How did you PUSH BACK against the pressure of natural childbirth, lactivism and attachment parenting?

Tired Mother Suffering From Post Natal Depression

I’ve done a dozen interviews this week for PUSH BACK: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting and I’ve repeatedly been told, “I wish I had this book when my children were small; I thought I was alone.”

It’s very gratifying to hear this, but it’s also distressing. So many new mothers feel battered down and guilt ridden by the philosophies of natural parenting, yet they don’t realize that others are out there who can support them and whom they can support.

How can we help new mothers realize that they don’t have to battle the pressure alone? How can we help them connect with other like-minded women for mutual support? One possible way it to share personal stories, so today I’m opening up the blog to you, my wonderful readers, to offer support to struggling new mothers.

How did you PUSH BACK against the expectations of the natural childbirth industry?

How did you PUSH BACK against the intense pressure to breastfeed exclusively when your instincts were telling you that exclusive breastfeeding was not working for your baby and for you?

How did you PUSH BACK against the philosophy of attachment parenting — which renders women’s emotional, physical and intellectual needs irrelevant — and return to work or carve out alone time or both?

Mothering is hard enough without the pressures of these philosophies. Help me help new mothers PUSH BACK.

  • MLC

    With my first baby, I was 100% convinced that breastfeeding was the best way to go, and when it just didn’t work (low milk supply, flat nipples, baby unable to latch, etc.), I took the blame. During my second pregnancy, I was determined that things would be different. I attended classes, worked closely with a lactation specialist, rented a pump, etc etc etc. And surprise, surprise: I couldn’t breastfeed my second child, either. The guilt was consuming! It wasn’t until a friend of mine (who had breastfed) reminded me that it was a lot more important to bond with the baby than it was to breastfeed the baby. She wisely told me not to let my frustration over failing breastfeeding rob me of the joy of having a new baby. I took her advice to heart, gave up the breast, used formula, and she was completely and totally fine. I had two more children and didn’t even bother trying the breast. It was liberating. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • SW

    Hi there Dr. Amy, I’m new here but wanted to add my experience and a question. I found formula supplementation to be a savior when I went back to work after having my first child. I wasn’t pumping enough during workdays to keep up with her needs while she was at daycare and she started waking up all through the night again (after having been a 12-hour sleeper) because she was hungry. As you know, much of the internet is filled with advice that seemed torturous to me: letting the baby “reverse cycle” in order to avoid formula, doing pumping “power hours” at night in order to boost supply (after working full time and taking care of the baby before and after work!), and pumping so many times during the work day that it felt pointless to even bother showing up at the office. Well, of course, once I started using formula things improved dramatically for the whole family. With my second, I combined breastfeeding and formula feeding from the beginning and found it much easier. However, it is very difficult to find any kind of non-judgmental information about HOW to both breastfeed and use supplementation as needed. There are so many websites with information about breastfeeding–and in spite of their judgmental sides those sites are really helpful for basic information–but it is really hard to find a similar level of information about combination feeding, unless the intention is to wean off of formula as quickly as possible. So, I very much appreciate this website’s encouragement to push back, but I think there’s another need too: web resources that actually help with the how-to’s of supplementing with formula, going back to work without losing one’s sanity (and sleep), etc. As a good friend of mine pointed out, the people who provide the most advice online seem to be the ones who have decided to stay home with kids, practice attachment parenting, and all that. So how can we get not just encouragement to push back, but online resources that provide tips, tricks, and the like WITHOUT the judgment? Thanks!

    • Amy

      Not Dr. Amy, but another Amy…

      LOL on the “power hour” and “reverse cycle”–You can also PUMP ALL WEEKEND LONG!

      I totally agree about the need for info about combo feeding. A lot of it is about not losing your supply so entails just as much pumping as non-combo feeding.

      I came across this article once written by the wife of an acquaintance from law school but it encourages reverse cycling so…

      https://sixfortynine.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/combo-feeding-the-best-and-worst-of-both-worlds/

      • SW

        Thanks! Yep, that article also seems to consider combo feeding something to end asap, with the goal of exclusively breastfeeding. If you’re ok with supply dropping to just provide part of a baby’s diet, there’s not a lot out there.

  • Hilary

    I pushed back because nothing in my pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding went the way it was “supposed” to. I had a high-risk, complicated pregnancy, a medically indicated c-section, a NICU stay, and exclusively pumped for almost a year, around which time my son finally developed the skills to breastfeed (true story) but by then we were supplementing. Throughout everything, I prioritized my child’s survival and well-being, and that meant lots of medical interventions, bottles, and eventually formula. Why would I listen to the lactivists and the NCBers when my child’s LIFE is on the line in tangible and immediate ways? I’m proud of the choices I’ve made. I have a happy, thriving little boy to show for them.

    Oh and I’ve learned to avoid the mommy groups as much as I can. I sought support from them in the early days but figured out that they couldn’t begin to grasp my experience, they were still living in a fairyland where healthy babies fall out of vaginas and latch on immediately while the mother eats her magical placenta.

  • cookiebaker

    I push back by doing what works for me. I never did practice attachment parenting because I needed “me” time. I did spend many years in the NCB and breast-is-best woo, but circumstances changed and I adapted. I’m thankful for this blog because it reassured me that my children that failed breastfeeding would be just as smart as their breastfed siblings.

    I got out of the NCB woo during my 5th pregnancy. My 4th child’s labor was slow and my doctor wanted to prescribe pitocin to keep things moving. I wanted to be done, so I agreed. I was unmedicated, but I’ve never been in so much pain in my entire life. Every contraction I was screaming NO over and over. I couldn’t even think during the contractions. Once I was complete, I pushed the baby out in 20 seconds. I was DONE and I knew there was only one way to make those contractions stop. I didn’t even give the resident time to get his gloves on. He had 4 fingers of one glove on when he caught the baby. After he was born, I was just relieved it was over. My husband was traumatized and said he never wanted to see me like that again, so no more kids!

    When I found out I was expecting our 5th, I promised him that if my labor required augmenting, I’d get an epidural. My 5th went overdue. My blood pressure was on the high side and the fluid levels were on the low side of normal, so my Dr was going to try to get me in for an induction within a few days. She swept my membranes in the office to see if that would start labor, then ordered a NST. The sweep started very mild, but regular contractions that were detectable on the NST, but they became concerned when the baby’s heart rate dipped just a tiny little bit after every contraction. They sent me to the hospital immediately for an emergency induction and continuous monitoring. As promised, I got an epidural after the Pitocin was started and it turned out to be the best thing for the baby. His heart rate quit dropping, and I slept through the night. Every time the nurse came in, my only question was “How’s the baby doing?” By 8am I was complete and he was born at 8:01. He was perfectly healthy and his apgars were 9 and 9. I’m so thankful the Dr caught the low fluid and heart decels before they did any damage to my little guy.

    I never get challenged by the NCB crowd. After 6 kids, ranging from 9 months to almost 16 years, I’m older than most new mothers and I could bury them in practical parenting experience, so I guess I’m too intimidating to confront. I’m too busy, so I don’t go to any mothers groups. I understand that’s the natural habitat of sanctimommies, so avoiding their territory keeps them at bay, too.

  • Mishimoo

    Late to the party, but I’m pushing back by discarding the NCB/lactivism/attachment parenting woo. Thanks to reading various articles and participating in the comments section here, I’ve also realised that it’s okay to be ambitious and want to have a career. To that end, I decided to chase one of my childhood dreams: becoming a librarian. I’m currently completing a course to be a library assistant and I begin the work experience component tomorrow. All going well, I’ll be finished this course a few months early, pick up an Intro to Academic Writing online class in the second semester, and can enroll in the Bachelor of Information Studies for next year.

    • Amazed

      So happy for you! Studying something can be taxing but at each handed paper and each exam it’s so nice and fuzzy. It’s a small accomplishment. And having the career you want is a great one, I think. I am not talking about money either. There are so many people who are unhappy with what they’re doing. To me, if I’m going to spend 8 hours of my day 5 days a week doing something, it’d better be something that I love! Of course, paying the bills is no small concern either (aren’t we all accused of being shills here!) but still!

      I wish you all good in the world in your chosen path.

      • Mishimoo

        Thank you! I completely agree, and it was so lovely today to be surrounded by other people who are really enthusiastic about their careers. They’re so happy to be there and they care so much about their patrons. I hope I’m able to work there or in an environment like it.

        • Amazed

          I wish you this very scenario. And if it doesn’t come around, you can look for it somewhere else. That’s the beauty of having options – and they come with qualifications, so go you!

    • Who?

      So pleased to hear it. Good luck at work experience! I’m sure you’ll do well.

      • Mishimoo

        It was such a good day, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m not holding my breath, but I think it’s a good sign that the librarian mentioned there will be a job vacancy coming up soon. It was so nice to be around other mums who are working, especially ones who recognise the need for support networks for new mums (and how important getting out of the house for a bit is!)

    • Megan

      That’s great! Keep up the good work!

  • BeatriceC
    • D/

      That’s great!

      My dad has an African Grey who is quite the character. Loves peanuts and (women’s) cuticles equally well. And perfectly mimics a long-since-gone little kitten who meowed all summer long outside her window wanting to be a house cat. I tried to talk my dad into getting her to add “I don’t wanna be a bird” to that line , but he didn’t find it as funny as I’m certain it would be ๐Ÿ™‚

      • BeatriceC

        That’s Goofy, who’s a yellow nape amazon. We also have Leo the senegal, and Cookie, the zombie cockatiel. Cookie is 25 years old; long past his “sell by” date, which is why I call him a zombie bird. Goofy gets called the Evil Attack Parrot ™ because he’s a perfect example of why amazons are known as fiercely one person birds. He adores MrC (that’s the lap he’s on in the picture), but everybody else can go die in a fire, as far as he’s concerned. He does tolerate me, and lets me scratch his head and back sometimes, but only if he’s in his cage. He also lets me get him out on a stick, but never on my hands. But I’ve been working on making friends with him for years, and this is as far as I’ve gotten with him. He’s definitely MrC’s bird.

        He does like to come to dinner with the family. He actually gets pretty upset if we don’t bring him to his dining room perch when we eat. This picture was taken after dinner one night. He’d grabbed the knife off the table and I snapped a few pictures. This particular one just turned out too perfectly not to share (repeatedly).

    • Amazed

      Wow! What a Terrible Evil Parrot! Shame on me for not seeing the knife. It isn’t a small knife either. Great pic!

      • BeatriceC

        Awwww. He’s a cute Evil Parrot! We do like him even if he’s ornery.

        • Amazed

          I can see why! He’s hilarious!

          • BeatriceC

            One of these days I’ll get some video. He’s a little camera shy and has this infuriating habit of stopping whatever cute thing he’s doing as soon as I switch from still pictures to video.

          • Amazed

            Please do!

          • BeatriceC

            He’s still up to his old tricks. He’s outside now “helping” MrC trim the hedges by the front walkway and was chattering away and being all cute until the moment I turned the camera to video. *sigh*

            His version of “helping” is to try to catch the falling branches and then drag them down the sidewalk. It’s really funny.

          • Amazed

            He’s a smart evil cutie, isn’t he? How does he know that he’s being video-ed? And yes, it sounds really funny.

          • BeatriceC

            I have no clue how he knows. It’s super frustrating though. I can take all the still pictures in the world, but the second I switch to video (using my phone, so same device) he clams up. I’ve been trying to get a shower video for at least two years. He’s freaking hysterical in the shower. He’d give any opera singer a run for his money.

  • KeeperOfTheBooks

    “Technically speaking, it may end up being not so good for me since exclusive breastmilk percentages are directly tied to determining my salary increases.”
    What. the. effing. eff.
    Do tell. Is this SOP in “BF” hospitals, or just in your particular gem of one?
    What the hell is WRONG with these people?!

    • D/

      Actually this particular hospital is not Baby-Friendly and does not have any intentions at this time to become so. It is a very number-focused facility, in general … at times to the point of trying to see the big picture through a pinhole it seems.

      Ironically the hospital I work at that is actually in the process of pursuing BF status has forbade any discussion of their exclusivity rates. Instead we are focusing on making sure every staff member can assess and assist those families who are breastfeeding and will let the rates become what they become. We’ll see if that continue to be the plan over time.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Wow, it sounds as though the would-be BF hospital is a lot more common-sense in its approach. Good for them! The other just plain sounds delusional. I mean, how about setting a goal of 100% of moms and babies who come through their doors go out again perfectly healthy? That’s (sadly) not going to happen, and (presumably) that’s not the fault of the caregivers, either…*sigh*
        I’m reminded of the company for which I worked which set an insane sales increase goal at the peak (depth?) of the economy crash, and then kept insisting it was just our bad attitudes that meant we didn’t make goal; it had nothing at all to do with a skeleton staff serving people with less money to spend…
        FWIW, the hospital at which I deliver has recently gone BF, but when I called to clarify what, exactly, that would mean from a patient perspective, the charge nurse said that they encourage breastfeeding, but don’t push it; they have plenty of formula on hand for the moms who want it; and if mom’s tired and requests it, they’ll take baby to the nursery for the night. If that really is how they’ve implemented BFH status, that sounds perfectly reasonable; guess we’ll see in a couple of months!

  • KeeperOfTheBooks

    I’m so glad. ๐Ÿ™‚ The last time you posted here, you were feeling a bit burnt out–I hope that’s lessened for you?
    Sounds awesome! I wish it were real life; someday, it would be so cool to have a Skeptical OB meetup!

    • D/

      Nope, not really … I’m pretty crispy burnt actually but weirdly more ok about it. Thanks for asking!

      I’ve taken your vacation advice to heart and requested a week off every month this year and am counting down the weeks to my 2-week summer vacation. Most workdays my LC-life sucks (pun intended), but I’m not feeling like a crappy LC over it at the moment.

      BTW, I’d be open to some book recommendations to fill my now abundant leisure time if you’re up for that.

      • Charybdis

        What do you like to read?

        • D/

          For vacation, I read anything without (working) breasts or babies. You read anything good lately?

          • Charybdis

            I’m an eclectic reader. I’m almost finished with The Romanov Daughters about the 4 Grand Dutchesses of the last Tsar and Victoria’s Daughters. Jennifer Harlow’s F.R.E.A.K.S Squad series is a good light read. Carol J. Perry’s Witch City series (Caught Dead Handed, etc) are also good mysteries. If you like historical fiction, Anne Perry’s books are really good. I prefer the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series (Cater Street Hangman, Callander Square, Silence in Hanover Close, Death in the Devil’s Acre and Cardington Crescent are my favorites).

            Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books are a fun, light read. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume (and adult novel, not a YA book) was surprisingly good. Alison Weir is another author I like (history stuff, like The Six Wives of Henry VIII) I enjoy.

            I’ll read whatever catches my eye, so I read pretty much everything EXCEPT romance novels. Can’t bring myself to read any of those.

          • D/

            ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the suggestions! I tried to hit the kid up for some ideas, but she’s being a dry-well shit librarian at the moment. I’m want to load my wish list up so I can just pick from availables for a while.

            I’m with you on the romance novels. I’ve tried to read one or two on a friend’s recommendation. Never get more than a chapter or so in though. Ugh.

          • demodocus

            oo! Robin McKinley is just terrific. young adult fantasy, but mostly because there’s no sex or its more immediate aftereffects.
            Another fantasy author i love is Kristen Britain

          • Amazed

            Because You’ll Never Meet Me, by Leah Thomas. That’s kind of a Big Medical Conspiracy book, not a light read, but an amazingly engrossing one.

            As to historical fiction, I’ve recently discovered Anne O’Brien. She’s soooo good. The King’s Concubine is a great read, as well as The King’s Sister and The Queen’s Choice. I also heartily recommend C.W. Gortner’s The Last Queen. I like The Confessions of Catherine de Medici as well but I can’t help but feel that the author has brought my favourite Dumas’ villain heavily down. She’s not a great villain here at all!

            Camilla Lackberg is another new discovery of mine, as well as The Storyteller, the biography of Roald Dahl. Usually, I am not a fan of biographies but this one is quite something.

            And of course, if you hadn’t read A Song of Ice and Fire, you must. It’s so fun when we start discussing the series here!

          • Bombshellrisa

            Oh! I saw someone mentioned books and I have to be a part of any discussion about books! I am reading “The Madagascar Plan” the second book in the “Afrika Reich” series. Alternative history about the Nazis and if there was no WW2 and instead they were allowed to take over Africa. It’s action packed, not my usual genre but wow, page turners. Also reading “Ghosts of Vesuvius”. For light, cozy British mysteries I adore Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple series or Rhys Bowen’s “Her Royal Spyness”.

          • demodocus

            I’m obsessed with Katharine Kurtz’ deverry/westlands saga. There are some 15 books that she just finished off a few years ago. It does have a couple babies, but they’re sort of tucked in as inevitable with a story *that* long.
            Just finished Dan Jones’ book on the Plantagenets and that was pretty interesting,
            Love the old Brother Cadfael series, the Grantchester series, and for total fluff, the Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun.

          • D/

            Thanks to all for the contributions to my now much plumper wishlist! Gonna go pick out my next now ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Daleth

        Magnus Flyte’s “City of Dark Magic” is a great read. If you like fantasy, I would also recommend Deborah Harkness’s All Souls trilogy, which starts with this:

        http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004DI7HZ6

        • D/

          That’s perfect.

          OK, so I’ll go ahead and confess here to being the cheapest of cheapskates and having exclusively read library e-books or free classics and such for a couple of years now. Getting so many great leads from everyone today has created a corresponding (and unacceptable) increase in hold-waits to check them out. This is gonna require me to make sure MrD/ gets the message that this is our “buy her books, lots of books” anniversary! ๐Ÿ™‚

          Thanks a bunch!!

  • Margo

    Loving all these comments! I push back(I was a very late starter it took being wheeled away from a MI towards life saving stents) to realise that a lot of stuff that makes us women feel so guilty is unimportant and just plain silly when it comes to motherhood…I think I did already know this, but had fallen into the pit of woo over the years and sometimes had/have not been as active as I could be re challenging some of the stuff that women have been subjected to, especially around how to birth and how to feed your baby and the criteria around ensuring bonding, etc etc.I considered myself to be an average mother and do you know what, turns out being “average” is ok…all my children, those that were breastfed, those that weren’t, those that were roomed in, those that weren’t, those that used dummies, those who didn’t, those that were left to cry it out, those that weren’t left to cry out, these grown up kids, were all there for me when I needed a boost up, just like I was there for them over the years, because that’s what we mothers do isn’t it, we do our best. So I am pushing back by supporting women in their choices and I am pushing back by refusing to feel guilty any more about my parenting.

