Claiming formula manufacturers are waging war against breastfeeding is like claiming birth control manufacturers are waging war against pregnancy

sweet letters war

It’s the central conceit at the heart of contemporary lactivism, and it serves as a justification for the shaming tactics so beloved of lactivists.

It’s the fantasy that the formula industry has been waging war on breastfeeding and it’s a lie.

Women use formula for the same reason that women use birth control; it allows them to determine when and how they wish to use their reproductive organs.

Don’t get me wrong; formula manufacturers are trying to make money. And, yes, decades ago they engaged in deceptive practices to convince women in developing countries to formula feed; but there was never a similar campaign in industrialized countries for a very simple reason — women there couldn’t or wouldn’t breastfeed long before formula even existed.

Formula was not created as a substitute for breastfeeding; it was created as a substitute for the raw animal milk women were already using as a substitute for breastfeeding.

As Jacqueline Wolf explains in the chapter Saving Babies and Mothers: Pioneering Efforts to Decrease Infant and Maternal Mortality, in the book Silent Victories: The History and Practice of Public Health in Twentieth Century:

The custom of feeding cows’ milk via rags, bottles, cans and jars to babies rather than putting them to the breast became increasingly common in the last quarter of the nineteenth century progressed… In 1912, disconcerted physicians complained bitterly that the breastfeeding duration rate had declined steadily since the mid-nineteenth century “and now it is largely a question as to whether the mother will nurse her baby at all. A 1912 survey in Chicago … corroborated the allegation. Sixty-one percent of those women fed their infants at least some cows’ milk within weeks of giving birth.

And the results were deadly:

The late nineteenth century urban milk supply killed tens of thousands of infants each year. Unpasteurized and unrefrigerated as it journeyed from rural dairy farmer to urban consumer for up to 72 hours. cows’ milk was commonly spoiled and bacteria-laden. Public health officials dramatically charged that in most U.S. cities, milk contained more bacteria than raw sewage …

Those death rates did not start falling until cows’ milk was replaced by infant formula, which more closely matches the composition of human milk, is uncontaminated and is very convenient to buy, store and use.

It’s a very important, albeit inconvenient truth about breastfeeding:

There were always large numbers of women who couldn’t or wouldn’t breastfeed.

Why? The answer is another inconvenient truth about breastfeeding:

Many women find breastfeeding to be difficult, painful and inconvenient. Others may wish to breastfeed but don’t make enough milk to fully nourish a growing baby.

Infant formula finally made the widespread use of breastmilk supplements safe. Formula manufacturers didn’t need to convince women to forgo breastfeeding; they just made it safe to do so.

But wait! Why do formula manufacturers still advertise extensively in industrialized countries? It’s for the same reason that birth control manufacturers advertise: to claim market share.

Manufacturers of various formulations of The Pill, condoms and diaphragms aren’t engaged in a war on pregnancy. Women themselves WANT to regulate their fertility. They don’t want to subject themselves to a dozen pregnancies across a reproductive life and they don’t want to raise a dozen children. No one needs to convince women to prevent pregnancy; the market for birth control encompasses just about every woman of reproductive age in every country. The issue for women is not IF they are going to use birth control, but WHICH form of birth control they are going to use. That’s why purveyors of birth control advertise.

Formula manufacturers advertise for the same reason. The issue is not IF women are going to use breastmilk substitutes; many will choose to do so regardless. The issue is which brand to use. It’s the same reason why formula companies give free samples of their product. Contrary to the lactivist fantasy that formula samples are aimed at seducing women away from breastfeeding, the industry is not worried about IF women will use formula; it’s concerned about WHICH formula brand they are going to use.

Lactivists have used this fantasy of formula manufacturers warring against breastfeeding to justify their tactics of grossly exaggerating the benefits of breastfeeding, pretending there are “risks” to formula feeding, invoking shaming language to pressure women into breastfeeding, and coming up with Orwellian programs like the “Baby Friendly Hospital Inititiative” to force new mothers to breastfeed. And, in doing so, they are engaged in a war against women.

Women use formula for the same reason that women use birth control; it allows them to determine when and how they wish to use their reproductive organs. Lactivists oppose formula for the same reason that religious fundamentalists oppose birth control. Fundamentalists believe no woman should have sex unless there is a chance for pregnancy and lactivists believe no woman should give birth unless she plans to breastfeed.

In both cases, what is at stake is not the wellbeing of babies, but the rights of women.

  • Lara Holmes

    Hello every one in this forum, my name is Lara Holmes from Nashville, Tennessee, USA. I am here to give my testimony about a herbal doctor who helped me in curing hvs2. Am very glad to be sharing this with everyone in here for the marvelous work Dr. Udo has done in my life, 6months ago i was diagnosed of herpes virus and ever since i have been very unhappy, i was so down broken everyday, until one day when i came across a shocking testimony about how Dr. Udo cured someone of her herpes virus, without wasting much time i contacted him immediately on his email address: udoherbalhomeofcure@gmail.com after i explain myself to him about how terrible i have been, and he assured me that he will help me to cure my herpes virus, after he has prepared the herbal medicine he sent it to me through UPS delivery services and when i received it and started using it i was totally cure within 2weeks, i am forever grateful to Dr. Udo for helping me out with his herpes prescription that cured my herpes virus. Contact him today if you’re facing the same problem as i was on his email address: udoherbalhomeofcure@gmail.com or you can call his Mobile:+2348110141087 visit his website at: (www.udoherbalhomeofcur.wixsite.com/udocure)

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  • BeatriceC

    Completely OT, but funny:

    The Evil Attack Parrot ™ is a very opinionated bird. One of the issues of which he has very strong opinions is MrC’s wardrobe. In the opinion of EAP(tm), MrC is only allowed to wear jeans and short sleeve shirts. If MrC wears long sleeved shirts, he’s grumpier than usual. If MrC wears shorts he’s downright agitated. Deity forbid MrC wear shorts and *no* shirt.

    So today MrC was cleaning out the pool. Given that it was nearly 90F outside, MrC put on his swim trunks and didn’t put on a shirt. EAP(tm)’s reaction would have made a great addition to the movie “The Exorcist”. He was hanging upside down from the top of his cage, spreading out his tail feathers, poofing up his body feathers and spinning his head in as close to a 360 as a bird can do (which is actually really, really close), while making one of the most frightening noises I’ve ever heard him produce.

    Unfortunately, by the time I got video running, he’d stopped. Ugh.

    • CCL (Crazy Cat Lady)

      EAP(tm) needs a blog. Perhaps a YouTube channel.

      This could be your path to riches!

      • BeatriceC

        Lol. He’s camera shy, so a YouTube channel would be difficult. He’s a great bird and provides no end of amusement, even if he is evil.

        • Azuran

          Mine is the same, can’t ever film her. It’s like she knows when I’m filming her.

          • BeatriceC

            I’m not the only one! I thought I was going crazy! I can take still pictures, but the second I switch the camera over to video he stops doing whatever it was he was doing. I use my phone for both still pictures and video, so I have no idea how he knows which setting I have it on, but he *just knows*. It’s infuriating!

    • Lara Holmes

      Hello every one in this forum, my name is Lara Holmes from Nashville, Tennessee, USA. I am here to give my testimony about a herbal doctor who helped me in curing hvs2. Am very glad to be sharing this with everyone in here for the marvelous work Dr. Udo has done in my life, 6months ago i was diagnosed of herpes virus and ever since i have been very unhappy, i was so down broken everyday, until one day when i came across a shocking testimony about how Dr. Udo cured someone of her herpes virus, without wasting much time i contacted him immediately on his email address: udoherbalhomeofcure@gmail.com after i explain myself to him about how terrible i have been, and he assured me that he will help me to cure my herpes virus, after he has prepared the herbal medicine he sent it to me through UPS delivery services and when i received it and started using it i was totally cure within 2weeks, i am forever grateful to Dr. Udo for helping me out with his herpes prescription that cured my herpes virus. Contact him today if you’re facing the same problem as i was on his email address: udoherbalhomeofcure@gmail.com or you can call his Mobile:+2348110141087 visit his website at: (www.udoherbalhomeofcur.wixsite.com/udocure).

  • Amazed

    OT: Close to me, a breastfeeding mother is “waging war against breastfeeding”, as many would no doubt call it. My SIL breastfeeds easily and quickly (seriously ,the kid is full in about 15 minutes) but if they’re in public , she covers herself and Amazing Niece so thoroughly that I’d easily walk past them without recognizing them. Actually, in the one picture I have of Amazing Niece having her lunch, all one can see is a dark shawl, two legs on both sides of a bench, an empty stroller, and a white thing in the depths of the shawl. With something that can be a hand holding it. Or not. At first, I didn’t know why they had sent me this picture. As far as I could see, there was no one there. Then, I saw the legs.

    I keep telling her that one of those days, she’ll get herself arrested because if a policeman comes over and asks her to remove the shawl just to see that she isn’t a man (tightened security and all), she’d rather be cuffed than letting anyone see her with her breast bared.

    Is that as bad as formula feeding? Is she against breastfeeding as well, like Dr Amy is, because she isn’t all “I don’t care at all who’s gonna see me” and somehow that makes her an enemy of feminism and all mothers who have breastfed, are breastfeeding and will keep breastfeeding from here till the end of Planet Earth?

    • Charybdis

      She just needs to get over *her* shyness. Nothin’ in the world more natcheral than a momma feedin’ her kid off the tit!!! People NEED TO SEE it, so that breastfeeding, anytime, anyplace and any age of kid is so completely normal that no one bats an eye at a boob in a infant/baby/toddler/4 year old’s mouth!! She can’t get her Breastfeeding Badge if she is covering up or being unobtrusive. /sarcasm

      Good for her. (this is the non-sarcastic part). She is doing what works for her and Amazing Niece (she’s not Treasure anymore?) and doing it how she wants, so everyone can go take a flying leap.

