted was to breastfeed. And she was terrible at it and only kind of enjoyed it, loved her bottle. This time, I figured I’d give it a try (but not try that hard) but planned to supplement from the beginning and now I have a kid who loves nothing more than breastfeeding and would be latched on 24/7 if I let her. I’m feeling a bit touched out from the past two nights.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          I just saw this, and wanted to say 1) a million congrats on baby!!!, yay for healthy baby and mom! and 2) my sympathies on the touched-out-ness. BTDT, it sucked, and I hope that baby starts sleeping better/you figure out something that means less-touched-out-ness soon! 🙂 A friend of mine who breastfeeds her kiddoes swears by having a stash of shows, books (to be read on tablet/phone) and PC games (yay wireless keyboards/mice/controllers) to distract her during interminable nighttime feedings; do you have something like that at all? My plan for this kid at nights involves a pair of Bluetooth headphones, my tablet, and finding some totally mindless show to stream for as long as necessary.
          Oh, and 3): congrats again on baby!!! Enjoy the squishy snuggles!

          • Megan

            Thanks! I read lots of SOB while nursing. I do need to find something to watch though…

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            That’s how I found SkOB–I was googling “Does having a c section make me a failure,” or something like that, during a tear-filled (for both parties) nursing session at O-dark-hundred and found her post on that. Both her posts and the community in the combox helped me so much!
            Netflix is excellent. Ditto Hulu and Amazon Prime. The same friend I mentioned has the sort of awesome DH who always gets her either several box sets of a show or the digital equivalent as a “push present,” and she swears by it to maintain her sanity.
            Also, on a personal note ’cause it’s all about me, thank you for posting honestly about your breastfeeding struggles here. I’ve just hit the hormonal phase of pregnancy where giving breastfeeding a shot sounds like a good idea, even though *for me* it’s a patently stupid, stupid, STUPID idea. Reading something other than warm fuzzies about it, even though I very much wish you more in the way of warm fuzzies/easy nursing and less in the way of all-night comfort nurse sessions!, helps keep my crazy hormones grounded. 🙂

    • the wingless one

      Oh god I shudder even reading the words “triple feeding.” Sooo glad those days are over whether we have more kids or not (since I won’t be breastfeeding any future offspring!).

  • Irène Delse

    Maybe breastfeeding is convenient-ish when you live in a time and place where nearly all adult women are SAHM who have many babies and breastfeed for months or years. That way, if one woman doesn’t have adequate supply, or if she has to go out of the home, she can get help from a friend or neighbour or even family member who takes her baby for a while and nurses it alongside her own. I’ve known a family where mom and elder daughter had a baby nearly at the same time, and the daughter helped breastfeed her youngest brother.

    Of course, this means rolling back all that women gained in autonomy during the 20th century: birth control, having a career, and in general, choosing for themselves instead of just following tradition. Thanks, Oliver, but no thanks.

    • sdsures

      “I’ve known a family where mom and elder daughter had a baby nearly at the same time, and the daughter helped breastfeed her youngest brother.”

      Eww.

      • Irène Delse

        Pretty much.

        • sdsures

          This isn’t the 1850s, is it? Just checking.

          • Irène Delse

            I’m not that old. This was only memories from 1980.

          • sdsures

            LOL

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Squicks me out a bit too, but I did want to throw this out there: Back In The Day, this probably wouldn’t have been terribly uncommon, and ditto with the roles reversed…and that would have been a good thing, especially in the first few weeks! Mom’s recovering from childbirth (no joke now, far less of one in a time when we didn’t know about hygiene, couldn’t do CSs, etc), and rather than having to nurse a newborn all night, mom/auntie/sister/etc could step in and say, “hey, I have milk, I’ll nurse for an hour or two tonight to let you rest,” thereby increasing the likelihood of both mom and baby surviving. Basically, the equivalent of mom/auntie/sister/etc saying now “hey, you want to breastfeed, it’s cool, but how about if I give Junior one bottle tonight to let you get an uninterrupted 4-5 hours of sleep, especially since your milk isn’t in yet?”
      And of course, with formula, this means that non-lactating women and men can help, too: one of the many things I’m looking forward to with this kiddo is that BIL, who is fantastic with kids, will be living with us for two months afterwards and wouldn’t bat an eye about being handed a howling baby and a bottle.
      Which (the one-bottle-a-night-in-the-early-days thing) is very common in a couple of communities near me, and in those communities, a very, VERY high percentage of the moms end up breastfeeding to 18-24 months with few or no problems. My hypothesis is that because strong family support in general and specifically for nighttime newborn care is A Thing in those groups, mom’s body heals up faster and can focus more on milk production.
      All this opposed, of course, to the lactivist trope that mom must do everything herself, and being exhausted after 48 hours of labor followed by a crash C-section is no excuse for not nursing 24/7 for the first few weeks plus taking care of other kids/dad/house all by herself. Women were never before expected by society to solo the immediate postpartum period, and shouldn’t be now.

  • Megan

    Currently breastfeeding is feeling neither easy nor convenient as I sit here nursing my 1-week old almost continuously since 7pm (it’s almost 3am now). She hates her bottles and wants to be at my breast constantly despite the fact that I do not make a full supply. She cries/wakes every 5-15 minutes when put down unless I put her on my breast and did this last night too. I suspect it Jamie Oliver was the breast-owning partner, he’d feel a lot differently. When you have one baby and you’re home, you can sleep when they nap during the day but as it is, older daughter will be up at 7am and will be whining all day after a poor night’s sleep on account of younger daughter crying all night. No break for mom…

    • Who?

      I’m so sorry, that’s really hard. FWIW an internet stranger gets what you’re going through and is thinking of you.

    • demodocus

      argh! *hugs*

    • S Herb

      I had your exact same problem. (Plus I also didn’t make enough milk so there was lots of crying by both of us!) In my case it turned out that just about every type of bottle nipple was gagging my baby. Eventually I found the right one. -I can’t remember which brand/type since it was so many years ago. He would never actually gag – just try to drink then turn away and scream. My sis-in-law who is a very talented SLP was watching and kindly offered her opinion on why it was happening (Because they were all too long for his mouth.) Maybe try (many, many, many,) dfferent nipples? I had no idea how many kinds were out there until The Great Nipple Search which had to happen because I could not keep doing what you are now going through!! Good luck!!

      • Tokyobelle

        Agreed. We went to the store and bought one of each type of bottle they had and then tested them to see which our boy preferred. Maybe you could try something similar? FWIW, Lansinoh Momma was the eventual winner. Which I find kind of funny, as they go on and on about how it’s a wonderful bottle for nursing moms and they manufacture so many bf supplies, and my EFF son takes right to them like a boss!

      • Megan

        I did switch to premie nipples two days ago and that helped some with the bottle aversion. That’s for the suggestion!