  • Amazed

    It’s a little like that funny meme that all your relatives should be tagged with:

    Ten reasons why I shouldn’t listen to your advice:

    Those are my kids.

    Those are my kids.

    Those are my kids.

    Those are my kids.

    Those are my kids.

    Those are my kids.

    Those are my kids.

    Those are my kids.

    Those are my kids.

    Those are my kids.

    Only, relatives generally mean well.

  • Megan

    “Technically speaking, it may end up being not so good for me since exclusive breastmilk percentages are directly tied to determining my salary increases.”

    That’s sickening.

    • D/

      It’s scary as shit too!

      And the scariest of the scary shit is working with a documented target of ONE HUNDRED PERCENT exclusive breastmilk feeding. The response when I questioned that was, “We have chosen 100% as a hard target to encourage work toward as much exclusive breastmilk feeding as possible … Of course we know not 100% of all mother’s will want to breastfeed.”

      Then no reply to my follow-up that 100% of all mother’s cannot exclusively breastfeed even when they want to!

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story! *facepalm*

      • Who?

        Extraordinary that a workplace would put in a hard target for something over which it has no real control. Particularly when it makes no difference to how the office runs or the safety of staff.

        100% compliance for something like handwashing, you could see. Probably not achievable, but really hard to argue with.

        It will probably be very quietly dropped at some point, but not before a lot of people are made v miserable.

        • D/

          Well it may be revised … I can certainly hope.

          The current recommendation for accredited hospital with > 300 deliveries per year is “that a performance rate of 70 percent on [exclusive breastmilk feedings] is an achievable target for hospitals to strive to achieve.” Even that goal is way off on the horizon from our current rates.

          • Who?

            Love ‘achievable’ and ‘strive to achieve’ in the same sentence.

            Nice that other people breastfeeding is ground down to ‘performance’: and that it’s the hospitals striving for that performance.

            Women and babies do get lost in this, don’t they?

      • momofone

        So what would happen if I were having a baby there? I have no breasts. Would I be encouraged to use formula, or would donor milk be pushed?

        • D/

          Nope. You’d use formula unless you insisted on utilizing donor milk of your own that you’d previously secured yourself … and you would never meet me.

          Currently mothers intending to formula feed just formula feed. There are no breastfeeding “contracts”, scary formula-danger disclaimers, or any contact with an LC. All of of my IBCLC partners and I have discussed amongst ourselves that we’d quit over an expectation to harass declared formula feeders (or the breastfeeders needing formula for that matter.)

          • momofone

            Thanks! In rereading my comment, I hope I didn’t come across as pissy. No more babies for me, but I’ve been curious about that since the Baby Friendly initiative really got going.

          • D/

            Not pissy at all to me, but I’m finding, at times, my own pissiness makes me pretty oblivious ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Azuran

      and they call US paid shills….

  • Inmara

    Fortunately, I didn’t encounter much pressure to do things “the right way”, so I just did them in the way that was most feasible for our family. It all could have been different if not Science Based Medicine and Skeptical OB, both of which I discovered quite early in my pregnancy. I’m trying my best to offer evidence-based resources whenever someone is looking for information in local discussion boards (there will be inevitable woo peddlers and I’m not even trying to engage in discussion with them, but at least there will be a link to a reputable source, and some readers will see them and start to question legitimacy of what they’ve heard before). I’m trying my best to offer support and reassurance whenever fellow moms are struggling, and welcome advice and opinion from other moms – I can find it not suitable for us, but only by having a look at all opportunities I can choose what works best for us.

    I chose to give birth in the biggest available hospital, not the small and cozy and natural-birth-friendly (which happen to not have NICU and sends critically ill babies to a hospital about an hour drive away). In my birth plan I emphasized my appreciation for timely interventions if necessary. Then I screwed up with an effort to EBF and complying to mandatory rooming in – in hindsight, that’s what I feel guilty about, to not give my baby proper nutrition for 3 weeks and to risk his health and life with unsafe bedsharing in hospital. But we got through it, and baby has been thriving ever since.

    If there is a parenting philosophy that I’m trying to follow, it’s RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) – not religiously, of course, but I like their framework (and it works well for us so far… don’t know what toddler years will bring). I’m putting a conscious effort to treat my child as a person, communicate openly and clearly, look for cues of his actual needs, and we’re doing fine, thanks (and I don’t have to carry him in a sling nonstop or stick a boob in his mouth at every cry – not that it wouldn’t be what other babies actually need and should get, but it’s nowhere near the universal standard of care for infants, especially after early newborn stage!)

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    Hey, “shit moms,” they’re talking about us!

    #PUSHBACK

    • Amazed

      Bitches get stuff done. I get such a smile on my face imagining them sitting there in the public gardens with nothing better to do but breastfeed their preschoolers as demonstratively as possible as you’re sitting for yet another interview, KotB makes plans for bonding with her pillow, knowing that her kids will be safe and loved with their grandmother, our medwives and Bomb here are making sure that patients are safe, fiftyfifty1 and Dr Kitty are sitting in their offices doing in a safe way the job they love which is basically the same as medwives and Bomb’s, Megan is looking at her notes for the time she’ll be doing the same, Mishimoo is engrossed in motherhood and studying at the same time, Daleth is reading through her files as her SO is taking care of the kids because hey, they’re his kids too and so on. The difference is striking.

      • Dr Kitty

        Thank you for the shout out!

        I just can’t with these people.
        Every mother is doing her best.
        It might not look like your best, but that is OK.

        I don’t cook like Nigella, or run my house like Martha Stewart. I don’t grow my own food, raise my own chickens, hunt my own game or make my own clothes. Doesn’t make me a terrible mother either.

        Their choices might not be the same as mine, but it’ll all shake out much the same in the end.

        My kids are awesome. I’m parenting them to the best of my ability.
        I’m sure most parents feel the same.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          And, y’know, not to knock those moms who do all those things, but sometimes they can be outright detrimental to the relationship with their kids.
          I mean, sure, my mom cooked every meal from scratch and made us dresses and all that, but she was mean and nasty about it, and never wanted to involve us in the projects even though we’d have about killed to get that kind of attention, or to have her order a damn pizza while taking us to the park. As a result, none of us remember that stuff or her with any sort of warm fuzzies.

          • BeatriceC

            I make all our meals from scratch, but not for any reason that’s kid-related. I have food allergies and I really, really like breathing. Breathing is my favorite thing to do! Since it’s such an awesome thing to be able to breath, I make the time to cook everything from scratch so I know it’s safe for me to eat. That’s probably selfish of me according to some in the AP crowd.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I’d say I make 95% of ours ditto. Your reasons make sense–and you probably don’t mind if your kiddoes hang out with you in the kitchen while you cook, either! ๐Ÿ˜‰
            I actually love to cook, and I’m looking forward to being able to involve DD in that in a couple of years, if she’s interested. It’s not the cooking–it’s the attitude of “I have to prove to the world that I’m the Perfect Mom (TM) so stop bothering me, you annoying kids, while I make a massive from-scratch dinner every night.” Bleh.

          • BeatriceC

            They’ve been “helping” me cook since they had to sit on the counter to reach anything. Only one of them is any kind of real cook. The oldest and youngest wouldn’t starve to death if they were left to their own devices, but the middle would be putting on meals worthy of a Michelin starred restaurant.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Nice! I love that kind of scenario, and I can hardly wait til I can incorporate DD into dinner prep…it would be such a fun way to hang out.
            When I was about 10, the family was in a car crash. I was the only person who didn’t have to go see the chiropractor 2-3x/week for months and months, so I was left at home, often alone, and to my own devices. Which meant that I hauled out the cookbooks and had a glorious time teaching myself how to cook.
            Insofar as your grandmother, that’s the sort of thing I’d have loved to do. I’m very hands-on, and I’m terrible at just sitting around and talking, but give me something concrete to build/fix/do with someone and I’m in seventh heaven!

          • BeatriceC

            I think that’s why I think back so fondly on those days. My dad had me helping a lot, but it wasn’t quite the same. I am, however, eternally grateful for the skills I learned helping my grandmother with planes and cars and my father with cars and household repairs. Those skills made those poor, single mother days a lot more manageable.

            I do try to involve my kids as much as possible. The way I see it, it gives them activities they’ll hopefully remember fondly, plus it gives them life skills. The oldest and youngest will probably never be great cooks, but they won’t starve to death. The middle kid will only have to call out repair people for the big stuff, while the oldest could probably build an entire house from scratch. The youngest just engineers his way around problems when he runs into physical limitations. I think they’re doing pretty good, all things considered.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            This is pretty much how we want to raise our kiddoes. We have an informal list of Stuff They Should Know Before Going To College (or wherever life takes them after us). It’s the same for both sexes, and yep, cooking skills, home repair skills, cleaning/laundry, car repair/diagnostics, financial stuff (taxes, budgeting), minor sewing things (seams, buttons), etc are on the list. If they want to pursue any of those further than the basics, cool! If not, at least they have a foundation, and won’t be like the kids that DH and I both knew in school who had no clue how to change a tire/file their taxes/do the laundry. It’s stuff that’ll serve them all their lives, no matter where life takes them.
            Back when I was in school, I couldn’t afford to hire repair people. Now I can, but if an hour’s worth of work can save us $400, DH is more than happy to have me do it (he’s the numbers guy, I’m more mechanical), and then kid-wrangle for an evening while I go spend some of that on a solo sushi dinner (mmmmm!) and a trip to the book/fabric/whatever store. Win-win, I say!

          • BeatriceC

            I tell my kids that the minimum they should know about things like car and home repair is “enough so that their BS meters go off when somebody is trying to screw them over.” The same goes for things like taxes. If they are in a financial position to hire somebody, great, but they should at least have the basics down so that they’ll know if something just doesn’t seem right.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Yes! Exactly!
            I’d never done much plumbing before (lucky me), but when the upstairs toilet decided to run nonstop/not fill properly, I thought there was a strong element of BS when the plumber, straight-facedly, quoted me $300 for the “complicated” job of “rebuilding the toilet.” I told him I had to check with DH before getting the work done (which was technically true–over a certain dollar amount, we always check in with each other before spending it) and did a bit of research via Google and Youtube. Dropped $20 on the appropriate valves and about 30 minutes on the repair, and felt like Superwoman when I finished.
            Also, I now know one plumber who’s not getting called again. $300?! *snort* I have nothing but respect for those who work in the trades, but their time is *not* worth $600/hour, and that’s assuming he’d have been as slow about it as I was in figuring out how to do that the first time.

          • BeatriceC

            I think most of the plumbers around here charge about $75 an hour. It really is a skilled trade, and kinda gross, so I don’t mind paying that kind of money when I need to, but I’d rather not. I’m usually in charge of plumbing around here. And most carpentry stuff. MrC does the electrical and the carpentry and plumbing stuff I don’t feel like doing, and we work on our own cars for the most part, but I’ve been letting him deal with mine more and more.

          • Amazed

            A few years ago, I was left stranded in front of my door that had just chosen the moment to not let me in. 10 minutes and 50 dollars later I was happily in – and I told myself that if I noticed the key struggling ever again, I was calling the locksmith before I have to pay for urgent unlocking around midnight ever again. You know, that was without counting the actual repair next day. Because I thought it was just a temporary bug, I didn’t have the time and so on *snort*.

            I am hopeless when I have to do something manual. My hand issues don’t help either. But I was pitifully clumsy long before.

          • BeatriceC

            I tend to repair stuff sooner rather than later, but that’s only because I had to learn the lesson in much the same way you did, except for me it was a busted pipe at 2am.

          • D/

            My repair-it-myself efforts are mostly reverse psychology to influence the hubby. He’s a retired carpenter by trade, can build literally anything … was called an artist at a local playground-building event over his contributions. (Boy did that one swell his head.) He “could” fix almost anything but often chooses not to … hates, hates, hates plumbing!

            Given that he’s RETIRED and so talented you’d think I’d be set up. Nope, but if you’re my neighbor and need a ‘whatever’ built, run into him at the gas pump and have an off-handed conversation that your ‘whatever’s’ broke, sit on the side of the road in your broken down vehicle needed your ‘whatever’ adjusted, know someone who knows him and mention your ‘whatever’ needs whatever … YOU are set up! And he’ll work *literally* for lunch!

            Meanwhile after mentioning my busted ass whatevers at least 20 times over as many weeks, I must resort to pulling out tools in front of him during my after-three-job hours to pretend I’d prefer to fix my whatevers myself (which I am, at times, somewhat capable of doing) … or put on a theatrical show of hiring a professional-whatever-fixer to ever get anything finally fixed, ever. “Here, here let me get that for you.” or “Good lord hang up that phone. Why would we pay for something as simple as a whatever repair? Do you have any idea what they’ll charge us for that!?”

            With 35 years of hindsight it seems moving in next door to MrD/ (as opposed to marrying him) would have been my ticket to actually living with well-maintained whatevers ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • BeatriceC

            There’s a lot of truth to the old saying “A shoemaker’s children are never shod”.

            I learned most home repair stuff working on the rental houses growing up. I have things I enjoy doing, like painting, and things I won’t touch unless my life depends on it, like electrical. Most other things fall somewhere in between.

            I tend to do most of the stuff around here because my tolerance for broken stuff is lower than MrC’s tolerance. He can ignore things for insane amounts of time. My favorite example of this is the handrails going from the second to the third floors. It broke off the wall when he and his late wife were moving in. In 1994. Last summer one of my kids tripped going down the stairs from the second to the first floor and pulled that handrail off. I set about repairing it and offhandedly said “whatever happened to the one going to the third floor?” He replied that it was in one of the storage closets. I rolled my eyes, dug it out, and put that one on the wall right after I repaired the one that had just been broken. 22 years he never bothered to repair the damned thing. My mind. It boggles.

          • D/

            Oh, and thanks for the brilliant idea. There will be a high speed blade tool sitting on my needs-its-seal-replaced toilet’s lid (and maybe Googled DIY instructions) when MrD/ gets home this evening ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • BeatriceC

            My 4-inch angle grinder is absolutely the most used tool in my collection. It’s amazing how useful that thing really is.

          • BeatriceC

            Oh, and I should share my best plumbing story ever.

            When the boys were little, somebody tossed what turned out to be a toy ambulance down the toilet. It got stuck in the bend just so, and I could neither plunge it down nor snake it up. The only option was to remove the toilet in order to attempt to maneuver it out with the toilet laying on its side. Now if you’ve ever removed a toilet, you’ll know that the flange bolts almost always rust. Sometimes you get lucky and they come off anyway. Other times you have to cut them off. I got half lucky. So I got impatient with the hacksaw blade I was using to cut the stuck bolt off and used an angle grinder instead. I’ve done this dozens of times before. My parents own rental houses, as many as 28 at one time, so I spent a lot of time in my childhood helping with the family business, then, when they owned the most houses they ever owned, Hurricane Andrew came through and leveled every single one of them. I’m not inexperienced, so I didn’t have any issues with this.

            Well, if you’re using an angle grinder, or any other type of high speed blade near porcelain, you need to be really, really careful. If you hit it just right, it explodes. Well, I hit it just right. The explosion would have made the MythBusters proud. Thankfully I was wearing jeans and long sleeves and didn’t get hurt too badly. I looked around and bits of former toilet were embedded everywhere. In the walls, the door, the ceiling, nowhere escaped the flying former toilet shrapnel. I thought for just a few seconds before I decided that there was no way I’d ever get it all cleaned up without doing major damage to the walls. It was at this point I decided the best way to deal with it would be to pull the entire bathroom down to the wall studs and do a complete remodel.

            And that’s the story behind my favorite renovation project ever.

          • demodocus

            i’m 80% sure someone flushed a bar of soap last week. took all week to dislodge it. (with the plunger, my landlord wants us too call him if a plumbing issue is serious enough. Almost did but the toilet was still draining, albeit slowly)
            eta: the soap is still missing

          • BeatriceC

            I was thinking about this comment a little bit more. Do you know what I remember the most warmly? Working on planes with my grandmother. On no planet could my grandmother have been considered warm and fuzzy. She was hard ass. She bullied her way into the regular units of the US Army Air Corps (back when it was called that) prior to WWII. She was an airplane mechanic and a darned good one at that. She even has a couple patents for aircraft repair tools that she invented. She wasn’t very nice at all, but I have fond memories of working on planes with her.

          • Dinolindor

            Hey, have you seen the kids book “Rosie Revere, Engineer”? I freaking love this kids book (I don’t normally “love” kids books, just like or tolerate them). It’s about a fictional grand-niece of Rosie the Riveter. They work on inventions and planes – it’s one of those don’t give up just because your first try failed kinds of books. You might enjoy it for the nostalgia factor. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • BeatriceC

            I should try to find it. It sounds like a good book to keep in mind for when the grandkids start showing up.

      • D/

        Ha! Actually I may be both.

        I have a young, pregnant family member whose baby has an absolutely life-threatening congenital anomaly and who will have, at best, a long and overwhelming first year ahead of her.

        At a recent family gathering my eldest doubled back around with discreet damage control after an aunt was blasting her with a ‘breastfeeding will be easiest/ best’ directive … “Call my mom. She’ll help, and it’ll be fine no matter what.”

        I’m thinking unleashing a shitkid makes me a shitLCmom.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          That poor mom, and good on both you and DKid! Even though it’s not true, that line can be so poisonous. I have an older (than me–think mid-50s) family member who literally blames herself for her oldest daughter’s bipolar disorder because the daughter was the only one she didn’t breastfeed, and since the other kids don’t have bipolar, it must be her fault because breastfeeding didn’t work the first time around but did subsequently.
          This is a wonderful, warm, awesome woman who raised a fantastic family, but she feels that guilty over something she couldn’t possibly have any responsibility for. I’d love five minutes with whoever put that into her head and a blunt object.

          • Amazed

            May I join you? I’ll bring the blunt object over! We can be shit ladies together! But it must be after your little one has arrived. I saw that you were longing for your beer so you’ll have to miss on our self-congratulatory drink…

          • BeatriceC
          • Amazed

            He’s amaaaaaazing! I think I am in love, no matter how evil he is!