      When did just breastfeeding itself become less than optimal? I mean, first it was just breastfeed. Then it became breastfeed and pump so the baby can have breastmilk if you aren’t around. Then somehow pumping became “less than optimal” because the kid isn’t feeding straight from the tap. Then it was “find donor milk, even if it is from Craigslist or Freecycle”. Now, somehow, you have to breastfeed, all the time, in public, on center stage while making as big a production of it as you can and glaring hatefully at anyone who glances your way. It’s like the lactivists are never happy with anything.

      • Amazed

        Preach sister! Preach, and I’ll teach her! Tits for the win!

        Amazing Niece is still Treasure, and Mike, and Auntie’s Little Giraffe, and Auntie’s Little Kangaroo, and India Rubber-Plant, and what not! I have a trouble memorizing all of her names.

    • j.j.

      “Amazing”. She is a potato. Give it a few years.

  • Brooke

    I wonder how much formula companies pay for blog entries.

    • Azuran

      Zero.
      How much are the lactivists paying you per pointless post?

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I hope they aren’t paying anything, considering how bad she is at it.

        • Who?

          We both know that pay is often totally unrelated to quality of work.

          • Azuran

            Beside, we haven’t really seen any ‘good’ lactivist. But its hard to be good at defending your point when there are no actual real good arguments for your position.

          • Erin

            I think I might have met a ‘good’ lactivist today. The toddler group I go to has just joined with an NHS sponsored breast feeding peer support group. Not only did they bring home baking but no one mentioned evil formula, shit mums or anything negative.

            Was a pleasant surprise.

          • Azuran

            That awesome. I was probably too broad in my statement. It was directed at parachuting lactivists coming on the blog to argue that breast is always best no matter what and that formula kills babies.

          • Allie P

            I know they are hit and miss, but I actually loved my LLL local group. They were totally about helping moms who wanted to breastfeed as much as they could. If it was a few drops and I wanted to do it, they were there to help. The motto was “feed your baby”. They helped me find the right nipples for her bottle, feel not guilty about combo feeding, chuck the punishing, exhausting pumping schedule the evil lactation consultant had me on…

        • Roadstergal

          Formula companies should be paying her, for all the work she does to make the breastapo look silly.

    • Who?

      Oh Brooke honestly.

      It’s sad you think community, belief and communication is all about money.

    • CSN0116

      In that case you might want to switch teams and all…

      One month and over 100 shares later and you still have $0 for your vegan food truck enterprise 🙁

      • Madtowngirl

        Damn, I was really hoping I could get a job as a paid shill!

        • mabelcruet

          It would be brilliant-work from home, choose your own hours, flexitime..ooh, where do I sign up?

        • j.j.

          You may not be good enough at it, is the thing.

      • MaineJen

        Ouch

    • guest

      About as much as Medela pays you for blog comments.

    • Chi

      Wow. How cynical.

      I notice this is a trend with lactivists, antivaxxers etc. As soon as someone writes something that you don’t agree with, you start screaming shill in a desperate attempt to discredit them because you know you don’t have any real ‘evidence’ that what they’re saying is wrong.

      Dr Amy makes a very valid point in this article and you can’t deny the similarity.

      But by all means, do try to deny it. It’s been a slow day and I could use some entertainment.

      • Monkey Professor for a Head

        There should be a shill version of Godwin’s law. If accusing someone of being a shill is the best argument you have, then you’ve automatically lost.

    • MI Dawn

      Zero. I don’t get paid at all for comments about vaccines being good, formula being fine, and Obama being American.

      Next strawman, Brooke?

    • Megan

      Yawn. Why bother if this is the best you can do?

    • moto_librarian

      Probably as much as they pay for my comments. Which is zero.

      Shit, I wish they actually would pay me to be a shill. My job isn’t particularly lucrative, but I hope my students will be better at critical thinking than Brooke.

      • MaineJen

        I’m still waiting for my shill bucks.

    • Taysha

      I wonder who much La Leche League pays for harassing bloggers.

      • Lara Holmes

        Hello every one in this forum, my name is Lara Holmes from Nashville, Tennessee, USA. I am here to give my testimony about a herbal doctor who helped me in curing hvs2. Am very glad to be sharing this with everyone in here for the marvelous work Dr. Udo has done in my life, 6months ago i was diagnosed of herpes virus and ever since i have been very unhappy, i was so down broken everyday, until one day when i came across a shocking testimony about how Dr. Udo cured someone of her herpes virus, without wasting much time i contacted him immediately on his email address: udoherbalhomeofcure@gmail.com after i explain myself to him about how terrible i have been, and he assured me that he will help me to cure my herpes virus, after he has prepared the herbal medicine he sent it to me through UPS delivery services and when i received it and started using it i was totally cure within 2weeks, i am forever grateful to Dr. Udo for helping me out with his herpes prescription that cured my herpes virus. Contact him today if you’re facing the same problem as i was on his email address: udoherbalhomeofcure@gmail.com or you can call his Mobile:+2348110141087 visit his website at: (www.udoherbalhomeofcur.wixsite.com/udocure)..

  • CSN0116

    OT: Haha, my sister just shared this with me (though it looks like 2 years old?). Simply stopping a pacifier by 6-10 months of age cuts down on ear infections by 33%. For all of those concerned with this “$3 billion problem” there is hope, and ceasing the pacifier seems to do more than “breast feeding it away” even comes close to. Hooray!

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=117991

    • Who?

      My son had repeated ear infections and never went near a dummy, as we used to call them…

      • CSN0116

        Who the hell knows. I just found it a funny counter to the breastfeed-or-die rhetoric 😛

        • Who?

          Maybe Big Dummy has been keeping the connection quiet all this time.

          I heard someone talking about otitis media (sp?) in indigenous communities, just this morning. Permanent hearing damage is a real problem, apparently.

          • CSN0116

            Big Dummy …those evil pricks.

    • Chi

      For my sample size of N=1. My daughter has used a pacifier since she was about 3 months old (she’s 2) and hasn’t had a single ear infection.

      Maybe certain kids are more prone to them?

      • BeatriceC

        In my n=3 sample, 1/3 of them got more than one ear infection in their first 10 years of life. Oddly, it was the one kid that violently* refused to use a pacifier.

        *It’s really quite amazing how much air a pacifier can get when it’s spit out by a really angry baby.

      • Who?

        Some little ears seem to be more prone than others, perhaps narrow tubes, I don’t know.

        I had one with loads of bad ears, the other with none. At all.

        The one with bad ears has no fillings. The other has loads.

        The one with no fillings has straight hair. The other has curly.

        Curly hair has blue eyes; straight hair has brown eyes.

        Brown eyes has my body shape and his father’s eye colour; blue eyes has her father’s body shape and my eye colour.

        So interesting, so different.

        • Chi

          Yup. Genetics are weird.

      • Megan

        And my older daughter never used a paci (and had all breastmilk until 7 months) and has had three ear infections. None occurred until after she started going to daycare at a year old.

    • guest

      No mention of thumb-sucking, though.

    • cookiebaker

      My breastfed, no-pacifier kids got TONS of ear infections as well as plenty of colds, flu, diarrhea and stomach bugs.

      My formula fed, pacifier-sucking kids are never sick and never had an ear infection.

      Go figure.

    • Amy

      How’s that gonna help ME? I just turned 39 and I still get ear infections. I get more ear infections than my kids do.

      Also, I was breastfed until about 18 months.

  • Amy

    Interestingly enough, some of my religious ed teachers (I was raised Catholic) DID try and claim that “the contraception industry” (as if condom, pill, sponge, IUD, and diaphragm manufacturers are all one company) were INSULTING us by trying to convince us we couldn’t control, and I’m not making this up, our “animal instincts.” Fortunately, my parents were there to counted this nonsense and remind me that I was in religious ed so as not to upset THEIR parents.

    My own children were baptized in my husband’s mainline Protestant church, and we currently attend a very theologically liberal denomination.

    But yeah, there are people who make the same claims about birth control. The difference is that they’re on the fringes, members of the Quiverfull movement and very religious Catholics. (Most surveys put the number of Catholics using birth control as in line with the general population.)

    • MaineJen

      See, that’s what’s so confusing to me. HOW is it helpful to follow a religion when the teachings/rules do not IN ANY WAY apply to or help you in your real life? Most Catholics have premarital sex, use birth control, many get divorced etc. But they are still Catholic. Why?

      • Rachele Willoughby

        I think that many people plan to “stop sinning” the way their non-religious contemporaries plan to start going to the gym or stop watching so much tv. It’s an aspirational fantasy.

      • AirPlant

        I think it is one part cultural, (like it would kill your grandmother if you stopped going to church etc.) and one part a question of who gets punished for going against the party line. In my Lutheran experience the vast majority of the kids could do whatever they wanted without any kind of social sanction. Sure, the church taught that premarital sex was wrong, but there were sure a lot of ten pound premie’s born six months after the wedding and none of them got subjected to the same lectures that I did for having the audacity to declare an interest in engineering. I really just don’t think most people get to feel the negative side of hardline theocracy and believe that religion is good just because it says it is.

        • Roadstergal

          I have to highly recommend:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADDo5PT_ToI

          • AirPlant

            That was beautiful and moving and I cried crazy lady tears when I listened to it on my commute. I love Dan Savage so much.

          • Roadstergal

            I love him, too, and his long-standing friendship with Ira Glass (they’ve both been on each others’ shows). I think they both understand the transformative power of narrative. I had to pull over and take some deep breaths when I first heard this one on the radio.

      • SporkParade

        Because religion plays a role in people’s lives other than having set rules. For example, many people find ritual to be comforting. Or they like the sense of community from seeing the same people weekly. Or, when faced with a conundrum, they appreciate having the input of the accumulated wisdom of X centuries of leading philosophers.