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      You probably know this already, but just in case you need to hear it from a total internet stranger: if you want to, it’s okay to stop. You and baby will both be okay. Binkies are not the devil, and she won’t go to her college freshman orientation with one sticking out of her mouth. If you want to continue, then I promise it WILL get better, though I can’t, of course, predict when, beyond that she won’t be up all night nursing the night before college freshman orientation, either. 😉
      I’d offer a digital hug, but as you’re touched out, I’ll stick with digital cookies. Not to mention gigantic amounts of coffee!

    • Daleth

      Seconding what KeeperOfTheBooks said. Formula is great. Combo feeding is great. Binkies are awesome. It is so great to have something that can soothe the baby that is not your aching nipple. It is so great to have a feeding method that enables the father, relatives or friends to feed the baby sometimes so that you can get some sleep or a shower, or whatever it is you need. Or even that just enables you to feed the baby without pain. Go ahead and do whatever you need to to make this easier for you. Baby will be fine.

    • Megan

      Aw, thank you guys for your support. You’re too kind. We are already supplementing wth formula. We have also used a paci with some success. Swaddling helps some too but for those few nights nothing seemed to work for very long except my boob. Last night was better. She was up every two hours but at least we weren’t up all night continuously. She also has had a stuffy nose; I think her sister has already (!!) gotten her sick. Anyway, I planned to give nursing a fair shot while hubby was off work since it’s going much better (as far as latch and supply) than last time, but I will stop if it gets to be too much. It’s just finding my limits. I’m still figuring that out. I did have hubby give her a bottle last evening before older daughter’s bedtime in lieu of a nursing session and she did seem more settled and I got to help with older daugter’s bedtime routine, which I cherish. I think we will continue that at least.

      • Inmara

        *internet hugs* Hang on there and hopefully your routine will improve. My baby was a comfort nurser for about 6 weeks, then his colic ceased and he started to sleep much better during the night, having longer naps and feedings formed somewhat reliable schedule. Those first weeks seemed like an eternity while going through but now are just distant memories. Not sure how I would feel if I were still breastfeeding and waking up to nurse not just to put pacifier back in baby’s mouth (and to kick husband so he goes to prepare bottle – at the moment we’re fluctuating between one night feed and sleeping through the night, fingers crossed!)

  • guest

    Okay Oliver, how about this: First YOU get up six times a night and attach a crying thing to your nipple which is so sore it makes your toes curl in pain just thinking about the next nursing session, and then you sit there nursing night after night, sometimes sitting in a puddle of urine that leaked out the diaper (no, you can’t get up – that would disrupt the baby’s latch), and other times sitting in a puddle of vomit from the mid-feed burping session that is required because the baby has reflux. (Don’t forget to change your sheets before you go back to sleep, btw), and some other times you’re only sitting in bedding slightly damp from breastmilk that leaked or sprayed from your nipples. And be careful – sometimes the baby bites down hard on that sore nipple!

    Where were we? Oh yes: don’t forget to stuff little crinkly pads in your bra both day and night, or else your bed will be completely soaked with leaked breast milk or your shirt drenched. And if after three months you want to go out with a friend to see a movie – don’t forget your breast pump! Because, you see, you can’t even go 2.5 hours without needing to pump to prevent A) leakage beyond what those pads and handle and B) rock hard breasts that are painful on top of the nipple pain. Have fun trying to keep the breast pump parts from touching anything in the public restroom that is the only place available to you to relieve yourself during this one night of enjoyment you’re allowing yourself.

    And, Oliver, you will be SO HUNGRY, ALL THE TIME. All your ideas about healthy eating will go right out the window because of THE HUNGER, and I know that will be particularly hard for you, but your body will be screaming at you to eat every carb in sight and you’ll be so sleep deprived you won’t have the willpower to resist.

    Anyway, after you do ALL THAT, Oliver, then you can tell me how “easy” breastfeeding is. Until that day, fuck yourself right off.

    • Chi

      Oh god I second that being hungry thing. Before I switched to formula I was surviving on pretty much chicken nuggets, chocolate and chips.

      Sooo healthy but they were all things I could eat one-handed while I was pinned to the couch by nursing baby 40 minutes out of every 60.

      • guest

        When it’s 3 AM and your body is telling you it’s starving *to death, OMG* (I think of my lactating body like a dramatic teenager, basically) you will eat whatever is the fastest satisfying thing available so you can be done with it and get back to sleep. Sometimes it was an apple, sure. But sometimes it was cookies.

        • BeatriceC

          “I think of my lactating body like a dramatic teenager, basically”

          I laughed so hard at this I spit coffee out of my nose. It’s so true. It’s the best description of how many (most?) women feel while lactating I’ve ever read.

          • guest

            Aw, thanks. Now if only my book editor felt the same way about my professional work…

  • BeatriceC

    Completely off topic: I think it was Who? that posted a while back about having a fear of getting fingers sliced off while ice skating. Just to contribute to nightmares, there was a nasty blade injury today at one of the arenas middle kid skates at. One skater tripped on a hole in the ice and went flying across the ice while at the same time another skater couldn’t stop a sit spin. The blade of the spinning skater made contact with the forearm of the fallen and sliding skater causing an extremely nasty gash. I don’t know what the final damage is, but I’m sure it’ll be at least several stitches and possibly surgical repair, depending on what tissues were sliced.

    • Who?

      Aagh never going near ice again! Hope everyone is okay.

  • Guest

    Easy? Seriously? I’m a UK-based first-time mother who spent three nights in hospital after a C-section last month. During my second night on the ward, I was bullied by the staff into breastfeeding continuously for a period of six hours until my nipples were badly bruised and bleeding (the community midwife who came out to see me at home on day five said she’d seen worse damage but not by much). By the end of the night, putting my baby on the breast honestly hurt more than the damn incision from my section. I’m guessing that my baby wasn’t latching on properly but I was struggling to find a feeding position that didn’t hurt my wound and the midwives were too short-staffed to give me any real guidance, so instead they just kept telling me to put her back on the breast and try again because she was still screaming with hunger. I started to fall asleep with her on the breast at 4am (as I was still too weak to put her back in the bedside crib without help) and was so upset by the thought that I could have harmed her if I hadn’t jolted awake that I cried all the next morning. The next night, I was eventually allowed a small cup of formula (together with warnings about the dire effects that it would have on my ability to breastfeed). I got myself discharged the following day, despite not yet feeling that my pain was manageable, because I couldn’t take another night like that. Thankfully, both the visiting midwife and the health visitor were much more helpful. They showed me how to improve my technique but said that the priority was that (a) my very hungry 10lb baby didn’t continue go hungry and (b) I got some rest so I could recover from the op, so if she needed a top-up I should give her one. I seriously think that they may have saved my sanity.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      I am so sorry.
      FWIW, I had a CS, too. No pain from that, except for one half-hour of breakthrough pain on postop day 2, came within miles of the pain I had while breastfeeding. Thank goodness for the visiting midwife and health visitor, two things I oh-so-much wish we had here in the US.