          • BeatriceC

            lol. I do like him, even if he’s not my biggest fan. MrC puts him on various perches whenever he does work outside. He likes chewing on metal things, as we can see. This is one of the many times he was amusing himself with hand tools when MrC was working on either his or my car.

          • Amazed

            Oh my, he’s armed? I didn’t quite notice this before, I was just so fascinated with his green and his focused look. I’m now going down to the other picture to check if there’s another weapon that I have missed.

          • BeatriceC

            He’s got a table knife in the other picture.

          • Charybdis

            Isn’t he wielding a knife in another picture? I must admit that the Crocodile Dundee “He’s got a knife” line and scene flitted through my head when I saw it.

            I’ll bring a butter sock.

            I’ll bring a butter sock.

          • BeatriceC

            lol. And yes, I posted the knife-wielding picture again a bit farther down. I’ve got other pictures of him wielding other funny stuff as well, but I was too lazy to dig them up. It’s really funny to watch him haul branches 10 times his size across the back yard, wrestle with huge boxes, and attack Sparky the Dancing Penguin (a stuffed penguin who dances to a christmas tune and then the chicken dance), among other things. I think I have a video of him with the penguin. Lemme see if I can find it.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            The more the merrier!

        • Amazed

          Actually, I think it makes you the uLtimateChickmom! Hurrah for the shitkid!

          I hope all goes as well as possible for that poor mom and baby.

          • D/

            Thanks! Hurrah for shitkids indeed!

            I’m actually pretty heartbroken over it all, and none of my husband’s family actually has a clue how serious it will all be. They’ve never seen anything comparable.

            She’s another great kid. Comes at me with open arms for a hug every time she sees me, and I never even think in those moments about what a not-hugger I am. Such a sweet, sweet young woman, and I see such a great mother in her. Oh, I do hope she gets to unleash another little huggger on us all!

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Again with the “anti-breastfeeding” and “anti-natural birth” nonsense. Why is it with lactivists that if you are over-selling the benefits of breastfeeding, it must be because you are against it?

      • fiftyfifty1

        They just can’t wrap their minds around the idea of doing all the things Dr. Tuteur did (natural birth, breastfeeding, attachment parenting) and not taking the opportunity to use those “accomplishments” to humiliate other women. Deep down, they know that they are pathetic and desperate bullies, but they don’t like the cognitive dissonance. So they try to justify their actions by intentionally conflating refusal to oversell with being “anti-“.

    • guest

      Is “classic shit” like when Coke tried to pull New Coke over on us and then we all went back to the tried and true flavor that really worked? Because I’m all for classic shit in that case.

    • Gatita

      Their list of things that make you a shit mom are terrifying. Birth interventions (like the ones that save lives?) make you a shit mom.

      • Megan

        Yeah, meanwhile I’ve never heard Dr Amy talk about CIO at all, let alone promote it.

        • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

          They’ve just imagined up all the “shit mom” characteristics that they hate, and decided that Dr. Tuteur must be promoting these things. Lol!

    • Who?

      Who is ‘Amy Teuter’-we note attention to detail is not strong with them.

      And so foulmouthed. Do they swear all over their perfect children, do you think?

  • Amazed

    OT: I am pleased. I’ve ordered a new furniture for my living room and I’m making some changes all around. Thanks to my great SIL, I’ve found a facebook group for giving away things you no longer need. I think the bed and armchairs will go to the mom with the second kid on the way and a need for the bed. We’ll see if there would be any others to wish for them. Anyway, it makes me smile that my problem and another person’s problem will be solved at the same time.

    Living unnaturally has its advantages! Just 15 years ago, I would have been forced to either throw the furniture away or deal with long and excessive offerings on paper.

    Recently, the Intruder and SIL gave the double-decker bed (I know this isn’t the word but I like it and I use it whenever possible) he and I slept for many years in to a recently divorced mother of three with little means. That made her happy and let them place the Amazing Niece’s bed where it needed to be. Internet is so useful!

    • Gatita

      I agree, love the Internet despite all the crazy. So useful for things that were much more difficult before.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Yesssss! When DH and I got married, I hadn’t been out of school long, and it wouldn’t have been worth the cost of moving my stuff the four hours to where he lived. So I advertised on a local list that I had a bed, bookcases, table and chairs available for pickup, and had a local, utterly broke college student come by for them. He’d been sleeping on the floor for months, and was so excited about having a bed and furniture! And I threw in the contents of my fridge, ‘cos I was leaving the apartment that day anyway. Like you say: living unnaturally has its advantages, and I love them!

      • Amazed

        Funny how the rules of the group state that we should descrive any defects our offers might have and when possible, complete it with pictures. And that’s, at best, a kitchen furniture. But mothers don’t heristate to accept milk from women who SAY they’re clean? I MUST cite Bofa here: and they believe them? Why? Did they pinky-swear or what?

        So irresponsible. So dangerous. But WE are the butthurt bitches? You must feel proud to be shit moms if that’s what pearl moms look like.

      • Amazed

        Hey, just a moment here! You didn’t leave the books for pickup, did you? My heart won’t take it! (Still wondering what the hell am going to do with all the books I keep stored under the bed. I am thinking of bookcases lining the hall, perhaps.)

        • Who?

          Be careful-we have two full wall floor to ceiling bookcases, plus a smaller (though still big, maybe 3m of storage capacity) all jammed. What to do with all of them if we ever move is a big topic of conversation between empty nesters, let me tell you.

          • Amazed

            That’s a problem that has been plaguing me for quite a while. I have books on every available surface, including the lower floor of my living room table. I’m dreading the day I’ll have to actually find each of them a place. Nothing short of a Harry Potter wand and a spell like the one Mr Weasley did on his car can save me.

            I love my kindle. I love my kindle. I do.

          • Who?

            I need to get a Kindle and learn to love it. I enjoy sharing my books, though, which you can’t do on Kindle.

            I feel your pain re moving things around to accommodate the books. And the dusting.

          • demodocus

            dusting is DH’s job, makes me sneeze

          • Who?

            I just got new glasses. Suddenly there is a lot more dusting to do ๐Ÿ™

          • demodocus

            won’t work on himself, lol. Dusting doesn’t happen very often around here

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Oh, I have a simple (heh) solution to *that*.
            An older couple a few towns over made the local news a few years ago when they bought the house next door to hold their book collection. I maintain to this day that that’s nothing short of brilliant.
            DH, on the other hand, has these odd, accountant-ish notions about retirement, and has thus far kiboshed the idea. *sigh*

          • Who?

            My husband must never hear that story.

          • Mishimoo

            My husband has suggested an air conditioned shed with room for his computer stuff and room for my books on a mezzanine level. It’s his solution to my “I just want a little house and less cleaning.” We’re going to cull the kids toys again soon, just in time for the next round of birthdays.

          • demodocus

            my kid’s only 2; how did he end up with 4 moving man size boxes of toys?!? oh, yeah, grandparents with insufficient numbers of grandchildren.

          • Mishimoo

            Oh I hear you on that one! Shopaholics/hoarders on my husband’s side, so our kids have too much stuff to properly appreciate it.

          • demodocus

            they really aren’t that bad in their own homes; i think they just don’t realize how much they’ve already gotten him

          • D/

            Same. Although the majority of my most loved real books have not been accessible to me for a while now. I can see them but can’t touch ๐Ÿ™

            Sealed-in-plastic, floor-to-ceiling bookcases in my down-to-the-studs-and-plywood study that MrD/’s been threatening to remodel for years (after water damage from the adjoining bathroom). Thank goodness the books were on the opposite wall! Those doors haven’t been opened in who knows when, but if I unwrapped it all I’m sure he’d feel motivated enough to start blowing drywall dust all over everything.

            I said I’d never use a Kindle but out of necessity have come to love mine as well. I do miss the feel and smell of holding “real” books all the time, but having all my books fit under my arm and read themselves to me, right through my hearing aids, on my long commutes is a perk I might have never realized otherwise. Guess I should thank MrD/ for motivating me to try one.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Goodness, no! The books were sent down in batches via the cars, which weren’t actually low-riders but looked as though they were once they were laden with a dozen boxes of books at once. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Amazed

            I just tried to push a bookcase just 20 cm further down to make room for the new sofa that is due to arrive in a few weeks. 20 bloody cm! Nope. Won’t budge. I’ll have to reload all four shelves of books to move it. And then wipe the dust off before I place them back. I love my kindle. 1200 books that never need dusting off! You’ll notice that I’m not even touching on the problem of storing them. I have books everywhere, in every room and cupboard except for the kitchen (cupboards too little to hold even my kitchen things) and the bathroom. I am drawing the line at setting a bookcase in the bathroom and that’s it! And no, I don’t mean because I get everything wet when I’m taking a shower, although I go get it soaking.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            And see, the problem with offloading a bookcase is that you find yourself saying “ooooh, I haven’t read this in YEARS!”, cracking whatever “this” is open, and realizing three hours later that you still have another two shelves to unload/dust/sort and the bookcase to shift and reload…
            Not *ahem* that I have any experience in this sort of thing, you understand. None whatsoever!

          • BeatriceC

            I have *no* clue what you’re talking about. Hehehehehe.

          • demodocus

            half my boxes in our recent move were books and fabric, in that order, lol. Still putting the books away.

    • BeatriceC

      We’ve been using Freecycle to get rid of things that aren’t worth the effort of selling. MrC has hoarding tendencies, and the only reason this house wasn’t a health hazard when I moved in is because it’s so freaking huge. Little by little, I’ve been working on getting him to let go of things we don’t need. For example, we don’t really need two pianos. We also don’t need four dining room tables, 3 sets of bunk beds (that nobody uses), 100 bath towels, 72 bras that belonged to the long term girlfriend he broke up with before he met me (she moved out and left a LOT of stuff…and those were just the bras she left behind), 27 sets of twin sheets, and I could go on and on and on.

      We gave the beds to a couple young families. One family had been homeless and while they had their own place now, they had no furniture, so I went through and loaded up their truck with all kinds of other things (some sheets, towels, a TV and DVD player, one of the tables). The rest of the excess linens went to a dog rescue group, and I forget where the rest has gone. I still have a long way to go, but I’m not pushing MrC too hard. A little at a time…

      • Amazed

        I can guess what Freecycle means (not American so I don’t really know). I was told that I could sell the thing since they’re still workable and look presentable (and the coffee machine had been used only a couple of months). But I didn’t feel like bothering with selling. Besides, I WANTED to give them away, In my first year at the university, I lived on a sofa, two chairs, and a TV. I didn’t have a table. Eating, writing – everything happened on a chair. I think that’s when my posture issues started… I love that now we can do whatever we want so easily. Feel like selling? Great? Feel like giving things away? Great! (Except when you’re Mr C, it seems! Good luck!)

        • BeatriceC

          Freecycle is just a website that facilitates people giving things away in order to reduce the amount of stuff that goes into landfills. Some of the really random stuff you see posted is hysterical. We got rid of a door-sized mirror (had been pulled off a mirrored closet door) that had a huge chunk missing from the top. A young artist took it to do some sort of sculpture work. You can also post “wanted” ads, which is great if you need some really random, odd thing.

          • Gatita

            Craigslist’s Free section is also great for getting rid of things. I usually have someone swing by and snatch it up within an hour of the posting.

          • demodocus

            My town has a facebook page version of a tag/yard/boot sale. Lots of used stuff cheap and sometimes even free.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        72…bras…
        Never mind. I don’t wanna know.
        Never mind. I don’t wanna know.

        • BeatriceC

          She had a bit of a shopping problem. I also got rid of 10 or so garbage bags full of women’s clothing that still had tags on them. But there were so many bras I couldn’t help but count them.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          If I could find a bra that fit and was comfortable, I’d probably buy 72 copies of it, if they were available. The last decent one I found the store had ONE of and the manufacturer had stopped making it.

          Later, I found out that the store I’d bought said bra at was owned by the family of a local AfD politician so I am now boycotting it and any potential comfortable bras they may get in. Sigh. Bra buying is cursed.

    • Kq

      When I lived in Hollywood, I took great pleasure in putting piles of stuff I was done with right smack on Hollywood Boulevard, in front of the Kodak Theater where they hold the Oscars. It never lasted more than an hour.

  • Megan

    I forgot to mention earlier that I also push back by dying to educate the family medicine residents I teach just how difficult breastfeeding can be and that it sometimes just doesn’t work. I never got any real training about breastfeeding other than “it’s good” and “something you should do” so I want the residents to understand the realities of breastfeeding and the flawed science behind it. I tell them that breastfeeding is great but that then choice of how to feed a baby rests with the mother and she should never be made to feel bad for it. I also try to explain the immense pressure on new moms to breastfeed. It’s my way of paying it forward.

    • Megan

      Haha. “Trying to educate,” not “dying.” My family wouldn’t appreciate that!

      • Charybdis

        I like the dying to educate myself. Not because I wish you any ill, but because it implies a great deal of enthusiasm for the anti-woo perspective you have.

      • Box of Salt

        But it does show that you are passionate about your point of view!

  • Irรจne Delse

    I can’t say I specifically pushed back when my best friend had her baby and needed support, because I simply did what came naturally. First, I didn’t question her decision to start a family at 38. So what, life happens, building a career and finding the right father for your child isn’t always easy.
    Then I try to be there when she wanted to discuss โ€“ as someone with a background in biological sciences, she often turned to me for info about health, diet, medicine, etc. I’m glad I was able to reassure her about the real risks of toxoplasmosis (basically, her doc had given her good advice and by following her plan, she shouldn’t have to be on fear of every meal) and later, when the baby was born, to help her understand how the recommended vaccines were *really necessary*.
    Of course, one person’s advice is never a game-changer. But at least, I didn’t pile guilt on her when she fretted, comparing herself to other parents, feeling at fault for making her child eat food from jars, letting her have a pacifier, etc. Why should i have given her grief? The baby had perfectly good food, she loved to breastfeed but also to get purees, and she would go from her pacifier to the breast in an instant! No nipple confusion there.
    Above all, baby was thriving, and even though my poor friend was often exhausted (turns out the right father wasn’t so great, but that’s another problem), she was always attentive to help the little one as best as she could.

  • SporkParade

    I push back by being an absolute cow to everyone who tries to force woo onto others in the local mommy group. Overstating the benefits of breastfeeding? PROBIT and concordant twins for you! Trying to scare women out of epidurals? Here’s a bunch of links from The Adequate Mother! Selling your services as a naturopath or some other witch doctor? I will call you a witch doctor. I get flack for it, but I also get PMs from other women thanking me or ranting about how terrible woo is.

  • D/

    My push back? I personally contribute to lowering my unit’s exclusive breastmilk feeding rate by refusing to ration necessary food to babies during their hospital stay.

    Crying moms with barely nursing babies who are wringing maybe 2 or 3 teaspoons total of extra milk out of their breasts all day long. Kiddos with minimally adequate voids and stools, weight loss 10+%, and jaundiced enough to buy themselves a half-day of light therapy before being discharged with encouragement to start formula supplements after they get home. When my instincts (or mom’s) are saying to feed the baby now, that’s what I do … with smiles from all! … AND at that point can even get some to nurse better than at any other feeding.

    I’ve expected to catch some grief over “ruining” babies’ exclusiveness (especially if it’s over just one single formula feeding), but some of those families have mentioned me by name in their satisfaction surveys as a favorite part of their hospital stay. One even called me her angel. Evidently congratulatory reprimands can cancel themselves out ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for all that you do to help moms and babies.

    • SporkParade

      I wish you had been on the maternity ward after I gave birth.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        I think we all do!

    • Charybdis

      Outstanding! Good for you; please, please, please keep it up.

  • fiftyfifty1

    This is not about what I do to push back, but rather what other mothers (and one father) did to help ME push back.

    As many of you know, I had a maternal request CS for my second after sustaining a lot of physical damage during my first vaginal birth. One of my colleagues had done the same thing for her second birth, and her matter-of-fact discussion about the decision helped demystify it for me. I also got good advice from 2 other doctor moms who had experience giving birth “both ways” because their second kids were breech. With their help and reassurance, I was able to make the decision that was right for me, and it turned out great.

    The advice that helped me most with work-life balance as a mother, actually came from a father. He was one of my supervising doctors for a medical school rotation years before I was ever a parent myself. He was a single working dad, which is quite rare for doctors. He was the only male mentor I ever heard talk about work-life balance (now that I think of it, he is very possibly the only male of any type I have ever heard talk about work-life balance). In any case his advice was this: Once you are out of residency, there is no reason you can’t go home at a reasonable hour from clinic. Learn to work hard and efficiently during a clinic day, and then GO HOME and don’t feel guilty about it. It is true that if there is an emergency, you will have to stay late, but if these “emergencies” are happening often, then they are probably a sign of a structural problem–so fix it. Staying late every night is a choice and it doesn’t make you a better doctor.

    • Irรจne Delse

      Great advice. I know a few dads who would have benefitted from this advice!

    • Megan

      As a fellow physician this is truly great advice and it is something I always made a priority as well. It is easy to get caught up in the culture of doctors always working but it’s true that you should almost always be able to get done in a reasonable time if you work efficiently. The only difficult part is that sometimes the admin will assume that means you don’t have enough to do and give you more work!!

    • “Staying late every night is a choice and it doesn’t make you a better doctor.”

      This is great advice and it applies to other careers as well.

  • Phoenix Fourleaf

    I let my child wake me up 5 times a night for 12 months until I just couldn’t take it any more. I was going insane and I had forgotten how to sleep. Being desperate, I tried cry it out. My daughter cried for 25 excruciating minutes, but then fell asleep and slept all night for the first time ever. The next night she cried for 10 minutes and slept through the night for the 2nd time in her life. After that, we had no more issues. It was clear to me that many of the ideas I had bought into were just wrong. I damaged myself by not sleeping for so long, and it wasn’t good for my kid either. I would absolutely recommend cry it out over a mother losing her mind.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Agreed x100. With the pediatrician’s okay, we sleep trained DD at 3 months, and both she and we were infinitely happier afterwards. It turned out she’s a bit like mommy: she needs a bit of space to calm down and fall asleep, and when she has it, she falls asleep quickly, and mommy sleeps more and better and is a happier, saner person to be around.