        • MaineJen

          I can see that. I didn’t mean my comment to be insulting. I would totally join a “church” just for the community and the accumulated wisdom of philosophy, if it didn’t require belief in the supernatural or strict adherence to arbitrary and harmful rules. Anyone know a “church” like that?…

          • Roadstergal

            There is actually an atheist church in our area. I see their billboards on 101, but I haven’t gotten around to checking it out… (Sunday is our day to run on the beach with the dogs in the morning, and ride motos in some form in the afternoon.)

          • Hiro

            This fascinates me I would be interested in this!

          • Amy

            The Unitarian Universalist Association is pretty much the textbook example of what you’re looking for.

          • MaineJen

            I should find a UU church near me 🙂 My son is going to school now and a lot of his schoolmates go to church. He’s asking questions, because we’ve never taught the kids any kind of religious belief. I honestly wouldn’t be comfortable going to a church that required belief in a deity, but as long as they were okay with us being there for the community and the ‘do unto others’ philosophy, I could do that.

          • Old Lady

            Unitarian Universalists. That’s the church I take the kids to since I am spiritual and enjoy church but do not believe in God and husband is atheist.

      • Charybdis

        I think it is more an agreement on the basics that it all boils down to: Do unto others as you would have done to you; have some compassion for others, realize that none of us is perfect and everyone screws up, forgive people that have wronged you, love the sinner but hate the sin and an example of these virtues is Jesus. Try to live as he did. Stuff like that, that is basically the same across the Christian denominations. Baptists pray to the same God as Catholics, Methodists, Anglicans and Lutherans do.

        And as Spork mentions, it plays a role in people’s lives other than being a list of set rules on How To Be (Insert Denomination Here). The folks that get all wrapped up in the letter of the law instead of the spirit of the law completely miss the point. Jesus and the Pharisees and Saducees, for example. But, as folks like to associate with people who think like them and have similar outlooks and beliefs and this is where the issues tend to arise. We use real wine for communion (er, the Eucharist, I’m Catholic) but Baptists will use grape juice because “no alcohol”. Some denominations of Baptist will not dance because Satan and temptation. Catholics will pray to intermediaries (Mary, different saints, etc) for help while other denominations think that is praying to false gods. We use incense, others don’t. Stuff like that. That is where a lot of the divisiveness and conflict come from, the not agreeing on the fine details.

        I’m Catholic. I had premarital sex, used birth control, currently have an IUD installed. I don’t agree with a lot of the extra trappings that define Catholicism, but it satisfies something in my soul that other denominations didn’t.

        • MaineJen

          As I said below, I didn’t mean to be insulting, and I see now that my comment could be interpreted that way…I was more answering the discussion from earlier I think…I guess for me, once I looked further into the religion in which I was raised (mainline Protestant) and became familiar with the philosophy of the ‘christian right,’ it just wasn’t for me. I can’t align myself with organizations that make it their policy to deny women health care and/or birth control. That combined with my growing skepticism of everything supernatural sealed the deal for me. Like I said below, I’d totally join a “church” just for the community and the ‘do unto others’ philosophy, if it didn’t require belief in a deity.

          • Charybdis

            Oh, I didn’t take it as insulting at all. There are always a spectrum of believers, from those who swallow the Denomination Party Line hook, line and sinker, to those who agree with some, but not all tenets and some who only go to church on Christmas and Easter, just in case it is all true and they don’t want to be left out in the end.

            I don’t think the Deity in question gives a hoot about a lot of the made-up trappings that really tend to stick in people’s craws. But that’s just my opinion/feelings on the matter.

        • BeatriceC

          My hypothesis is that a lot, and even most, of the old religious laws have their beginnings in health care. Pork and shellfish would have been really dangerous before we figured out that you have to cook them to a really high temperature for them to be safe. Foreskin is a breeding ground for bacteria in the days before good sanitation. Prior to the modern area, childbirth was risky and infant and child mortality was high, so survival of the species depended on women having a lot of babies. Prior to DNA testing determining parentage was impossible without insisting that women have only one sex partner, plus there’s the whole issue of STDs. Over time almost all of those religious laws became irrelevant to health, but are still ingrained in religion.

          • Irène Delse

            It does sound reasonable, but then, why didn’t all peoples on the planet also avoid pork and shellfish? Why do some only avoid pork? Why do some cultures avoid eating the blood of animals when others treat it as a delicacy? Why don’t all peoples practice circumcision? Why do some people practice an extreme form of circumcision (peeling of the skin off the penis – or even slicing it lengthwise, I’m not kidding, these are really practices in parts of Africa and among Australian Aboriginals)?

            It’s more likely that food taboos, like sexual and social practices, were cultural identity markers. We do this, the others do that, etc. It got enmeshed in religion, which is why it’s so entrenched even now. But it’s likely on par with eating snails (or not!) or horses (or not!) and living in individual vs communal houses, tracing your ancestry from the paternal or the maternal line, or both. The Biblical world was strongly on the patrilineal side, some Native American cultures more matrilineal, and the traditional European cultures a mix of both (ancient Germans, for instance, believed both the mother and father contribute some kind of sperm to the making of the baby, which was better than ancient Greeks and Hebrews, who thought of the mother only as a vessel for the pregnancy).

          • swbarnes2

            The thing about pork is that their Canaanite neighbors were eating pork fine. It’s silly to say no to a food source just because it takes a little extra prep work. But remember that the Hebrews thought of themselves as herders, and NOT farmers, and herders can’t do pigs. Cain killed Abel because his sacrifice of farmed goods was not as well liked as Abel’s sacrifice of sheep. Plus, pigs are an important religious sacrifice to neighboring pagan gods. The pork thing was likely more to keep their culture entirely separate from the culture and religious tradtions of their neighbors.

      • Amy

        I think it’s like people who are Jewish but don’t follow the modesty dress code, use electricity on Saturdays, and eat bacon. But they’re still Jewish.

        Why? Culture. Catholicism was the ONLY Christian religion in western Europe for 1000 years. It’s hard to fully participate in Italian or Irish culture when you’re not at least conversant in Catholic practices. We’re an Irish-Italian family ourselves, and we had to have some conversations when my kids were the only ones not making their first communions. To little things like the Star Wars Catholic joke: “May the force be with you.” “And also with you.”

        There is a lot of beauty in Catholicism away from the teachings on sexuality. I still feel sad that I had to leave all of it behind, but there’s no way I could in good conscience continue to belong to the church given all my issues with it. Others draw the line in different places and decide to stay.

        • Charybdis

          It’s been changed…instead of “May the force be with you” “And also with you”, it is now “May the force be with you” “And with your spirit”.

          It is distinctly odd when you are used to it the other way.

          • Amy

            Oh I know! I went to a funeral last year, and I didn’t know any of the responses!

        • MaineJen

          I have never been a ‘joiner’ and I wasn’t overly sad to leave church behind…but I never felt completely at home there. I just always felt like there was something that everyone else was “getting” that I just…wasn’t.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I felt that way until we joined the Lutheran church. That’s when I figured out what everyone was getting:

            donuts.

            I can get on-board with that.

          • MaineJen

            Mmmmmmmm, donuts

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Exactly.

            I like the fellowship hour, and like to contribute to fellowship hour. I like how everyone brings in their own things. We take our turn along with everyone else. I’m the one who brings homemade cinnamon rolls.

          • demodocus

            you can come to our church if you find yourself around here on a sunday morning with extra cinnamon rolls 😉

    • Chi

      That is something that frequently astounds me about society today.

      We attach the name ‘industry’ to things that we don’t like in order to demonize them and call them out for wanting to make a profit, and yet, we turn a blind eye to the ‘alternative’ industries who are doing THE EXACT SAME THING – trying to make a profit.

      Except those who are in competition with the mainstream are usually the ones who are doing the demonizing in order to capture more market share. (Like the essential oil crowd demonizing the pharmaceutical industry, the lactivists demonizing formula companies etc etc etc).

      It’s just totally crazy to me.

    • Allie P

      I don’t wanna control my animal instincts. Insult away, IUD company. 🙂

    • Roadstergal

      Animal instincts! Certainly, like the desire for food and sleep. I think of sex like chocolate – lots of people really like it, some don’t, and those who like it can certainly enjoy it safely with a little planning.

      (Oh, and indulgence in either can cause a bump in your midriff, which some enjoy and some try to avoid.)

  • guest

    Somewhat OT: For decades, I’ve remembered Elizabeth Gaskell’s 1848 novel, Mary Barton, as featuring an incident where an infant was fed by men because she was orphaned or some such thing. I remember it being about how difficult it was to do. I was just reading a review of the book recently only to discover that it’s actually a proto-lactivist book! My college mind blocked out all the breastfeeding going on and remembered only the one child fed artificially. I found that amazing.

    • BeatriceC

      One of the central characters in Ken Follett’s “The Pillars of the Earth” is a baby that was found abandoned (I think the parents died, can’t remember…it’s been 20 years since I read the book) near a monastery and one of the monks found the baby and nursed him by dipping a rag into goats milk. However, unlike what you describe of “Mary Barton” (I’ve never read it), Follett frames the survival of the infant as a miracle, and the availability of a goat was a “gift from God”. In other words “Yay for substitutes when mom can’t breastfeed!” The novel takes place in the era of the War of the Roses, so there weren’t many options.

      • guest

        I read that one when I was 12 or 13 and have only vague memories of it.

        • BeatriceC

          I was 19 or 20 when I read it. I really enjoyed it. Actually, I called out “sick” from my job waiting tables in order to finish it. I should find it and read it again.