  • seashell

    Formula feeding saved me. I got no sleep at the hospital and was up for almost 4 days straight. We got home, my husband told me to get to bed and I slept for 13 glorious hours. During his 2 week paternity leave (10 days given, 4 more taken) he made sure I got as much sleep as possible so when he did return to work, I was as rested as could be. And when he got home, he took the baby to give me time to myself, whether to nap, or take a bath or just read. I love my husband, he saved my sanity and kept me from PPD, as I have a history of depression and lack of sleep is one of the main triggers.

    • guest

      I think I might be love with your husband too!

  • StThomas

    I found breastfeeding really easy. My wife, on the other hand…..

  • Deborah

    I think when something truly has been easy for you ( or in this case, your wife), it’s very easy to generalise and make assumptions that it must be easy for everyone else too. Add to that a general ignorance around the very real and myriad reasons why women choose to formula feed and viola! a sanctodaddy is born.

    • cookiebaker

      Right. By his logic, we can all be award winning chefs, too!

      • Christina Maxwell

        He’s an adequate chef, no more.

    • Megan

      Yeah, he sounds a lot like that commenter we had a while back who couldn’t understand (and didn’t want to understand) why women stopped breastfeeding because his wife had such an easy time of it.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        IIRC, that commenter was a doctor, his wife was a SAHM, and she spent a good bit of money that they wouldn’t miss at various lactation consultants and the like. No worries about returning to work, housework (that’s a guess, but not an unreasonable one, I think), etc.
        I can tell you that dropping $400/hour on a lactation consultant was bloody well not gonna happen here, and that’s with DH (I’m a SAHM, too) making pretty good money. At $400/hour, I expect you to give me a magic wand that’ll make Junior sleep 10 hours straight at night starting at 2 weeks old, clean my house, color and trim my hair, and water the lawn!

  • Sarah

    Of course breastfeeding is easy, when you have a wife to do it for you.

    • Sue

      Touche’ !

  • Dr Kitty

    Context: Jools Oliver, his wife, has just announced she is pregnant with baby #5.
    She has a hx of PCOS and conceived at least 2 of their children with Clomid.
    She has a mummy blog over at Gurgle.com and endorses a range of children’s clothing at Mothercare.
    Oh, and she wrote a pregnancy book.

    Here’s a review:
    https://motherporridge.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/save-your-sanity-do-not-buy-jools-olivers-pregnancy-book/

    • OBPI Mama

      I wonder how they would like it if I declared, “Getting pregnant is easy and convenient!” I have quite a knack for it, but unfortunately, breastfeeding was not in the cards due to hypoplasia/insufficient glandular tissue.

      • Marie

        I have quite the knack for getting pregnant too. I got knocked up 6 times in less than 3 years. So convenient.

        Staying pregnant is another story however.

        • OBPI Mama

          Oh man, I am sorry! That completely sucks. I had 2 miscarriages in between my 2nd and 3rd babies and by the time I got pregnant with my 3rd, I was just desperate to hold him in my arms. I have 5 kiddos, 8 and under. But the whole birthing (shoulder dystocia homebirth with injuries and then 4 C-sections) and breastfeeding problems sure showed me nature doesn’t give a crap about me… infact, it’s always trying to do away with me and my babies! Not using condoms is the convenient part of being pregnant for me… I hate those things. I really hope you get to hold a baby of yours in your arms soon. ((hugs))

          • Marie

            Aw thanks. I actually have a 4 month old son now. It was a rough road but worth it. He’s wonderful :).

          • demodocus

            Congrats on your son, especially after so much sorrow. My aunt was much the same. She didn’t even tell her mother she was pregnant the last time until she was 5 months along and she didn’t tell the rest of us until 3rd trimester. My cousin is the same age as my nephew.

        • cookiebaker

          Congratulations on your miracle baby! I’ve had 3 miscarriages and they’re so hard. Especially since they take the joy out of the next pregnancy, I was constantly watching for signs of miscarriage, afraid to tell anyone, any little twinge scared me.

    • cookiebaker

      If she has PCOS, how is breastfeeding effortless for her? Isn’t it tough to get a good supply? I have PCOS. I have no trouble conceiving, but a hell of a time breastfeeding.

      • Megan

        Supply can be low due to underlying insulin resistance, but a portion of PCOS women also can have oversupply, presumably from higher prolactin levels. I am personally one of the low supply PCOS moms but not all are that way.

        • Madtowngirl

          Interesting, I have elevated prolactin and I had low supply. I was just diagnosed with PCOS. It’s a little crazy what this condition does to the body. Of course, I never seem to present normally, so there’s that. 🙂

          • Megan

            Well, PCOS isn’t the best understood endocrine condition. I don’t think it’s exactly known why some, but not all women with PCOS have supply issues (hence why I said “presumably due to elevated prolactin” above). It would be nice if we had a better understanding of exactly why PCOS occurs, though we do know it has to do with elevated androgens and insulin resistance. Problem is, which came first? It’s at least partly genetic. I have also seen recent studies from my alma mater linking genetic markers for insulin resistance in breast tissue to low breastmilk supply specifically. So prolactin isn’t the only player at work. I just wish more research like this was being done rather than more confounded studies about how breast is “best.”

          • cookiebaker

            I read on another board of a PCOS mom who formula fed her daughter’s because she was afraid breastfeeding may cause PCOS in them. She made it sound like she was given that advice by an endocrinologist or some other kind of specialist. Could that really happen?

          • Megan

            I can’t think of any way that would be possible. Her daughter is fairly likely to have PCOS but that’s from her genes, not her breastmilk.

          • Madtowngirl

            I completely agree. I had always thought my difficulty with weight loss was just a slow metabolism. If I had known that it was actually a medical issue, I could have treated it sooner (and perhaps, gotten infertility help sooner). It’s too bad more research isn’t being done on issues like these.

        • cookiebaker

          Interesting. I had a moderate oversupply with my first 2 kids, but I was a normal weight and pretty young. The older I got and the heavier I got, the harder BF was, even with metformin. Pregnancy is relatively easy still, but I have low supply and the last 2 babies were unable to transfer milk. Some milk was there, but before-and-after weights showed they didn’t take in any. (No tongue ties, perfect latch.). I don’t know what changed, but my breasts are broken. Similac to the rescue!

          • Amy M

            I was diagnosed with PCOS, but I’m not sure if it affected my lactation. I did lactate, but since I was trying to exclusively pump, I don’t know how my boys would have done with straight up nursing. I wasn’t able to pump much, but that could have been the pump, the PPH, or the PCOS. Or some other factor. I didn’t spend much time worrying about it, just decided to stop pumping, but I did wonder what the real problem was.