  • Stephanie Shaffer

    I pushed back by not feeling guilty whatsoever. From the very beginning of my pregnancy. I did my research and chose what I felt was best for my son and for myself and my husband. I chose to formula feed, crib sleep, use disposable diapers, had my son circumcised, let him (reasonably) cry it out and even sent him to the nursery every night *gasp*. I had a natural birth although I strongly considered an elective C-section but decided it was better not to opt for major surgery if I didn’t need it. I did receive an epidural which failed… I’m what you may call a “silky mom”. And when I do push back, I use logic and facts and I found out very early on in pregnancy that the best thing to do is stay firm in your choice and remember that you don’t have to explain yourself to anybody. Your child is yours to take care of and if these people aren’t buying everything for the baby then they don’t get a say. And if all else fails, I remind them that the “natural” parenting movement is a big business and if they think formula companies are so horrible, they ought to take a look at all the breastfeeding accessories and other attachment parenting things that somebody is really getting rich off of. I will ALWAYS push back ๐Ÿ™‚

  • The mom that didn’t know

    My story is the story that makes most NCB fans rage. The ability to judge me, and be critical to the point of being rude is common. Then you hear the whole story. I didn’t have to push back. I didn’t have time to listen. I can imagine that 9 months pre baby is full of advice and opinions. And that most is given with the best intentions. That a lot of it is scary. I wouldn’t actually know. I am a cancer survivor. Big bad cancer wanted my lady parts but I fought. I won. I am perimenipausal. I am in my 30’s and I know the hatred of a hot flash. Whew they are terrible. One Wednesday I was having terrible back pains. They ran the tests, pregnancy included all came up negative. I feared cancer wanted to dance again. So I had a CAT scan. And what they found was awesome. A little skeleton on my right side. Back pains… no dear….welcome to labor. Within 14 hours of that moment my daughter arrived. Healthy, 7 lbs 5oz. 10 fingers. 10 toes. Without hesitation I did what all moms do. Went head first into being a mom. But i was sheltered from the advice squad. And when I couldn’t handle the idea of breast feeding for another second…couldn’t handle the pain of it. I stopped. I went with my gut and stopped. She is still a rock star. Healthy happy smart and sassy. Pushing back for me is being that supportive mom to new mons. Encouraging self and heart to guide them. They are mothers they feel what’s right for their baby…even if some of us didn’t feel it at first.

    • demodocus

      *blink* Oh my, that must have been quite the surprise for you, your docs, and the person running the CAT scan. Congrats to you for both your daughter and for surviving your cancer!
      (Note, i’m not trying to be judgemental; if it weren’t for the fact that I had IVF with my first I could have chalked all my symptoms up to other things, too. #2’s kicks are a bit more obvious.)

    • guest

      That’s an amazing story.

  • KeeperOfTheBooks

    The first time, I didn’t, I’m afraid. I was in too much of a PPD-addled haze to do much beyond survive, if you can call it that. (Thanks, AP and NCB folks who dedicated so much webspace to telling me what a failure I was because baby flipped breech and my milk never properly came in; I appreciate it!)
    This time, though (currently 7 months pregnant) I’ll be trying for a VBAC, but only if things look good; if I end up with a CS, I’ll be happy so long as I have a pink, howling baby at the end of it. I’m formula-feeding from the start, and DH will (gasp!) be helping with nights. I’m starting antidepressants in the hospital because there’s no way in hell I’m even risking acquiring PPD or putting my husband and kids through that again. And if I get any sass from lactation consultants or lactivist nurses, I’ll be handing it right back to them in spades, and with a firm-but-nasty letter to their supervisors and the hospital administrators to boot.
    I went to Babies R Us yesterday and bought a supply of bottles and pacifiers. It was ridiculous how happy that made me!

    • Are you nuts

      Yes to all of this! I will have truckloads of pacifiers ready. I bought into the no pacifier nonsense so I spent the first two weeks of my daughter’s life sleeping with my arm hanging out of my bed into her bassinet so she could suck on my thumb. Boy was that stupid. I will have formula at home and ready to roll so my husband doesn’t have to go to Walgreens in the middle of the night because my milk hasn’t come in and the baby is screaming hungry. And I will boldly request to send my daughter to the nursery overnight in the hospital and tell the nurses to back the hell off if they give me grief for it!!

    • Megan

      The truckloads of pacifiers are good! They have become like my reading glasses: one stashed in every possible location and always within reach!

      • demodocus

        Unless the kid is a dedicated thumb sucker, lol. My left thumb was *so* much better. Had to be the left one, too. THe right one didn’t taste right.

        • guest

          Yeah, my kids didn’t take to pacifiers, although I certainly offered them. But I have a committed thumb sucker, and only one thumb will do. He got a small infection on the chosen thumb last summer, it it was difficult to treat because he simply could not stand to have that thumb off-limits.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Neither of our guys would take any pacifier, nor are they thumbsuckers or anything. That was not an approach we could use at all to help soothe.

            But we tried.

          • guest

            Some kids just aren’t suckers.

          • Sean Jungian

            Mine was interested in the pacifier for only a short time, not a thumb sucker either. I held onto the pacis just in case, though.

            Our soothing was (and to an extent, still is, at 14 years old lol) car rides. But when he was tiny, on top of the washing machine would do!

          • BeatriceC

            My oldest loved his pacifier. The younger two didn’t really like them at all.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Yessss! I’m bringing a couple to the hospital in case baby friendly=Pacifiers Are Evil, and believe me, one will live in the diaper bag as well as various locations at the house.
        It’s also one thing that DD will be able to help with with her baby brother. She loves being “a help,” and she loves babies. When a friend comes over with a baby and the baby starts to fuss, DD will run to get the kiddo’s paci; it’s pretty adorable, if I do say so myself. And as a newborn/small baby, what could be more cheering than an adoring big sister offering you a paci? ๐Ÿ˜€

        • Bombshellrisa

          When you find out which is baby’s favorite, get a couple more just like that. I found this one out the hard way. We used a wubba nub with my son and one night the pacifier part detached from the animal part. DS refused the pacifier without the animal attached. We spent hours trying to find the right glue to bond the pacifier back (FYI: doesn’t exist) and I ended up sewing the thing back together at almost one in the morning while my usually a good sleeper baby screamed. Thank goodness it held for the day and half that it took to find another one.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Wow, that so sounds like something I would end up doing…though I’d prefer not to, for obvious reasons! Good tip!

          • Bombshellrisa

            There were four others we were trying to give him too, but he had a favorite for sleeping.

          • Megan

            Luckily, our baby loved the one they provided at the hospital (a perk of letting them know you’re bottle feeding/supplementing and the fact that we aren’t technically BFH). It was the Philips soothie and it seems to be one that a lot of babies like. I think it’s the same one attached to the wubba nub.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            That’s the one that DD liked, and the one of which I got several earlier this week. I haven’t actually met a baby who took a pacifier who *didn’t* like it, though I assume there must be some out there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Megan

            My first daughter hated the pacifier but we introduced it late to help with reflux. I was so scared of nipple confusion early on she never got one until 3-4 months old and by that time she was pretty “meh” about it. I like using the paci for my younger daughter but hope that after 6 months (when SIDS risk is greatly reduced) we’ll be able to wean it. It’s so hard to wean later.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Ohhhh yeah. DH used one until he was 6 (?!), resulting in all sorts of lovely mouth issues later on in life. Suffice to say that MIL considered that a learning experience, and paci weaning happened a lot earlier with the subsequent kids.

          • C.

            Mine didn’t. She loves the Avent ones though… To the point where she prefers them to the boob for comfort sucking, which is a win-win as far as I’m concerned!

          • MI Dawn

            Mine loved the premie pacifiers. NOT the term newborn size. Thankfully, I worked in a hospital so I could get them as needed. Had to wean her off them by 4 months because she kept sucking them apart! But, by that time, she was willing to try another kind. Strangely, I was still successful at breastfeeding (in my mind – these days I’d be considered a total failure).

          • swbarnes2

            Ah, the Wubbanub. Ours was dearly beloved, as the constant dampness and accompanying smell attested to, until we noticed that babe had chewed a bit of a hole in the sucked-on part of the pacifier. We weren’t sure it was safe like that, so we cut it back drastically, and it was a rough few nights after that. But, just like Dr. Weissbluth’s book said, a few nights without it was all it took and now Daisy can take have some well-deserved R&R. And maybe a bleach bath someday.

    • Bombshellrisa

      Pacifiers are amazing! Really really amazing! It can be the difference between the car ride from hell and a quietly soothed baby.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Yes! I remember when my MIL came to help with DD, who loooooved to suck nonstop. She sent me out for pacis after a day or so; I went feeling like The Worst Mom In The World (TM) because what sort of awwwwwful mom gives her kid a pacifier? I mean, nipple confusion! Etc!
        As she often, if not always is, MIL was entirely correct. (MIL had eight kids, and has a very common-sense approach to childrearing as a result: “Feed the baby. Diaper the baby. Snuggle the baby. The baby won’t suffer any lasting affects from learning that mommy gets to pee, bathe, and eat. Everything else is gravy.”)
        Everyone was a lot happier once DD was introduced to a binky. Insofar as weaning concerns, DD decided her fingers were way more awesome than a binky at about 4 months along, and ditched the sucking thing altogether at about 7 monthsish, so I’d say it was a rousing success.

        • demodocus

          I like your MIL ๐Ÿ™‚

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            As do I! I seriously lucked out there. She is awesome. I’m having her get out here ASAP when this kidlet shows up, and I can’t wait.

          • An Actual Attorney

            A good mil is worth her weight in gold.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I heartily agree. Last time, she was constantly offering to do stuff/care for DD while I slept, and I mostly refused (good moms do everything by themselves without help, don’tchaknow) except when I hit the end of my rope one night. This time, anytime she offers to toddler- and baby-wrangle while I sleep, she’s getting an armful of grandkids faster than she can finish the sentence while I run off gratefully to bond with my pillow.

      • Amazed

        Amazing Niece loves her paci and is generally a non-crier. The rpoblem is, sometimes she’s fussy just when adults want to have an adult conversation. Usually, it’s a minute struggle to get her accept the paci. Then, she starts sucking with a loud slurping noise and I have to look around to make sure thawt the village drunkard hasn’t paid us a visit without us noticing. Nah, it’s Amazing Niece. And if in a such moment you reach over to stroke her cheek, she clamps her mouth as tightly shut as possible as if you’re an enemy soldier trying to steal her war prize, aka paci. You know, the same one she didn’t want about 30 seconds ago. It’s ridiculous. Adorable but ridiculous anyway.

  • PeggySue

    I push back by pointing out logical fallacies–that if breastfeeding were really so totally superior, the differences in health between breast and formula fed children should be clearly visible at ages 3 to 5. Which is palpably false. So Mom can chillax.

  • Gatita

    I recommend making friends with women whose children are older than yours or even grown. They’ve already been through it all and they know most of this bullshit is irrelevant. It’s a great way to get perspective.

    • Are you nuts

      Sometimes that can backfire though, if their kids are old enough that they have forgotten how hard the newborn stage is and they romanticize it. “Enjoy every minute” is perhaps the worst advice possible to give a mom covered in blood, milk, tears and sweat!

      • Gatita

        Yeah, but that’s a great moment to ask for babysitting. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Yeah. My mom always talks about how her mom told her, “When the baby sleeps, you sleep.”

        Yeah, right. Sounds great, but Mom realized, “When the baby sleeps, I have a boatload of crap that I need to get done.”

        And I know the feeling. I don’t think Grandma’s advice was all that wise. Or realistic.

        • MI Dawn

          Actually, it’s plenty realistic IF you have someone else living there to pick up the slack. I was able to sleep when baby slept for 2 weeks because first my mother, then my MIL was there. Once I was on my own…nope.

    • demodocus

      *Sigh* unless they’re either caught up in woo like my stepmother or so attached to old wives’ tales from the Old Country like my friend’s mom. Most of my family came from England 2 centuries ago, this should make me give a darn about what her Polish grannies had to say?

      • demodocus

        (in other words, i’m not due in the middle of July just because *she* thinks I should be.)

      • Charybdis

        Hey now, don’t knock the Polish grannies; they’re pretty awesome overall. ๐Ÿ˜›

        • demodocus

          Oh, not overall, Just N’s Polish grannies. I’m sure Marie Curie would have been rather less into the old wives’ tales. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • RNMeg

    I’ve pushed back by applying all I’ve learned from this blog to my recent birth. My first baby (now about 2.5 years old and thriving) was OP, acynclitic, and had her cord around her neck twice which meant she never descended properly. I was induced, she went into distress at about the 26 hour mark, and I had an emergency c-section that resulted in an attempted vacuum extraction and, ultimately, a vertically-extended scar on my uterus. We had feeding problems from the start, and I suspect a bad oral aversion from headache pain and bruising. She ended up losing a lot of weight, we stayed an extra day in the hospital, and I was guilted into exclusively pumping for her for about 4 months. I ended up with a case of PPD for which I still take Wellbutrin.
    This birth was a scheduled c-section. We decided to combo feed from the start, and while the baby did get some colostrum in the hospital, he was mostly formula-fed until my milk came in on day 4 (just like it had with his sister, even though I didn’t put him to the breast every hour or do skin-to-skin every minute of the day). He’s now 9 days old and mostly breastfed, and hes back to his birth weight. Thanks to this blog, I don’t feel an ounce of guilt asking my husband to give him a formula bottle at 5 am so I can sleep. I didn’t feel guilt demanding formula in the hospital, either, even though everyone we encountered seemed very confused by the idea of combo feeding. It worked for us, and there’s no guilt to feel in that.

  • Bombshellrisa

    My push back started at my first prenatal appointment. The OB practice has a required reading list and one of the books is “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding”. There was no way I was reading that and I let the doctor know it. I didn’t go to the childbirth class, tuned out everyone who wanted to talk to me about “natural” anything and worked out a schedule with my husband where we would take turns with night feeding and care for the baby. I felt so bad at first, going up to pump and then luxuriating in a good nights sleep. It helped me so I could be a better parent and happier in general.

    • Stephanie Shaffer

      I have to laugh cause the midwife told me I “had” to take breastfeeding and childbirth classes or they wouldn’t let me come there anymore. I just laughed at her. It was one of my first appointments too… I told her, the only thing I “have” to do is pay taxes and die. And go ahead kick me out cause I’m not going to your stupid classes. Not like you’re doing me any good anyway (at this point in my pregnancy they had totally missed my placenta previa and told me all the pain was normal, had to go to ER to get checked out) so yeah… and I agree with the schedule, that’s what saved my sanity was taking turns with my husband, he did night shift and I did day shift lol

      • Bombshellrisa

        Oh yeah, I was told that the classes were “required” along with the mountains of woo infested books. Even now I smile at my defiance at not doing anything that was “required”. Except for the important stuff like the Glucola test and ultrasound.

        • Gatita

          I paid for the class but then missed it because I was on bedrest for three weeks. Didn’t make a damned bit of difference.

      • guest

        I wanted to take some kind of class, but I didn’t have $300 to spend on them and couldn’t find any free or cheap ones. My midwives didn’t try to pull any ‘have to’ crap on me, though. I asked what they thought and they said it was fine not to do them.

  • Allie

    I push back by sharing my experiences with other mothers and supporting them in their choices regardless of whether they mirror my own. When discussing parenting, women will often say in hushed tones that they combo fed or only breast fed for x number of months because of one reason or another, and I say ‘good for you, you had the courage and common sense to do what worked for you and your baby.’ I try always to refrain from giving unsolicited advice, and I never criticize people for parenting decisions that really don’t make a lick of difference in the long term.

  • Chi

    I’m ashamed to admit that I fell for the NCB lies. Particularly since they came from a government-funded antenatal class so them telling me that epidurals led to a ‘cascade of unwanted interventions’ and that ‘ALL women can breastfeed’ had to be right, right?

    As such I had a PAINFUL 13.5hr labour which I honestly don’t remember much of. I struggled to breastfeed even in the hospital because I had inverted nipples and my daughter struggled to latch.

    6 weeks on, my nipples were shredded and I had vasospasm and Reynaud’s and so I was starting to dread feedings. Starting to hate my daughter for the amount of time she spent attached to my body. But I persisted because ‘breast is best’ and other mums had given me dire warnings of what would happen if even a single drop of formula passed my baby’s lips. It was only when my daughter had lost 15% of her birth weight, was feeding for 40 minutes out of every 20 and was STILL screaming with hunger that my midwife put her foot down and sent my husband out to get formula. And the difference was immediate. She started sleeping more, was happier, more engaged.

    And I realized that formula wasn’t evil. It was providing my daughter with something that clearly, I could not. And that’s when I had a realization. Why persist with something that, even though it was supposed to be ‘best’ was actually harming my child.

    That’s when I started to ‘push back’. We went exclusively to formula and my daughter started to thrive. She started looking at me during feedings, started to smile and laugh. And I realized that I had been suffering. Mentally as well as physically. And I asked myself why. Which led me to question everything I had been told by NCB advocates. I realized that my mental health and physical well-being were just as important as my child. Because how could I be a good mother if I hated her? If I felt sad and like a miserable failure?

    I didn’t fail my daughter. I redefined success.

  • Sean Jungian

    Luckily, I did not have to push back very much – I had my child just before the huge NCB movement overtook the mainstream.

    I went through my son’s birth with great pain management including an epidural. He was born without complication.

    I was able to breastfeed easily, and when I returned to work I was able to continue to pump for a few more months. However, he received formula when I wasn’t around, and he lost interest in both at about a year old, preferring our regular food (mashed up of course).

    I have not followed any particular parenting philosophy. I only have one child and I was older when I had him, so I wanted to be around as much as possible (although I did still work full-time). When I discovered I was pregnant, my main goal was to raise a person with the ability to be happy, responsible, independent, and healthy. Whenever I had to make decisions I always asked myself if and how it would help achieve those goals. I probably practiced a form of AP in that I enjoyed being around him and wanted him to know that he could always count on me and come to me. But I also wanted him to realize I was a human being with my own wants and needs. Communication and consistency were far FAR more important to our bonding than the method of his birth or his feeding for the first couple of years.

    I thank my lucky stars that I did not have friends or family constantly holding me up for judgement.