          • Amazed

            Try the Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy by Sharon Kay Penman. An engrossing read. (Although I admit I warmed to the Empress Maud more than I did to Eleanor but that’s just me.) When Henry has Eleanor imprisoned, she’s given a companion – a middle-aged widow, childless because her first baby died in childbirth (I think) and she and her husband overlay the second one in their bed. She talks about it so prosaically and Eleanor doesn’t bat an eyelid. That’s how common this kind of death was when all was good and old, and natcherel.

          • BeatriceC

            You’re not the first person to recommend that trilogy to me. 🙂 It’s on the list. Unfortunately, the list is very, very long.

          • Deborah

            I’ll look out for it 🙂

          • mabelcruet

            If you like historical fiction, the best book ever written in the genre (ok, I’m maybe a little biased!) is Katherine, by Anya Seton. It’s the story of John of Gaunt’s third wife, Katherine Swynford, and set around the time of the Plantagenets and the plagues and the serf uprisings.

          • Amazed

            I’ve read it and while I quite like it, it’s the book that set me against the supposedly greatest love story of all times. If a love story cannot exist without putting another character, Constance of Castile, down, then the love story is shit. Seton was all like, “How could he not go to Katherine when he has to put up with THAT?” The only excuse I can give for such obvious blackening (as if Constance hadn’t had enough from this sainted couple in terms of humiliation) and whitewashing of Valiant John and St. Katherine is that Seton was writing in a time when domestic values were held as top priority and she was writing about a couple that happily slighted a woman publicly, so she was in a bit of loss as how to present it as The Great Love Story without her characters being a couple of asses. Today, a political marriage would be a reason enough but in her time, perhaps she needed poor John to be married to the Queen of Mean.

          • mabelcruet

            I read it a bit differently-he contracted the marriage with Constanza purely for the crown, it was a business arrangement and she would have known that. In fact, she agreed to it on the grounds that he helped her in her political aims. My impression was that she accepted he had a mistress, as most monarchs did, and she was more upset that the mistress was keeping him from winning back her country-that was the real problem. He did officially withdraw from Katherine, and publically apologise to Constanza, and punish his retainers who refused entry to Constanza when she was being mobbed, so he treated her in public with respect.

            Personally, I felt quite sorry for poor Hugh Swynford-it was obvious he hadn’t a clue what to do or how to treat women and she (Katherine) just ignored him or treated him like an idiot.

          • Amazed

            While those are the facts (except that publicly apologizing to a woman who you expect to bring a crown to you isn’t respectful treatment in public in my book but knowing one’s interest), I feel that Seton went too far with making Constance a repellent woman. A business marriage is one thing. Seton didn’t need to make Constance a nasty shrew, and an uncleanly one at that. And the publicity of the affair was most certainly a problem, although not as big as the one that he didn’t win her country for her. Again, that has nothing to do with Seton demonizing Constance to make John and Katherine poor, long-suffering saints.

            In fact, I get the feeling that Seton was more uncomortable with that sweet love story than I am. Sometimes, things happen, even in love matches. But no, she had to go over her head to give John and Katherine every excuse possible. Too much protests here. Personally, I am quite disgusted with the sentiment that everyone who’s been cheated on is the one to blame and that’s the sentiment Seton presents to save her John and Katherine’s godlike images.

          • mabelcruet

            I don’t think it would have been seen as being cheated on in that era-it was expected that women would remain virgin until their marriage and that the man was the god of the household and could do no wrong, and if he wanted to keep a mistress then all he had to do was buy a few indulgences from the Church to pay for his sin. I think Seton struggled with presenting this in a way which wouldn’t have been misinterpreted by modern audiences as an affair, because it wouldn’t have been anything out of the ordinary back then (for the monarchy in Europe), even though nowadays its abhorrent that a man cheated on his wife, had an entire second family, favoured the children of his mistress over his legitimate child from Constanza, and took his mistress on the royal progression rather than his wife. Trying to get into John’s brain, he would have thought he was perfectly entitled to do this, it was his god-given right and no one had the right to criticise that.

          • Amazed

            All true but again, that’s not my problem with the book. If it was so normal, he wouldnt have needed to be the saint married to a monster who of course would then go to another angel.

            And even for his time, if it was so normal and not humiliating, and the wife was so fine with that, why did he need to apologize publicly to make sure that everyone knew what good terms he was with the woman who, coincidentally, would bring him a crown?

            I’ll say it again: it isn’t morality that I have a problem with. It’s Seton’s black and white view. That’s what I mean when I say she’s putting Constance down. The descripition she makes of her. Making her a disgusting woman to make John and Katherine all love and doves.

          • mabelcruet

            I read it more as a historical novel rather than a historical romance novel-I think Anya Seton’s strength as a novelist was her ability to set scenes-she was a master (mistress!) at that-lush, vivid detail and politics and stretegic alliances, and the horror of plague and childbirth, the role of religion an faith, the absolute power of the monarchy. I prefer her writing because of that. More modern authors like Phillipa Gregory, Anne O’Brien and Sharon Penman concentrate more on relationships and personalities rather than the historical side of things. Norah Lofts is my other favourite-she was writing at a similar time to Seton and had the same approach with gorgeous backgrounds and detailed scene setting, and probably less emphasis on individual characters motivations.

          • Amazed

            But it is a historical romance novel. Seton was all gushy about how great John and Katherine were and how their love was the best thing ever. I disagree that modern authors are less “historical”, They simply weave history into their characters’ lives and motivations differently. And I most emphatically disagree with Philippa Gregory being of the same class like Penman and O’Brien but that’s my bias. She’s been going downhill for a while and while she was never my type of historical writers, there were some merits to her earlier writing.

            I’ve never read Norah Lofts but as to Seton, to me she’s a mix of a great historical novelist and a teen fanfiction writer gushing over her favourite ship and putting down everyone who might have the slightest claim to one of the couple who were destined to be together. As to historical plausibility, she was quite happy to break it when the purpose was to show how Constance couldn’t have been anything but disgusting so of course John would cheat on her with beautiful Katherine. And being the first author who wrote about them, she outlined the canon, much like Maurice Druon did for Edward II and Isabella of France. At least he didn’t paint Isabella like an angel.

            Black and white is the big no no for me always, everywhere. If you can’t write all of your characters with compassion, then you aren’t a good writer. Nothing that we know about Constance shows her to be a villain yet Seton had to do a character assasination of her to elevate her favourite ship. Not the mark of a truly great author, no matter how great with conveying history she might have been.

          • mabelcruet

            Philippa Gregory is variable, I’ll give you that. Her books on the Tradescant gardeners were superb, and then there’s a total stinker A Respectable tTade. Maybe I should have said Robin Maxwell-she’s excellent. I much prefer her portrayal of Anne Boleyn to Gregory’s version-Gregory has Boleyn as a scheming witch, whereas Maxwell is far more complex.

          • Amazed

            I must admit that I loved Anne as a scheming witch. That’s always a good start to me. The problem was, she STAYED this way. There was nothing else about her. Anna the Witch and Mary the White. By the middle of the book, I was bored. I liked the White Queen better as a character but there, the prose was… I won’t go into this. As to Elizabeth of York, I couldn’t even finish. Both character and prose were bland. Since then, I haven’t read a novel of PG. I give them a look and nothing gets to convince me that I should change my mind.

            Robin Maxwell is truly worth reading!

          • mabelcruet

            I think the last of hers I really enjoyed was The Boleyn Inheritance, looking at Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard. And Jane Rochford, who is written as another scheming witch, and probably insane to boot. Gregory does write a good scheming witch, I’ll give her that!

          • Amazed

            Indeed. What she does wrong is choosing the people to turn into scheming witches. She could have done so much more with Anne Boleyne while keeping her a scheming witch but not only. She could have been such a richer character.

            Her main problem with writing characters, I think, is when she tries to write good people. They come off bland and easily forgettable – Mary Boleyn to an extent, Elizabeth of York particularly. But I also enjoyed The Boleyne Inheritance. With The Virgin’s Lover, Elizabeth came off as a wannabe witch but not quite up to the task, and neurotic to no end. I liked Hannah from The Queen’s Fool but Mary and Elizabeth were wanting, IMO.

          • Amazed

            The author have her own likings and dislikings (she’s Edwardian (II) to the boot) but I quite liked the entry. Perhaps you will as well.

            http://edwardthesecond.blogspot.bg/2009/10/support-group-for-people-unfairly.html

          • mabelcruet

            Love it! Thanks-thats just brilliant!

          • Amazed

            I thought you might like it. I think it’s hilarious! I especially liked the part about Marguerite of Navarre and Queen Claude being informed that their courts were glorified harems because – French.

          • mabelcruet

            I have to say-I have read a few of Anne O’Brien’s novels and really didn’t warm to them at all. Her characters are very poorly drawn and their speech is jarring, using modern turns of phrase which are unsettling. And even though she is an historian first and an author second, there is very little history in her writing, its all first person commentary and point of view. I prefer Anya Seton’s way of writing, its more graceful and descriptive. But that’s a personal preference.

          • Erin

            Have you read Anya Seton’s Green Darkness? I first read it as a child (may have contributed to my fear of small spaces) but its still one of my absolute favourites.

          • mabelcruet

            Years ago, must dig it out again. I always thought that Barbara Erskine was modelling herself on Anya Seton when she wrote her ‘various time travel/possession/reincarnation/psychic ghost’ type novels (but did it very poorly).

          • Roadstergal

            Is that historical fiction? I have to check that out – I love Eleanor of Aquitaine. She was so utterly the exception to the rule in those days, in many ways. Including surviving for so long, despite having kids.

          • Amazed

            Historical fiction, yes. The first book, When Christ and His Saints Slept, focuses more heavily on her mother in-law and that’s what I loved. I loved Maud, although at times I wanted to yell at her, “Come on, lady! Just how stupid can you get? And you claim it’s STEPHEN who’s cheating you of your rights? Have you taken a good look into the mirror lately? I know mirrors of your time were not perfect but still!”