        • Michele

          I have PCOS and I had substantial oversupply with both my kids. No idea if my prolactin levels are elevated or not though. I had trouble with conceiving and then with staying pregnant but no problem with supply. I remember reading somewhere (no idea where, or how accurate it was) that something like 30% of women with PCOS will have low supply, but another 30% actually have oversupply.

  • Zornorph

    I find the Breastapo doesn’t just oversell how ‘easy and convenient’ it is to breast feed, but they try to make it sound like formula feeding is a lot harder than it really is. For me it was simple – I had sixteen bottles so I never was short of clean ones. I had water that was perfectly safe – I didn’t have to boil it. LO didn’t need the formula warmed – he was quite happy with room temperature. For the most part, it would take me 60 seconds or less to get a bottle ready. Cleaning bottles was a bit of a pain but I had enough so I only had to do it once a day at most – as he got older, even less. Feeding is a bit tedious, but I think that’s the case with both breast or bottle – I watched a lot of things on my laptop while he was feeding. Even for those who freak out over bonding – at night I was generally shirtless as I sleep in the buff. What, did he have to actually have his lips on my skin for us to bond?
    And, of course, if somebody else wanted to feed him (or if I had to leave him with somebody) it was easy! And convenient! I never experienced a bit of pain in feeding him, either.

    • CSN0116

      Time spent feeding my 6-month-old yesterday:

      1st bottle: 6 oz warm tap water + 3 scoops and shake = 30 seconds
      Feeding = 15 minutes
      Rinsing bottle and popping it in the dishwasher = 30 seconds

      2nd bottle: 6 oz warm tap water + 3 scoops and shake = 30 seconds
      Feeding = 0 minutes for me, I was at work for this feed
      Rinsing bottle and popping it in the dishwasher = 30 seconds

      3rd bottle: 6 oz warm tap water + 3 scoops and shake = 30 seconds
      Feeding = 0 minutes for me, I was at work for this feed as well
      Rinsing bottle and popping it in the dishwasher = 30 seconds

      4th bottle: 6 oz warm tap water + 3 scoops and shake = 30 seconds
      Feeding = 15 minutes
      Rinsing bottle and popping it in the dishwasher = 30 seconds

      Then I ran the dishwasher before bed = 30 seconds to fill soap and push start

      Finally, I emptied her bottles onto the drying rack this morning to “start it all over” = 1 minute 30 seconds

      TOTAL INVESTMENT FOR ME IN 24 HOURS = 33 minutes 30 seconds

      • AirPlant

        But where do you account for the time you spent sobbing over your insufficiencies as a parent?

        • CSN0116

          LOL, right? Woe is me.

          Funny enough, the #1 thing my formula feeding buys me is MORE TIME WITH MY OTHER CHILDREN. I’m amazed that people fail to realize that sitting on a couch or bed for 18 hours a day to feed a newborn, when you have a 1, 2, 3, 4 whatever-year-old (or more) to care for as well …*might* not be OK, or healthy, or “worth it.”

          Formula feeding makes me a better mom to my other 4 children; children who are very real, with very real competing needs of their own.

          • StephanieA

            This is the biggest reason I stopped breastfeeding. When my husband is working I cannot spend hours sitting on the couch breastfeeding. My 2 year old needs attention, we need to eat, and I have low tolerance for a dirty house (not that it’s ever really clean). I also just wanted my body back to myself. Is that selfish? Maybe, but I’m much happier bottle feeding.

          • Sarah

            You should be breastfeeding your toddler, your husband and the house. Problem solved.

          • AA

            Oh, so THAT’S what the vacuum cleaner is for!

          • LeighW

            I have this vision of a woman running around her house, spraying breastmilk everywhere and laughing maniacally

          • Kelly

            And those other children can help. Imagine that.

      • Inmara

        I have tracked all feeds in an app, and it was delight to see how initial 8 hours a day EBF turned towards more reasonable numbers when we switched to combo-feeding and baby finally gained weight and strength and spent less time nursing/bottle feeding.

      • Marie

        I’m EBF my 4-month-old and I guarantee I spent more time and money on feeding yesterday than you did. Time feeding + extra money to feed me because BF makes me constantly hungry. It works for our family right now but it’s NOT more convenient than formula feeding.

        I actually like Jamie Oliver’s recipes but I’m giving him a major side-eye for this,

    • cookiebaker

      I’ve breastfed and bottle fed. There’s pros and cons to both, but a huge benefit of bottle feeding is the time! My BF babies would easily take 30-45 min to nurse, but the bottle babies typically take 10-15 min to eat.

      I agree that bottle washing and shopping for formula is not a big deal. As a busy mom, I already have mountains of dishes to do and groceries to shop for. A few bottles does not make a dent.

      My only issue is if I forget to put a bottle or two in the bag when I walk out the door. I try to keep 1 bottle of water and premeasured powdered formula in my bag all the time. Once I took my (then) 4yo to preschool, quick trip, I would only be gone 30 min and was coming straight home. I blew a tire 1 mile from my house with a baby that was starting to get hungry, no bottle in the bag and slippers on my feet. Fortunately an older lady took pity on my hugely pregnant self loading a baby in the stroller and offered me a ride home. So from now on, whenever I leave the house, I make sure to have a back-up bottle and real shoes on my feet.

    • Charybdis

      I concur. The lactivists make it sound like you are doing a complex chemistry experiment when you make up a bottle of formula. I didn’t fuss with boiling water, letting is cool and meticulously measuring out the formula, either the powdered version or the concentrated liquid version. I used bottled water for the first couple of months, then switched to tap water. I never heated it either. DS was happy to drink it at room temperature or cold.

      As for the bottle and nipple cleaning, well, that’s what a dishwasher is for. I used glass bottles and silicone nipples and they washed beautifully in the dishwasher. Plus, as he got older, he started to hold own bottle during feeding. He also was a colicky baby, so the ritual of “feed 2 oz, remove bottle, burp him, feed last 2 oz, burp again” got a bit harder as he would NOT want to let go of the bottle.

      I wonder if they have the slightest inkling of how easy it is to formula feed a baby. Probably not.

      • Glia

        Plus, the whole idea only even makes the slightest sense for those who actually are available for every single feed. If you pump, you still have to worry about cleaning bottles and nipples, preparing bottles (not that much difference in time between making a formula bottle and warming/remixing a breast milk bottle to get the fat off the side of the bottle and into the milk again), AND washing/sterilizing pump parts, remembering to take the pump parts/cooler/etc with you, and of course…actually pumping.

        • BeatriceC

          Actually, I found pumping and all the associated work far more time consuming than formula feeding, and not just by a little bit.

          • Kelly

            I was so excited when all the frozen milk was gone and I could feed my child formula. It was so much easier. Do they know how much time and effort it also takes to rotate, defrost milk, and warm them up. Our micowave is starting to rust from all of the water that spilled in it from warming up milk.