  • Monkey Professor for a Head

    One of the best things we did was to put minimonkey to sleep in his own room early on, and to set a consistent bedtime for him. He goes to bed at 7pm and the rest of the evening is grown up time. I also try and get out of the house on my own for a few hours at the weekend, even if it’s only to go have a cup of coffee by myself and read. It’s good for my mental health and I think it helps my husband feel more involved.

    And I loved my epidural!

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      One of the best things we did was to put minimonkey to sleep in his own room early on, and to set a consistent bedtime for him.

      Our older guy has slept in his room since he was born. The younger guy slept in our room (first in the pack-n-play, then in the swing) for about 6 mos, but since then has always been in his own room.

      Other than that and when we are on the road, neither have otherwise slept in our room, much less our bed, at any point. When at home, they sleep in their room (or rooms, depending on how they want to do sleeping arrangements).

      We have had the same bedtime routine for pretty much their entire lives (although it creeps a little later now that they are older; we like to have them in bed by 9 pm, but the 7 yo stays up reading until maybe 9:15 – 9:30.

      Every once in a while, I will come and sleep in their room with them, but they don’t sleep in our bed, and they never even ask to

      • guest

        I was blessed with great sleepers (well, eventually – the first four months they wanted to eat every ninety minutes) and while I did keep them in my room the first five months (for my own convenience), they moved to their own room after that with no fuss. And they slept very well there until we moved to a new place when they were 2.5 and I didn’t put the baby gate back up to keep them in their room. So now I have two kids that sleep half the night in their own room, and then come wandering in to my bed in the wee hours and sleep with me until morning.

        Sometimes kids just want to sleep in their parents’ bed, no matter how they were trained. I could insist on taking them back to their beds when they come to me, but I find it easier to just not even wake up when they do this. One of these days the bed isn’t going to be big enough to hold us all, though.

        • Sean Jungian

          My experience was very similar to your initial experience. My son began sleeping through the night at 4 months and slept in his own room. Prior to that I was worried I wouldn’t hear him if he woke up – I don’t think he could have cared less.

          Oh those wonderful years where he slept from 7 pm to 6 or 7 am reliably! I loved having some time to myself in the evenings to wind down.

          My trade-off for a great sleeper was having a picky eater ๐Ÿ™

          • guest

            There’s always a trade-off, isn’t there? I have one with with anger management problems, and another one with chronic constipation. Such is life.

    • Megan

      How early did you do this? I’m trying to decide when to move little lady in with her sister. She’s a month old now and still waking every 2-3 hours at night so now isn’t ideal, obviously but I’m hoping to move her when I can. I’m trying to balance her not keeping me awake with her not keeping my older daughter awake. It’s amazing how much noise a newborn can make sleeping!

      • Commander30

        We moved my daughter to her own room when she was about 3.5 months old, but that was only because that was when we moved to our house and before that, we were in an apartment and she didn’t technically have her “own room”. She made the transition from a rock-and-play by our bed to a crib in her own room much better than I was anticipating.

        She’s been a pretty good sleeper ever since she was about six weeks old, though, which I’m sure helped the situation.

      • guest

        If your oldest is a pretty good sleeper, and you can get to the youngest pretty quick when she cries at night, it will probably be fine. We moved our youngest at about 6 months, but I realized after that we could have done it much sooner. The oldest has never woken up no matter how loud the youngest is and vice versa. But both my children are extremely good sleepers.

      • Monkey Professor for a Head

        We moved him to his own room at 3 weeks old as hubby was going back to work and was finding it really hard to sleep with minimonkey in the room – and we thought it wasn’t a good idea for a surgeon to work while badly sleep deprived. I was still nursing every few hours, but I was really scared of falling asleep while breastfeeding so being forced to fully wake up and go to another room was actually a good thing for me. And yes, sleeping newborns are bloody noisy!

  • SL27

    I pushed back by asking for and receiving an elective induction at 39 weeks, by offering formula in the hospital when my baby wouldn’t latch because my milk hadn’t come in, and by letting my baby sleep in a swing instead of holding her all day and letting her sleep in a different room most of the night.

  • guest

    I am careful not to be pushy about it, but I try to tell any new mother who mentions struggling with breast feeding to me that formula is okay. It’s not much of an issue now, but I moderated my neighborhood parents group for children born around the same time, and I made it clear that formula shaming would not be tolerated. I also shared my story with Fearless Formula Feeder, and she published it one Friday.

  • Amazed

    OT: I am currently reading a collection of short stories derived from actual archives kept about 150 years ago. One of them is about a young woman who was imprisoned as being part of the liberation movement here (she was, indeed). She escaped prison and death because the governor’s wife was giving birth. Trying to give birth. For two days. A few midwives had already found reasons to slink away and not return because they could say it was not going well and they didn’t want to be around for the governor’s anger and grief. Only one of them dared tell him that they were losing the baby and they would probably lose the mother as well. Then, he was quietly told that the prisoner below was an experienced midwife. Indeed, she managed to save both mother and baby boy and out of gratitude, he gave her a small fortune and let her go. A true story.

    People who had little choice but be natural weren’t too happy with it. They had no choice but accept that some things were meant to be. But they fought against them with all they had. Why shouldn’t we do the same?

    What is so natural about donor milk anyway? To be truly natural, mothers should let their kids pass away of starvation. They didn’t want to do it and they don’t want it now. Out the window natural goes. It isn’t natural to let your baby suck another woman’s boob or take another woman’s milk. Why is it OK but formula and C-sections aren’t?

    • demodocus

      There’s no guarantee that your little band even *had* another lactating female, much less that she had enough to share, back before we unnaturally developed agriculture.

      • Amazed

        Yeah. When people start preaching about good ole times of being all natural, I say, “We stopped being natural and only taking what land can give us the moment we sowed that first field of wheat instead of waiting for nature, earth or whatever PERHAPS to take care of us on a whim.”

      • Roadstergal

        That would be a side benefit of harems, wouldn’t it? Keeping a brood of pregnant and lactating females… and if a few die in childbirth now and then, no big, you have extra.

  • Kathleen

    All I wanted was a healthy baby and a healthy mom. I had gestational hypertension which required me to get induced (my son) and planned induction (but my daughter decided to come that day anyway, so no need). I think being higher risk basically shoved any “I HAVE to have things this way” feelings off to the side. I had preferences, but I didn’t care HOW my kids got here, as long as we were safe. If I had to take a risk (C-section) to save my kids, I would do it gladly. I honestly don’t understand why mothers WOULD risk their babies just to avoid something themselves. Especially since they’re usually the mothers who are all “I’m a mama bear..would walk through fire for me kid…”

    • Irรจne Delse

      Or they’ve been so brainwashed that they believe c-section is dangerous for the baby. This makes my mind boggle, but I can still hear the tears in the voice of a friend whose OB had told her that the baby was breech and a c-section was needed. I tried to reassure her by saying that a) it was a perfectly straightforward operation and b) there were a lot less risks for the baby than for her, and that meant extremely few. That didn’t connect. She kept fretting over it, but a few days later, the baby turned off its own accord, and a day or two after that, she gave birth uneventfully.

      • Erin

        The “brainwashing” can be hard to avoid though. My Mother went through a stage of sending me every negative section related article she managed to find in the mainstream press. I kept them all and in a six month period post section she managed to find over 25 articles without resorting to the internet.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          What a ghastly woman. I am so sorry.
          Might I suggest a therapeutic bonfire?

          • Charybdis

            Round up the others! I’ll bring hot dogs, buns and the makings for s’mores. We’ll have a shit mom wienie roast and guilt purging party! Only the cool shit moms will be there!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I’ll bring the booze, plus mocktails for those who’re breastfeeding!

          • Megan

            Ooh ooh! Can I come? I think I meet all the shit mom requirements (RCS and didn’t try for VBAC, lots of interventions, formula fed, CIO)! Just don’t tell that I also baby wear, coslept for 9 months with my first and did donor milk and domperidone with my first breastfeeding attempt. For them, you’re either all shit mom or your not and I don’t want to lose my street cred!

          • Erin

            She backed off when I blamed my not designed for childbirth pelvis on her fear of getting fat during pregnancy. She weighed around 8 stone at term and give our height, that’s not a good.

            I’m saving them for a rainy day or an art project or possibly her eulogy.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            *snort* I like the way you think. ๐Ÿ˜€ Do bear in mind that a bonfire is always an option, though, if they start to get to you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Dr Kitty

    I pushed back after my second CS by saying that they could either give me opioid painkillers to take home and put me down as formula feeding due to inadequate pain relief but I would BF when I got home, or they could give me opioid painkillers and put in my notes that I was BF and fully aware of the risks.
    Either way, I would refuse to leave the hospital with inadequate analgesia.

    Because, newsflash, 48hrs after a CS, paracetamol and diclofenac alone is entirely inadequate postoperative analgesia for most people expected to lift and feed a baby every 2hrs.

    I happily prescribe opioid analgesia to my BF patients- often because they call in in tears on day four post CS, unable to stick the pain.

    Motherhood is not masochism or martyrdom.

    • momofone

      “Motherhood is not masochism or martyrdom.”

      I think this should be embroidered and framed.

      • Are you nuts

        I think for some people, that’s the best part!

    • Anna

      I really loved my opioid painkillers post-op. Breastfeeding obsessed as my maternity hospital was, they were very adequate about pain relief. So I skipped the sharp pain altogether, by the time I was home it was mostly dumb pain which was absolutely tolerable and I could only feel it when physically active.

      • Sarah

        The opioid did my head in post section! So I did without after a couple of days. The nachrel crowd would’ve been proud, except I wasn’t breastfeeding.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          I didn’t need it after the first few days, so I never filled the prescription my OB gave me. Partly cos I didn’t need it, partly because I find I like the way I feel while on Vicodin much, much too much to have it around the house if not medically necessary. *looks slightly sheepish*

          • Thank you for saying this. I see a lot of “oh, I hate the way those drugs make me feel.” Well, not me. I freaking love it. I am aware of this and take it only when absolutely needed (like after surgery), but there it is.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            There’s a *lot* of addiction in my family. I’ll take drugs if I need ’em–I’m no martyr, thankyouverymuch–but I don’t need a stash of Vicodin sitting in the house, with its promise of that lovely, floaty, happy, I-don’t-care feeling. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one!

          • BeatriceC

            Coming to my house would be a very, very bad idea. I have everything from Advil to Morphine sitting around.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Sounds like a fun party! ๐Ÿ˜€
            In all seriousness, I don’t think I’d go for someone else’s stuff–not to that point, thank goodness! It’s more a safeguard thing…that way, I won’t have a really horrible day and feel like reaching for the vicodin to cope that way rather than a healthy way. I don’t know that I would, but I don’t want to find out the hard way, either, and I want to be more there for my kids than my alcoholic mother was for hers.

          • BeatriceC

            Everything in my house belongs to the kids. I’ve been tempted a few times, but the fact that they are my kids’ meds keeps me honest. When they need that stuff, they *really* need it.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Couldn’t possibly argue with that!

          • MI Dawn

            I’ve kept drugs around the house, and taken them for that lovely, floaty feeling, too. Around here, it’s pretty rare to get more than 5-10 to take home, with no refills, so I save them and parcel them out for the really bad mental health days. The last few times, I’ve ended up tossing the last 3-4 pills, because they were rather old…

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Good on you, and I’m disgusted that they’d deny a post-CS mom proper pain relief. Is there any other major abdominal surgery for which a doctor would say “eh, take some Tylenol and/or ibuprofen if you need it?”
      Now, *I* didn’t need opioids by day 4 (didn’t have more than aches that ibuprofen more than handled), but I also know that I’m weird and hardly the standard by which other women’s pain should be judged. Also, my awesome OB had an opioid prescription ready and waiting for me if I wanted it, which is as it should be. I should add that I was breastfeeding at the time and he was well aware of it, and (shocking, I know…) still seemed to think that my pain being controlled was important.

      • Dr Kitty

        I actually didn’t have bad wound pain, but the after pains with each feed with #2 were excruciating. I had almost no after pains with #1.
        I needed something good and something fast- opioids were the only option.

        My baby didn’t suffer from the tiny amount transferred in my colostrum, and I was able to feed him without being in agony.

        The difference between having my appendix out, when I got fistfuls of oxynorm to take home that I didn’t need to take, and the CS, when I clearly required analgesia (and six years earlier, when the policy was different, I and every other woman got a week of take home opioids automatically) was telling.

        I’m still really angry about it, actually.

        I think women who are breastfeeding should be given the information about the risks of neonatal opioid toxicity and allowed to decide for themselves between
        a) breastfeeding without opioid analgesia
        b) breastfeeding with opioid analgesia
        c) formula feeding/pumping and dumping with opioid analgesia

        The idea that if you want to breastfeed you *must* also be willing to endure severe pain, and would *automatically* prioritise exclusive breastfeeding over pain relief is just bizarre, and pretty much the antithesis of patient centred care.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          “I’m still really angry about it, actually.”
          As well you should be; it’s disgusting. Thank you for taking good care of the moms in your practice! And I agree wholeheartedly with having women make informed choices *for themselves* about the associated risks of opioid anesthesia and breastfeeding, almost as though they’re grown, competent adults who can think for themselves!

          • Irรจne Delse

            Indeed. It’s the part where they don’t give women the whole information that gets me. And the list of medications that pregnant or breastfeeding women are warned against is getting longer. Or so it seems. Like women who need anti-depressives who get told to quit when they are pregnant, and end up with worse than ever depression… Newsflash: a deeply depressed mother is often not in a good position to take care of a baby! She can be dangerous to herself and to the baby. I’ve had the misfortune to see that close, in my family. The sight of a new mother nursing her child absently wild crying and looking like she was in hell… It’s heartbreaking. At least, the woman in question was able to get new depression medication after the birth of the child. But there were a few months before she get back more or less to baseline, when she was like a stranger to her life and to her baby. That can’t be good for “bonding”! Sadly, the family didn’t know what to do except let time heal.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Ugh. Reminiscent, though of course not quite to the same degree, of those fools of nurses/lactation consultants who told Charlotte Bevan (sp?), a schizophrenic woman, that she had to stop her schizophrenia meds cold turkey because she had to breastfeed her baby. Never mind that they might both be alive today if the nurses/LCs had the notion that a mom who’s somewhat in touch with reality is rather better for both mom and baby than one who isn’t, or that (*drumroll, please*) the damned medications were actually SAFE for breastfeeding if that’s what mom wanted to do, but they couldn’t be bothered to look them up in Lactmed or a similar resource!
            I’m really sorry about that relative. That poor woman. PPD (and depression in general) *is* hell, no argument there. I didn’t really bond with DD until she was 10 months old because of it.

          • Irรจne Delse

            Thank you. And ask my sympathy for you and your daughter, glad you could survive.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Thanks. Honestly, I’m still a bit surprised that we both did. It’s also one of the reasons I’m looking forward to this baby: I can’t wait to meet him, of course, but it’ll be really nice as a mom to do the newborn/small baby thing without being so miserable and angry 24/7.

          • Megan

            My fire d has been on Zoloft for her second baby and has remarked that she wished she’s taken a longer maternity leave because she’s enjoying his newborn period so much more than she did with her daughter. I hope you find the experience better too. I’m currently on that borderline where sometimes I feel fine but other times I get moody and snap at my husband or my children and then feel horrible about it. Of course my milk is drying up at this point and that always affects me. I’m hoping it will pass in another week or two.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            It took me ’til I was pregnant with this kiddo to even be able to grasp that the newborn period isn’t pure, unmitigated hell for most moms. Hard, definitely, but not pit-of-despair misery; I honestly thought that the other new moms I knew must just be putting on an act when they said they were doing well! (And who knows, perhaps some of them were.)
            I remember that milk-drying-up phase, and hope it passes quickly for you. Please accept a total internet stranger’s permission to eat however the hell much chocolate and ice cream you want over the next couple of weeks!

          • And it’s not just medications. The list of things my mother-in-law wanted me to cut out while breastfeeding included painkillers (because of course), coffee and tea, chocolate, tomatoes, and spicy food of any kind. Of course, cutting out gochujang doesn’t have the same dire consequences as stopping an antidepressant, but I feel like it’s on the same spectrum of denying oneself something with no real benefit to the baby, just to rack up Martyr Points

          • Charybdis

            Let’s not forget the *wonderful* LC who recommended that an organ (liver, I think?) transplant mother STOP TAKING her anti-rejection medications because the baby needed to be breastfed more than the mother needed those medications.

            WTAF is WRONG with those people?!?

          • Tiffany Aching

            Wait, what ???!!!

          • MI Dawn

            WHAT??? I can’t…even… I hope the mother didn’t!

          • BeatriceC

            I can’t find the link, but there was a news story not terribly long ago about a mother who was so determined to breastfeed because “breast is best” that she stopped her anti-psychotics and wound up jumping off a cliff with her baby. There’s a real death toll to all this.

          • demodocus

            The devil you say.
            /sarcasm

        • MI Dawn

          OMG. Afterpains nursing the second….I would have asked for labor again instead (and I did labor without an epidural with an OP kid, due to my mental issues with ANYTHING going into my back). I asked for, and got, more pain killers due to that cramping than labor ever gave me.

      • Megan

        My first CS I was told to “try not to take” the Percocet I was prescribed because of breastfeeding. There was no way I could not take them I was in so much pain. This time around I had a different surgeon and he said, “Take them if you need them. No need to be in pain.” I took them around the clock for 2-3 days and by day four was on ibuprofen only, nothing by day 5. Interestingly, this time around my surgeon was male and the first time female. Obviously he saw no merit to my putting up with pain.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          My OB is also male, and has similar views re pain relief. If you want to have a NCB, he’s cool with it, but he’s also 100% behind the idea, radical though it is, that unwanted pain is bad, and that part of his job as a physician is to relieve it.

  • Anna

    I guess I really did push back when I wouldn’t let my daughter loose any more weight in the early days and started supplementing immediately as soon as it became obvious that I wasn’t making enough milk. Besides I was still drugged after the c-section and taking antibiotics. Like my friend, mom of two, later said, perhaps your milk just tasted bitter because of all the drugs, but who will bother to tell you this or that the baby REALLY isn’t getting enough nutrition. I did have to fight for that bottle of formula at the maternity hospital. Everyone just seemed to think I was looking for the easy way out. So what? Starving a newborn in the 21st century in a Western country with clean water high quality formula etc? WTF? Seems nothing less than barbaric and cruel to me. Luckily I had some nice formula waiting for me at home that I had bought in the last weeks of pregnancy just in case. I will never forget my daughter’s face when she first latched on to the bottle at home (hospital formula was not too good). She ate and ate and ate. Then she fell asleep and her tiny face looked so happy and peaceful and content for the fisrt time in those five days postpartum.