            And Eleanor had only one (1) kid out of 10 die as a toddler. For her time, she was quite the survivor!

          • Amazed

            Hey, go a little down the thread (if you sort by Newest). I have posted a link that might make you laugh. Of course, the author is very prejudiced but the link is hilarious anyway.

          • Deborah

            Would you believe I have just read it a couple of months ago and it’s sequel “World Without End”. Couldn’t put them down and went out and bought every other book he has written!

          • BeatriceC

            I read “World Without End” a few years ago and also enjoyed it, though not as much as “Pillars”. Really, I should re-read both of them.

            However, I haven’t been as big of a fan of anything else of his I’ve read. I think that “Pillars” just set the bar so high that it’s impossible for him to live up to the standard he set with it.

          • Deborah

            Yes I don’t enjoy the contemporary novels as much but loved the ones set during the first and second world wars. “Pillars” definitely my fave though.

      • MaineJen

        I read that one a few years ago; the baby is abandoned by his father after his mother dies; she bleeds out during the night from a piece of retained placenta. The father knows the baby will die without his mother’s milk, so he abandons him rather than watch him slowly starve to death.

        Ah, the good old days.

  • Zornorph

    Obviously, I was never going to breastfeed, but I had not made up my mind which brand of formula to use. I saw a couple coupons in those ‘expecting’ magazines and I sent away for a free box of both Similac and Enfamil. The Similac people came through and the Enfamil people didn’t, so I was already leaning toward them. Then it was Similac that my hospital used and they sent me home with some more freebies. LO was doing fine on the Similac – no digestive problems or anything like that – so why would I switch? How was anybody harmed by this? It was a win-win for both me and the Similac company.

    • Sarah

      Why were you obviously never going to breastfeed? Being a man is no excuse, you formula shill. I bet you vaccinated too.

      • Zornorph

        Not only that, but I circumcised.

        • MaineJen

          …saying that is like saying “Voldemort.” Now -They- will find the word in their keyword searches and descend upon us, hijacking the thread.

          Thanks, Obama.

          • Roadstergal

            If you say ‘circumcised’ three times and look in the mirror, you see an intactivist.

          • BeatriceC

            I have to wonder at the people who are doing all this arguing on the internet. I don’t mention which choice I made because eventually my kids are going to stumble upon my online presence and know whether or not I decided to broadcast information regarding their genitals to the entire world.

          • Zornorph

            My opinion is that most people don’t care. Plus, I went to an all boys boarding school – there are hundreds of guys out there who have visual confirmation that I’m circumcised.

          • BeatriceC

            Oh, I’m sure they don’t care one way or the other which way I decided. But I assume they do care if I’m broadcasting what their penises look like to the entire world. That’s why I refrain from those arguments.

          • AirPlant

            Literally. They just broke into your house. They have pamphlets.

          • Zornorph

            I can’t say for sure, but I assume Obama is circumcised, too. Muslims do that, you know!

          • Azuran

            Great, now that guy (started with an L I think….) is going to come back and complain again about how every single circumcised man out there is dysfunctional and just don’t know about it.

            Intactivist sure like to turn everything about their causes.
            A few months ago, my professional order announced that, starting next year, aesthetic tail docking and ear cropping would be illegal. On every single online forum or discussion I followed on this subject there was ALWAYS someone who came over saying ‘Oh so now I can’t cut my dog’s tail but I can still MUTILATE my son’s penis’

          • Roadstergal

            Reassure them that you can still cut off your dog’s balls…

  • Gatita

    I’ve linked to these before but they are good so will link again:

    A Social History of Wet Nursing in America

    A History of Infant Feeding (pushes the BF is superior line pretty hard but has some interesting info on the history of breastmilk substitutes)

    Breastfeeding: Was there ever a golden age? (BBC article that quotes the Fearless Formula Feeder)

  • Kathleen

    To some, birth control is, in fact, a war against pregnancy – because all sex is supposed to be procreative (even if you’re using almost 99% effective NFP because it is ALSO “open to life,” somehow) and women are supposed to get pregnant. That is all sex is for, remember?

    • LaMont

      Well, to some, all birth control is murder. And they’re allowed to deny their employees birth control because of that belief! Yay USA…

    • LibrarianSarah

      I always wonder if those who preach that line stop fucking once they turn 60. Though I guess the men just turn their wives in for a younger model.

      • demodocus

        or they use some fuzzy Old Testament logic about how God made this or that old woman pregnant.

        • LibrarianSarah

          By the same logic God also made a VIRGIN pregnant so should just never had dirty dirty sex in the first place.

          • Roadstergal

            Yeah – if their god is all-powerful, he can reach around a pesky IUD or bolus of hormones, so no big!

          • Valerie

            I know somebody who was conceived while his mother had a copper IUD. Shit happens!

          • Rachele Willoughby

            I used to tell my grand parents that!

            “Hey, if God wants me to get pregnant, this little bitty pill is *not* going to stop him.”

          • demodocus

            well technically, I didn’t get pregnant by having sex. 😉

          • Who?

            Not sure that logic has much to do with the perspectives you’re considering.

    • guest

      I scoff at those people. I conceived children without using sex at all. If you’re sexing to procreate, you’re still a dirty, dirty sinner. 😉

      • Megan

        Can’t think of another way I’d rather be a dirty sinner than that! 🙂

        • guest

          Of course, the sperm donors have to masturbate, which is generally oh so sinful. But is it sinful if you’re masturbating to procreate?

          • MaineJen

            You just made a fundamentalist’s head explode.

          • guest

            I consider that my good deed for the day.

          • Roadstergal

            Only if they don’t look at porn to do it?

          • Valerie

            A man can masturbate, but it has to finish with his penis inside his wife’s vagina. That’s the only way. So yeah, it’s a sin. Conception without sex is wrong, according to the Catholics, anyway.

          • guest

            Yes, this is one of many reasons I’m a very, very lapsed Catholic.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Conception without sex is wrong, according to the Catholics, anyway.

            But…wasn’t the whole founder story about…

            Oh, never mind.

    • Valerie

      I just googled a bit. I’m not religious, but I think I get the gist of the Catholic perspective- it’s not just about leaving a possibility of pregnancy. Basically, they think they know what God’s plan is for the species, and that’s husband’s penis goes in the vagina of his wife until he ejaculates. Interference from any device or drug is not OK. Pulling out is not OK. Intentionally orgasming outside your wife’s vagina is not OK. The only way to have sex but (try) not to have a baby is to avoid sex altogether when fertile. That is the only way to do it that is respectful of God’s plan for human reproduction. It’s why they are also against IVF and other forms of reproductive assistance if it takes penis-ejaculates-in-vagina out of the equation.

      • Roadstergal

        It just seems so convoluted to me. If it’s okay to want to have sex without having a baby and to try to interfere with that process, why is one version of that ok (timing of the cycle) but all other versions off the table? Why does ye immortal deity care so much about where the penises and sperm are going? Ah, well, I’m not religious either, I enjoy the freedom to put penises all kinds of places at all kinds of times.

        • Megan

          Because:

          “Every sperm is sacred.
          Every sperm is great.
          If a sperm is wasted,
          God gets quite irate”

          • BeatriceC

            NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

            Now I’m going to have that song stuck in my head all day.

          • namaste863

            You’re not the only one!

          • Roadstergal

            🙂

            But that’s the thing – the sperm is still ‘wasted’ if you ejaculate into a post-menopausal woman, or one on her period…

            I suppose I should just shut up, because they might re-consider those little loopholes if I keep pointing out the inconsistency. :p

          • Megan

            I don’t get it either. I’m Lutheran.

          • guest

            Seriously, sperm donation is the least wasteful. They can use one instance of ejaculation for multiple pregnancies (or at least serious attempts).

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            But sperm donation is only possibly if the donor masturbates. So, um…huh?

            For that matter, what about, er, obtaining sperm samples for fertility analysis. Is it permissible to waste sperm for the greater good (that is, in order to make it more likely that the sperm producer will eventually help conceive a child)?

          • fiftyfifty1

            The sample is collected with a husband and wife having sex with a (non-spermacide) condom with a tiny hole poked in it. The tiny hole represents the possibility of conception, but most of the semen is still in the condom and can be used.

            Of course the vast majority of Catholics just go ahead and give the sample the “regular” way if they need fertility services, just as the vast majority of Catholics use birth control when they want to.

          • demodocus

            they scooped out Dem’s sample when they were trying to give him a reverse vascectomy

          • Linden

            No! Every sperm is sacred.

          • Azuran

            The only form of sexual activity the church accept is when you are trying to conceive a baby. Even then, I think they only accepted it because it was the only way to have children. They just want you to have baby and sex was the way to have them.
            But now that we have to technology to have babies without sex, they should be all over it! We don’t need to have sinful sex anymore.
            No good christian should ever have sex again!!!

          • Azuran

            God must be irate a lot considering that even if conception happened 100% of the time we have sex, there would still be something like 30 million other spermatozoid dying every single time.

            ……then again, god did kill a lot of people.

          • Roadstergal

            Even in a proper Catholic ejaculation that lands in the vagina and creates a pregnancy, millions of sperm are wasted…

          • Chi

            And that’s not even considering the amount of sperm wasted by men…um…taking themselves in hand?

            I’m pretty sure they see masturbation as evil, but that still doesn’t stop people from doing it.

          • PeggySue

            Yes, masturbation is seen as wrong.

          • Megan

            I guess God will have to take it up with Monty Python. 🙂

          • namaste863

            God bless Monty Python

        • MaineJen

          I bring this up every time my husband tries to tell me how Catholicism is not *that bad…*

          • BeatriceC

            Lemme talk to him. I can tell him the hell I went through until I figured out that they really are “that bad”.