          • Glia

            Haha, me too! I’m only counting the “take bottle from fridge, run under warm water, mix” part of feeding expressed milk as similar to making a formula bottle. Pumping is like an extra part time job. A boring, uncomfortable one.

          • TG

            yes yes yes yes. and i refused to sterilize my pump. wash it after the last pumping session of the day, with a bottle brush, soap, and water. just like a bottle. still hate pumping. plus it’s not necessarily cheaper than formula!!!

      • BeatriceC

        My one baby who ate any significant amount of formula was almost 6 months old before I had to wean him (due to being pregnant with his little brother, and my body couldn’t handle both). By that point, he was trying to eat two day old french fries from the floor, ya know, the ones that the dog missed and I somehow missed when sweeping. He also liked to share his pacifier with the dog. Have you ever seen a mastiff with a pacifier in his mouth? It’s hysterical. Anyway, I was not really all that concerned with “sterile”. Tap water was quite good enough*. He did fuss if it wasn’t at least close to body temperature warm, but 10 seconds in the microwave followed by 5 seconds of vigorous shaking solved that problem.

        *Except right after a minor hurricane when my area was under a boil water order.

      • Megan

        I had a nurse berate me in the hospital for feeding my daughter cold formula. She said it upsets baby’s tummies. I told her it had caused no problems so far and that it was one less thing to do at home. She was pretty indignant about that. How dare I not do as much work as humanly possible to feed my baby??

        • Kelly

          I used to make my first daughter drink slightly frozen milk during the summer. By the time she was ready to finish it, it would be unfrozen. She did not care as long as she got milk. I told someone that and she was horrified. As long as the baby is not screaming and is drinking it, I don’t think how you serve it up is a problem.

        • TG

          yeah mine get it with straight tap water from age 2 weeks or less, and never warm. except in daycare. and by 7-8 months i expect them to take it from the fridge. also in the hospital nursery they use RTF formula and don’t warm it up!! (oh yeah, i don’t live in the US. formula where i am is _available_ in hospitals).

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Never seemed to bother DD, who started getting hers cold at about 2 weeks. It was 2 AM, I was heating up a bottle. DD was shrieking her head off because it was taking too long to warm up the bottle. In desperation, I shoved a cold bottle in her mouth, thinking it might distract her. She gave me a look that said, plain as day, “What took you so long, you idiot?” chugged it, burped contentedly, and went back to sleep a bit later. Oooookaaay then, no more warm bottles for you, I guess!

      • cookiebaker

        Lactivists also like to quote how much money someone would save by adding up the most expensive formula on the market. Where will you find the extra $250/month?!

        I’m lucky that my kids thrive on basic, powdered, generic formula at a whopping $50/month. While that still adds up, we spend way more than that per month feeding our teenage son. Yes, breastfeeding may save some money, but at some point they are going to have to spend money feeding their kids.

        • BeatriceC

          I have three teenage boys. My grocery bill is my single largest monthly expense. I laugh at the argument about how much it costs to formula feed. If you can’t spend money on feeding a newborn, how are you going to feed the kid once he starts eating solids?

      • fiftyfifty1

        “I wonder if they have the slightest inkling of how easy it is to formula feed a baby. Probably not.”

        Oh, they know. It’s a big part of what burns them up. Those lazy, nasty, formula feeding moms who take the easy way out! Probably the same damn ones who took the easy way out with the epidural!

        This is why they lie and say breastfeeding is easy and lie and say formula feeding is hard. Because they are certain that laziness is the reason for the choices of every woman who hasn’t chosen exactly as they have, and they are trying to trick them.

  • cookiebaker

    I’ve had varying success with breastfeeding. Even the times it did work, the first 2 weeks hurt like hell. I dreaded feeds. My mother described it as “make your toes curl and your hair stand on end” and she was spot on. I used breathing techniques like I was in labor to get through it.

    Then, the first 6 weeks were a sleep-deprived blur. I have no memories of some of my kids earliest weeks. There are pictures of those days, but I have no memories of the moments. We’d followed the no-bottles, no-pacifiers rules, so when baby cried, I was the only one who could do anything. It’s sad.

    Breasts leaking for months was not convenient.

    Never getting a break was not easy. My exclusively breastfed babies wouldn’t take bottles, so they HAD to go everywhere with me.

    So, yeah, breastfeeding was very easy and convenient for my husband, but not so much for me!

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      That’s what I was thinking – I’m sure breastfeeding IS easy and convenient – for Jamie Oliver!

    • Inmara

      During baby’s first weeks I couldn’t recall what happened in previous night, we could put it together only from smartphone app where we tracked all feeds and sleep. Only gradually switching to combo feeding gave us some sleep and helped to restore sanity. Also, I truly appreciated the option to go somewhere by myself and leave baby with husband (who is perfectly capable to feed, change, entertain and soothe him).

    • attitude devant

      LOL!. My husband was a Freudian therapist (I’m old) and when I gave up BFing because of supply issues he insisted that I STILL had to do all the feeds…..because Freud. Or something.

      • cookiebaker

        When my formula fed babies were little, they’d take a bottle from anyone, but the older they got, they ate best for me, so yeah, I was still stuck with all the feeds. So that’s Freud’s fault, huh?

  • MaineJen

    Yeah, if you are a stay at home parent and you have ample supply and your kid has a good latch and you are home 100% of the time so you can drop everything and feed the baby each and every time he/she is hungry…then it *might* be easier and cheaper to breastfeed. In literally any other situation, it’s not.

    • critter8875

      That was my mother’s situation in the 1950s.

    • fiftyfifty1

      Well, that and if you are in a developing country without clean water or commercial formula. But otherwise, I agree.

  • AirPlant

    It is amazing how many men fail to grasp how emotionally fraught breastfeeding talk can be. Maybe it is that they have never had to put themselves in a position where they imagine themselves attempting to breastfeed, but I have heard the most callous things come out of their mouths at times. The most mild is men who say that women should “Just Breastfeed” as if it is the simplest most obvious solution, but then there are men who say much harsher things. Like there was a woman a few years back who got stuck in one of those hours deep winter snow traffic jams in the southern US and she didn’t have any formula and her baby ended up getting pretty sick. My coworker had the story up on his PC and just started chuckling and said “Should have breastfed” and I was just like “OMG WTF YOU DON’T KNOW HER LIFE”. I even had an ex of mine tell me that my breastfeeding our imaginary kids was non negotiable and that he would throw out any formula that the mother of his kid tried to bring home.
    I almost feel like the men of America have lost opinion privileges on anything related to the female end of reproduction.

    • demodocus

      Thankfully, there are exceptions. Hopefully quite a few, but I do know one in particular.

      • BeatriceC

        I know a few. My father is just “pro feed the baby”, no matter how that happens. MrC also doesn’t give a crap how babies are fed, as long as they’re fed. Hopefully my boys will have the same attitudes when they’re adults.