    • Roadstergal

      “Everyone just seemed to think I was looking for the easy way out.”

      I can never get over this, never. Hey, here are two good options, one is easier for me, so I’m taking it. Yes! That sounds like a great way to approach parenting!

      • Amy M

        That’s how I’ve always approached parenting. Raising children, working full time, being a good partner…those are hard work and very time consuming. Why makes things more difficult than they need to be?

      • Exactly. Making things harder than they need to be just doesn’t strike me as a good way to approach life.

    • Marie

      I cried with happiness the first time I saw my son drink formula. He finally stopped crying and seemed so content.

  • Megan

    I am still learning to push back personally. I am not sure how I got woo-side for my first pregnancy but I think it started with charting my cycle after my first miscarriage. I felt out of control and in the other parts of my life, I had always been able to achieve my goals if I worked hard enough and had a plan. I think deep down I believed that I could do the same with pregnancy (though given my medical history, I’m not sure why I thought this!). After my second miscarriage, I really got anxious about my ability to carry a child and feared I would never be a mom the way I wanted to, which meant having a biological child. I never realized how much being adopted had affected me until I started trying for my own family and realized that a biological child was important to me. (I know that logically, this makes no sense but I guess I still have issues in this department.) Anyway, I was an anxious mess by the time I got pregnant with my first daughter and I spent the whole pregnancy “educating” myself, determined to do things “right” since I needed to have control somehow. Unfortunately, I got gestational hypertension and oligohydramnios and was induced at 37 weeks. I wanted a vaginal delivery so badly (after already having to give up on the “natural” childbirth; pit contractions are no joke!) that I tried at induction for almost 5 days before having a CS. Having then “failed” at birth, I was determined to breastfeed. I would do something right, damnit! But by postpartum day 7, my milk was only starting to trickle in and I was in a panic. DD was jaundiced, had lost 18% of her body weight and was readmitted. I scrambled for donor milk and illegal domperidone, terrified to give my baby formula. Surely I was a “better mom” than that. I also pumped every two hours, day and night, until I was nearly insane. DD wouldn’t latch and I was convinced by an LC that she had a lip and tongue tie. Fast forward after two trips to Albany, NY to have it fixed and revised and we still couldn’t breastfeed. So I was pumping instead of playing with my baby. We managed to do donor milk from friends along with my pumped milk for nearly 7 months. And you know what? My daughter didn’t thrive until we then switched to formula and finally started really gaining appropriate weight. She is now a beautiful, smart funny toddler. And she is the light of my life. I try not to feel guilty that I wish I had spent more time worrying about being with her rather than just feeding her.

    Thanks to this site, with My second baby, I said I would try to breastfeed but no weight loss above 8% would be tolerated. I would VBAC if circumstances were right but I doubted that would happen, and happily accepted a RCS when my blood pressure again went up at 37 weeks. Repeat CS was FANTASTIC and very easy recovery. Younger daughter was born healthy and combo fed from the start. Lost 8% of her weight and was readmitted so we switched to EFF. She is doing great, especially after we figured out she had a dairy protein intolerance and changed formulas. I still deal with guilt over my inability to breastfeed. But I apparently only make 8-12 oz of milk a day, and no amount of pumping changes that. I am trying to push back against this guilt in my mind daily. Mostly, I push back by educating patients and friends and constantly reminding moms that if they are worry about their child enough to feel guilty about being a “good enough” mom, then they ARE a good mom! And I try to combat the pseudoscience surrounding pregnancy, childbirth and lactation (as well as anti-vax, etc) in my daily life as a family doctor.

    (Sorry for the novella. Had to put it all out there now that I’m looking back at two pregnancies in my rearview!)

    • Deborah

      Thankyou for sharing. I think your story really epitomises the reality for many women. The gradual evolution of ideas that culminate in guilt and sense of failure. It’s wonderful that you were spared all that second time round.
      As a midwife, I often see women in similar situations as you have described. I love seeing the relief on their faces when I tell them that it’s ok to give formula, that it won’t harm their baby, and that they can still breastfeed if they want to.
      This is my way of pushing back against the so called “baby friendly” initiative that we have implemented in our hospital.

  • Marie

    I pushed back by finding a wonderful OB who was willing to give me a C-section for my large, sunny-side-up baby. We struggled for years with miscarriages and I did not need to add birth trauma to my story. My C-section was wonderful, healing, and truly the happiest day of my life. Yes the recovery hurt, but both baby and I are healthy and happy.
    I supplemented with formula in the early weeks. It was great because my husband could help with feedings and my baby didn’t starve. He is EBF now but I feel no guilt about him having formula. I regularly pump and let my husband or other trusted friends/family help me with feeding.
    I realized that my son (now 5 months) will tell me if he is unhappy. I don’t need to babywear constantly to “bond” with him. He is just as happy playing with toys on the floor while I drink coffee or read and he also enjoys riding in the stroller. He has a strong cry and will certainly let me know if he wants to be held and snuggled.
    I pushed back by finding a great pediatrician who supported my need to supplement early on and who doesn’t push woo.
    I also stopped following most breastfeeding, birth, babywearing, and any other woo-filled Facebook groups. The guilt and judgment is just too strong.
    I know that I am a better mother if I take time to myself. My son regularly spends time with my husband or my mother while I do things like take yoga class or get a haircut. I always miss him when I’m gone and love coming home to a happy baby feeling refreshed and relaxed.
    I’m not a perfect parent (who is?) but I know that my son is loved and cared for.

    • worried

      Good for you for finding an OB who would do a maternal request c-section. It’s very difficult to find ๐Ÿ™

      • Marie

        Yes it is hard to find. She was with me through my losses and was so incredibly kind and understanding throughout my pregnancy and birth. We’re not planning on having more children and I actually miss seeing her. So contradictory to the stereotype of the impersonal doctor who just wants to play golf.

  • Mel

    Not a parent yet, but teaching high school students taught me that NCB vs. not NCB had no effect on the outcome of a child. I did find some things that had a strong effect:

    Negative effects:
    – Abuse
    – Severe, untreated mental illness including addiction in a parent.
    – Neglect
    -Failure to protect children from predatory adults – or bringing predators into their lives
    -Refusal to believe child’s abuse allegations
    -Allowing children to witness domestic abuse including the child intervening to protect the parent from an abusive domestic partner.

    Positive effects:
    – Having one person who loves the kid unconditionally
    – Having enough food, water, clothing, heat, stable living conditions, and affection.
    – Having an adult figure to discipline the child appropriately.

    The positive list is so short because most kids will turn out just fine with some basic needs met. The rest is window-dressing.

    • Marie

      Love this! I used to teach preschool and even at such a young age (3-5 years old) the above was true.

  • mayfly

    When I was three days post-partum with my first, a nurse tried to tell me that pumping and bottle feeding wasn’t as good as breast feeding. So I asked her to explain how the act of pumping changed the nutritional or chemical composition of the breast milk. Unsurprisingly, she could not, but rambled about hormones and bonding before the look on my face made her change the subject.

  • MaineJen

    I pushed back by not taking my hospital’s childbirth class! That may sound odd, but my doctor was fully in support. I had this “feeling” from some of the other classes I’d done there that it would lean toward the woo, and I think I was right. I went into my delivery with an open mind, not knowing if I’d want the epidural but knowing it was there if I needed it. I ended up getting it pretty late into labor and it was a godsend…I only pushed for 10 minutes and had a healthy baby.

    After talking to a coworker who did take the childbirth class, I have to say I’m glad I skipped it. They didn’t give those women any information about the epidural except to warn them how long it would take for the anesthesiologist to get to their room. My friend ended up fighting her way through a VERY long and hard labor with an OP baby with no pain relief. Her daughter ended up having to be resuscitated and spent almost a week in the NICU on cooling therapy. She sounded traumatized whenever she’d talk about it, and once said to me “If that had been a home birth, who knows what would have happened…”. For her second birth a few years later (OP baby again!), she got the epidural and was *amazed* at how all her pain vanished, and she was actually able to enjoy and participate in the birth.

    Why do childbirth classes spend so much time trying to talk women out of pain relief? And so little time talking about the pain itself? That is what most women are anxious about. I didn’t take the class because I didn’t want anyone “talking me out of” pain relief if I decided I wanted it.

    • Heidi

      I took the childbirth class, and while the teacher, who happened to be a doula, didn’t overtly push for natural childbirth or push against epidurals, the majority of the class was practicing meditation and exercises that were supposed to help the pain. I was very disappointed and my husband and I felt very uncomfortable with the whole ordeal. She was completely dismissive of how uncomfortable we felt doing these things. I wish I had known before signing up and forking over the money!

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Our childbirth class was the opposite, it did NOT do things with meditation or breathing exercises. I asked the instructor why not? She said, 90% of the people get epidurals anyway, so you don’t need to bother.

        • Heidi

          That’s a little bit black and white on her part. You can’t do breathing, exercises and meditation, and then get an epidural?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            You can, but time is better spent doing other things.

            10 couples, and only 1 is going to benefit from that stuff. The others don’t have any interest.

          • MaineJen

            I fully believe it’s possible that some people get in there and truly don’t need any pain medication. (Those are the luckiest people…in the world…). Everyone I know, including myself, has described it as the worst pain they’ve ever felt, but I know there are people out there who don’t have much pain at all.

          • Marie

            My friend intended to have an epidural but her son came too fast. She said is wasn’t that bad because it happened so fast that she was running on adrenaline. Probably not the case for most women however, myself included.

          • BeatriceC

            I’ve told the story before, but when my sister was nearing her due date, she had what she though was just a lot of gas. She was barely even uncomfortable, and cracking jokes about having eaten to many beans or something. At one point she though she had to have a bowel movement, went to the toilet, and had a baby instead. She said afterwards that she’d had actual bowel movements in the past that were more uncomfortable than that. Of course, she flipped out, scooped the baby out and called 911 because she’s not an idiot. She had no plans of having a home birth, but it happened so fast and with no warning, that there really wasn’t anything she could have done differently. Her doctor at the time told her that if she ever had any more children, she’d be wise to schedule an induction around 38 weeks to avoid a repeat. She never had any more kid, so who knows what might have happened.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I know there are people out there who don’t have much pain at all.

            Oh, I wouldn’t be surprised. And those people probably wouldn’t choose an epidural.

            However, they also wouldn’t need extensive meditation or breathing techniques, either. Pain coping techniques are not for those who aren’t in pain.

            Certainly, pain coping techniques could be used by those who have pain to help them through it, such to avoid having an epidural. However, the whole point of my comment is that in the community I was in, very few cared to do that, and not enough to warrant teaching it in childbirth class. There was (at least at the time) no stigma against epidurals and consequently, pretty much everyone was doing them.

          • demodocus

            My grandmother has been known to break fingers and not realize she’d done more than bruise it until Grandpa observed it was going in an improbable direction. No idea about her labor experience, but i bet she was on the milder end of the spectrum.

          • Mishimoo

            *raises hand* My period pain is worse and lasts longer, and I don’t get a baby out of it as compensation. I would say I’m lucky, but I have chronic pain issues and a resistance to painkillers + local anaesthetics, so it’s not really a fair trade off.

          • Inmara

            I wouldn’t describe labor pain as the worst I’ve ever felt because I somehow… don’t remember them. I know that it was painful for the last hours, I was moaning and my gold star husband was dutifully massaging my back, yet I can’t recall how it felt (worse than period pain, but not that much). Also the pushing was not very bad because it was over in less than 10 contractions and I had plenty of time (4-5 minutes) between to rest. But to be stuck in pushing stage for hours or to go through first stage without assistance would be a shitty experience.

          • Heidi

            I wish our teacher had asked our preferences before the class started. I think she thought her techniques were so appealing, at least some of us would alter our pain relief plans. Instead out of all of us, one woman said she’d be willing to try it without an epidural. I feel like she opted for the epidural.

          • guest

            I had an unmedicated birth for my first and planned an epidural for my second. I never reviewed pain coping techniques because I was sure I was going to walk in and get my epidural. Turns out my second went from “I think I’m having contractions” to excruciating pain on the drive to the hospital and there was a long wait for the epidural due to demand and it only took on half my body. I felt completely blindsided by the pain and was kicking myself for not preparing for the possibility of needing alternative pain management techniques or that the epidural might not work. First labor was 27 hours and second was 6 and second was hands down much harder for me and the first I felt like I was in control even though the pain was much greater than I was anticipating. I think a few breathing/mediation techniques to maybe help keep your head about you if the unexpected happens is a good idea.

          • Kathleen

            I did – the breathing and walking around and husband massaging helped me get through until I got my epidural. So I was glad I’d taken our classes, even though there was more of a push for drug-free childbirth and breastfeeding (which I was planning on anyway, but knew if it didn’t work for whatever reason had no problem NOT starving my baby and giving her/him formula)

      • demodocus

        There was a lot of breathing/meditation nonsense in my class. I pled advanced pregnancy (seriously, I was 37 weeks) and let my husband sit on the floor and breathe funny.

      • Mad Hatter

        I have a L&D nurse friend who talked over some stuff with me and my husband. Mostly labor signs, stages, finding a comfortable position. Sort of a private birthing class. Mostly helpful for him, I think. I’d been to 4 births and done lots of reading. Breathing was easy, but I’m a runner and have asthma so I think already knew what I needed. I’m definitely glad I didn’t pay for a class!

    • Dr Kitty

      I also skipped the childbirth classes.
      I figured that as a Dr the class wouldn’t be meeting any of my knowledge gaps.

      I asked DH if he wanted to go. He asked if I could tell him what I thought he needed to know.

      I told him his only job if I was in labour was to help get me an epidural and a CS ASAP and to bring his camera to the OR for photos. Job done.

      • cookiebaker

        My husband’s job is to sit quietly far away from me while I’m in labor. Afterwards, he’s responsible for notifying everyone the baby was born and to immediately order me some food.

      • Megan

        I skipped our hospital childbirth class for the same reason. I did take a breastfeeding class though. Wish I hadn’t.

        • Kelly

          Me too. The nurses kept asking me if I took the classes throughout my labor. I don’t think I was doing too badly the entire time so I am not sure why. I had asked all my friends if the classes helped them and they would said no. So, I did not bother. I don’t believe it would have made me any more prepared.

    • Commander30

      That’s crazy. The hospital’s childbirth class my husband and I attended was fantastic. They showed us a number of videos of women in labor/giving birth, and the nurse made it clear to us that none of them had had any painkillers. While it wasn’t the kind of over-the-top screaming you’d hear in a movie, the women were all moaning, rocking back and forth, and clearly uncomfortable. Then the nurse shows us the video of the women who got an epidural–in the video, she’s lying calmly on her hospital bed, reading a book, and the nurse tells her “hey, you’re fully dilated! It’s time to push!” and the woman responds “Oh, I am?”

      I think everyone in that class was “yep, epidural for me” after that.

    • Deborah

      I had the pleasure of teaching a parent ed class for a year last year. Labor, childbirth and pain relief options were just one component. The knowledge gained from this site and the testimonies of many of the commenters here, gave me confidence to make sure every couple present knew that the woman did not have to be a martyr, that there were no prizes for the woman who could last the longest without pain relief, and that adequate pain relief can actually shorten labor and minimise the risk of post natal depression later. I asked the men in the room if they would be willing to forego analgesia for root canal work or the passing of kidney stones in order to be considered a hero. Why then do we expect women to give birth without analgesia?
      I received very positive feedback from attendees who were relieved to discover that it was ok not to be expected to suffer in order to prove their worth as mothers.

    • Clorinda

      Thinking back on my one childbirth class, I could see how the “we’ll show you things that you might encounter” could be twisted into “Look at the scary things they could use when you start the ‘cascade of interventions’.” TUBES! HOOKS! NEEDLES! WIRE CUTTERS! (although that one, I agree with the scare tactics to some extent. – The stories of having to cut rings off or piercings in order to do some procedures or to prevent cutting off circulation were a little scary. Better to remove beforehand.)

      I thought everything was fascinating but I could see how a more woo-filled class could easily scare people with it.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Ah, memories!
        I love my engagement and wedding rings. I mean, I expect a lot of women do, but I really, REALLY do. They’re very meaningful to me, and I only remove them to wash my hair or deal with raw chicken.
        When I was pregnant with DD, I gained very little weight until the last 4 weeks, when I put on about 15 pounds of water weight. (Swelling everywhere that disappeared the day after DD came–so no, not too much ice cream. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) It was *not* fun, let me tell you. I promptly went into denial about the fact that I couldn’t get them off, and stayed happily there until the night before my CS, when I realized they Had To Come Off.
        Hint to any other stubborn moms with swollen fingers: take a piece of plastic wrap and a good chunk of soft, spreadable butter. Rub butter up and down finger, working it under the rings as best you can. Grease up that plastic wrap, and slide it under the rings. You want about 2-3 layers of plastic wrap so it won’t tear; wrap it around your finger a couple of times like a glove finger. Then work the rings down the finger covered in greasy plastic wrap. Still takes a bit of doing, but much easier and gentler than the yank-and-curse method.

  • Heidi

    I don’t feel any guilt over formula feeding. I went into this pregnancy very willing to give breastfeeding a try, but already decided if I didn’t like it, if baby struggled to latch, if it caused me pain, wore me out too much, or if I didn’t make enough milk, I was a-okay with formula. I’m glad I went into it with this attitude because we had to give baby formula after many hours spent at the breast the baby’s blood sugar never got to an acceptable level and he’d already lost the maximum amount of weight that’s considered normal. The days and weeks following his birth, I’d nurse for an hour or more at a time only to have to offer the baby a bottle where he’d take almost as much as he would have had he not nursed. I clearly wasn’t making enough milk with nursing or pumping. Eventually, he started realizing my breasts aren’t worth the time and effort so he screams if I attempt to have him nurse. I pump because I want to, not because baby wants or needs me to. I wish for selfish reasons that my body could make all his nourishment, but hey, I don’t always get what I want. I feed him his bottle of formula and he is very content. He is healthy, and he is thriving. My baby needs me to cuddle him, to change his diaper, to play with him, to feed him his bottle with appropriate nourishment, whether that be breast milk or formula. I would have to neglect his needs if I pumped all day (which wouldn’t remedy the whole not making enough milk situation) and if I were really committed to EBF, I’d have to sacrifice his life. That’s the stark reality.