          • Valerie

            I usually go for their stance on abortion in Catholic hospitals: not even life-saving abortions of a non-viable pregnancy are permissible until the mother is imminently dead, even if the mother is not Catholic.

          • Montserrat Blanco

            It is always surprising for me that thing about catholic hospitals in other countries. I am Spanish, so most of the people here is catholic. Most hospitals have little to do with religion though. The thing is, even my very catholic OB/GYN professor at university would never dream of putting a woman’s life at risk for a non viable pregnancy. I was cared for by catholic doctors when things headed south during my pregnancy and I can assure you that my life was taken into consideration and my wishes respected.

          • Roadstergal

            I’m really glad to hear that. I know little to nothing about how this all goes down in Catholic countries, and tend to base my expectations on the way Catholic hospitals here operate.

          • LaMont

            This is my go-to when religious people say “can’t people just practice and believe what they want, why are you against religion?” I’m 100% okay with whatever religion someone wants to follow at home and in their church, but Big Religion is often *does* force dangerous practices on other people.

        • Valerie

          Yeah. I’d have to do more reading to figure out which bits of scripture it comes from, but it looks like some sexless old men decided that it’s what God’s plan is. God made sex as a gift married men and women can give each other. And that gift is specifically a man ejaculating inside of his wife’s vagina. They just… defined it that way, and so it is. So, yeah, it’s not really even about fertility. You can prevent pregnancy, so long as you aren’t interfering with that special gift.

        • Nick Sanders

          A lot of it has to do with how one interprets the story of Onan:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onan

          If you take the view that the punishment was the direct result of “spilling his seed upon the ground”, as the Catholic Church does, then any ejaculation outside a vagina is evil.

          • Rachele Willoughby

            Except the story of Onan wasn’t about the ejaculation at all. God was pissed because he was supposed to knock up his brother’s widow but wouldn’t because he wanted to inherit his brother’s stuff.

            Or so I’ve heard…

          • Rachele Willoughby

            The moral of the story wasn’t supposed to be, “Every sperm is sacred.” It was, “Don’t be a greedy asshole.”

          • Roadstergal

            That’s my understanding, too. He did a wrong thing in a very specific context. He wasn’t some dude having sex with his wife/parter/chattel/whatever, he was having sex for a purpose and then defeated that purpose.

          • Nick Sanders

            Keep in mind, this is the same group that looked a Jesus, who often taught in parables and symbolism, sitting down to Passover, a meal that is literally a big plate of symbolic representations, and decided He was being absolutely literal when He said “this is my body and this is my blood”.

          • Nick Sanders

            I agree, and originally wrote a longer post explaining that, but then I realized I’m not a religious scholar and would have been speaking outside my knowledge. So I deleted most of what I wrote and replaced it with a simple explanation of the Catholic interpretation.

          • Rachele Willoughby

            That’s fair. I’m not an expert or anything either. Unless you count the whole 10,000 hour thing, I guess. But I was raised *very* religious. (Southern Baptist, not Catholic).

        • swbarnes2

          I’m not sure that NFP was ever being practiced enough for this to happen, but even if Catholics had been practicing it in high numbers as the church desired, evolution would have over time favored Catholic women with irregular hormone patterns. On wonders if Catholic NFP teachers of the future would be referring to success rates from the last century, afraid to admit that their little breeding experiment had been a victim of its own success.

        • Dr Kitty

          As soon as Ireland legalised contraception, people jumped to use it enthusiastically, with current rates in Ireland and Northern Ireland for contraceptive use being similar to rates in England.

          What I’m saying is that while there may well be official Catholic doctrine against the use of artificial contraception, this doesn’t seem to have much impact on the decision making of the average man or woman in the street, even if they consider themselves to be practising Catholics.

          I worked as a GP in very Catholic West Belfast for years…there were just as many requests for sterilisation, coils, implants and pills from patients there as from patients on the other side of the city.

          In fact, there seems to be a new rite of passage whereby working class West Belfast mammies take their daughters to the GP to go on the pill as soon as they turn 16, “because I’m not raising any babies for her”.

          I have had to pretend, on more than one occasion, that I was giving a teenage girl her first pill prescription, when to my certain knowledge she had been it taking for months already without her mother’s knowledge.

          • Roadstergal

            I remember reading that the birth control use for catholic women in the US is in excess of 90%? That’s clearly one of those doctrines that doesn’t hold up when women have any say in the matter.

      • BeatriceC

        My Catholic upbringing is why I had so many pregnancies and put my own life in danger so many times before I finally had enough. My decision to have a tubal ligation was the beginning of my journey from Catholic to atheist.

        • Hiro

          This is really interesting to know. (Please excuse me if I’m being too personal I am two glasses of wine deep into my evening and I very rarely drink anything! My filters are sub-par at the mo) Reading here in the comments, I have wondered for a while °why° you continued when it was obviously so complicated and painful for you, not to mention endangering your life on multiple occasions. I always figured you had just wanted a large family but I wondered if there was more to the story.

          • BeatriceC

            I was raised in a fundamentalist Catholic home. Wives aren’t allowed to say no to sex with their husbands, birth control is completely off limits and even natural family planning is out the window if the husband wants to have sex. I started to rebel against some of those things in University (I worked for Hooters), but retreated back to my conservative upbringing once I got married. I really wanted to get my tubes tied after my middle child but I was subjected to so much verbal abuse from my family and friends that I backed down. I finally stood up for myself after almost dying with my youngest. As bad as that was, it was actually nothing compared to the vitriol and abuse that was thrown my direction for getting a tubal ligation. That was the beginning of the end of my Catholic faith.

          • Mrs.Katt the Cat

            Sad when the people who supposedly love us will turn against us in vicious ways. Especially when compassion is supposedly a guiding principle of their faith.
            Glad you have found a better group for you.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        But then why is it okay to unnaturally chart your periods, temperature, and cervical mucous? Isn’t that interfering with god’s plan too?

        • Who?

          My one friend who used it never had a pregnancy she didn’t plan, but took close to a year to get pregnant each time they did plan one.

          So was it working, or were they in fact a sub-fertile couple?

          • Dr Kitty

            I’d go with sub-fertile and lucky.
            I’ve seen enough unplanned pregnancies in people relying on LAM or NFP that I’m wary of advising NFP to people unless they are SURE that they could cope with another pregnancy, i.e. as a family spacing tool rather than a definitive contraception once family is complete.

            Even in Ireland, very few people rely on NFP alone, most people who tell you they aren’t using artifical contraception will eventually admit to using condoms or coitus interruptus on occasion too.

            Telling a horrified 48year old that nope, it isn’t the menopause, she’s at least 5 months pregnant…not an experience you want to repeat more than once, believe me.

          • Who?

            That’s actually exactly what my GP said-by all means, if you would welcome another baby, NFP is fine. But if you’re confident you have completed your family, let’s get some more serious measures happening.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Telling a horrified 48year old that nope, it isn’t the menopause, she’s
            at least 5 months pregnant…not an experience you want to repeat more
            than once, believe me.

            Holy carpola! That’s like the thing in room 101 for me.

          • BeatriceC

            I literally have nightmares about getting pregnant again. My tubes are tied, but the thought of an accidental pregnancy are that terrifying to me.

          • Allie P

            I am EXTREMELY fertile. I got pregnant both times the first time I had purposefully unprotected sex. No charting of ovulation, no nothing. I have also never been unintentionally pregnant. Which much means I was way more careful than I thought.

          • Allie P

            I have an IUD now, and I have yet to have a period as I’m still lactating, but I think I might want to double up, because I’m so afraid of this IUD not getting it done.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Well, FWIW, I’ve half assed barrier method for my entire sexually active life without getting pregnant unintentionally once. (Um…yet. I’m not quite done with fertility yet.) But also took over a year to get pregnant when I was looking to…glad it took so long, though, because if I’d gotten pregnant earlier I wouldn’t have the kid I do and I’m pretty sure I got the best possible one.

          • Who?

            I’m sure that’s right.

          • Azuran

            The two people at my job who used it both got pregnant in less than 3 months. They probably messed up at some point. I get that it’s very effective when used properly, but there’s just too much room to mess up to my liking and requires way too much job to properly plan.
            On the other side, another coworker has been using only the pulling out method for 8 years and she never got pregnant.

        • Valerie

          Yeah… I’m not sure I completely understand, but it looks like sex (man ejaculates in wife’s vagina) is God’s special gift for married couples. You can take or leave it, but you can’t mess around with selfishly taking the good parts without the responsibility. You can only abstain from sex periodically to “postpone” children.

        • Charybdis

          Not really. You aren’t ALTERING the whole process in any way (suppressing ovulation, thinning the uterine lining to practically nil, blocking the sperm from reaching the egg, killing off the sperm or ejaculating them somewhere other than the woman’s vagina) like the various methods of birth control do. You are just learning how YOUR cycle works so you can time intercourse to the times that are most favorable for conception if you are trying to get pregnant, or for times least favorable for conception if you don’t want to get pregnant now.

          It’s kind of like the lactivist’s “Learn your baby’s feeding cues” type of thing. This is how your body works, see the sight temperature change around ovulation, see how the consistency of your cervical mucous changes during your cycle, see how long your period lasts and how long your cycle is (28, 30, 35 days, whatever it is). Then, you can use said knowledge to help conceive or not.

      • Dr Kitty

        I personally find it so very, very bizarre that two religions, essentially coming from the same starting point regarding teachings about contraception and abortion, can diverge so drastically once various people over the centuries have had their say.

        So now we have:

        Judaism: The woman’s life comes first, no sex during or immediately after menstruation.

        Catholicism: Baby’s life comes first, the only acceptable type of contraception depends upon having sex during or immediately after menstruation.