    • namaste863

      I see why he’s your ex.

    • Roadstergal

      Good point, and I think it’s part of a general lack of grasping of emotional issues around bodily autonomy.

      Think of all of those guys who, when confronted about the harassment women endure walking down the street, yammer about how much THEY would like it if women would catcall THEM…

      And of course, the whole abortion/birth control thing.

  • mostlyclueless

    What a fucking dick.

  • Commander30

    Also, if it’s so easy and convenient, why do so many women need the help of lactation consultants to even get there? Why do a number of women who DO make use of an LC STILL ultimately quit and make the switch to formula?

    • mostlyclueless

      Didn’t you know? LCs only exist because Big Medicine has brainwashed women into not trusting their bodies. If they just had a better attitude about breastfeeding it wouldn’t be hard at all!

      • AirPlant

        We have forsaken the sisterhood. Now we must rebuild. By paying internet sancitmommies* to judge us via Skype.
        *not all LC

        • Roadstergal

          There is nothing more convenient or natural than Skypeshaming.

          • AirPlant

            So sayith my mother.

    • Tokyobelle

      No LC available where I live, but a nurse who worked with me to overcome my BF struggles said the exact same thing to me. If it were easy and effortless, why is such a profession necessary? BTW, she has an excellent reputation for helping women with bf in our community even though she is not an LC. Ultimately, she struck me as very knowledgable about bf, and also led me to the decision to quit. In retrospect, I suspect that she won’t seek LC credentials because she’s not a lactation über-alles kind of woman.

  • Mel

    My brother-in-law made the mistake of parroting most of those lines to my pregnant sis-in-law in front of me and got the following answers:
    1) Babies need colostrum for their immune system. A: Humans aren’t cows; cows need it badly but human babies actually have a partially functional immune system unlike bovines.

    2) It’s cheaper. A: Only if you are very lucky and don’t count things like milk storage stuff and breast pads.

    3) It’s easier. A: Easy to say when you won’t have the kid strapped to your breast.

    4) It’s really important. A: Well, a guy in Indonesia managed to start to lactate for one of his daughters after his wife died in childbirth with another daughter. Look it up and do what he did and you may be able to breastfeed the baby if it is so important.

    In all fairness, my bro-in-law is awesome, but a very new and very nervous father-to-be so he’s a bit less skeptical than he would normally be.

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      Also it’s only cheaper if one thinks that the breastfeeding woman’s time is worth nothing.

      • Dr Kitty

        The 500 calories of extra food a nursing mother requires every day aren’t free either. Nor are nursing bras.

        • demodocus

          especially when you have to mail-order, because no store around you sells your new cup size.

          • An Actual Attorney

            Speaking of, got a source for H cups that actually support and aren’t hideous?

          • Christina Maxwell

            Bravissimo.

          • Dr Kitty

            Bravissimo is where I get mine.
            The choice isn’t wide, but what they have is good.

          • AA

            herroom.com

          • demodocus

            No. but then i don’t notice hideous, and neither does the only other person whose opinion matters.

          • An Actual Attorney

            Fair enough. I’ll settle for support. And not itchy. Seriously, I need underwires and solid materials. Or I end up with a black eye.

          • Megan

            I would suggest Panache or Fantasie. You can find both at herroom.com

          • Megan

            They aren’t nursing bras though. In that case, maybe Cake brand? Not sure of their exact size range.

          • Juana

            I can only recommend not to limit yourself to nursing bras even if you need them. I still haven’t found ones that a) have underwires and the shape I need, b) aren’t hideous and c) are affordable (2 out of 3, at the max).
            The best choice so far was to rebuild nice fitting non-nursing bras into nursing bras. Of course that works best if you don’t need those a-frame constructions many nursing bras have, but can make do with an elastic strip at the side to keep the straps from slipping away. (Clear silicone elastic works best, and you don’t have to bother with colour-matching.) I cut some nursing clasps from the cheapest bras I could find and incorporated them into my nicer bras.
            Really, if I were forced into those hideous shapeless white cotton thingies in order to breastfeed, I might have stopped already.

          • An Actual Attorney

            Can you please explain a little more? I’m not a crafter or seamstress, so I’m not really picturing what you are saying. Maybe I can find someone to do this for me.

          • Juana

            I would be making photos of my bras, but I don’t know where to put them online anonymously.
            But I’ve found some tutorials that use the same method:
            http://hourglassy.com/2011/03/boobs-and-babies-diy-nursing-bras/
            http://blogs.babycenter.com/tips_and_tricks/diy-the-uncrafty-moms-nursing-bra-conversion/
            http://quietudeblog.blogspot.de/2012/10/new-and-improved-diy-nursing-bra.html
            (hope the linking works automatically…)
            For a source for nursing clasps, Sewy Sassy was mentioned somewhere, plus I found this: https://www.ribbonsnsupplies.com/product/5-8-nursing-bra-clips/ (even have them in clear plastic! I only got them in black from another shop back then.)
            The only difference is that I use clear elastic (that stuff that’s used for “invisible” bra straps), so I don’t have to bother about colour matching fancy lime green or teal.
            I accidentally found out that you don’t even need nursing clasps if your bra happens to have detachable straps – just had put on the elastic and call it a day.

          • An Actual Attorney

            Thanks!! Now I understand. I might even try it.

    • LaMont

      I don’t mind* someone being ignorant and parroting what has sadly become “common knowledge” but if they then proceed to dig in once informed, that’s the real problem… *generally – as someone who hasn’t had children I can’t speak to specific issues of unsolicited parenting advice, etc.

  • BeatriceC

    After some initial discomfort and and, with my oldest, a few little troubles learning to latch, I did find breastfeeding “easy and convenient” with my older two. But the kicker here is that there were those early troubles. My mother, who’s not a very nice person otherwise, was wonderful during those early days, assuring me that the pain I was feeling was normal an okay, and it would most likely go away in a few weeks. She’s also the one who convinced me it was okay to give my oldest a little formula while we were still working things out. The thing is, I succeeding in breastfeeding not one, but two babies (the third never learned to latch properly and ate expressed breast milk from a bottle), because my mother was honest about the realities of learning to breastfeed and supportive even when it wasn’t going well. When I was having trouble, she’d say things like “that’s okay, it’s hard to learn how to do this”, and “no worries, both of you are learning a new skill, give it time.”. There was never a single hint of judgement, and I honestly think I would have given up long before it became “easy and convenient” if she wasn’t around to help me like she did (including those few formula bottles in the beginning).

  • Glia

    Easy and convenient for whom, friend? Not the person who is obligated to handle every single feed around the clock for 6 months, surely? Men, in particular, probably shouldn’t make this claim. “It is SO CONVENIENT for you to breastfeed all goddamn night (while I sleep)!”