    • Kathleen

      I will never forget one of my postpartum nurses. My milk hadn’t come in yet, and my daughter was NOT a good sleeper. I was exhausted – hadn’t slept in 3 days and was just hyped up on actually meeting her and yet completely drowsy from the drugs. Anyway, the nurse very kindly told me that she could give her some formula (in a cup because I of course, was hysterically emotional about ‘nipple confusion’ – I was hysterically emotional about everything, being so exhausted and hormonal) and take her to the nursery. I remember crying and saying “No, we can’t, because I don’t want her to cry.” And she just gave me this loving look, a hug and said “we DO NOT let them just cry.” She got my daughter some formula, let my husband walk with her and the baby down to the nursery and peek (no babies were crying) and I got 4 hours of blissful sleep (as did my daughter!) that I desperately needed. If this woman needed part of my liver, I would gladly give her it, she was so kind and wonderful.

  • guest

    I was deep into the woo while pregnant with my first, but after he was born, I was completely overwhelmed. Even having been around babies a lot during my life, I was still out of my element. I did not do well with no sleep, either. I decided quickly that it was okay to be “selfish” and give half of the childcare to my husband and take care of myself. After a few months with my son, my husband and I realized that the kid would remember none of this anyway, so what did it matter what we did?? The woo really disappeared from our house then. My advice to new parents now is that they just have to keep the kid alive and said kid will never remember any of it. Also, absolutely share childcare duties and insist on at least 5 hours of consecutive sleep a day. As my kids have gotten older, whenever I feel guilty about something I think I should be doing that I’m not, like feeding them healthier food, or playing with them all day, too much TV, etc. I just look back to my childhood and what I remember my mother doing and then realize my kids will be fine if everything is not “perfect.” Good enough, is good enough.

  • Squillo

    My first child changed everything.

    Having a child with a developmental disability made me recognize that a child is not, as you are fond of saying, a “product” of my mothering practices, and that this parenting gig wasn’t all about me fulfilling my fantasies of being the “best” mother. It has required quite a different kind of “intensive mothering” than that envisioned by attachment parenting gurus. It has required actually responding to his often-changing and sometimes bewildering (to me) needs rather than my need to do everything “right” and approved-of by the mommy groups I left behind as his challenges became apparent and my preoccupations became vastly different from theirs.

    By the time my typically developing daughter came along, I was well and truly done with any notion of competitive or goal-oriented parenting. I can accept that most of my days include an ongoing calculus of whose needs are most important at any given moment moment (and guess what? sometimes mine are!), and that whether my kids end up healthy and happy won’t come down to the single choice I made on any single day.

  • oscar

    I had to fight like the devil to get an elective cesearean without indications 15 years ago. I was rejected all over the place (was living in the Netherlands at the time). I am a scientist and had done a thorough lit analysis. The obgyns I met acted like I was crazy: they refused to answer my questions or were condescending and dismissive. I was assigned a midwife with dried blood under her cuticles who showed me a piece of black rubber that she got her clients to bite so they would not break their dental work! (This cemented my determination to never give birth in NL). At 5 months pregnant, I wrote an obgyn in Britain who had recently published an argument for elective CSs in BMJ. She said that my analysis was essentially correct, that elective CSs at 39 weeks are safer for the baby and that if everything is taken into account (e.g. pelvic floor damage), it’s probably as safe for the woman as trial of labor. I needed that validation. I eventually went across the border to a sympathetic doctor and midwife pair who pretended to the other staff at the hospital that I had been passing by, had started labor, and needed a CS. I didn’t want to breastfeed, which was fine at that hospital. The maternal heath nurse in the Netherlands was all sorts of pushy about bf so my husband did all of the vaccination weigh-in visits. She never saw me after the first visit. My next births were automatic CSs and my husband continued all the maternal health nurse visits. So I pushed back largely by using my husband as a shield! I think Dr. Amy is a marvellous resource for women and that things are slowly changing for the better.

    • Daleth

      Omg it sounds like the Netherlands SUCKS! So glad you got what was right for you.

      • oscar

        Thank you! It was a surreal experience. I wouldn’t even have gotten to see any obgyns if I had not just turned up at their offices talking like a confused migrant (which I was – I am Dutch by passport only and my Dutch is not great). I would have been forced into the homebirth scenario with NO painkillers (in the absence of indications) if I hadn’t. I would not have had ANY ultrasounds if I had not essentially forced the first obgyn to give me one at 11 weeks (which was actually very helpful for dating my pregnancy for elective CS later). Later at 5 months, when I learned that US is not given on a routine basis, I went to the local academic hospital and asked for an ultrasound and the blood test to check for congenital defects. They refused and only relented when I made up a story about my sister having a baby with severe congenital defects at 22 y of age. I felt bad about tricking them at the time, they were very reassuringly kind, but I also felt angry that I had to do it. It all sounds so manipulative on my part but I was left no other option.

    • demodocus

      Literal dried blood? eww

      • oscar

        Yes, literally dry blood. She told me she had had a birth that morning. She had big hands with untended nails, and yes, she had not scrubbed them when she met me.

        • demodocus

          blech

        • Roadstergal

          So midwives in the Netherlands aren’t required to wear gloves?

          • oscar

            I don’t know, I didn’t let them get close enough for me to see that, but that young woman was not clean. And the other encounters I had with The System indicated a very rigid system that pretended to be what women wanted but was actually just a very “cheap” way of doing things (I put cheap in quotation marks because if you add in the costs of looking after birth-damaged children and women with long-term urinary/fecal incontinence etc it’s all NOT cheap. The Dutch come across as being knowledgeable but actually are very resistant – like probably everyone – to questioning things like how one gives birth). They were REALLY into home birthing then (I know that they have recently started to realize that their model is actually not as wonderful as they thought it was). When I questioned it then among general people, it was either “oh, that’s the way we do things here, it’s just simply lovely, give yourself up to it” or “I wish i had known about the elective cesarean because I have had to wear nappies/ my daughter has a paralyzed arm/ I was so traumatized that I can’t have sex/ have another kid”.

          • Roadstergal

            ๐Ÿ™ Just tragic.

  • Madtowngirl

    Honestly, it has taken me some time to feel like I can push back. I never felt guilt for my c-section. That’s likely due to my father’s favorite story to tell on my birthday-how I could have died and killed my mother, because I was breech. Visiting the grave of his stillborn brother-in a children’s section of the cemetery-was a very sobering event in my young life.

    But when I couldn’t produce enough milk to feed my child, I was overcome with immense guilt. I turned to Google, like many new moms do at 2 a.m., and found the horrible lactivist underbelly of the Internet. I had very supportive friends and family, and the pediatricians were fine with formula. I even eventually found a sane lactation consultant who told me my baby was hungry and needed formula. But it wasn’t until I found this blog, and its community, that I was truly able to let go of the guilt. Seeing the actual science behind breastfeeding, and engaging with reasonable, rational people was a breath of fresh air. To be cliche, it was like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.

    I’m going to a baby shower this weekend, and I am looking forward to that “advice writing game,” or whatever it is. I’m going to tell the mother-to-be not to let others make her feel guilty for making the choices that are best for her and her family. I suspect, being pregnant with twins, that she will run into instances where things don’t go as she hopes.

  • Trish

    It was not easy to push back. I had a child with a major congenital health problem and the child needed surgery within 3 days of birth. The pressure from the nurses for me to pump (as the child was not allowed to nurse and I could barely even hold the child due to the nature of the condition and the tubes and wires used to keep the child alive) was crushing. Crushing, extreme guilt inducing pressure, yet I knew deep down that I could not do what they were trying to force me into doing. This was my first child. I was exhausted from 2 days of induced labor that resulted in an emergency C-section, and sore and frightened and yet still, the nurses said things like “it’s the least you can do for your baby.” I couldn’t relax — we were sleeping in hospital lounges and looking at a very different future for our child than we’d ever imagined. I tried to pump, and would get up in the middle of the night to do so. I had to go to another floor to the lactaction room, etc when we were in the hospital (which was for like 14-20 days post birth). It was a nightmare. Eventually, I knew had to choose my survival over nursing/pumping/whatever. I pumped and nursed a bit, producing )(#$* droplets of milk but never enough to meet the child’s needs, and used formula too. When people asked about it, I told them we were doing some breastmilk and mostly formula. When they tried to guilt me about it, I pointed out was that the goal was for both my child and I to survive. Then I walked away.

    • lawyer jane

      They were torturing you!! I’m glad you were strong enough to push back.

  • AA

    ‘โ€œDonโ€™t be cheated out of the joy of a natural birth,โ€ my midwife urged.’

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/more-women-are-opting-for-caesareans-but-is-it-any-wonder/news-story/7944a78d793b0134352a9755876f92ee

    The woo is strong.

    • Daleth

      Don’t be cheated out of the joy of a natural, medication-free root canal!

      • Roadstergal

        Clay Jones wrote a belated April Fool’s SBM post today about dental doulas – it’s beautiful, but the woosters are already showing up in the comments:
        https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/hiring-a-doula-for-dental-procedures/

        • Mel

          I shuddered while reading that because I hate dental procedures.

          I’ve actually been a cow doula before. A cow was in labor and my husband was delivering a malpositioned calf. Between contractions, the cow was frantic to have something to lick at (some cows have the maternal instinct to clean up the baby kick in long before the calf is born). I stuck out my hand and she licked at it with a look of relief. I also swatted other cows on the nose who kept trying to head-butt her while she was restrained.

          • Empliau

            More cowbell!!!!

      • Sarah

        I presume the inclusion of a faecally contaminated padding pool for any dental surgery goes without saying?

        • Daleth

          Oh obviously. It’s the more natural approach to pain relief.

  • Guestll

    I gave myself permission to actually be myself. To be the confident person I actually am, and not the worried, anxious, validation-seeking woman I became when my daughter was first born.

    I gave myself permission to make mistakes. Seriously, most of this shit just does not matter. None of it. Feed the kid, love the kid, do what works for you and your family. And have a Vomit Kit in every bathroom (gloves, garbage bags, mask, sponges, Clorox to mix with water, and an empty spray bottle). That’s my best tip. In fact it’s my only tip, other than — you do you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Amy M

      We have to have a vomit kit in every car—I recommend that too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Amy M

    I’ve told this story before, but it’s funny. I was about 20wk pregnant with mono-di twins. I went to a party, where I ended up chatting with an acquaintance. She had a 2yr old, and she had always been very vocal about being AP. So she asked me what parenting philosophy I intended to follow, when the twins were born. I laughed and said “Survival!”

    Without blinking an eye, she explained that she was a huge proponent of AP and if I wanted to know anything about it, she could tell me. I assured her that I had no interest in AP, and she did drop it. Years later, she has a bright happy child, and my children are bright, and happy as well. I doubt that her child’s AP upbringing has made, or will make any difference to our children’s success as adults.

  • mh

    It doesn’t have to be a hard push. I just cheerfully and matter-of-factly share my experiences when other moms talk about mom stuff.
    “Both of mine were c-sections. 2 kids, zero labors!”
    “Yep, I nursed and pumped, I could never pump enough so we just gave them formula to round it out.”
    “We put them in their own cribs from day 1, it worked so well for us. Both of them were sleeping through the night by the time I had to go back to work.”
    And so on.

  • CSN0116

    1. Child birth never meant shit to me. My first pregnancy was a high-risk mo-di twin pregnancy. I wanted LIVE babies from there on out. Period.

    2. “I would die for my children but will not give up my life for them.” -Kate Chopin, 1899. I (proudly) have too much shit to do, too much life to live, to ever bat an eye at attachment parenting. Oh, and I like to fuck in my own bed because it’s comfy. Getting a PhD while having babies will also exclude one from such things ๐Ÿ˜‰

    3. As for breast feeding. I swore it off by age 20 (before kids). I had a very unique set of experiences that led me to my conclusion. I was actually more educated and exposed to breast feeding than any other teenager and young twenty-something that I have ever met. In 2005, at age 18, I went to work in retail at a shop that catered exclusively to nursing moms and their breast feeding product needs. In 2005 this shop was one-of-a-kind in its state (possibly the country).

    I learned how to sell. I could take apart and put back together Medela and Ameda pumps. I knew all about their power settings and why the Medela pump starts fast to then slows its pace. I knew how to override that function. I knew about common latch problems and how โ€œpumping off firstโ€ could enable a baby to better feed. I could personally fit women for nursing bras of all brands (and tell her how many she would need), nipple shields and flanges. I sold nursing tanks, too. I could rig up a supplemental nursing system (SNS). I knew how much Fenugreek a woman needed to take for it to be effective, and I knew that she might want to couple it with Motherโ€™s Milk Tea. I knew about mastitis and clogged ducts, the medications prescribed for treatment, and how to nurse in spite of. I knew about cracked and bleeding nipples and so I sold Lanolin cream. I knew the pros and cons of disposable versus washable breast pads. I could fit for wraps and slings, which were rumored to improve the breast feeding relationship and encourage more milk. I sold an array of bottles that were โ€œbreast friendly.โ€ I knew when a bottle needed to be introduced to ensure that an infant would take to it while being cautious not to sabotage breast feeding. I knew that the Boppy Pillow was becoming old news and therefore peddled larger, softer pillows (and separate ones for feeding twins). I sold milk storage bags and provided instruction on proper handling and heating. I knew when to recommend a consultation with our in-house International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. On and on and on it goes.

    In the end, I saw doctors, lawyers, models, CEOs, CFOs, beautiful women inside and out with money and stability and happiness – REDUCED to crying, depressed, anxious self-perceived failures over body fluid! They lost all self-worth and fell into dark, dark places. Repeatedly. And this was despite all the support money could buy and society could grant.

    I swore I’d never do it and I never did.

    • Roadstergal

      That’s an amazing, depressing story. Thanks for sharing it. ๐Ÿ™

      • CSN0116

        I have seen it all, up close and personal. And I saw it all at a very young, influential age where I was able to judge it purely for what it was worth.

        Sometimes you simply say – No. (another piece of chocolate cake?)

        Other times you say – Oh, HELL, no. [risk letting my psyche deteriorate and my worth as a woman, mother, and human being be reduced to a (failed) bodily function?]

        What I saw changed me for life.

        • Megan

          Wish I’d seen that before getting pregnant. What an eye opener. Even med school and residency explained breastfeeding as just “something you do” without giving any credence to just how hard it can be and how often it doesn’t work. I now make a concerted effort to educate the family medicine residents I supervise about the realities of breastfeeding and the weak science. I always make sure they understand that it is a mother’s choice how to feed her baby, not ours to browbeat into her.

  • mostlyclueless

    Instead of suffering through agonizing pain, I got an epidural that let me labor pain-free!

    • mostlyclueless

      Oh, and one more — I have a fulfilling career as a scientist, making major contributions to women’s health. Meanwhile, my daughter is happy, healthy, and securely attached to me. More than any other parenting decision, I own my decision to keep working with pride and offer no apologies!

  • crazy grad mama

    I always intended to avoid the woo, but it crept up on meโ€”it turns out there’s a lot of woo hidden in “mainstream” parenting resources. It was harder to dismiss that way. After all, my friends were giving birth at the local birth center, and they’re generally normal and sane. And after all, full-time rooming-in is mandatory at the hospitals here (they’re “baby friendly”) and they made it sound so good!

    My real breaking point came when my son was three months old and it became obvious that he *needed* to go to sleep by himself. As in, he simply wouldn’t fall asleep with parental intervention, but when we let him “cry it out,” he was asleep within a few minutes. Becauseโ€”shockerโ€”children are different and have different needs. But apparently that makes me a terrible mother because I should’ve “followed my instincts” and nursed him to sleep or something. (Never mind that my instincts were to give him time, and he stopped nursing to sleep at about 8 weeks.)

    I don’t have any dramatic stories about pushing back; I feel like I do it a little bit every day. When I fed my baby rice cereal at 5 months despite all the fear-mongering. When I let him play by himself (supervised) so that I can have a break and he can use his imagination. When I blog about my experiences mothering so that others searching the internet can maybe read about an alternative to the woo. And of course, when I comment here, which is one of the only non-woo parenting-related communities I’ve found online.

    • Amy M

      Wait, letting children play by themselves is considered bad parenting?

      • CSN0116

        I tell my five kids when they whine that they’re ‘bored,’ “I didn’t have five babies for no reason, so play with each other! Entertain yourselves” LOL ๐Ÿ˜›

        My children will spend May-September outside, only occasionally supervised, playing (we’re in the Northeast). I live in a neighborhood where kids still run free, thank God. We do communal lunches, one day the neighborhood is at our house, the next day my kids are eating elsewhere. I guess I’m rather un-American in that I rarely play “with” my children. Oh well…

        #cruncyisoverrated #squishy4life

        • Azuran

          Well, to be fair, there is a maximum amount of time you can find playing house with a 4 years old fun. Especially since her idea of playing house is going to bed for 2 minutes, making the bed, pretending to eat breakfast, then going back to bed for 2 more minutes and repeating the same process for an hour.

          • Roadstergal

            “So, honey, the first thing we need to do is apply for a mortgage…”

          • Amazed

            My mom says it was far more interesting once I discovered the world of reenacting my favourite fairytales. Anna-Maria the orange bear was the princess. Later, the Intruder played the actual baby. Fortunately, he didn’t mind letting me do whatever I liked with him.

            I was about 5 at the time, so to all moms of 4 yos: there is a light over there, at the end of the tunnel.

            Then again, I was never too interested in playing house, I think. My dad is to blame. I wanted to play glorious warriors in battle. Sigh.

          • Charybdis

            I have heard, however, that the light over there *might* actually be a train.

          • guest

            I had to play a game tonight that involved pretending to eat my dinner, then crying, then spitting the dinner out, then getting a hug. Over and over and over. It was not only boring, but confusing.

          • Amy M

            Every time my boys wanted me to join in one of their pretend games, I did it wrong and caused a tantrum. They eventually stopped asking. Instead, we read together, play board games, do legos, and talk. Over the last few months they’ve had this running game called “Stuffy Power” or “Stuffy Mysteries.” I think its maybe “Stuffy Adventures” now—in their minds, its a tv show they are filming. They don’t want any interference in this game–they tell us about it, but they are running that show.