      • Allie P

        How come it’s only God’s plan for you to avoid contraception by NOT having sex, and not God’s plan to do something special to avoid conception WHILE having sex? It’s like saying it’s only God’s plan for you to not get wet while staying inside while it’s raining, not by wearing a raincoat or an umbrella.

        • Valerie

          I replied elsewhere to a similar question. God gave married couples a special gift that they can only use in a his certain way. You can’t abuse his gift by taking the pleasure without also taking the responsibility- it’s both or neither.

          For the record, I don’t agree with this at all, but I think it is at least somewhat internally consistent.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            God gave married couples a special gift that they can only use in a his certain way.

            Got new for God – no, you can use it in other ways, too.

            I should note, the story being “internally consistent” is basically the sex virgin of the Garden of Eden, and the Tree of Knowledge. God put it there, and, being omniscient and all, knew that Adam and Eve would partake. The only conclusion is that he intended for them to do it.

            Similarly, he made it so that non-married sex was available and pleasurable, and knew we would do it. But it left it available. As Hot Lips says in MASH (the movie), “His will be done!”

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      The NFP arguments always confused me…the advocates keep saying how effective it is and yet at the same time arguing that it is better than other methods because it is “open to life”. Well, by that argument, so is having sex after a vasectomy and a tubal ligation: It’s unlikely, but both operations could have been botched or had a rare spontaneous reversal…totally open to life. Also, if god can miraculously send a conception to a post-menopausal woman (the argument I’ve heard for why post-menopausal straight sex is okay), why can’t he also send one to a lesbian couple? Or a gay one, for that matter?

      • Allie P

        Dude, my cousin had a vasectomy baby. Get it checked every seven years, esp. if you’re fertile myrtle.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          My wife asked me the other day if I ever thought about having more kids. I was like, well, I would have loved to have a daughter, but not with three kids. In fact, rather than doing a reversal, I’ve been more tempted to go back to the urologist to make sure that it’s still working right.

          Besides, it’s a great excuse for a hand-job.

  • Gene

    it is interesting moving from region to region and seeing which brands of formula hold certain cachet among certain communities. In one state, Enfamil was provided by WIC and if you could afford it, you bought Similac (because “the poors” used Enfamil). Some mothers on WIC would even ask for prescriptions for Similac (baby can’t tolerate Enfamil) in order to not look poor. In another state, it was Good Start that was supplied to WIC mothers and Enfamil was the desired brand. I found it fascinating that even among formula feeders, there was “mompetition” and shaming.

    • Roadstergal

      Whatever the markers of ‘poor’ are, they’re denigrated. And these days, not having the free income to have mom be SAH, and not having the income to afford all of the consultation and the BF accoutrements that may or may not work – that makes formula feeding a marker of ‘poor’ in the developed world. Then, within formula – as you say, there’s a desire to distance yourself from ‘poor’-er, to stay at least one rung up from the bottom. It’s the continuation of the same drive.

      That gal in the Escalade BF her toddler that was posted recently- that was two “I’m not poor” status symbols in one shot.

      • Who?

        Not to be picky but the kid was 4. Toddlers are younger than 4, surely. I thought I’d scrubbed that image out of my memory, thanks for bringing it back!

        • Roadstergal

          I yield that definition to those who have reproduced. 🙂

    • Gatita

      What if you use Target and Costco formula? Is that a poor signifier because it’s half the cost of brand name formula? Or is it an affluence signifier since hipsters and middle-class people shop at those stores? Oh, it’s so complicated keeping track of all the ways to assert my superiority!

    • guest

      I will admit that I was a little ashamed to use the Walmart brand formula. It was the cheapest I could find, though, and while I don’t qualify for public assistance, I have to be very frugal with my money. The kids tolerated Parent’s Choice just fine, but my sense of social justice suffered greatly by shopping there.

      • BeatriceC

        If it makes you feel any better, while Walmart treats it’s store employees like crap, there’s no better company to work for if you’re a long-haul truck driver. Truckers dream of getting a full time Walmart gig. They are that amazing to their drivers.

        • guest

          Well that’s something, at least. I still shop there for some basic home goods because the markups in my city are beyond my paycheck. Maybe when the kids are in public school I can afford to shop politically again.

    • Allie P

      I always used enfamil but costco has the RTF similac in bulk, so I’m switching.

  • AirPlant

    So I have a friend who had her kids about ten years back. The rhetoric wasn’t as crazy then, but she still took it to heart and decided that nary a drop of formula should cross her baby’s lips. Unfortunately her path wasn’t terribly smooth. She didn’t have enough milk, and her babies were thin and sallow and she was run ragged and severely depressed. It was a horrifying situation that only got better once her husband forced the issue and started supplementing.
    .
    Flash forward ten years, her kids are 9 and 6, I have not seen them eat a single vegetable in their entire lives. Healthy eating is not a priority in her family and kids being kids it isn’t like they are going out of their way to eat some kale. I came from a pretty veggie pushing family and I really try to make healthy choices, so in between reminding myself that diet is not a moral choice and judging people for their food choices is a weird kind of smug middle class white girl orthoxia and I need to not become my mother, I think back to the breastfeeding battles of their babyhood. The same woman who thinks nothing of feeding her kids Count Chocola for dinner nearly killed her babies in the interest of giving them only breastmilk, ostensibly because it is healthier.
    .
    I still haven’t figure out how that one works other than breastfeeding marketing is one hell of a drug.

    • Charybdis

      Then they had better be having breastmilk on that Count Chocula dinner. Because, you know, it continues to be magical and will make those kids healthy, wealthy and wise. Or something.

    • Who?

      Interesting, isn’t it? I’m seeing similar things in my world.

      The other extreme is the orthorectic mother putting her kids through her version of a ‘healthy’ diet for years. One woman in my world was feeding her kids no fat, minimal protein and minimal carbs, because that was the regime she had developed for herself to avoid a recurrence of her breast cancer. When both her teenage daughters’ periods stopped, she took them along to the doctor, who told her that whatever she wanted to do for herself, she needed to provide an actual balanced diet for the kids.

      So her martyr’s badge came out, and she now cooks three separate meals every night for a family of five: no dairy vegetarian for her, vegetarian for one of the daughters, and meat for the other daughter, the son and her husband. No one is to eat anyone else’s food, though she sometimes makes a ‘crossover’ vegetable dish. Tiny portions all round. Never makes and freezes food, doesn’t save leftovers, everything made from scratch all the time.

      The kids must supplement quite a bit I think since they are all healthy weights. The two girls actually seem to yoyo diet, with several kilos coming on and off over a twelve month period, but all within healthy ranges as far as I can tell from seeing them.

      • BeatriceC

        Geesh. And I feel guilty banning tomatoes from my house, even though I do it so I don’t run the risk of silly things like dying. To help alleviate the guilt, I don’t complain the couple times a month when MrC takes the boys out for pizza so they can get their tomato fix.

        • Who?

          Oh she’s a rock solid lunatic. Your’s is an actual health thing, hers is just something she dreamt up reading all the nonsense on the internet. I get why she wants to maintain low body fat, but there’s no need for the extremes she goes to.

          When the Wellness Warrior was a thing here, this woman was giving herself coffee enemas regularly, travelling far and wide to buy organically grown and specially roasted coffee beans. That stopped well before WW died, replaced with soaking everything before cooking it. Oh and it all has to be organic, whatever that means.

          I’ve distanced myself from her this year, for various reasons to do with my sanity. She’s quite unstable, has had a lot of sadness and trauma and I think finds some comfort in the rigidity of her views.

      • Nick Sanders

        No fat, minimal protein and carbs? What are they eating, water soup?

        • Azuran

          Level 5 vegan

          • Nick Sanders

            YES

          • Who?

            I just looked that up. Appropriate in so many ways.

        • Who?

          Funny you should ask. A whole lot of pulses-you and I would call protein, but be wrong; veges various, all organic of course; piles of supplement tablets from a boutique, wildly expensive provider; eggs from the organically fed chooks in the backyard (again, let’s not get fussy about what we call protein and fat); very little fruit because sugar; things sweetened with organic maple syrup or some other nonsense; water in plastic (the right kind, of course) bottles from some spring somewhere…oh and no gluten. Lots of nuts, raw of course, and all soaked before consumption-again with the protein.

          She is in fact an excellent cook, it’s just a shame she’s so entirely joyless about it.

          • Nick Sanders

            very little fruit because sugar; things sweetened with organic maple syrup

            What is it with fad diets? Things with [dreaded ingredient x] are bad, normal refined [x] is bad, but other pure [x] is “super healthy, must eat”. Another example is how “fat = bad”, unless it’s coconut “oil”, in which case you should eat it all the time, including straight spoonfuls.

          • Who?

            I know, it is entirely mad. There’s also some kind of unrefined sugar that she likes. No stevia though.

            Oils are a minefield.

            It’s a shame because she seems to really fear death, but from where I stand doesn’t seem to much enjoy life. Not that eating too much, or indulging in a lot of processed food or alcohol is the way to happiness, but being so rigid sets up a whole lot of drama that in itself doesn’t bring much happiness either.

    • Mrs.Katt the Cat

      Perhaps breastfeeding is so super it can preemptively counter food choices in the future? Get breastfed now, eat candy for the rest of your life

      Or she was exhaused from it an used up years worth of energy to put towards her kids diet?

      • guest

        If the fact that my mother didn’t breastfeed me is the reason I can’t eat Gold Medal Ribbon ice cream for three meals a day without gaining huge amounts of weight and becoming unhealthy, then I might actually have to become a lactivist

  • moto_librarian

    The reality is that the majority of women in this country work, and we do not have mandated maternity leave. A staggering number of women, most of whom working low-paying, hourly jobs, will go back to work within weeks of giving birth. What sense does it make to obsess over breastfeeding when so many women can’t even be home with their babies for more than three months after birth? The lactivist agenda is nothing but spoiled privilege.