    • MaineJen

      Anyone else have a significant other who is a prima donna when it comes to sleeping (must have complete blackness, complete silence and be completely surrounded by pillows) and is woken up by every little noise EXCEPT FOR THE SOUND OF THE BABY CRYING. I swear to god, his sleep is *ruined* by anything except the baby monitor. It’s uncanny, really. (And by “uncanny,” I mean “rage-inducing.”)

      • demodocus

        Thankfully, not me. He still gets up when the toddler has a nightmare or falls out of bed (up graded only a few weeks ago)

        • Kelly

          My toddler only wanted her dad when she woke up a few nights ago. It was a nice break.

          • demodocus

            Here Daddy is preferred at night so much that my husband gets anxious that the kid is mad at him when he wants Mommy instead.

          • Tokyobelle

            And this is one of the things that pisses me off about the whole NCB or AP thing: they imply that men are useless and inept at childcare, and I’m sorry, but I have a higher opinion of men than that. Prior to having our son, guess who had babysat a lot as a teen and had a lot of experience with changing diapers and caring for babies? My husband! He’s amazing with our son and though I’m disappointed I couldn’t bf, an upside is that he gets to feed and bond with our boy, and I absolutely want my son to grow up seeing that so that he can be the same kind of father to his own children one day. Daddy’s are amazing!

      • YES

        YES. YES. Resounding YES.

      • nomofear

        Bwahaha me, I want it pitch-black, I don’t like noise, and yes, if the volume isn’t cranked on the monitor, I will sleep through her crying – and I’m mom! A few weeks ago she slept through the night and I thought oh yay, she’s getting there! The fact that it hasn’t happened since then, however, makes me suspect that she did wake up that night, and I just didn’t hear her. Poor kid

      • Dr Kitty

        I have one of those.
        The worst is when he complains about being woken up when I get back into bed…after spending 20 minutes feeding and soothing a crying baby…for the second time since we went to bed, and he has been completely oblivious.

        He’s sleeping in the spare room tonight, because he’s running a half marathon tomorrow and “needs his sleep”.

        Thankfully, he has other redeeming qualities.

      • Glia

        I’m the light sleeper, he’s the heavy sleeper. We have dealt with this by assigning shifts. I am always the one that wakes up when the baby cries, but during his shift, I just have to poke him and say “your turn” and he has to go take care of the baby. If we went by who woke up first, he’d never take the baby at night ever.

        • Kelly

          Me too. Except the other night the baby woke up three times and I did not hear a single thing. He got up and took care of her and I am very glad he did as I obviously really needed the sleep.

    • namaste863

      Right on! The burden of every single feed is solely on the mother. How convenient can it possibly be? Especially if you need to actually get a halfway decent night of sleep because you have a boss who expects you to show up at least semi-functional in the morning?

      • Sarah

        It can be very convenient indeed, if you happen not to be the mother.

    • seashell

      My husband and I have a deal – Sunday through Thursday I get up at night, since I don’t work and he does. Friday and Saturday nights he gets up and I sleep. He wanted to take on more during the week but he has a sucky drive and I need him as alert as possible to get there and back alive. He takes the baby in the evenings when he gets home for a few hours, and takes one day off a month to give me a break.

      • cookiebaker

        That sounds like a great arrangement! A supportive spouse makes things so much easier and more enjoyable. As the at-home parent, I’ve always done the night feeds. My husband lets me sleep in when he can, but we have 6 kids and if they’re awake, we often need all hands on deck.

      • Chi

        My hubby and I did a similar thing when our daughter was born. He took the two weeks after she was born off, then basically used the rest of his annual leave to work Mon-Thurs for like 3 or 4 weeks. Which meant Thurs/Fri/Sat nights he was able to get up and change the baby then bring her to me for her feed.

        Once we switched exclusively to formula he took night feedings on the weekends until she gave them up and basically slept right through.

        Nowadays (she’s nearly 2), he gets up with her on weekday mornings, gets her dressed and feeds her breakfast before waking me up at 8am to take over so he can go to work.

        This only works for us however because he is able to work from home.

        Oh and on weekends, we each take one day (by prior negotiation) where the other gets up and is on kid duty while the other parent gets a sleep in.

        This works surprisingly well for us. I am so fortunate to have a husband who is really determined to be hands on and involved and not shy away from the messy stuff.

      • Tokyobelle

        While I’m out on maternity leave, my husband and I have the same arrangement, and it’s been a lifesaver! I never had to ask for it, he suggested it to me and encouraged me to go out on a girl’s night 3 weeks post-partum. We’ve been talking about how we’ll split the duties once I do go back to work in a month and for now, he’ll take the early morning feeds as he’s a morning person and I’ll get the late feeds, as I am not.

    • Chi

      Mansplaining at its finest.

  • Heidi

    I definitely feel like more than 5% of women don’t make enough milk. I know I don’t. But I didn’t inform any scientific or research body of this. So how do they even come up with these numbers? I mean, I didn’t make enough to breastfeed exclusively, didn’t want to starve my baby, got some formula and never looked back. In the meantime, I tried different sized breast flanges, nipple shields, power pumping, not power pumping, pumping once an hour, pumping every two hours, letting the baby nurse my empty breast to stimulate production, drank some mother’s milk tea, took fenugreek (which made my sweat smell like maple syrup but in a gross way)…nothing changed.

    Even if there is some medication I could take that would allow me to EBF, that definitely isn’t natural and has its own set of side effects, which I am not okay with. My baby thrives on his Up&Up formula and 8 oz of breast milk a day and we are both happy and healthy. I’m no longer sleep deprived nor resenting my beautiful baby.

    • Valerie

      Yeah, seriously, I tried to find data for this 5% number (which has been around a long time) and posted about it on here a few weeks ago. There isn’t good-quality evidence that I was able to find in the medical literature- the best I found was a study finding 15% made insufficient milk, despite the best possible intervention and counseling, and the author later judged that about a third of them were primary lactation problems. Also, that study was not designed to get an unbiased sample of women. Nothing else I found had any data supporting it- just personal estimation, or a citation sinkhole. I’m curious if anybody knows where this comes from originally.

      • Heidi

        I’m also of the belief the secondary causes can be just as valid of a reason not to breastfeed and be just as difficult to overcome. Well, I actually think just not liking it, not wanting to do it, whatever your reason is absolutely valid.

        • Valerie

          Yeah, I don’t see the difference between being physically capable to make enough milk only under impossibly ideal circumstances and being physiologically unable to make milk. If the best of modern medicine and technology can’t get enough milk out of the breast to feed a baby, it’s kind of meaningless to make that distinction. When people trot out that 5%, they aren’t talking about a possible future world with ideal pumping and medication regimes that would theoretically make it possible for those 10% to produce enough- they mean to pretend that nearly all women have adequate supply if they just stick with it and do it right.