        • BeatriceC

          I have a pretty decent balance between independence and involvement in my kids’ lives. Today’s perfect example. Middle kid is having some struggles staying focused while practicing at the ice arena. He asked for help. So I laced up my skates and kept the fire lit under his butt, just like he asked. After a few hours of that we came home, and now he’s off with friends going downtown. By themselves. On the bus. They’re 14-16 years old and the huge downtown library is about 15 miles away. They’ll take one bus and one train to get there with no adult help. I’m good with that.

      • crazy grad mama

        The books all tell me I should be down on the floor playing *with* him. Something something something development something something.

        (Playing with him is totally fun in small doses. I just can’t do it all day.)

        • guest

          I am totally pushing back against playing with my children. I’m lucky enough to have twins, so they always have a playmate. And it hurts my knees to get down on the floor. I am happy to play catch or kick or chase at the playground (because I enjoy it), but running little cars over the carpet is not a part of my childrens’ lives that I’m going to get involved in. I don’t even buy them they cars. Somehow they just appear in our home.

          • Amy M

            Yep–twins here too, and they really do keep each other entertained. When they want attention from me or their dad, they come over and ask for it.

        • Sean Jungian

          I had the opportunity to stay home with my son when he was around 2 years old until he was almost 4. While I am glad I was able to do it, I wish I had known just how boring it was going to be. Staying home with an infant/young toddler was mind-numbing for me.

          I did find a way to cope with it by having a schedule and making contact with other moms (not many woosters thank goodness), and by having him in daycare a couple days a week, but it is not something I’d want to go through again.

          I have an only child so that’s one of the downsides – there’s no sibling bickering but there’s also no one else to play with.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          I remember reading something once about some pontification twit saying how she saw a mother in a restaurant with a 2 yo or so, and she was looking at her phone. PT was like, “She could have been using this opportunity to talk about things on the menu with the child, or otherwise engaging him.”

          I was like, oh for fuck’s sake. The mom is taking some time out to go to lunch, has brought her child, and that’s not enough, she has to treat it like some educational opportunity? Fuck off. As far as you know, she could have been playing educational games with him all morning long.

          You don’t have to be entertaining/teaching your kid every single minute.

          It’s not even like the kid was disruptive.

  • Erin

    Like a piece of overstretched elastic, I snapped.

    Their dialogue reducing me to body parts, their bullying tactics and their need to control other women’s bodies makes them no better than my rapist. I first told a lactation consultant that in a moment of bubbling burning rage I couldn’t control but she said it changed her perspective. Essentially I see it like this, they want to make us feel guilty…why shouldn’t I return the favour.

    My son will be going to nursery in the autumn, not because I need him to but because I think that’s best for both of us. It will allow me to take more courses for my part time degree and also to volunteer with the cancer charity who have helped my own family so much but it will benefit my son as well. I can not and should not be his whole world.

    I’ve surrounded myself with Mothers who are as flawed as I am and perhaps more importantly, I’ve started keeping an eye out for the new Mothers who come to groups looking terrified and sad. The ones with desperation written on their faces and guilt seeping out of them because that’s what helped me. The kindness of strangers who realized I was struggling and welcomed me with open arms, cake and tea.

    I realised the other day when we were in a supermarket and my son threw a tantrum, that I don’t actually care what other people think. They can try and look down their noses at my screaming child (he was trying to pull all the books off the shelf) and at my trolley full of craft magazines, chocolate (not actually for me), avocados and alcohol if they want but since I’m 5’11 in my favourite heels…good luck.

    Do I still beat myself up for the c section and stopping breastfeeding, yes but whilst I’m fine with my subconscious bullying me, apparently I take it badly from others now that I’m roughly back in my “right” mind. I’ve also been asked to talk about my journey back from PnD at a local support group and whilst I’m a bit terrified at the thought, I’m going to do it.

    • Allie

      Sounds like you’ve got three of the four major food groups – salt, fat, sugar and alcohol – covered. Add a pack of crisps and you’re solid : )

  • BeatriceC

    There’s a lot of truth to the saying “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”

    That phrase generally gets uttered when mom is angry at something and goes on a warpath, but it’s still true day to day.

    I cannot be a good mother to my children if I’m depressed and miserable.

    I cannot be a good mother to my children if I’m angry all the time.

    I cannot be a good mother to my children if I’m so exhausted I can’t even think straight.

    What happens to my children if I go down? If I don’t take care of myself, then they’re at risk of not having me at all.

    It’s a lot like the instructions we get on an airplane. “In the event of an emergency, place your own oxygen mask on your face before helping anybody else.” You cannot take care of others if you do not take care of yourself. YOU are important. Sure we sacrifice for our kids, but we should not be expected to sacrifice our health and sanity. Our children deserve mothers who are healthy (as much as possible, of course regular illness and chronic disease happens), happy, and generally well-cared for (and that includes self-care).

    When somebody pressures you to do things that aren’t working, that aren’t a good fit for you, or that causes you physical or emotional harm, they’re not looking out for what’s best for either your child or for you. They’re focused on some ideal that’s impossible to attain, and they’re using guilt and shame as a weapon. Don’t let them.

    • crazy grad mama

      I first heard the oxygen mask analogy when attending a PPD group, and it has really stuck with me. My kid needs me to be a functional human being.

    • Taysha

      I had to inform my offspring yesterday that mom was having a bad day, and their nice, loving mother would return in the morning. Until then, they could play in their rooms and stop whining or I would lose my gourd.

      Thank god it worked. Loving mother earth is back today, thank you, caffeinated beverage.

      • BeatriceC

        I saw a meme once, and I wish I had saved it, but is said something like “To my darling kids: It’s after 9PM and your loving and patient mother has gone away. She will be back in the morning. At this time, cranky and evil has taken her place. You’d be wise to stay away.”

      • Sean Jungian

        I have had to do that, and I still do it to this day. I’m a human being, and my kid does need to recognize that. I head it off before I am *too* far gone cranky, but that communication really helps. He’s older now, and he has similar needs for alone time, so he has also learned how to let me know.

    • MI Dawn

      This! 1000 times this. I have a friend who was sexually abused, and couldn’t tolerate ANYONE (not even her husband) touching her breasts. MD breast exams put her into tears. When she got pregnant for the first time, she got so much pressure about breastfeeding (it won’t matter, once you put your baby to the breast, you’ll love it nonsense)

      I finally sat down with her and said, Look. This is making you miserable. Tell everyone this is not up for discussion. You are bottle feeding. End of story. Better a happy mother/baby bottlefed dyad then a miserable breastfed dyad. With my encouragement (“my friend, who’s a nurse-midwife says…), she put her foot down, had a much better pregnancy, and has raised 3 healthy, wonderful boys on bottles.

      • Sean Jungian

        Thank goodness she was able to make a stand.

        I didn’t love breastfeeding. I didn’t mind it but in no way, shape or form was I in love with it.

        The EBF crowd really hypes the expectations to ridiculous levels. I’m sure for some women it IS a transcendent, joyful act. For me it was – okay. I was kind of sad when he decided to stop, but I wasn’t heartbroken about it.

  • Puffin

    I’m a medical student. We are currently doing our preclerkship reproduction block which obviously has a big focus on childbearing and breastfeeding. Many of my classmates read the recommendations around breastfeeding and then just shrug and say “Well it’s better for the baby, isn’t it? Why wouldn’t mom do it?”

    I talk to them about the reality of what many women go through. That it’s not just a matter of just choosing to do it; that there are physical, social, economic, and personal issues at play. I tell them about my experiences and those of my friends.

    I talk about how brainwashed I was by the natural childbirth movement and how it very nearly killed me because I had women cheering me on to have an unassisted homebirth which probably would have killed me. I talk to them about the echo chambers and the misinformation that gets passed around online.

    I talk to them about how the feminist ideals of choice and bodily autonomy must be respected in childbearing and infant feeding. If a woman says she will not use her breasts for a specific purpose, or will not subject herself to intensive, exhausting torture trying to do something we have absolutely no right to try to force it on her.

    I’m due this fall with my third child, and I’m only taking a few of weeks off to recover from my c-section (I had placental issues twice. I’m requesting a CS this time.) I’ll probably try to pump, but I’ll enter clerkship just a matter of weeks after the baby will be born which means 14+ hour days, overnights, call, long surgeries. Pumping is likely not going to be feasible and baby will likely end up with formula. I’m okay with that, and I breastfed my other two for two years each! My husband will be home full time with the baby. It is important to us not to put my career on hold for a year, and I know the baby is going to be perfectly looked after by my husband. That’s how I push back.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Awesome story!

      Remind your classmates, who say, “Well it’s better for the baby, isn’t it? Why wouldn’t mom do it?” of my lesson:

      Yes, all things equal, breast is better. BUT, and this is critical for doctors to understand (and to be fair, they generally figure it out), all things are never equal.

      • Puffin

        I’m totally borrowing that for our small group session this afternoon.

        • BeatriceC

          I’ve stolen that phrase and used it more times than I can count. Most of the time I remember to credit “a regular commenter on one of the blogs I read.”

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            It’s hard, because Bofa’s Law is already taken elsewhere, and Pablo’s Law is also taken. How about “the Bofa Dictum”?

          • BeatriceC

            Maybe Bofa’s postulate? It theorem?

            Edit: even better! Bofa’s theory of equality.

          • AirPlant

            Bofa’s Dictum? It really is more of a statement…

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Exactly. One definition of a dictum is

            a short statement that expresses a general truth or principle

            It is a short statement that expresses a general principle – all things are never equal

          • demodocus

            You could also have Bofa’s 2nd Law

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I like Bofa’s 2nd Law

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Did you try it out? How’d it go?

    • Roadstergal

      I will freely admit that when I was younger, I was of the same ‘why wouldn’t mom do it?’ mentality. But the more I learn about the issues women go through, and the pain and heartache and depression, and what their _kids_ go through when they’re starving… I get SO angry. Like, a betrayal-angry.

      So I’m really angry now, and probably get more pissy about this topic on blogs and the like – and with friends – than most women who have had kids…! :/

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    I did my best to hit the AP crowd. I actually had the audacity to talk to other fathers about taking care of their babies (in Dad’s Boot Camp during baby classes), and how they need to actually participate, and to NOT let the moms do everything.

    We discussed ways of finding the cheapest formula, and the cheapest daycare. And we made sure they understood their was no shame in getting an epidural (there’s no need to be a hero), nor anything wrong with c-sections.

    I sent the message that there are lots of ways to parent, and a different approach does not mean wrong. What works for you and your child is what’s best.

    The most important thing we emphasized is that Dads have to play a role in caring for the baby and raising the child, and if you don’t, you aren’t a Dad. The phrase “involved dad” is redundant. Dads, by definition, are involved. If you aren’t involved, you can be the biological father, but you aren’t a Dad.

    Oh, and “being involved” doesn’t mean “she breastfeeds and you change the diapers.”

    So I was doing childbirth/baby care instruction for expecting dads, and it was completely non-NCB, non-lactivist and non-AP.

  • Samira M.A.

    Woo sorry my english is not that great, I am dutch
    Originally I am from Ghana and when I told my mom that I would give birth in a birthing hotel. She said great, why make childbirth harder than it is! Very fortunate for me I did not need epidermal and the birth was fast. No tears so no complications afterward except for pieing a bit when jumping, hahaha! But also when I got back to work after 12 weeks (we have 16 weeks maternity leave) I did not feel guilty at all! My mother and other female family member would wish for the possibility to choose how and when to give birth, when to start work etc. Here in the west we have so much choice we don’t realize the freedom it brings and it’s a pity here are people that want to limited you choice. Love the website and I am so happy to have found it!

  • Awesomemom

    I never fell deep into the woo, having a first child with a heart defect will shatter any notions you had about how things would be when you had kids. It did make me feel horribly guilty all the time. I will never forget my son’s pediatrician, he could tell I was in rough shape. At one appointment he looked me in the eyes and told me that I was doing an awesome job and that I would not ruin my son, that by caring for him as much as I do I was doing exactly what he needed. That gave me the strength and courage to push back against the guilt and never let it overwhelm me like I had been.

  • CodeWench

    Frankly, I never really felt any personal pressure to make particular parenting choices. I had my first daughter when I was 32 after having been a stepparent for a number of years so I already had some parenting experience under my belt. My bachelor’s degree was in Psychology, my masters is in Information Systems, and I work as a software developer. I have a pretty solid understanding of research methods and in using data to make decisions. I felt as though I knew better than most people anyway because I’d read more actual research on child development than most people have.

    I guess this is also one area where working in a male dominated field works in my favor. I have few women friends and most of the people I work with are men. While I do sometimes wish that I had a group of close friends or at least a couple of close girlfriends, the flip side is that there is no one around to judge my parenting choices. While I do run into the occasional co-worker who feels that women should not work outside the home, that sentiment is becoming less prevalent than it was when I began my career nearly 20 years ago.

    I guess the takeaway is that if you completely isolate yourself from other women and ignore any sexist men who are still living in the 1900s, the only pressure you’ll feel is the pressure you put on yourself.

  • demodocus

    I avoided it, by and large, simply by not having much interest and having a mother who was not blinded by her all-natural tendencies. She certainly wasn’t into attachment parenting; I remember my baby brother playing on a blanket in the yard a few feet away from her while she was gardening and I was walking home from the school bus. She nursed and she used bottles simply because she didn’t like to get bitten once we had teeth. She delivered us without medication, but shrugged it off as having an unusually high level of pain tolerance and low level of pain medication tolerance.
    Really, the only things I got caught up in were from the nurse who gave us hospital’s childbirth classes (a person one might expect to have some authority on the topic) who mentioned something about epidurals crossing the placenta and recommending some other med (or funny breathing), nipple confusion, and that breastmilk had major advantages over formula.
    Meh, Because of Mom’s early indoctrination, i switched to the epidural when the other stuff wasn’t working anymore without any real qualms, and once the grandmotherly nurse practitioner at our GP’s said she had never seen a case of nipple confusion, i was fine supplementing until the milk came in and my poor boobs healed. (and it was supplementing, bf first and then add formula to top him off) once it came in, i had plenty and I didn’t develop the aversion to breastfeeding until quite a bit later. (Never _enjoyed_ it, but i could tolerate it the first several months.)

  • AirPlant

    True Story! I was at a Christmas party thrown by a good friend of mine. Her social circle is lovely, but a little hippietastic for me. Like I am a pretty good liberal, but sometime hanging with these lovely people is a bit like being in an episode of portlandia.
    .
    So I am making small talk next to the cheese plate, and my small talk buddy starts talking about breastmilk. All the usual things about liquid gold and how women’s bodies are magical blah blah blah womyn power, blah, birth as a mark of the feminine divine blah.
    .
    Sober AirPlant would have nodded, smiled, and disengaged. Freshly watered AirPlant thought it was an AMAZING idea to go off on the antifeminist roots of the lactivist movement and inform this poor girl about the mach 9 bullshit surrounding the physical and spiritual expectations of motherhood and our construction of ideal womanhood. It was a wine fueled psychic purging. She was just a sweet childfree 20 something repeating bullshit with no emotional investment in the implications. She positively FLED.
    .
    I should probably be embarrassed, but you know… YOLO?

    • BeatriceC

      I think wine-fueled AirPlant needs to be let out of her cage more often.

      • AirPlant

        That right there is a dangerous proposition. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Taysha

      Ok, someone link Tim Minchin’s Storm right here

      • AirPlant

        I am not nearly that eloquent. Imagine a tipsy ginger holding white wine in a martini glass wearing tinsel in her hair recounting nursing horror stories and practically scolding this poor girl who was about ready to run for her life. It wasn’t until she told me she needed a refill and then didn’t come back that I figured out that I probably should not have opened with blood blisters on the nipples.

        • BeatriceC

          On the other hand, maybe that was exactly what she needed to hear.

        • Mishimoo

          To add to your repertoire: I once flashed our shy housemate because I didn’t know you could get blisters on nipples, and had just discovered them while putting my boob away after a feed. I also didn’t know people could turn that red!

    • MI Dawn

      Oh I would have LOVED to see that. I would have applauded.

      • AirPlant

        Applause would have certainly beat the bubble of awkward silence that followed ๐Ÿ™‚

  • no longer drinking the koolaid

    Have to admit that I finally gave up. I was a CNM who did home and birth center birth. In the last couple of years before closing my practice it became absolutely exhausting trying to re-educate women and their families once they became indoctrinated in the NCB dogma.
    No amount of explanation seemed to be able to penetrate what they believed to be true. And, when they “failed” at childbirth or breastfeeding, or attachment parenting, the amount of self guilt was heart wrenching. I could no longer participate in that false paradigm.

    • AA

      Out of curiosity–are you planning to re-train in a different field or do another type of employment?

      • no longer drinking the koolaid

        Old enough to retire and do what I like.
        However, if I needed to I could seek employment in nursing or a number of other fields, because unlike some midwives my whole life and education was not wrapped around my identity of being a midwife.

  • Commander30

    I’m probably considered a new mother myself–my daughter’s not quite nine months old yet. But here are the things I learned in those first few weeks of motherhood.

    Concerning breastfeeding, I just got to the point when I decided “This isn’t worth it.” I’m sure a lot of lactavists would have told me that I didn’t try hard enough, that there was more that I could have done to try to boost my abysmal supply. And you know, that’s probably true. I could have tried harder. But I got to the point where I felt whatever else I would have had to do to get what would still have probably been a small amount of breastmilk just wasn’t worth the effort to me. So I would say to new mothers–you know your own limits better than anyone else. If you feel you’ve crossed them, then you probably have. Don’t feel bad about making a choice that makes sense to you. No one else knows your specific situation.

    I went back to work full-time six weeks after my daughter was born, and those last couple of weeks of maternity leave I was going nuts. I’m definitely not the kind of person who’s cut out for being a stay-at-home parent, let alone an attachment parent. Plenty of people are, and that’s great. People aren’t cookie-cutter, and parents obviously aren’t either. I know I wouldn’t be a good mother to her if I had to spend all day, every day with her. I don’t know how good of a mother I am now, but I know I’m working within my personal parameters and doing the best I can. She seems to be fine so far and bonded really well towards both me and my husband–and we’ve managed that while using formula and daycare. She’s loved, and that’s the most important thing–to us and to her alike.