    • MI Dawn

      In fact, it’s even worse. For many, it’s 6 weeks or less. For some, it’s less than that because no work=no pay. They can’t afford to stay home more than a week or so. For others (like me), I was promised a job but it wouldn’t have been the same one I left (i.e., instead of labor and delivery, I’d have been moved to a med-surg floor. Sure, it was still a *nursing* job, but it wasn’t where I was trained to work.)

    • D/

      Yep, I’ve noticed a significant increase in planned 2 week maternity leaves with mothers I’m seeing. Even one with only a “long” four-day weekend 🙁

    • attitude devant

      I KNOW, RIGHT? Where are all the hand-flappers and pearl-clutchers on the issue of adequate maternity leave? Breast vs bottle is a COMPLETELY fungible issue, but having mom home and recovering vs mom goes back to work in no time flat is HUGE. (and I say this as a doctor who had only five weeks with my first and six with my second. This issue cuts across ALL classes.)

      • Inmara

        Paid maternity leave is not a magic wand which will make women breastfeed – I was quite surprised to learn that breastfeeding rate in my country is not that high, though we have one of longest paid maternity leaves in the world. Granted, we have not that much actual breastfeeding support either; there are volunteer LCs and some paid LCs but this is not their main occupation and they can’t cover all country (well, it’s good that there is no business from breastfeeding yet, otherwise we would see the lactivism ramping up already). We’re in a strange place where all the official materials thrust upon expecting women pretend that formula doesn’t exist, yet nurses in hospitals are happy to give baby a bottle if breastfeeding doesn’t go well in an instant (again, it’s great that they don’t let babies starve, but they could have been fed breastmilk if somebody bothered to help mom in the first place).
        Anyway, breastfeeding is not the reason why there should be paid family leave, it’s a myriad of other benefits, like recovering from labor and delivery, bonding (ahem) with baby and reducing exposure to germs – I guess that keeping baby at home gives a lot more chance to avoid common cold than feeding breastmilk but sending to daycare.

        • Roadstergal

          “Paid maternity leave is not a magic wand which will make women breastfeed ”

          Nope. It would definitely help families no matter how they fed their babies, and the fact that the lactivists don’t give a shit about it shows that helping families isn’t on their radar as terribly important.

        • moto_librarian

          I completely agree that paid maternity leave is not guaranteed to increase breastfeeding rates, and frankly, I don’t care if it does. I am much more concerned that so many women are forced to leave their infants within weeks of birth because otherwise, they cannot feed and house their families. I actually resent the emphasis on breastfeeding rates that is a part of the campaign for paid leave.

  • L&DLaura

    thank you for all that you do. My hospital is currently trying to gain the BFHI designation. I see more and more of my nurse friends gaining their IBCLC or their CLC. Not caring that babies are losing excessive amounts of weight. Pushing for 24 hour rooming in. And I’m just getting fed up with it all. I love being an OB nurse, but this is ridiculous. I WILL take babies from tired moms. I WILL mention formula supplementation. So again, thank you.

    • AA

      Does your hospital still have a well baby nursery?

      • L&DLaura

        So far….we’ll see what happens. We’re a small hospital so we have no NICU though we do care for Level II babies.

  • CSN0116

    Dr. T (or someone else), outside of the 1980’s Nestle scandal in developing nations – are there any other legitimate ethical violations on behalf of formula companies? I saw a woman going off on your FB page about some “added protein” and “false advertisement of hypoallergenic formulas” but I couldn’t find anything to substantiate either.

    Formula: the only product that has to put on its label that you should be using another product instead …AND IT STILL SELLS IN DROVES 😉

    • tariqata

      Could the ‘added protein’ thing be a mangled version of the incident of melamine being added to formula being manufactured and sold in China in 2008? https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Chinese_milk_scandal

      No idea about the hypoallergenic formula though.

      • demodocus

        Not sure about that, but certainly people can have weird allergies. My nephew’s allergic to bananas and potatos. His mom, our brother, and I are all allergic to pot. Like our mother. (The other 3 found out from going to non-classical concerts; i had an interesting neighbor in my dorm)

    • Erin

      The only sanctioned mention of formula in our NHS ante natal class was the Nestle scandal…I think we were meant to be so revolted we would keep at the breastfeeding.

      • Roadstergal

        Ah, no wonder my lactivist UK friend would bring that out every time formula was mentioned.

    • Amy M

      There are lactivists who like to tell people that if they would just read the ingredients on the formula can, they would be horrified and wouldn’t want to feed it to their babies. It’s ridiculous, of course, because formula was created in a lab to be as close to breastmilk as possible—the manufacturers are doing their best to make healthy food for babies. They figured out the recipe by learning what components are found in breast-milk–some of which have long scary names.

      It’s the same mentality as those who believe that Big Pharma is in cahoots with all doctors and government, with the end goal to subdue and kill the population. But Big Pharma, and formula manufacturers will not make any money if they kill people, so that is the LAST thing they want. Babies (in the first world) simply are not dying or becoming sickened because of having a formula diet. It drives me crazy that lactivism is so insidious that people are blinded to the obvious: formula is a healthy alternative to breastmilk for an infant.

      • AirPlant

        Long scary science names are bad! Unless it is that meme that lists out the ingredients in breastmilk. Then the science names should be used as incontrovertible proof that breastmilk is the 200% best thing ever.

      • moto_librarian

        It’s like when lactivists bitch about corn syrup being the main ingredient in hydrolized formulas – of course it is, you morons! There is a lot of sugar in milk (be it from humans or cows) and babies who can’t tolerate milk proteins still need the carbohydrates from some type of sugar.

        • Amy M

          There are lactivists who believe that corn syrup is the main ingredient in ALL formulas. When my children were babies, some online acquaintance mentioned this, so I went to read the ingredients on the Similac can—corn syrup was not even listed at all. But even if it had been, I would have assumed its in there for a reason.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I saw a great Looney Tunes yesterday. Bug Bunny was in the science lab running from the mad scientist, and he says, “Wait! In my hand I hold a mixture of manganese, phosphorus, lactic acid and dextrose!” The mad scientist laughs, and says, “Silly rabbit! That’s the formula for a chocolate malted.”

        Bugs says, “I’m a better scientist than I thought!”

        It made me laugh.

    • lawyer jane

      I think the existence of false advertising about things like the benefits of DHA and probiotics in formula are plausible, and in line with false advertisements of health benefits in other kinds of food marketing, from yogurt to cereal.

      But those aren’t the marketing claims that lactivists REALLY care about. They really think that advertising formula as healthy and safe is deceptive period, because they believe that breastfeeding is the only way. They just don’t think it should be marketed at all.

      • Roadstergal

        Good point – it’s not like they’re lobbying for more fair and honest marketing…

      • CSN0116

        LOL how does one look at the human population and come to the conclusion that formula is NOT healthy and safe?

        This shit has everything to do with identity and zero to do with science or logic.

        I’d love to see these bitches advocating for affordable housing, better health care, improvement of failing schools …ALL OF THAT STUFF MATTERS! How one gets hung up on something that does not matter one bit in the long-run is beyond me. It has to be purely emotionally driven. No logical person could come to the same conclusion.

    • guest

      Was the added protein DHA? Because my understanding is that there’s reasonably good evidence that you want that in there, so of course they will advertise it.

      • Megan

        I was under the impression the evidence was pretty soft and mostly was positive for eye development, not as much for cognitive development. Could be wrong though.

        False advertising about boosting kids intelligence…Where have we heard that before…

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    , decades ago they engaged in deceptive practices to convince women in developing countries to breastfeed

    “not breastfeed”? “formula feed”?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Thanks! Fixed it.

  • CSN0116

    In the United States roughly 20% of women choose to exclusively formula feed their babies from birth (that’s 1 in 5!). By three months of age nearly 60% of them will be receiving some amount of formula. And by six months of age this number grows to an overwhelming 81% (CDC, 2014 Breastfeeding Report Card). And this doesn’t even include the women inevitably lying to save face.

    Everyone’s all obsessed with initiating breastfeeding and counting those numbers as some impressive “rate,” but these women leave the hospital, go home, and shit gets real. The overwhelming majority WILL give their babies formula, and relatively fast. Breast feeders, especially exclusive, are such a minority – yet their two cents is fucking EVERYWHERE.

    This is a formula feeding nation, whether people want to admit it or not. Shit, it’s a breast milk substitution world, quite frankly. Where women are able to substitute they do, and they will continue to do so for eternity.

  • Commander30

    Complaining about formula being advertised has never made any sense to me. I see, on my Facebook news feed, far more advertisements for breast pumps, nursing supplies, lactation consultants, etc than I do for formula… and that’s even after I went through my ad preferences and deleted all of the breastfeeding ones. They still keep coming back.

    • Madtowngirl

      We wimmins are so easily swayed by advertising that we’ll choose formula if we see a commercial for it! I mean, every time I see a commercial for McDonald’s, I go! And every time I get a coupon for a product I don’t want or need, I buy it anyway!

      • Commander30

        Who says it’s just wimmins? All I have to is say the word “steak” to my husband and fifteen minutes later we’re driving to a restaurant where he can order one.

        I guess that’s why they keep showing me those ads. One day very soon, I’ll crack and buy a breast pump even though I have no need or desire for one! Darn advertisers and their Jedi mind tricks!

        (Your comment did make me start craving McDonald’s, though…)

        • Spamamander

          I could seriously use a McMuffin.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Mmmmm….steak…
          (goes to fridge, decides that dinner will be a medium-rare grilled ribeye coated liberally in sautéed mushrooms and green onions)

          • demodocus

            Hold the mushrooms for me, the passenger objects to them. Steak, though… mmmmm

          • Who?

            What time do you want us?

          • BeatriceC

            *glares at the chicken thawing out in the fridge*

            Not steak. This is a problem.