      • AirPlant

        I had heard that the 5% was just women with IGT. It doesn’t account at all for women who produce something, but not enough for the baby to thrive.

        • Valerie

          I can’t find data for it, though. Do you have a citation? The best I found was this-

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2288566

          • swbarnes2

            Can you cite the relevant line from that? I can’t read the orignal paper, and it looks like women with breast surgery might be mixed up in the % of women with breastfeeding problems. Those women count of course when talking about the success of breastfeeding across the whole population (assuming that the % in the sample is representative of the whole population), but that number might be high when discussing women who haven’t had surgery like that.

          • Valerie

            Sure. It’s actually in here, a review by the same author:

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11339153

            “In a prospective study of lactation outcome measured by weight gain in infants exclusively fed breast milk, 15% of healthy primiparous women were deemed to have insufficient lactation at 2 to 3 weeks postpartum [cites original study]. At least two thirds of cases were judged to be secondary breastfeeding problems rather than primary.”

            In that study, they weren’t trying to recruit women who had breast surgery or women who struggled to breastfeed- their sample was healthy first-time moms who planned to breastfeed exclusively their healthy singleton babies. Of the 319 women who met the criteria and stuck with the study, 10 of them had had the periareolar incision that the authors found was likely to cause problems, and 6 of those had insufficient lactation. If you only include the women who did not have any breast surgery, it was 39/297, or ~13%.

            And I’ll include this quote from their conclusions, because although it’s not a terribly clean or large dataset, it’s the best I could find that actually looked at the breasts and some marker of their production (infant weight gain), rather than assume that insufficiency was only imagined and to be corrected with education.
            “In every organ system an obvious relationship exists between function and anatomic variation. For lactation, however, the disproportionate emphasis on psychosocial and behavioral factors appears to have overshadowed the fundamental role of biologic and surgical breast variables on lactation sufficiency.”

          • Inmara

            The last paragraph is so spot on! “Insufficient supply is in your head, so try harder” is something we hear all to often.

          • Valerie

            From what I can tell, that attitude is pervasive and baseless.

            Here is a review on perceived insufficient milk, which is apparently a large factor in why women switch to formula:
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19094151
            These authors acknowledge that the mothers might have actual insufficient supply, but they still do not consider that it can’t be remedied by education (eg, teaching them that they do have enough or teaching them that supplementing/smoking/something else they are doing is sabotaging their supply).

            ‘Breastfeeding–managing ‘supply’ difficulties.’
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16969436
            They put ‘supply’ in quotes because it appears that they believe that insufficiency that can’t be corrected with maternal behavior is only 1 in 1000.

          • AirPlant

            I think I might have read that here so I would file my statement under internet hearsay. Sorry!

    • Daleth

      Only one of my boobs made enough milk to satisfy a baby. Since I had twins, that wasn’t going to cut it…

  • demodocus

    Even if in the virtually impossible event that Oliver has breastfed an infant, his experience would be an anecdote. I didn’t find it easy or particularly convenient, and i was unemployed.

    • demodocus

      results vary, of course

    • Heidi

      Agreed! I’m a SAHM, and I was becoming sleep-deprived and very frustrated at nursing struggles. I can’t even imagine if I had to go to work. There’s absolutely no way I could have squeezed in all that pumping and nursing. And although work places have to allow women to pump, it’s a non-paid break.

      • Amy M

        I gave up trying to pump after a month, and husband and I were taking shifts to bottle feed the boys, yet I still ended up sleep deprived. I probably would have been hallucinating if I’d had to do all the feeds, and not just half. Sleep deprivation is definitely not taken seriously enough, and sometimes, the stories people tell here about their experiences with BFHI seem to indicate that some lactivists believe mothers should be as sleep-deprived as possible. After all, we always hear about how using formula so you can get some more sleep is so lazy and selfish.

        • Heidi

          Yeah, I’ve been holding the baby with the bottle for the 3rd time in the middle night, alternating shifts feeding him with my husband, and thought to myself there is absolutely no way I wouldn’t fall asleep if I had to do all the feedings and if it had to be by my breasts! I have this crazy belief that it’d be better for my baby to survive infancy than it would be to exclusively breastfeed a baby who got suffocated in the middle of the night!

        • Glia

          If I should be lucky enough to have another baby, and unlucky enough that said baby has a similar sleep pattern as my first, we are going to do partially formula at night, so that we can do shifts and I can get a good chunk of sleep at night. My kid didn’t even start to night wean, forget about sleeping through the night, until 10 months, and I was EXHAUSTED. My brain felt like it was full of smog. The backs of my eyes itched. I would sit at work and feel like my skin was wobbling.

          I also don’t think the amount of stress I felt at trying to get enough milk pumped during the day to not need to supplement was worth it. Next time, I will pump what I can pump (which seems to have pretty much a hard limit no matter how many sessions I do), and add a bottle of formula if necessary.

          • Kelly

            We do shifts. When the baby is first born, I stay up late and feed the baby, my husband takes the next feed and then I get the early morning one. That way we both get at least a four hour window in which we are not getting up. He works so I take more of the feeds but he helps when needed. Then as the baby drops feeds, we each do one, then when they get up once a night, we switch nights. This has helped keep the majority of the sleep deprivation at bay. Of course, we also have gotten lucky three times with good sleepers and that makes a huge difference as well. During the first two weeks when my mom was helping, she would take care of the kids while I took one or two naps depending on the day. Before when I tried to breastfeed and I was doing it all on my own, I felt just like you. I would also spend most of the time switching between sobbing and anger. I think shifts and bottle feeding make me a better mom.

    • Glia

      Yeah, exactly. I pumped at work for 11 months. “Easy and convenient” are not the words I would have chosen to describe it. Though at the time I would definitely have some choice words for anyone who described it that way, especially someone who’d never done it.

      • demodocus

        lol, like the adolescents who scorn my toddler’s harness and tether. Other parents leave us be. It’s the ones who’ve got 4 beard hairs and think they know all.

        • AirPlant

          Natural consequences! Like when they run into the street and get hit by a car and die!

        • Mel

          The only time I got super-judgy was when we were in Yellowstone Nat’l Park in the active geothermal areas and people had active young children who weren’t physically tethered to a parent.

          Normally, losing track of a kid for a few seconds is no big deal. In an area with boiling pools of superheated water, you need to have one hand per kid per second…..

          • Kelly

            There are certain times to judge that all people, regardless of their experiences, can tell is just not a good idea. I think everyone would agree that this would be one of those times.

        • Kelly

          I would love to have those kids try and take on my toddler on a shopping excursion without tying her down in some way.

  • Taysha

    Food is perfectly natural, yet we still wash, peel, chop, cook, sautee and grill.

    Perhaps because not all natural food is good, or works well for us and we change it to what works best for us?

    Ironic that a chef who alters perfectly good “natural” food is pushing this agenda.